This guide is a combination of tips and a tour through all features of Age of Empires 2 Definitive Edition. A lot of pictures and illustrations are enclosed to assist my short and concise explanations.
Feel free to expand the “guide contents” to hop into topics of your interest.
Civilizations & Campaigns
Civilizations – What’s New?
11 new civilizations are introduced into AOE 2 Definitive (all civs from AoE2 2013 (aka HD) including DLCs come with the base game):
Learn further in an in-depth guide about all age of empires 2 civilizations
Campaigns – What’s New?
The game comes with 36 campaigns (11 new campaigns) and each campaign has several chapters spanning over 200 hours of gameplays and 1000 years of human history. You won’t need to take history classes anymore because of this..
Or play the campaigns to learn the history course in an audio/visual approach. Well If I had a 13 years old son or daughter I would definitely get AoE2 Definitive for them.
There is no doubt that most of us have loved Age of Empires 2 due to quality campaigns game-plays we enjoyed in our childhood. Now and even if you have finished all the campaign missions you can still get a taste of historical battles which are 16 battles in total.
I personally couldn’t be more satisfied with all these campaigns and historical battles. I’m definitely hoping into a few historical battles after writing this post.
Single Player – What’s New?
Major graphical changes have been made to Single Player supplemented with a few interesting additions. Let’s have a look..
At the first sight, we notice that the single player structure remained the same except for the number of players which has been moved under the player spots – It’s so much better that way in a sense of visibility.
New Presentation for Maps
Locations or (Maps) have gotten better..
There are 9 Game Modes so far:
- Random Maps
- Empire Wars
- King of the Hill
- Death Match
- Sudden Death
- Capture the Relic
- Defend the Wonder
And 4 Map Styles:
- Real World
- Special Maps
Yet another fantastic feature “Map Filtering”. To make use of this feature you must press the green button “Random” Under the red button “Single” to the right hand side.
Then for example let’s filter out only open maps and as you can see below all open maps are highlighted in yellow
Back to the Single Player main screen to have a look at a few more additions.
The AI can now play in “extreme” difficulty which is supposed to be more challenging than “hardest”
You can typically play casual or practice games without having to worry anymore about harvesting resources.
Team & Advanced Settings
It looks better than never thanks to a complete remaster of units and their icons:
Multiplayer – What’s New?
The multiplayer has gotten a complete overhaul and it’s amazing..
Already 6 sections which we will be going through one by one.
Starting with the Ranked Tab: It’s a ranked queue system where you are matched with random players at a click of a button. You can choose your civilization, map settings and match type/size (1v1, 2v2, 3v3, 4v4).
After pressing “Find Match” you should be queued for a game..
..Pretty cool! isn’t it?
Lobby Browser (Unranked)
Most of you are familiar with the lobby browser. In AoE2 DE, this latter still works like the lobby browser of AoE2 2013 (a.k.a HD) except that all hosted games are unranked.
Have you noticed “Connection Quality” to the right hand side? That should keep you away from joining laggy regions which in this example are marked with a red square Southest Asia and Brazilsouth.
Also upon hosting your own lobby ensure the selection of servers accordingly to the green square. Let’s take a look at the brand new features for “Create Lobby”
It looks gorgeous! We can notice 3 new features:
Inspired from Userpatch/Voobly, We can finally spectate or late spectate live games both ranked and unranked.
How do we know if a game is ranked or unranked?
By simply looking at the spectator browser, games labelled “AUTOMATCH” are live ranked games. The rest are unranked.
How does the spectator mode look like?
Near the player names drop down menu, a button – with red, blue and white flags – toggles all the stats of the game. Researches and Technologies are queued in the middle right hand side of the screen. Units queue line is displayed under the player resources on the top left.
In this section you can join/create a clan in a click of a button.
For so long… I have been looking forward to an inclusive leaderboard implemented into the game.. I guess my wish has been granted.
Notice how I am not ranked yet and that is because I have played 5 games only! We need to play 10 ranked games before entering the ranking system. In which it is divided into 4 sections:
- Random Map: (1v1)
- Team Random Map: (2v2 3v3 4v4)
- Death Match: (1v1)
- Team Death Match: (2v2 3v3 4v4)
The profile page is simple and most importantly keeps track of your progress such as highest ranking, games count, best civilization, etc. Let’s have a look
Do not forget to change your profile icon as soon as your start playing games and making progress many of them should be available for you.
Get Good With The Art of War
It would not matter if you are a beginner or an average player because The Art of War takes you one step forward to learning Dark age economy management all the way to late game advanced stuff. If you have just moved from Starcraft 2 to Age of Empires 2 this is your free ticket to prowess.
Whether you play on Microsoft Store or Steam you can access Mods and install through the main menu:
or through the official website of Age of empires
Once you get into the Mods workshop you should see 3 tabs:
In this tab you can either Unsubscribe (delete) or Disable mods
In this section you can browse through or search any mods you desire. Besides you have the ability to filter mods by category and these categories are:
- Artificial Intelligence
- Data Mods
- Random Maps
This section concerns mods creators where they can view and publish their local mods to the mod manager.
Just installed AoE2 DE? Played HD or AoC before? – You certainly need to change your settings for a better feel of the game and reducing overwhelming graphical effects – Which can distract you during an intense gameply.
In your Menu, Find “Options” button
These are the changes you need to make..
First Switch to Low Graphics Preset > Then Enable V-sync to limit the consumption of FPS (Very handy to prevent crashes, and leaves some resources for recording softwares to work with.)
However if Vsync is causing FPS issues with your modern monitor.. Just turn it off until the developers fix it as they have stated in this post
Believe me.. Health Bars are annoying in this current patch and unresponsive. For example, when you hover or select a farmer you will see 2 health bars or more; (1) the farmer bar, (2) the farm bar and (3) the town center or any nearby buildings/resources bar.. Take a lot at this proof
Don’t worry we can totally fix this behavior by switching Health bars to “Classic” as shown in the image below
The commands below have been inherited from the conquerors version and can be added to AoE2 DE as follow:
1- Skip intro videos:
2- Fix horizontal black lines or display issues:
3- Fix audio issues with SoundBlaster
4- Change To Normal Mouse Cursor:
5- Turns off Microsoft Strategic Commander controller
6- Turns off all terrain sounds:
7- Turns off all sounds except cinematics:
Are cheat codes still working in Age of Empires 2 Definitive Edition?
Yes, all previous cheats from older versions are includes in addition to new one. Check out a complete table of cheat codes for Age of Empires 2 Definitive Edition and more.
Age of Empires 2 Definitive has been a major success thanks to the Beta program – though I was not invited only a few days before release – But I’m very glad that the community has participated immensely for the stability of the game and so far I am very happy with everything except the fact that I can not pick only Arabia in Ranked Queue. Hopefully soon we can uncheck maps we don’t want to play.