Castle Heidelberg in Germany hosted the Wololo 2022 legacy event that celebrated 25 years of legendary title Age of Empires, and the Red Bull event was a timely reminder that the Age of Empires video games retain a loyalty that is unique among video game fandoms.
Some Matches Were Straight Out Of A Dream
The 25-year legacy event saw a peak viewership around 80,000, and even offered some great matchups. The quarterfinals especially garnered a lot of interest, with Ørjan “TheViper” Larsen and Kai “Liereyy” Kallinger battling it out. The two players are some of the greatest servants of the game, and widely considered the best to have ever played it.
Liereyy came out on top in the match, but didn’t win the grand finals, losing out to TaToH in the end. Other stars of the game also turned up. MarineLorD got the better of TheMista in one of the other stand out matches in the tournament.
There was a total prize pool of $550,000, divided among the 40 pro players participating in the event. Out of that, $200,000 and $300,000 were split between Age of Empires II and Age of Empires IV, which is the latest title in the franchise. The original title had a $50,000 prize pool.
Players Couldn’t Hide Their Emotions
Apart from all the rewards on offer, there was another priceless quality to the events. “It feels incredible. I’ve won some online events, but [this] feels different. I’m so happy,” expressed French Starcraft II star Alexis “MarineLorD” Eusebio. This sentiment was echoed by Ørjan “TheViper” Larsen on his Twitter account. “This community is special, and these LAN events reinforce my view every time,” the Viper tweeted. This just goes to show that individual achievements seem insignificant when events like this take center stage.
“I’ve played in AOE tournaments for almost 13 years, and this is the most special one I’ve ever taken part in. The event is really really cool and I’m so happy that I’ve been able to be a part of it,” Age of Empires I champion Chim Sẻ Đi Nắng revealed.
There was a real warmth to the event, which was crystallized by YouTuber Tristan “T90” Berry’s proposal to his partner, who said yes. There were other reasons for celebration during the 10-day event besides the dewy-eyed nostalgia that permeated the tournament. The Age of Empires II event clocked in 1,350,352 hours watched; Age of Empires IV clocked in 698,027 hours watched; and the original title clocked in 496,757 hours watched.
Other Games Could A Learn A Thing Or Two
To put that into perspective; Rainbow Six, FIFA 23, PUBG, Street Fighter V, and Rocket League events that were being held at the same time didn’t clock as many hours watched – these are modern titles with lots of younger esports enthusiasts. League of Legends, Dota 2, and Counter-Strike still managed to have more views. However, this event was clear evidence of how long the appeal of the Age of Empires franchise has endured.
There’ll come a time when some of the games that have been mentioned here will get to 25 years, and if they are looking for an example to follow, they only need to look at the scenes from Castle Heidelberg in the last week or so.
This event was not expected to garner so many views, nor should it have, but it’s not hard to see why it was a success. Age of Empires hearkens back to a time when video games were tailored towards only one thing: making sure the player had a good time. With that simple motif, the franchise has built a community that still comes back and – especially in the case of players like T90 – holds the space in special regard.
Another Age of Empires II tournament called Warlords is set to take place on November 10. MembTV will be hosting it, and it is a $30,000 S-Tier event. The empire has no plans of slowing down – it is only getting bigger.