Welcome to Return of Rome, a completely new experience within Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition!
Though there will be many overlaps in gameplay between Return of Rome and Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, there are some slight differences which may not be immediately apparent when playing for the first time.
Based on that feedback, we have decided to add Romans to the ranked queue in a future update.
Here, we’re going to run through some of the differences to give you a leg up on getting started and enjoying everything Return of Rome has to offer!
Accessing Return of Rome
Return of Rome is vastly different to all of the DLC we’ve previously released for Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition. Each other release has expanded on the content available in Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, while Return of Rome is an entirely different beast.
Once you’ve finished downloading the Return of Rome DLC, launch Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition. On the main menu screen, you’ll see the symbol for Return of Rome in the top left corner.
Clicking this Symbol will switch your game into Return of Rome, ready for you to enjoy!
To switch back to Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, simply click the Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition symbol in the top left corner.
Playing Return of Rome
Just like Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, the objectives during a match in Return of Rome are very similar.
- Explore the map and discover the locations of your opponents and the four resources: Food, Wood, Gold, and Stone
- Produce Villagers from the Town Center to collect those resources
- Spend resources to construct resource drop-off sites, houses, and other important buildings
- Advance to the next Age; offering stronger units, buildings and technologies
- Train an army and command your military units in battle against opponents
Generally, gameplay will feel a lot faster and more aggressive compared to Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition – be ready for it!
Exploring the Map
Unlike Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, you do not begin with a dedicated unit for exploring the map.
When you begin a match:
- Queue some Villagers in the Town Center
- Command one of your Villagers to construct a House
- Begin exploring the nearby area with your other two Villagers for a nearby source of Food, like gazelles, elephants, or berry bushes
Note: If you’re playing on a water map, you can also try to find the coastline and some nearby fish!
Resource Drop-off Sites
Once a Villager has collected a resource, they’ll need to deposit it into a drop-off site before you can spend it. Certain resources may only be deposited into specific drop-off sites, let’s take a look at how each of them work!
Though the Town Center will mainly be used to train additional Villagers. It also acts as a drop-off site for every form of resource.
The Storage Pit will act as your main drop-off site for all resources, with the exception of Food collected from berry bushes and Farms.
Any Food collected from berry bushes and Farms must be dropped off at a Granary or Town Center.
- Your Villagers will not be able to drop-off Food collected from gazelle, elephants or other animals at the Granary
All Fish collected by Fishing Ships or Villagers may be dropped off at the Dock.
- Additionally, Villagers may drop-off fish at a Storage Pit
Compared to Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, where economic upgrades are housed in the relevant drop-off site. Each economic upgrade in Return of Rome is available at the Market, which can be constructed once you reach the Tool Age.
Here you can find Technologies to:
- Increase the amount of certain resources your Villagers can carry
- Increase the rate at which your Villagers gather certain resources
- Increase the speed of your Villagers and gain access to chariot units and Trade Carts
- Increase the amount of Food that can be harvested from Farms before rebuilding
Like Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, upgrading your units along their technology line in the Technology Tree will be available within their creation building.
- A good example is upgrading the Short Swordsman to the Broadswordsman at the Barracks; where the Short Swordsman is trained
However, additional upgrades to a unit’s base statistics are done at the Storage Pit or the Market, instead of a Blacksmith. At the Storage Pit you’ll be able to increase your units Melee Attack, Melee Armor and Missile (Ranged Attack) Armor.
Then at the Market you can increase the damage done by your Missile Units (Ranged Attack) by researching the Wood gathering technologies at the Market, and improve your Slingers by researching the Stone gathering technologies.
Walls and Towers
To construct Walls, Gates and Towers the Technology must first be researched at the Granary.
Once you’ve completed researching the Small Walls Technology, available from the Tool Age. You will be able to construct Walls and Gates.
Similarly, to construct a Watch Tower, first you will need to research the Watch Tower Technology, available from the Tool Age at the Granary.
- As you advance through the Ages, you’ll unlock Technologies to further improve your Walls, Gates and Watch Towers at the Granary – depending on your civilization’s Technology Tree
Coming from Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, you’re no doubt familiar with each civilization having a number of Bonuses, Unique Units and Unique Technologies.
In Return of Rome, this has been simplified a little. Each civilization still has unique Bonuses, but they do not have any Unique Units or Technologies.
Return of Rome retains Age of Empires‘ design principles of differentiating civilizations through powerful, impactful bonuses and strategy-shaping differences in the technology tree to preserve the authentic feel of the game that started it all.
We hope you enjoy discovering everything that Return of Rome has to offer and this quick guide speeds up your learning!
How to Pre-Order Return of Rome
Available on Steam and Microsoft Store on May 16.