Age of Empires 4 Articles RSS Feed | Age of Empires 4 RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Age of Empires 4 Review: The Page of Kings Fri, 19 Nov 2021 18:14:24 -0500 Jonathan Moore

Age of Empires 4 stands at a crossroads. In many ways, it worships at the feet of its past, clinging to series history like a lord their land. But in others, it gazes into the horizon at a greater destiny ready for the taking, should it grow unafraid to seize it.

Calling Age of Empires 4 an Age of Empires 2 reboot would be easy enough. Similarly exploring the medieval period, and even some of the same battles, AoE 4 employs familiar mechanics found in that beloved 1999 entry and its expansions. After several remasters, new DLC releases, various developer updates, and wonderful support from the community, AoE 2 remains the standard-bearer of the franchise, with AoE 4 acting as its page.

That isn’t to say Age of Empires 4 fails; it certainly does not. More so, it's to acknowledge Age 4 doesn’t fully seize its destiny — at least not so close to launch.

Age of Empires 4 Review: The Page of Kings

Age of Empires 4 has a solid foundation to build upon in the years to come. The campaign mode is the best and most engaging it’s ever been. Four of the eight available civilizations are represented in the mode: the English, French, Mongols, and Rus. Each campaign has a series of missions (35 in total) that focus on key historical conflicts, such as the Battle of Hastings or the Battle of Kalka River.

Each campaign becomes increasingly complex the further you fight through the ages, and each can take a few hours to complete depending on your skill and chosen difficulty.

As a long-time Age player, I can’t help but wish there were campaigns for each of the eight civilizations at launch. The Holy Roman Empire, Chinese, Delhi Sultanate, and Abbassid Dynasty are left out. But the breadth of the mode blunts that blow, even if we’ve seen some of these engagements before.

The best parts are the brief but in-depth "Hands on History" educational videos. Shot documentary-style and on location, these expertly filmed, produced, and narrated shorts are immersive and engaging in ways the old-style history pages could never be.

Relic Entertainment takes things a step further by superimposing animations of soldiers and siege engines on real-world locations, imbuing these annals with History-Channel-infused grandiosity that will fill fans with glee.

Alongside these videos are others that give insight into various middle-age building and crafting techniques, as well as lifestyle activities. One explores the painstaking process of crafting chainmail, and another examines the role of hawking and falconry in Norman culture. For history buffs — and who plays Age of Empires that isn’t? — there’s no retreating to parchment in future installments.

Outside of the campaign mode, it’s no surprise that skirmish and multiplayer modes make their returns. You select your civilization, teams, victory conditions, and map from 17 varied choices that randomly generate topography and resources. Nicely, there’s a map seed generator that allows you to capture and replay specific map layouts in future games.

As for other, more granular options, you won’t find the likes of turbo mode, sudden death, or regicide here. There’s no option to open the full tech tree from the start, post-imperial age isn’t available yet, you can’t bump the population above 200, and infinite resources has been swapped out for high resources.

I’m not particularly fussed about all of that  even if it seems regressive — and I imagine most players won’t be either. It does, however, highlight a grander overall point: there’s currently less in Age of Empires 4 than in other currently-available games in the franchise.

Perhaps most baffling is the absence of a map or scenario editor at launch. Editing maps and creating custom scenarios is baked into the DNA of Age of Empires, so it's rightfully a point of contention.

Countless players have spent thousands of hours customizing skirmishes and campaigns over the decades, making incredible experiences shared by the wider Age community and acting as engines by which the franchise has stayed alive and improved. There may have never been an Age 2: DE without such modes.

To be fair, it seems like those tools are coming in 2022.

Some additions, though, seek to adjust or refine the familiar formula to varying degrees of success.

Masteries are one of those, and they're all about bragging rights. These in-game challenges and achievements ask you to complete various tasks for each civilization, such as beating the hardest A.I. in Skirmish mode or producing a certain number of units from Keeps. There are 15 Masteries for each nation, gifting you rewards in experience, player portraits, banner designs, and more for your player card.

The rub is that Masteries can’t be completed in any order; instead, they must be completed sequentially, and their hierarchy is haphazard at best.

For example, killing 10 enemy units with Galeasses affected by the Armored Hull technology for the French isn’t so tricky, but it’s only available after Test of Strength III, which requires beating the A.I. on hard in Skirmish mode. Some players won’t find this problematic, but others will simply be locked out of rewards because accomplishing the latter isn’t attractive or just plain unattainable.

There’s also a level system at play, greeting you front and center on the main screen after completing the mandatory tutorial. Experience for this system comes from completing Masteries and daily quests (more in-game challenges not tied to Masteries). But that experience level doesn’t matter beyond showing other players in multiplayer lobbies that you’ve attained a certain level.

Experience isn’t used for purchasing items or unlocking new Masteries, maps, or units. It just exists. For those after a purely single-player experience, it serves no function whatsoever, and I can’t help but think time and effort could have been spent elsewhere.

Adding in a map or scenario editor, perhaps?

Mechanically, Age of Empires 4 plays like a mixture of Age of Empires 2 and Age of Empires 3. Advancing from the Dark Age to the Imperial Age, you build villagers, military units, and structures at a blistering pace to gather resources and take control of land faster than your opponent. 

From combat to trade, many systems are familiar instantly, and this is where Age of Empires 4 doesn’t really need to iterate very much. The franchise has honed its gameplay to a fine point. 

Grouping returns, which allows you to select units for the creation of regiments of any unit type. The system is perfect for sieges, flanking, or bump and run aggression. Stealth forests take a cue from the stealth mechanics found in AoE 3: The Warchiefs and allow you to place units in certain areas out of enemy sightlines.

Wall battles make sieges both flashier and more engaging, whereby swordsmen and spearmen can now attack archers and other units by way of siege towers or infiltrating gates and guard towers. 

Neatly, rank and file soldiers can now build battering rams and siege towers in the field, using them as Trojan Horses to approach embattlements. No longer must you send engines ahead without protection lest troops be cut down by arrows. Soldiers can hide inside, exit to battle nearby enemy units, and retreat to cover while remaining on the front lines.

Landmarks tweak the familiar aging-up mechanic, and like Age 3, bypass the need for building a certain number of structures to move on to the next epoch. These Landmarks are like little wonders; they can be built as soon as you have the resources to do so, and each has unique buffs and rewards, such as having the ability to heal nearby units or reduce the cost of all technologies throughout the ages.

It’s a tangible improvement I appreciate over the more removed nature of politicians in AoE 3 or the drudgery of building structures for the sake of it in Age 2.

Perhaps one of the more exciting parts of Age of Empires 4 is the inclusion of asymmetric nations in the Mongols, Chinese, Rus, and Delhi Sultanate.

Mirroring their true pastoral nomadic lifestyle, the Mongols can pack up and move all of their buildings at will. They also have access to the Ovoo, a building that automatically collects stone, freeing up villagers for other tasks. They don’t have access to farms or farming technology, so they rely on pastures and sheep. 

When aging up, the Chinese employ dynasties with buffs and unlocks, calling to mind Home City Shipments in Age of Empires 3. They also have Imperial Officials, which collect gold from buildings, subsidizing the need for gold mines. The biggest hurdle with the Chinese is that they must build both Landmarks to move on to the next dynasty and open up more buildings, units, and techs. 

The Rus have unique relationships with resources. They can generate gold from hunting cabins placed near dense forests. More trees equate to more money over time, though building too many in close proximity decreases that yield. This dynamic creates new stratagems around Lumber Camps to push players further from their bases than they usually would venture. 

The Delhi Sultanate doesn't need resources to research technologies, but progress is painstaking. To boost this and military production, they employ Scholars, garrisoning them in various buildings for speed boosts. 

And the Abbasid Dynasty takes an entirely different approach when advancing to the next age by building a singular Landmark, the House of Wisdom, and attaching different wings to advance and research new technologies.

All told, there are many unique elements with these civilizations that open up numerous tactic/counter-tactic playstyles. And despite the learning curves each of these factions presents, it’s in using them that the true potential of Age of Empires 4 shines brightest.

Age of Empires 4 Review — The Bottom Line


  • Stunning "Hands on History" documentary-style campaign videos
  • Improvements to siege mechanics
  • Improvements to building and combat animations
  • Addition of stealth forests
  • Asymmetric civilizations
  • Familiar gameplay


  • Familiar gameplay
  • No map or scenario editor at launch
  • Over-emphasis on cosmetics
  • Pointless experience system
  • Unbalanced Mastery challenges
  • Water-color art style is muddy in places
  • Long load times in Skirmish mode

Age of Empires 4 does a lot of things right, but it curiously gets knocked off its horse when it could be champion of the tourney.

New asymmetric civilizations with unique units and compelling mechanics create new strategies in a land well-trodden. Add in the adjustments to siege warfare, modified systems for aging up, and the inclusion of stealth forests, and there’s the start of something here, perhaps something that could grow to be as impressive as Age of Empires 2.

But there’s also a general feeling that Age of Empires 4 doesn’t quite know what it wants to be yet or who it wants to cater to. Putting so much focus at launch on multiplayer is perfectly fine, but it also leaves some long-time single-player fans cold, especially with the exclusion of a map or scenario editor.

Notwithstanding the tremendously engaging educational elements of the campaign, having only four civilizations playable in that mode at launch seems like missed potential, even if, historically, we’ve never gotten scenarios for all of the civs from the start.

I’ve enjoyed my time with Age of Empires 4 quite a bit, and I’d recommend it to any Age fan. But I wouldn’t do so without a few important caveats. Age of Empires 4 may finally be available after 16 years, but it hasn't arrived just yet. There are still resources to gather and troops to assemble.

[Note: Microsoft provided the copy of Age of Empires 4 used for this review.]

Age of Empires 4 Complete Masteries & Rewards Guide Wed, 10 Nov 2021 20:41:35 -0500 Jonathan Moore

Age of Empires 4 Masteries are essentially in-game achievements for completing certain challenges for each of the eight civilizations. The rewards you receive for completing Masteries include 1,000 XP, portraits, sigils, monuments, other profile cosmetics, and short historical facts. There are no new units, civilizations, or extra campaigns to unlock.

You can see all of the Masteries in Age of Empires 4 by clicking the crown and laurel icon to the right of the notifications icon at the bottom of the main screen. It's to the right of the chat message box. When the Masteries menu appears, you'll see tabs for each civilization and AoE 4's training modules.

Each nation has 15 Masteries each, and there are five separate ones for completing Art of War challenges or Norman campaign missions. When you click on a tab, you'll see all of the challenges related to it, including the requirements and rewards for each challenge when you click on them. 

It's important to note that you can only complete challenges in the order they are presented. For example, you can only complete the Assize of Arms challenge for the English after you have finished the Nice Try, Spy challenge.

Further, you can only complete one challenge per match. You can, however, complete these in multiplayer or Skirmish mode, and for some challenges, it does not matter if you play against any opponent, so you can play a custom Skirmish match alone if you prefer. You will see the Masteries you've completed at the end of each match.

