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Return of Rome: Everything You Need to Know

What to expect with the newest Return of Rome DLC for Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition.

What is Return of Rome?

Return of Rome is a completely new type of expansion, which brings classic Age of Empires gameplay, style and key experiences as a brand new self-contained experience. 

When launching Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, to access Return of Rome, you will need to select the Return of Rome icon on the Main Menu to transition your game. 

You will be taken into Return of Rome, where you’ll be able to access favorite and new content, including the Age of Empires classic civilizations, brand new campaigns, and a new competitive D3 game mode.

Purchasing Return of Rome will also grant you access to the bonus Romans civilization while playing in Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition mode.

Who is the Lac Viet Civilization?

The Lac Viet are an additional civilization playable alongside the 16 classic civilizations in Return of Rome.

Civilization Bonuses

  • Foragers work 20% faster
  • Military units created 25% faster
  • Archery Range units +2 armor

Team Bonus

  • Houses and Farms built 50% faster

Technology Tree

The Romans in Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition

The Romans were intended as a bonus for you to enjoy in Singleplayer and Unranked Lobbies as an extra, on top of the content within Return of Rome.

However, we’ve been listening to your feedback and desire to see Romans as a ranked civilization. Based on that feedback, we have decided to add Romans to the ranked queue in a future update. We love seeing the passion of Age of Empires fans, and feedback like this helps us continue to create as many happy players as we can.

This will help us ensure the Romans are balanced, and ready for competitive play on introduction to ranked gameplay.

The Romans in History

With the newest release of Return of Rome for Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, players will have an opportunity to battle it out as the Romans against other beloved civilizations in AoE II: DE. These Romans are joining a full roster, but are very different from the Ancient Romans featured in the original Age of Empires: Definitive Edition.

In game, the Romans date back to about 395 C.E., making them contemporaries with the Goths, Celts, Britons, Franks, Persians, etc. By this period in Late Antiquity and Early Middle Ages – Rome was a crumbling shadow of its former glory. Plagued by an inability to pay its soldiers, lack of manpower, and its older fortifications in disrepair, they could not face the invasions of their former provinces or fend off attacks closer to home.

By the time of Attila, Rome simply couldn’t field any large armies of note, and relied on Germanic tribes to guard their frontiers, but those tribes often went rogue and became enemies instead. The old Roman-controlled area was inundated with an influx of different peoples who settled the land, bringing their own culture and customs, annihilating the old Roman ways.

By the end, Rome could not overcome a collapsing economy, loss of manpower, an inability to pay troops, plus bad leadership. When the “official” end in 476 came with the ousting of the last Roman emperor by a Germanic king, the Roman Empire had already silently melted away.

Will Return of Rome Civilizations be Playable with Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition Civilizations?

The Return of Rome civilizations and Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition civilizations are isolated to their respective Return of Rome or Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition. As such, they will not be able to interact with each other. 

Campaigns Included with Return of Rome

Return of Rome will include three new campaigns, Pyrrhus of Epirus, Sargon of Akkad and Trajan. Each featuring full voice acting, improved AI, and the historically driven narrative and gameplay that makes Age of Empires special. 

Pyrrhus of Epirus

As the Wars of the Diadochi saw Alexander the Great’s successors throw the Greek world into chaos, Pyrrhus of Epirus began as a small player among titans. Will he become worthy of the legendary Hannibal Barca’s judgment of him – the greatest general of the age, second only to Alexander – or will his constant uphill struggle prove insurmountable? In this campaign, you will play as the Macedonians.

Sargon of Akkad

An unlikely man rises to power in the city-states of Mesopotamia: Sargon is a simple cupbearer to the king, but everything changes when the war goddess Ishtar appears in his dreams. Under her guidance, Sargon leads the quarrelling Sumerians into a new age, but the seductive nature of power forces him to choose between his divine destiny and his personal ambition. In this campaign, you will play as the Sumerians.


Marcus Ulpius Trajanus climbed the ranks of the legions while the Emperor Domitian’s tyrannical rule tarnished the Roman Empire’s glory. When circumstance elevates him to the throne as Emperor Trajan, he inherits a realm on the brink of disaster. Will resourcefulness, virtue, and military might be enough to save Rome and lead it to its historical zenith, or will the Roman Empire collapse four centuries before its time? In this campaign, you will play as the Romans.

What if I Already Own Age of Empires: Definitive Edition?

Our intention with Return of Rome is to ensure that if you already own Age of Empires: Definitive Edition, you will still find plenty of new content to enjoy.

This includes three new exclusive campaigns. A new and exclusive civilization; the Lac Viet. Plus the bonus Romans civilization for Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition for you to enjoy. All of this alongside numerous quality of life upgrades and features.

Return of Rome Highlight: 
  • 3 new campaigns: Pyrrhus of Epirus, Sargon of Akkad and Trajan 
  • The introduction of the Lac Viet civilization for Return of Rome
  • The introduction of the Romans civilization for Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition
  • The introduction of the D3 competitive game mode, popularized by the Vietnamese competitive scene

Quality of Life Upgrades and Features: 
  • Gates 
  • Formations 
  • Spectator mode 
  • A much-improved AI for computer opponents 
  • New maps 

Return of Rome Storage Requirements

During the pre-order announcement, there was an error on the Steam page. This has since been corrected to 3GB of required available space.

How to Pre-Order

Return of Rome is available to pre-order now, including an additional 15% off!  

This innovative DLC is available as an add on purchase, or as a bundle with Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition. Rome needs a leader! 

Pre-order the Return of Rome today and be ready to conquer your opponents and forge a new Roman Empire on May 16, 2023! 

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