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Age of Empires 2 DE update packs huge balance changes for classic RTS

A big Age of Empires 2 Definitive Edition update includes a limited-time event, massive balance changes, and fun mods for one of the top strategy games on PC.

A huge, “exciting and fun-filled” Age of Empires 2 Definitive Edition update packs in plenty of big balance changes, a Spicy Expeditions Event to celebrate springtime and historical spice merchants, and several mods integrated as in-game options. Already one of the best strategy games on PC, Age of Empires 2 DE patch 81058 promises plenty to keep players happy on Steam, the Microsoft store, and PC Game Pass via the Xbox app.

The full Age of Empires 2 DE update 81058 patch notes are down below, but let’s take a look at some of the highlights first. The AoE2 DE Spicy Expeditions Event runs April 11-25, with daily in-game tasks to be completed that can earn a variety of graphical mods and profile icons themed around “the adventurous merchants who risked life and limb to obtain luxuries” from foreign lands. There are five tasks to be undertaken, and each must be done on a separate day and in the order listed.

There’s also a huge set of balance tweaks, which have been previously tested through the Public Update Preview program. There’s new technology in the form of Gambesons, padded defensive jackets that will give your militia line extra defence. These can be made in the Castle Age after you have researched Supplies, but won’t be available to all civilizations.

Sweeping balance changes should pretty dramatically change your progression timings and resource demands, with Eagle Warriors, Swordsmen, Elephant Archers, Cannon Galleons, and Sappers among those featured in the patch notes. There’s also some specific fixes for Khmer’s Ballista Elephants, while the Portuguese Organ Gun has been tweaked to make it more effective against groups of enemies, in line with its historical use.

Age of Empires 2 DE update - a city in the real-time strategy game

Several of the smaller Age of Empires 2 DE maps have been made a little bigger across all map sizes, while Amazon Tunnel, Arabia, Meadow, MegaRandom, Nile Delta, Pacific Islands, Sandbank, Socotra, and Yucatan all get some slight balance tweaks.

There’s also some big updates to the game’s AI opponents, which should make them behave a little more smartly and respond better to the map type they’re on. In certain cases, this change should also result in improved game performance. Along with this, improved unit pathfinding that should help your forces make their way around the map a little more smartly without getting stuck or taking suboptimal routes to their destinations.

Finally, alongside some small improvements to mod tools, Forgotten Empires has introduced two small but very convenient mods as default options to the game’s settings menu. Now, you’ll be able to enable both Idle Pointers and Small Trees from the ‘game’ tab in the options menu. Idle Pointers will place an exclamation mark over any idle economy unit, while Small Trees – shockingly – makes all the trees visually smaller, making it a little easier to see what’s behind them.

Age of Empires 2 DE update 81058 patch notes

Here are the patch notes for Age of Empires 2 DE update 81058, courtesy of Forgotten Empires and Xbox Game Studios.

Stability & Performance

  • The game no longer becomes unresponsive and loses multiplayer features when leaving a clan.
  • Typing in the Scenario Editor search bar and then pressing enter no longer causes a crash.


  • Fixed an issue where one of the Stone Mine variations had black marks.
  • Unit movement animation no longer stutters while following/guarding another unit when the unit is moving.
  • Fixed an issue where the shield was upside down in Legionary idle and walk animations.
  • Legionary attack animation now has two extra variations which are used when facing different angles.
  • Added the fire version of Slinger’s projectile which is used after Chemistry is researched.


  • Villagers no longer use the audio confirmation of the task they are assigned when told to garrison, the move sound is used instead.
  • Updated the Civilization Theme and Jingle for the Bengalis.

User Interface

  • Fixed an issue where the Technology Tree was showing the item costs from the currently played civilization when viewing another civilization’s Technology Tree.
  • Removed the inaccurate mention of range increase from the “Upgrade to Keep” tooltip.
  • The Profile Menu does not close anymore when unsubscribing from an event mod.
  • Age Up Button’s non-extended tooltip now lists the requirements to age up.
  • Updated the extended tooltip of the Kataparuto technology to make it clearer.
  • Fixed some localization issues in multiplayer leaderboard menus on Xbox.
  • Fixed an issue where Town Center costs were shown incorrectly in the Technology Tree for civilizations with cheaper Town Centers.
  • Event Mods part of the Player Profile Menu will no longer display if there is no connection.


