The complete AoE3 Newbie FAQ! Look before posting!

#1PacPosted 1/30/2006 3:00:56 PMmessage detail
Introduction
Welcome!

Welcome to the AoE3 Newbie FAQ. It was created to answer the most common and the most frequent questions asked on these boards.

How to use the guide
If you see anything in the contents that you want to read the answer to, simply copy the question into your browser’s find command (ctrl+f) and press ‘find next’ until you find the answer to it. You can also use this to find all instances of the word; for example, if you are having trouble with a patch or generally want more information about patching, type ‘patch’ into the find command box and you can then scroll through it until you find what you are looking for. If you can’t find what you are looking for, feel free to post it here and someone will get back to you ASAP.

Contents:
Introduction:
1) Welcome!
2) How to use the guide
Troubleshooting:
1) Campaign Problems
2) Patching Issues
3) Tech Support
FAQ:
1) Should I get this game?
2) Will my computer run this game?
3) Will my computer run this game maxed?
4) What time period is this game set in?
5) How does this game compare to AoC?
6) What civilisations are in the game?
7) What civilisation should I play as? What are the bonuses?
8) What is the best civilisation?
9) How do I unpause the game?
10) How do I get to the Age V?
11) How many settlers should I build?
12) What is the fastest source of food/gold?
13) How do I upgrade walls?
14) How do I build gates?
15) How can I taunt?
16) What is the maximum population in this game?
17) Why don’t the buildings fall apart?
18) Where are the formations?
19) How do I build factories?
20) How do you repair buildings/ships?
21) What's the real cheat for more wood?
22) How can I attack-move?
23) What's the counter for <unit x>?
24) Why is the <unit x> so OP/UP?
25) Why can’t I patch the game?
26) What sort of cards should I choose?
27) What is micro?
28) How do I rush?
29) How do I stop a rush?
30) How can I see the unused cheat units?
31) How can I set the starting age/unit upgrades in the scenario editor?
32) How can I play scenarios online?
33) How do I watch recorded games?
34) How do I get better at the game?
Appendix
1) Links
Credits/Special Thanks.

Troubleshooting
Common problems and fixes

If you are having trouble with the campaign, you may find a walkthrough here:

http://db.gamefaqs.com/computer/doswin/file/age_of_empires_iii.txt

If the campaign does not progress as it should, it may be caused by a problem during installation or your computer not meeting the minimum specs of the game; you can try re-installing the game or upgrading your computer. You can skip levels by bring up the chat box (by pressing the enter key) and using the cheat, 'this is too hard'.

Patching Issues
For more information, refer to section 25 of the FAQ.

Tech Support
If you are having specific issues with the game, try contacting ES tech support here:

http://forum.agecommunity.com/ibb/topics.aspx?forumID=7
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“There's no ‘I’ in team, Grif.”
“There's no ‘U’ either. So if I'm not on the team and you're not on the team, nobody's on the god damn team! The team sucks!”
#2Pac(Topic Creator)Posted 1/30/2006 3:01:30 PMmessage detail
FAQ
1) Should I get this game?
If your computer can run it and you like Real Time Strategy games, I don’t see why not. Age of Empires 3 is one of the best RTS games to come out in a while, and combines the classic ‘Age of…’ formula with new and innovative ideas – all while putting the series into a completely new engine which takes RTS gaming to the next level.

2) Will my computer run this game?
According to the official site @ http://www.ageofempires3.com, the minimum requirements are:
• Microsoft® Windows® XP
• PC with 1.4 Ghz equivalent or higher processor that supports SSE
• 256 MB of system RAM
• 2.0 GB available hard disk space
• 32x speed or faster CD-ROM drive
• 64 MB video card with HT&L
• Sound card with speakers or headphones
• Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device
• 56.6 Kbps or better modem for online play
• DirectX 9.0c or above
If in doubt, try this site for a general idea of how AoE3 will run:
www.srtest.com

3) Will my computer run this game maxed?
To run the game smoothly at max settings, you will need top of the line hardware. To at least have a chance of running this game maxed, you will need a graphics card that supports Pixel Shader 3.0 - which is available on the GeForce 6 series and up or the Radeon x1000 series and up. A GeForce 7800 (or better) or a Radeon x1800 (or better) should run the game maxed with little trouble if the rest of the computer is decent – having over 1GB of RAM and a high-end processor is recommended.

