Age of Empires Series Wiki
Attack cur
Cavalier infobox (fully upgraded)

The attack of a unit or building indicates the maximum (kind of) damage it can inflict upon opposing units or buildings. These attacks are blocked by the corresponding armor of the unit. Units and buildings may deal additional damage to the target based on the attack bonuses due to armor classification system which varies from game to game, and in some rare cases due to negative armor values. As opposed to the main attack, this bonus attack does not interact with the target's visible armor values, but with the corresponding specialized armor of the target, which is often hidden.

Examples of such bonuses include the Halberdier and Camel Rider lines' bonus against cavalry in Age of Empires II, as well as the Cataphract's bonus against infantry in Age of Empires and Age of Empires II.

The attack of almost all military units can be improved by researching certain technologies at various buildings. If the attack of a unit or structure is improved with technologies, the added value is separately shown in the infobox (see image).

Attack system[]

Age of Empires, Age of Empires II, and Age of Empires IV use an additive attack and armor system. This means that values of armors and attack bonuses are numbers. Attacks are subtracted by armors and then added with attack bonuses to calculate damage.

Age of Mythology and Age of Empires III use a multiplicative attack system. This means that values of armors and attack bonuses are fractions. Attacks are multiplied by and then multiplied with attack bonuses to calculate damage. In Age of Empires III, they are accurately called resists and multipliers respectively.

The attack system is differs from game to game and is very complex, but it can be presented in a simple manner for basic understanding. Even for the same type of attack logically, the nomenclature is different between games.

If a unit has multiple base attacks, the UI shows only the largest value.

Base attack[]

Attacks which are advertised on a unit's statistics are called base attacks. These usually come in four forms:

Attack Description Corresponding armor Name in AoE Name in AoE2 Name in AoM Name in AoE3 Name in AoE4
Hack/Melee attack done by non-ranged* units Hack/Melee Melee Melee Hack Melee Melee
Pierce/Ranged attack done by buildings, ships, siege and ranged units Pierce/Ranged Pierce Pierce Pierce Ranged Ranged
Crush/Siege/Torch attack done by melee units (against siege units, buildings and ships), siege units, and ships Crush/Siege/Fire - - Crush Siege Torch
Unresisted/Siege attack done by siege units and ships - Unnamed Divine Siege Siege

- means that the entry is not applicable
Non-ranged units are also called melee units. Ranged units are also called archers.

Siege attack[]

Siege attack in Age of Empires III appears twice because how different units attack. Like Torch damage in Age of Empires IV, infantry and cavalry units use this attack only against buildings and ships. Coincidentally, both use torches to attack. Crush attack in Age of Mythology is used against all units and buildings, but units other than siege and ships have 99% resistance against crush attack, making it effective only against these units.

Siege attack cannot be blocked by any kind of armor. Units which do this damage are:

Charge attack[]

Age of Empires IV introduces a new type of attack called a charge attack, available to a number of units that do melee damage. Melee units, when not already engaged in combat, will charge when tasked with attacking enemy units within a certain distance. This also applies to units given an attack move order when encountering enemy units. The charge attack does additional damage on the first hits, whereupon the units will switch to their standard melee attack. Spearmen and Limitanei can negate charge attacks by bracing, provided they are stationary or attack moving when encountering enemy units, and that they are not attacked from behind. Longbowmen can also counter charges with their Place Palings ability, causing charging enemy cavalry to be stunned for 2.5 seconds and receive 25 damage. After charging and engaging in melee, units must be disengaged for a short period of time and acquire some distance from their target before they are able to charge again.


In Age of Empires, the Stone Thrower line and the Fire Galley deals melee attack instead of pierce attack. The Catapult Trireme and Juggernaut deal an unresisted attack instead of pierce attack.

In Age of Empires II, the Throwing Axeman, the Mameluke, the Gbeto, and the Chakram Thrower deal melee attack instead of pierce attack. The Turtle Ship, the Dromon, and the Mangonel, Bombard Cannon, and Cannon Galleon lines deal melee attack instead of pierce attack too. Non-ranged siege units and ships also have melee attack instead of pierce attack. The Scorpion and Fire Galley lines, Chu Ko Nu and Kipchaks have an additional melee attack along with their pierce attack. Secondary projectiles of Hussite Wagons deal an unresisted attack type.

