Age of Empires 4 is the most recent game in the real-time strategy series. This instalment can be rather overwhelming to beginners given all the game modes on offer, and there is always plenty to be learnt for veterans too. With that in mind, here are some tips and tricks to help get players started.
Read More: Age of Empires 4: How to Get and Use Stone
You Can Skip The Tutorial
You might expect to open Age of Empires 4, adjust your accessibility settings, and then be able to get started with trying out Skirmish mode or playing with friends in multiplayer. Yet, that is not the case, as you'll be immediately thrown into a rather lengthy tutorial.
If you're new to the game, we certainly recommend going through with the tutorial to get yourself used to the controls and various keyboard shortcuts. However, if you're familiar with Age of Empires or real-time strategy games, you can skip right to it. Just open your escape menu, then select 'Skip to Main Menu'. From here, the choice is yours regarding what you want to do next.
Try Different Civilisations
When playing the Age of Empires 4 Campaign, players will start as the English civilisation. With this civilisation being one of the easiest in the game to play, given that they're masters of defence, it makes sense that the Campaign begins with this. We have some tips on playing as the English here, but there is no need for a player to limit themselves to a single civilisation.
As players spend more time on the game and even consider the other modes on offer, it's worth trying to see what the other seven civilisations are capable of and which one works best for every individual's playstyle. Some civilisations will specialise in their infantry, technology, or farming. So, it's best to try a few out and see which ones are most likely to help with succeeding missions and matches.
We have a handy guide on each civilisations capabilities here, but players can check this out for themselves - with no added pressure - by playing the Skirmish mode solo.
Farming for Resources
To be able to build any defence mechanisms, technology buildings or infantry production units, players will need to farm. There are 4 resources to gather in Age of Empires 4, and they are as follows:
- Food: Villagers can gather this from farms, berry bushes or animals. They will deposit resources at the Town Centre or nearby Mills.
- Wood: Villagers can collect wood by being assigned to cutting down trees. A Lumber Camp should be placed nearby so they can deposit resources quickly.
- Stone: Villagers can go mining for stone at Stone Outcroppings.
- Gold: Villagers can go mining for gold at Gold Veins.
Villagers mining for either stone or gold should have a Mining Camp nearby to be able to quickly deposit their resources. With enough Villagers on each resource, players will be able to build more important mechanisms and develop a strong infantry in no time.
Having a Strong Defence
As players would expect, defending their town is very important when it comes to competing with opponents. Depending on the civilisation, players can build Palisade Walls or Stone Walls around their buildings and farms in an attempt to protect Villagers and constructions.
Unless playing as the Rus, who have extra strong Palisades, we recommend having Villagers mine for stone and trying to get Stone Walls built around the town as quickly as possible. Once this is done, players can build Gates for entry points. It is then worth building Towers along Stone Walls and positioning Longbowmen across the top of these towers so that they can attack incoming opponents while taking less damage. This will weaken the opponent before they invade a players town.
Additionally, Keeps can be built using stone which will help defend the town once opponents have invaded. Keeps tend to be vital against infantry and archers but can crumble under the attack of cavalry and siege weapons. So, keep this in mind when there is an incoming attack.
Building an Army
In order to defend a town or invade others, players will need to have a strong army of melee infantry, archers and cavalry. Players can produce these by constructing the following buildings:
- Barracks: The Barracks is available during Age 1, and can produce melee infantry.
- Archery Range: The Archery Range is available after reaching Age 2, and can produce archers.
- Stables: The Stables is available after reaching Age 2, and can produce cavalry.
It is important to have a mixture of all three types of infantry when it comes to going to war. We recommend having more archers on hand than infantry and cavalry, as these soldiers can do a lot of damage from a distance and are key in defending a players town from atop its walls. However, do not neglect melee infantry and cavalry, as these will be required to keep opponents distracted from destroying buildings, walls and a players leader when playing Campaign mode. After learning Siege Engineering from the Blacksmith (mentioned below), players can also have their army build Battering Rams and Siege Towers to help with their attacks.
Advancing Through The Ages
Through the gathering of resources - namely food, wood and gold - players can advance through the Ages 1 to 4. With each advance, there is a choice of two buildings to construct. The difference between the two buildings available will vary depending on civilisation, and each building will grant different bonuses to a players town.
Once built, players will have successfully advanced Age and have access to different buildings to construct that can aid their battle. For example, Archery Ranges and Stables are only available in Age 2. So, if a player wishes to have an army of Longbowmen, they'll need to advance to Age 2 promptly.
Learn New Technology
As players advance through the ages and play as various civilisations, there will be different research to undertake. By building technology buildings, such as the Blacksmith or University, players can research ways in which to improve their infantry, siege weapons, resource gathering and buildings. With this knowledge, a town will become stronger and more efficient, and military units will be more impactful when in a battle against opponents.
Playing Age of Empires 4 as a complete beginner can be overwhelming, as there is a lot to take in. However, these tips consist of everything you need to be aware of before getting started. If you're still unsure, be sure to have practice in Skirmish mode or in Multiplayer mode with A.I. or friends before commencing with the Campaign. Or, you can play the Campaign in 'Story Mode' - a difficulty easier than 'Easy' - to make things a little easier on yourself.