4) What time period is this game set in?
Approximately 1500-1850, starting where AoC ended and ending a bit after the start of the industrial era.

5) How does this game compare to AoC?
AoE3 is alot faster-paced than AoC, but remains a good sequel that improves on a lot of areas over AoC; just don’t go into this game expecting the exact same experience that AoC offered.

6) What civilisations are in the game?
The civilisations, minus the campaign-only civs:

British
Spanish
French
Portuguese
Ottomans
Russians
Germans
Dutch
---
“There's no ‘I’ in team, Grif.”
“There's no ‘U’ either. So if I'm not on the team and you're not on the team, nobody's on the god damn team! The team sucks!”
#3Pac(Topic Creator)Posted 1/30/2006 3:04:05 PMmessage detail
7) What civilisation should I play as? What are the bonuses?

Taken from the official site @ http://www.ageofempires3.com;

British
Quick access to Settlers gives the British one of the strongest economies in the game. The ability to upgrade two key units – the Musketeer and Hussar – make the British military formidable in the late game. The British Home City emphasizes improvements to technology and naval warfare.

Spanish
The Spanish have a strong military, with both hand infantry and cavalry. Flexibility in early shipments from the Home City give the Spanish the option to attack early or set up for a strong, late economy. Spanish Home City improvements benefit soldiers, buildings and naval units.

French
Although the French economy starts slowly, the Coureur unit, a Villager with strong fighting skills, makes the French difficult to attack early. The French also have the strongest cavalry unit in the game – the Cuirassier. Plus, the French are experts at allying with the Native Americans.

Portuguese
Receiving a free town centre with every age up, the Portuguese can quickly produce Settlers, control territory or support their allies. The Spyglass ability allows the Portuguese to easily spy on the enemy. The Portuguese also have a strong navy, strong light infantry and the best Dragoons in the game.

Ottomans
For the Ottomans, Settlers spawn automatically from the Town Center. Building a Mosque and conducting research help keep that Settler production steady. Befitting their position straddling Europe and Asia, the Ottomans have more unique units than any other civilization.

Russians
Starting the game with extra resources but fewer Settlers gives the Russians the flexibility of focusing on economy or an early raid. Russian infantry, individually weak, are trained in blocks at a faster rate, providing the Russians with the opportunity to overwhelm their enemy with greater numbers.

Germans
The Germans have fewer Settlers and therefore a slower economy. Fortunately, both the Settler Wagon and Uhlan cavalry spawn for free from the German Town Center. Plus, the Germans start with the ability to send Mercenaries from their Home City (long before other civilizations can).

Dutch
Although Dutch Settlers are limited and costly, their civilization makes up for this economic disadvantage by building Banks and generating coin automatically. The Dutch Home City emphasizes upgrades to defense and economy.

In addition, you can customize your civilization by learning new technologies and gaining troops by forging alliances with the Native Americans. A British player who allies with the Iroquois is essentially playing as two civilizations: the British and the Iroquois.

Best Rushing civs: Ottoman, Spain and Russia.
Best Booming civs: Britain and Portuguese.
Best Turtling civs: Dutch.
Best FFing civs: German, Ottoman and French.

The easiest civs to learn is the French – try using them to get used to the game’s fundamental concepts. They start off with an extra scout, a stronger economy and can adapt to any situation, and can introduce you to the basics of the game.

8) What is the best civilisation overall?
Every civilisation is good in certain situations. The Ottomans can rush early with early artillery and free villagers, and the Portuguese can make lots of Town Centres and make lots of villagers benefiting them in long games.

In short 1v1s, the Ottomans, Spanish and Germans may be at an advantage, while the British and Portuguese shine in long team games.
---
“There's no ‘I’ in team, Grif.”
“There's no ‘U’ either. So if I'm not on the team and you're not on the team, nobody's on the god damn team! The team sucks!”
#4Pac(Topic Creator)Posted 1/30/2006 3:05:32 PMmessage detail
9) How do I unpause the game?
Press the Pause/Break key at the top right corner of the keyboard. Crazy.

