First of all, thank you for bringing Age of Empires Online back in this way. Congratulations to the team. ====== Preface: ====== Do note that this is for PvE only, as I don't pvp (and if I did, I would probably be something like rank 1100-1200 on voobly, so). I will also not include villager distribution, although as a general note you might want at least 60 vils (less in some civs due to population limits) and 15 to 20 caravans. Also have a force of at least 30 units to defend yourself while building up your early eco and decide where you want to go from there. --------------- ======================== General notes for all civilizations: ======================== - Have 60 or more Villagers for resource gathering. You can sacrifice some of them later on when resources run dry to replace them for caravans or addition to your army. - Have at least 15 caravans giving you gold starting from age II. You can delay some of them until age III if you like for population space. This will help you tremendously while aging up and creating your army. - Don't get upgrades that you don't or won't need. It's easy to fall into the trap of getting the stone upgrades in the storehouse, simply because it will net you more stone in the long run. But, if you are not going to get stone at that moment, then skip on it until you are going to mine it. Same for other resources or army upgrades. If your composition won't use them, don't get them. - Keep in mind that the gold that Caravans make is capped at 150 gold (with the distance they travel being the factor in how much gold they make per trip). You usually don't need to make their trade route longer than it needs to be. It's better to be safe than to be greedy, and eventually lose your trade. - Go with a plan, and stick to it. If you choose cavalry, go for things that will benefit cavalry first, and then worry about upgrading things for other parts of your army. That is not to say to not create units for other parts of your army, but rather making what you will immediately use stronger sooner. - Don't panic if your hear horns going everywhere. Remember that this is an RTS, and usually those revolve around war. War is part of any civilization - either for territorial space, defending or conquest. Don't think of them as an ultimatum, but rather as a means to say 'oh, alright, this is what I have to do now'. You will hear horns, and you will like it. - If you are in a Co-Op game, remember that you are a team, and need to work as such. Speak to your team mate before starting the quest, and decide who is going to do what. If you decide to be a slinger for your team, then work on little army purposes, while providing your carry with the resources they need to get the job done. If you are the carry, remember not to over commit and end up wasting the resources your slinger has given you. If you are both going to solo-style play in a Co-Op mission, then decide which sides are going to be attacked by either party and focus on those sides to whittle down the enemy effectively. In the end, you both work to get rewards and coinage. --------------- ================ Civilization overviews: ================ ---------- Celts: ---------- No kidding about infantry civ. Their woad riders rock almost anything, and if paired up with champions, they become an unstoppable force. Later on you might want to add stone throwers for walls exclusively while champions/woads take out units and buildings. No need for archer/cavalry units unless you want some early game protection before replacing them. Focus on fast teching to age III before anything. In the early game, make a combination of either spearmen or long swordmen with slingers to protect yourself. Make druids and keep making druids until you have a number you are comfortable with. For a late game army then in this case, you want druids to boost up your damage and heal you, augurs to convert enemy units and sacrifice animals for boosts, woad riders along with champions to attack an enemy base along with some stone throwers to take out walls easier. Their walls and towers are weaker compared to other civilizations, as you can't upgrade them completely, and will most likely be taken out by elite units in mass in the late-game (elite or legendary missions). So if you can, stick to using your own units as your walls and have a defending army while attacking. You will also struggle with wood in some instances, and do keep in mind that this is the only civ that requires you to build a certain number of houses before you age up, so don't forget to build houses as you are chopping wood to be ready to age up when you want to, not when you need to. ------------ Greeks: ------------ The dispensable army civilization. In the early game, you want to have some spearmen / hypaspists paired up with archers in a line distribution (archers on the side of your infantry, not behind) This will prove useful when the enemy brings in archers of their own to attack you. You might want to add one or two watch posts to see where your enemies are coming from. As you tech* up, start replacing your infantry with hoplites and horses, keep your archers. At age IV archers become gastraphetes for better coverage. Equipment here is not as important as it is to have a diverse army with them. As for siege, you can go for palintonons for their long range while you send in your cavalry to sponge the damage, or you can combine your army with ballistas to both destroy buildings and their army. Do not forget about their useful academy upgrades which you can start getting from age II. This will make everything much easier and quicker for you, alongside making your army very powerful during the mid to late game. ---------------- Egyptians: ---------------- Sort of a cavalry civ with goddesses. Early game is all about countering what your enemy is doing while you tech up yourself. You have a nifty priestess which you can use to power up your gathering of resources building your echo, but don't go too crazy on them. Rely more on actual vils for resources. Get a market and a safe trade route early on. You can try to raid with your cavalry and slingers so that you distract your enemy from getting resources themselves. If you are not confident on this, simply turtle up with no more than two castles and get your armory upgrades early. Earlier than other civs. Late game, the options are simple: elephants. If you are about level 15 and have the armored elephant card. Use that instead, and keep it until your elephants have gear that surpass the stats of your armored ones. Use slingers and archer elephants for defending and have two to three palintonons to siege while your elephants take the bulk of the damage. If possible, use your Priests to convert useful buildings to yourself from your enemies, and also to stop them from creating units themselves. ------------- Persians: ------------- Persians were confusing to me at first (Yes, this is actually the line I will use). Their variety of units seems daunting, but don't worry about it too much. If you go back