Below is a list of all Masteries for every civilization and the training/campaign tab, as well as the rewards you'll receive for completing them, as laid out by Age of Empires 4. Click the links below to jump to each civilization.

Training Masteries

All of these Masteries require you either complete an Art of War challenge or a Norman Campaign mission. 

  1. Learn By Action
    • Sun sigil
  2. Tools of Learning
    • Pole Weapons sigil
  3. New Ways of Thinking
    • Hammer & Pick sigil
  4. Training and Transformation
    • Mangonel sigil
  5. Time of War
    • Money Bag sigil and Training Dummy monument

English Masteries

  1. Nice Try, Spy — Kill an enemy Scout in the Dark Age.
    • English Farmer portrait
    • Scorched Earth historical fact
  2. Assize of Arms — Produce 30 Longbowmen from the Council Hall in the Feudal Age.
    • Royal Lion sigil
    • Build and Control fact
  3. Test of Strength I — Win a 1v1 Custom or Skirmish match against the Easy A.I. 
    • Historical fact
    • Stone Tool portrait
  4. Rally the People — Build the King's Palace and produce 10 Villagers from it in the Castle Age.
    • Deer portrait
    • The Cost of Stone fact
  5. Swift Harvest — Reach the Castle Age with 16 farms influenced by Mills. 
    • Double Stripe Banner
    • The Assize of Arms fact
  6. Gather Round — Heal 10 Longbowmen with the Setup Camp ability.
    • Boom and Bust fact
    • Fish portrait
  7. Test of Strength II — Win against the Intermediate A.I.
    • Lumberjack monument
    • A Traitor's Fate fact
  8. Keep Them Busy — Produce 20 units from Keeps.
    • The Marketplace fact
    • Fire Arrow portrait
  9. Raise the Alarm — Defeat 50 enemy units while affected by the Network of Castles.
    • Stag's Head sigil
    • A Death of Indulgence fact
  10. Hail of Arrows — Defeat 20 enemies with Lognbowmen affected by the Arrow Volley upgrade.
    • Eleanor of Aquitaine portrait
    • Projectile Horrors fact
  11. Test of Strength III — Win against the Hard A.I. 
    • Magna Carta fact
    • Bowman monument
  12. Reap What You Sow — Accrue 5,000 gold from Enclosures.
    • Nicola De La Haie portrait
    • The Longbows of Agincourt fact
  13. For the Wyn — Produce 5 Wynguard armies from the Wynguard Palace.
    • The 70-Year-Old Knight fact
    • Jester portrait
  14. From the Skies — Destroy 20 enemy units with Trebuchets affected by the Shattering Projectiles technology.
    • William the Conqueror portrait
    • Coin Clipping fact
  15. Test of Strength IV — Win against the Hardest A.I.
    • Eleanor of Castile monument
    • Trial by Ordeal fact

French Masteries

  1. Waste Not — Construct 4 resource drop-off buildings in the Dark Age. 
    • French Coin portrait
    • Cost of the Chevauchees fact
  2. Wheels of Burden — Research horticulture, double broadax, and specialized pick before reaching the Castle Age.
    • Sheaf of Wheat sigil
    • The Jacquerie Revolt fact
  3. Test of Strength I — Win a 1v1 Custom or Skirmish match against the Easy A.I.
    • The Black Death fact
    • Wolf portrait
  4. Horsing Around — Construct the School of Cavalry Landmark and then produce 20 cavalry units. 
    • French Rider portrait
    • Protection Money fact
  5. Clever Commerce — Accrue 2,000 food, wood, or stone from Traders in the Feudal Age.
    • Fleur-De-Lis banner
    • Black Monday fact
  6. In Shining Armor — Produce 40 Royal Knights from a Stable under the influence of a nearby Keep. 
    • French Crossbow portrait
    • A War of Treaties fact
  7. Test of Strength II — Defeat the Intermediate A.I.
    • A Dash for Glory fact
    • Shepherd monument
  8. Swift Bolts — Research crossbow stirrups and defeat 20 enemy units with Arbaletriers.
    • French Armored Cavalry portrait
    • A Battle of Bows fact
  9. Paint it Red — Construct the Red Palace Landmark and use it to kill 30 enemies. 
    • Fleur-De-Lis sigil
    • The Champaign Fairs fact
  10. Master Craftsmen — Accrue 2,000 food, wood, gold, or stone from the Guild Hall Landmark in the Castle Age. 
    • French Lancer portrait
    • Staying in the Saddle fact
  11. Test of Strength III — Defeat the Hard A.I.
    • French Blacksmith portrait
    • King of Glass fact
  12. Fellowship — Win the match with a surviving army of 25 cavalry.
    • Blanche De Castile portrait
    • The Pavise fact
  13. Military Wharf — Kill 10 enemy units with Galleasses affected by the armored hull technology. 
    • French Courtier portrait
    • The Position of Honor fact
  14. With a Flourish — Achieve a wonder victory while 20 Traders are active.
    • Jeanne D' Arc portrait
    • The Bureau Brothers fact
  15. Test of Strength IV — Defeat the Hardest A.I.
    • Pointed Dag banner
    • The Retrial of Jeanne D' Arc fact

Holy Roman Empire Masteries

  1. Bestirred — Gather 500 resources with Villagers affected by Holy Inspiration in the Dark Age. 
    • Scythe portrait
    • Renovatio Imperii Romanorum fact
  2. Safety in Numbers — Construct 20 buildings within the range of influence of a Town Center. 
    • Straight Swords sigil
    • A Multitude of States fact
  3. Test of Strength I — Win a 1v1 Custom of Skirmish match against the Easy A.I.
    • The Empress Matilda fact
    • Holy Roman Empire Shield portrait
  4. Resupply — Defeat 15 enemy units with Men-at-Arms affected by the two-handed weapons technology.
    • Holy Roman Empire Citizen portrait
    • A Fearsome Hedgehog fact
  5. Fleet of Foot — Research Marching Drills and produce a force of 30 infantry in the Castle Age.
    • Single Stripe banner
    • The Edict of Salerno fact
  6. Ray of Hope — Research Herbal Medicine and produce 5 Prelates from the Monastery in the Castle Age.
    • Mace portrait
    • The Shifting Empire fact
  7. Test of Strength II — Defeat the Intermediate A.I.
    • Emperor of Falconry fact
    • Landsknecht monument
  8. Safeguard — Construct the Regnitz Cathedral, place a relic in it, and accrue 3,000 gold from the relic.
    • Holy Roman Empire Champion portrait
    • A Fair Wage fact
  9. By a Landslide — Defeat 50 enemies with Landsknechte.
    • Sailing Ship sigil
    • Cologne Cathedral fact
  10. Holy Tithes — Accrue 1,000 gold from relics placed within Monasteries, Keeps, Docks, Stone Wall Towers, or Outposts.
    • Beguine Sister portrait
    • Relics of the Holy Roman Empire fact
  11. Test of Strength III — Defeat the Hard A.I.
    • Holy Roman Empire Prelate portrait
    • A Court of Science and Art fact
  12. Thou Shalt Not Pass — Construct the Elzbach Palace and then construct 3 keeps within influence. 
    • Relic portrait
    • The Walk to Canossa fact
  13. Preach to the Choir — Convert 10 enemies with a Prelate. 
    • Landsknecht portrait
    • The Crusades fact
  14. Wonderous — Research reinforced defense and then achieve a wonder victory.
    • Charles V portrait
    • A Fighting Style fact
  15. Test of Strength IV — Defeat the Hardest A.I.
    • End of the Empire fact
    • Diamond banner

Chinese Masteries

  1. Building Blocks — Accrues 1,500 resources and have a population of 15 before the Feudal Age.
    • Chinese Scout portrait
    • A Unique Architecture fact
  2. State Revenues — Collect 250 gold in tax with an Imperial Officer before the Castle Age. 
    • Sickle sigil
    • Paper Money fact
  3. Test of Strength I — Win a 1v1 Custom or Skirmish match against the Easy A.I.
    • Mu Guiying fact
    • Zhuge Nu Repeater Crossbow portrait
  4. A Storm of Bolts — Produce 20 Zhuge Nu and use them to defeat 30 enemies.
    • Chinese Siege portrait
    • Repeating Crossbow fact
  5. Expansion Villages — Construct 2 Villages and achieve a population of 100 before the Castle Age. 
    • Chevron banner
    • Town Planning fact
  6. Imperial Supervision — Supervise the production of 340 military units with an Official. 
    • Chinese Worker portrait
    • Scholar-Officials fact
  7. Test of Strength II —Defeat the Intermediate A.I.
    • The Thirty-Six Stratagems fact
    • Provider monument
  8. Shared Wealth — Generate 500 gold in tax at buildings affected by the Imperial Academy's increased tax revenue.
    • Chinese Grenadier portrait
    • A Prized Crop fact
  9. Path of the Spirit — Construct 6 buildings affected by the Spirit Way Landmark's reduced dynasty unit costs.
    • Recurve Bow sigil
    • A Legendary Blade fact
  10. Iron Cannons — Defeat 40 enemies with siege engines from the Astronomical Clocktower before you lose 20 of your Clocktower siege engines.
    • Chinese Firelancer portrait
    • Astronomical Clock fact
  11. Test of Strength III — Defeat the Hard A.I.
    • Chinese Gunpowder portrait
    • Live Fire fact
  12. A Thunderous Onslaught — Defeat 50 enemies with infantry or cavalry equipped with gunpowder weapons.
    • Empress Liu portrait
    • The First Firearm fact
  13. Seven Stories — Generate 1,500 of each resource from your Pagodas.
    • Nest of Bees portrait
    • Pagoda Lore fact
  14. The Red Scarf — Achieve a Landmarks victory while in the Ming Dynasty.
    • Emperor Hongwu portrait
    • Defense by Flame fact
  15. Test of Strength IV — Defeat the Hardest A.I.
    • The Child Emperor fact
    • Hand Cannon sigil