10) How do I get to the Age V?
If you can’t get to Imperial Age, you are probably playing Deathmatch. Create a supremacy home city and you can get to Age V just like any other age at the town centre.

11) How many settlers should I build?
In the early game, put all settlers to food and create settlers until you have enough food to advance to Age II, and you can re-arrange your settlers once you start advancing. In the late game, you can never have enough settlers. Keep building ‘em.

12) What is the fastest source of food/gold?
Food: Crates > Herdable animals > Huntable animals > Berries = Mill.
Gold: Crates > Mining > Plantations.

13) How do I upgrade walls?
Build a church and there should be an upgrade called ‘Bastion’ available from it. This upgrade turns all your walls into stone walls, with 150% more HP than ordinary walls.

14) How do I build gates?
Select a section of a wall and you should be given the choice to upgrade it into a gate for a small price.

15) How can I taunt?
Press the enter key to bring up the chat box, and you can type in a number from 1-24 to send an audio taunt. You can add mp3 or wav files to the taunts folder (default: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Age of Empires III\Sound\taunts) and put a 3 digit number in front their filename in order to add new taunts.

For example, say you have a song in mp3 format that you would like to add as a taunt. Add 025 and a space in front of the file name to add it as a taunt that you can use in the game by typing in ‘25’; however, only you can hear it unless someone else in your game has a file of the same name in his/her taunts folder.

16) What is the maximum population in this game?
The pop limit is 200, and you can’t change it. However, some units you can create don’t count towards the pop limit but instead have a limit of their own, namely natives and ships.

17) Why don’t the buildings fall apart?
In order to see the buildings fall apart when hit, you have to enable ‘high poly models’ in graphics menu in the options.

18) Where are the formations?
This is another example of a feature that has to be enabled in the options under UI options. However, many formations where taken out of the game before release (musketeers firing in rows, etc) so the extra formations you get are not necessarily what you may expect.

19) How do I build factories?
You can’t build factories with villagers or your explorer; you have to ship factory wagons from the home city. Every civilisation can ship at least 1 with the shipment from the cathedral, and most civilisations can ship another under a card called ‘Robber Barons’, also from the cathedral. The only civilisations that don’t have Robber Barons available are the Spanish and the Russians.

20) How do you repair buildings/ships?
You can repair buildings using the hammer icon that’s in the bottom right corner of the UI; however, you cannot repair buildings that are under attack. Ships can be repaired by placing them near a dock, and they repair themselves automatically, albeit slowly.

21) What's the real cheat for more wood?
The cheat *is* ‘<censored>’. It’s censored because it gives you wood. Understand the joke?
---
“There's no ‘I’ in team, Grif.”
“There's no ‘U’ either. So if I'm not on the team and you're not on the team, nobody's on the god damn team! The team sucks!”
#5Pac(Topic Creator)Posted 1/30/2006 3:06:31 PMmessage detail
22) How can I attack-move?
You can attack-move by pressing the ‘a’ key before ordering your military to move. However, this function was taken away in an early patch (because there was some sort of problem with it) – but you can get it back by going to the My Documents\My Games\Age of Empires 3\startup folder, and creating a text document called user.con. Add the following line of text to the file:

map ("a", "game", "enterAttackMoveMode")

This should allow you to attack move again. Just keep in mind that it was taken out because it was buggy; don’t expect it to work to your satisfaction.

23) What's the counter for <unit x>?
There are several unit types in AoE3. Each unit type counters a certain amount of other unit types by having bonuses when fighting against them (for example, pikemen do extra damage vs cavalry – these are known as ‘hard counters’) or by exploiting weaknesses (for example, artillery kill infantry because infantry lines are generally tightly packed and vulnerable to splash damage – these are called ‘soft counters’).

Unit groups include:
Heavy Infantry: Hand infantry and units wielding muskets.
Light Infantry: Ranged infantry not wielding muskets.
Light Cavalry: Ranged cavalry.
Heavy Cavalry: Hand cavalry.
Artillery: Self explanatory.

