Recently I came accros many people who were wondering what should they purchase with their EP. As I am player who played all civs and all boosters I decided to make a guide so you won’t waste your money/EP. Well, if you play you will get all stuff eventually but newcomers should buy content that is most enjoyable. I will rate joy (from gameplay, both civ and booster), time you spent in relation to money/EP spent, fun from lv1-20 campaign for civs and in-game profit for boosters
If you are interested only in PvP don’t read this post as you won’t get much from it, I advice to start with PvE first to feel the game, its mechanics and handling. If you are planning your purchase purely for PvP, ask on PvP section as I don’t play it at all. This feature is a little piece of content available and is highly overrated by developers. Age of Empires is PvE franchise and I am basing on it.
First things first, I advice to not purchase steam starter pack, even though it looks like it is nicely priced, it contains crap. Why? Read down below. I remind that startet pack contain: Premium Celts, Skirmish Booster Pack and Anniversary Bundle.
Greeks – I highly advice to purchase this civilisation as your first. They are easy and fun to play while they are very powerful. If you don’t plan on spending real money, this is also great choice because even as free 2 play greeks are strong. They are easiest way to earn first 900 EP for premium civ. Level 1-20 campaign is very enjoyable.
Joy 9/10 (1 point less because they just feel simple sometimes)
Campaign 9/10 (hard to say why 9 instead of 10, but celtic campaign is just better, at least for me. If you feel I am biased, you can freely put 10 there)
Celts – In my opinion their lv1-20 campaign is funniest of all. Their gameplay much differ from other civs. Their unit selection is unique and very enjoyable. You feel the kick but they are not as easy-and-good in the late game as far as legendary quests are concerned. I don’t advice to pick this civilisation as your first, maybe if you get better because in the very end they just feel underpowered in comparision to all other civs, mostly because of siegeless warfare which is pain in the ***. Yes, you will enjoy them early on, but on the longer run other civs are just better. Well, you can gear your bowmen so it will be killing machine, but it is pricy venture.
Joy – 8/10 (many gimmicks but lack of real siege and general late-game weakness make celts loose 2 points there)
Time/Money 7/10 (you spend much time with campaign after all, but fact that you are on disadvantage when it comes to most challenging quests lowers final score)
Campaign 10/10 (pure fun, tons of jolly and entertaining quests, prime example “Die Hard or Die hard”)
Egyptians – from all full civs they got in my opinion the least enjoyable campaign. It is not as jolly as celtic and not as interesting as greek one. Egyptian gameplay is different from greek and celtic with all age-up and empower gimmicks. Egyptians offer entertaining gameplay, pretty intense, they are not as easy to master as greeks, but once you get used to them, you can tear through all existing quests with ease. Downsides? They feel more like support in many quests, but since catapult/ranged strats for quests are pretty much gone in favor of elephants, they are really good option if you are planning on long-term play.
Joy 8/10 (you got more things to consider there, gameplay is not as simple as greek. level of complexity is similar to celtic one)
Time/Money 8/10 (I must put them ahead of celts because most of the focus lands on late game, where egypt really shines)
Campaign 8/10 (less fun than greek and celtic)
Persians – pro civ = lack of campaign, we land straight in argos. All pro civs are more “late-game-focused” than full civs. Most joy you will find doing all most difficult quests, persians are just designed to tear through those. Their unit composition really favor experienced players, you just need some knowledge what will work and where and with which gear. If you got experience from other RTS, you can go ahead with persians. But I really advice going with greeks as your first premium civ. Just to learn the game more.
Joy 8/10 (Gameplay is really different, Persians own really powerful technologies and units but you need some knowledge to unleash their true power, they’re not beginner-friendly)
Time/Money 8/10 (lack of campaign lowers final score, but you will spend much time with late game quests, persians really shine there)
Campaign N/A (no capmaign, no score but it does not mean it is 0/10, we can’t judge something that does not exist can we?)
Babylonians -fresh meat, youngest kid in Age of Empires Online family. Gameplay is as complex as persian, but they need far less consideration in strategy/gearing. Playing them is pure fun with all their techs/units. They generally feel more polished than other civs, experience in making civs came to play. But still, some experience would be welcome there. Maybe less than with Persians. If you don’t feel as “Pro”, and you want some more complex late-game gameplay, pick Babylonians.
Joy 10/10 (they are pure fun to play with all their units/gimmicks)
Time/Money 8/10 (same problems Persians struggle with)
Skirmish – even though it sounds like fun and you might have some cool memories with Age franchise connected with those, AoEO skirmish is not something I recommend to pick up straight away. AI is not all that balanced, suffer from “Too Easy or Too Hard” issue. It is just unfair. Cheating AI is never a good AI. You might think that you can get tons of chests from quests but trust me, it is one giant disappointment. Most of chests contain materials. Not profitable. On the longer run, yes, but it is not enjoyable way of grinding. You can either rush AI or turtle with wonder. You can grind chests on every level there, but you will need tons of knowledge and patience there. Also, good gear required. If you jump into skirmish right away, in desire for challenge, you will either got disappointed or slaughtered.
In-game profit 2/10
Defence of Crete – in my honest opinion it is best and most enjoyable of all boosters. Many maps, adequate difficulty. Good loot. Any cons? Well, it can be dull sometimes. But not as dull as skirmish. Excellent choice for beginners as difficulty is so adjustable, you won’t find it too easy or too hard (jumping onto higher difficulty level straight away will result in you being slaughtered, but if you adjust difficulty correctly, it will be fun).Loot is good, consumables, recipes, some unique items. Not so much junk. And you got weekly Elite Meet in Crete which is pretty easy and greatly profitable quest.
In-game profit 8/10
Fertile Crescent Booster Pack – it is more a quest pack than booster pack, it offers variety of quests with up-to-level-40 scaling, but as I said, it is quest pack, it does not offer any new mode to the game. Just replacement for Argos’ storyline. If you played through Argos’ storyline too many times, you might find it worthwhile as it is quite interesting. There are many funny quests in the end, but 450 EP is not good price for this. If you got bored to death by Argos, and you are planning on making new civs, wise choice. But I would prioritize Crete and even Skirmish. Also, loot from lv40 repeatables is very disappointing. Much worse than from alliance quests.
In-game profit 5/10
If you are planning to invest into your game right in the beginning, I advice to grab Premium Greeks, and Defence of Crete. Then it is up to you.
I hope my guide will be helpful to you.