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This article is about the building in Age of Empires. For the building in other games of the series, see Dock.

Used to build and upgrade fishing, trade, transport, and war vessels.
—In-game description in the Definitive Edition

The Dock is an economic and military building in Age of Empires. It is available in the Stone Age once the Town Center is built.

Docks can build and upgrade naval units, and are the destination points for naval trade.

Trained ships can be garrisoned inside the Dock by setting the building's rally point to itself. Once a ship is ejected, it cannot be regarrisoned.


Uniquely, Docks must be built on water, and in specific locations: alongside a shoreline, and not in deep water.

In Return of Rome, Docks are deposit points for shore-fishing Villagers. Villagers catch fish faster than ships do - in fact, Villager shore-fishing has a faster gather rate than any other food source in the game. Dock communities of Villagers along the shore and Fishing Boats in deeper water can form the core of a boom economy.

Docks can also yield gold via naval trade, although the exact mechanism has changed in different versions of the game.

Primarily, though, Docks are the training building for all naval units:

  • Fishing Boat/Ship: a non-combat unit that collects food from fish. In Age of Empires, there is no water equivalent to farming, so when all the sources of fish in a body of water are depleted, the Fishing Boats no longer have any use and can be deleted.
  • Trade Boat/Merchant Ship: a non-combat unit that collects gold by travelling to/from another player's Dock.
  • Light/Heavy Transport: a non-combat unit used for carrying land units across bodies of water. If the Transport is destroyed, all units inside are lost; any Artifacts they carry will appear on the nearest shore.
  • The Scout Ship line: the primary warship, these fire arrows, with damage and durability far beyond most Archery Range units. The Trireme final upgrade instead fires ballista-style projectiles, which are slower but deal more damage.
  • Catapult Trireme/Juggernaut: the only naval siege unit, whose slow projectiles damage anything near the impact site (friend or foe), and deal extra damage to buildings. They are somewhat long-ranged if the faction has access to Engineering, but even the Juggernaut can't match the reach of a land Catapult. Unlike Catapults, though, they completely ignore armor, making them particularly effective against Centurions and Cataphracts if the defender isn't paying enough attention to dodge the projectiles.
  • Fire Galley: the only naval melee unit, faster than other warships and dealing massive damage. It is an effective counter to all naval units and coastal buildings.


Naval trade means to send trading vessels to another player's Dock to acquire gold, which the ship deposits back at their own Dock.

The further the distance between the two Docks, the greater the gold yielded. This doesn't take into account obstacles to movement, so a nearby Dock with a direct route could possibly yield more gold over time than a distant Dock along a winding river. But if both routes are direct, +100% distance with a Merchant Ship yields approximately +62% average gold per second, so in most cases the longer route will be more profitable. The exact amount of gold per distance changes with the map size, and in most cases the yield is far lower than a Villager at a Gold Mine. Short distances yield 0.1-0.2 average gold per second; only trading from one side of the map to the other can match the gather rate of an un-upgraded Villager (just over 0.5/second).

In Return of Rome, the trading process is greatly simplified and brought in line with Age of Empires II. A trading vessel just visits the other player's Dock and returns with the gold, making it an endlessly sustainable resource, unlike anything in the original game. Trade vessels now automatically deposit gold at the furthest accessible Dock from the target, so they can be trained at a Dock near the target and will return to a distant one for maximum gold yield. Return of Rome also introduces land trade via Trade Carts, and commodity trading at the Market, so there are other non-mining methods of acquiring gold.

In the original and Definitive versions of Age of Empires, naval trade is the only means of acquiring gold besides the exhaustible Gold Mines, and has more caveats:

  • The player loses 20 food, wood, or stone when the trading vessel reaches the target Dock; the resource type can be chosen by icons when the ship is selected. (These resources simply disappear, they aren't tributed to the other player.)
  • Trade goods
    Docks have a special resource called trade goods (depicted by the pot icon to the right). When a trading vessel arrives, it actually collects the trade goods, which are only converted to gold once the vessel returns to its own Dock. Trade vessel missions deplete the trade goods at all of the target player's Docks; they automatically resupply at a rate of 1 per second up to a maximum of 100. Trade missions always deplete 20 trade goods, so if a player is receiving trade missions more often than every 20 seconds, their Docks will be depleted faster than they can resupply, and their trade goods will eventually be reduced to 0. Trade vessels visiting the player's Docks will have to wait for them to resupply.
  • Gold yield is always calculated based on the player's nearest Dock to the destination. There is no benefit in directing a trading vessel to return to a more distant home Dock.

The target Dock can belong to any other player regardless of diplomatic stance, or even to a defeated faction. Note that trade only affects the player sending the mission. The target player neither gains nor loses resources in any version of the game.