In Age of Mythology, the Throwing Axeman deal hack attack instead of pierce attack. Myth units deal either hack or pierce damage, sometimes combined with crush damage. Hero units likewise deal either hack or pierce damage, depending on their attack range. Even most damaging god powers deal one or more of these damage types, influencing their effectiveness against different targets. Among ships, hammer ships deal hack attack, archer ships deal pierce attack, and siege ships deal crush attack.

In Age of Empires III, buildings may deal siege attack instead of ranged attack. Ranged infantry and cavalry units initially attack at range but switch to melee damage if their target closes up on them, while keeping a siege attack for buildings and ships (torches for most units, grenades for Grenadiers).

Damage formula[]

Additive systems[]

The basic damage formula in Age of Empires - I, II, and IV is:

The exact formula for Age of Empires II is mentioned below.

As a special case, for buildings in Age of Empires, the damage becomes:

In these formulae, kelev is the elevation multiplier (hill/cliff bonuses) in Age of Empires I and II, i is the armor class (of which melee, pierce, torch and siege are part of). The formula basically says that for every type of attack, its corresponding armor value is subtracted, and if it is greater than 0, they are added to damage. The minimum damage is set to 1 (0.1 for buildings in Age of Empires), if the damage dealt is less than that value.

Note that the damage may not be an integer (and it may be less than 1), but the game works with the values just fine. It does subtract fractional hit points, but the UI shows only the integer part of the remaining hit points. The unit dies when the remaining hit points reach below 1 (does not have to be less than or equal to 0).

Example 1: A Bowman has 3 pierce attack and a Small Wall has 200 HP and 3 pierce armor. Since the wall's pierce armor cancels the Bowman's attack, the Bowman does 0.1 damage per arrow. The first arrow lowers the wall's HP to 199.9 (199 shown in-game), but for the HP to get below 199 (so that the game shows 198 HP) the Bowman has to fire ten more arrows (thus it looks the first arrow does 1 damage while the following nine do no damage).
Example 2: A Slinger has 2 pierce attack, which again is cancelled by the wall's pierce armor. However, the Slinger also has 3 attack against defensive structures, so the Slinger does 3/5 = 0.6 damage. The first five strikes lower the wall's HP to 199.4, 198.8, 198.2, 197.6, 197 (thus it looks like strikes 1, 2, and 4 do 1 damage while strikes 3 and 5 do no damage).

For more information about damage calculation, visit the respective Armor class page.

Age of Empires II[]

The existence of attack bonus resistance and armor-ignoring properties in Age of Empires II makes the damage calculation formula even more complex. The formula is mentioned below, and is discussed in detail with examples in the armor class page:


Elevation multiplier, generally 1.25 if attacker is on higher ground and 0.75 from lower ground, with special cases for the Tatars, Georgians, etc.
0.5 if the projectile of the projectile-based attacker mishit another target than the intended one. Does not apply to units with Area of Effect damage, Chakram Throwers, Arambai, units with blast damage, or secondary projectiles of Hussite Wagons and Organ Guns.
Only for attackers with Area of Effect damage, value depending on blast attack type.
1.2 if the target is a building on a desert cracked terrain, and 1 otherwise.
Bonus damage resist multiplier. Used for cases where bonus attack received is decreased multiplicatively, for certain units of Bengalis and Sicilians, 0 in other cases.
Attack multiplier against a particular armor class. Used for cases where bonus attack is increased multiplicatively, such as when Siege Engineers is researched (its value is then 1.2), and for bonuses of Bohemians, Burgundians, and Gurjaras.
Attack value of the attacker for a particular armor class.
Armor value of the target for a particular armor class (if the target does not have the armor class, this value is the base armor value, which is usually 1000, but is 0 for Ornlu the Wolf).

Age of Mythology[]

The basic damage formula is:

  • AttackBonus is the bonus against the category the target belongs to. As a direct multiplier, it no longer ignores armor but scales with attack upgrades. If the value is lower than 1, it effectively acts as a damage penalty (such as myth units dealing half damage or less against heroes)
  • kelev is the elevation multiplier, equal to 5/4 if a unit attacks above its target, 3/4 if a unit attacks below its target or 1 otherwise
  • t is the duration of the attack animation in seconds (longer animations result in higher damage)

Note: The Egyptian Siege Tower and Chinese Immortal actually switch between different attacks, instead of attacking with multiple attack types.

Age of Empires III[]

The basic damage formula is:

  • All possible bonus multipliers against a unit are combined. For instance, the Crossbowman has a 2× multiplier against light cavalry but a 0.75× multiplier against cavalry; as light cavalry is a subset of cavalry, light cavalry units actually take 1.5× more damage.
  • It is possible to inflict less than 1 damage per hit.