Delhi Sultanate Masteries

  1. Bounty of Berries — Increase the yield of 6 or more berry bushes before reaching the Feudal Age.
    • Delhi Sultanate Coin portrait
    • Slave King fact
  2. Military Construction — Construct 10 palisade walls during the Dark Age without using Villagers.
    • Squared Dag banner
    • Natural Defenses fact
  3. Test of Strength I — Win a 1v1 Custom or Skirmish match against the Easy A.I.
    • Razia Sultana fact
    • Delhi Sultanate Villager portrait
  4. An Economical Education — Spend no more than 500 gold to produce 5 Scholars.
    • Delhi Sultanate Sword portrait
    • Knowledge is Power fact
  5. A Valiant Victory — Defeat 40 enemies with melee units affected by the Tower of Victory attack increase.
    • Fight Fire With Fire fact
    • Crescent Moon sigil
  6. The Science of Religion — Research 20 technologies in buildings influenced y Mosques or Madrasas. 
    • Delhi Sultanate Man-at-Arms portrait
    • Domes of Power fact
  7. Test of Strength II — Defeat the Intermediate A.I.
    • A Thunderous Force fact
    • Anvil monument
  8. Military Management — Produce 20 military units from buildings you have garrisoned Scholars in.
    • Delhi Sultanate Healer portrait
    • The Refugee Scholars fact
  9. Stone Construction —  Use your military units to construct 1,000 stone's worth of structures.
    • Curved Swords sigil
    • Thwarting the Escalade Attack fact
  10. Protecting the Sword — Use Mosques to heal 1,000 total health on your units.
    • Delhi Sultanate Cavalier
    • The Sharpest Blades fact
  11. Test of Strength III — Defeat the Hard A.I.
    • Delhi Sultanate Scholar portrait
    • Fallen Giants fact
  12. Military Economies — Produce 20 units from your Keeps.
    • War Elephant portrait
    • The Prolific Poet fact
  13. Towering Threats — Construct the Palace of the Sultan, produce 10 elephants, and destroy 10 enemy buildings.
    • Razia Sultana portrait
    • A Revered Beast fact
  14. Spreading the Word — Research scholar movement speed and then achieve a scared victory.
    • Mubarak portrait
    • A Fertile Jewel fact
  15. Test of Strength IV — Defeat the Hardest A.I.
    • Left Quadrant banner
    • The Guns of Babur fact

Mongol Masteries

  1. Kettle and Smoke — Use the Improved Production ability to produce 6 Villagers before the Feudal Age.
    • Sheel portrait
    • Leaving Home fact
  2. Superior Mobility — Defeat 5 enemies with cavalry before the Feudal Age.
    • Gazing Sheep sigil
    • The White Camel fact
  3. Test of Strength I — Win a 1v1 Custom or Skirmish match against the Easy A.I.
    • Spill No Blood fact
    • Mongol Empress portrait
  4. Vacant Steppes — Produce 30 sheep from Pastures that are influenced by an Ovoo. 
    • Mongol Traveler portrait
    • The Joroo Gait fact
  5. Fire and Stone — Accrue 500 stone by igniting enemy buildings.
    • Diamond sigil frame
    • Arrow Storm fact
  6. Burnt Offerings — Produce 40 cavalry units using improved production buildings influenced by an Ovoo.
    • Mongol Cap portrait
    • God Mountain fact
  7. Test of Strength II — Defeat the INtermediate A.I.
    • Feigned Retreat fact
    • Deer Stone monument
  8. The SIlk Road — Construct the SIlver Tree Landmark and 5 Outposts. Gain the Yam speed aura 40 times with your Traders.
    • Mongol Footman portrait
    • Pax Mongolica fact
  9. A Great Assembly — Construct the Kurultai and heal 500 health on your units via the Kurultai.
    • Rearing Horse sigil
    • Sheep Dung fact
  10. Wolves and Rain — Research the Yam Network, then defeat 30 enemies with your military units affected by the Yam speed aura.
    • Signal Arrow portrait
    • Ismail's Trebuchet fact
  11. Test of Strength III — Defeat the Hard A.I.
    • Mongol Horse Archer portrait
    • The Wrestling Vest fact
  12. Whistling Arrows — Defeat 50 enemies with units affected by the Khan's signal arrows. Do not lose you Khan during the match.
    • Khutulun portrait
    • Firing from the Saddle fact
  13. Heavy Load — Accrus 2,000 stone using your Traders
    • White Stupa portrait
    • Hunting with Whistling Arrows fact
  14. Horn and Sinew — Research the improved siha bow limbs technology, then defeat 40 enemies with Mangudai, and achieve a Landmarks victory.
    • Genghis Khan portrait
    • Magic for War fact
  15. Test of Strength IV —Defeat the Hardest A.I.
    • Falcon sigil
    • Tender Flesh fact

Rus Masteries

  1. Hunting Grounds — Accumulate 50 bounty by hunting sheep, deer, or board in the Dark Age.
    • Rus Forester portrait
    • The Forest Provides fact
  2. Foresters — Construct 4 Lumber Camps within the range of influence of a Wooden Fortress.
    • The Wolf Hunt fact
    • Rounded banner
  3. Test of Strength I — Win a Custom or Skirmish match against the Easy A.I.
    • Battle on the Ice fact
    • Boar portrait
  4. On the Wild Side — Accrue 250 gold from Hunting Cabins in the Dark Age.
    • Elena Glinskaya portrait
    • The Fur Trade fact
  5. Birch Barricades — Construct 25 fortified palisade walls with Villagers in the Dark Age.
    • The Moscow Kremlin fact
    • Boar's Head sigil
  6. Frontier Trading —Use the golden Gate Landmark to make 5 trades in the Feudal Age.
    • Rus Scout portrait
    • A Crowded Winter fact
  7. Test of Strength II — Defeat the Intermediate A.I.
    • Rivals for the Throne fact
    • Forester monument
  8. Day and Knight — Defeat 15 enemies with Early Knights in the Feudal Age.
    • Olga of Kiev portrait
    • The Monk and the Mongol fact
  9. Divinity — Defeat 30 enemies with units affected by Saint's Blessing.
    • Hand Ax sigil
    • The Trading Square fact
  10. Mount the Attack — Research boyar's fortitude and mounted precision and then defeat 30 enemies with cavalry.
    • Rus Horse Archer portrait
    • Wandering Town fact
  11. Test of Strength III — Defeat the Hard A.I.
    • Rus Streltsy portrait
    • The Reign of Elena fact
  12. Lay Siege — Research two upgrades from the High Armory and produce 20 siege engines in the Imperial Age.
    • Druzhina Knight portrait
    • Rise and Fall of the Streltsy fact
  13. Black Powder — Research double time from the Archery Range and defeat 30 enemies with Streltsy.
    • Rus Warrior Monk portrait
    • The Boyars fact
  14. Ours is the Glory — Achieve a scared victory with fully upgraded Warrior Monks.
    • Ivan the Terrible portrait
    • The Tsar and the Church fact
  15. Test of Strength IV — Defeat the Hardest A.I.
    • Right Quadrant banner
    • Fear and Control fact

Abbasid Dynasty Masteries

  1. Commerce and Science — Accrue a total of 1,000 resources before the first wing of your House of Wisdom is complete.
    • The Fertile Crescent fact
    • Windmill portrait
  2. The Path Taken — Research the first technology available from a wing in your House of Wisdom before reaching the Castle Age.
    • The Mighty Camel fact
    • Eastern Windmill sigil
  3. Test of Strength I — Win a 1v1 Custom or Skirmish match against the Easy A.I.
    • An Enduring Dynasty fact
    • Camel portrait
  4. Support the Strong — Defeat 30 enemy units with infantry who are receiving support from Camels.
    • The Round City of Baghdad fact
    • Abbasid Engineer portrait
  5. Love of Knowledge — Research 30 technologies discounted by the Preservation of Knowledge.
    • From Alchemy to Chemistry fact
    • Camel & Rider sigil
  6. Culture of Trade — Accrue 5,000 gold from your Traders after researching Spice Roads.
    • Mill Power fact
    • Abbasid Ship portrait
  7. Test of Strength II — Defeat the Intermediate A.I. 
    • Baghdad at Its Height fact
    • Trader monument
  8. Expeditious Production — Produce 100 military units after achieving Tier 3 of the Golden Age.
    • Medieval Metallurgy fact
    • Camel Rider portrait
  9. Smell of Defeat — Defeat 30 enemy cavalry units with your Camel Riders.
    • The Great Mosque of Samarra fact
    • Sun frame
  10. Heart and Mind — Heal 300 health on friendly units using your Medical Centers. 
    • Diplomacy by Elephant historical fact
    • Imam portrait
  11. Test of Strength III — Defeat the Hard A.I.
    • The End of an Age fact
    • Ulayya Bint Al-Mahdi portrait
  12. Bounty of the Earth —Increase the yield of 18 berry bushes and accrue 9,000 food.
    • A Mathematical World fact
    • Abbasid Sailor portrait
  13. Resourceful in Warfare — Construct 10 ranged siege units with your melee infantry.
    • Glass and Optics fact
    • Rabia Al-Adawiyya portrait
  14. No Higher Honor — Win a wonder victory after achieving Tier 3 of the Golden Age.
    • Age of Automation fact
    • Abbas Ibn Abd Al-Muttalib portrait
  15. Test of Strength IV — Defeat the Hardest A.I.
    • The Ceremonial Dynasty fact
    • Astrological Instrument sigil

Those are all of the Masteries and their rewards in Age of Empires as detailed in the game. Now you know how to find them, how to complete them, and what you'll get for doing so!

Age of Empires 4 Regular Unit Counters Guide Wed, 10 Nov 2021 15:35:59 -0500 Jonathan Moore

Unit counters are often key for winning battles and pitching skirmishes in Age of Empires 4. Most units have specific strengths and weaknesses, specializations that make them ideal counters to other unit types.

Those who purchased the deluxe version of AoE 4 received a unit counters chart that, like the Art of War tutorials, provides a general overview of which units are best used against which.

How do you find the unit counters chart if you have that version? The chart can be found in the game's local files for those who picked up that version.

If you don't have that unit counters chart — or are just looking for a different way to digest the information provided there — this guide lays out the specializations of each regular unit.

Note that almost all units are weak to Mangonels, especially if those units are in formation or clumped together. Mangonel splash damage can be deadly. Additionally, certain technologies, such as Iron Undermesh, can impact attack bonuses for some units.


  • Strong against Scouts, Horsemen, Knights
  • Weak against Archers, Crossbowman, Handcannoneers, Men-at-Arms

Unless you're playing as the English, Spearmen are one of the first military units you'll build in Age of Empires 4. They're available earlier and cheaper than the Man-at-Arms, requiring less food and no gold to train.

They begin with a +12 bonus attack vs cavalry units. Hardened get +16, Veteran +18, and Elites +22. 


  • Strong against Spearmen, Archers, Horsemen
  • Weak against Crossbowmen, Knights, Handcannoners

These units are available for the English in the first age and in the Feudal Age for all other civilizations. Men-at-Arms are general-purpose infantry units that can take on various unit types well because of their relatively high starting armor value. They have no attack or defensive bonuses.


  • Strong against Spearmen, Crossbowmen, unarmored infantry
  • Weak against Horsemen, Knights, Men-at-Arms, Handcannoneers

Archers are the primary ranged unit in Age of Empires 4. They can be produced at a relatively low cost and have +5 attack against Spearmen and unarmored infantry. Veteran increase that to +7, Elites to +8. Note that some archery units receive slightly different attack values, such as the Longbowman.

Don't use them against Cavalry, Men-at-Arms, or any siege weapon. Their arrows are weak against armor and ineffective at repelling battering rams, siege towers, etc. 


  • Strong against Men-at-Arms, Knights
  • Weak against Horsemen, Spearmen, Archers

Crossbowmen are strong against armored units and should be used to specifically counter Knights, Men-at-Arms, and other armored units. Crossbowmen have +6 attack vs heavy infantry units and upgrading them to Elite bumps that to +8. Like Archers, some similar unit types receive different attack values.