As a general rule of the thumb:
Light Infantry > Heavy Infantry.
Light Cavalry > Heavy Cavalry.
Heavy Infantry > Heavy and Light Cavalry.
Heavy Cavalry > Light Infantry and Artillery.
Artillery > Light and Heavy Infantry.

Some units are hard counters that don’t fit into the above guidelines; for example, Ruyters are light cavalry who receive bonuses vs artillery. Make sure you read each unit’s description to get an idea of what counters what.

24) Why is the <unit x> so OP/UP?
Chances are it isn’t. A lot of people call Cuirassiers OP because they can kill heavy infantry well due to their splash damage; they are overlooking the fact that heavy infantry are generally much cheaper in resources and pop space and can severely out-number Cuirassier. Some people see Halberdiers as units that should be boosted – however, they are one of the best counter-cavalry units in the game, and can defend your cannons from large packs of cavalry with ease. If a unit truly is OP/UP, then ES will balance them using patches shortly, putting them up to par with other units.
---
“There's no ‘I’ in team, Grif.”
“There's no ‘U’ either. So if I'm not on the team and you're not on the team, nobody's on the god damn team! The team sucks!”
#6Pac(Topic Creator)Posted 1/30/2006 3:07:27 PMmessage detail
25) Why can’t I patch the game?
dimebagdrl says:

If you changed anything using those cheats on the "codes and secrets" page which require you to change numbers, the patch won't go through. You need to undo the cheats you put into the file you changed by putting the original numbers back. Once you do that and save the patch will go through.

In other words, if you used either of these cheats:

Invincible units

Go to the folder containing all of the AOE 3 stuff. Open the folder called data. Right click proto.xml and go to open with and choose notepad. Press CTRL and F. Type in the name of the unit you want to find, e.g.: Explorer. Scroll down until you see all kinds of things starting with <Flag>. Anywhere in that area, make a new column and press CTRL and TAB twice. Type:
<Flag>Invulnerable</Flag>
and on another line type:
<Flag>DoNotDieAtZeroHitpoints</Flag>

Unlimited Resources

Use a text editor to edit the "proto.xml" file in the "data" directory in the game folder. Note: You may first need to uncheck the "Read Only" attribute of that file's properties in Windows Explorer. Search for the text "CrateOf". You will find CrateofFood, CrateofCoin, CrateofWood, CrateofFoodLarge, CrafteofCoinLarge, and CrateofWoodLarge. For all these entries, find the tag "InitialResourceCount" and change the count to whatever desired. For example, the normal crates each have "100.000" of the resources. You can change the "100" to "99999.000", etc.


...Then you need to go back and put the file back to the way it was.

Or you could ask someone who hasn't edited the "proto.xml" to provide you with a copy of their unedited file to replace the one you changed.


The patch also won’t go through if you are using a cracked version of the .exe, if you don’t have enough space on your hard drive or if you have anti-virus programs blocking the patch from installing properly.

For more information, go to:

http://forum.agecommunity.com/ibb/posts.aspx?postID=43019
---
“There's no ‘I’ in team, Grif.”
“There's no ‘U’ either. So if I'm not on the team and you're not on the team, nobody's on the god damn team! The team sucks!”
#7Pac(Topic Creator)Posted 1/30/2006 3:07:57 PMmessage detail
26) What sort of cards should I choose?
Staple cards that should be in most decks are:
Advanced Trading Post
Age I Villager Cards
Crates of 700 Resources
Age II and Age III Military cards
Outpost Shipments
Fort
Covered Wagon
Age III mercenaries

If you are just starting and don’t have access to these cards, try getting their prerequisite – 300 & 600 resource cards before 700 resource cards, weaker military cards and weaker villager cards before the more advanced ones. This will allow you to get better cards ASAP and lets you get a better deck faster.

If you plan on playing 1v1, add more military cards and crates to the mix to allow you to create an early army quickly, and to allow you to take a more aggressive stance after an FF.

