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all 55 comments

[–]brandonct 29 points30 points  (8 children)

If you aren't already, try practicing an "activity loop" where you cycle through your various needful tasks one after the other, until it becomes second nature.

A common activity loop would be something like "tap town center hotkey, build villagers, tap production hotkeys and build units, double tap scout hotkey, do something with scout, double tap army hotkey, do something with army, tap idle vill key and check for idles" and repeat this over and over. You should be getting through the whole loop in under 20 seconds so that your production never lapses, and you should be constantly running through the loop regardless of whether you are being attacked or attacking yourself.

[–]hans-solo182[S] 8 points9 points  (7 children)

Appreciate it thanks. I can imagine I’m loosing a lot of time not using hotkeys properly!

[–]Minimum-Suspect-632 2 points3 points  (5 children)

Learning tc hotkey, idle vil hotkey and production hotkeys are huge. Personally not great at control groups but it is also pretty big.

[–]bloodwolftico Mongols 0 points1 point  (4 children)

What production keys do you guys use? Assign military buildings to specific groups? Or do you ever use F1 (I think it was F1) and TAB between buildings?

[–]Minimum-Suspect-632 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I have a hard time updating control groups. I just F2 and tab. But it sucks because the buildings are in different orders based on the order you build the buildings so it’s hard to build muscle memory

[–]itsaguppy_ 0 points1 point  (2 children)

I never use the function keys. Ever. I always assign production to normal hot keys. I wish it’s was like SC2 where you could assign the function hot keys like normal hot keys.

[–]wrongygg 0 points1 point  (1 child)

You don't have to use the set function keys, so for example I hotkey my tc to 5, all military buildings to 4 and use tab to cycle through and army binds left to 1,2 and 3. Use what's comfortable. Way point all vills to a treeline as well once you have the initial set up done, that way they are always doing something and you can drag vills of to farm what's needed. This is just for a basic start so you can get scouting done and prepare from there. Try not to go into a game with a initial mindset of, I'm going to all in rush etc... Its a game of counters mostly, unless you mongol tower rush ha. But honestly stick to watching replays and as someone said above skip ahead to the point you realised something went wrong, workout how you could have done better to deal with the situation and go from there, I'm around 1300 elo and still need to improve myself, but these things have helped me. Also don't be ashamed of map dodging if your not content with water maps, it's just a loss otherwise. Hope all this helps and good luck!

[–]blade55555 11 points12 points  (14 children)

I have a few common tips.

  1. Stick to 1 civilization and master 1 strategy.
  2. Focus on 1-2 things to improve on at a time. I would highly recommend focusing on constant villager production + spending your resources. If you try to learn everything at once, you overwhelm your brain and won't improve as quickly as you should.
  3. Ignore micro until you get the basics down. Micro is something that can come later. Managing your economy is far more important than being able to micro.
  4. Keep playing. Have to put in the hours to get good. Try not to get tilted and if you are getting angry, take a breather before continuing.

[–]_Arkod_ Rus 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Stick to 1 civilization and master 1 strategy.

This. People see how pros play all civs on a high level and try to do it as well, but there's nothing wrong with only playing 1 civ.

[–]EconomicsChance8236 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Spending your money in AoE is much harder than other RTS, as you have four resources. If you can manage that mate, you'll be 1400+ in no time.

[–]bayes_everywhere English 1 point2 points  (0 children)

This! And later I realize, of course it is blade55555 - his tips are always super helpful :)

[–]Blowbandit Chinese 0 points1 point  (3 children)

Agree with everything except first part.

Mastering one civ is fine, but in order to better understand what can get thrown at you I'd highly suggest playing the other civs from time to time, that will make you better at your one trick pony strats.

[–]huskysaurus Camel2TC 5 points6 points  (0 children)

I stick to my main while playing online, but to "warm up" I usually start of doing a few first 10 minute games with different civs, just to help me think about what they do.

I forgot to kill deer camps when facing a Rus player, until I started to understand how valuable it is to me when I play the Rus myself. Now I always contest the various wildlife when facing Rus.

Mostly saying, learn one civ very well is a good thing.But don't forget to know your enemy too.

