FAQ - ESO and Multiplayer


We are committed to supporting our fans. As a way to help everyone, here is a FAQ that should give you a place to start if you are having technical problems involving the multiplayer portion of our game. If you're experiencing an issue that's related to general game functionality or installation, please see our general FAQ page.

If you don't find what you're looking for here we recommend that you visit the Microsoft Technical Support website.

Index


ESO User Accounts

Multiplayer Connectivity - ESO

Multiplayer Connectivity - General

Clans and Friends

Player Ratings

Additional Power Rating Information


ESO User Account

Q. I lost my ESO username, what can I do?
Use the ESO Account Management Tool to retrieve your username.

If you encounter problems with the tool, then:
1) E-mail age3support@microsoft.com put "username lookup request" in the subject line
2) Answer the auto response e-mail with the appropriate information
3) Be sure to include the e-mail you registered with and your PID.
4) Please do not send any attachments in you e-mail.

The Product ID can be found by clicking on "Help and Tools" from the main menu of Age3, then click "About". It is a series of numbers 11111-111-1111111-11111.

Q. I lost my ESO password, what can I do?
For forgotten passwords, you can either use the the "forgot password" on the login screen in game or use the ESO Account Management Tool to retrieve your password.

If you encounter trouble with those tools, then you can:
1) E-mail age3support@microsoft.com put "password help" in the subject line
2) Answer the auto response e-mail with the appropriate information
3) Be sure to include the e-mail you registered with and your PID.
4) Please do not send any attachments in you e-mail.

Q. I entered the wrong email address when I created my account how can I get it changed?
Use the ESO Account Management Tool to update your email address.

If you encounter trouble with the tool, then you can:
1) E-mail age3support@microsoft.com put "email change request" in the subject line
2) Answer the auto response e-mail with the appropriate information
3) Be sure to include the e-mail you registered with and your PID.
4) Please do not send any attachments in you e-mail.

Q. I don't like the name I made, or I made may name with a clan tag attached, is there some way for me to change my name?
There currently isn't a system in place to allow changing of or deleting of user names. We realize a lot of users are requesting this, and are investigating possible solutions.

Q. Can I get my account/stats deleted/reset?
No.


Multiplayer Connectivity

Q. When I try and connect to ESO I receive the error message "ESO does not support your game version", what should I do?
1. Please reboot your computer and router and then see if you can log on.
2. Run the file check utility (see "common issues" section above for more information) to see if core files are valid. If any of the files are not valid, then the safest thing to do in is completely uninstall and reinstall the game and patch directly up to the latest game version.

If the files are valid, if you feel comfortable using regedit, you can manually check which game version is listed in the registry.
Edit your registry at your own risk. Make a backup before editing.

For Age of Empires III:
1. Run regedit.
2. Browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Microsoft Games\Age of Empires 3\1.0
3. Look at the version entry. If you have patched up to the latest version, then you should see that patch's version number.
4. If the version number says something other than the latest version then, you can modify the entry so it does.
5. Exit regedit and attempt to connect.

For The WarChiefs:
1. Run regedit
2. Browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Microsoft Games\Age of Empires 3 Expansion Pack\1.0
3. Look at the version entry. If you have patched up to the latest version, then you should see that patch's version number.
4. If the version number says something other than the latest version then, you can modify the entry so it does.
5. Exit regedit and attempt to connect

If your files were verified and your registry entries are correct you can next try what was the error code next to the message:

A -2147467259 indicates an error with the way we are currently implementing our message encryption. We have made some changes and hope to have a fix in the next patch. In theory this should prevent you from having to use a different account for those of you who are using that workaround

A -2147467260 indicates an error that individuals are having with their service provider. Many providers are starting to throttle back heavy users during their peak traffic times to speed up their networks. If you are getting this error, talk to your service provider and see if they have this policy and what you can do to avoid being penalized.

Q. When I try and connect to ESO the game either hangs or I receive the error message "Can not connect to ESO", what should I do?
1. First simply reboot your computer and network hard and try again to connect.
2. Software firewall such as Norton and ZoneAlarm will need to be opened up so that AOE3.exe can connect to the internet. You can also disable them before you test playing the game to see if this solves the problem. If it does you may want to manually configure your firewall, update its software, or possibly even try a different firewall package.

