Economy balance in AoE2


You can’t lose eco, if you don’t have an eco - Rubenstock

What is an economy, it’s anything that brings you constant resource income: villagers, trade carts, relics, fishing ship and even feitoria.

So what does economy balance mean, it's the amount of excess resources you are getting in. The less excess you have the better your economy is balanced. Size of your economy varies depending on how long the game has been going because there is an absolute limit to the amount of villagers you can have. So when one player has a more efficient eco, he has all the resources incoming being used for either growing his economy or to increase his army numbers.

Ideally players do not bank resources unnecessarily and keeping your resource count low is important. Floating food up slowly as an example is good though, because all age up upgrades do cost food. So while you’re spending all of your resources, you want to be slowly stacking up food and gold for the next age up.


There are a countless number of cases where players at lower levels have 1000 wood unnecessarily, even as early as in feudal age in bank. That 1000 wood does not actually do any good for you. You might think that you can just make a market and sell all of that wood to save the situation, but it’s not quite like that. You end up losing ~30% of your resources when using the market and you’ve to support the excess cost of 175w as well. When you see pros or higher level players doing market stuff in feudal age, they actually know how to balance their eco so that the market is advantageous. Gathering gold is faster than gathering food, so in small amounts buying some food actually gets you to castle age faster at times, it’s not efficient, but the point is not to be efficient, point is to be up faster. So in exchange for a worse economy and lost resources your uptime is accelerated for strategic purposes.

I’d not recommend playing with a market economy, unless you know what you are doing.


So what to do to prevent having too much excess of wrong resources? You keep track of your resources, ideally make new farms each time you have 60 wood extra, unless you need some other building like a blacksmith or something else. In the case of stone and gold, you can simply task villagers to work elsewhere. Finding ways to spend your resources takes a lot of attention and can be very difficult to learn.

Most important thing in Age of Empires 2

This Article is written by Ptee and edited by Jupe


First thing to learn is to use hotkeys, ideally your mouse never clicks anything from bottom left, but rather you use the hotkeys to press a button to get the upgrade or unit into the production queue.


Select all TC’s, select all barracks, select all ranges, select all stables, select all siege workshops, select all castles and select all docks are absolutely crucial hotkeys to know and have for efficient gameplay. Alternatively if you’re simpleton like I am, you can use control groups and control group your buildings, but remember this makes microing multiple army groups or army composition harder as you can’t control group them.

Useful building goto hotkeys such as lumbercamp, mill, mining camp, blacksmith and university should be mapped out so you can use them when needed, this makes getting techs much easier.

Idle villager hotkey is something you need to learn to spam in a never ending manner. Select all idles hotkey is very useful as well and select all idle military has good uses as well.

In the end what is most important with hotkeys is that you are comfortable with them and can use them efficiently, nothing else is more important than you knowing which button to press and it being easy.


1. You never want to touch bottom left of your screen with your cursor.

2. You don't want to select your buildings by clicking them with cursor.

3. You don't want to have to go between TC and army by clicking minimap

Creating Villagers

This Article is written by Ptee and edited by Jupe


Creating villagers from start to the finish of the game seems like a very small task, but surprisingly over 70% of the playerbase cannot actually not idle their TC. (This percentage can be and probably is a lot higher.) I can’t stress the importance of this and no one really cares as they are “casual” players, but the impact of not idling is huge.


Now let’s say the game is 8:40 in game time, you’re at approximately 21 villagers, you have idled for one villager worth of time. That is 25 seconds of your TC time, does not sound significant right? Well if the game lasts for 50 minutes, we got 42 minutes of work time being lost for one villager… Well that is not much you might think right? Let’s calculate it out. 42 minutes is 2520 seconds and each second a villager at worsts gathers wood at a rate of 0.39 per second. That is 982 wood you’ve lost over the course of the game. “But I saved 50 food” that villager collecting wood would have gotten without wood upgrades in 153 seconds the wood for one farm and in 94 seconds paid for itself. So in a bit over 4 minutes of game time the villager has already gathered over double the resources that was spent on it.