  • Strong against Archers, Crossbowmen
  • Weak against Spearmen, Men-at-Arms, Knights

Horsemen are important in the early game because they are effective against Archers, getting a + 9 attack bonus vs ranged units. Veterans up that to +11, and Elites + 13. Support them with their own squad of Archers since they are weak against Spearmen. These are good units for chasing down Villagers and early siege weapons. 


  • Strong against Archers, Men-at-Arms, Horsemen
  • Weak against Spearmen, Crossbowmen, Handconners

Knights are another unit type that doesn't receive any specific bonuses against other units. However, they are still strong against Archers specifically, with the ability to take on Men-at-Arms and Horsemen because of their armor. That armor, though, does not protect them against crossbow bolts or spears. 


  • Strong against buildings and massed units
  • Weak against units with the firebomb attack, Horsemen, Springalds

Mangonels are primarily a siege weapon, proving their strength early with a +24 attack bonus against buildings. At every point in the game, they are also deceptively strong against massed units of almost all types, especially lightly armored ones or those that attack from a static position, such as Archers.

Trebuchets & Bombards

  • Strong against Keeps, towers, and walls
  • Weak against everything else

With a +300 attack bonus against buildings, Trebuchets are exclusively siege weapons meant for taking down stone walls and assaulting keeps and other fortresses. Likewise, Bombards are meant for the same purpose with +340 attack vs buildings. Both are incredibly inaccurate against military units and should be protected at all times. 


  • Strong against all siege weapons, Knights (maybe Men-at-Arms if you're lucky)
  • Weak against infantry and Horsemen

The Springald is an anti-siege unit meant to destroy Mangonels, Trebuchets, and Battering Rams. It has a +20 attack bonus against siege weapons, though it can shoot military units from a distance, making it somewhat useful against armored foot soldiers or cavalry in a pinch. 

Related guides

There are, of course, other unique units in Age of Empires 4 that have specific offensive and defensive values that make their unit counters slightly different than those found here.

There are also other general units, such as the monk, whose unit counters make them weak to just about anything and strong against nothing. Battering Rams and Siege Towers, for example, are weak to Springalds and any unit except Archers but strong against defensive embattlements like walls and towers.

It's also worth keeping other Age of Empires 4 mechanics in mind when considering unit counters. Hill bonuses and stealth forests give you extra buffs and surprise attack opportunities to combat certain counters before enemy units can even attack. For more on AoE 4, consider clicking the link above or checking out our other help guides.

How to Find Your FPS in Age of Empires 4 Wed, 10 Nov 2021 09:33:22 -0500 Jonathan Moore

Nobody likes dropping frames, but how do you find FPS in Age of Empires 4 to strike the right balance between fidelity and performance? 

Low or fluctuating frame rates can negatively impact gameplay whether you're playing against the AI in Skirmish mode or other players in multiplayer matches. Sudden FPS drops can make Age of Empires 4 look plain bad and even spell defeat if they happen during a crucial battle.

If you follow the recommended system requirements for your rig, you shouldn't run into low FPS issues too much. AoE 4 is a pretty well optimized game in that regard. But things can get a little funky when you start fiddling with graphical settings, squeezing out every last bit of detail while still getting gameplay to run smoothly.

So can you find your FPS in-game in Age of Empires 4? Not natively. Unlike some previous entries in the RTS series, Age of Empires 4 doesn't have any hotkeys or other functions to check FPS while playing; there's no menu option to toggle such a function on or off.

If you want to keep an eye on your frames, you can enable the Steam in-game overlay in your global steam settings, considering you're playing there. You can also use the Windows game bar to track performance and FPS by pressing the Windows key + g. The performance window in the bottom left of the window (default) shows frames per second, as well as CPU usage, GPU usage, and other important performance values.

Additionally, you can use software such as Nvidia's GeForce Experience overlay, MSI Afterburner, or Fraps to find and measure your in-game FPS and pinpoint performance drops. 

There are, of course, many ways to improve performance and mitigate FPS drops, such as decreasing your screen's resolution and lowering graphics settings such as shadow quality, texture detail, geometric detail, and animation quality. Setting a framerate limit can also help keep your FPS steady.

Using secondary tools may not be ideal for everyone hoping to find FPS and measure game performance in Age of Empires 4, but they all seem to work in our testing and are good stand-ins for the lack of in-game functions. It's possible an in-game hotkey or function will be added in a future patch, maybe alongside the map and scenario editor. We'll have to wait and see.

Age of Empires 4 System Requirements: Can I Run AoE 4? Tue, 09 Nov 2021 21:11:15 -0500 Jonathan Moore

The system requirements for Age of Empires 4 are about what you'd expect from a real-time strategy game of its caliber. Despite its improved graphics and 4K educational videos, it's not going to burn up your rig, that's for sure. If you've been patiently waiting for the next installment in the Age of Empires franchise and wondering "Can I run it?", the answer is most likely "Yes!". 

Before we jump in, it's important to point out that the Age of Empires 4 system requirements are slightly different for Steam, Game Pass, and the Microsoft Store when it comes to storage.

Microsoft and World's Edge suggest you have about 50GB available before installing Age of Empires 4. My Steam download came in at around 37GB when all was said and done.

However, Microsoft warns that you'll need up to 90GB free when downloading from the Microsoft Store, and some that have downloaded AoE 4 via Game Pass have reported upwards of 200+ GB needed because of the 4K video files. 

Here are the full minimum, low, recommended, and ideal system requirements for Age of Empires 4 as laid out by Microsoft and World's Edge. Whether you're playing on a high-end gaming rig or a mid-tier gaming laptop, it's unlikely you'll need to shell out for new hardware to run this one.

Minimum System Requirements

  • CPU: Intel i5-6300U or AMD Ryzen 5 2400G
  • GPU: Intel HD 520 or AMD Radeon RX Vega 11
  • VRAM: N/A
  • RAM: 8GB
  • HDD/SSD: 50GB
  • OS: Windows 10

Low System Requirements

  • CPU: Intel i5-4460T or AMD Ryzen 3 1300X
  • GPU: Nvidia GTX 760 or AMD Radeon HD 7950
  • VRAM: 2GB
  • RAM: 8GB
  • HDD/SSD: 50GB
  • OS: Windows 10

Recommended System Requirements

  • CPU: Intel i5-8400 or AMD Ryzen 5 2600
  • GPU: Nvidia Geforce 970 or AMD Radeon RX 570
  • VRAM: 4GB
  • RAM: 16GB
  • HDD/SSD: 50GB
  • OS: Windows 10/11

Ideal System Requirements

  • CPU: Intel i7-9700 or AMD Ryzen 5 3600
  • GPU: Intel RTX 2070 or AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT
  • VRAM: 8GB
  • RAM: 16GB
  • HDD/SSD: 50GB
  • OS: Windows 10

If you're looking to hit the higher end of the graphics spectrum and maintain steady frames while playing Age of Empires 4, you'll want to come in somewhere between recommended and ideal system requirements. I'm able to hit 50-60fps with all graphics settings on high at 2K with a GTX 1080 8GB and i7-7700K, for what it's worth. For more on Age 4, consider heading over to our other Age of Empires 4 guides

Header image source: Microsoft

Age of Empires 4 Stealth Forests Explained Mon, 08 Nov 2021 08:52:50 -0500 Hayes Madsen

Age of Empires 4 stealth forests are new to the series and great ways to ambush rival nations. While AoE 4 stays true to the roots of the legendary RTS series while introducing a few new elements into the mix, the addition of stealth forests and its new ambush features add interesting layers to skirmishes and multiplayer matches.

By placing units in stealth forests, you can surprise units from other factions and get the edge in battle. Learning how to use stealth forests can be a bit confusing to understand at first, so here's an explanation of how the new system works.

How Stealth Forests Work in Age of Empires 4

Stealth forests are always dotted around each map in Age of Empires 4, no matter which of the 17 you pick or which seeds they generate. The easy way to spot stealth forests is to look for the reddish-brown grass that grows in them, like in the image above.

You'll also notice that the trees in these forests are more spread out; when units go into them, units will glow with a red and blue outline

When you put units in a stealth forest, they're invisible to enemy players until they also enter the forest. Only Scouts can see into stealth forests, meaning they're perfect for setting up and sniffing out ambushes. Unfortunately, there's no auto scout function in AoE 4, so you'll have to manually discover these ambush spots.

While units don't get any kind of stat boosts in stealth forests, catching opponents unaware is where the real advantage lies. Keep in mind that units will auto-attack when they see enemies unless you change their orders to "Stand Ground". 

By the same token, if you're moving an army through a heavily forested area, make sure to have at least one Scout to watch for hidden enemy units. Another viable option is to simply place units in Stealth Forests to keep an eye on hidden parts of the map that you might not have a lot of units in.

No matter what civilization you're playing as or the map you're on, the key is to keep stealth forests in mind, as they can give you, and your opponent, a slight leg up. For even more tips, walkthroughs, and help, make sure to take a look at our Age of Empires 4 guide hub

Age of Empires 4 Best Civilizations Tier List: All Factions Ranked Fri, 05 Nov 2021 15:11:51 -0400 Hayes Madsen

Age of Empires 4 civilizations are more asymmetrical than those featured in previous franchise installments. There are eight nations to choose from at launch: Mongols, French, English, Rus, Abbasid Dynasty, The Holy Roman Empire, Chinese, and Delhi Sultanate. It seems a civilizations tier list is in order.

As you might expect, each faction has its own set of perks and advantages. But which civilizations are the best? Here's our tier list.

S-Tier Civilizations

The Mongols

The Mongols are easily one of the best civilizations in Age of Empires 4, but they're also incredibly hard to play.

This nation's biggest strength lies in its ability to pick up and move its base at will; in any match, either online or against AI armies, this makes them a wildly unpredictable opponent.

If you're able to command a hit-and-run strategy properly, the Mongols can be nearly unstoppable. Splintering your town is also a viable strategy, which can allow you to flank enemy civilizations from multiple sides. It also helps you avoid defeat if your main base gets overrun.

Add onto this the fact that the Mongols immediately have the maximum population, and you don't need to waste wood resources constructing houses. 

The final notch here is that the Mongols have one of the best early economies in Age of Empires 4; the Ovoo can mine stone by itself, freeing up villagers to gather other resources. None of the other civilizations have this capability. 

The French

The French are best for their deadly military forces, along with how easy they are to pick up and play. Playing as this civilization gives you perhaps the best bonuses across the board, and if you're looking for military might, you can't do any better.

The French have a unique influence mechanic that allows Stables and Archery Ranges to produce units at an increased rate if they're close to a Keep. This is instrumental in building an early army; it also aids the French's unique civilization trade mechanics.

This is the only civilization in Age of Empires 4  and on this tier list that can pick which resource traders bring back to base, providing players a ton of flexibility when it comes to resource management. On top of that, the Town Center produces units faster as you advance ages, giving the French a distinct advantage for economy-building.

Consider these alongside the French's strong cavalry and research bonuses, and they're one of the best civilizations for any player, new or seasoned. 

