Age of Empires II
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Age of Empires II is a real-time strategy computer game set in the Middle Ages. It is the second game of the Age of Empires series. Besides the original version, which was released for Windows in October 1999, an HD Edition (2013) and a Definitive Edition (2019) have been released.
For the longest time, the competitive scene played the game via the client Voobly with the UserPatch mod implementing new features or bugfixes and the WololoKingdoms mod which made the civilizations from the HD expansions playable on Voobly.
The Conquerors is the first expansion for Age of Empires II which included new game features, new unique technologies for each civilization and five new civilizations.
On April 9, 2013, Age of Empires II: HD Edition (later renamed to Age of Empires II (2013)) was released on Steam. The HD Edition includes both the original game and the expansion The Conquerors, as well as updated graphics for high-resolution displays. It also supports user-generated content through the Steam Workshop and multiplayer games provided through the Steam servers.
The first expansion for the HD Edition, The Forgotten, was released on November 7, 2013. Originally, it started as a modding project in 2011 called Age of Empires II: Forgotten Empires.  It includes 5 new civilizations , new campaigns, new units and balance changes.
New civilizations: Incas, Indians, Italians, Magyars and Slavs
Players are required to strategically and quickly manage their Economy, Technology and Army in order to defeat their opponent. The basis of playing is, on the one hand, to gather resources and on the other hand using said resources to purchase buildings, technologies and units.
In this most basic understanding of the game we distinguish two tasks for the player: Macro and Micro. As the name indicates, Micro refers to more local, specialized events, while Macro concerns the overall flow of the game and the economical side. It is important for every Age of Empires player to have a balance of these two.
Micro (or micromanagement in full) encompasses managing your army. Moving, attacking, retreating with the ultimate goal of overpowering your opponent. Micro is the ability to control your units individually, in order to make up for pathing or otherwise imperfect AI. The general theory of micro is to keep as many units alive as possible.
Macro encompasses managing your economy and technology: making sure you have an income (by harvesting resources) and spending said income (by purchasing buildings, upgrades and units).
All these operations take place in real-time - commands are executed as they are given. This means a player not only benefits from strategical insight, but also from speed and multitask ability, measured by APM (actions per minute). The ability to perform specific actions in limited time is often referred to as Mechanics.
Popular Game Modes
Random Map is the most common game mode in Age of Empires II. The players start with a randomly generated map for each game. Player locations, resource distribution or general topography of the map have to be scouted in order to form a strategy.
In Deathmatch players start with a huge stock-pile of resources and usually in post-imperial age, leading to fast-to-the-action games, which is facilitated by fast game-speed. In competetive settings, games are usually played with mirrored civilizations only to avoid unfair matchups in post-imperial age. The most prestigious tournament in this game mode is Death Match World Cup.
Empire Wars is a game mode introduced with the Definitive Edition. Players start with a small town, economy and tasked villagers. It is commonly played with Feudal Age start. By bypassing the build up phase in the Dark Age, this game mode jumps directly into the action. The most prestigious tournament series are the Red Bull Wololo tournaments.
Other Game Modes
- Battle Royale
- Capture the Relic
- Custom Scenario
- Defend the Wonder
- King of the Hill
- Sudden Death
- Wonder Race
Upcoming and most recent tournaments
Note: Find all Age of Empires II tournaments here.
Notable community figures
- AoEZone (community forum)
- AoE2 Insights (AoE2:DE ladder + player profiles)
- AoENexus (ladder + profile)
- AoE Tournament elo (tournament elo)
- AoE2 Techtree (displaying the tech tree)
- AoE2map (displaying maps)
- AoE Companion (build order guides)
- aoestats (civilization win rates - not updated anymore)
- AOE Library (directory for useful sites and tools)
- Forgotten Empires. "Age of Empires II HD: The Forgotten". Forgotten Empires. Retrieved 2022-12-16.