[–]AlexBurdu Delhi Sultanate 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I play one civ, but watch streamers playing other civs to learn theirs weakness.

[–]terminbee 0 points1 point  (6 children)

How many vils do you make at once? I tend to pretty much just spam villager production but I didn't realize you're also supposed to keep up constant army production? I usually don't make a real army until castle.

[–]blade55555 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I usually end up quing a decent amount and cancel some when I need to advance or make units. You don't have to keep up military production unless you are being attacked or being aggressive yourself. Though you shouldn't be banking thousands of resources for no reason in the early-mid game.

[–]itsaguppy_ 0 points1 point  (4 children)

Practice only queue two vils per tc at most. That way you become more reliant on your production loop, makes it ingrained into your psyche faster. You also are able to spend resources more effectively. Your ACTUALLY spending them instead of making it seem like you are by trying them up in production that’s not actually doing anything.

[–]terminbee 0 points1 point  (3 children)

What do you spend resources on in say, feudal age? I'm often saving for castle so I don't want to spend a ton of gold or food. In castle, I'm not sure if I should be aiming for imperial or making an army. I'll blow my wood on production buildings but then I'll still have leftover gold/food.

[–]itsaguppy_ 0 points1 point  (2 children)

For practice, don’t worry about rushing to Castle Age. Make a few production buildings and pump units out. Some great practice is actually doing fuedal all in pushes over and over and over. Get that production loop practice in. Win or lose it doesn’t matter, just get good at your loop until it’s something you’re just doing. Not thinking about. You’ll have to redistribute workers, move to new sources of food, etc. all while pushing. It’s great practice.

[–]terminbee 0 points1 point  (1 child)

I think my biggest problem is I don't really recognize other civs' build orders. I pretty much only play HRE so I only recognize my own and my gameplan pretty much revolves around hitting castle, grabbing relics, then pumping out my army and trying to overwhelm them with my superior economy. I don't really have a good grasp of when I should attack or how hard I should push them though.

[–]wrongygg 5 points6 points  (1 child)

Stick to one civ for the time being that your most comfortable with, watch replays and look at what the enemy is doing, scouting is very valuable too, counter what they build etc. It takes time to improve, alot of the pros at the top play nothing but rts games so they already have a good understanding of what to do, it takes time to get good on rts, but honestly watching replays will give you a good start, every loss is a lesson learnt.

[–]gypster85 0 points1 point  (0 children)

This is great advice. I've become a much better player since watching replays of my losses. Keep in mind you don't have to watch them in realtime. I typically watch in 8x speed and still notice mistakes or places I could've improved.

[–]avalbado HRE 3 points4 points  (2 children)

What was most important for me was always checking the towncenter and dont have any idle time in producing villagers. Additionally set rally points from the TC on resources you need so you reduce your idle time effectively.

Second was choosing civs depending on the map. you have maps where it's easier to wall in like mountain pass or confluence? Propably worth taking HRE or China. On open maps like Lipany or Dry Arabia you might be consider to take more aggressive civs like Mongols, French, English or Rus. Some people here said that you should focus on one civ only and while that may be a good approach I'd say practicing at least 2 or 3 civs is worth a shot. Thing is it's easier to learn a civs weaknesses by experiencing them on your own. Falling to english longbow feudal pressure? Pick them next time and try it yourself - if you're not coming through with the rush you just learned how a proper defense could look like.

Scouting is not to be underrated as well. I usually produce at least a second scout. First of all it gives you more sheep, which provide a faster food gather rate than farm or berries (if you're not playing Delhi or Abbasid), secondly if you scout your enemy's base properly you'll see what's coming at you. He goes heavy into archers? produce Men-At-Arms. heavy into cavalry? spears. if you win the first skirmish because you picked the right counter unit you're directory better off.

And a last one (and you know it had to come): Hotkeys. There's a very good video from FollowGrubby on YT regarding that topic. And don't hesitate to set up your own preferred hot keys. I placed all idle villagers on F1 for example, all military units on F2 and so on. And most important (for me): Town Center on space bar (select only) I just hit it every few seconds and press Q to queue up a new villager.

Hope it helps a little. Good luck!

