Thursday, April 05, 2012

AoE:O Microsoft Marketplace vs Steam

Age of Empires:Online has recently opened itself to the Steam Store.  For the most part, that's great news for people that have become accustomed to Steam sales.  Unfortunately, it also became confusing for users that already were part of the AoE Community.  So here's an FAQ and other hints to clear things up.

What option do I have to run the game?
If you downloaded the free game from Microsoft, you're running the Games for Windows Client portal. If you installed via Steam, then you're on the Steam store portal.

Can I run both Microsoft & Steam portals at the same time?
No.  You must uninstall AoE if you plan on using a different...

Wait Wait, Uninstall?  Will I loose my progress?
No, Steam uses Microsoft Live for Windows too, so assuming you're using the same account, all your goodies are safe.

What about purchases, what if I bought something from Microsoft Marketplace but want to run Steam, will I loose those purchases?
No.  Again, it too is tied to your MS Live account.

Will I need to uninstall and re-install, just to take advantage of a sale from the differing store?
Looks that way, yes.  I've seen different type of sales already.  For instance, MS Marketplace had skirmish mode for free, but Steam had everything 66% off.  If it sounds like a pain, Perhaps its possible you could keep AoE installed on two different systems, one with each marketplace [I have not verified this yet]. Even though you're only planning to game on one device, you just need to run the game once after a purchase.

So, which do you prefer?
That is going to depend on each gamer.  I personally have a large Steam library and 4 GB of memory, so it really doesn't bother me running AoE on Steam.  Steam does add an extra component to running the game, its not like you're going to get around MS Live.  So if you're worried about that sort of thing, stick with the MS portal.

Got any last inside secrets?
Yes, you can get free Microsoft Live Points by simply searching the web with via the Bing Rewards Program.  You basically get 1 credit for 2 searchs.  You can redeem 125 credits into 100 MS Live Points.  Live Points then can be used to purchase upgrades/DLC in Age of Empires.  If you work in front of a computer, and perform a bunch of searches, its a great way to cash in your civs in only a few weeks.  The search cap for points is variable, but there is a cap per day.  You can get started with Bing Rewards HERE.

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