There's a new Age of Empires 4 patch out now that heralds the arrival of Season 2, which focuses on the Age of Sail. Update 17718 does quite a bit more than usher in the new seasonal activities, however – there's a new map, new map selection options in multiplayer, and a brand new camera that will provide a grander and more sweeping view of the RTS game's medieval battlefields.
“We've added a new camera zoom level and rotation to provide a grander vantage point on the battlefield and more holistic view of the base,” the Age of Empires team says in the latest blog post. “When making these changes we experimented with many different settings to determine the optional position. Zooming out further caused issues with unit selection and readability, while not offering much benefit. We have found these new values enhance gameplay feel, battlefield clarity, and base management.”
You'll find the new camera setting in a drop-down menu under the Settings menu, which allows you to pick between 'classic' and the new 'panoramic' modes. You'll need to return to the main menu to make this setting take effect if you change modes in a match, however.
Update 17718 also adds a fully remappable hotkey layout, for players who really want to change up their control scheme. Under Controls in Settings, you can click the 'view and remap controls' button to open up the remapping panel, which lets you pick any button for any task.
While setting up your new button layout, bear in mind that this patch also changes the way it handles hotkey assignment conflicts. In previous builds, mapping a hotkey that was already assigned to another function would unbind it from any other mapping – now, Age of Empires 4 will allow conflicts to persist, but will alert you when they do. You can, however, disable this alert with another new option called the 'warn conflicts' toggle.
We've already filled you in on the changes coming to map selection for skirmish and ranked, but there's a new map type now available in Age of Empires 4 called 'The Pit.' As you can probably guess, this map features mountains surrounding a low valley covered in forest, where you'll be able to find one of the map's sacred sites at the centre.
Season 2 features a selection of new sigils, frames, seals, and portraits to unlock by completing a series of challenges. That starts today, so get those villagers to work.