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A preview image of an Explorer's Line of Sight from Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition.

Line of Sight, often abbreviated to LOS, is a gameplay element in most strategy games. Line of Sight refers to the vision an object grants to its owner (and often allies and spectators, but rarely enemies) over the surrounding area, uncovering the Fog of War.

As both buildings and units are created, with the latter moving, the fog of war around them is cleared away. The death of a unit results in the fog of war recovering the area. Since units and buildings differ in their Line of Sight numbers, some are better for scouting than others and most Age of Empires games feature units that specialize in scouting.

Concept[]

While traditional board games provide perfect information to all participants, real-time strategy (RTS) games use the fog of war and Line of Sight to keep one players movements and decisions secret from the others unless scouted. Thus every player has their own field of Line of Sight which in general differs from that of other players while such fields are allowed to overlap each other. Areas of conflict are always inside of overlapping Line of Sight.

RTS games like Starcraft only hide information from opponents in a grey shroud while revealing knowledge of the map setup to all players. The Age of Empires series goes one step further. Maps are generated randomly and hide information from all players initially. Thus besides of the observation of the map initial exploration is required as well.

Fog of War[]

Removing the black fog is important to find the resources on which to rely once the player runs out of the starting resources, as well as to learn about the map setup for territorial ambitions and to find the enemies and sometimes even allies on the map, whereas removing the grey shroud is required to keep track of the other players actions and thus control over certain areas.

An exception to the rule of Line of Sight are ranged units. While they themselves in the Age of Empires series have Line of Sight matching or surpassing their range, other players will spot them when being hit by such ranged units even if the ranged units should be out of Line of Sight. For a short amount of time they are added to the victims players Line of Sight to show where exactly ranged attacks came from.

ReturnRome-AoEIcon Age of Empires[]

This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it.

AoE2-DLCicon-0 Age of Empires II[]

In Age of Empires II, Cartography allowed players to share Line of Sight of allies. With patch 5.7, it was removed from the game as a technology and its effects granted automatically upon construction of a Market. With update 73855, Cartography effects now apply at the start of the game on standard settings, thus making players share their ally's Line of Sight from the start of the game.

Units[]