Stone Age Icon (DE)
Tool Age Icon (DE)
Bronze Age Icon (DE)
Iron Age Icon (DE)
Fishing Boat
Fishing Ship
Aoede light transport available
Aoede heavy transport available
Scout Ship
War Galley
Aoede trade boat available
Aoede merchant ship available
Aoede catapult trireme available
Catapult Trireme technology Catapult Trireme
Fire Galley
AoE War Galley upgrade War Galley

Unit availability[]

Civilization Fishing Ship Fire Galley Trireme Catapult Trireme Juggernaut All
Assyrians AoE Assyrians
Babylonians AoE Babylonians
Carthaginians AoE Carthaginians
Choson AoE Choson
Egyptians AoE Egyptians
Greeks AoE Greeks X
Hittites AoE Hittites
Lac Viet AoE Lac Viet
Macedonians AoE Macedonians
Minoans AoE Minoans
Palmyrans AoE Palmyrans
Persians AoE Persians
Phoenicians AoE Phoenicians
Romans AoE Romans
Shang AoE Shang
Sumerians AoE Sumerians
Yamato AoE Yamato
Civilization Fishing Ship Fire Galley Trireme Catapult Trireme Juggernaut All

Further statistics[]

Building strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Nothing
Weak vs. Everything
Hit points Architecture aoe Architecture (+20%)
Line of Sight RoR City Watch City Watch (+3)
Writing Writing (shares Line of Sight with allies)
Build time Architecture aoe Architecture (-33%)

Civilization bonuses[]

Team bonuses[]


ReturnRome-AoEIcon Age of Empires[]

  • Docks have a work rate of 200% in the Bronze Age.

RomeIcon The Rise of Rome[]

  • The Fire Galley can be produced at the Dock.

Age of Empires Definitive Edition icon Definitive Edition[]

  • Docks have a work rate of 170% in the Bronze Age.

AoE2Icon-ReturnRome Return of Rome[]


The earliest boats were simply tied up to rocks or trees on shore to take on or drop off cargo or were physically pulled onto the beach. Later, wooden structures were built out into the water to facilitate loading and unloading. Docks were also safer for ships because ships could avoid being beached, which strained the hulls and increased leaking. When the dock was extended beyond the shallows, even larger ships could be tied up, farther improving efficiencies.
Age of Empires manual


Buildings in Age of Empires
Civilian buildings
GeneralReturnofrome stone age house icon House · AOEDE Temple icon Temple · Returnofrome greek iron age government center iconReturnofrome east asian iron age government center iconReturnofrome egyptian iron age government center iconReturnofrome mesopotamian iron age government center iconReturnofrome roman iron age government center icon Government Center · Returnofrome greek wonder iconReturnofrome east asian wonder iconReturnofrome egyptian wonder iconReturnofrome mesopotamian wonder iconReturnofrome roman wonder icon Wonder
EconomicReturnofrome greek town center iconReturnofrome east asian town center iconReturnofrome egyptian town center iconReturnofrome mesopotamian town center iconReturnofrome roman town center icon Town Center · AOEDE Dock icon Dock · Storage Pit icon Storage Pit · AOEDE Granary icon Granary · Market AOEDE icon Market · AOEDE Farm icon Farm
UnconstructableAqueduct aoe2DE Aqueduct · Army Tent icon nuRoR Army Tent · Barricade aoe2DE Barricade · Chain aoe2DE Chain · Amphitheatre aoe2DE Colosseum · 2de granary new icon Granary · Pyramid aoe2DE Great Pyramid · Hut small aoe2DE Hut · Returnofrome greek wonder icon Monument · Pyramid aoe2DE Pyramid · Returnofrome ruins icon Ruins · AOEDE Trade Workshop icon Trade Workshop · Yurt thatch small aoe2DE Yurt
Military buildings
ProductionReturnofrome greek barracks iconReturnofrome east asian barracks iconReturnofrome egyptian barracks iconReturnofrome mesopotamian barracks iconReturnofrome roman barracks icon Barracks · AOEDE Archery Range icon Archery Range · AOEDE Stable icon Stable · AOEDE Siege Workshop icon Siege Workshop · Returnofrome greek academy iconReturnofrome east asian academy iconReturnofrome egyptian academy iconReturnofrome mesopotamian academy iconReturnofrome roman academy icon Academy
TowerAOEDE Watch Tower icon Watch Tower · AOEDE Sentry Tower icon Sentry Tower · Returnofrome greek guard tower iconReturnofrome east asian guard tower iconReturnofrome egyptian guard tower iconReturnofrome mesopotamian guard tower iconReturnofrome roman guard tower icon Guard Tower · Returnofrome greek guard tower iconReturnofrome east asian guard tower iconReturnofrome egyptian guard tower iconReturnofrome mesopotamian guard tower iconReturnofrome roman guard tower icon Ballista Tower
WallReturnofrome small wall icon Small Wall · Returnofrome greek medium wall iconReturnofrome east asian medium wall iconReturnofrome egyptian medium wall iconReturnofrome mesopotamian medium wall iconReturnofrome roman medium wall icon Medium Wall · Returnofrome greek fortified wall iconReturnofrome east asian fortified wall iconReturnofrome egyptian fortified wall iconReturnofrome mesopotamian fortified wall iconReturnofrome roman fortified wall icon Fortified Wall · Small Gate (AOE RoR) icon Small Gate · Medium Gate (AOE RoR) icon Medium Gate · Fortified Gate (AOE RoR) icon Fortified Gate
UnconstructableReturnofrome greek guard tower iconReturnofrome east asian guard tower iconReturnofrome egyptian guard tower iconReturnofrome mesopotamian guard tower iconReturnofrome roman guard tower icon Mirror Tower · Returnofrome greek guard tower iconReturnofrome east asian guard tower iconReturnofrome egyptian guard tower iconReturnofrome mesopotamian guard tower iconReturnofrome roman guard tower icon Zenobia's Tower