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Kickstart your AoE2 Gameplay

Like many great games, Age of Empires II is easy to understand, yet hard to master. I often see people asking for help when getting started. Whether it’s about units and their counters, economy management, or microing units.

Here are a few resources – I am the first to admit that this is not an exhaustive list – that helped me, and might well help you, too.

I recommend getting your hotkeys sorted first. Many of the things explained below will be much easier, if you know at least your most common hotkeys.

1
Cicero’s Build Orders
Must Have!

Creator: Cicero7800

Cicero alone provides an abundance of helpful information. If you want to get right into the action, download his “Interactive Build Order Guide“.

Click the image to open a larger version in a new tab.

This is a mod for AoE2 with “a series of interactive tutorials for learning and practicing build orders.  It includes 20 scenarios, each with step-by-step instructions in both text and audio, and a scoring system that will mark you at several benchmarks leading to a final grade (A+ to F). Credits and thanks to ZeroEmpires for voicing these scenarios.”

If you think it is impossible to get an A+ rating, Cicero himself demonstrates how to do it for eight of the most popular build orders in this YouTube Playlist.

If you are more into reading and having a reference at hand, you could do much worse than checking his Build Order Reference website.

2
Build Orders, Uptimes,
Statistics

Creator: buildorderguide.com

Build Order Guide is a treasure trove for beginners and medium players. The site provides build orders and your match statistics.

You get
  • Build orders from various creators and players. You can search for a term – e.g., ‘Archers’ – and get build orders from Cicero, Hera, and others. You can then pick the one you like most and get a step-by-step walkthrough either as a list of instructions or – when using ‘Focus Mode’ – one instruction per page to click/swipe through on your (mobile) device.
  • An Uptime Calculator telling you the ideal times for Feudal and Castle Age depending on your chosen civilization, population, and loom research.
  • Your Elo ranking for RM and Team RM over time. It also gives you your win percentage depending on game length and performance per civilization.
    For this, you need to create an account and link it to your aoe2.net profile ID.
  • And more … but that’s beyond this post for beginners. I will come back to it in a later post, though.
3
Civs, Tech Tree,
Statistics

Creator: aoe2companion.com

The AoE2 Companion is a website and also available as apps for your mobile device as long as it is running on iOS or Android.

You get
  • The option to follow players. If you do so, you see a player’s latest matches including their opponents, civilizations, maps, and result.
  • Leaderboards for RM 1v1, RM Team, DM 1v1/Team (for now, soon to be replaced with EW, I suppose), and Unrated
  • A list of all civilizations with their civ bonus. By clicking on a civilization, you immediately find
  • The civilization’s details including
    • Bonus
    • Unique Units
    • Unique Techs
    • Team Bonus
    • Tech Tree
  • An embedded version of buildorderguide.com. In other words, with this app, you can have an all-in-one companion providing you with details about players, games, civilizations, build orders, and statistics. All for free.

These are my top 3 recommendations for beginners. I will follow this up with another post and even more helpful resources for medium to advance players.

There we will look at game mechanics, unit control, eco balancing, decision making, and more.

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