Units Base LOS Max. LOS
Trebuchet 19 20
Elite Cannon Galleon 17 17
Cannon Galleon 15 15
Bombard Cannon, Houfnice 14 15
Monk (Monk with a Relic has 2 tiles less Line of Sight) 11 14
Elite Longbowman 10 14
Longbowman 8 13
Missionary 9 12
Galleon, Elite Longboat, Caravel, Elite Caravel 9 12
Onager, Siege Onager 10 11
War Galley, Longboat 8 11
Elite War Wagon, Genoese Crossbowman, Elite Genoese Crossbowman 8 11
Scout Cavalry, Light Cavalry, Hussar, Winged Hussar 4 10
Janissary, Elite Janissary 10 10
Mangonel, Scorpion line, Organ Gun, Elite Organ Gun 9 10
Crossbowman, Arbalester 7 10
War Wagon, Slinger 7 10
Elite Skirmisher, Imperial Skirmisher 7 10
Elephant Archer, Elite Elephant Archer 7 10
Galley 7 10
Hand Cannoneer 9 9
Elite Conquistador 9 9
Siege Tower, Hussite Wagon, Elite Hussite Wagon 8 9
Skirmisher 6 9
Plumed Archer, Elite Plumed Archer 6 9
Archer, Chu Ko Nu, Elite Chu Ko Nu, Rattan Archer, Elite Rattan Archer 6 9
Heavy Cavalry Archer, Mangudai, Elite Mangudai, Elite Genitour 6 9
Conquistador 8 8
Turtle Ship, Elite Turtle Ship 8 8
Elite Battle Elephant, Elite War Elephant 8 8
Eagle Scout 5 8
Ballista Elephant 7 8
Kipchak, Elite Kipchak 6 8
Cavalry Archer, Camel Archer, Genitour 5 8
Elite Tarkan, Arambai, Elite Arambai 7 7
Elite Gbeto, Flemish Militia 7 9
Trade Cart 7 7
Battle Elephant, War Elephant 7 7
Elite Throwing Axeman 6 9
Gbeto, Eagle Warrior, Elite Eagle Warrior, Condottiero 6 8
Elite Magyar Huszar 6 6
Fast Fire Ship, Demolition Raft, Demolition Ship, Heavy Demolition Ship, Trade Cog 6 6
Throwing Axeman 5 8
Two-Handed Swordsman, Champion, Elite Woad Raider, Elite Huskarl, Elite Samurai, Elite Teutonic Knight, Elite Berserk, Elite Jaguar Warrior, Elite Kamayuk, Elite Serjeant 5 7
Tarkan, Magyar Huszar, Steppe Lancer, Elite Steppe Lancer, Paladin, Elite Cataphract, Boyar, Elite Boyar, Konnik, Elite Konnik, Leitis, Elite Leitis, Keshik, Elite Keshik, Coustillier, Elite Coustillier 5 5
Camel Scout, Camel Rider, Heavy Camel Rider, Imperial Camel Rider, Mameluke 5 5
Fire Galley, Fire Ship, Fishing Ship, Transport Ship 5 5
Militia, Man-at-Arms, Long Swordsman, Spearman line, Samurai, Kamayuk 4 6
Knight, Cavalier, Cataphract, Xolotl Warrior, Camel Rider 4 4
Petard, Flaming Camel 4 4
Villager 4 4
Woad Raider, Huskarl, Teutonic Knight, Berserk, Jaguar Warrior, Shotel Warrior, Elite Shotel Warrior, Karambit Warrior, Elite Karambit Warrior, Serjeant, Obuch, Elite Obuch, Dismounted Konnik, Elite Dismounted Konnik 3 5
Battering Ram line 3 4

Buildings[]

Units Base LOS Max. LOS
Castle 11 20
Outpost 12 20
Watch Tower, Guard Tower, Keep, Harbor, Krepost, Donjon 10 20

Upgrades and bonuses[]

All upgrades that increase range also increase the Line of Sight by the same amount (but not vice versa). As such, the section is further divided. Unless mentioned otherwise, the technology is generic.

Line of Sight upgrades only
Range upgrades
  • Fletching, Bodkin Arrow and Bracer give +1 Line of Sight for Archer, Cavalry Archer, Skirmisher, and Galley lines, and most unique archers and ships. They also give +1 Line of Sight to defensive structures.
  • Block Printing gives +3 Line of Sight for Monks and Missionaries.
  • Siege Engineers gives +1 Line of Sight for all ranged siege units.
  • Aztecs AoE2 Aztecs: Atlatl unique technology gives +1 Line of Sight for Skirmisher line and Genitours.
  • Armenians AoE2 Armenians: Cilician Fleet gives +1 Line of Sight for the Galley line and Dromons.
  • Britons AoE2 Britons: Yeomen unique technology gives +1 Line of Sight for foot archers. Foot archers (except Skirmishers) have +1/+2 Line of Sight in the Castle/Imperial Age.
  • Byzantines AoE2 Byzantines: Greek Fire unique technology gives +1 Line of Sight for Fire Galley line.
  • Franks AoE2 Franks: Bearded Axe unique technology gives +1 Line of Sight for Throwing Axeman.
  • Hindustanis AoE2 Hindustanis: Shatagni unique technology gives +2 Line of Sight for Hand Cannoneers.
  • Khmer AoE2 Khmer: Scorpions have +1 Line of Sight (team bonus).
  • Koreans AoE2 Koreans: Eupseong unique technology gives +2 Line of Sight for Watch Tower line. Shinkichon unique technology gives +1 Line of Sight for Mangonel line.
  • Lithuanians AoE2 Lithuanians: Hill Forts unique technology gives +3 Line of Sight for Town Center.
  • Magyars AoE2 Magyars: Recurve Bow unique technology gives +1 Line of Sight for Cavalry Archer line.
  • Tatars AoE2 Tatars: Timurid Siegecraft unique technology may give +1 Line of Sight for Trebuchet.
  • Teutons AoE2 Teutons: Crenellations unique technology gives +3 Line of Sight for Castle.
  • Turks AoE2 Turks: Artillery unique technology gives +2 Line of Sight for Bombard Cannon, Cannon Galleon, and Bombard Tower.