Some people have found removing the age3 entry from the exception list and letting the application re-detect age3 the next time they try and connect has solved this problem. Running your machine without firewall protection for long periods of time is not recommended. If you are playing on a LAN at a University, business etc. please check with your IT administrators.

3. Also you might want to verify if Internet Explorer is set to Online mode. To check open IE, click on File and look at the line labeled "Work Offline"; if there is a check mark next to entry then uncheck it.

Q. I am encountering general connectivity issues; such as the error messages "Invalid IP Address", "Host Canceled/rejected" or "failed to join game"; what can I do?
If you encounter any of the above error messages then most likely there is a conflict with age3 and a router setting.

  • Power Cycle your network hardware: Turn off your modem, router, and computer.
    Wait a few minutes then turn them back on one at a time in the listed order.
    Some routers need to be power cycled to except new versions of software such as Age of Empires 3
  • If you connect wirelessly, connect with a wired connection.
  • Verify your Firewall or internet security software is allowing Age3 (age3.exe) and TWC (age3x.exe) to pass through
  • Disable your Firewall or internet security software temporarily while you test connecting to the game.
  • Upgrade your firmware on your router and your network card
  • Toggle UPnP (If you have UPnP on, try turning it off and if you have UPnP off, try turning it on.
  • Test with the DMZ setting both on and off
  • Port forward UDP and TCP/IP ports 2300-2310 to your machine. If that range does not work try expanding it to cover ports 2300-2340, or try using the OverridePort command listed below.
  • Some routers have a Gaming Mode. Be sure to enable that option if your router supports this feature.
  • If your router has logging turned on make sure to clean off your logs or restart logging before playing Age of Empires 3
  • Change your computers IP on your router. Example: if your computer sits at 192.168.0.100 change it to 192.168.0.200

Note, if you need assistance configuring your router please refer to your router manufacture.

Q. What are the user.cfg commands to assist with router IP/port issues and how do I use them?
OverridePort
OverridePort will allow you to specify a port to use instead of relying on UPnP or our port discovery process. This is useful when you have multiple PCs behind the same NAT and you want to use port forwarding.

To use:
1. First browse to the My Documents\My Games\Age of Empires 3\startup
2. If there is not a user.cfg file then create one.
3. Open the user.cfg file with a text editor; like notepad
4. Enter OverridePort="[the port number you want to use]"
5. Save the file and close it.
6. Configure your Router to forward the port you specified to the ipaddress of the computer you are playing on.

Example: You are on a network with several other people trying to play age3 and you have access to the router settings. So you override the game on each computer to use a different port;
Computer A gets overrideport="2300", computerB gets overrideport="2301", etc. Then you setup the port forwarding on the router to properly forward data sent on those ports to corresponding ip address of the machine.

OverrideAddress
OverrideAddress will allow you to specify an external IP address to use instead of relying on the address that comes back from our address server or in the case of LAN the internal IP that we use.

To use:
1. First browse to the My Documents\My Games\Age of Empires 3\startup
2. If there is not a user.cfg file then create one.
3. Open the user.cfg file with a text editor; like notepad
4. Enter OverrideAddress="[the IP address you want the game to use]"
5. Save the file and close it.

Example: Your computer's listed IP address is 192.168.0.2 and your external address is 123.142.1.21
If the game wanted to use the internal IP and you keep failing to get into games; you might try overriding the game's findings using the command overrideaddress="123.142.1.21"

Q. I have an ADSL connection what are some issues with this type of connection?
DSL\ADSL is a popular connection type especially in Europe and the Americas. It does have some issues with Age of Empires III and other games. We will go over some of the issues here in hopes of helping out players using DSL\ADSL.

  • IP Switching:
    DSL will switch your IP address from time to time depending on network activity and how much activity is at the Router\Switch level. This is controlled by what kind of subscription you have (what speeds you are allowed) as well as well as the software that is controlling your connection. Sometimes if you have a low upload speed and you exceed your upload bandwidth your IP will switch. If you IP switches while you are playing Age3 you will be kicked off ESO.

    The best way to prevent this is to only have Age3 open and no other programs taking up bandwidth. Also if you have to run a program to connect using DSL you might want to look for third party software that will prevent your IP from switching. Some are offered for free. If you have to run software to connect to your ISP that means you are using PPPOE DSL.