  • Added Idle Pointers: Adds an exclamation mark on top of idle economy units (Villagers, Fishing Ships, Trade Carts, and Cogs).
  • Added Small Trees: Replaces all trees with visually smaller versions.


  • Allowed combining the functionality of several Go to Building and Select All Buildings hotkeys when they are set to the same keys. This allows selecting different buildings together or cycling through them using one key.
  • Multiple building queue now works for units which are trainable from different buildings (Huskarls, Tarkans, Konniks, Serjeants) if these buildings are selected together.
  • Hotkeys that use CTRL + a mouse button (e.g. middle mouse button) will now execute hotkeys correctly.
  • Allowed ungarrisoning units from allied buildings using Ungarrison hotkey.
  • Fixed an issue where the gate rotation hotkeys had lower priority than Game Commands group hotkeys when placing a gate.

Age of Empires 2 DE update - two opposing armies clash in a natural corridor between rows of trees


  • Random number generator has been improved to avoid situations where it could return the same result over and over. This affects villager training randomness, accuracy of ranged units and conversion randomness.
  • Fish Traps can no longer be stolen by Fishing Ships of other players if they are being worked on.
  • When attempting to garrison units, units will now move to the targeted building even if it is full.
  • Monks and Priests with relics do not drop relics anymore when tasked to a full Monastery. Instead, “the building is full” message appears.
  • Villagers no longer stay idle after finishing constructing a building, garrisoning into it and being ungarrisoned by send back to work button.
  • Units no longer evacuate Fish Trap foundations when it starts being constructed.


  • Enemy players during treaty are no longer treated as allies when doing the spy/treason command.
  • Auto Scout no longer fails to work in games with Explored map reveal setting.
  • Adding units to a control group no longer causes the group to hold more units than selectable. Excess units are now correctly removed from the control group and the new units selected get correctly appended to the group.
  • Ranged units now have consistent attack delay when automatically attacking after receiving a stop command, same as when receiving an attack command.
  • Shift Queue now works properly for a group of monks picking a relic.
    Unit spawning cheats no longer cause parts of the map next to the bottom left map edge to be revealed.
  • Group of Trebuchets can no longer ignore first instance of “stop” command when unpacking.
  • Buildings can no longer drop units through walls, gates, buildings, trees, relics or resources.
  • Fishing ships will now properly go to the nearest fish when they deplete their current fish.
  • Fortifications can no longer end up with less than the intended amount of secondary projectiles upon ungarrisoning units while having other units still garrisoned.
  • Stop icon can no longer disappear from trebuchets control panel.
  • The ungarrison command now consistently becomes available immediately after garrisoning units into the building.
  • Allowed players to use ctrl/shift-click to ungarrison their units from ally buildings again.
  • Players are no longer able to ungarrison other player’s units from allied player’s buildings when ungarrisoning units with ctrl/shift-click.
    Relic carts now change ownership without time delay.
  • Aztec monks with 1/55 HP no longer die when picking up or dropping a relic.
  • Monks can no longer hide inside/behind a relic and become unreachable by enemy melee units.
  • Relics can no longer be dropped to the other side of a wall when the monk carries the relic close to the wall.
  • The construction progress percentage of Cuman Town Centers no longer changes when advancing to the Castle Age.
  • Docks can no longer fire arrows at units which previously were adjacent to them.
  • Farm outlines are now correctly displayed in the building placement mode.

New Technology – Gambesons

  • Effect: Militia-Line +1 Pierce Armor.
  • Cost: 100 Food and 100 Gold, 25 seconds.
  • Available in Castle Age after Supplies has been researched.
  • Gambesons are available for: Aztecs, Bengalis, Bulgarians, Burmese, Byzantines, Celts, Dravidians, Franks, Japanese, Koreans, Malay, Persians, Portuguese, Saracens, Sicilians, Slavs, Spanish, Teutons, Vikings.
  • Gambesons are disabled for: Berbers, Bohemians, Britons, Burgundians, Chinese, Cumans, Ethiopians, Goths, Gurjaras, Hindustanis, Huns, Incas, Italians, Khmer, Lithuanians, Magyars, Malians, Mayans, Mongols, Poles, Tatars, Turks, Vietnamese.

