Age of Empires Series Wiki
Advertisement

Privateer. Mercenary warship.
—In-game description

The Privateer is a mercenary war ship in Age of Empires III. It is one of the strongest naval units and, in the base game, the strongest ship available in the Commerce Age. It can be shipped from the Home City through cards and politicians, and is also trainable on African maps if a Trading Post is built on an African Kingdom.

Overview[]

Privateers only lose to the Frigate in a one on one fight. With the release of the The WarChiefs, the Spanish Galleon bests the privateer as the strongest early age ship, putting the privateer in second place, but only in terms of durability in a one to one fight. A single Galleon cannot defeat two privateers simultaneously unless it attacks while the ships are distracted (for instance by treasure guardians), and the cost of a galleon exceeds the shipping cost of two privateers by 300 wood. The acquisition of a second galleon would require the 1 Galleon Home City Card in conjunction with the original damage and hit point booster card. For those reasons the privateers are usually the best option for naval shipments in the Commerce Age, unless specifically using a strategy involving Caravel, Fune, Galley and War Junk fishing or the Galleon and Fluyt ability to train troops without the need of a barracks or the ability to resist building fire.

The only limiting factor to using Privateers are the number that can be shipped. They have no build limit, and as such the Dutch can use them endlessly beginning in the Industrial Age as long as any enemy does not use Blockade. For this reason they are exceptional at bolstering any naval force that has access to them.

The Gentleman Pirate politician, available as an aging option to the Fortress Age for the Germans, Swedes, French, Italians and Russians, provides 2 Barbary Corsairs and 1 Privateer. The Italians can get two Privateers with the Advanced Politicians Home City Card.

Special ability[]

  • Broadside attack Broadside Attack: Fires a volley of cannon shots at an enemy from a range of 30, with each shot doing 30×3 siege damage in an Area of Effect of 1 with a ×2.0 multiplier against ships. 60 seconds cooldown.

Intrepid Privateer[]

Privateer. Mercenary warship.
—In-game description

In some water maps, the player begins with an Intrepid Privateer as a starting unit. It has more hit points and speed than the Privateer, but has a relatively low attack. It has temporal damage penalties (×0.5 vs. Ship, Building, Hero) in the Exploration Age.

Further statistics[]

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Ships, infantry and buildings close to shore
Weak vs. Artillery especially Culverins, defensive structures
Improvements
Hit points Armor Plating Armor Plating (+50%)
Heavy Riverboats Heavy Riverboats (+25%; Africans only)
Rawhide Covers Rawhide Covers (+20%; Haudenosaunee only)
Byzantine legacy Byzantine Legacy (+15%)
Cipactli Worship Cipactli Worship (+10%; Aztecs only)
Tar kilns Tar Kilns (+10%)
Gadaa System Gadaa System (+5%; Ethiopians only)
Attack Carronade Carronade (+25%)
Flaming Arrows Flaming Arrows (+25%; Lakota only)
River Skirmishes River Skirmishes (+25%; Africans only)
Cipactli Worship Cipactli Worship (+10%; Aztecs only)
Gadaa System Gadaa System (+5%; Ethiopians only)
Percussion Lock Percussion Lock (+50% Broadside Attack damage)
Som ajuran engineers Somali Ajuran Engineers (+20% multiplier vs. Frontier fortification)
Line of Sight Town Watch Town Watch (+3)
Train time Immigrants Immigrants (-10%)
New Mexico Immigration New Mexico Immigration (-10%; United States only)
Strangers' Quarters Strangers' Quarters (-10%; Africans only)
Cost Mapuche Ad-mapu Mapuche Ad-mapu (-10% coin cost)
Golden liberty Golden Liberty (-5% coin cost)
Other Merritocracy Meritocracy (-20% upgrade cost)
Oresund customs Öresund Customs (generates 0.25 coin/sec.)
Wallensteins Contracts Wallenstein's Contracts (mercenary shipments cost no coin; Germans only)

Home City Cards[]

Click for a list of Home City Cards related to the Privateer
Some cards are highlighted with:
Green TEAM Shipment that is sent to each player in a team
Purple Shipment that can be sent an INFINITE number of times
Blue Shipment that arrives fast (5 seconds)

All[]