Age of Empires IV[]

The basic damage formula is:

  • denotes base attack damage of the attacking unit.
  • denotes bonus attack damage of the attacking unit.
  • denotes the relevant armor of the attacked unit, that is melee armor when the attacking unit is melee, and ranged armor when the attacking unit is ranged.
  • denotes the cumulative effect of all percentage-based buffs and debuffs applying to the attacking unit.

Upgrades to the attack damage, even percentage-based ones, only affect the base damage and are applied before Multiplicators.

Age of Mythology[]

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Compared to the predecessors, small and/or specific attack bonuses are comparatively less common, and some typical specialized unit types even work without specific damage bonuses (such as Hammer ships exploiting Siege Ships low hack armor, and many siege units are effective against buildings by default thanks to the new damage type). It is however still crucial to the additional layer of myth units and heroes and their interactions, though not in how they interact with regular units. Myth units are more effective against each other and weaker to heroes (dealing less damage and taking more), while their strength against soldiers is in their regular attributes, lack of weaknesses and their special attacks. Heroes are countered by normal soldiers by strength of numbers rather than attack bonus mechanics as well (though some are subject to regular attack bonuses due to a secondary unit typing, such as Norse Hersirs, which are also infantry).

In Age of Mythology, some units (such as Arkantos, and the General) have special abilities that can temporarily boost the damage output of themselves and/or other allied units around them. Some god powers also temporarily boost damage for certain units. In both cases, the increase is reflected in the unit info.

In Age of Mythology: Retold, a new attack type was introduced, the Divine attack. The damage dealt by divine attacks are not resisted by any armor type, and is thus "raw" damage. Certain "magic-wielding" units as well as units depicting "armor-piercing" attacks deal this type of damage. The units dealing divine damage per hit, along with other damage types, are:

Some units gain divine attack from certain myth technologies, like Phobos' Spear of Panic granting divine attack to Hoplites, Militia, and Prodromoi.


Gameplay elements in the Age of Empires series
Age · Ability (II · M · III · IV) · Architecture set (II · III) · Area of Effect (Trample damage) · Armor/Resists (hack/melee · pierce/ranged · crush/siege)  · Armor class/Tag (I - original · I - Return of Rome · II · IV) · Artificial intelligence · Attack (Attack bonus/Multiplier) · Attack delay · Attack ground · Aura (IV) · Auto Scout · Building (I · II · M · III · IV) · Civilization (I · II · M · III · IV) · Civilization bonus · Cheat code (I · II · M · III · IV) · Conversion · Counter · Diplomacy · Gaia/Mother Nature · Game modes · Garrison · Gather Point · Healing · Hit points · Hotkey · Line of Sight · Mini map · Player · Population · Range · Rate of Fire · Regeneration · Relic (II · M · IV) · Repairing · Resource (Renewable resources) · Scenario Editor (I · II · M · III · IV) · Score · Signal Allies/Flare · Soundtrack (I · II · M · III · IV) · Speed · Stealth mode · Taunt · Technology (I · II · M · III · IV) · Technology tree (I · II · IV) · Town Bell · Trade (IV) · Tribute · Unit (I · II · M · III · IV) · Unit formation · Unit stance (III) · Upgrade (I · II · III · IV) · User interface · Victory · Villager Priority
Genie Engine
Frame delay · Full Tech Tree · Team bonus
ReturnRome-AoEIcon Age of EmpiresRuins · Discovery
AoE2-DLCicon-0 Age of Empires IIPass-through damage · Projectile duplication
Bang Engine
Autoqueue · Snare
Aom original icon Age of MythologyGod (Major · Minor) · God power · Settlement
3Icon48px Age of Empires IIIAge-up methods (Politician/Tribal Council/Wonder/Federal State/Alliance· Banner army · Consulate · Damage Cap · Home City · Home City Card · Inspiring Flag · Minor civilization · Nuggets · Promotion · Revolution · Target Lock · Trade Monopoly · Trade Route · Treasure
Essence Engine
GameIcon-AoE4 Age of Empires IVBounty · Dynasty · Fire armor · Imperial Council (Vizier Point) · Influence · Landmark · Religion · Sacred Site · Variant civilization
If a gameplay element has different pages across games, like civilization, the individual pages are linked in brackets.