From noob to less noob: five tips for those new to Age of Empires IV


The most-anticipated RTS game of 2021, Age of Empires IV (AoE 4), was just released last week for PC and Xbox! To those of you who are new to the game and series, we’ve got you covered. Here are five basic tips for newcomers to Age of Empires but more specifically AoE 4.

1. You cannot upgrade wood walls to stone walls

Contrary to your previous experiences with other RTS games, you cannot upgrade walls in AoE 4. In fact, this is the game’s way of incentivizing you to continuously expand your territory. So spacing and wall formation is key as you progress through the ages.

Also, try leaving space in between for barracks, mines, or even resource mills. This means you have to focus your defense on the outer walls. Unless you have the luxury of rebuilding your initial wooden wall formation from your beginning position.

Archer units on top of stone walls

2. You can place units on top of stone walls

One of the best things about stone walls is that you can garrison units on top of them. You can do this by building a gate and commanding your unit to move through it. After that, you can freely move that unit on top of the wall and its sections. This is your best way to reorganize your defense, so again, make sure you plan your wall formation. Do take note that stone walls aren’t impenetrable, units can scale their broken sections. So make sure to focus on your opponent’s siege units.

villager upgrades found in the mill can increase food gathering speed

3. Don’t forget to research technologies and build research buildings

Just because you advanced to a new age doesn’t mean that your units will be upgraded as well. You still need to spend time researching these upgrades before you can use them. You can find military upgrades in the military production buildings as well as in special research buildings like the blacksmith. On the other hand, you can find villager upgrades in drop-off buildings for certain materials like the mill and mining and lumber camps.

Eight units garrisoned inside the town hall

4. You can garrison defensive units in town halls

You can garrison units in important buildings If you’re constantly being attacked and don’t have enough time to build walls. For instance, you can command up to 20 units to garrison in the town hall. Moreover, clustering other buildings around town halls is a good idea. Here, the town hall serves as a proxy archery tower, where defensive units are protected as they rain fire down on enemies.

Complete list of keyboard shortcuts for AoE 4

5. Use numkey bindings

Like other RTS games, you can assign a group of units to a numkey binding. In AoE 4, binding groups of units to numkeys is a good way of speeding up unit management. Simply select any group of units and press ctrl + numkey to bind these units to a number. Now, if you want to move a group of units, you can just press the assigned numkey to select them.

At other points in the game, you may see it fit to remove and reassign numkey bindings. You can accomplish this by pressing ctrl + numkey again with no units selected. This will free up the binding, allowing you to select a different group of units. In general, it’s also beneficial to learn the different keyboard shortcuts as these will allow for better micromanagement, a very important factor in RTS.

Avoid scenarios like these by removing numkey bindings

What’s Next?

Of course, there’s a lot more to Age of Empires IV than just these five tips. We recommend getting some practice in the Art of War game mode as these allow you to focus on specific stages of the game. We’ll also be posting more AoE 4 guides soon so stay tuned!