Card Description Age HC level
British Home City 3 (Advanced Dock) Advanced Dock Docks get +100% attack and heal ships 85% faster; warships' train time -33% (also +1 Villager for the Indians)
Age I tech tree aoe3
10
Spanish Home City 5 (Improved Warships) Improved Warships Warships get +25% hit points and attack (also +2 Uhlans for the Germans; +1 Hindu Villager for the Indians)
Age II tech tree aoe3
10
Team improved warships TEAM Improved Warships Warships get +10% hit points and attack
Age II tech tree aoe3
10
British Home City 5 (Naval Gunners) Naval Gunners Warships get +20% attack
Age III tech tree aoe3
25
British Home City 5 (Offshore Support) Offshore Support Warships get +15% attack, +2 Line of Sight and range (also +2 Uhlans for the Germans)
Age II tech tree aoe3
40
Indian Home City 5 (European Cannons) European Cannons Warships get +15% attack, +2 Line of Sight and range (also +1 Hindu Villager for the Indians)
Age II tech tree aoe3
25
Spanish Home City 5 (Admiralty) Admiralty Dock warship technologies cost and research time -60% (also +2 Uhlans for the Germans; +1 Hindu Villager for the Indians)
Age II tech tree aoe3
1
  • "Advanced Dock" is not available to Africans.
  • "Improved Warships" is not available to the Chinese, Lakota, and United States.
  • "TEAM Improved Warships" is available to the Chinese and Maltese.
  • "Naval Gunners" is available to the British, French, Italians, Maltese, Russians, Swedes, and United States.
  • "Offshore Support" is available to the Aztecs, Germans, Inca, Maltese, and Ottomans.
  • "European Cannons" is not available to Europeans and Native Americans.
  • "Admiralty" is not available to Africans and Native Americans.

Africans[]

Card Description Age
Advanced port Advanced Port Ports get +100% attack and heal ships 100% faster; warships' train time -33%
Age I tech tree aoe3
Trainspeed africa Feudal Armies All units' train time -15%; hero respawn time -15%
Age III tech tree aoe3

British[]

Card Description Age HC level
British Home City 5 (Recruit Privateer Armada) Recruit Privateer Armada Ships 5 Privateers; costs 850 coin
Age IV tech tree aoe 3
25

Chinese[]

Card Description Age HC level
Western reforms Western Reforms All units get +8% hit points and attack
Age IV tech tree aoe 3
40
Acupuncture aoe3 Acupuncture All units' (except Monks) train time -20%; Heavy Cannons', Flying Crows', and Summer Palace Banner Armies' spawn time -5%
Age III tech tree aoe3
10

Europeans[]

Card Description Age HC level
Spanish Home City 5 (Mercenary Loyalty). Mercenary Loyalty Mercenary and native warrior shipments cost -10% to -25% (also +3 Uhlans for the Germans)
Age III tech tree aoe3
10
Spanish Home City 5 (Recruit Privateer) Recruit Privateers Ships 2 Privateers; costs 500 coin
Age II tech tree aoe3
1
British Home City 5 (Recruit Privateer Fleet) Recruit Privateer Fleet Ships 4 Privateers; costs 1,000 coin
Age III tech tree aoe3
10
Dutch Home City 5 (TEAM Privateers) TEAM Carribian Privateers Ships 2 Privateers; costs 500 coin
Age IV tech tree aoe 3
25
Dutch Home City 5 (Privateers Flotilla) Recruit Privateer Flotilla Ships 3 Privateers; costs 500 coin
Age IV tech tree aoe 3
40
Egypt Home City (Egyptian Fleet) Egyptian Fleet + 1 Privateer Ships 1 Frigate and 1 Monitor; +1 Privateer
Revolution
N/A
Indonesia Home City (Lantakas) Lantakas Artillery, buildings, and ships get +15% attack
Revolution
N/A
  • "Recruit Privateer Fleet" is available to the British, Dutch, French, Portuguese, and Ottomans.
  • "TEAM Carribian Privateers" and "Recruit Privateer Flotilla" are available to the Dutch and Swedes.
  • "Egyptian Fleet + 1 Privateer" is available to the British and Ottomans upon revolting to Egypt.
  • "Lantakas" is available to the Dutch and Portuguese upon revolting to Indonesia.

French[]

Card Description Age
Haiti Home City (Privateers) 3 Privateers Ships 3 Privateers
Revolution
Haiti Home City (Letter of Marque) Letter of Marque Pirates get +12 Line of Sight, can use Volley Mode, and gather enemy crates; Privateers generate 0.5 coin/sec.; Pirates and Privateers get +3.0 multiplier against treasure guardians and can collect treasures with doubled resource and xp yield
Revolution
  • "3 Privateers" and "Letter of Marque" are available upon revolting to Haiti.

