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

Heals friendly and allied units and converts enemy units.
Age of Empires description

The Priest is a special unit in Age of Empires that can be trained at the Temple. They are slow-moving, fragile, and unable to attack.

Priests are available to all civilizations except the Macedonians.



Screenshot- AoE1 DE healing

Healing icons from the original and Definitive Edition of Age of Empires, with Priests healing a Cataphract.

Priests are the only units in the game that can heal wounded friendly land units, which costs no resources. Ships are instead repaired by Villagers, but this costs a portion of whatever wood/gold was used to train them.

Since the Definitive Edition, Priests will automatically heal nearby units, so the player can send wounded troops to allied Priests if they have none of their own available. Healing range is far shorter than conversion range, requiring the Priest and healing target to be near-adjacent. A number of Priests healing the same target may be able to keep it alive while it is under attack, which is very useful in scenarios where the player has both Priests and military units while lacking Villagers or production buildings.

Healing rate is 2.5 hit points per second, and can be increased by Astrology (+30%) in the Bronze Age, and Medicine (+100%) in the Iron Age. These technologies compound each other, so when combined they increase the base healing rate by +160%.

Note that unlike in Age of Empires II, Priests are able to heal siege weapons.


Screenshot- AoE1 converting

Conversion icons from the original and Definitive Edition of Age of Empires, with Priests converting an Armored Elephant.

Priests can attempt to convert enemy units. After a successful conversion, the enemy unit will switch colors to the team of the Priest and be under control of that player. Conversions are unaffected by a maxed-out population limit, and cost no resources.

Conversion takes a minimum of 3 chants, after which there is a 30% chance every 1.5 seconds (called a chant) for a successful conversion (39% after Astrology). There is a maximum of 100 chants. Some units resist conversion more than usual.

After a conversion, a Priest may not again attempt to convert until their faith meter has rejuvenated to 100%. Normally this takes 50 seconds (2 faith per second), but researching Fanaticism speeds this up to 33.3 seconds (3 faith per second).


Wololo red

Priests are especially useful in a number of scenarios:

  • ...If the enemy is fielding very durable units, which take a long time to bring down by other means. Elephants are the best targets, being too slow to reach the Priest before the conversion is complete (especially War/Armored Elephants). Converted Centurions can cause havoc in enemy ranks. And while Cataphracts are fast enough to turn the tables on the Priest, they can be blocked by walls or a screen of units, and become extremely effective counters to any ranged units that may threaten the Priest. All of these targets also cost a lot of resources for the owning player to research and train, so them switching sides can turn the tables in a conflict.
  • ...If the enemy is unable to train units that take longer to convert: Chariots, Scythe Chariots, Chariot Archers, and all Macedonian units. Also ships, which every civilization can field, but are limited by the map geography.
  • ...If the player is short of food or wood. Priests are unique in that they only cost gold - and not just the units themselves, but even the technologies that upgrade them. The only non-gold investment for a Priest force is the wood required to build the Temples.
  • ...If the player is at a technological disadvantage. Priest conversions allow the player to control units that they wouldn't normally have access to.
  • ...If the player is nearing their population capacity. Priests can continue converting units after the population limit is reached, allowing players to build a larger military than would normally be possible.

There is no technology that can prevent or delay a unit from being converted. The only counter-strategies are to flee, kill the Priest, force the Priest to abandon the conversion, delete the unit, or to field units which inherently take longer to convert. The safest way to take out a Priest is with chariot units, but Horse Archers are fast and powerful enough that they can often get the job done before a conversion is complete. Ballistae engage at similar distances to an un-upgraded Priest, but researching Afterlife can keep the Priest out of their reach. Stone Throwers give the Priest a choice between stopping the conversion or dying, as a single precise hit is lethal, and the slow Priest must immediately start moving to stand a chance of dodging the projectile. The defending player could also bring their own Priests to win back converted units. Alternatively, Priests can simply be overwhelmed with sheer numbers, as they become helpless for a lengthy period after a successful conversion.