Trivia[]

  • Despite Siege Engineers increasing range for ranged siege units only, it also gives +1 Line of Sight to the ram line and the Siege Tower.
  • For most units with range, their Line of Sight is simply . For all other remaining units, it is . The Fire Galley line is the only exception having Line of Sight.
  • Line of Sight for units and buildings is capped at 20 tiles so further bonuses or technologies cannot provide more.
  • "marco" and "polo" cheat codes can be used to reveal map and remove fog of war respectively. The cheat code "natural wonders" grants the line of sight of gaia.

Aom original icon Age of Mythology[]

God powers[]

Technologies[]

Common[]

  • Signal Fires (+6 building Line of Sight)
  • Carrier Pigeons (+6 building Line of Sight)
  • Line upgrades like Medium Infantry add Line of Sight to units as well. They are available for all human units and are divided into Medium in the Classical Age, Heavy in the Heroic Age, and Champion in the Mythic Age. Units available in later Ages might miss out on the first line upgrades.
  • Wall line upgrades like Stone Wall may also provide + 2 Line of Sight to walls.
  • Relic Pelt of Argus + 6 Line of Sight for units
  • Relic Harter's Folly + 2 Line of Sight for scouts
  • Relic Head of Orpheus + 8 Line of Sight for buildings
  • Relic Trios' Bow + 2 Line of Sight and range for archers
  • Omniscience grants Line of Sight over all players on the map. Its price depends on the amount of hostile units and is only affordable in the very late game or when one of the players is facing defeat and should already have resigned. Thus it helps the winning players to avoid searching the whole map and ending the game.

Greeks[]

Egyptians[]

Norse[]

Atlanteans[]

Trivia[]

  • Classical Age cavalry provide very little Line of Sight. Both the Greek Hippikon and the Norse Raiding Cavalry grant only 8 Line of Sight while Villagers provide 14, infantry 16, and ranged units even more Line of Sight. Since the Line of Sight value is a radius around the unit, the area covered by Line of Sight greatly differs with only small changes in numbers. This makes it more difficult to raid the enemy with cavalry early on.
  • The player can check if an opponent is taking an explored but currently not observed Settlement by trying to build one oneself. If the player is not allowed to, another player is already building it.
  • Another exploit is the selecting of explored but currently not observed huntables. If the HP bar is not shown, the animals are already dead and likely to be hunted right now or already have been hunted.
  • Egyptian Priests and Fishing Ships can create Obelisks, which provide moderate Line of Sight. The Egyptians can also construct the Lighthouse in the Mythic Age, which provides a gigantic Line of Sight.

3Icon48px Age of Empires III[]

Technologies[]

Home City cards[]

Advancing in age also grants a Line of Sight upgrade to buildings :

Age Line of Sight bonus
Age II tech tree aoe3
7
Age III tech tree aoe3
4
Age IV tech tree aoe 3
4
Imperial Age
4

GameIcon-AoE4 Age of Empires IV[]

In Age of Empires IV, Line of Sight works quite differently to previous games in the series. In addition to the base Line of Sight value and any specific upgrades, a number of factors can influence the sight range of a unit or building. At high elevations, the maximum Line of Sight listed for a unit or building comes into effect, provided there are no obstacles, such as walls and forests, obstructing its view in a given direction. This includes units positioned on Stone Walls. Units and buildings at lower elevations will have shorter sight ranges, and may be unable to see units and buildings positioned on hills or over cliffs that appear above them. Outposts, Keeps, and Stone Wall Towers are an exception to this.[note 1] Forests and walls obscure the terrain on the other side of them from a unit's Line of Sight.

