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Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Age of Empires 2 gets some all-timer patch notes as it finally stops monks hiding in relics and dying when they drop them

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Age of Empires 2 Definitive Edition was released in 2019, and is as faithful a remaster of 1999’s Age of Empires 2 as you’ll get: To the extent it shares many of the original game’s beloved bugs and foibles. One that lay dormant for the longest time, however, was only discovered after a tournament last year. The excellently named Walhalla featured a game in which a player’s monk goes to return a relic to a monastery and, as he does so, keels over and dies.

Well, that doesn’t seem very godly. What is going on here, and is explained extremely well in the below video, is essentially a rounding error. A monk with a relic and a monk without a relic are in fact two different units and, when a monk picks up or drops the relic, the game switches between them and the unit’s hit points are recalculated.

For those who want to get into the maths it’s more fully explained here, but what it comes down to is the game switching from a unit with 1/55HP and recalculating the 1HP as 0.999999HP, that being rounded down to 0/55HP, and your monk going to meet their maker.

Thus the latest Age of Empires 2 patch notes come with an all-timer:

“Aztec Monks with 1/55 HP no longer die when picking up or putting down a relic.”

Amazingly enough, monk relic bugs are almost their own category in Age of Empires 2, so this isn’t even the only fix to amusing / annoying behaviour involving them. Other monk relic fixes include:

  • Monks and Priests with relics do not drop relics anymore when tasked to a full Monastery. Instead, “the building is full” message appears
  • Shift Queue now works properly for a group of monks picking a relic.
  • Monks can no longer hide inside/behind a relic and become unreachable by enemy melee units.
  • Relics can no longer be dropped to the other side of a wall when the monk carries the relic close to the wall.

I do love the idea of a monk hiding in their own relic from a confused army of foot soldiers, big Solid Snake vibes.

OK, it’s the silly stuff with this patch that caught my eye. But it should be said that this is one of the largest balancing patches the game has had, and adds a new technology among dozens of general and specific changes to units, reworks of other units, and all in the aim of preparing for the yet-undetailed Return of Rome expansion. It even adds an option to have “small trees” in-game, which was one of the game’s most popular mods just for the sake of the added clarity when manoeuvring. We can have a good-natured laugh about the bugs, but wow does Age of Empires 2 have some legs on it.

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