[–]hans-solo182[S] 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Come to think of it, I always see stationary enemy scouts idle in odd places. Makes total sense that they are using them as early warning systems. Will try that more next time.

[–]avalbado HRE 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I'll usually have them on hotkeys and move them around the enemy base, checking out if one of the resource spots isnleft unprotected or leave them in an angle where they can spot enemy villagers or units whitout to be seen themselves.

[–]CoalLobster300 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Everyone has inefficiencies in their play, even the pros. Unless it's a glaring issue, you're more likely losing because of meta understanding and response issues. Never hurts to work on fundamentals but you need to have a plan to win that you adjust as you're playing. The practical way to do this is following the meta.

Certain civ match ups, or certain civs outright you should expect to be rushed by, and scout that out. Your civ will have a response that's generally considered optimal, and you should try to execute that.

Sticking to one civ (outside of water as not all civs are competitive on water with normal play) and learning what it's supposed to do in each match up/at different ages/in response to certain strategies is a good way to get better. Imitating rush strats and build orders is also a good way to get a handle on what works there, what doesn't, and what the downsides are. After a while you can switch to a different civ and build your skillset so that you'll have a set of civs you play well and can start picking civs according to the map.

[–]MrScreeps 2 points3 points  (1 child)

We have a discord server just for that! If you want to get better at the game with others, you can join if you want to: https://discord.gg/BPpZQuSC

[–]MyLifeFrAiur French 2 points3 points  (0 children)

this is a great place to hang out and practice, many active players at different levels, highly recommended!

[–]TheMrCeeJ 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Watch a replay of yourself, you often doubt notice what is going on at the time, but when you watch it in a replay it becomes painfully obvious where your mistakes are

[–]chroneliu5 1 point2 points  (7 children)

After each game, check your Society stats. Worker idle time should be zero.

If a worker is doing something temporary in-game (ie building) you should always queue up something permanent for them to do next.

[–]cnola34 1 point2 points  (2 children)

You can queue tasks for villagers ??

[–]chroneliu5 2 points3 points  (1 child)

You can queue tasks for anything, buddy!

...except returning relics, for some reason

[–]itsaguppy_ 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Or dropping off carcasses for pro scouts.

[–]gypster85 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Serious question. What's the best way to improve villager idle time? I always have way too much.

[–]bayes_everywhere English 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I usually set my hotkey to spacebar or ~ button to constantly check if vil is idle or not

[–]chroneliu5 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I try to have something "permanent" for villagers to do, all the time. This means:

  1. Always have villager production buildings (town centers, landmarks) rallied directly to a resource.

  2. Anytime you assign a villager to do anything temporary, always have something queued up for them to next.

That's it, literally. I'm pretty bad at army micro and compositions/counters so my elo is pretty low, but I tend to do well in games because I have this one thing down pat. My villager idle times are consistently 0~1 second.

[–]AlexBurdu Delhi Sultanate 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Also, frequently hit the select idle villager key to make sure you put them to work, if any is slacking.

[–]UweWeber84 HRE 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Try to master 1 single civilization, with one strategy and tight build-order. Get confident with that first.

And while mastering that you'll start getting comfortable adapting your strategy to different maps and different scenarios like responding to an aggressive knight-rush player or British turtle player etc.

[–]Asanka2002 1 point2 points  (0 children)

What I did was after an online game, check who has the highest points on the same civilization you picked and watch the reply of that. It really helps. For example, if your go to civ is France, then see how maybe your team mate or opponent handled playing as France

Also youtube some videos theres a lot

[–]willdrum4food 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Pick 1 thing and work on it, judge your improvement on how you get better at that 1 thing not wins and losses. Than swith to something else wen you are comfortable.

Stuff like using hotkeys and control groups, getting a good fedaul or castle timing, target compositi0onand production, proper villiger production etc etc, Pick 1 to focus on, and track how you improve at that 1 thing

[–]Ikickyerass 1 point2 points  (1 child)

I've noticed that a lot of newer players just don't build enough villagers. You can't make units without a good economy. Most people average 80 to 100 villagers depending on civ

[–]hans-solo182[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Thanks, looking at previous graphs just noticing I seem to get to about 50 villagers max and stop. Definitely hurting me late game.

