Rise of Nations FAQ

  1. What kind of game is Rise of Nations?
    Rise of Nations is a real-time strategy (RTS) game inspired by the history of mankind. Starting in the Ancient Age (about 6000 years ago), players advance through eight epochs to the present Information Age by developing their nations and navigating them through war and peace. In RTS games players do not take turns; gameplay goes on simultaneously and continously, although Rise of Nations (RoN) allows you to issue orders while the game is paused, for those who are more used to a measured style of gameplay.
    Rise of Nations features all the typical features found in an RTS, such as multi-player (up to 8) online game-matching, friends list, rated matches, different map sizes and types, scenario editor, a variety of starting and victory conditions, play speeds/pacing and gameplay modes.

  2. How many civilizations are there in the game and why isn't civilization X in the game (X = the name of the civilization that you think should have been included)?
    The nations that are in the game attempts to give a broad representation around the world. There are 18 in total which includes: Aztec, Bantu, British, Chinese, Egyptian, French, German, Greek, Inca, Japanese, Koreans, Maya, Mongol, Nubian, Roman, Russian, Spanish, Turks. Each civilization has a set of unique powers, and unique units that set itself apart from the others.
    Those that didn't make it in the game, whether it's an American or Persian civilization you think should have been included in the game, chances are that Rise of Nations' developer Big Huge Games considered including them long and hard. According to BHG's President Brian Reynolds:
    One of the significant decisions we had to make in forming our list was to group nations into "regional groups" because given the size & quantity (and quality!) of the buildings and structures in our game, and given that any architectural style would need art that "changed through the ages", there was a limit to the number of architectural styles we could represent. Another reason we have 18 nations (as opposed to, say, 20, or 63 - although 18 actually represents a stretch of two from the 16 we were supposed to have) is that each of our nations also has several special unique units (complete with full art and animation), along with in many cases "unique art" even for units that aren't unique. For example the units of African nations have dark skin - their Citizens, Musketeers, etc., have special art for this. Likewise, many Far East units have eastern style uniforms instead of European style.

  3. How long do games last?
    Can games last longer than the advertised "lunch hour?"
    Big Huge Games balanced Rise of Nations' "standard game" around a one hour experience. Rise of Nations, however, features numerous game settings and can be adjusted to whatever play style you prefer. Players have reported matches lasting only a few minutes - where someone successfully "rushes" an opponent - to those lasting 50 hours - multiple-session single-player games using exceptionally slow and expensive settings.

  4. How many units are there in the game?
    There are over 160 different types of units in the game. Graphically, there are about 450 artistically distinct units. These are divided among a variety of units lines.
    On the military side these include light infantry and archers, heavy infantry, light cavalry, heavy cavalry, cavalry archers, seige weapons, supply wagons, heavy warships, light warships, bombard ships, and fireships. Specialty units includes general, spies, scouts, fishing boats, merchants, caravans, scholars, and citizens. No unit lines are ever a dead end and always have an upgrade path. In later ages, some of the units combine into a single unit line and some new unit lines are introduced. In the later ages, light infantries and archers combine to form the musketeer then riflemen line. Heavy infantry turn into anti-tank infantry. light horsemen and cavalry archers combined into the armoured car line. Heavy cavalry turns into tanks. heavy warships and bombard ships combine to form the battleship line, light warships and fireships changes into the destroyer and submarine line respectively. New unit lines include which mainly appear in the later ages include fighters, bombers, helicopter, aircraft carriers, flame throwers, machinegunners, conventional and nuclear missiles.

  5. What kind of unit limit is there in Rise of Nations? What is the exact method by which you increase your Population Cap? Will you have to build houses?
    Like many RTS games, Rise of Nations uses a "Population Cap" system limiting how many units a player can have at one time. The default cap starts at 25 slots and increases by steps of 25 to a default maximum of 200. Your population limit does not depend on building individual houses but on your level of Military research.
    Rise of Nations' gameplay, however, revolves around the founding (or capturing) and growth of cities. Additionally, a special distinction of Rise of Nations is its infantry units appear as groups of three figures. This means that while an Archer unit may only take up one population slot, you will actually see three Archer figures on the screen. On the other hand, some units count as more than one against the population cap. Rise of Nations' armies can grow much larger than you might expect. You'll be able to keep a productive economy AND field a impressive army.
    You may also increase your population cap (even beyond the maximum) by building the Colossus wonder and/or securing one of the rare resources. The Bantu nation in Rise of Nations however also gets a bonus over the normal populuation cap as their unique national power.

  6. Do nations get unique units?
    Yes. Each nation is able to build at least four and as many as eight special units. Some examples:
    • Japanese: Samurai (Gunpowder Age heavy infantry)
    • Bantu: Umpakati (Ancient Age light infantry)
    • British: King's Longbowmen (Medieval Age ranged infantry)
    • Russian: T-80 (Information Age tank)
    The unique units in Rise of Nations, are integrated into the game by replacing a default unit within the game rather then as an additional unit for a civilization. Unique units also usually are a more powerful or efficient unit then the default unit they replace, and have their own unique graphics and animation.

