A beginner's guide to Age of Empires 4. How to succeed in peacetime, how to win a war and choose the right nation


A beginner's guide to Age of Empires 4. How to succeed in peacetime, how to win a war and choose the right nation

The release of Age of Empires 4 delighted many fans of the genre in general and this eminent series in particular. The game retained the merits of the previous parts of the franchise and added several new ideas to the mechanics. Veterans of RTS felt right at home: the game is similar in many ways to previous releases of the brand. Beginners will need some practical advice, following which they can quickly achieve success in the virtual spaces of the Middle Ages.

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How to quickly master game control

Immediately about the unpleasant: the active pause, which worked properly in Age of Empires 2-3, as well as in the ancient branch of Age of Mythology , is absent in the fourth numbered part. The game requires fine unit control and we will have to strive for this strictly in real time. To save your nerves, we will immediately assign hotkeys. To do this, let's recall the classic combination Ctrl + number key.

It is not difficult to build a soldier. But they will break the line anyway
It is not difficult to build a soldier. But they will break the line anyway 

You should immediately assign at least your own national heroes, shooters and melee combat fighters to the hotkeys, all the listed comrades need to be controlled according to a separate scheme, highlighting these units with one frame will not lead to anything good. Also, be sure to assign a hotkey for scouts, maps in Age of Empires 4 can be very spacious, fumbling through forests and hills in search of your light riders is quite tiring.

It's a good idea to have a fixed key for a group of peasants as well. You may need a rapid response squad for urgent repairs and firefighting. Even if your army has gone on a campaign of conquest, it is not bad to have several peaceful workers next to the knights, whom you can quickly select with the press of a single button.

On the control panel, experienced strategists will not find the usual icons with commands for patrolling and guarding, here we again run into the need for careful control of the soldiers. Listen to the sound signals, they will warn about the detection of the enemy, even if you are busy at the other end of the location. It's also worth keeping an eye on the mini-map in the corner of the interface: each encounter will be marked with a red icon. 

Skirmishes need to react quickly, all fights here are usually fleeting.
Skirmishes need to react quickly, all fights here are usually fleeting. 

The choice of lines of behavior for units in Age of Empires 4 is generally limited, and only the aggressive movement mode will be especially important for you (displayed at the bottom of the screen on the command bar for fighters). If you activate this mode and point to the point for the transfer of soldiers, then your squad, without unnecessary coercion, attacks any enemy on its route. If this mode is not used, then the soldiers sent on the campaign will sullenly stomp towards the target, not paying attention to external stimuli. Even if enemy spears become such irritants.

How to use the strengths of different nations

There are fewer different nationalities in the new game compared to the previous parts of the series. Although we know that in our time this situation is easily corrected by the release of DLC. At the moment, eight nations are available to us.

The differences between different armies are not as clearly marked as, for example, in Total War: Warhammer with its asymmetry of rivals. But the characteristic features of each of the eight peoples of Age of Empires 4 abound. These features are not immediately apparent, but are important, especially in multiplayer.

If the economy and the army are well developed, each side of the conflict will be approximately equal in strength. Therefore, in every match, it is especially important not to miss out on national opportunities at the start. 

So, in the first minutes of the game, when your village is more like a poor peasant's farm, the national peculiarity of Muscovites will be very useful. Russians are rewarded in gold for every wild animal they kill, while hunters in other countries can only boast of fresh meat from the hunt. Keep in mind that you can find different inhabitants of the forest in the forest. If a deer or a lone wolf can be stabbed by two or three hunters with spears, then a seasoned Russian boar will lay down a detachment of five spearmen and go further on his boar business.

But the British at the start of the game session can immediately send heavy infantry into battle. These fighters are good in their resistance to injuries, although they do not shine with speed. And good armor became especially appreciated in Age of Empires 4 with the disappearance of the active pause (something tells us that such an option will be added with one of the patches, because the active pause worked perfectly in the previous games of the series and is very necessary in the massive fights of the fourth part). English heavy men at arms will withstand a lot of enemy kicks, and you can even catch your wounded with the cursor and take them to the rear for treatment, you will have time for this.

Mongolian nomads, as in Age of Empires 2, wipe everyone's nose with their cavalry. Mounted fighters are immediately available to the Golden Horde, while other nations from the party's stratum have only foot units. The strength of the Mongol army is in horse archers. These nimble arrows can fire bows on the move, quickly dodging enemy attacks and inflicting constant damage. The single player campaign for the nomads begins with the battle on the Kalka River, where the Mongolian cavalry must ambush the Russians. Interestingly, this tactic works in other situations as well, enemy units will unsuccessfully chase horse archers, constantly receiving arrows from your soldiers and moving in the direction you need. In online battles, such a pursuit will quickly be stopped by an attentive opponent player. But the scale of Age of Empires 4 is large, and the player may simply not keep track of the troops running after your cavalrymen. 

