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Best Age of Empires II Civilizations

20th Nov 2017
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Age of Empires II is one of the most beloved real-time strategy games of all time. Developed by Ensemble Studios and published by Microsoft in 1999 as a sequel to the legendary Age of Empires, the game received "universal acclaim" upon release and remains a staple for RTS fans to this day. Since its initial release as Age of Empires II: Age of Kings, four expansions to the game and an HD remake has also been produced - Age of Empires II: The Conquerors (2000), Age of Empires II: HD Edition (2013), Age of Empires II HD: The Forgotten (2013) (based on the fan-made Forgotten Empires), Age of Empires II HD: The African Kingdoms (2015) and Age of Empires II HD: Rise of the Rajas (2016). At the heart of the award-winning gameplay of AOE 2 are the civilizations that players are able to choose to play with. In addition to their distinct art and play style, these civilizations have their unique set of advantages and disadvantages which are based fundamentally on a "rock-paper-scissors" architecture. This delicate balance of strengths and weaknesses extends all the way up from the overarching meta-strategy (e.g. economic boom beats defensive gameplay which in turn beats early rush strategy) down to individual units (e.g, infantry are generally powerful against buildings but weak against cavalry, thus the infantry counter units—spearmen and pikemen—have attack bonuses against cavalry). Because of the attention paid towards making each civilization as balanced as possible, any discussion of the relative ranking of these civilizations in terms of overall strength is often hotly contested. Now is the time to put all of that debate to rest - this list contains all the civilizations and their specialties in Age of Empires II and all its expansions. Rank these in the order of best to worst and let's find out what everyone thinks on average. Happy ranking and Wololo! Source(s): Age of Empires Wikia and Wikipedia

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Best Age of Empires II Civilizations

#10.

Malay

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The Malay in retrospect are a naval civilization that puts a lot of emphasis on strong Fish Trap economic bonuses, since Fish Traps and Fishing Ships are not only cheaper, but provide unlimited food. This in turn allows the Malay to completely ignore building any Farms in water maps and put all of their Food economy on fish and Fish Traps, since Fish Traps will allow the Malay to save wood in the long run. The naval line is very strong, only lacking the Heavy Demolition Ship, and thanks to the wood saved from unlimited Fish Traps, the Malay can easily produce more Naval ships in water maps. To add extra defensive measures for Fish Traps and Fishing Ships, researching Thalassocracy upgrades their Docks to Harbors, allowing them to shoot down any ships that attempt to raid the Fishing Ships and Fish Traps. Their ability to advance to the next Age faster means the Malay can save a lot of Town Center time, allowing the Malay to have an early game lead over their opponents in both water and land maps. In terms of their tech tree, their tech tree is very similar to the Vikings in retrospects (since both civilizations are strong early game civilizations in land maps that fall off late game due to a limited army composition). Both civilizations have fully upgradable Arbalests and Elite Skirmishers at their Archery Range, but lack Hand Cannoneers, Parthian Tactics, and Heavy Cavalry Archer upgrades. Both have a solid infantry line, a unique tech that boosts their infantry, and unique infantry unit where they lack a key important unit upgrade for their infantry (in Malay's case, it'll be the Champion upgrade to offset their strong Forced Levy Imperial Age tech where Two-Handed Swordsmen doesn't cost gold). In the case of the Malay, Karambit Warrior are infantry units that spawn nearly instantly akin to a Shotel Warrior, but far more frail (although Karambit Warriors only take up half a population space to offset their frailness). Both Vikings and the Malays also have solid siege weapon lines (in the Malay's case, they put more emphasis on long range sieging thanks to them having access to Bombard Cannons in exchange of not having Siege Rams). Both the Vikings and Malays have the worst cavalry in the game and the Malay takes the step further of not only lacking Bloodlines, but also lacking the Chain Barding Armor and Plate Barding Armor at the same time. That being said, much like the Viking Knight rush, the Malay have a viable cavalry rush in which despite having one of the worst cavalry lines in the game, is compensated with their strong economic bonuses. In the case of the Malays, the Malay Battle Elephant rush is suboptimal, but viable thanks to their age advancement bonus and a civilization bonus where their Battle Elephants are cheaper than Knights in terms of gold efficiency (as Malay Battle Elephants will cost 96 food and 56 gold as opposed to Knights that cost 60 food and 75 gold). In terms of civilization matchups, much like the Mayans and the Ethiopians, facing the Goths will be a nightmarish matchup for the Malays. This is because the Malays have no cost effective answer to the Huskarl unit (across from their Forced Levy Two-Handed Swordsman, but even so, a Malay Two-Handed Swordsman will not always win a melee trade with the Huskarl), the Goth's faster spawning and cheaper Champions will outshine the Malay Two-Handed Swordsmen with Forced Levy and Karambit Warrior, and the Goth's cheaper Halberdiers will make quick work on the Malay's already fragile Battle Elephants. Conversely, the Malays are a top-tier civilizations against civilizations with incredibly poor trash unit lines such the Turks and the Malians, since even without the Champion upgrade, the Two-Handed Swordsman with Forced Levy is enough to make them trash units that counters trash unts.
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