  • IP Sharing
    Some ISP's use IP Sharing which will cause problems with some games. Ask you ISP if they use IP Sharing.
  • DSL Modems
    Many DSL modems may need firmware updates or may need to be restarted after software has been updated. Some also have advanced features like logging which can causes issues with various games
  • The Trouble with Copper
    DSL uses standard phone lines. If you are have speed problems with your DSL connection try disconnecting your phones and faxes then restarting your DSL modem to see if that helps.

    Doing a noise test will also help you determine if there is an issue. Contact your phone company and see if they will do a free noise test.

  • Terminology
    Routers - The hardware that controls network and internet access.
    Switches - The banks of routers that control network traffic.
    CO - Call office. The building that holds the Switches.
    ISP - Internet Service Providers. Who you get the internet from.

 

Q. What does CRC mismatch mean?
CRC mismatches commonly occur when a player's version of the game does not match the version of the game they are trying to join. Below are a few common causes of this issue:

  • You are running a cracked version of the game.
  • You are launching the game using a "no-cd check" executable.
  • The patch did not install correctly
    • Work around: uninstall and reinstall the game and patches.
  • You made modifications to your files in the game Startup folder such as game.cfg
    • Most people who have disabled the cinematics or added other things in game.cfg or other .cfg files are getting a CRC Mismatch error - Undo ANY changes made to your .cfg files and the problem should be fixed; otherwise, reinstall the game.
  • You made edits or installed a mod that edited one of the .xml game files; such as proto.xml
    • Undo ANY changes made to your .xml game files and the problem should be fixed; otherwise, reinstall the game.
  • You are running an unauthorized version of this game.

Multiplayer Connectivity - General

Home networks and dial-up connections
If you have a network card and you dial in to the Internet via modem, you may have trouble launching multiplayer games. If this occurs, disable the device that is not your Internet connection and try again.

Direct IP
In order to play a DirectIP game, you must have a direct connection to the Internet. In other words, your machine must have a REAL IP address assigned to it. We have found problems where a DMZ may assign a fake NAT address that hinders or blocks connectivity for Direct IP. This is not usually required if you are playing on ESO. If you are uncertain about making these changes, check with your network administrator.

Multiple IP addresses
If other players are not able to connect to a game you have created by typing the IP address that appears when you click the IP button on the Multiplayer Game screen, you may have multiple IP addresses. You can display all of your IP addresses by running Ipconfig (WinXP). If you are uncertain about making these changes, check with your network administrator.

To run ipconfig

On the Start menu, click Run.
Type cmd, and then click OK.
At the command prompt, type ipconfig, and then press ENTER. The correct IP address will be displayed.

How can I specify what IP Address the game should use?
If you need to specify what IP Address the game should use you can use the OverrideAddress command:
To use:
1. First browse to the My Documents\My Games\Age of Empires 3\startup
2. If there is not a user.cfg file there create one.
3. Open the user.cfg file with a text editor; like notepad
4. enter OverrideAddress=[the IP address you want the game to use]
5. save the file and close it.

Disconnection from ISP
If you are disconnected from your ISP and quickly reconnect, you and the host may be dropped from the game if your ISP assigns a new IP address because the game will not recognize you. If this occurs, restart the game.

Hard disk space
If you join a multiplayer game but do not have enough hard disk space to download the scenario, you will receive a message that you must quit the game, clear space on your hard disk, and then rejoin the game.

External Applications
Some applications like virus scanners and some firewalls may have conflicts or warnings when running or updating Age of Empires III. Oftentimes these warnings or dialog boxes pop up behind Age of Empires III and appear to be locked. You can press ALT+TAB to switch out of Age of Empires III to close the warning, and then press ALT+TAB again to return to the game and continue playing. You can also disable these programs before running Age of Empires III, or you can select Windowed Mode from the Options menu if you have problems using ALT+TAB.

Two TCP/IP devices
If you are experiencing issues with dropping network connections or a lack of ability to connect to other games, please attempt the following:

Exit Age of Empires III and ensure that you have a network / Internet connection.
Disable the device that is not your Internet connection and try again.