Nomads in the game rely on cavalry, as in real history
Nomads in the game rely on cavalry, as in real history 

Also, the Mongols, as is customary among nomads, can fold and move their base. This is useful at the final stage of the game, when you need to organize a massive attack on the enemy's capital. If your city is located far from the enemy, reinforcements for the assault will spend an indecent lot of time on the march from their native barracks to the enemy walls.

The Abbasid dynasty resists horse attacks better than others, their unique units are called anti-cavalry. This faction also builds the cheapest marinas. The Delhi Sultanate is distinguished by its scholars and monstrous war elephants. The French have the best knightly cavalry and keep-donjons, which improve all buildings in the sphere of influence. The Holy Roman Empire has prelates who bless peasants for labor exploits. And the Chinese indulge in gunpowder, their siege units are the fastest to destroy enemy cities.
Each nation has many small differences, you need to choose wisely.

How to properly organize treatment, repair and exploration

As you move into the next historical era, the game will offer you a choice of two monumental buildings. Please note that at the time of this transition, your nation may not be able to heal the injured. In the game, health units are automatically restored only for heroes, like the Norman king William. This means that in the early eras, we need to be sure to attend to the medical services of our nation. So, the British will have an abbey available, which will automatically heal any unit near their walls. Build a monastery for priests as soon as possible, and build all the ingenious forges later, they will not play such an important role in the party as a medieval ambulance establishment! 

Proven empirically: even if you rivet several barracks and shooting ranges, healing wounded veterans will be faster and more effective than releasing new soldiers from the walls of military commissariats. Although in Age of Empires 4, fighters do not gain experience and do not grow in ranks, as in previous games of the series.

When arranging your regional center, it is worth allocating a separate emergency brigade in case of any emergency: situations are not uncommon when we need urgent repairs. Pay attention to the mechanics of fires: when the icon with the image of a fire lights up near the building, it means that the house is on fire. Enemies no longer need to hurl torches at him, the house will burn by itself. The extinguishing takes place quite quickly, if there would be smerds free from work at hand. Hotkeys to help you. Repair work can be successfully carried out directly under enemy fire: workers will often repair a building faster than a squad of raiders inflict damage to the building. At the same time, the enemy AI often ignores repairmen, soldiers will throw torches at your tower while it is being successfully restored. In order for the attackers to kill the peasants, they need a separate team to change targets. The same, by the way, was the case in the old, two-dimensional parts of Age of Empires.

It is also worth noting that the party may drag on. Send scouts to open the map as soon as possible. Just select a scout and click on the dark area of ​​the minimap. If there is a lake or an impassable thicket, the scout will simply remain in place. The resources of your shah tend to deplete, and if the map is explored in advance, you can quickly send peasants to new deposits of gold and stone. You will not have time to wander at random along unknown lands.

How to fight

In the military phase of the game, you need to immediately grasp an important nuance: all soldiers have physical density. That is, the military does not pass through each other, as it happened in the RTS ten years ago. Fighters in Age of Empires 4 are also not trained to elegantly bypass companions. As a result, without fine control, your army will quickly collapse into a useless heap. The horsemen will be stuck among the infantry, and the foot soldiers will not be able to deploy the formation to attack, pushing their comrades in the back. There is one way to deal with this mess: keep different types of troops at a distance from each other. Assign units to hotkeys and assign them directions for attack so that the routes do not cross. Real historical tactics work well here: fighters in heavy armor push in a straight line, cavalry attacks from the flanks, archers fire from a respectful distance. 

When the hot stage of medieval showdown begins, keep a close eye on your hero generals. These unique units not only have high levels of damage and armor, but also use active skills. Mongol generals, for example, are trained to fire signal arrows, increasing the speed of allied cavalry. The generals are actually immortal, but having received a lot of slaps, they fall unconscious right on the battlefield. As soon as such a nuisance happens, urgently allocate any of your soldiers to revive the boss. To do this, the warriors interface has a separate icon at the top of the command panel. The revived general will have an incomplete number of Health Points, but will be able to immediately continue the battle.

When your army gets to the enemy walls, do not forget about personal assignment of targets for the shooters. When you start damaging an enemy village, its workers will start repairing buildings with the stubbornness of suicides right in the midst of an attack. If you do not give the soldiers the order to eliminate the repairmen, your subordinates will not notice the peaceful population of the enemy for a long time. And repairs, as mentioned above, can go faster in the game than destruction.

The new Age of Empires is good precisely because everyone can find their own unique scheme for achieving success. Go for it, experiment. Our tips will help you quickly navigate the turbulent life of the local Middle Ages. 

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