Microsoft Game Studios announced that Age of Empires Online will be released on August 16th with two initial civilizations: the Greeks and Egyptians.
As the latest in the long-running civilization sim franchise, Age of Empires Online will allow players to build up persistent towns, establish trade between other players, work on crafting and quests, and even go to war when needed.
While the initial core gameplay will be available for free, Microsoft hopes that players will get so hooked that they'll gladly purchase Age of Empires Online "Premium Content Packs" to enhance their experience. These packs will include new civilizations and game modes. 1UP reports that in addition to the typical digital download, Microsoft will be shipping out retail boxes in order to snag a larger audience -- although these boxes will merely contain instructions how to download the game.