Haudenosaunee[]

Card Description Age
Haudenosaunee Home City 3 (Wampum) Wampum Training units and constructing buildings grants +35% XP
Age IV tech tree aoe 3

Indians[]

Card Description Age HC level
Shivajis tactics TEAM Shivaji's Tactics All units get +5% hit points and attack
Age IV tech tree aoe 3
25
Indian Home City 5 (Bombay Marine) Bombay Marine Ships' train time -30% and train bounty +30%; +1 Hindu Villager
Age I tech tree aoe3
1

Japanese[]

Card Description Age HC level
Japanese Home City 3 (Cheaper Unit Upgrades) TEAM Sengoku Unit upgrades cost -20%
Age IV tech tree aoe 3
1

Lakota[]

Card Description Age
Winter counts Winter Counts Training units grants +40% XP and constructing buildings grants +20% XP
Age IV tech tree aoe 3

Maltese[]

Card Description Age
Maltese Home City 2 (TEAM Knights of the Round Table) TEAM Knights of the Round Table Ships 1 Hospitaller for each Town Center owned by the player; all units get +2% hit points
Age I tech tree aoe3
Maltese Home City 5 (Speronaras) Speronaras Ships get +10% speed; Order Galleys and Fishing Boats get +30% speed instead
Age I tech tree aoe3

Mexicans[]

Card Description Age
Mexican Home City 2 (TEAM Mariachi) TEAM Mariachi For the next 30 seconds, military buildings work 400% faster and units get +10% speed
Age I tech tree aoe3
Federal card colegio de san nicolas Colegio de San Nicolás Ships 500 XP; units get +4 and buildings (except Walls) get +8 Line of Sight; sees what enemies can see for 20 seconds
Age II tech tree aoe3
Barbary Pirates Home City (Recruit Privateer Fleet) Recruit Privateers Ships 4 Privateers; costs 500 coin
Age III tech tree aoe3
Federal card national servant National Servant All units get +10% hit points; Padre healing 200% faster
Imperial Age
Central America Home City (Tehuantepec Route) Tehuantepec Route Sells all Sloops, Steamers, Frigates, Ironclads, and Privateers, returning the resources spent to train them
Revolution
Barbary Pirates Home City (Recruit Privateer Fleet) Recruit Privateers Ships 2 Privateers; costs 500 coin
Revolution

Native Americans[]

Card Description Age HC level
Iroquois Home City 5 (Water Dance) Water Ceremony Water Ceremony available at the Community Plaza
Age I tech tree aoe3
1
Iroquois Home City 5 (Recruit Buccaneer) Recruit Buccaneers Ships 3 Privateers; costs 500 coin
Age II tech tree aoe3
10
British Home City 5 (Recruit Privateer Fleet) Recruit Buccaneer Fleet Ships 4 Privateers; costs 500 coin
Age IV tech tree aoe 3
25
  • "Water Ceremony" is not available to the Lakota.
  • "Recruit Buccaneers" and "Recruit Buccaneer Fleet" are not available to the Inca.

Portuguese[]

Card Description Age HC level
Portuguese Home City 3 (Navigation School) Navigation School Warships' cost and train time -20%
Age II tech tree aoe3
25

Russians[]

Card Description Age HC level
Russian Home City 5 (Cold Water Port) TEAM Cold Water Port Warships cost -15%
Age I tech tree aoe3
10

Spanish[]

Card Description Age HC level
Spanish Home City 3 (Inquisition) TEAM Spanish Inquisition Ships 1 Inquisitor; all units get +10 Line of Sight
Age II tech tree aoe3
10
Spanish Home City 5 (Armada) Armada Warships get +20% hit points and +2 Line of Sight; Caravels can now train infantry units; Frigates can now train cavalry and artillery units; Monitors can now train Mortars; Battleships can now train infantry, cavalry and artillery units
Age III tech tree aoe3
10

United States[]

Card Description Age
Federal card indiana mobilization Indiana Mobilization Ships 1 Carbine Cavalry for each shipment sent so far this game including this one; unit train time (except Heavy Cannons), technology research time, and age-up time -10%; costs 250 food, 250 wood
Age III tech tree aoe3
Federal card connecticut shipwrights Connecticut Shipwrights Ship train time -50%; building build time -35%; artillery train time -15%, Heavy Cannon train time -10% instead
Imperial Age
  • "Indiana Mobilization" is available upon selecting the Indiana Federal State.
  • "Connecticut Shipwrights" is available upon selecting the Connecticut Federal State.

Changelog[]

Age3DE Icon Definitive Edition[]

In-game dialogue[]

The Privateer speaks Kabyle language. For the "Select" lines dialogue files of the Barbary Corsair are used, while the "Move" lines are just Barbary Corsair's "Move" lines with water sound effect added.