Age of Empires 2 DE update - a city built on a river in the RTS game

Civilization Balance

  • Eagle Scout, Eagle Warrior, and Elite Eagle Warrior cost increased from 20 food and 50 gold ▶ 25 food and 50 gold.
    Long Swordsman upgrade research time decreased from 45 seconds ▶ 40 seconds.
  • Two-Handed Swordsman upgrade research time decreased from 75 seconds ▶ 60 seconds.
  • Champion upgrade research time decreased from 100 seconds ▶ 85 seconds.
  • Pikeman upgrade research time decreased from 45 ▶ 35 seconds.
  • Pikeman upgrade cost decreased from 215 food and 90 gold ▶ 160 food and 90 gold.
  • Supplies research time decreased from 35 seconds ▶ 20 seconds.
  • Fishing Ship collision size reduced from 0.5 ▶ 0.4.
  • Trade Cog collision size reduced from 0.5 ▶ 0.3.
  • Elite Steppe Lancer pierce armor increased from 1 ▶ 2.
  • Heavy Scorpion upgrade cost decreased from 1000 food and 1100 wood ▶ 800 food and 900 wood.
  • Murder Holes research time decreased from 60 seconds ▶ 35 seconds.
  • Sappers research cost changed from 400 food and 200 gold ▶ 400 food and 200 wood.
  • Sappers research now also adds +3 bonus damage vs rams for villagers.
  • (Elite) Elephant Archer train time decreased from 34 seconds ▶ 32 seconds.
  • Elite Elephant Archer upgrade cost reduced from 1000 food and 800 gold ▶ 900 food and 500 gold.
  • Siege Elephant upgrade cost increased from 650 food ▶ 850 food.
  • (Elite) Genitours are now affected by Recurve Bow, Tower Shields, and Byzantine skirmisher discount.
  • (Elite) Cannon Galleon damage increased from 35 (45) ▶ 50 (60).
  • (Elite) Cannon Galleon bonus damage vs Infantry, Archers, Cavalry and Mamelukes decreased from 15 ▶ 0.
  • (Elite) Cannon Galleon bonus damage vs Siege decreased from 40 ▶ 25.
  • (Elite) Cannon Galleon accuracy increased from 50% ▶ 100%.
  • (Elite) Cannon Galleon blast radius increased from 0 ▶ 0.25 (0.3).
  • (Elite) Cannon Galleon receives attack ground ability.
  • Fixed an issue where Cannon Galleons sometimes wouldn’t damage the targeted unit.

Specific per-civilization balance changes can be found in detail in the full patch notes on the Age of Empires website.

Age of Empires 2 DE update - a fleet of boats sails across a clear blue ocean

Random Maps

  • Archipelago, Islands, Migration, Team Islands, Fortress maps are now enlarged on all map sizes except Ludicrous instead of only on Giant. On the map sizes smaller than Giant these maps now have the dimensions of the next map size (for example, Tiny map size on these maps will have the dimensions of Small map size). The same enlargement now applies to Budapest, Pacific Islands, and Sandbank maps as well.
  • Players now start with only one King in Regicide game mode on maps with multiple lands. This change applies to Budapest, MegaRandom, and ES_Metropolis maps.

Map Balance

Amazon Tunnel

  • The tunnel width between players in 1v1 games no longer varies greatly.
  • Added an extra gold mine per player.


  • Ponds no longer generate when playing Empire Wars.
  • Temporarily removed the Asian, European and American themes. This leaves the Eastern and African themes.
  • Added a chance for even larger forest generation.
  • Increased the number of rugs by one (5 in total).
  • Added a small chance of generating some extra visual objects.


  • Fixed an issue which could cause a mill to fail to spawn in Empire Wars mode.


  • Fixed an issue on a specific generation where Town Centers and starting gold and stone could fail to spawn for every player in the game.

Nile Delta

  • The starting islands in team games now have west/east distribution between the teams instead of north/south.