If you plan on team games, you may want to consider using Age IV mercenary armies, factories and in general more late game cards. You may want to consider using some unit upgrade and economy upgrade cards in this case; especially if they affect the whole team.

27) What is micro?
Micromanagement - managing your military to be effective. Put your skirmishers in control groups and use them to target heavy infantry; move your pikemen forward when you see cavalry move towards your artillery; keeping as few idle villagers as possible. It helps you get the most out of your units and economy and can decide games in some cases.

28) How do I rush?
Advance ASAP; use resource cards and Age II military cards. On maps with strong natives (Great Plains especially), use advanced trading post and use it to take both a Lakota and Comanche trading post and use the native treaties card to get a large native force in a short amount of time. Keep your enemy from gathering resources, take out enemy villagers and key buildings; don’t be afraid to retreat, however, as town centre fire can support a weak army and help it destroy a larger one.

29) How do I stop a rush?
See what your opponent is building and counter it. Use outpost cards to protect resources and garrison your villagers when they are under risk; don’t, however, keep them garrisoned for large periods of time. Use lots of resource and military shipments to keep an army at all times, and micro them to make the most out of them. Don’t suicide units by sending a small force at a large force; try to build up a bit of an army and hit-and-run to make the most out of a small army.

30) How can I see the unused cheat units?
In the editor, create a bunch of units, select one of them and click on ‘units’ at the top bar and select the ‘replace units’. There should be a large menu of units you can create, among them scrapped cheat units such as George Crushington and the Learicorn.

31) How can I set the starting age/unit upgrades in the scenario editor?
*Open a triggers window.
*Check the box that says ‘run immediately’.
*Click on ‘effects’.
*Set the effect to ‘set tech status’.
*Scroll down through the available techs and choose one you want. For age ups, the techs are under ‘politicians’ and you can choose a politician that corresponds to the age you want.

32) How can I play scenarios online?
You can’t. ES said they are patching this into the game in due time.

33) How do I watch recorded games?
If you are on Windows XP, go to My Documents\My Games\Age of Empires 3\Savegame and put the recorded game in that folder. You can then choose to view the game normally.

34) How do I get better at the game?
Use hotkeys. Learn unit counters. Watch recorded games. Learn to micro effectively. Play online. Look at the links section in this guide for more information.
---
“There's no ‘I’ in team, Grif.”
“There's no ‘U’ either. So if I'm not on the team and you're not on the team, nobody's on the god damn team! The team sucks!”
#8Pac(Topic Creator)Posted 1/30/2006 3:08:30 PMmessage detail
Appendix
Links related to the game –


http://www.ageofempires3.com/
General information about the game.

http://www.agecommunity.com/
The official AoE3 community, contains a lot of tech information about the game, as well as ESO statistics.

http://www.agesanctuary.com/
A great source of recorded games and discussions about the game.

http://aoe3.heavengames.com/
A lot of information about modding and scenario editing, as well as a big community.

http://gamereplays.org/aoe3/
A source of recorded games and guides for various strategies.

http://www.onlinedesert.com/test/aoe3/aoe3unitstats.html
Unit stats and prices after certain technologies.

Thanks to everyone who helped with the guide, including:
dimebagdrl
TheLastAvatar05
yeoman_103
lu31605
TheShrike_
uberkrieger
TheReaper2491
Player15
TyRaNt LuBu
Poder
Hadri
Scr33mingL3mur

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“There's no ‘I’ in team, Grif.”
“There's no ‘U’ either. So if I'm not on the team and you're not on the team, nobody's on the god damn team! The team sucks!”
#9HadriPosted 1/30/2006 3:21:45 PMmessage detail
9) How do I unpause the game?
Press the Pause/Break key at the top right corner of the keyboard. Crazy.


I know this question irritates you, PAC, but most people have never heard of this key. You don't need to be snide.

Anyway, great job.
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Ne tenta vel perfice{Politics:261}
#10Scr33mingL3murPosted 1/30/2006 3:24:46 PMmessage detail
Fantastic. Great job, dude
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XBL GT: AN6RY8URR1T0
"Get the Escalade, we're outta here!" -God