A-Tier Civilizations

The English

The English are the most "basic" and balanced civilization in Age of Empires 4, but that's not a bad thing. This faction doesn't have any gimmicks, but its bonuses provide supremely high defense in fortified walls and increased range in the longbowmen unit. Both make conquering English bases a tough prospect, indeed. 

The Network of Castles ability further makes the English the best turtle faction by increasing the attack speed of certain buildings, such as Keeps and Town Centers, by 25%. 

The English also have access to fantastic Landmarks that further bolster their defensive nature, and they can build Farms at a reduced wood cost. Additionally, Farms built within the yellow footprint of Mills gain a boost to food gather speed, which makes food-collecting easier and much more efficient than other civilizations.

The Rus

The Rus can be a hard civilization to get started, but they can easily be one of the biggest powerhouses by the end of any match. Playing as the Rus, it's absolutely essential to take advantage of their Bounty mechanics.

The more animals you hunt, the more bonuses your civ gets. As Bounty goes up, so does the rate of food gathering and the automatic income from Hunting Cabins.

The Rus civilization also has a couple of unique units that can give it an advantage. The Warrior Monk is a decent cavalry unit whose real strength lies in the ability to heal and buff allies. The Streltsy is an incredibly strong ranged gunpowder unit that can also hold its own up close.

The Rus shine with their late-game upgrades, such as Chemistry, which increases the damage for gunpowder units by 20 percent, and Biology, which increases cavalry health by 20 percent, so advance and age-up quickly if you play them. 

The Abbasid Dynasty

The Abbasid Dynasty is one of those civilizations all about its anti-cavalry camel units, forcing opponents to change build their strategies around other units such as men-at-arms, archers, and spearmen. They also have the most unique age-up mechanic in the game, with advancement revolving around the House of Wisdom.

Instead of building new Landmarks for each age, The Abbasid Dynasty is a civilization that constructs the House of Wisdom, adding wings to it every epoch. These wings provide unique bonuses to resource gathering, unit production, and research.

Important to note is that constructing these upgrades to the House of Wisdom doesn't require villagers; you simply click them in a menu as you would to research or build any technology or unit. This allows you to focus on building other important structures and gathering resources.

The Abbasid Dynasty requires a bit of training to get the hang of, but once you know its unique units and House of Wisdom upgrades, it's a civilization to be reckoned with. 

B-Tier Civilizations

The Holy Roman Empire

The Holy Roman Empire is a civilization almost exclusively focused on religion. Playing as this faction means you need to immediately focus on gathering relics and bolstering your religious power.

Housing relics in towers or outposts can boost this civilization's defense, range, and attack values, while housing them inside a dock can increase the assault speed of all ships, boosting an already considerable naval presence.

The Prelate is an essential unique unit that must be used strategically, as it can boost the productivity of villagers. 

The biggest catch with the Holy Roman Empire is its focus on defense and relics, which can leave it a bit lacking in other areas. 

C-Tier Civilizations 

The Chinese

The Chinese are an incredibly hard civilization to play, due mostly to their over-reliance on gold. This civ can access a wealth of research, but the way technologies and Landmarks work alongside this faction's unique Dynasty system can be tricky.

To advance to the next Age (or Dynasty), players must build both of the available Landmarks for the next Age. Unfortunately, advancing to the next Dynasty also locks out all of the research of the previous Dynasty. 

The Chinese are the most adept civilization at gathering gold. Not only can they mine the resource, but they can gather it passively from base structures with the Imperial Official unit. The problem is that there's a heck of a lot to spend gold on.

One could argue that the Chinese are the best slow-burn civilization in Age of Empires 4, but this playstyle can put them at a disadvantage against some of the more aggressive enemies, which are able to advance faster than the Chinese.

In team games, with a chance to grow while under the protection of another ally nation, the Chinese can flourish into a powerhouse. But unless you have the intricacies of the civilization nailed down, this faction is a hard sell for single-player skirmishes. 

The Delhi Sultanate

The Delhi Sultanate is the other Age of Empires 4 civilization that's hard to learn. That's mostly because you must make key decisions early in matches to make sure the Sultanate flourishes in the late game.

There are no research costs when playing as the Delhi Sultanate, but that comes at a price because it takes longer to research all technologies. The process can be sped up with the use of Scholars, though that doesn't make up for the slow pace of advancement when compared to other factions.

To (somewhat) make up for this, infantry units can construct defensive structures, which helps to keep enemies at bay but also means you're a much more defenseless turtle than the English. Other nations can easily overwhelm them.

Couple that with the fact that The Delhi Sultanate's most powerful and unique unit, the War Elephant, isn't unlocked until late-game, and you'll have to practice with this civilization to draft viable winning strategies.

And that's our Age of Empires 4 civilizations tier list. Of course, some factions and nations may rank differently for some based simply on playstyle. For even more tips and help, make sure to check out our Age of Empires 4 guides hub

Age of Empires 4: How to Find & Use Map Seeds Wed, 03 Nov 2021 09:53:00 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Age of Empires 4 map seeds are randomly generated when you start a new game in Skirmish or multiplayer. No two maps are exactly the same even though you're choosing one of 17 presets. Some features, such as coastlines, resources, and relics, will be slightly different for each match. But map seeds allow you to play the same map as much as you'd like. So how do you find and use them? Can you get the same map twice?

To find map seeds, create a custom game. Go to Map Setup, and choose one of the 17 map templates: 

  • Dry Arabia
  • Lipany
  • High View
  • Mountain Pass
  • Ancient Spires
  • Danube River
  • Black Forest
  • Mongolian Heights
  • Altai
  • Confluence
  • French Pass
  • Hill and Dale
  • King of the Hill
  • Warring Islands
  • Archipelago
  • Nagari
  • Boulder Bay

Once you've done that, choose any other modifiers you'd like, such as size, biome, starting location, resources, and win conditions. Start your game. 

When you load into the map, pause the game by pressing the "ESC" button. Look above the "Resume" option to find this map's seed. It will be a string of numbers and letters with (map seed) in parentheses.

If you want to create this specific map again, copy this code down on your phone or a piece of paper. When you start another custom game, go to Map Setup, and enter the seed string in the Map Seed box to the right of "Locations." You will then be taken back to that specific map setup. Mostly.

It's worth noting that you can change certain modifiers for map seeds, like biome and starting Age, and the topography or Sacred Site locations will stay the same. The map will change slightly if you make it larger or smaller by increasing the maximum number of players, though.

Age of Empires 4 map seeds aren't the best stand-in for a true map editor or scenario editor; you can't customize any of the topography or resources on a micro level. But they'll have to do until those tools are (hopefully) added sometime in the future. For more on AoE 4, consider heading over to our hub of help articles.

Age of Empires 4: How to Auto Scout Tue, 02 Nov 2021 12:34:38 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Exploring the map to find resources, relics, and enemy bases is one of the core pillars of Age of Empires. Auto scout is a mechanic and unit command that helps you explore passively, allowing your scouts to uncover the map without you having to micromanage them. But can you auto scout in Age of Empires 4?

Unfortunately, no. There is no auto scout function in Age of Empires 4. Though the unit command appears in Age of Empires 2: DE and Age of Empires 3: DE, it is not present in the latest release in the RTS franchise.

There is a way, however, to beat the system and create a pseudo auto scout command in AoE 4 — and that's by using waypoints. To create a waypoint, select a unit or control group, hold shift, and right-click two or more locations anywhere on the map. Currently, this way to explore doesn't seem to work with some Hero units in the campaign mode. 

Unlike Age of Empires, AoE 2, and AoE 3, however, waypoints in Age 4 don't use flags to mark their locations. In fact, there is nothing marking the location of a waypoint after you've placed it. You'll just have to watch your units' movements from time to time or trust that you've set them up correctly. 

Of course, your units will only travel to and explore the areas of the map you've chosen, and they'll idle once they've traveled to the last waypoint. You'll still have to manually move them about to some extent without a proper auto scout.

Auto scout might be a touchy subject in the Age of Empires community, but it's a mechanic that casual players like to use to explore maps passively. It's a unit command that provides a level of freedom on large maps specifically, and perhaps it will make a return in a future update. At the very least, let's add flags to waypoints! For more on Age of Empires 4, consider heading over to our guides hub.

Age of Empires 4: How to Rotate Buildings Tue, 02 Nov 2021 11:17:40 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Wondering how to rotate buildings in Age of Empires 4? You're not alone. 

Building placement in Age of Empires 4 is as important to your overall strategy as the build order of your military units. But sometimes, overall strategy doesn't exactly matter, and you may want to build your base in a way that's aesthetically pleasing. If so, you may be wondering how to rotate buildings in AoE 4.

While Age of Empires 4 adds a few new visual accents to buildings, such as adding roads and paths to structures placed close together and automatically leveling terrain after placement, there aren't any other customization options or ways to rotate buildings before or after villagers put brick to mortar.

In short, you cannot rotate buildings to customize their placement.

This is similar to how Age of Empires 2 handles building construction. There isn't a grid here, but every structure faces a predetermined direction that cannot be changed before or after placement. It's a regression from Age of Empires 3, which allows you to rotate buildings in any direction, including diagonally, by holding Shift and scrolling the mouse wheel up or down. 

Technically, it doesn't matter that you can't rotate buildings in Age of Empires 4 since any defensive structure, such as a Guard Tower or Keep, can fire projectiles in any direction so long as there isn't a mountain in the way.

There are also spaces between every construction that allow units to move between them. For example, a House won't block the path between it and a Market if their build borders touch. Likewise, building two Barracks, Archery Ranges, etc., on top of each other won't affect how units naturally exit. 

Regardless, not being able to rotate buildings in Age of Empires 4 is somewhat disappointing for those of us (including myself) who angst over exact building placement and rage against blocky base aesthetics. I want my Mill facing a specific way, thank you! Hopefully, the functionality will arrive in a future update alongside a map or scenario editor

Age of Empires 4: Which Civilizations to Pick First? Wed, 03 Nov 2021 15:41:50 -0400 Hayes Madsen

The very foundation of Age of Empires is its diverse civilizations, and the available civs are more varied than ever in Age of Empires 4, creating a more asymmetric emphasis on gameplay. But which are the best civilizations to pick first? 

If you're picking up the series for the first time, it can be hard to decide which civilization to pick first. Some civilizations are more powerful than others against all enemies, while others have steep learning curves and should only be used once players come to grips with the systems in AoE 4

Bear in mind that this isn't a tier list of best civilizations in Age of Empires 4. This is for newer players looking to start AoE 4 on the right foot. For example, though the Rus are probably one of the strongest empires in the game at launch and perfect for long-time veterans and the current meta, they may not be the best for new players.

Best Beginner Civilizations in Age of Empires 4

The English

The English civilization is by far the easiest to pick up and learn. They have the fewest unique mechanics. Part of what makes the English so easy to pick up is that they have incredibly high defense and very powerful ranged units. 

