I recently had trouble with all users being stuck on the same IP address in Age of Empires. While I was occasionally able to see a match in the lobby, I was unable to join with a “Failed to Join” error. Through trial and error the following process seems to be the simplest fix and has worked well for me but your mileage may vary.
Configure IP Addresses in Windows
First we need to setup multiple static IP addresses on your computers network controller. Later we’ll assign these to Aster. Start by checking your current IP address. Click on start menu or search and type cmd. This will open the command console. Type ipconfig and hit enter. This will output your current adapter settings. Note the IPv4 Address as we’ll use this soon.
Next, click on start menu or search and type view network connections then click on the application to run it.
Right click on the adapter and go to Properties. Select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click Properties. Here you need to set a static IP using the address found in the previous step.
Then click Advanced… then Add…which opens a window to additional addresses. You will need to use the first 3 parts of the existing IP address (e.g. 192.168.1.X) but change the last digits to a number that isn’t already in use on your network. You can check this in the DHCP leases in your router. Then click Add and Ok.
Before closing the properties window tick Validate Settings Upon Exit. That’s it. You can check the IP addresses have been assigned by running IP config again. There should be an additional IPv4 entry for each IP address you added.
Assign IP Addresses to Aster Workplaces
Now that we have multiple IP addresses available, we can assign them in Aster. Open Aster control and click on the Extended Settings tab. For each workplace, click the IP Address field and assign one of your addresses from the dropdown list.
Click Apply to confirm the settings then restart your computer.
Configuring Age of Empires to use IP Addresses
For whatever reason Age of Empires does not use automatically use the IP addresses assigned in Aster. We can work around this by adding an IP address override to each users game settings. To do this we create a custom configuration file that Age of Empires will read when the game is launched. First open Notepad and copy the text below but replace XXX-XXX-XXX-XXX with your first IP address.
Then save the file to the users startup settings folder. Filename should be: user.cfg and file type set to all files. By default this will be C:\Users\YOURUSER\Documents\My Games\Age of Empires 3\Startup.
Recreate this file for each user you want to have on your LAN game but make sure to use the same IP address that was assigned to that user/workplace in the Aster software.
That’s it. You can check the configuration by checking your IP within the game GUI. You should now be able to see and join LAN matches hosted by any of the users you have setup. If you still have trouble, try connecting by direct IP to the host user. Also check the game has been allowed in Windows Firewall.