Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition is introducing a new way for players to jump in, and without having to pay anything. Freshly announced and already available, a trial edition has gone online on Steam offering access to a portion of the full game without any time limits.
The trial version offers access to a pool of three multiplayer and skirmish civilizations from the full version's 16, but they will be rotating weekly. The first round of civilizations will be French, Haudenosaunee, and Russians. One of these will be replaced by a fresh faction next week.
Also available in the trial version is the first act of the game's Blood, Ice, and Steel campaign, the Algiers Historical Battle with co-op support, and the 10 Art of War multiplayer tactics-focused tutorials. While both the free trial and full version Age of Empires III: DE players can join and play multiplayer games together, keep in mind that ranked play is only available to owners of the full game.
The Central Asia, Deccan, Great Plains, Guianas, Northwest Territory, Malaysia, Mongolia, and Saguenay maps are also available to free trial players. These are only eight maps from the full pool, but this is for hosting matches only. The good news is that if a trial player joins a match hosted by a player with access to the full game, no restrictions to the map pool will be made for anybody.
The Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition trial is now live on Steam to play for free. For those who want access to the full version of the game, it is available for $19.99 via Steam or through PC Game Pass.
The longstanding Age of Empires II Definitive Edition and the most recent entry Age of Empires IV are currently the most popular installments of the real-time strategy series. It seems Microsoft wants to boost the middle child's popularity somewhat with this move.