Tips for Starting to Play AoE2 Online

Hi Guys! I’ve read a lot of posts here and elsewhere about people who are interested in starting to play AoE2 online, but are scared that they aren’t ready enough for the experience. There are plenty of questions out there that boil down to “what steps do I need to take to know that I’m ready to play?” So I thought it’d be a good idea to put out a video that gives you a step by step set of tips so you know you’re ready to dive onto the ranked ladder. If you or anyone you know is interested in playing AoE online multiplayer, share this video! I appreciate it, thanks!

As for this thread, what other “starting online multiplayer” tips do you recommend for people new to online play?


Don’t play ranked. You will get murdered by skynet skill level players who click their mouse like a machine gun.

Play easy maps like michi or some sort of easy scenario with lots of resources (and maybe even triggers) and choke points to give you some sort of chance. As in a chill game.

Yeah, that’s why I made this video. I think online has this reputation for being a cutthroat battlefield where if you don’t have pro-level APM, build orders honed to the millisecond, and basically treat the game like a second job, then there’s no point in playing online. It doesn’t help that A) newer online players often try to get their feet wet with the unranked lobbies (“noob only” games) or quickplay, where they’re actually more likely to run into unfair matches against more experienced opponents, and B) if you do start playing the online ranked ladder, you often have to lose your first couple of games for the matchmaker to know where to place you.

But the awesome thing I’ve discovered with DE is that the ranked ladder actually isn’t like that at all. No matter the skill level, there are people at that level to play with. The fairest and funnest games can be found on the ladder, and it is AoE like nothing else. I think that, if people like the idea of playing 1v1 against somebody else (and to be fair, that’s not everyone’s cup of tea), then ranked is absolutely worth trying for a few games.


-i think one should be able to beat the AI at Hard or higher
-learn some hotkeys
-get a general idea for a build-order
-play art of war

then I think 1v1 will be more enjoyable, since it gives fair matchups faster. team games can be quite toxic, especially if you’re new, unless you have friends to play with.

1 Like

You are ready when you think you are ready. Let me explain this statament.

I havent watched your vid, but the tips i would give:

You have 3 options to play online on DE. I will go over all three to discuss all. I will rate them based on two questions:

  1. How easy can you find a new game?
  2. Are you playing against equally skilled players?

Option 1: Ranked. In my opinion the best place to start, even if you havent much experience at all. Just join the queue and you will get into a game within minutes. The elo system also tries to make sure to have balanced games. It really does a good job for 1v1s. For team games it has some flaws. If you are new to online, i would advice to play 1v1s. If you play team games, you allies can get angry about you playing bad and stuff like that. That isnt a fine experience at all.

Option 2: Quick play. In theory you can get into a game easily using quick play, but since it is just ranked, but withoutt balancing teams / sided based on skill, no one really plays quick play. It is pretty much dead. So in reality you dont get a game that quickly. You might even have to wait for 15 minutes or something like that. And then you end up with a pretty unbalanced game as well, since it uses nothing to balance. So the answer on the two questions is a no for that reason.

Option 3: The lobby. This is a very toxic place in my experience. You got randomly got kicked by hosts for ‘not liking you’. Some hosts also dont really know how the game works. Or you are stuck with people just joining and leaving. So getting ready for the game takes a while. So how easy can you find a new game? It is pretty hard. Last time i tried i hadnt found a game that actually started after 15 minutes. There is also not really a good way to balance teams. As result i would answer the questions with two no’s.

So the best way is to play in ranked. The first few games are pretty scary. Probably you will lose hard (assuming not very experienced), but after about 10 games you mainly play against equally skilled opponenets, which is great. For that reason your skills dont really much. Just go to the first about 10 games, and you will end up with good quality games in ranked. It is meant to be a quick way to find games against equally skilled opponents.

Totally disagree with this statement. Ranked isnt full of these kind of players. High level ranked is full of these kind of players. But they play against each other. You probably havent watch much LEL games from T90? He is casting lower rated players. They are popular because many players can relate to these players. People are about equally skillfull as these players, that makes it fun to watch. And it shows your claim is wrong.

I would also advice against playing niche settings like Michi or scenarios with lots of resources. You will never got a real understanding of the game if you use these settings. Just settings just neglict big parts of the game. I would never advice to start playing them first. Just start with the most regular choice. After a while, when you know the game and online environment much better, then you can branch off to more niche settings of your liking.

I partionally agree with this. These are great tips to improve. As result you wont be that low on the list on ranked. This means you will get into more balanced games much more early. But they arent really needed to play ranked.

Having a general understanding of the game (that is the short version of your tips) is great advice to any player. But i will go as far as it is not needed to start ranked. Just watch LEL. Many of these players arent able to beat the AI on Hard. I also think they dont really use much hotkeys. Some of them dont really have a general idea for a build arder. And i dont really think they are able to finish the art of war campaign with high medals as well. But they are still playing in ranked. That really shows that it really doesnt matter how skillfull you are. Ranked will just match you against equally skilled players.


rule 1: if you are going to play online, play RANKED first, dont play in lobbies, they are noob traps and troll fests

rule 2: accept you will lose a lot of games until the matchmaking puts you against players of equal skill, aoe matchmaking is very slow to put new players on the right elo, due to the saturation of legacy veterans

i havent watched your whole vid, but near the opening you mention losing HALF your games. this is a complete misnomer and specifically inaccurate for beginners. you will make them think they will be losing half their initial games, which isnt true, they’ll lose much much more than that


that’s true. i should have clarified that this is what i would recommend if you don’t want to get stomped for the first 5-10 games

Most of these tips I mirror in the video! Good stuff. Now waiting until you can beat the hard AI, that’s tricky… on the one hand, it does give a good single-player objective and will strengthen AoE skills for sure. But on the other hand, it can teach some bad habits (e.g., mangonels aren’t very effective against perfect micro AI, but excellent against human players). It probably helps more than hurts, though.

Agree completely. The 1v1 ranked ladder is where to go for the best experience. You just need to know that you’re likely to lose your first 5-10 games.

Yep, 100% agree. Maybe the only exception is if you can find comp-stomp, beat the AI games in lobby, that can be fun and help get your feet wet playing multiplayer by watching others without there being as much pressure to perform. But “noob only” games are a trap more often than not.

What I say (or mean to say) in the video is that once you find your place in the ranked ladder, you should be losing about half of your games, give or take. The regular online experience, whether you are 700 or 1700 ELO, is to lose about half of your games. That’s very different from the single-player experience, where a player can customize the difficulty of their opponent to win all of their games. I do say in the video that the new player should expect to first lose their first 5-10 games in order for the matchmaker to find their place. Then the 50% rule kicks in.