Age of Empires IV is the most recent instalment in the real-time strategy series. After 16 years, the game has returned with even more civilisations for players to take the role of, all having their own pros and cons. The first mode of the campaign sees players fight as The Normans.
In this guide, we've explained some tips and tricks for taking on these missions.
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Ultimately, the English Civilisation is best known for its strong defenses. Players first priorities should be making the most of cheap resources, which means creating as many villagers as possible to collect them for you. Players will then need to ensure they have more villagers farming for food than they do for wood. At this point too, farming for gold and stone is not as important until you advance further. With an abundance of resources to hand, it's time to advance to Age 2, then mine for stone and create an army with a strong defense.
After having advanced, players can build an Archery Range and a Stable to produce Longbowmen and Horsemen. Players can also use the Barracks from Age 1 to recruit Hardened Spearmen. When it comes to tackling The Normans campaign and utilising English capabilities, we have two methods of approaching that are suited to both inexperienced and more experienced players.
Rushing an Attack
One way to approach a mission is to go in for a rushed attack. Using the resources gathered earlier, players can produce a mass of Longbowmen at the Archery Range to take down enemies from a distance. These archers are great at defending themselves and can do a wealth of damage from a distance if you have enough of them. By teaming the Longbowmen up with some melee infantry, such as Hardened Spearmen or Vanguard Man-at-Arms from the Barracks, this can prove to be a strong fight.
The Longbowmen should do most of the work, but the melee infantry will be able to take down the opponents archers and any of their infantry who get too close. Provided a player's villagers are still gathering resources, players will be able to keep producing more Longbowmen and their chosen form of melee infantry to assist with the attack, should the infantry get taken down.
When struggling, players can also employ the use of Battering Rams and Siege Towers when going for a rushed attack. The Battering Ram is ideal for when players' need to attack and destroy buildings. They're also strong against opponents arrows, but weak to melee damage. Therefore, try to not let battering rams get too close to melee infantry and keep them busy with other infantry.
On the other hand, Siege Towers will keep a players infantry safe until they break through enemy walls, so they can go in for the attack immediately at full health. With this in mind, Siege Towers can easily be used to distract and attack melee opponents, while Battering Rams work at destroying villages and outposts where necessary.
This method of attacking will work well in the early game, but as players' advance and opponents get stronger, it is important to consider defence and stealth.
Staying on the Defence
The English Civilisation has a wealth of buildings in Ages 2 and 3, including Towers and Keeps. These will significantly help defend a players' villagers and ultimately assist with completing the mission. This is a much better option for missions later in the campaign that can't be completed solely with rushed attacks. Additionally, having villagers now also farm for stone, or spending gold acquired on the stone using the Market is important too.
Stone Walls help with defence more than Palisade Walls, as they can't be attacked using torches. Building Stone Towers around these walls and having Longbowmen defend them will be beneficial if opponents come for the attack, as they can fire back from a distance while taking 66% less damage. As the enemy army tries to make its way through the walls, Longbowmen will weaken them. Have a small army of melee infantry such as Spearmen and Vanguard Man-at-Arms behind your walls prepared for battle. Then, as the weakened opponent breaks through, the infantry should have no issue clearing them out and keeping the village safe.
Obviously, the Attack versus Defend methods won't work for every mission faced on the campaign. In some cases, players will need to intercept opponents with a strong infantry or ambush them from nearby forests unexpectedly. In this case, it is important to utilise Scouts and build Outposts in forests so that they can see, and attack, nearby opponents.
Knowing what defensive and attack mechanisms work will certainly assist players during these other elements of the campaign. Ultimately, farming a mass of resources, advancing Ages, learning new technology from the Blacksmith and upgrading Keeps will form a strong infantry and defence that can never fail; it just sometimes isn't that easy under certain time constraints!
Good luck with your time exploring various civilisations and their technology, and don't forget to always try to stay on the defence where you can to save your infantry and resources. If the Campaign isn't taking your fancy, then we recommend playing multiplayer.