Network of Castles can create an uncrossable defensive line, and even better is that English Keeps can produce units. Add to this the fact that Farms are cheaper, meaning a lower emphasis on hunting and gathering, and gain a bonus for being built near Mills, and you have a civilization that's welcoming to newcomers.

Longbowmen are also invaluable, ensuring you have a powerful army early on. Playing as the English should help you learn the ins and outs of Age of Empires 4's core gameplay, and the civ's high defense can help make up for any mistakes you might make along the way. 

The French

The French are the other valid choice for a great starting civilization, as they boast a fantastic early economy, quick unit training, and devastating cavalry. As the French age up, the Town Center produces units faster, which means more villagers for gathering and building.

At the same time, the civ has the tremendously useful ability to build traders that can trade with Trading posts or other civilizations to bring back any resource. This can be a gamechanger if you have trouble figuring out how to effectively gather a specific resource. 

The other major benefit of the French is that Stables and Archery Ranges near a Keep produce units at a lower cost, which can translate to more units at a faster pace than other civs. 

Moving to More Advanced Civilizations

Every other civilization in Age of Empires 4 has incredibly unique mechanics that can take players a while to master. After understanding how Age 4 works with the British and French, new players will want to move to the Rus or Holy Roman Empire, and avoid the:

  • Abbasid Dynasty
  • Chinese
  • Delhi Sultanate
  • Mongols

That's until they're confident in the mechanics of the game. After learning the English and French, however, a good civilization to move to is the Rus or Holy Roman Empire. 

The Rus have an incredibly unique playstyle that focuses on aggression, and they can gain gold and stat bonuses by hunting animals and gaining bounties. They can't build stone walls but have stronger palisades and warrior-monk cavalry that can heal units. 

The Holy Roman Empire, on the other hand, puts a huge emphasis on religion, while also being fairly well-rounded. By storing relics, the Holy Roman Empire can earn extra income and enhance the defense of buildings. 

For even more tips, tricks, and help, make sure to head over to our Age of Empires 4 guides hub.

Age of Empires 4 Grouping Explained: How to Assign Unit Control Groups Mon, 01 Nov 2021 22:31:33 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Age of Empires 4 carries over a few mechanics found in previous series titles. Grouping, or putting units into control groups, is a great way to manage actions and movements without having to select all units in a single area by double-clicking or drawing a box around them.

Grouping comes in handy during combat, especially when you want specific unit types attacking from the high ground or flanking vulnerable portions of an enemy army. You can have groups of cavalry run-down footsoldiers, for example, or have longbowmen rain arrows from above with two quick clicks. 

To create a control group, select the units you wish to cluster together. Once you've done so, hold CTRL or SHIFT and press any number 1-9. You can do this with the numbers across the top of your keyboard or with the Numpad hotkeys. 

Now these units are in a single grouping, and you will see a small number above each unit, designating their cluster. You can also see the group, its number, and how many units are assigned to it by looking at the icon on the middle-left side of the screen. Hovering over that icon will show its unit make-up.

Lastly, you can also jump to specific groups across the map by double-pressing their corresponding number. Tapping the number once simply selects the grouping.

Things can get a bit pesky since two batches can have the same number assigned to them, defeating the purpose of the mechanic completely. So how do you remove them? 

To remove units from a control group, deselect the units you want to remove (only selecting the units you want to keep in the group), and hold CTRL and press the corresponding number. This will remove the group number from the deselected units.

To delete a control group, you must dissolve the group entirely. Click a blank spot on the map, then hold CTRL and press the number assigned to the group. The number above the units will disappear, meaning the grouping has been dissolved. 

There is no limit, outside of the population cap, on how many units can be in a single group, though it's best to build clusters based on strengths and strategy. Otherwise, there's no real reason to use the function. On anything lower than intermediate difficulty, it's just as easy to bombard your enemy with a single, massive army unless you're playing for practice. 

And that's really all you need to know about control groups and groupings in Age of Empires 4. Now you have one more strategic tool in hand to turn the tide of battle, or to just better manage your villagers with hotkeys. For more tips, tricks, and help, consider heading over to our AoE 4 guides center.

What is the Pop Cap in Age of Empires 4? How to Raise Population Mon, 01 Nov 2021 21:55:15 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Whether your unit build order is amassing tons of villagers in the Dark Age or longbowmen in the Castle Age, knowing the population cap in Age of Empires 4 is as important as it has ever been. But what is the pop cap and how do you increase it? 

The population cap in Age of Empires 4 is 200, the same as almost every other game in the popular RTS franchise except the original Age of Empires. Indeed, there are a few other similarities to keep in mind when increasing your population of villagers and military units.

Both Houses and Town Centers increase the population limit by 10 for each structure built. Houses cost 50 wood to construct, and Town Centers cost 400 wood and 300 stone to build.

These structures increase the pop cap for every civilization except the Mongols, which begin each match at the 200 unit limit automatically. The Mongols do not have Houses, and the civ's Town Center does not add to the overall limit. 

Further, the Chinese civilization can build a structure called the Village starting in the Feudal Age, which adds 40 to the population. To build the structure, you must choose the Song Dynasty, which requires both the Imperial Academy and the Barbican of the Sun Landmarks. The Village costs 30 wood and takes roughly 30 seconds to build.

You can see how many units you have and your capacity in the top left corner of the menu in the bottom left corner of the screen. The number on the right represents the units you have, while the number on the right represents your current capacity. 

Unlike Age of Empires 2 and Age 3, there are no options for increasing the overall pop limit of 200 or starting at the max population in Skirmish mode, and since there is no map editor or scenario editor in Age 4, there is no way to set a higher cap otherwise. At least until those features are added at a later date.

And that's essentially all there is to know about the pop cap and how to increase population in Age of Empires 4. For more tips and help, consider heading over to our AoE4 guides page

Is There a Map Editor or Scenario Editor in Age of Empires 4? Mon, 01 Nov 2021 17:56:08 -0400 Jonathan Moore

One of the most interesting things about the Age of Empires series is being able to edit maps and scenarios to create your own campaigns and skirmishes. Every game in the series has some sort of editing tool that allows for making things as simple or as detailed as you'd like. But does Age of Empires 4 have a map or scenario editor?

The unfortunate answer, at least right after launch, is no: Age of Empires 4 does not have a map editor or a scenario editor. The game launched without such a feature, much to the chagrin of many fans who tout it as one of the series' best aspects. 

Currently, you can create semi-custom skirmishes and multiplayer matches by choosing between the available civilizations, maps, and win conditions. And while you can also choose terrain types, your starting age, and how many resources are available in these modes, that's about it. 

You can't create new maps or scenarios from scratch. There is an option to select "Crafted Maps" in the Map Setup menu in Skirmishes, but it cannot be chosen as of this writing. And there is a way to replay specific map layouts via seeds.

We've reached out to the team to see if there is new information regarding when or if a scenario editor or map editor may show up in Age of Empires 4. Some posts of Reddit and other forums posit that such a feature may arrive in 2022, when it appears mod support may also be integrated. But that's unconfirmed as of now. Until then, stay tuned and check out our other Age of Empires 4 content.

Age of Empires 4 Cheats: Are There Cheat Codes in AoE 4? Mon, 01 Nov 2021 14:02:56 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Age of Empires and cheats go hand in hand. The RTS series has always had dozens of hidden cheat codes that perform myriad functions. Some give you stockpiles of food, wood, stone, or gold and others reveal the map or kill all your opponents in one fell swoop. Lumberjack, Cheese Steak Jimmy's, and Rock On are seared into the memories of every Age fan for better or worse.

These secret console commands baked into each game can give you the upper hand in both skirmishes and campaigns alike, though they can't be used in multiplayer matches, which is only fair since they unbalance the meta.

Cheats have appeared in every entry since the first game launched in 1997 from Ensemble Studios. Alongside map and scenario editors, commands have given players considerable control over how games play out for more than 20 years.

Since Age of Empires 4 recently launched on PC through Steam and Game Pass, you may be wondering if there are cheats or codes in AoE 4

No, there aren't any cheats or cheat codes in Age of Empires 4. You can't stockpile resources or remove the fog of war with a few keystrokes. Not yet, anyway. While it's a bit of a bummer that cheats aren't available at launch considering how integral they are to the Age experience, it appears that they may be on the horizon.

Age of Empires Creative Director Adam Isgreen has said that AoE 4 would launch without cheat codes. However, he continued by teasing that the development team already has a list of commands in mind that may be added in the future through a patch or update. 

He said:

Cheats are coming post-launch as well, since that's kind of a classic Age thing. And we haven't talked about that before, so there you go.

Unfortunately, Isgreen didn't shed any light on what those codes may be; it's a sure bet we can expect resources and units to be high on the list, but nothing's been confirmed. So far, there hasn't been any new info on the addition of console commands.

He also didn't share a timeframe for when such an update or patch would possibly arrive. Taking into consideration the history between Age of Empires and cheats, though, it's likely something will be released sooner rather than later. We'll just have to wait patiently to see when and what that is.

When cheats and codes are added to the latest entry of the popular RTS franchise, we'll update this article to include a list of all Age of Empire 4 cheats and console commands so you have them in one place. Until then, consider heading over to our AoE4 guides hub for more tips and tricks.

Age of Empires 4 Hill Bonus Explained: How Does It Work? Sun, 31 Oct 2021 15:03:24 -0400 Hayes Madsen

The hill bonus is something familiar to long time Age of Empires fans, and whether Age of Empires 4 has a hill bonus is a question on many minds. There are plenty of differences from the previous game, including how the hill bonus works. We'll go over exactly what's different in this guide, so read on.

How Age of Empires 4's Hill Bonus Works

The short answer is that, yes, Age of Empires 4 does have a hill bonus, although it doesn't work like past games. Fans of Age of Empires 2 will know that units get a roughly 25 percent boost when fighting enemies at a lower elevation, but Age of Empires 4 doesn't have any damage bonus. 

Instead, units have an increased line of sight when on hills and higher elevations. This means that it's advantageous to put archers or siege engines on hills, as they have the highest vision of any unit and will be able to pelt enemies from a distance. 

One of the other bonuses of being on a hill is that enemy units, like cavalry, don't get a charge bonus. On solid ground, cavalry has a charge attack that does extra damage when they connect with an enemy, but this bonus doesn't get applied when cavalry moves up higher elevation. 

Keep in mind that units on walls function differently, gaining a big boost to defense as well as a bonus to their actual ranged attack. 

Fighting on higher ground isn't going to be a total game-changer in Age of Empires 4, but it can help give you the leg-up you need if you place your units correctly and take advantage of the hill bonus as it was intended.

If you found this guide helpful, take a look at our other Age of Empires 4 guides here on GameSkinny.

Age of Empires 4 Connection Lost: Error C00T01R-2x-01 Fix Fri, 29 Oct 2021 10:10:49 -0400 Serhii Patskan

The C00T01R-2x-01 error in Age of Empires 4 has been plaguing players using Steam. The error is caused by the game being unable to connect the player's Xbox Live and Steam accounts, and locks them out of Age of Empires 4 completely.

