Thankfully Age of Empires 2 HD makes modding super easy with the help of the Steam Workshop, with most mods requiring a single click to become active in-game. This guide will show you the three most important mods that most top players use when playing the game.
The trees in AoE2 are beautiful, but they aren’t so good when it comes to competitive play. Unfortunately those big trees make seeing behind them quite tough, and can result in a number of issues. You might leave a hole when trying to wall to the woodline, you may place your lumbercamp in a bad position and you may have a hard time spotting idle villagers. The easiest way to fix all of these problems is with the small trees mod, also known as pussywood. Ozharas Steam Workshop page is the most popular version with over 100,000 active users on AoE2HD.
Let’s make the game look even uglier with the addition of grid mod. This is a popular mod because it helps you to visualize the map much easier. The grid is useful for walling and planning your base (leaving enough distance between the TC and houses to place farms for example). It’s also helpful for checking the range of buildings such as towers and castles. Want to be sure that your tower rush will have enough range to hit your opponents woodline? No problem, just count the squares and you’re good to go. With over 130,000 downloads the Alignment Grid mod is one of the most downloaded mods on the workshop.
Tech Tree UI
As a newer player this slightly less well known mod can be extremely useful. AoE2 with expansions has 31 civilizations in total, remembering what units and techs they all have can be troublesome when just starting out. Tech Tree UI helps to resolve this by displaying all of that information on the bottom bar in-game for a qucik and easy reference.
This is an example of the UI for the Spanish. The icons show the highest possible research level for a given unit/ tech type. In this case you can see that the Spanish do not get to upgrade their archers into crossbows, but they do get to upgrade all of their other units fully. The right side shows the main techs that they have access to. For example, the Spanish do not have access to Parthian Tactics, meaning that their Cavalry Archer line is not the best. This mod gives you a very quick but valuable overview of what your civilization is capable of and is extremely valuable to newer players.
If you do install any of these mods but want to disable them later on then there’s a useful tool built into the game to help you to do this. Instead of searching for the workshop page and unsubscribing you can simply de-activate any unwanted mods from the mod manager.
Start by clicking on the Steam Workshop icon on the main menu.
Next you’ll want to select the mod you would like to disable/enable and then click on the “Disable” button at the top right of the screen. The mod will be immediately disabled but not removed- this will allow you to come back later and turn it on without needing to re-download it from the Steam Worskhop.