How To Get Better at Age of Empires 2

Age of Empires 2: The Age of Kings is a strategy game that was released back in 1999 and was an official sequel to the original Age of Empires game.

Set during the Middle Ages, the Age of Empires 2 tasks the player with building their own cities, gathering resources and commanding vast armies as well as managing the economy of the kingdom.

Ever since its release, the game has amassed a huge following, so much so that in 2013, the Age of Empires 2 HD Edition was released, which in essence was the same game as the original with a major graphical overhaul. 

Age of Empires Screenshot
Age of Empires Screenshot

Since Age of Empires 2 has so much going on and players generally are required to keep a lot of different things in mind, the game is considered to be easy to play, but difficult to master. And many players wonder how to finally get better at Age of Empires. Here is our list:

  • Use the Hotkeys
  • Use your sheep to scout
  • Prioritize your resources
  • Set up mass farm-production
  • Use natural terrain to defend yourself
  • Build lumber camps
  • Fight from higher grounds
  • Use queuing
  • Watch out for clues what the enemy is doing
  • Mask your presence (more below)

So, as you can see, there are plenty of tips and tricks which you can use to your advantage, so let’s take a detailed look at some of them below: 

Do use the Hot-keys

Starting things off with a pretty basic and simple tip. While this might seem like a pretty basic thing, you would be surprised just how many players do not use hot-keys when they play Age Of Empires 2 or strategy games in general.

This will save you a lot of time and allow you to react much quicker to any and all situations you might find yourself in, making things a lot easier for you in the long run.

Don’t count your sheep: Use Sheep to Scout

Getting familiar with the layout of the map and being aware of your surroundings is extremely important when it comes to Age of Empires 2 so scouting and revealing as much of the map as possible should be one of your priorities.

In most cases, you would use a scout to do this as they are a mounted unit that can cover a lot of ground very swiftly. However, using scouts is not always the best option, when exploring smaller patches of the map or when venturing into an area where you can be certain there are no enemies.

What you can do in those cases is use your sheep to scout the map before you turn them into food. Just be careful not to take them too far away as they can be captured by enemy units.

Age of Empires 2 Tips – Sheep Scouting

Prioritize Your Resources

Age of Empires 2 has four different resources that you can gather with your villagers, and while all of them are very valuable and important, your need for each of them will not exactly be equally distributed among them.

This is why you should always prioritize and put the most villagers towards gathering the resource which you need the most. For example, when starting a game in the Dark Age, the resource that you will need the most is food as it is required for the production of almost every unit including villagers.

Advancing to the next age also requires a good chunk of it, so it is a good idea to have the majority of villagers focused on gathering food, rather than spread them equally across all resources. This however doesn’t mean that you should completely neglect to gather everything else. Just try and prioritize towards your own requirements.

How to set up Mass Farm Production

Food is one of the most important resources in the Age of Empires 2. It is used for almost everything, from producing units to upgrading them, to advancing to a new age so being able to produce enough of it as quickly as possible should always be your aim.

Luckily, there is a trick that you can use to create a lot of farms extremely quickly. To do this, select as many villagers as you want to assign to food farming and have all of them work on building a single mill. After the mill is completed, most of them will create their own farms and start harvesting food from them automatically. 

Age of Empires 2 Tips – Mass Farm Production

Use Natural Defenses

Making your kingdom resistant to enemy attacks and being able to successfully repel any force that your enemy can throw at you is always a good idea, but building walls, towers and further bolstering the defensive capabilities of your kingdom can be a costly endeavor in both time and resources.

This is why it is always a good idea to build defenses around key locations such as river crossings and use natural defenses such as large forests to your advantage. Doing this will give you more time to gather the resources necessary to make your inner defenses stronger as well as save you a lot of resources.

Keep in mind that both your and your enemy’s villagers can cut through the trees if they so desire. However, this will take a while, and you are likely to see it coming and deal with it way before it manages to pose any kind of threat to your kingdom.

Build More Lumber Camps

Lumber is another very important resource in the Age of Empires 2 and can be easily gathered by villagers chopping down trees.

However, the problem with trees is that they only provide a limited supply of wood that you can chop, which means that once you deplete all the trees that you have nearby, you will have to move further away from your base to chop more.

Since villagers will take the wood they chop back to the closest lumber camp, a good tip for players is to build additional lumber camps next to where their villagers are chopping away. It might cost you a few resources to do so, but it will save your villagers the trouble of walking back and forth between the forest and your main base, saving you a lot of time and increasing your wood production in the process.

The same principle applies to your mining camps.

Age of Empires 2 Tips – Lumber Camps

Higher Ground: Use the Terrain to Your Advantage

Using the terrain to your advantage when your forces are clashing with those of an enemy can often be the decicive factor between you walking out victorious or your entire army getting massacred with the enemy army marching towards your city walls.

This is why you should always try and position your army on an elevated ground such as a hill when you are about to confront your enemy’s army. Doing so will provide your units with bonus damage giving you the upper hand in battle.

Sue, use the Queue

As mentioned above, there are a lot of things in the game that require your attention such as researching, unit production, scouting, etc. Some of these things can easily overwhelm you and cause you to completely forget about researching a specific technology or produce units that you desire.

However, using the queue provides a good solution. Simply put a couple of important things in a queue and as soon as one is finished, another will begin, allowing you to focus your attention elsewhere.

Age of Empires 2 Tips – Unit Queue

Keep an Eye for Details

It is always good to know what your enemy is doing, however, it can be very difficult to keep an eye on your opponent due to them building defenses and of course the fog of war covering the entire map.

Nevertheless, you can still get some idea of what your opponent is up to by keeping your eyes open and spotting various clues that you may come across.

Things like cut trees or dead animals such as boars or wolves could mean that your opponent is on the move, perhaps in search of resources or even attempting to tower rush you.

Having such information can be crucial in knowing what’s coming and adequately preparing your defenses, so keep your eyes open. 

Mask Your Presence

As mentioned above, corpses and tree stumps left behind can often give away your presence and provide the enemy with some idea of what you are planning to do next, which is why it is of utmost importance that you learn how to cover your tracks and not give yourself away.

Things like corpses of animals and cut-down trees can be removed by placing a building on top of them. This can be any building that you desire, and you don’t even have to completely build it to cover your tracks. Simply placing a building and then canceling its construction will do the trick and make it seem like you were never there in the first place. 

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