Relic are trying to deal with the C00T01R-2x-01 error on their end, but in the meantime there are a few things you can do to maybe get around the C00T01R-2x-01 error.

Update Your Game to the Latest Version

Relic have been releasing hotfixes, so first make sure that your game has them all. Turn on the automatic updating in your Steam client:

  1. Go to your Steam client
  2. Select "Library" tab
  3. Right-click on the Age of Empires 4 game
  4. Select "Properties" from the list
  5. Select "Updates" tab
  6. Choose "Always Keep This Game Updated" feature

Now you can be sure that Steam will update your game every time a new batch of bug fixes is being released.

Turn off Your Antivirus and Firewall

The official statement from the developer is the following:

"If you are unable to connect to Xbox Live, your antivirus or firewall may be preventing you from accessing the online service."

This means that you need to temporarily disable your firewall and antivirus settings to get around error C00T01R-2x-01.

If you're running an in-build Windows Defender antivirus, then you can temporarily turn it off by following these steps:

  1. Press the Start button
  2. Go to "Settings" tab
  3. Select "Update and Security" feature
  4. Go to "Windows Security" tab
  5. Select "Virus and Threat Protection" feature
  6. Go to "Manage Settings" option
  7. Set the real-time protection to OFF

You can do the same with the Windows firewall:

  1. Press the Start button
  2. Go to "Settings" tab
  3. Select "Update and Security" feature
  4. Go to "Windows Security" tab
  5. Select "Firewall and Windows Protection" feature
  6. Open "Windows Security" settings
  7. Switch the Microsoft Defender Firewall option OFF

When you're finished playing, you can switch both antivirus and firewall back on.

Reinstall Your Game

The support team of Age of Empires 4 also added the following statement:

"Some antivirus programs can also interfere with the installation of the game files. Try reinstalling the game before trying to play again."

If you're using any other antivirus software besides Windows Defender, then you might need to turn it off and re-install the game:

  1. Go to your Steam client
  2. Select "Library" tab
  3. Right-click on the Age of Empires 4 game
  4. Go to "Manage" option
  5. Select "Uninstall" from the list

After that, reboot your PC, start the Steam app, and install Age of Empires 4 by pressing the Install button.

Enable Set Time Automatically

Another statement from the developer asks players to check their time settings:

"If you’re having problems signing in with your Xbox Live account, enable the “Set Time Automatically” setting. If your time is not synced, you will not be able to login."

You can set your time automatically by following these steps:

  1. Press Start button
  2. Go to "Settings" menu
  3. Select "Time and Language" option
  4. Go to "Date and Time" tab
  5. Set "Set Time Automatically" option to "ON"

Press OK and try to log-in to your Xbox Live account once again and see whether you get the C00T01R-2x-01 error.

Adjust Internet Explorer Settings

Internet Explorer may also prevent you from connecting with the Xbox Live services, hence causing error C00T01R-2x-01. Try to do the following:

  1. Launch Internet Explorer app
  2. Click on Tools menu (Gear icon)
  3. Select "Internet Options" menu
  4. Go to "Security" tab
  5. Set the "Security Level for the Internet Zone" to "Medium"
  6. Go to "Privacy" tab
  7. Set the "Privacy Setting" to "Medium"

After turning on the medium security settings for your connection, you need to clear your cache and cookies:

  1. Launch Internet Explorer app
  2. Click on Tools menu (Gear icon)
  3. Select "Internet Options" menu
  4. Click on the "Delete" button
  5. Select "Cache" and "Cookies' from the list
  6. Confirm by pressing "Delete"

Those are the official solutions to the connection lost error in Age of Empires 4. If you were looking for other AoE4 guides, then check out our dedicated hub page.

Related guides

Age of Empires 4 Beginners Tips & Tricks Guide Thu, 28 Oct 2021 13:33:31 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Age of Empires 4 is a massive real-time strategy game with countless stratagem combinations. From defensive tips to siege weapons, how to group your units, and when to build farms (spoiler: always), there’s plenty to keep in mind even in the early ages.

All that freedom can be a bit overwhelming, especially for beginners, so we’ve put together a list of helpful tips and tricks guide to help you navigate the centuries and dominate the world regardless of the win conditions. Here's how to play the early Ages.

Age of Empires 4 Tips & Tricks

It Takes a Villager to Raise an Empire

Villagers fuel your empire, and you’ll want to produce plenty of villagers as soon as possible. Villagers are the life force of your civilization. They are responsible for producing food, gathering wood, and mining stone and gold. More villagers means constructing buildings faster.

They need minding, though. Villagers will continue with their tasks indefinitely as long as resources and tasks are available. If work is interrupted or resources run dry, they'll need some redirecting.

Use the “.” key to cycle through idle villagers and put them to work, or view them by clicking the button at the top of the menu in the bottom left corner of the screen.

You can also keep track of how many villagers are assigned to gather specific resources. This is shown to the right of the resources and your stockpile numbers in the menu in the bottom left corner of the screen. 

Ol’ McEmpire Had a Farm — and a Mill

 A mill and two farms next to a town center.

And you should too, multiple ones. Don’t waste your time with berries since they provide little sustenance for the time it takes to harvest them. Your best bet is building a Mill and plonking down Farms around it.

Always put Farms as close to mills as possible to keep your villagers from having to travel too far. Some civilizations, such as the English, gain production boosts from building Farms adjacent to Mills.

Technologies such as Wheelbarrow and Horticulture allow your villagers to gather more food from farms and faster, so be sure to research them quickly.

Mills and similar civilization-specific structures are also a good idea if you plan to focus on hunting or herding in the early Ages, which is a viable strategy to conserve wood resources. Researching the Survival Techniques technology, for example, is then important because it increases how much food you get from hunting. Use your scouts to herd sheep to your Town Center, Mill, or Pasture for your villagers to harvest.

Lastly, if playing on a map with rivers or oceans, don't discount building a dock and fishing as a viable supplement to farming when you enter the mid-game. Keep in mind there are no fish traps in Age of Empires 4 to acts as water farms. And the only issue fishing is that you'll need lots of wood not only for fishing vessels but also galleys and warships, wood you could spend elsewhere.

Diplomacy Never Pays — Until It Does

Your overall strategy will likely vary how you approach diplomatic issues. At some points during your campaigns or skirmishes, you’ll have the choice to pay off a potential rival or engage them in combat.

If you manage your units well enough, you can leave a small force at your main base to defend it and send the overwhelming majority of your army to deal with the second threat, bulldozing your enemy into submission.

If you have more resources to spare, though, and a more pressing threat elsewhere, it’s almost always just worth paying them off. That way, you don’t have to wait while Stables and Barracks produce more units to replace those you lost, leaving you vulnerable to other nations.

The Triangle of Death

Two armies facing each other on mountainous terrain.

Age of Empires 4 features a simple, but important unit hierarchy.

  • Barracks units (soldiers, lancers, etc.) are strong against cavalry
  • Cavalry is strong against archers
  • Archers are strong against barracks units

As with any AoE game, you can technically overpower any enemy just by throwing a huge army at them. If you want to be more efficient or even roleplay, it’s worth taking the early-game tutorial and Art of War lessons to heart.

Deploy archers to harass footsoldiers, and keep them out of harm’s way by placing them in Stealth Forests and up on cliffs. Run down archers with your horses, and deploy spearmen against cavalry. 

Utilize Control Groups

Age of Empires 4 lets you lump units in groups using the “Control” key and numbers from zero through nine. This somewhat eliminates the need to constantly double-click units or draw boxes around them in combat, for example.

  • Highlight the units you want in a group
  • Hold the Control key
  • Press the number you want to create the group

Get used to doing this because it’s the easiest way to divide your soldiers and handle specific threats. 

You have a few avenues for approaching this. You can copy how your own reinforcements arrive and group them into mini armies with foot soldiers, archers, and cavalry, or you can lump unit types together, such as having one group for cavalry and one for archers.

I found good success with the first method, at least early in the game on a smaller scale, since it made targeting specific enemy groups easier.

Upgrade Early and Often

Town Center upgrade menu.

Age of Empires 4 doesn’t toot its trumpets about upgrades, but they’re some of the most important parts of any strategy. You have few upgrades in the first age, but advancing to the Feudal Age unlocks enhancements for buildings and new buildings that help upgrade units. Click on a building or unit, and you'll see upgrades marked in turquoise-colored tiles.

For example, you can research the Double Broadax upgrade from a Lumber Camp to increase the speed at which villagers gather lumber, or you can build a Blacksmith to unlock new soldier upgrades like Bloomery, which increases melee attack damage.

Early on, it's most important to focus on resource upgrades, while sprinkling in some attack and defensive upgrades for your military units. The key here is gathering resources faster than the AI enemy can gobble them up. 

In the same vein, be sure to balance upgrades with creating new units and villagers. Always chase resources and build some defenses with military units. Upgrades do you no good if you're without resources or find your base ablaze and on the verge of destruction.

Build a Good Defense

You should devote most of your resources to establishing your cities and building an army. However, as you get closer to your enemy’s strongholds, you’ll want to divert some of those resources into fortifications as you make it into the later ages, such as the Castle Age and Imperial Age.

Villagers can build wooden palisades — and, later, stone walls — to keep advancing enemies from burning your buildings, but Outposts that become Guard Towers are your best option early.

If you position them well and keep them upgraded, you can take down enemy forces before they even reach your defensive walls. AI enemy units are often woefully focused on anything attacking them or in their way, so towers can at least distract them long enough for your forces to arrive and cut them down.

It's also important to use terrain to your advantage. Position units and towers along the high ground whenever possible and create chokepoints with mountains, valleys, and even forests you haven't harvested. 

Lay Siege (Sort Of)

Age of Empires 4 siege workshop.

Some siege weapons become available as early as the Feudal Age, while the Siege Workshop becomes available in the Castle Age and brings with it some important upgrades. However, building siege weapons isn't always necessary and depends on the situation.

I found battering rams to be largely useless most of the time, but mangonels (catapults, essentially) are effective both at tearing down walls and stopping groups of foot soldiers. If you’re attacking a stronghold, make sure to bring a few mangonels or trebuchets along. 

Take a Research Trip

If you want to try any of this out in a no-pressure environment, head to the Skirmish menu under “Play,” to the right of "Campaign," and choose to create your own game. There, you can set a match with no enemies and a high amount of starting resources, pick the age you want to start in, and essentially customize it as you see fit.

It’s the best way to explore new strategies and understand how units, buildings, and upgrades work without those pesky French or Mongols setting your walls on fire every two minutes.

That's it for our Age of Empires 4 beginner's tips and tricks guide, but keep an eye out for more Age of Empires 4 guides in the coming days.

Age of Empires 4: How to Advance Age & All Civilization Landmarks Thu, 28 Oct 2021 13:35:30 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Age of Empires 4 adds a few wrinkles to the tried and true ageing up mechanic. Unlike other games in the series, you can advance to the next age in Age of Empires 4 without having to construct a certain number of buildings specific to any era. Instead, you build Landmarks and age up as soon as you have the resources required to do so. 

