Age of Empires: Definitive Edition – general guide

Nostalgia often makes funny tricks with us. You remember how you ran your favorite game in your youth. How interesting it seemed to you then, how many emotions! And if you install it today, you don’t understand how you could play such a game. And it’s not even about the graphics, it’s just that the genre has evolved since then by an order of magnitude and the gameplay is replete with clumsy and flaws. But there is a category of cult projects, like Heroes of Might and Magic and Master of Orion , over which time has no power – they still look fresh and relevant. Age of Empires belongs to the latter. It was worth just redrawing the graphics, increasing the population limit to 250 and now – the return of the king of RTS!

Game concept and interface

For seasoned gamers of the 90s, talking about the “Age of Empires” is meaningless, because everyone has played a hundred hours in it. But a new generation, not spoiled by the boom of real-time strategies, may come to a stupor from this hybrid of Warcraft and Civilization… Therefore, let’s touch on the general principles of this game. Before us is a real-time strategy, with elements of development from turn-based. Simply put, you have to take a primitive tribe and lead it through four eras (Stone Age, Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Age) to world domination and the construction of your great empire. Other civilizations and your own crooked hands will hinder you in this. Sounds pretty easy, but when you look at the tech tree, you will realize that finding the winning recipe will be oh, how difficult. The concept is similar to Rise of Nation , except that the latter was cloned by Age of Empires , and not vice versa.

The interface here is quite intuitive, especially if you played RTS before. In the menu we are interested in “Single game”. “Campaign” is a set of restrictions and conventions on the map, so let’s go straight to the “Custom game”. There we have to set the parameters of the upcoming skating rink: choose a civilization, set the number of players (maximum 8), adjust the map to our liking, throw in starting resources and technologies, and determine the victory conditions. The control is standard for the strategy: we draw a frame with LMB, send RMB into battle. In some places, even the archaic is preserved – you cannot queue up research in buildings, units often get stupid when choosing a route and get stuck everywhere.

It all starts quite modestly – a couple of huts and fields

Choice of civilization

Despite the external similarity, it is the choice of side that determines your development and tactics throughout the game. Let’s list all the nations and their bonuses:


Gold miners work 20% faster and carry two more gold units. Plus 33% health points for chariot units. Plus three to the priests’ circulation range. Unavailable Technologies: Bronze and Iron Shield, Scutum and Siege Art.


Units from the Academy move 30% faster and cost 20% less. Ships move 20% faster. Unavailable technologies: Monotheism, Zealots, Sacrifice, Metallurgy.


Stonecutters work 20% faster and carry two more stones. Walls and towers are 75% stronger. Priests recover 30% faster. Unavailable Technologies: Chainmail for infantry, archers and cavalry, Iron Shield, Scutum.


Peasants move 10% faster. Archers shoot 25% faster. Unavailable technologies: Nobility, Architecture, Aritocracy, Alchemy, Bronze and Iron Shield, Scutum.


Ships are 30% cheaper. Plus two to the range for composite archers. Farms produce 60 more food units. Unavailable Technologies: Astrology, Mysticism, Afterlife, Monotheism, Fanaticism, Zealots, Sacrifice.


Plus one to attack for all archers. Plus 50 health points for all stone throwers, catapults and heavy catapults. Plus three to the range for warships (except for the fiery galley). Unavailable Technologies: Mysticism, Polytheism, Afterlife, Monotheism, Fanaticism, Zealots, Medicine, Sacrifice, Architecture, Irrigation.


Lumberjacks work 15% faster and carry two more wood units. Elephant units are 25% cheaper. Catapult Trireme and Juggernaut shoot 30% faster. Unavailable technologies: Architecture, Metallurgy, Chainmail for infantry, archers and cavalry, Siege art.


Plus 15 to the health points of the peasants. Rock Throwers, Catapults, and Heavy Catapults fire 30% faster. Farms produce 125 more food units. Unavailable Technologies: Astrology, Afterlife, Monotheism, Fanaticism, Zealots, Metallurgy, Iron Shield, Scutum, Craftsmanship.


Hunters work 30% faster and carry three more food. Elephant units move 20% faster. Triremes shoot 25% faster. Unavailable Technologies: Aristocracy, Ballistics, Plow, Craftsmanship, Siege Art, Irrigation.


Peasants cost 40 food units. 40 food less at the start of the game. Walls are 75% stronger. Unavailable Technologies: Aristocracy, Ballistics, Alchemy, Engineering, Siege Art.


Peasants move 10% faster. All cavalry and horse archers are 25% cheaper. Ships are 25% stronger. Unavailable Technologies: Astrology, Mysticism, Monotheism, Fanaticism, Zealots, Medicine, Sacrifice, Scutum.


