5 Surprising Facts About AoE2

Article written by Iso
Published on 12-26-2016; updated on 12-26-2016
Tags: Statistics, Hidden Mechanics

I do not take any credit for this aticle. Original Article Posted by Iso at http://zeroempires.net/5-surprising-facts-aoe2/

Age of Empires 2 is a simple but complicated game. There are many secrets that a simple glance at the technology tree doesn’t actually tell you. This article will hopefully expose some things that the tech tree doesn’t tell you. Without further ado I present you with 5 things you may or may not know about AOE2!

1) Cataphracts have some secret special armour!

I will begin with my favourite all time unit – the cataphract! I just love them. Despite being ridiculously expensive to build and upgrade (it actually costs more to fully upgrade a cataphract than it does a war elephant and even the siege onager). Cataphracts have a hidden +12 anti-cavalry defence. This means that any damage done by a unit with a bonus against cavalry (e.g spearmen and camels) is reduced by 12. Research that expensive Elite Cataphract and it becomes +16 anti-cavalry defence. This negates the elite mameluke bonus and reduces the heavy camel bonus to a measly +2. If you’re playing against a civ with mediocre camels (e.g. Mongols), your beautiful Cataphracts will stand up to a lot more punishment than their paladins. Also, as if the anti-infantry bonus wasn’t already enough, if you’re able to research Logisitica, as well as providing the benefit of trample damage, it increases the bonus from +12 to +18. This means cataphracts are able to deal a colossal 32 damage to infantry! Thats enough to kill all pikemen (except Vikings) and Gothic halberdiers in just a 2 hits.

Byzantine Cataphract vs Goth Halberdier.. which will win?

2) More things have a bonus against Mamelukes than you think!

The mameluke is brilliant, able to cut down masses of cavalry with great ease, but thanks to some great scripting and categorising they also have a huge number of soft counters. Mamelukes are classed as:

  • Camels – counters include spearmen and camels
  • Ships – counters include town centres, towers, castles and other ships (yes you’re eyes don’t deceive you, e.g. Galleons receive the same +11 attack against mamelukes that they do against other ships)
  • Cavalry archers – counters include skirmishers and huskarls. (Despite this they don’t benefit from parthian tactics)

Knowing that may give you a small edge next time you play against Saracens. Its also noteworthy that against Saracens who are likely to be fielding camels, heated shot becomes a vitally important technology!

All these units receive an attack bonus against mamelukes

3) Thumb ring doesn’t really give archers 100% accuracy

The tech tree description of thumb ring as "archers fire faster and with 100% accuracy" is not altogether wrong but it is a little misleading. The more accurate explanation would be: "Archers fire faster and with 100% accuracy against non-moving targets." A detailed explanation of the mechanics behind this:

A unit can have two states; standing still and moving. When an archer targets a unit, it targets the spot that the unit it standing on. Each archer has an accuracy (e.g. arbalest = 90%). So if an arbalest without thumb ring fires 100 arrows at a unit, provided that unit is standing still, you would expect to score 90 hits and 10 misses. If thumb ring was researched, then you would expect all 100 arrows to hit. If the target is moving, then the arbalest will nearly always miss, because the space it is aiming at is no longer occupied. This occurs whether thumb ring is researched or not! To improve accuracy against moving targets you need the ballistics tech. Also gunpowder units don’t seem to be affected by ballistics or thumb ring.

So, in theory, researching both thumb ring and ballistics will guarantee that all your arrows will hit their targets. On a side note, this is one reason why Briton players favour arbalest over longbowmen, as the longbowman’s accuracy is much lower than the arbalest and they lack the thumb ring tech to increase the accuracy.

4) Gunpowder units have a minimum damage against rams

Ever been in that situation where your enemy is using rams to tank up your archer fire? Well if you’re playing as the Spanish or the Turks (more so the turks because they lack a lot of the more powerful melee units), here is a new counter strategy... Mass conquistadors/janissaries! (Hand Cannoneers work too, but not as effectively; see below). Yes that’s right. I’ve no idea why but gunpowder units have a minimum damage against rams.

Unit Battering Ram Capped Ram Siege Ram
Conquistador 4 3 2
Elite Conquistador 6 5 4
Janissary & Hand Cannoneer 2 1 1
Elite Janissary 3 2 1

5) The Aztecs were great farmers

As if the economy of the Aztecs wasn’t already good enough (with free loom and +5 carry capacity) hidden deep within the scripting of the game is a hidden farming speed bonus. Who knew?

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