Another change in AoE 4 is that you won't advance to the next age through the Town Center. In this real-time strategy game, you must select a villager, then click the Advance Age button (Roman numeral) in the top right corner of their actions menu. You can also do this by pressing "T" after selecting a villager. This is true for all civilizations except the Abbasid Dynasty, which we cover below.

This will bring up the Landmarks menu, where you choose between two distinct Landmarks for the next era. Each Landmark has a predetermined reward and/or buff, similar to the Home City Cards and Shipments in Age of Empires 3.

Each Landmark also displays how many resources it requires and the time it will take to erect it. Select the Landmark you want, and build it. Once construction is completed, you will advance to the next age. 

Advancing to the Feudal Age in Age of Empires 4.

All Landmarks in Age of Empires 4

Here is a list of all of the Landmarks in Age of Empires 4, including their designations and in-game descriptions, broken down by civilization and age. Each age requires the same amount of resources and build time.

  • Feudal Age
    • Resources: 400 food, 200 gold
    • Build time: 3m 10s
  • Castle Age
    • Resources: 1200 food, 600 gold
    • Build time: 3m 40s
  • Imperial Age
    • Resources: 2400 food, 1200 gold
    • Build time: 4m 10s

Use the links below to jump to each civilization:


Feudal Age

  • Council Hall — Military Landmark
    • Produce Longbowmen at 100% speed from the Landmark; contains Longbowmen upgrades
  • Abbey of Kings — Religious Landmark
    • Heals all nearby friendly units that are out of combat by +4 every 1.5 seconds.

Castle Age

  • The White Tower — Defensive Landmark
    • Acts as a Keep with all the behaviors, technology, and bonuses.
  • King's Palace — Economic Landmark
    • Acts as a Town Center with all the behaviors, technology, units, and bonuses.

Imperial Age

  • Berkshire Palace — Defensive Landmark
    • Acts as a keep with all the behaviors, technology, and bonuses. Berkshire Palace has 50% greater weapon range and double the number of arrowslits.
  • Wynguard Palace — Military Landmark
    • Produce the Wynguard Army from with the Landmark. Army includes one each of man-at-arms, spearman, longbowman, knight, and trebuchet.


The Chinese civilization has the unique ability to build any Landmark they didn't use to advance to the next age once they reach that age.

For example, if you choose to build the Barbican of the Sun to move to the Feudal Age, you'll also be able to build the Imperial Academy once you reach the Feudal Age. 

These Landmarks cost the same amount of resources and require the same building time as all others.

Feudal Age

  • Barbican of the Sun — Defensive
    • Fires a long-range hand cannon and adds arrowslits while garrisoned. Offers vision into stealth forests.
  • Imperial Academy — Economic
    • Nearby buildings generate +100% tax gold.

Castle Age

  • Imperial Palace — Economic
    • Has large sight radius. Activate to view the location of enemy villagers for 10 seconds. 
  • Astronomical Clocktower — Military
    • Acts as a Siege Workshop and produces siege engines with +50% health.

Imperial Age

  • Great Wall Gatehouse — Defensive
    • Increases health of stone walls and gates by +100%. Nearby troops on walls deal +50% damage.
  • Spirit Way — Military
    • All buildings can create previously achieved dynasty units. Buildings near this Landmark produce dynasty units at -30% cost.


Feudal Age

  • School of Cavalry — Military
    • Acts as a Stable. All of your Stables produce units +20% faster.
  • Chamber of Commerce — Economic 
    • Acts as a Market. All traders and trade ships return +30% more resources to any Market or Dock. 

Castle Age

  • Royal Institute — Military
    • Houses all technologies unique to the French. Research is -20% cheaper here and ignores Age requirements.
  • Guild Hall — Economic
    • Generates and stores resources over time. The more resources stored, the faster they are generated. 

Imperial Age

  • Red Palace —Defensive
    • Acts as a Keep. Features high-damage arbalest emplacements. Each garrisoned unit adds an additional arbalest.
  • College of Artillery — Military
    • Provides immediate access to produce Royal Artillery, which do +20% more damage.

Holy Roman Empire

Feudal Age

  • Meinwerk Palace — Military
    • Acts like a Blacksmith. Technology researched here costs -25% less.
  • Aachen Chapel — Religious
    • Inspires units in a large radius so long as a prelate is garrisoned.

Castle Age

  • Burgrave Palace — Military
    • Acts as a Barracks that produces infantry 5 at a time.
  • Regnitz Cathedral — Religious
    • Relics placed within the Regnitz Cathedral generate _200% gold every minute. Holds 3 relics.

Imperial Age

  • Palace of Swabia — Economic
    • Acts as a Town Center. Produces villagers +75% faster and -75% cheaper. Cost to build this Landmark is reduced by -20%.
  • Elzbach Palace — Defensive
    • Acts as a Keep with +50% health. All buildings within influence take -33% less damage.


Feudal Age

  • Deer Stones — Military 
    • When setup, Deer Stones provide the Yam speed aura. Upon completion, instantly grants the Yam Network technology.
  • The Silver Tree — Economic
    • Acts as a Market. Can build traders +50% faster and at a -50% reduced gold cost.

Castle Age

  • Kurultai — Military
    • When the Khan is nearby, the Kurultai heals all nearby damaged units and provides a +25% damage bonus for 30 seconds.
  • Steppe Redoubt — Economic
    • Acts as a Ger. Gold dropped off at this Landmark is increased by +50%.

Imperial Age

  • Khaganate Palace — Military
    • Spawns a cavalry army of horsemen, mangudai, or lancers every 90 seconds.
  • The White Stupa — Economic
    • Acts as an Ovoo and produces 240 stone per minute without a stone outcropping.


Feudal Age

  • The Golden Gate — Economic
    • Allows the exchange of resources at a favorable rate. Generates an additional exchange every minute.
  • Kremlin —Defensive
    • Acts as a Wooden Fortress that comes with arrowslits, castle turret, and castle watch technologies.

Castle Age

  • High Trade House — Economic
    • Generates gold like a Hunting cabin with the value increased by +200%. Spawns deer every 60 seconds. Villagers can drop off food at this building. 
  • Abbey of the Trinity — Religious
    • Acts as a Monastery. Can produce warrior monks at half the cost contains unique religious technologies. 

Imperial Age

  • Spasskaya Tower — Defensive
    • Acts as a Keep with all weapon emplacements already in place and with increased health. 
  • High Armory — Military
    • Decrease the cost of siege engines in nearby Siege Workshops by -20%. Contains unique siege engine technologies. 

Delhi Sultanate

Feudal Age

  • Tower of Victory — Military Landmark
    • Melee and ranged infantry who move near this Landmark permanently gain about +15% attack speed.
  • Dome of the Faith — Religious
    • Produce scholars at -50% cost from the Landmark.

Castle Age

  • House of Learning — Technology
    • Grants no immediate bonus other than advancing to the next Age, but contains many unique economic and religious technologies.
  • Compound of the Defender — Defensive
    • Infantry units can build stone walls, gates, and towers. Reduces stone cost of buildings and their emplacements by 25%.

Imperial Age

  • Palace of the Sultan — Religious
    • Automatically produces tower war elephants. Garrison up to 4 scholars in the Landmark to increase production speed.
  • Hisar Academy — Technology
    • Constantly generates food based on the total number of technologies researched.

Abbasid Dynasty

To advance to new epochs with the Abbasid Dynasty, you will first need to build the House of Wisdom for 50 wood. You will then be able to select the House of Wisdom and build four different wings, each of which has different rewards based on the Age they lead to. 

  • Economic Wing
    • Fresh Foodstuffs (Feudal Age): Reduce the cost to produce villagers by -50%.
    • Agriculture (Castle Age): Improve villagers' gathering rate from farms by 15%.
    • Improved Processing (Imperial Age): Villagers drop off +8% more resources.
  • Military Wing
    • Camel Support (Feudal Age): Camels increase the armor of nearby infantry by +1
    • Camel Rider Shields (Castle Age): Grant camel riders shields, improving their melee armor by +3.
    • Boot Camp (Imperial Age): Increase the health of all infantry by +15%.
  • Culture Wing
    • Preservation of Knowledge (Feudal Age): Reduce the cost of all technology by -30%.
    • Medical Centers (Castle Age): Keeps heal nearby units for +2 health every 1 second.
    • Faith (Imperial Age): imams can convert units without holding a relic, but can only target a single unit.
  • Trade Wing
    • Spice Roads (Feudal Age): Increase the gold income from traders by +30%.
    • Armored Caravans (Castle Age): Grants +5 armor to traders and trade ships. 
    • Grand Bazaar (Imperial Age): Traders also return with a secondary resource. This resource is 25% the base gold value and is set at the market.

That's how you advance to the next age in Age of Empires 4. Some Landmarks are better than others depending on the civilization and, more precisely, your strategy, so choose wisely!

Age of Empires 4 Release Date Announced Alongside New Gameplay Sun, 13 Jun 2021 21:15:42 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Age of Empires 4 has been a long time in the making, and perhaps longer anticipated by the AoE community. Age of Empires 3 released way back in 2005 after all. But the wait is finally almost over. Age of Empires 4 releases on October 28 for PC. It will be available through Steam and  Game Pass for PC. 

The release date and new gameplay trailer were revealed during the Xbox/Bethesda E3 2021 showcase. The in-game trailer showcases everything Age of Empires fans have come to expect from the series over the years: base building, resource gathering, relatively large-scale real-time battles on land and in the sea, and historical figures and civilizations. 

From previous showcases and trailers, we know that the game focuses on the medieval period, much like Age of Empires 2. The trailer above features knights, trebuchets, elephants, and castles. Though it's unclear which historical figures will ultimately round out the playable heroes in the game's campaigns, Joan of Arc will be one of them. Previously, developer Relic Entertainment unveiled the Norman Conquest campaign with King Harold and Duke William of Normandy. 

Previously, Relic unveiled four civilizations: the English, Mongols, Chinese, and Delhi Sultanate. The trailer above highlights two more civilizations in the French and Abbasid Dynasty, according to an AoE4 blog post following the reveal. 

The French were revealed alongside the 100 Years War campaign, allowing players to place themselves in the battles fought between the English and French in the 14th and 15th centuries. The French thrive in trade, with the Chamber of Commerce and Royal Institute landmarks helping strengthen a player’s late game. Royal Knights are one of the civilization’s special units with a fearsome charge ability.

Making a heroic appearance in the trailer is French heroine and icon Joan of Arc, who also has a starring role in the game’s key art. Teenage Joan rallied her country and led armies into battle against the occupying English. Age of Empires II fans fell in love with Joan in the title’s campaign and the development teams are excited to see her return.

Both the Age of Empires 4 standard edition and deluxe edition are up for pre order now on Steam for $59.99 and $79.99 respectively. The digital deluxe edition a coat of arms, a player profile portrait, a monument, a digital soundtrack, a unit counters chart, and a Craig Mullins art compilation, according to Relic and Microsoft. Stay tuned for more.