Pacific Islands

  • Added a small amount of elevation to the middle islands.
  • Players now start with a Transport Ship and a Hut.
  • Improved the wood generation balance on players’ islands.
  • Fixed an issue where on 1v1 map generations all mangrove forests could spawn on the map edges.
  • Middle islands can now be accessed equally easily by both players in 1v1 games.
  • Added Rhinoceroses and more forage bushes to the middle islands.


  • Gold and stone mines can no longer generate on small mangrove shallows patches in the corners of the map.


  • Reduced the map size in order to reduce the percentage of water on the map. The size of the island is unchanged.


  • Yucatan no longer has a smaller dimension on Ludicrous map size.

Age of Empires 2 DE update - a sandy city in the RTS game's 81085 patch


  • Optimized certain parts of the default AI to improve game performance.
  • Improved AI on various maps and location types to fix various issues or strange behaviours (full details on website).


  • Improved pathing of units when going on a straight line on formation.
  • Walls builders are now sorted based on distance to the last wall node which should sort them in a precise order to be assigned to each tile node.
  • Units will now retarget to a unit of the same type if they bump into them and cannot reach the current target.
  • Fixed an issue where units were unable to properly navigate around obstructions/terrain if the goal was more than 10 tiles away.
  • Fixed an issue where units were not taking the shorter distance path in certain situations.
  • Fixed an issue where path smoothing wasn’t shifting all the waypoints to better/more ideal positions resulting in backtracking when a bump occurred.
  • Units no longer stutter when they collide and have enough space to follow a correct path.
  • Additional fix to avoid Villagers going idle when gathering resources near walls.
  • Formations no longer stop when colliding into an obstruction despite having remaining waypoints they could path to.
  • Villagers no longer go idle in some circumstances close to palisades when cutting wood.


  • Fixed an issue where unit-type-count-(total) would not count units in the middle of a unit line correctly.
  • Added sn-keystates for direct unit commands. This allows the AI to input ctrl and shift inputs when issuing commands. Setting to 1 corresponds to shift, setting to 2 corresponds to ctrl and setting to 3 corresponds to both.
  • Fixed an issue where pending trebuchets were not properly counted.
  • Fixed an issue where sn-maximum-patrol-distance cap has no effect and the units patrolling always follow the enemy unit and never return to the path.
  • Search ID is now reset between searches with different filter settings, as in legacy.
  • Farming is now given a greater priority than foraging when using the gather percentage system.
  • up-get-victory-data now returns the correct value for the player.
  • sn-town-center-placement set to a camp will now consider pending town centers when deciding on a placement.
  • The AI simrate is more consistent on high framerates.
  • Fixed can-build town-center as Britons incorrectly considering the cost as 275 wood.
  • Fixed a bug that would occasionally idle AI controlled ships.


  • The attacks with a negative value are now able to add negative amounts to the total damage calculation if the target unit has higher armor of the matching attack/armor class. The value of the target unit’s armor is considered to be 0 if it isn’t negative. The minimum total damage amount is still 1.
  • The value of resource 269 now determines the ID of an additional effect which fires when any technology gets researched.
  • Added the new Loot Object task (ID 154) which can add resources or fire technology effects when the unit with this task kills, razes or converts an enemy object. This task rewards the attacking player if the work range in the task is 0 or otherwise the target player with:
    • the value of resource set in Resource Out field. The amount is determined by work value 1 which is multiplied by the amount of Productivity resource if it is assigned.
    • the effect with ID of the number in Resource In field.
    • the effect with ID of the 4th task resource’s value.
  • Fixed an issue where Change Color Mood trigger effect was affecting the following scenario editor sessions.
  • Fixed an issue where Colour mood wasn’t changing properly.
  • The bottom panel now displays correct icons for Trebuchet units.
  • xsResearchTechnology, xsGetObjectCount, xsGetObjectCountTotal and xsGetTechCount functions can now be used in Random Map game modes.

Take a look at everything you need to know about Age of Empires 2 cheats to get the most out of your time with the new update. We’ve also picked out the best RTS games on PC in 2023 if you can’t get enough of commanding armies and building bases.