Preview of Age of Empires Online

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David Hinkle from Joystiq has a preview of Age of Empires Online. One of my friends is always talking about how he misses old school real-time strategies in the vein of the Ages of Empires games. Apparently, his wish is coming:

Despite its cartoon look and smiling warmongers — not to mention its free-to-play gameplay model — Age of Empires Online is undeniably an Age of Empires game. The new direction doesn’t much change the series’ core gameplay, as this real-time strategy title is still all about resource management, with a pretty steep learning curve. This is not Age of Empires “Lite.”

There doesn’t seem to be an official release date yet, but the fact that it’s free is impressive.