SpearmanLoS AoE4

The Line of Sight of a Spearman is restricted by the surrounding Stealth Forests

Another unique feature of Age of Empires IV are Stealth Forests, which appear as areas of reddish-brown vegetation interspersed with trees, through which units can move and on which buildings can be placed. Most units and buildings have their Line of Sight restricted by Stealth Forests, and enemy units within a Stealth Forest will only be revealed if directly next to the other player's unit, or when a unit comes under attack. Some units and buildings have the ability to see into Stealth Forests as in other terrain, notably Scouts, Outposts, and Landmark Town Centers. These also automatically reveal units with Stealth abilities, namely the Malians' Musofadi Warrior and Gunner, and the Japanese Shinobi.

ScoutLoS AoE4

Despite not having a much higher Line of Sight, the Scout can see much further in Stealth Forests

Likewise, water maps feature areas of Stealth Water, which appear as large patches of seaweed which restrict the vision of most ships. As the Scout Ship was removed during the game's development, the role of scouting on water was transferred to the Fishing Boat, which is able to see into Stealth Water. It also has the second-highest Line of Sight of any ship. These features allow for dynamic ambush tactics without the need for special stealth abilities, through the positioning of units in Stealth Forests (or Water) or on hills or cliffsides to hide them from other players. It also gives Scouts and functionally similar units added importance, even after the entirety of the map has been explored, while likewise giving incentive to build Outposts, especially in areas of low natural visibility.

In general, units with higher range have a longer Line of Sight, with ranged siege engines, such as the Counterweight Trebuchet, having the highest base Line of Sight of any unit in the game, at 17.78 tiles. Notably, the Huihui Pao, which has a longer range than the Counterweight Trebuchet, still has the same Line of Sight, meaning that in order to directly target a unit at the maximum extent of its range, another unit, ideally a Scout, must be positioned to provide Line of Sight to the area. Infantry generally have a longer Line of Sight than cavalry, to make up for their lack of mobility. Ships, with the exception of the Incendiary Ship, generally have a longer Line of Sight than land units, though shorter than ranged siege engines. Based on the in-game descriptions, Delhi Sultanate Scholars with All-Seeing Eye researched have the longest Line of Sight of any non-siege unit. However, player-run tests[1] have shown that Scouts gain more than the advertised 30% boost to their Line of Sight from the Spyglass technology, resulting in a greater Line of Sight.

The Imperial Palace landmark has the longest Line of Sight of any building, at 24.44 tiles, which also gives it the longest Line of Sight of anything in the game. Among common buildings, the Outpost has the longest Line of Sight, at 13.33 tiles, though a few civilizations have bonuses or technologies which can increase the Line of Sight of the Outpost, or of a unique equivalent. Town Centers rank second among common buildings, at 11.56 tiles. The Byzantines' Border Settlements technology gives their Houses a Line of Sight comparable to Town Centers, though without the Landmark Town Center's ability to see into Stealth Forests or reveal stealth units. The Dock also has a notably high Line of Sight, which extends equally on land as on water.

Notably in Age of Empires IV, a unit will retain its Line of Sight when garrisoned inside another unit or building. This means that a building or transport unit can have their Line of Sight effectively increased by having a unit with a longer Line of Sight garrisoned inside of it, while providing protection to that unit. As such, garrisoning a Scholar with All-Seeing Eye inside of a Battering Ram will give it a longer Line of Sight than a Keep and a similar Line of Sight to a Stone Wall Tower or Outpost, and can therefore be an effective way to safely scout out enemy defenses. In addition, Sacred Sites, once captured by a player, become revealed to all players, providing Line of Sight over their surface.

