- Aztecs get free Loom.
- Byzantines get free Town Watch.
- Chinese start with 50 less food (for a total of -200 food).
- Franks now get the Halberdier technology.
- Goth infantry cost 35% less starting in the Feudal Age.
- Japanese infantry get -25% attack reload time starting in the Feudal Age.
- Spanish Hand Cannoneers' and Bombard Cannons' reload time -15%. Reload time for Conquistadors and Elite Conquistadors is also improved (3.45 → 2.9 seconds).
- All Archery Range units (except Hand Cannoneers) now do +1 additional damage to Spearman-line units.
- Camel Riders train faster (29 → 22 seconds).
- Viking Berserks' movement speed increased (0.9 → 1.05 tiles/second).
- Celtic Woad Raiders now move faster (1.03 → 1.2 tiles/second, or 1.38 tiles per second after the Celtic civilization bonus).
- Bombard Cannons cause +80 additional damage to buildings (+120 → +200).
- Training time for Teutonic Knights, Longboats, Tarkans, and Samurai is significantly reduced (Teutonic Knight 19 → 12 seconds, Longboat 41 → 25 seconds, Tarkan 23 → 14 seconds, Samurai 16 → 9 seconds).
- Cavalry Archers now have equal range to Heavy Cavalry Archers (4 range).
- Scout Cavalry get +2 attack in the Feudal Age.
- Galleys take longer to train (45 → 60 seconds).
- Fire Ships and Fast Fire Ships have +1 armor vs. Galley-line ships.
- Fire Ships cause +2 damage vs Turtle Ships.
- Korean War Wagon cost increased from 80 wood, 60 gold to 120 wood, 60 gold.
- Castles now take longer to build (150 → 200 seconds).
- Bombard Towers now do pierce damage instead of melee damage (the major effect is vs. rams).
- Fish Traps now provide food at a faster rate (12.6 → 21 food/minute gather rate).
- Loom provides +1 additional pierce armor.
- Palisade Walls get +3 additional pierce armor.
- Treadmill Crane, Masonry, Architecture, Hoardings, Fortified Wall, Guard Tower, and Keep have had their stone cost replaced with wood or food. Now these technologies only cost food and wood.
- Theocracy only costs 200 gold (from 400f, 400g).
- Shipwright now also gives ships -35% train time.
- Parthian Tactics increases Cavalry Archer line (+4) and Mangudai (+2) attack vs. Spearman-line units.
- Heated Shot now increases tower attack and Castle attack vs. ships (×1.5 → ×2.25 for towers, +4 damage for Castles; main projectile only).
- Capped Ram and Siege Ram upgrades no longer cost gold.
- Open ground is always green on the mini map, even on snow or sand terrain.
- Black Forest is no longer an option if players select Random Map or Land Random.
- Farms can be queued to 40.
- Blind Random Map – Available only in multiplayer. Selects randomly between a number of different map types, and players are not told what kind of map they are playing on. To play a blind random map, click Multiplayer on the main menu, and then set the Map Style to Blind Random.
- Turbo Random Map – In turbo mode, all buildings work 2.5 times faster except when building economic units (Fishing Ship, Trade Cogs and Trade Carts, Villagers). All economic units gather 2.5 times faster and carry 2.5 times as many resources. All trade units work 2.0 times faster. Villagers construct buildings 2.5 times faster except for Castles, towers, and Wonders. To play a turbo random map, click Single Player on the main menu, click Standard Game, and then set the Map Style to Turbo Random Map.
- Custom Random Maps – Play using one of the many random maps custom designed by Ensemble Studios. The custom random maps may not work effectively for certain types of games or when players are playing against a computer opponent. Computer opponents assume that all custom maps are Coastal. So a map with terrain that is vastly different may decrease the typical skill level of computer opponents.
If players play a regicide game using the custom map Pilgrims, they do not start the game with a Castle. If players play a regicide game using the custom map Metropolis, they start the game with three Kings and three Castles. Also, if they play Pilgrims with 7 to 8 players, some players may instantly resign.
To play using a custom map, click Single Player on the main menu, click Standard Game, set the Map Style to Custom, and then select one of the following maps as the Location.
- Canals – A network of canals creates a spider web effect as they try to connect every player's starting town.
- Capricious – Starting food, gold and stone might be at normal levels, in short supply, or in abundance. Starting trees will always be the same.
- Dingoes – Villagers shepherd their flocks while avoiding rampaging wild animals. Lots of sheep, lots of wolves, no Scout.
- Graveyards – Control weed-choked graveyards packed with scary trees and abandoned buildings that conceal resources and ancient relics.
- Metropolis – Control three Town Centers, three sets of villagers, three Scouts and three sets of resources!
- Moats – Each player's town is surrounded by a narrow body of water with several land bridges for access and moats narrow enough for ranged units to fire across.
- Paradise Island – Start on a tropical island with your enemies. The map is loaded with fish, boars, and berries. Find the three relics at the base of the volcano in the center, but beware of the guardians!
- Pilgrims – Your starting island may be small, but there is a whole new world to discover! Hop in your Transport and race your enemies to the new world!
- Prairie – Food is often scarce and there aren't a lot of natural defenses, but your two Scouts can cover a lot of ground.
- Seasons – Based on the 4 seasons in a year, with a 25% chance of loading up a Winter map, Spring map, Summer map, or Autumn map.
- Sherwood Forest – Multiplayer only. Your town is surrounded by forests, yet you can walk freely through them. Use your hunting wolf to scout the terrain or for sneak attacks on your enemy’s villagers.
- Sherwood Heroes – Single player version of Sherwood Forest. Start out with some familiar heroes.
- Shipwreck – A few bruised villagers and their waterlogged sheep stranded on a desert island.
- Team Glaciers – In the frozen north, each team must defend its own hunk of ice and snow against frequent enemy raids. Bad weather makes ships and walls rare, though strangely, this has led to a bumper crop of deer.
- The Unknown – Everything is random. Everything. From the moment the game starts, you have to scout (with a random number of Scouts, of course) to figure out whether you are on an island, a mainland, or inside a clearing of trees.
- Male Mayan farmers are now as good as female ones.
- Imperial Age Houses now have normal House armor (base armor 0 → 1000).
- Villagers now walk around farms normally if stopped and started again (the infamous "Farm bug").
- Monks no longer heal garrisoned units.
- Computer opponents no longer always switch to attack the opponent with the highest score. That is, they initially attack that opponent, but then they keep attacking for some time afterwards, even if that opponent's score drops.
- Teuton conversion resistance now works properly, so researching Faith is beneficial to them (now Faith increases conversion min/max times, not overwrites them).
- On Nomad maps, Chinese, Persians, Huns, and Mayans now get the correct starting resources.
- Computer opponents now build Lumber Camps next to bamboo.
- Town centers now always take damage from Bombard Towers.
- The Team Glaciers map no longer starts players on ice terrain.
- The Unknown map no longer starts players surrounded by wood. This map was also revised with many small adjustments to resources, relics, and terrain.
- The Pilgrims map now starts off with a Lumber Camp instead of a Town Center. Extra villagers and resources have been added to player islands as well.
- In ParadiseIsland, players are no longer automatically defeated after launch of regicide games.
- Male hunters no longer get +1 LOS.
- Teuton Town Centers now get their attack bonus.
- War Wagons no longer get unintended bonus damage vs. rams (+4 → n/a).
- The changelog for this patch is still present in the files of every version of Age of Empires II from this patch onward, including the Definitive Edition. It can be found as the file 'ReadmeX_a' in the docs folder (within the folder for each language)