Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition – A Beginner’s Guide

Age of Empires is a real-time strategy game set during historic periods. The nine games available can either be played along specialized, history-backed campaigns or as individual skirmishes against either computer opponents or other players.

Players collect resources to expand their civilization, moving through four distinct ages – Stone Age, Tool Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age. Each age offers access to superior units and technology.

The Basics

Age of Empires has long been one of the most beloved multiplayer strategy games online, offering immense reward to players with an in-depth knowledge of its mechanics, but can also be dauntingly complex for beginners. This guide can help newcomers get acquainted with some of its basic rules and mechanics.

Age of Empires’ economy is the cornerstone of its gameplay, regardless of your chosen civilization. Food, wood, gold and stone will serve as resources needed to construct military units and buildings – the cornerstone of success in any Age of Empires game! In this section we will focus on how you can maximize production techniques using efficient production villagers and armies alike.

First step to building a sustainable economy: Ensuring you have enough villagers to support and construct your buildings. You can do this by immediately building two houses (unless playing as Huns, when one will suffice). Send out scouts in search of sheep that can be slaughtered and butchered so your Villagers have meat while building these homes.

Once your army is strong enough to support itself, the next step should be forming military units. Each civilization specializes in certain units; most armies will include either foot soldiers or archers as part of their roster. It is best to tailor your unit selection based on where your map takes place as certain civilizations offer advantages in certain parts of the field.

Getting Started

Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition is an RTS in which players control an ancient civilization to gather resources and wage military combat, building homes and buildings to collect food, wood, stone and gold; creating units such as soldiers and explorers; researching upgrades; researching unit tech.

Step one is choosing your civilization: each has their own advantages and disadvantages. Britons, for instance, are capable of building walls more rapidly during the Dark Age; Mayans start out with one extra villager which helps them produce archers faster; Egyptians have access to an exclusive siege-focused unit known as Trebuchets.

Once you’ve selected a civilisation, it’s time to gather resources. Build a Town Center (TC), quickly so you can start creating villagers and researching Loom (which makes each new villager stronger), before heading out onto the map and exploring. Look out for herdable animals like sheep or turkeys as well as herdable fruit trees such as blueberry bushes as well as valuable resources like wood and stone; use Scout units if necessary in order to reach resources if you cannot yourself – these units can return quickly before sending them back into your TC as soon as they return from an adventure.

Once you’ve accumulated all the required resources, it’s time to advance to the next Age. This requires 800 food and two Feudal Age buildings and will unlock new units and technologies essential for success – specifically the Blacksmith’s upgrade options for soldiers and buildings alike. Furthermore, building Lumber Camps near forests or forests to speed up wood collection or Mine/Quarries near forests/quarries could accelerate stone production faster.


Players have access to a wide variety of buildings in this game, from simple homes and granaries to more sophisticated structures such as the Town Center and Castle. Many require certain resources like wood and gold for construction; others have special abilities or upgrades available for purchase; their appearance varies for each civilization, though certain first age buildings like Storage Pits and Archery Ranges share common traits; buildings can be destroyed by units garrisoned in houses or the Town Center as well.

Town Centers are essential structures in any town, and should be completed as quickly as possible in order to begin producing villagers. A great spot is near a forest or huntable food resource such as gazelle. Furthermore, placing it close to a river ensures fast water delivery.

Players may build Churches to produce Priest units as an additional line of defense against enemy units. While priests are highly effective combatants, they should always be protected by Cavalry or Chariot units to avoid becoming targets of an opposing Phalanx or Elephant unit that moves slowly and powerfully.

Each civilization features its own architecture set that gives them their distinct geographic and historical character. The original game included three sets, with three or two used by three or two European civilizations in total; later expansions added additional sets; with Age of Mythology coming along, non-Western civilisations also received special architecture sets tailored specifically for them.

Most buildings feature unique appearances depending on which architecture set they belong to, with the exception of houses which appear uniform across civilizations and time. Other first-age structures like Farms or Palisade Walls share one look across sets.

Military Units

Age of Empires offers several military units to attack or defend against other players, such as Light Units (Like Color Guards and Military Drummers), Fast Units (Mercenaries and Armored Infantry), and Heavy Units (Warrior Monks and Janissaries).

Each weapon possesses unique strengths and weaknesses, yet all three can provide significant damage against enemy units and buildings. Which one best fits with your chosen civilization will depend on which era it takes place in.

From the Iron Age through the Modern Era, Fast Units were an effective means of quickly dispatching enemy units and buildings without taking too much damage themselves. After entering the Modern Era however, Fast Units become less effective; therefore it would be prudent to concentrate on managing your defense instead.

Janissaries are one of the most effective defensive units, able to withstand significant damage while still dealing significant damage against enemy units and structures. Their high hit point count also makes them ideal against cavalry or melee units that attack from close range.

Modern Era artillery units become more powerful; Trebuchets in particular are capable of striking down Crossbowmen on turn one and dealing a substantial amount of damage to Mercenaries and Brutes alike.

For unit commands on a map, right-clicking at specific locations will highlight them with red to signify you’ve issued them a request to move there. Or select all units of one type by double-clicking them.

Managing Resources

Age of Empires’ success depends heavily on players understanding how to effectively utilize resources – especially during the early game – such as food, wood, stone and gold. Players can amass food through building farms near Mills or harvesting bushes; hunting animals for meat; or fishing. The more food that can be collected early on increases resilience when faced with attacks from enemies or fighting production facilities are being exhausted due to prolonged combat operations.

Wood is another essential resource in the early game that can be harvested by villagers chopping down trees. When harvesting this resource, players should take note of their Village Center distance when cutting down trees; to minimize travel times while cutting down trees, players can place Storage Pits nearby in order to increase wood supplies and maximize productivity.

Gold is another invaluable resource that can be amassed through building Mining Camps and assigning Villagers to mine them. As the game progresses, finding more sources of gold becomes more challenging; competing for these resources with other players may even result in conflict.

Players should make it a top priority to enter the Bronze Age as soon as possible in order to access more powerful military units and strengthen defenses more quickly. One way of accomplishing this goal quickly is to build another Town Center to speed up villager production; additionally it would be wise to establish a Fishing Port nearby the spawn point to improve coastal fish collection efficiency – this way players don’t need to move Villagers constantly back and forth between Town Center and Fishing Port for coastal gathering. Doing this will save time during early game play!

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