When fielding Priests against archer units (which gradually whittle Priests down, whereas other units typically wipe them out quickly), keep the Priests in groups which can mass-heal while the one under attack performs the conversion.

Arguably the most important upgrade for Priests is Theocracy, added in Return of Rome in the Iron Age, as a replacement for Sacrifice. Theocracy allows only a single Priest to need recovery time when a group of Priests converts a target - the rest of the group can immediately start converting another target. This massively reduces micro-management, and with a large enough force of Priests, it almost guarantees conversions. Another crucial technology is Afterlife, which makes Priests some of the longest-ranged units in the game. Note that only Temple technologies affect Priests, so they don't benefit from shield upgrades, for example.

Players accustomed to Age of Empires II's Monks may be surprised by how effective Priests are. This is because there is no equivalent to Faith or Heresy, so defending players have no technological recourse against conversion. Also, the closest equivalent to the Relic in Age of Empires, the Artifact, can be captured by any unit and moved independently; Priests are purely for converting enemies and healing allies.

Further statistics[]

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Slow non-ranged units
Weak vs. Fast units (especially Chariots), ranged units, Macedonians
Hit points Mysticism Mysticism (+20)
Range Afterlife Afterlife (+3)
Conversion Astrology Astrology (convert +30%)
Fanaticism Fanaticism (rejuvenate +1 faith per second)
Monotheism Monotheism (convert Priests and buildings)
Martyrdom Sacrifice (enables an instant unit conversion by sacrificing the Priest's life)
RoR Theocracy Theocracy (only one Priest rests after a group performs a conversion)
Movement speed Polytheism Polytheism (+40%)
Healing rate Astrology Astrology (heal +30%)
Medicine Medicine (heal +100%)

Civilization bonuses[]

  • Babylonians AoE Babylonians: Priests rejuvenate +0.6 faith per second (30% faster than unupgraded).
  • Choson AoE Choson: Priests cost -32% (the tech tree incorrectly states that it's -30%).
  • Egyptians AoE Egyptians: Priests have +2/+3 range in the Bronze/Iron Age.

Team bonuses[]

  • Egyptians AoE Egyptians: Priests have +1 pierce armor.
  • Palmyrans AoE Palmyrans: Researching technologies that benefit Priests are 30% faster.
  • Romans AoE Romans: Priests +50% heal speed.


ReturnRome-AoEIcon Age of Empires[]

  • Priests move at 0.8 tiles/second and heal at a rate of 3 health/second.
  • Medicine technology triples Priest healing rate (+200%).
  • Chariot units deal bonus damage against Priests.
  • Sacrifice available.

Age of Empires Definitive Edition icon Definitive Edition[]

  • Priests have an additional tile of healing range.
  • Medicine technology's healing speed bonus reduced to +100%.
  • With update 9, Priests can automatically heal nearby units.
  • With update 38862, Chariot units' attack bonus against Priests removed.

AoE2Icon-ReturnRome Return of Rome[]

  • Team bonuses added, Egyptians: Priests +1 pierce armor. Romans: Priests +50% heal speed. Palmyrans: Technologies benefiting Priests are researched 30% faster.
  • The Sacrifice technology was replaced with Theocracy. Cost, age, research time, and civilization availability remain identical to Sacrifice.
  • Priest movement speed reduced to 0.66 tiles/second, and healing rate reduced to 2.5 health/second.


There are four heroes in the game with the appearance of a Priest:


The acceptance of gods and goddesses associated with complex religions required the provision of priests (and priestesses) who acted as representatives of the gods among the people. Priests developed and conducted rituals, interpreted the demands of gods, taught and enforced the religious laws, and sought new believers. Particularly effective priests, or those representing a potent religion, were thought capable of healing.