Internet Connection Sharing
ICS is not officially supported. For information on setting up your ICS or disabling your second TCP/IP device, please see http://support.microsoft.com/ and search the Knowledge Base for instructions specific to your operating system. If you are uncertain about making these changes, contact your network administrator.

Internet Connection Sharing (ICS), Network Address Translation (NAT) clients or Firewalls -- Although Age of Empires III does not officially support connection through ICS or NAT, Ensemble Studios Online tries to auto-detect your network setup and configure itself for play on your network. This should work for the majority of NAT devices, but if you are having problems connecting to ESO or other players, you can try opening UDP port 2300, HTTP port (TCP: 80), TCP ports 28800-28805 to ensure that you have loaded inbound/outbound TCP/IP and UDP protocols in your network settings. If you have multiple machines, you may also map those machines by incrementing that port number by one and using hostPort=2301 (for instance) on the Age of Empires III command line.

For more information on setting up or disabling an Internet connection sharing using Windows XP, go to: link

Proxy
Some ISPs automatically force the use of a Proxy which may cause Age of Empires III to lock up when connecting to ESO. Configuring your Internet settings for a dedicated proxy server may fix this problem. If you are uncertain about making these changes, check with your network administrator.


Clans and Friends


Q. Is there a way for me to know when a friend/clan mate is in a game?
Yes. Friends currently in games will have a crossed swords icon next to their name on your friends list.

Q. I am having a problem joining or creating a clan, what should I do?
First simply log out of eso for several minutes, and then log back in. If you continue to experience troubles, send in a bug report to age3.bugs.ensemblestudios.com

Q. Can I whisper to and from games that have launched?
Currently you can not whisper to a player that is a game that has launched, and those players can also not whisper out of the game.


Player Rating

Q. How does the Power Rating system for players work?
Highlights:

  • It's a skill based system where players are assigned a title and a level.
  • All players start off as Conscript level 0.
  • The highest level is 50.
  • The results of your games, your opponent's level, the HC level you used compared to the HC level of your opponent and other variables are factored into your level.
  • Titles are assigned by level but there is no guarantee that every Rank Title will be represented. (see the list of ranks below)
  • Any rated game will affect your Power Rating, this includes both quick search and custom games.
  • In team games the Power Rating increase/decrease is the same for all team members.
  • The system attempts to quickly get you to the level it thinks you are. As such, new players will move through the ranks extremely quickly, as in a reach their rank within playing 10 or so games.
  • Point traders will be banned!

Q. Where can I see my rating?

  • Rank Titles will appear in the games list; find a Title and level close to yours to hopefully find a better match! In general we hope that power rating will help people get in good matches.
  • Power Rating stats will appear at the ESO Home City tab.
  • The player stats rollover when mousing over an avatar
  • On the map loading splash screen.
  • The top 1000 rated players can be viewed on the Power Rating ladder.
  • The Power Rating ladder is not seasonal like the other ladders; they will not expire every few months.

Q. What are the rankings and current level ranges?

A listing of the Power Rating ranks and the corresponding level required to achieve the ranks can be found in the additional rating information section below.

Q. Is there a rating decay system?
Players who have a Power Rating level of 26 or greater will be subject to our rating decay system. This means that players who do not play a rated game within a set period of time will lose rating points due to their inactivity. The period of time varies so that players who are level 26-36 need to play one game every two weeks, and players who are level 37-50 need to play one game per week to avoid having their rating decayed.

Q: Where can I get more information about how rating is calculated?
A more detailed explanation about how rating is calculated can be found here.

Q. I have not played a game in over a year and now when I log in my stats do include my old games.
In addition to Power Rating Decay, stats are purged after a period of user inactivity. This means that if you have not played in over a year, your wins/losses may have been purged.

Q: I have been playing games, but I'm not getting any XP/wins.
First make sure your the game you play meet the requirements for XP / rated; the requirements are listed in the readme.rtf file.
Note: You need to have at least 2 human players in a game to receive any XP on ESO and in order to receive wins/losses you need to have only human players arranged in even teams.

Q: I won a game but received a loss, what is wrong?
We are investigating a possible issue with ESO whereby if a player disconnects from a game, either intentionally or not, it can cause the ESO stats to be incorrectly reported. We are working diligently to resolve this.