  7. How do national borders work?
    Your national borders define a territorial region projected from your cities and Forts. Each of these build types push out your borders and their "border pushing" effects may be enhanced through research. The amount of push created by your cities are enhanced by the level of research in the "civics" track (these are the cyan colored research line found in the library). The amount of support buildings within your city which upgrades the type of city it is also increases the border pushing effect of the city. In addition, the temple gaves access to a "religion" line of research to further enhance this effect. The border pushing ability of fortresses can be increased by advancing the "fortification" line of research accessed within your fortresses. A nation can increase its borders also by building the Temple of Tikal, Eiffel Tower or the Colosseum Wonder.
    There's no practical limit to how far your borders can push outward from a strong political center other than another nation "pushing back." The main role of national territory is to define the area where you can found new cities, exploit resources and build structures - enemies CANNOT build in your backyard. However, a very aggressive player can attempt to capture a city deep inside your national boundaries to establish a colony from which to support an attack after an assimilation period. You can however build inside of your allies national boundaries to support them.
    Units and buildings that fall within or moves into another nation's boundaries suffer what is called attrition damage. This simulates the effects of the need to supply your troops when they are not in friendly territory since they can not "live off the land".
    Borders allow you a new venue to compete with other nations besides simply military attacks; investing in the non-military aspects of your nation translate into expanding borders that can hem in rivals and deny them control of vital resources. Rise of Nations demands the player pay attention to the placement of new cities in order to claim territory he or she will want later.

  8. What is "attrition damage" and is there a way to reduce it when I attack or increase it on enemies units?
    Military units crossing into neutral or enemy territory gradually take damage as a kind of "penalty" for violating borders and abstraction of the difficulties encountered by invading armies throughout history. Also, buildings stranded in another non-allied nation's territory due to expanding/contracting borders are also subject to attrition.
    Nations with whom you are at peace send their troops into your territory at the cost of those troops suffering punishing "attrition damage" - this greatly reduces the viability of a surprise declaration of war strategy. Enemy troops - of the nations formally at war with you - suffer a lower level but sufficiently detering amount of attrition. The usual amount of damage is roughly 1 hitpoint per second.
    Attrition damage can be mitigated completely if you are in your territory naturally, but also if your units are within range of an accompanying supply wagon or truck. You can increase the damage your enemies suffer by increasing the "allegiance" line of research that can be accessed in towers. Building the Colosseum or Kremlin wonders also increases the attrition damage. On the other hand you can reduce the attrition damage you suffer by increasing the "forage" line of research at your granaries Building the Statue of Liberty wonder likewise reduces the attrition damage your units recieve while in enemy territory. In addition, the Russian's unique ability is that enemies suffer greater attrition within their territory while the Mongol's unique ability is that they suffer less attrition damage while in enemy territory.

  9. I've heard that peasants will be "smart." How does that work?
    If a peasant - or citizen - is left alone without orders, he or she will look around for something productive to do. This includes things like working at established farms, lumber camps and mines. Peasants will also help repair damaged buildings or assist in their construction but NOT initiate new constructions on their own. Peasants only notice things within a limited range so they tend to remain near where you left them. This Smart Citizen feature is configurable, allowing the setting of timing delays and activity priorities; you can also turn off the feature entirely if you prefer your newly-created citizens simply remain idle. The default behavior can be controlled by going to the game's tab within the options & profiles control screen. Each citizen can also be configured by clicking on a citizen and selecting its "stance".

  10. What are the resources in Rise of Nations and how does the economic system work?
    The six Basic Resources are Food, Wood, Wealth, Metal, Knowledge and Oil. Rise of Nations also features 32 Rare Resources that increase the collection of Basic Resources and/or confer special bonuses on players who have established a Merchant at the Rare Resource site. The location and types of rare resources available are random. Resource locations lasts throughout the entire game and never run out. You can trade resources for wealth and vice versa at the market after you have achieved the 2nd level of commerce research.
    Resources such has food, wood, metal and oil are collected by citizens, while wealth is collected by caravans, and knowledge by scholars. Food is collected by building farms which can only be built within city limits. Usually only 5 farms are allowed per city, except for the Egyptians whose unique ability allows them to build 7 farms per city. Oil resources are collected at special spots on the map that can be found on both land or sea which appears on the map once industrial age is reached, and requires a single citizen to build and work at an oil platform. The number of caravans are restricted by the number of cities you have in your nation, usually one caravan per nation is allowed. Scholars collect knowledge by being built and garrisoned within Univeristies. The other natural resources such as wood and metal can be collected by building collection points strategically on forests or mountains that are spread out around the map. The size of these geographic features within your national borders and the placement of the collection points determine the number of workers you can put to work collecting these resources. Food and wood are also naturally collected by each city on its own. In addition, on sea maps, fishing provides an income of food and wealth, while whaling provides an income of food and metal.
    Certain civilizations also collect additional resources by alternative means. Roman cities collect wealth in addition to the normal resources a city collects. The Inca also collects wealth whenever the collect metal from mining. Egyptian farms also collect wealth in addition to food.
    The total amount of resources that a nation can collect regardless of how many citizen, scholars or caravans etc are put to the task is limited by a nation's advancements within the "commerce" track (this is the green colored line within the library). The rate of collection can be enhanced by putting collection points within a city's limits, and building enhancement buildings such as granaries, woodmills, smelters and oil refineries. Various rare resources and wonders can enhance either the rate or production caps (limited by the commerce research).

  11. Is a demo available?
    Yes. You can download a trial version of Rise of Nations from Microsoft. Several localized versions of the demo are available and all are about 194 MB in size.