Advanced Age of Empires II Tips

Age of Empires II is a very hard game to master and there isn’t as much online documentation as other games. For this reason, I decided to write this collection of advanced Age of Empires II tips to help you guys (and gals) out! I hope you enjoy them!

When in combat, use the terrain to your advantage

You may be outnumbered, but if you use the terrain to your advantage, your army WILL win. Per example, always try and fight on top of a hill, your troops do more damage if they have the height advantage. Furthermore, castles and towers should be placed on top of hills when possible.

Also, try and use choke points to your advantage. Let’s imagine we have an army composed of forty arbalests and 20 champions. What you’ll want to do is to send the champions to the front, blocking the whole passage, so that the enemy cavalry can’t reach your arbalests.

Age of Empires - Using the terrain

Try and collect food from just one animal at a time

The second you kill an animal in Age of Empires, it starts rotting and you lose food. To minimize the impact of this, try and collect food from as few animals as possible. This requires a lot of micromanagement, but it might just give you that slight edge that’ll make you win the game.

Bring sheep/boar UNDER your Town Centre

If you kill a sheep or boar far from your Town Centre, your villagers will waste time carrying the food. That’s why you should always kill the animal DIRECTLY under the Town Centre so, when the villager’s full, he will drop the food instantaneously.

Age of Empires - Animals under Town Centre

Explore with your sheep

Vision wins games. The quicker you find your boars/deer/sheep, the better it is. Since you shouldn’t be killing all of your sheep at the same time, use the spare ones to explore. You’ll have much better vision of the area surrounding your Town Centre, and this frees up your scout to go find the enemy base(s).

When building a forward tower, surround it with palisades

This is especially useful in the feudal age, when you don’t have Murder Holes. Since towers have a minimum attack range, they are very vulnerable to men-at-arms and other melee units. As soon as they get to the tower, it’s helpless. The best way to counter this and ensure your tower does damage is to surround it with palisades. The enemy units will have to destroy the palisades in order to attack the tower, but this puts them in range of the tower’s attacks.

Age of Empires - Surround towers with palisades


This tower is just perfect. It zones off the player from both his forage bushes and his gold mine, while being on top of a hill and surrounded with palisades. If the enemy manages to build something like this in your town, you’ve lost. 

In water maps, invest heavily into gold and wood, then spam boats

I know many people who follow the same build order in land maps and water maps. Don’t do this… In water maps, you gain a massive advantage by controlling the waters. As soon as you start researching the feudal age, shift most of your villagers to wood and gold. Then, build a dock as quickly as possible and start spamming fishing ships with a few galleys. This means you’ll basically be creating two resource-producing units at the same time (villager and fishing boats). It’s equivalent to having two Town Centres in the Feudal age.

Don’t research all the available technologies right away

It can be tempting to research Town Watch, but you need to set priorities, especially in the feudal age. Some techs are essential, like Loom and Double-Bit Axe, but you might want to skip Horse Collar and Gold Mining in order to build an army as quickly as possible. This will also help you get to the Castle age quicker, where you’ll be able to boom your economy and pay for these upgrades.


That’s it for today, I’ll try and post more tips in the future. In the meanwhile, if you have anything to suggest, let me know in the comments section down below!


How to bring back the old hotkeys in Age of Empires II HD Steam edition

The other day, I visited the Steam store only to find Age of Empires II HD, with the Forgotten expansion for 5$. Having once been an avid AOE II player, I decided to buy the game to bring back some old memories.

So I fire up the game and start a simple standard game. I am then horror-struck when I realize that the hotkeys have been changed. Being too lazy to relearn all of the hotkeys, I set off to find a way to bring back the old hotkeys in Age of Empires II. Fortunately, there’s an easy method:

  1. First off, go to your Steam library, right-click on you Age of Empires, and click on Properties.Age of empires properties
  2. Next, do to the “Local Files” tab and click the “Browse local files” button.Browse local files
  3. This will bring up a list of files and folders. Click on the “Bin” folder, then the “en” folder.
  4. You should now see two files: en-language.txt and en-language_x2.txt. Open en-language.txt with Notepad.
  5. Using the search function (ctrl+f), find the following text and REMOVE it completely:

//Shortcut hotkeys overrides — NO LOCALIZATION REQUIRED
//Hotkeys made on QWERTY keyboard, for some languages (FR?), some keys could be switched to match AZERTY/QWERTZ or other common layouts
//Forgotten Empires uses a grid hotkey system.
4151 “A”
4152 “F”
4154 “S”
4155 “V”
4156 “T”
4157 “D”
4158 “R”
4168 “W”
4169 “Q”
4171 “X”
4173 “D”
4174 “Z”
4176 “S”
4177 “B”
4178 “W”
4179 “E”
4180 “Q”
4701 “X”
4702 “Z”
4703 “C”
4704 “V”
4709 “G”
16068 “S”
16078 “S”
16079 “A”
16085 “D”
16086 “F”
16087 “S”
16089 “Z”
16090 “A”
16092 “T”
16093 “F”
16094 “A”
16095 “S”
16096 “D”
16097 “S”
16099 “A”
16100 “A”
16101 “A”
16106 “V”
16121 “A”
16128 “W”
16135 “Q”
16138 “F”
16142 “C”
16144 “T”
16149 “A”
16156 “G”
16157 “W”
16161 “D”
16164 “Z”
16169 “R”
16171 “E”
16176 “G”
16178 “F”
16182 “X”
16185 “Z”
16186 “X”
16202 “S”
16203 “D”
16287 “G”
16326 “A”
16344 “Q”
16416 “D”
16426 “S”
16436 “F”
16443 “X”
16464 “R”
16487 “E”
16504 “A”
16660 “D”
16667 “F”
16679 “D”
16731 “C”


6. Save the en-language.txt file and repeat step 5 for en-language_x2.txt
7. Open Age of Empires, then on the main screen, click on Options->Hotkeys->Reset All Keys.

Resetting all hotkeys

There you go! You should now have the default hotkeys back!

I hope you’ve found this article helpful and don’t forget to come back for more,