Key steps to becoming proficient, as well as information you should be aware of even if you are only two days into the game.
You can skip some of these steps depending on your level of experience, but if you get trashed by every player and can’t complete the Art of War Early Economy challenge on gold, you should stop bashing your head against the wall and get that gold. You have in-game training, and if you are still unable to complete the challenge, there is no guide or BO on YouTube that will assist you until you learn how to complete the challenge.
Of course, you are free to ask questions, and perhaps we can add something important to this guide.
If this is your first time playing RTS, you should start with a campaign to get a feel for the controls. I’m not sure, like two missions. If you want, you can look at some beginner guides. Play a little more campaign and let the new information sink in.
There are five main points of emphasis. These are the golden rules for the entire genre, not just AoEIV or the franchise. You must master them completely, no exceptions.
- Villagers are always produced. Idling Town Center is always a mistake, no matter what the situation is, no matter if it is 10 seconds or 1 second.
- Villagers should never be sedentary. They are represented by an icon in the bottom left corner. To select idle Villagers, use the hotkey.
- You should never be limited due to a lack of Houses. Have you noticed the limit number turning yellow? Smack a House. Production should never be halted.
- To recruit units, use hotkeys. Mouse clicks are only permitted for occasional purposes, such as upgrades, which will occur naturally; don’t worry about that for the time being.
- Make use of Ctrl groups. You can begin simply. Ctrl+1 represents your main blob, while Ctrl+2 represents your cavalry, archers, or siege. Your main unit production buildings are Ctrl+4. Stables, Archery Range, and Barracks Learn how to use Ctrl and Shift when selecting units. You don’t even need AoE4 guides for that; every RTS does it pretty much the same way.
About Ctrl Groups
Concerning the unit selection for Ctrl groups. To select all units/buildings of that type on your screen, double-click or Ctrl+click. The shift key is used to select or deselect a unit/building without deselecting everything else. You can see what you’ve selected in your UI after you’ve selected various types of units/buildings. There’s also a small frame that shows you which subgroup’s hotkeys are currently available to you.
By default, “All” is selected, which provides a typically ineffective mix of hotkeys from all subgroups. To gain full access to corresponding hotkeys, press Tab to switch between subgroups. This is especially useful when selecting multiple buildings at the same time.
Art of War Challenges
Now let’s move on to the next section. There is an Art of War tab in singleplayer. Earn a silver medal in both the Early Economy and Basic Combat challenges. For the time being, you should begin each game as instructed in Early Economy. You should also memorize the rock-paper-scissors system from Basic Combat.
Cavalry trumps Archers trumps Spearmen trumps Cavalry trumps Spearmen trumps Cavalry
These two challenges are an absolute must if you don’t yet have a proper build order and/or don’t know what counters what and how.
When you feel like you’re a natural at RTS, the knowledge you gained from those two Art of War challenges should be enough to beat even the most difficult AI. Of course, with some experience. Where do we get that knowledge?
Now is the time to select your first civilization and begin learning about it.
The English, with their Longbowman, build order, and the French, with their Royal Knight, build order, are the most beginner-friendly civilizations. This is primarily due to the lack of unique macro mechanics, which require time to learn even for experienced players and make it difficult to understand how the core of the game works if they are your first faction. You are free to choose, but I would recommend sticking with English at least for a while until you have a basic understanding of the game. Due to their faster villager production, French can be difficult for inexperienced players and somewhat deceptive.
There is a lot of overlap between factions. Despite the fact that they are still distinct. Learning the core of the game through one faction is, in my opinion, the most comfortable option. You learn things that are unique to your civilization and concentrate on mastering the core of the game. As a beginner/noob, you will not be able to properly peel off layers of unique civilization mechanics in order to concentrate on how the game and everything related to each civilization works if you constantly jump from one faction to another.
Paths of Further Learning
There are two avenues for further education:
- Concentrate on just playing the game, figuring it out on your own, and so on.
- We’re getting right into it with the build orders.
Let’s take a closer look at them.
- Some people prefer not to dive right into meta and such, preferring instead to figure out the game on their own. That’s fine. You can skip build orders and instead practice on AI to gain valuable gaming experience. Constantly produce workers, adhere to Early Economy challenge timings, and always spend your resources (2k+ of something is unacceptable; your economy is underdeveloped by the same amount of resources that accumulated in your bank). You can always construct a second/third/fourth/fifth production building to produce more units and make better use of your resources. And don’t forget to create new Villagers.
- A build order (BO) is a set of instructions and timings for what, when, and with which workers to complete a task. Objectively, the most effective economic development strategy for your strategy. These are analogous to chess debuts. If you learn a build order and master it, Hard AI will most likely become a laughingstock to you, and you will be able to compete with somewhat average players. If you remember to build Villagers. Build orders can be found on YouTube. Because the game was just released, there aren’t many BOs yet, but that will change soon. Platforms with BOs and guides will begin to appear and develop in the same way. Never forget to construct Villagers.
Macro and Micro Priorities
There are macro and micro in every RTS. Macro technically refers to your economy, or the grand scheme of things, whereas micro refers to small unit manipulations. Obviously, the majority of the time, micro occurs during battles. I would prioritize learning macroeconomics and everything related to the economy over learning microeconomics. And on remembering to always build Villagers.
In RTS, you practice macro until it becomes muscle memory and you can fully concentrate on the micro.
Never forget to construct Villagers. At least until you’ve collected 80 of them.