While waiting for Age of Empires 4 to make its debut, Microsoft has closed the circle of remastered editions of the main chapters of the series with the third episode of the saga, now available on Steam and Microsoft Store and completely free for anyone with an Xbox Game Pass PC or Ultimate subscription. If you have never tried the game and are about to do it thanks to the Game Pass, here is my complete Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition tips and tricks guide that might be useful for you to take your first steps.
UNDERSTANDING THE MECHANICS
Whether it’s been a while since your last game or you’re new to the series, exploring Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition’s Story Mode is the perfect way to get started. The missions of the campaigns are short and will put you in different contexts, making you quickly understand the mechanics behind the gameplay. If you don’t want to play one of the campaigns you can always take a look at the particular game mode called The Art of War.
This mode consists of a series of scenarios that propose different situations and allow you to train to overcome them more effectively thanks to a scoring system. If, on the other hand, you feel the need to try an experience as similar as possible to multiplayer games, I can only recommend Skirmish. This mode allows you to create your own game by modifying many parameters, including speed and the initial era.
PREPARING YOUR WORKERS
The first thing to do in any game of Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition is to organize and prepare the workers to collect resources, which in this chapter of the series correspond to wood, food, and money. In the early stages of each scenario, try to produce as many inhabitants as possible and distribute them equally among the various resources, unless there is some kind of material you desperately need to upgrade units or structures.
In the lower right corner of the screen you will also notice a small square with a number inside near the resource indicator. This figure shows how many settlers collect that type of resource, and by clicking on it you can select all those inhabitants at the same time. By doing this, you can redirect them all to another place or give them some other task to do.
Know that, unlike the second chapter, in Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition, the inhabitants do not have to constantly move between the source of materials and a structure that acts as a deposit. The collected resources are automatically transferred to the base without there being the need to travel between one point and another.
EXPLORING AND SETTLING
Exploration also plays a very important role, since sending a unit with great agility in advance allows you to know not only the position of the enemy but also the layout of the map. Thanks to the exploration you could for example identify possible outlets to the sea to give life to a port or discover the position of small encampments controlled by bots that can be useful for generating resources.
With the movements of the scouts, you can also identify the resources around your city, so you know where to expand when all the trees, animals, and rocks around the center are exhausted. Take note that if you are lazy or do not want to give too much importance to the exploration, you can have some units do it automatically with the push of a button in their menu at the bottom left.
To accompany the production of inhabitants, you should also create a small army in the first few minutes of the game, since some players or AI usually send small troops towards your base. Once you have collected a small amount of resources, select an inhabitant and give him some tasks like creating a military structure and even several houses.
A military structure will allow you to produce combat units, and more houses will increase the population limit. Speaking of structures, don’t just build and upgrade them. Whether it’s a barracks or a field to cultivate, there are several “power-ups” that enhance the units produced or speed up some processes.
KNOWING YOUR SHORTCUTS
Like all real-time strategy games, Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition is mainly played with the mouse, but having the right knowledge of keyboard shortcuts gives an incredible advantage. If you are not used to these kinds of strategies, I suggest you explore the shortcuts by selecting the various structures and positioning the cursor on the squares at the bottom left to find out which key each of them is connected to.
By doing this, you can for example produce villagers or cavalry much faster while avoiding downtime. Another really useful technique is to select the structures and then click on any point on the map with the right mouse button, thus placing a flag. By doing so, all the units produced by that structure will automatically head towards the flag which can be placed on a tree or a rock.
This will, for example, automatically make all the freshly generated inhabitants go to work. If, on the other hand, you want to build several structures in sequence (for example houses), just hold down the Shift key and continue clicking with the left mouse button to place the various buildings on the map.
If you are not a competitive player and you simply want to have fun offline, know that even in Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition it is possible to activate cheat codes. By doing this, you can alter the outcome of the games significantly. To activate these cheat codes, all you need to do is press the Enter key in the game and type one of the phrases you find in the list below.
- a recent study indicated that 100% of herdables are obese: Fattens all the animals on the map for more food.
- a whole lot of love: Adds 10,000 of all available resources.
- <censored>: Adds 10,000 wood.
- ding ding ding: Spawns a Monster Ice Cream Truck, a white monster truck unit with an ice cream cone on top.
- don’t kick the pitbull: Spawns a Learicorn, a cheat unit of a man in a tuxedo riding a unicorn and hitting opponents with a cane.
- Give me liberty or give me coin: Adds 10,000 coin.
- Medium Rare Please: Adds 10,000 food.
- mustard relish and burning oil: Spawns a Flaming Hot Dog Cart, a unit that looks like a man in a hot dog costume pushing a hot dog stand.
- Nova & Orion: Adds 10,000 EXP.
- o Canada 2005: Spawns a Lazerbear, a unit that is a bear with a tricorne hat that fires lasers from its eyes and regenerates after taking damage.
- sooo good: Spawns comical unit and building kill text.
- speed always wins: Increases the speed of building, research, shipments, and gathering by 100 times for all players.
- this is too hard: Skips the end of the mission and causes the player to automatically win.
- trade plz: Adds 10,000 export.
- tuck tuck tuck: Spawns the Tommynator monster truck, a unit that has an invisible aura that can kill all units around it.
- we <3 fluffy!1!: Spawns Fluffy, a dog unit dubbed the “world’s ugliest dog”.
- wee ooh wee ooh: Spawns a BigAndy monster truck, a unit similar to the Tommynator.
- where’s that axe?: Spawns George Crushington, a large stone bust unit that bears a resemblance to George Washington and crushes enemy units with its head.
- wuv woo vol.2: Spawns a Flying Purple Tapir, a unit that flies across the battlefield but can’t really attack in combat.
- X marks the spot: Reveals the map to the player, but keeps the fog of war effect.
- ya gotta make do with what ya got: Spawns a Mediocre Bombard, a unit that fires capybara.
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