Military & Economy
Lesson 1: Military Units
Defeating Your Opponent
Most matches in Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition are played using the Conquest setting. This means you win a match by defeating your opponent or forcing them to resign.
To defeat your opponent, you will need a strong and well-rounded military. In Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, you can train infantry, archers, cavalry, and siege weapons. As you continue to play, you will begin to find which military units work best for you, and in which situation they are the most effective.
Training A Military
Different buildings will produce different military units. The technology tree summarizes this, but a good rule of thumb is:
- Infantry units are trained at the Barracks.
- Cavalry units are trained at the Stable.
- Archer units are trained at the Archery Range.
- Siege Weapons are constructed at the Siege Workshop.
Some units may surprise you. A good example is the Cavalry Archer which is trained at the Archery Range, despite having cavalry in it’s name. If you are ever unsure on where to train a certain unit, refer to the Technology Tree!
Lesson 2: Ranged Units
Most Military Units need to be next to a unit to engage it in combat, while some units have ranged capabilities, able to attack from a distance.
Some units such as the Skirmisher or Mangonel have a minimum range, meaning there needs to be a certain amount of distance between them and their target. If units get too close, they will back away until they are far enough away to attack.
Lesson 3: About Units
Most strong military units cost Gold, limiting their production. As a match continues to play out, the amount of available Gold decreases as there are a limited number of Gold Mines, and you will need to be more careful with what you choose to spend it on.
At the Barracks you can train the Spearman, Archery Range you can train the Skirmisher and Stable you can train the Scout Cavalry, each of these units only cost Food, or a combination of Food and Wood. These units are perfect for making up the bulk of your late game army and offset your expensive units earlier in a match if you are lacking Gold or need a counter to your opponent’s unit choices.
Basic Unit Uses
Each unit in Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition has its place in your army. Deciding which units should make up the majority to defeat your opponent is where you come in! Here’s some good rules of thumb:
- Archer-line counter most Infantry.
- Spearman-line counters most cavalry.
- Cavalry counter most archers.
- The Militia-line is generally effective against all units that do not cost Gold. However, the Spearman will always give you better results against cavalry.
Lesson 4: Siege Weapons
Siege Weapons are powerful war-engines constructed at the Siege Workshop that easily turn the tide of a battle. There are different types of Siege Weapons, each with their unique strengths:
A Mangonel is a catapult that hurls a spread of flying projectiles. It is effective against ranged units and reasonably strong against buildings. Importantly, it out-ranges the Town Center, meaning it can apply pressure without coming into the Town Center’s attack range.
Though near useless against enemy units, the Battering Ram is your main tool for destroying buildings during the Castle Age. With high ranged armor, it can absorb arrows effectively and pressure your opponent’s productions buildings without much worry from ranged attacks. Its low melee armour means you must defend them from enemy.
A large Ballista that shoots a bolt damaging all enemies it passes through. The Scorpion does minimal damage to buildings but is a great way to damage large groups of units.
The Siege Tower allows units to move over enemy Walls. It is perfect for catching your opponent off guard when they believe they are safe.
The Trebuchet is only available in the Imperial Age, constructed at the Castle, and greatly out ranges most buildings and military units. Trebuchets are a perfect way to destroy enemy castles and Town Centers from afar.
Lesson 5: Transitioning Your Economy
Technologies That Increase Gathering Speed
At the Town Center, Lumber Camp, Mill and Mining Camp, you will have access to technologies that increase resource gathering speeds. Be sure to research these technologies as you advance in Age to unlock the full potential of your economy.
These technologies should be researched as soon as possible, or as soon as it makes sense with your strategy. For example, Gold Shaft Mining increases the speed in which Villagers gather Gold but if you are not collecting Gold, it may not be worth the investment.
When to Research These Technologies
Generally, you should look at researching the following technologies when:
- Research both the Farming and Lumber upgrades as soon as you advance to the next Age.
- Wheelbarrow and Handcart should be researched at the Town Center before advancing to the next Age.
- Get the Gold and Stone gathering upgrades when the resources come available, or when it makes sense with your strategy.
Balancing Your Economy
An important part of Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition is balancing your economy. If you do not need Stone anytime soon, it is best not to commit your Villagers to gathering an unnecessary resource when they could be put to better use. Ensure you have a plan and build your economy to support your strategy throughout the game. As your plan changes, or you need to react to an enemy attack, rebalance and focus your economy to support your new plan and priorities.
This is a skill you will develop as you continue to play. Eventually you will know what resources are necessary to execute your strategy and be able to balance your economy with that in focus.
Lesson 6: Making the Most of Your Economy
Floating Resources is the term used for having an abundance of resources you’re not using. It may seem like a good thing, but the reality of the situation is you are collecting resources you are not using!
Utilizing Your Resources
Every resource you collect has a value depending on what you achieve with it. Having 20 Knights is great, but 20 Knights that are not raiding or defending is a great deal of resources that could have been committed to improving your economy or researching technologies.
This is another skill that will develop over time. The more you play, the better you will get! If you have an abundance of a resource you are not planning on spending soon, it’s a good idea to move some Villagers to other resources or even start using the Market.
Lesson 7: The Market
Utilizing the Market
The Market can be constructed in the Feudal Age and can be used to buy resources with Gold or sell resources for Gold. Relying completely on the Market will hinder you in collecting resources efficiently but using it every so often to help rebalance your economy when necessary is a great way to focus your economy.
In a Team Game, you can produce Trade Carts and send them to your allies’ market to slowly generate Gold using a trade route. Your Trade Carts will automatically begin this task once sent to an ally’s market. The further away your markets are, the more gold your trade route will generate!
The Market is also the only way to generate Gold once the resources on the map have been depleted if you haven’t collected any Relics. By Selling Wood, Food or Stone you can collect Gold to spend on Siege Weapons or important technologies to help break a stalemate situation.
As resources are sold and bought in the Market, the available prices will adjust for each player.
Lesson 8: Relics
Relics are scattered randomly around the map. They slowly generate Gold for your Empire once they have been collected and safely placed within a Monastery. To collect a Relic, you will need to train a Monk from the Monastery, task them to collect the relic, then have the Monk place the Relic within a Monastery (while the Monk is selected, simply right-click the Monastery).
While the Relic is garrisoned within your Monastery, it will slowly generate Gold which will be automatically added to your stockpiles. Controlling Relics is a huge advantage as you will have small amounts of extra Gold to draw upon for the entire match.
Protecting your Monastery is key! If it is destroyed, you will need to collect the Relic again and store it in a new Monastery to continue generating Gold.
The number of Relics that spawn on a map changes with the map size and type of map. Though Relics may not be a priority on most maps when you hit the Castle Age, finding and collecting them before your opponent does can create a snowball effect the longer the match lasts.