Privateers that are trained by Haiti speak English, using unused by the British "Privateer" dialogue files, which they share with the Xebec.

Trivia[]

  • Some of the random names that a Privateer can have are Lazerbear and Learicorn, referring to the cheat units of the game. Another random name that the Privateer can have is Flying Purple Hippo.
  • The Sloop unit released with the United States civilization in the Definitive Edition is based on the Privateer model, but uses different textures.

History[]

Nations sometimes recruited privateers to supplement their navy. Privateers were privately owned ships that had government sanction - issued as a letter of marque - to attack enemy's ships, both military and civilian. Without the permission granted by the letter of marque, these attacks were considered acts of piracy. It was difficult to control privateers once they were at sea, and often they would act outside the scope of their agreements. These abuses led to the abandonment of privateers in the middle of the nineteenth century.

Captain William Kidd was a famous privateer turned pirate. He was initially commissioned to hunt down Blackbeard, but he eventually went astray and became a pirate himself. Kidd was hanged in London in 1699.

Gallery[]

Mercenary and outlaw units in Age of Empires III
Aoe3 unit type mercenary Mercenaries
InfantryMercenary armored pistoleer portrait Armored Pistoleer · Arsonist aoe3de Arsonist · Askari aoe3de portrait Askari · Corsair de Barbary Corsair · Cannoneer portrait aoe3de Cannoneer · Dahomey amazon aoe3de portrait Dahomey Amazon · Fusilier de Fusilier · Mercenary giant grenadier portrait Giant Grenadier · Highlander de Highlander · Mercenary irish brigade portrait Irish Brigadier · Iron troop aoe3de Iron Troop · Jaeger portrait aoe3de updated Jaeger · Landsknecht de Landsknecht · Ninja de Ninja · Mercenary pandour portrait Pandour · Ronin de Ronin · Swiss pikeman aoe3de Swiss Pikeman · Zouave icon aoe3de Zouave
CavalryBlack rider aoe3de Black Rider · Mercenary bosniak rider portrait Bosniak · Elmeti aoe3de Elmetto · Gatling camel aoe3de portrait Gatling Camel · Hackapell aoe3de Hackapell · Harquebusier icon Harquebusier · Jat lancer de Jat Lancer · Kanuri guard aoe3de portrait Kanuri Guard · Mameluke aoe3de Mameluke · Manchu de Manchu · Mercenary mounted rifleman portrait Mounted Rifleman · Mercenary royal horseman portrait Royal Horseman · Sennar horseman aoe3de portrait Sennar Horseman · Stradiot aoe3de Stradiot · Yojimbo aoe3de Yojimbo · Zenata rider aoe3de portrait Zenata Rider
ArtilleryLil bombard aoe3de Li'l Bombard · Napoleon gun icon aoe3de Napoleon Gun · Gatling camel aoe3de portrait Gatling Camel
ShipBattleship portrait Battleship · Privateer aoe3de Privateer · War dhow portrait aoe3de War Dhow · Wokou junk aoe3de Wokou Junk · Xebec portrait aoe3de Xebec
Outlaws
InfantryAfrican vagabond portrait African Vagabond · Colonial looter portrait Colonial Looter · Cossack daredevil portrait Cossack Daredevil · Dacoit aoe3de Dacoit · Desert archer portrait aoe3de Desert Archer · Desert warrior portrait aoe3de Desert Warrior · Hajduk portrait Hajduk · Highwayman dismounted portrait Highwayman · Inquisitor portrait Inquisitor · Pistolero aoe3de Pistolero · Renegado aoe3de Renegado · Thuggee aoe3de Thuggee · Blind monk aoe3de Wokou Monk · Wayward ronin aoe3de Wokou Ronin
Shock infantryPirate aoe3de Pirate · Wokou pirate aoe3de Wokou Pirate
CavalryComanchero icon aoe3de Comanchero · Mounted cossack daredevil portrait Cossack Daredevil · Crabat portrait Crabat · Desert raider portrait aoe3de Desert Raider · Highwayman mounted portrait Highwayman · Wokou horseman aoe3de Wokou Horseman
ArtilleryCaptured mortar aoe3de Captured Mortar
ShipCatamaran aoe3de Marathan Catamaran
Flag MexicanDE MexicansDesperado portrait Desperado · Vaquero portrait Cuatrero · Bandido portrait Bandido
Flag American act3 aoe3de United StatesGunslinger aoe3de Gunslinger · Cowboy aoe3de Cowboy · Owlhoot aoe3de Owlhoot
Advertisement