Units and buildings[]

The following is a list of common and notable units and buildings in Age of Empires IV by Line of Sight (in tiles).[1]

Unit/Building LOS
AoE4 ImperialPalace Imperial Palace 24.44
Holy Roman Empire AoE4 Outpost Outpost (with Relic) 20.82
Delhi Sultanate AoE4 Outpost Outpost (with Lookout Towers) 20
AoE4 WoodenFortress Wooden Fortress and AoE4 Kremlin Kremlin (with Castle Watch) 19.33
AoE4 CounterweightTrebuchet Counterweight Trebuchet, AoE4 HuihuiPao Huihui Pao 17.78
Holy Roman Empire AoE4 Outpost Outpost (no Relic) 16.66
Chinese AoE4 Scout Scout (with Spyglass and Tang Dynasty) 15.39
English AoE4 Scout Scout (with Spyglass and a campfire) 15.39
Japanese AoE4 Outpost Outpost (with Yorishiro and Gion Festival) 15.33
AoE4 TractionTrebuchet Traction Trebuchet 15.11
AoE4 Culverin Culverin, AoE4 NestOfBees Nest of Bees 14.22
AoE4 BerkshirePalace Berkshire Palace 13.56
AoE4 Monk Scholar (with All-Seeing Eye) 13.34
AoE4 BarbicanOfTheSun Barbican of the Sun 13.33
AoE4 Outpost Outpost (generic) 13.33
AoE4 Springald Springald, AoE4 Cannon Cannon, AoE4 Bombard Bombard 12.44
AoE4 Scout Scout (generic with Spyglass) 11.84
AoE4 Mangonel Mangonel 11.56
AoE4 TownCenter Town Center 11.56
AoE4 RegularFireLancer Fire Lancer, AoE4 YuanRaider Yuan Raider 11.11
AoE4 Dock Dock 11.11
Byzantine AoE4 House House (with Border Settlements) 10.33
AoE4 RegularLongbowman Longbowman 9.78
AoE4 Keep Keep 9.11
AoE4 Scout Scout (generic, unupgraded) 9.11
Most infantry (melee and ranged) 8
Gunpowder infantry (except Grenadiers) 7.11
AoE4 Monk Monk 6.67
AoE4 BatteringRam Battering Ram 6.66
Most melee cavalry 6.22
AoE4 GenericVillager Villager 6.22
Most buildings 5.56
AoE4 House House (generic) 3.33

Technologies[]

Abilities[]

  • AoE4 ScoutingFalcon Scouting Falcon (Active) - Mongol Scouts and Khans can release a Falcon that provides vision in the area (10 tile radius) for 30 seconds. Has a cooldown time of 60 seconds.
  • AoE4 SetupCampBuff Setup Camp (Passive) - English Scouts can build campfires, which increase the Line of Sight of nearby allied units by +30%.
  • AoE4 YorishiroBonus Yorishiro Bonus (Passive) - Japanese buildings can have Yorishiro placed inside them to gain +2 Line of Sight.

Civilization bonuses[]

  • English AoE4 English: Scouts have the Setup Camp ability to build campfires, which increase the Line of Sight of nearby allied units by +30% and also have a natural Line of Sight.
  • HRE AoE4 Holy Roman Empire and Order of the Dragon AoE4 Order of the Dragon: Outposts have +25% Line of Sight. Relics can be placed inside defensive structures to increase their Line of Sight by an additional 25%.
  • Japanese AoE4 Japanese: Can place Yorishiro inside buildings to increase their Line of Sight by 2.

Gallery[]

See also[]

Notes[]

  1. The in-game Line of Sight for a unit or building is determined by two values: base sight range and “height”, which is negligible for most units but significant for some buildings. Buildings with high height values therefore negate disadvantages from lower elevation, in the same way as do units on high elevation. Outposts, Keeps, and Stone Wall Towers (and equivalents) all have a height value of 501, which is why they do not suffer Light of Sight penalties due to elevation. The Imperial Palace has a height value of 5,000.

References[]

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) · Terrain (AoE:DS · AoM:DS) · 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.
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