  • The Priest is actually available in the Stone Age. However the building where it is trained, namely the Temple, is not until the Bronze Age. This can officially be seen in the campaign scenario The Caravan, where the player has been granted a Temple in the Stone Age.
  • If a unit attacks an enemy unit near an Elephant within range of an enemy Priest, there is a glitch that may occasionally occur in which a Priest will attempt to convert the Elephant instead of the attacking unit. The conversion will always be unsuccessful and the Priest may die to the attacking player's advantage. This glitch only applies if the enemy is controlled by the computer.
  • There is a cheat code that grants Priests 24× hit points and absurdly fast movement by typing HOYOHOYO into the chat box.
  • The sound of the Priest's chant ("wololo") has since become an Internet meme, and is often mistakenly associated with Age of Empires II's Monks (à la Beam me up, Scotty), the sound itself is a secret feature seen in Minecraft when the evoker changes the wool color of any blue sheep to red.
  • The Priest introduced in Age of Empires II HD: The African Kingdoms is identical in appearance to the Priest from Age of Empires.
  • When an allied unit has been converted off-screen, a shortened Priest chant is played.
  • There is no automatic way to prevent a conversion, unlike in Age of Empires II, where the player can research Heresy to make it so that the unit dies rather than getting converted. The only ways are to either kill the Priest, run away, or delete the unit manually.
  • The wololo chant was created by Chris Rippy, the Sound Director, by manipulating a voice clip from a family video. The "Ay yo" part was made to make the chant less repetitive.[1][2]
  • In Return of Rome, Priests have armor class 25, but it is irrelevant in standard games as no unit has bonus attack against this class.



Units in Age of Empires
CivilianReturnofrome female villager icon Villager · Returnofrome trade cart icon Trade Cart
OtherAoE2 DE priest icon Priest · Slinger-0 Slinger · Returnofrome artifact icon Artifact
Civilian ship1 Fishing Boat Fishing Boat · 2 Fishing Ship Fishing Ship
3 Trade Boat Trade Boat · 4 Merchant Ship Merchant Ship
InfantryClubman Clubman · AxemanAoEDE Axeman
Short Swordsman Short Swordsman · Broad Swordsman Broad Swordsman · AoE nuRoR Long Swordsman icon Long Swordsmen · Returnofrome legionary icon Legionary
HopliteDE Hoplite · AoE nuRoR Phalangite icon Phalangite · Returnofrome centurion icon Centurion
ArcherBowman aoe1de Bowman
Improved Bowman22 Improved Bowman · Composite Bowman Composite Bowman
Chariot Archer111 Chariot Archer
Horse Archer Horse Archer · Returnofrome heavy horse archer icon Heavy Horse Archer
EAICON DE Elephant Archer
CavalryScout-0 Scout
ChariotDE Chariot · ScytheDE Scythe Chariot
Cavalry111 Cavalry · Returnofrome heavy cavalry icon Heavy Cavalry · Returnofrome cataphract icon Cataphract
War ElephantDE War Elephant · Returnofrome armored elephant icon Armored Elephant
Camel RiderDE Camel Rider
SiegeStone ThrowerDE Stone Thrower · CatapultDE Catapult · Returnofrome heavy catapult icon Heavy Catapult
BallistaDE Ballista · Returnofrome helepolis icon Helepolis
War Ship7 Scout Ship Scout Ship · 8 War Galley War Galley · 9 Trireme Trireme
Catapult Trireme Catapult Trireme · Returnofrome juggernaut icon Juggernaut
10 Fire Galley Fire Galley
5 Light Transport Light Transport · 6 Heavy Transport Heavy Transport
Scenario Editor-only units
Short Swordsman Chieftain · Donkey caravan aoe2DE Donkey · Clubman Explorer · Returnofrome heavy cavalry icon General · AoE2 DE priest icon High Priest · Returnofrome horse icon Horse · HeavyCavalryDE Mercenary (removed) · Penguin aoe2DE Penguin · AoE2 DE priest icon Pharaoh · 5 Light Transport Raft · Returnofrome artifact icon War Chest