How to Progress as a Newbie in 2023: Advice for a Casual Gamer Finally Attempting to Improve Their Skills.

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    The author is struggling to learn all the nuances of playing Age of Empires II as a casual player and is seeking advice on how to improve their gameplay.

    They have been practicing for five days and have a good handle on the first fifteen villages, but struggle with adapting their build order for maps with alternate starting resources.

    They can beat the Moderate AI but struggle with the Hard AI and are hesitant to take their game online until they feel more confident in their fundamentals.

    They are also open to suggestions for different Civs that offer a fun and unique playstyle.


    dark age = food age, gather as much food to get yourself to feudal then throw 10 on wood,
    feudal age = walling and a bit of military, keep producing if you are open, if you can do damage before they wall, you are in a good spot, finish walling and build houses behind palisades while booming up to 18ish farms.

    remember to go to gold early enough.

    castle age = go all in or boom to imp, booming will require a small army of crossbows and maybe some seige to defend your walls and TCs, all ins will require some planning, additional military buildings, forward siege to pressure opponents.

    At around 30 farmers you should be saving resources for imp.

    imperial age = keep making vills up to around 130, use castles and siege to gain map position, make a gold unit, a trash unit and a siege unit as your comp and fully upgrade them to really push.


    Watch Hera’s guide to 2k, he’ll go over a hell of a lot of stuff better than I can in a few paragraphs.

    I think you can learn a lot of the theory behind how players play, but actually getting good always takes a lot of play.


    I would recommend learning a few build orders that let you be aggressive before castle age (21-22pop).

    Fast castle is fun and can work on walled maps but your gameplay will probably improve quicker if you force yourself to try and attack in feudal age WHILE continuing to make villagers.

    For Incas, learn an archer build into castle age siege.

    Then for a variation throw in some eagles for raiding or to counter skirmishers.

    If you like off meta stuff learn a camel civ to counter the mass cavalry you will (probably) see in ranked games.

    You might as well get into ranked.

    Make yourself play one ranked game when you play before going back to practice with the AI.

    disclaimer I am 950 ELO


    I guess an achievable first goal is to consistently beat Hard AI in a macro game (that is, a game that reaches Imperial Age), without cheesy tactics like tower spam.

    The main thing here is to improve your macro to the point where you can get Castle Age at the same time as the Hard AI or earlier, while producing a small Feudal Age military for defense (most of the time this AI does early archer/skirmisher aggression, and sometimes scouts) and getting enough stone to be able to build a castle right when Castle Age kicks in.

    I find that it helps to hotkey my TC and some production buildings so that I can always easily make more villagers.

    I suggest making the first castle close to the enemy base, using your small initial force to defend it while it is building.

    If you can start winning games from this point, I’m not saying you will be good, but at least you will have a basic grasp of macro and you can start thinking about the next hill to climb.


    A recommendation i always make to new competitive players that are feeling clueless in their games is to break down the skills needed and learn them slowly one by one.

    This means dont try to learn how to eco boom at the same time you try learn how to crossbow micro.

    A quick draft would look like this: (1).

    Practice Early game Eco, zero Idle TC, dont get housed, boar luring(You seem to have this one down) (2.) Practice Mid Game Eco.

    Setting up TCs and booming to 75 vils as quick as possible.

    This step is deceptively hard, so ignoring military for the time being can help. (3.) Practice Eco+Military Macro.

    Macromanaging both a growing eco and Producing units is hard enough, so dont attack till you feel ready. (4.) Now try attacking at the same time that you grow your eco.

    Try either a FC-Knights or a Feudal Rush.


    Aoe2 is a game where players are expected to do multiple things at the same time, making muscle memory very important.

    By learning skills one at a time, you give more time for this muscle memory to kick in.

    This avoids getting overwhelmed mid game by freeing up your mental resources.

    Source: Can beat extreme AI easily.

    Am around 1300 elo.

    Plus experience training other players before.




    Although i am a straight meta player(Crossbows, Knights or UU) i am willing to check out some of your replays and give you some more specific pointers.


    Watch a lot of pro games.

    TheViper as T90Official on YouTube are great resources.

    There are lots of other pros that post as well so you can find one you enjoy.

    Just need to learn the strategy and then practice executing.

    This game takes a lot of reps


    Honestly just 1.

    hot keys, 2.

    knowing a couple of basic build orders like scouts, straight archers, or fast castle 3.

    Making villagers constantly with little idle tc, 4.

    Understanding how military units work, their upgrades, and their basic counters, and 5.

    Being able to consistently spend the resources your villagers are collecting on something useful like more military, production buildings, upgrades, etc.

    Much easier said than done to get all of this down but once you do you’ll be able to pretty easily beat extreme AI and over half of the ranked player base.


    What enabled me to first best hard ai was building enough production buildings.


    Learn some buildorders beside FC (scout and archer at least).

    Play some open/semi open maps for practice.

    First goal should be knowing the BOs and following them as best as you can (TC idle time would be the first priority).

    That way, you get a habit how Dark Age is played and, in general, what most BOs have in common.

    After you manage to do that semi consistent (either vs AI or ranked, doesn’t matter, your preference), focus feudal age.

    Again, let the BOs be your guide.

    For example, if you play scouts, the goal would be attacking with 3 scouts (+1 starting scout) while having a good economy, using the distraction to fully wall yourself (don’t use HUGE walls..) and playing towards castle age (=adding alot of farms as fast as you can).

    Do you need more units?

    Your scout attack will tell you that because that way you see what he is doing.

    You suprised him and he slipped up?

    You probably don’t need more units.

    He is fully walled already and no sign of military?

    Also, you probably won’t need more military.

    He goes scouts himself?

    Maybe add 1-2 spears if walls are not up, else you probably won’t need units.

    He is going archers?

    Depending on your map, you maybe need units (range!) or not (defending with walls).

    If you practise a different BO, the goal can be different, so keep that in mind.

    That step should give you some options (and practise) in feudal and enabling you to reach castle age with decent timing.

    Again, after you can do that somewhat consistent, focus more on castle age.

    Watch the recommended guides from this thread, that way you gain more insight and instead of only text you actually see the gameplay aswell.


    I think we’re in a similar boat.

    I played decades ago and a little in the early 20-teens.

    I’ve had feudal ages with no idle but usually have 30 seconds to a minute.

    I’m doing a lot of early building practices to just get the rhythm down.

    Would love to link up and practice together, have a couple buddies in the same spot.

    One buddy is dedicated Spanish and I like to random it up, which is often a hot mess, but gives me lots to learn.

    There are also coaching resources on here and the community has been awesome with help from what I’ve seen.

    I’m definitely headed that direction when I hit a wall, and am trying to get into a low elo tournament I just heard about

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