It’s very easy to think that you being down 2 villagers only means being behind 50 seconds, but sadly the resource difference might keep climbing over time as additional TCs come into play and the opponent might have more army that trades cost efficiently against your army. We’ll get back to this later in lanchesters law chapter.


Now if this does not seem significant nor important to you, you might as well give up trying to understand the math behind it and accept that good players do not idle their villager production under normal circumstances.

Build orders in AoE2

This Article is written by Ptee and edited by Jupe


If you’re active in aoe2 community, you’ve probably heard build order this, build order that and so on forth without realizing what it actually is in depth. So here is an explanation of what a build order is.

 Let’s say I give you a task of getting out 3 man at arms in the lowest amount of time possible in game, without idling TC. Now you go into singleplayer game and start figuring out how to do it, you try and try over and over again, finally you reach a point where you know how to do it and you end up with something like 22 population then feudal upgrade and distribute the villagers correctly and produce the militia during uptime and get the upgrade instantly in feudal age. Build orders are this exact thing written out, simplified, tuned into a format where villagers move between resources as little as possible.


What is the benefit of build orders? Do you want to reinvent the wheel again? Do you want to try to be Albert Einstein and figure out the theory of relativity on your own? How many of us are actually capable of this? Not many. Progress in any field of science is built on top of past discoveries, refusing to copy from others and learn from written out guides is just idiocy.

 22 population archers build order (arch), man at arms (maa), dark age rush (drush), scouts, 20 population archers, fast castle (FC), Fast imperial (FI) and many other build orders exist out there. In general all of them have a goal in getting up at a certain age for certain units and techs as fast as possible.

 Which one is most beginner friendly? Depending on what sort of maps you like playing, open maps scouts or archers would be easiest for new players. Closed maps are generally more FC oriented and you’d have to learn a variation of FC build made for xbows, monks, knights or boom (booming means adding extra TCs and growing your economy rapidly).


Which one is best for learning? If you are starting in AoE2, any agressive build order for open maps will do, however try to stick with one strategy in the beginning; Archer rush, Man at arm rush or Scout rush. We have in-depth classes for all of those build orders here at our site!


Later on once you are very familiar with a build order and think you are an expert at it, you become comfortable with adjusting the builds lightly and the concept of build order becomes more or less irrelevant, even if it’s at the core of your gameplay still. High level players who claim they do not use builds, do have a backbone to their openings still and just have a lot of optimizing going on so it might not look anything like the set in stone build orders. This optimization comes with experience and experimentation on trying to improve something that is already good.


And finally, after you have learned your build order and gotten the units out, what then? Obviously openings have follow ups and you can transition into archers or skirms out of drush or maa, or you can race to castle age. This is dependent on other factors like civs, map generation and how you are using your units from the initial timing the build order gave you.

Arabia: The path through Definitive Edition

Over the years, it has been witness of innumerable battles, great players have reached glory, while others have hit rock bottom. Today, we will discuss everyone’s favorite map, Arabia.

Personalizing Your AOE2 Hotkeys

hotkeysIn every Real Time Strategy game, hotkeys are crucial in order to achieve victory and Age of Empires is not the exception.

Our objective at AOEBuilds is to help you improve in every aspect in the game and help you to climb up the Ladder and become a better player. That’s why we will talk about hotkeys today.

When it comes to hotkeys, there are 3 main and important topics that we should take into consideration before setting them: comfort, optimization and uniqueness.

A Brief Guide for Climbing the Ladder


The tutorial is prepared assuming the readers are not completely new to the Age of Empires 2, that they have some fundamental working knowledge of some important things like units, hotkeys, civilizations, etc.

That being said, some of the information will seem very basic to some players. But still, I hope to attract and provide guidance to those who want to start and/or improve but do not know how to begin.