to the Greek section, Persians are very much alike, with many possibilities, although not dispensable as them. You want to have sparabaras early on, and usually 30 of them will do you nicely in both early and late game. Get both their champion and Shield wall upgrades for better stalling during your eco process. Pair them up with bowmen and don't worry about takabaras (unless you are in missions like defeat or recapture Chytroi, in which they excel) - while they are good themselves, their range is outclassed by other bowmen from other civilizations if you don't worry about microing them and more often than not the enemy will defeat some or most of your army before they get to do much damage. As for horses, asabaras are great for countering things like archers and also surprise sieges with catapults (stone throwers). If you are really inclined, you can replace the asabaras later on with cataphracts which will give a ton of value in return for both defending and attacking. Do not forget also that you have war wagons, which will absolutely destroy the archer line, but also infantry due to their pierce armor values, but do babysit them with some cavalry and priests to keep those horses alive. Finally, Persians also have the immortal unit, which is a combination of an archer and a swordsman. They will help you defend your base, but will be very costly on your population initially, until you get the age IV upgrade to make them cost 1 less population. And even if they are their signature unit, I honestly cannot recommend them for all missions, as they power will be overshadowed by asabaras and cataphracts, and their tank usefulness by sparabaras with the shield wall upgrade. They will still be good in other situations when you need a defense against infantry and archers at the same time. The exclusive card they get will help them where they need it most if you happen to get one of them. Try them out and see if you prefer them over sparabaras for your infantry pick. --------- Norse: --------- Yeah, they are pretty much infantry as well. Though this time around, they get to be the stars of the infantry race without too much investment. Unlike the Celts, which rely on variety for their siege, you can pretty much take out absolutely everything in the game with just berserkers. Because they are that good. And if you get their champion upgrade -- yeah, they are pretty much walking tanks. Early game is all about setting up gold eco with markets and your vils, then moving on stone as they don't need castles or towers to protect themselves. Though, their castles are pretty good, and for me it feels as if they build faster than other civs (might be my imagination though or haven't been looking at the numbers in close detail). And they also shoot fire, because dragons. If you feel that the berserker exclusive strategy is not working out for you, or if it's getting stale, mix it up with some skirmishers and horsemen to defend and attack, and use your raiders to, well, ride very early where applicable. Or in the case of the mid to late game, to attack defenseless villagers that no longer have resources inside their walls (happens a lot with gold). Camp them out and move them inbetween locations to stop their eco to force them to use the market (won't make much of a difference in pve, but it still works once you see their number of units become half of what they were). Same as the Celts, use log throwers for walls, and let the berserker horde unleash. Explore with your seer and create a chief to make those units of yours meatshields forever. Also, make some healing priests. Because they look adorable while singing (and also keep your army alive). ----------------- Babylonians: ----------------- Beautiful design on their buildings, useful gardens to boost your food income and protection. This civilization is built all around having the economy to sustain yourself. Have many defenses and successful attacks. Their main strength lies in their cavalry, although their infantry line has many uses. They work as more of a countering strategy than the usual attacking infantry, so keep that in mind. Use your sappers for early wall breaking and raiding with your lancers to give yourself an edge while booming. As for the archer line, Slingers are much, much better than bowmen for pve purposes, so use those in conjunction with your shield bearers for defense and use your plethora of cavalry to attack. Speaking of, Lancers will destroy buildings and infantry. Chariot archers will prove very useful for hit and run tactics, though they tend to be very weak against other cavalry, so microing will be needed when attacking. Mounted archers will cover for you if you don't feel like using chariot archers, and your War Chariots are comparable to the Persian war wagons if you have the numbers to simulate them. This is probably the only civ I'll recommend using rams (siege towers in this case) due to the fact that they are not only tanky for towers and archer fire, but also because at any point you can ungarrison your infantry to destroy horses or other infantry that might come to get them (and also sappers inside will make short work of walls when you ungarrison them). Don't forget that you want to make ox carts while making villagers for efficient resource gathering - Because this civilization does not have storehouses. Build gardens (the build limit goes up by 4 for every tech up you do after age II for a total of 12). Use this to your advantage while using the market yourself to quickly get armory upgrades and Ziggurat upgrades to keep your population in control (as ox carts also use 1 pop per). Palintonons are still very useful, and work extremely well with your cavalry and siege tower combo, so make a few of those as well if you feel the need to, or want to harass the insides of your enemies' bases before going all in. --------------- ========== The rest of it: ========== That's pretty much of it. Now, this is all based on my knowledge and what has worked for me. This is not exactly an end all be all for everything. Things can change with future patches and some units might be nerfed, changed, buffed, same as buildings and utility. But at the end of the day, it is all about booming up while you the chance to do so and then counter attacking a much more advanced base than yours in PvE. PvE is not locked to a specific meta. Some things are more efficient, yes, but if you want to defeat your enemy using only villagers and towers, you can totally do so through attrition (one quest in particular needs you to do this for an optional mission). If you want to simulate the old F2P experience and use only Uncommon gear, 2 storehouses for your items, no Empire Bank and all other things that went with it until level 40 (or whatever other arbitrary limitation you want to use), you can also do that as well. The most important part of it is that you learn, and as corny as it sounds, have fun while playing the game. This is for your enjoyment and progression, so take everything as part of that learning experience.