In the meantime, if you feel you were cheated, email us at age3.abuse@ensemblestudios.com to report it. Don't make cheating accusations on our forums. We are constantly investigating cases and banning players who are found to be cheating.


Additional Power Rating Information

The information below is aimed at informing users how the Power Rating system works and addressing user questions and concerns.

Power Ratings - How they work

Probable Skill - (K * Variance) = Points

Probable Skill - The average skill level of the player before the game.

Points - Your points represent where you are on the skill ladder. You get points for wins and lose points for losses. The number of points that you win or lose for a specific game depends on several factors below, including the ranking points of the player(s) you are playing against. Similar to other rating systems, high level players gain very few points for defeating players of significantly lower level and therefore will advance in rank very slowly if these are the types of players that they seek out.

K - This variable determines how much of an impact you want Variance to have.

Variance - Each player is assigned a level of variance when they start playing. This number starts high, representing the system's lack of familiarity with your actual skill level to start with. As you play more games, this number will get smaller as your rating is refined. This number is largely responsible for the big jumps up or down that your rating can initially take. These jumps decrease as you play more games.

Home City Level - Home Cities are divided into three tiers, much like the cards in your deck. A player using a level 1 Home City is at a disadvantage when playing against a level 40 Home City, so he should earn more points if he wins. The reverse is also true, so the player with the level 40 Home City will lose slightly more points if he loses this match-up. The tiers are broken down like this:

Tier / Home City Levels
Tier 1: 0-9
Tier 2: 10-24
Tier 3: 25-100+

The players in each of the tiers have access to cards that are considered equally powerful. The Home City factor cancels out if you are playing someone who is using a Home City is in the same tier as you, as we assume you have the best cards for your level.

Civilization Tiers - The Power Rating system rates the civilizations in tiers. When playing a multiplayer game, the civilization you use is also rated in that game. All Spanish players, for example, will affect the ranking of the Spanish civilization by winning or losing games. The civilization ranking looks something like this (only two civilizations are used to keep the example simple):

Spanish Tier 3 (level 25+)
Spanish Tier 2 (level 10-24)
British Tier 3
British Tier 2
Spanish Tier 1 (level 0-9)
British Tier 1

This ranking is dynamic and is updating constantly throughout a day, adjusting to game results.

In the example above, Spanish tier 3 (levels 25+) is rated the highest while British tier 1 (levels 0-9) is rated the lowest. A player using a higher ranked civilization who defeats a player using a lower ranked civilization will gain slightly fewer points, and vice versa. The idea being that players that use the civilization that wins the most will be more likely to win the game, and so will earn fewer points.

Ranks - We use your skill level, which is points rounded up to the nearest Integer, to assign you a rank title that represents your skill. The rank ladder looks like this:

Skill Level / Rank Title

50 Field Marshal
47-49 General
44-46 Lieutenant General
41-43 Major General
38-40 Brigadier
35-37 Colonel
32-34 Lieutenant Colonel
29-31 Major
26-28 Captain
23-25 1st Lieutenant
20-22 2nd Lieutenant
17-19 Master Sergeant
14-16 Sergeant
11-13 Corporal
8-10 Lance Corporal
3-7 Private
0-2 Conscript

Why not use the ELO system? - We have used a 1600 based ELO rating system for our past games and have switched to the new Power Rating system for Age of Empires III. Why the change? The ELO system starts players at 1600 points, and below average players end up dropping below that mark right away. This can be very discouraging to players who may improve over time and turn them off of competitive play completely. Additionally, the number of points lost by a player who is rated 2000+ on ELO when he plays against someone who is one-hundred points below is substantial, however, a difference of 100 points often does not mean a substantial difference in ability, so high rated players have nothing to gain and everything to lose. With the Power Rating system, high ranked players will still lose ground, but the results are not nearly as catastrophic to their ranking.

Note:
A player who goes into negative points is still displayed as a Conscript and is still level 0 though. He's not making progress, but he isn't being visibly set back. (Unless he happens to figure out what the points mean in his HC tab) Looking at it another way, you have to work your way up to be average in the Power Rating system, so for less skilled players it still rewards them, unlike ELO. So the majority of players will be gaining levels, not going into negative points.