Plus 15/20/60/80 to health points for warriors with a short / wide / long / legionnaire sword. Plus two percent to the towers’ range. Priests are 30% cheaper. Unavailable technologies: Aristocracy, Alchemy, Engineering, Chainmail for infantry, archers and cavalry, Iron Shield, Scutum.


Buildings are 15% cheaper, excluding towers, walls and Wonders of the World. Towers are 50% cheaper. Swordsmen attack 33% faster. Unavailable Technologies: Astrology, Afterlife, Alchemy, Irrigation.


Plus 25% to the health points of units from the Academy and elephant units, plus 15% to the bumps of health of camel riders. Plus 25% attack on the fiery galley. Transport ships move 25% faster. Unavailable technologies: Astrology, Monotheism, Fanaticism, Metallurgy, Chainmail for infantry, archers and cavalry, Siege art.


Peasants cost 75 food, but have armor and work 25% faster. Plus 50 food units at the start of the game. Camel Riders 25% faster. Tribute is free. Double the profit from merchant ships.


Plus two to the view radius of all melee units. Plus two to protection from arrows for all units of the Academy. Siege Workshop units are 25% cheaper. All units are four times more resistant to handling. Technologies Unavailable: Astrology, Mysticism, Polytheism, Afterlife, Monotheism, Fanaticism, Zealots, Medicine, Sacrifice, Nobility, Engineering, Craftsmanship, Siege Mastery.

It is clear that individual civilizations will rule at certain periods and in specific territories. This must be taken into account and a reconquista must be arranged taking into account its advantages. You also need to know the opponent’s weaknesses in order to hit harder, or calculate his manner of development.

It is advisable to surround the base with walls and towers. Keep the Wonder of the World in the most inaccessible place – they will try to demolish it in the first place

General Tips

We have only four resources: wood, food, gold and stone. The last two are for later stages. At the very beginning, you start with three peasants and a city center. It is advisable to immediately find a food source – it will be either bushes with berries, or herds of animals and fish along the coast. In order not to waste time carrying resources to the city center, I advise you to build a barn or a corresponding building for collection. It is only worth producing five peasants per bush and quickly saving up for the transition from the Stone Age to the Neolithic. It is there that you can get farm fields, after which food production will reach an industrial level and will require only wood.

It is better not to produce warriors at the very beginning, if you are not going to rush. All the same, everyone starts with neutral relations and there is almost no struggle for resources. It is more logical to pump the economy and go ahead in military tech. Remember that where two fight, the third wins. If you see that a certain aggressor has squeezed a neighbor into a corner, then throw him a small tribute and generally come to the rescue with your troops. Better to fight on a foreign land and with little blood. Periodically make raids with horsemen and destroy peasants, as well as mining centers cut off from the enemy base.

In the very corner of the screen, above the mini-map, there is a list of participants, where their total score is indicated. Experienced players can even determine the technological gap based on these numbers. As soon as you got ahead, immediately go and extinguish the second ax, which breathes in the back. Guess this moment for your civilization, rivet units ahead of time before the raid. In general, try to frequently conduct reconnaissance and keep abreast of the enemy’s affairs at the base and track the movements of his troops. If it is possible to meet an enemy strike group under the cover of your towers or ships, use it.

Fighting in this strategy is quite simple – accumulate units and send them in a crowd to your opponent. But still there are a number of rules that will help in these wall-to-wall fights. First, send the weakest units forward, which will bind the main infantry in battle, and your DPM fighters, hiding behind them, will inflict the main damage. Second, try to focus, especially your shooters. Take the injured soldiers away from the front line for priests to heal them. Thirdly, let the cavalry go around in order to cut out ranged units and healers.

With a developed economy, you can try to strangle the enemy in a blockade ring. Drive a bunch of peasants to the enemy base and cordon off all approaches with towers, keep your army nearby. You can even attack computer bots with archers in order to spread them for an attack. Gradually narrow the blockade, sooner or later the opponent will run out of resources and he will try to break through. For especially dastardly players, there is a trick on how to crush the enemy’s economy at the start. At the very beginning, you send a peasant to search for predatory animals, then attack them and run away towards the enemy base. Lead to the very center or to a cluster of peasants and let yourself be killed. A flock of lions in the Stone Age can do a lot of business, and simply block access to resources.

Rolled into the asphalt with elephants – quite a cheating unit


In general, the reissue turned out to be quite good, but it is designed mainly for nostalgic users, who in their youth had greener grass and the sun shone brighter. The game is outdated not even graphically, but morally. There are not enough platitudes, such as highlighting the attacked areas on the map, auto-adjusting fields, etc. Moreover, there is an HD remake of Age of Kings , in which all these problems are solved. I advise you to download it and not take a steam bath.

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