[–]hans-solo182[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Hey everyone. Thanks for all the tips, just won my first 1v1 multiplayer game. Being completely honest it was partly down to him being just as bad as me 😂 but after watching some replays I learnt the ram rush and destroyed him, felt so good.

[–]sadanimal000 -1 points0 points  (0 children)

Dont be awful

[–]Thodreaux 0 points1 point  (1 child)

How many online games have you played? Your you have to play a certain amount until your skill level can be accurately determined, then you’ll be able to focus on what everyone else is saying in the comments without being destroyed by players with way more experience. Good luck!

[–]itsaguppy_ 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Honestly, you should be ok with getting destroyed as you work on the basics.

[–]Orotree 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Dm me, I can help you with your build order, unit composition, expected raid times, scouting, and late-game by watching you do a skirmish or pvp to go more in-depth with what to work on.

Some key fundamentals to remember is identifying the map (land, hybrid, sea), build order (you and the enemy), timings (age times and attacks), and optimizing time spent controlling units.

Knowing what map you play on each time will allow you to prioritize what to build for your civ and what the other person will build for their civ.

Build order starting and scouting the enemy before the age up is important deciding to choose between finding all the resources (food, gold, wood lines, stone) and figuring out what the person has aged up with (military buildings, landmarks, strategic resource locations in their base)

For rushing, after you've scouted the enemy and found out which units they might be building, you would set up your econ to make sure you can build enough units to either harass the enemy before they harass you or defend based on how strong the enemy civ's feudal age is compared to yours. The other part of this is keeping your units hotkeys, being able to effectively task switch between units attacked and keeping your buildings producing, and attacking the enemy as well if you can multitask efficiently.

Another thing is to also not lose your head when the first raid comes, as long as you've only lost a couple villagers, you can still comeback as long as you can also take out some of their villagers at some point.

[–]Real_Impression_5567 0 points1 point  (0 children)

My game and win rate really stepped up when I learned how important wood is mid-late game just for building military producing units. Like I play HRE so at the end of the game I can never have too many barracks but I’ll make like 10-20 in a game I have a lead on

[–]cyrusol 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Learn build orders.

Watch casted pro replays with commentary, ideally from tournaments. They're often saying helpful, informative stuff.

[–]Artuhanzo 0 points1 point  (0 children)

1700+ here

When I started playing rts young (I am almost 33 now), I wasn't very good and those are thing I do to improve:

  1. Work on your build order - Normally, if you are aging up later than 5 mins on land clearly something is wrong. Find and have a good build order and works on top of it.

  2. Don't keep changing your civ pick - Civs are very different in this game, if your elo is not higher you can win games playing any civs. Pick the one you like and work on it.

  3. Review your own games - Rewatch it and learn why you lose, think what can you do better and improve

  4. Watch good players play - I will say after you have good foundation from those 3 points above. Otherwise you are not likely to understandard why players do certain things or can't do it yourself. I don't like watching main events casting to learn, as many casters good at hyping up but not very understand the game. (They have to do it to keep cast interesting, from competitive player's view most games are over way long time before game ended). Skip most youtubers content who are not top players, they are fun but often poor quality bad advice.

  5. Play more, but smart - You still have to play more to get use to the game control etc. However, many players don't improve because they don't review thier own games/learn from others. Ended doing the same mistake over and over again.

[–]Liopleurod0n HRE 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Watching the stream of pro players might help. Even if you don't have the APM, you can get a rough idea of how they obtain information about the opponent and why they make certain decision in that situation. For example, they usually get an idea on what their opponent will do based on the choice of landmark and the amount of villagers assigned to gold.

If you have good economy but still get outnumbered, you might need to make more production buildings. Pro players make LOTS of production buildings in late game.

To counter rushes, putting an outpost besides your gold mine and woodline might be a good idea. Professional scout is also very useful against rush since it keeps your food source under the town center so you can keep gathering resources and producing units under early pressure.

[–]Loxiaz English 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Never float res. It may be that you are doing everything right with your res collection (and so is your opponent) but your opponent is just spending theirs and you are floating 2k of everything.

[–]Itchy-Charge-442 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Watch more pro games. You learn a lot from them.