Return of Rome is way too hard

I have literally no idea how I’m supposed to beat this game. I get wrecked on Moderate AND Standard. I have had literally only one victory out of several games, and that’s because I accidentally set the victory conditions to Standard and collected all the Ruins.

I get steamrolled by Heavy Cavalry, Elephant Archers, and War Elephants every time, and I have no idea how to counter them.

I was hoping for a fun new experience, but it’s more frustrating than anything. Every single unit past Tool Age is completely unbeatable.


Just play the game till you know how to play the game… Don’t worry, you will win a game bro. Keep trying :muscle:


That’s not helpful. I can’t play the game if I don’t know the counters to all the units.

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I noticed the enemy AI seems to be a lot more aggressive (and pro-cavalry) in RoR than in the main AoE2 game. Maybe it needs some nerfing?


I agree. I lost in standard against an ennemy having a 190 soldiers army, not in formation. I didn’t understand why my heavy cavalry archers weren’t efficient against broad sword soldiers.

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Well this is terrible news.

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I guess just learn the game overtime. Aoe1 is not the same as Aoe2, so you need to change your mind set. try watching pro aoe1 playing and you may understand Aoe1 better.


What elo are you in aoe2 and do you have any experience playing aoe1 classic?

An easy way to beat the AI is to reach the Tool/2nd age first, build a barrack (or 2) and spam slingers into the AI’s base. The AI won’t be able to counter if it is still in the stone age. Age of Noob has a few videos on YouTube covering the basic game mechanics too. And +1 to FearfulSugar350’s suggestion. I’ve seen some of the Aoe2 pros (e.g. TheViper, Daut, Tatoe) games and it was helpful to see the build order/walling strats.

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For me it is the opposite:

I only played a game against the extreme AI and I steamrolled it. It is kind of what I expected after seeing how it perforned in SotL video.

I hope the devs did a proper scaling of the AI from easiest to extreme, contrary to aoe1de, but from your experience it seems not. It is a shame because an AI revamp should have been the main focus if the DLC imo.

In aoe1de many people complained that all AI had a similar level, and that the moderate AI felt weaker than the easy AI.

There are a few attack boni:

  • camels and axemen deal bonus damage against cavalry
  • knights deal bonus damage against barracks units
  • scouts and slingers deal bonus damage against archers

In age 2:

  • scout > slingers, bowmen
  • axemen > scouts
  • bowmen > axemen

In ages 3 and 4 are similar to aoe 2, except that hoplites (from academy) wreck all melee units and stone thrower projectiles are slower than mangonels.
The melee chariots units are rather weak and very expensive, despite being invaluable in trash wars.

Just like aoe 2, it is very important to have a “good start”, the trick in aoe 1 is to use one or 2 villagers to scout for natural food resources (especially elephants/boars) and to kill all deers of the pack next to your TC or build a storage pit next to the dead deers (accepting losing food from decay).

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From the descriptions here it still seems to be way harder.
I mean in basic AoE2 on standard the AI barely attacks at all and resigns pretty quick even to things like a successful 7 unit light cavalry raid.
Its almost impossible to loose on standard.
Even if you don’t know AoE1, if the AI were remotely similar, even your AoE2 knowledge would let you easily stomp the AI on standard.
Unfortunately I still have to wait until I can try the DLC myself.


Stupid question:
If extreme AI is surprisingly easy and medium AI is surprisingly hard, could it be that all difficulties are the same?
Looks like there is a bug in the part of the AI that determines the difficulty or something like that.

Yeah, anyone with some aoe2 game experience should be able to stomp standard AI if the AI has been scaled similarly to aoe2de (which was my expectation)

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Maybe, hard to tell because I have many hours on aoe1de already. I will try other difficulties and compare, when I get time for it.

I’d rather have an AI that is challenging. I was concerned that the AI would be weak as shown in several pre-release videos. I am glad it’s not that way. When I first started playing AoE 2, I found moderate to be difficult, until I figured out how to beat it. I beat it easily now.

Apocalypso4826, hang in there, you just need to play more. I got beaten on Extreme pretty badly, and lost on Hard. I beat the AI pretty easily on Standard.

The way I beat Standard was by getting to Tool age quickly, and building a barracks and archery range near their Town Center. I began making clubmen/axemen, slingers, and archers. I then started killing villagers. The villages can run and hide in the Town Center, but you can stay there because the Town Center does not shoot arrows. I also built some cheaper Roman watch towers in their base. Keep them from acquiring resources, while you continue to gain resources. Get to the Bronze age and it should be over soon. I recommend you choose a civ with good economic bonuses. In addition, if you choose a map with water, the AI may be putting resources into docks and ships, while you wreck the land economy. Good luck.

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Ballistas and Helepolis with a small meatshield normally wreck everything the AI can offer.
Otherwise try to play something that is already boosted by the civ bonuses.
Don’t forget your Unitupgrades in the Storagepit.
if you are new to aoe1 age of noob has a 4 part Videoseries for new return to rome players.

Yes, in short it’s like AoE 2 and AoE 3:

light cavalry (scout) beats light ranged infantry (slingers,bowmen) and light melee infantry (axemen)…

Academy/heavy infantry (centurion) beats cavalry (scouts and heavy cavalry)

light ranged infantry (slingers,bowmen) and ranged light cavalry (horse archer) beats heavy infantry (centurion)…

Yeah, it is similar.

I specified the “obvious” for the tool age because it is a change compared to RiseOfRome and aoe1de, where AFAIK it was:
slinger mass > axemen > everything else.

Now there are bonus damage for axemen vs scouts, for bowmen vs axemen, and for scouts vs bowmen & slinger to improve game balance


Of course, it’s just a matter of getting used to it… in the end it’s always heavy cavalry and siege units against everything…

Bowman has bonus damage vs all infantry except heavy/elite infantry (hoplite line). Which means bowman does 1 more damage compare to improved bowman vs non hoplite infantry.

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