Age of Empires 4 takes us back to the golden days when RTS was king. Build your perfect foundation to pump out the best units to defeat your foes — Warcraft, Command & Conquer, and Age of Empires were the undisputed kings, and instead of totally changing the formula, AOE4 is refining it for modern audiences. It also contains some old-school concessions that modern players might not fully understand. And they're incredibly important for strategizing on the medieval battlefield.
Here we will talk about keyboard shortcuts. Hotkeys are essential for micromanaging your troops and moving around the map efficiently, and you're free to link them together if you wish. One of the most important functions is grouping et merge – really, it's the only way to manage your army. By grouping units and assigning them to different numbers, you can quickly switch between groups in the middle of a fight. This is all basic for the experienced RTS, but for the rest of us it's a concept you may not be familiar with. Let's break down grouping and more hotkey features below.
How to group units
- To group units, select the units you want to group, then press [CTRL+1-9] — you can use any number on the keyboard, including the numeric keypad. You can create up to 9 groups of units and make a quick selection by pressing the corresponding number.
Bundling is one of the most important tactics of a modern RTS. By grouping units, you can easily send them to different areas of the map. Double-tap the group number to reorient the camera to the group. Tap once to select them, allowing you to select and move units off the screen. You can also micro-manage units by grouping together infantry, cavalry, archers, etc. into different groups to more effectively control the battlefield.
- To merge units in a group, select the desired units and press [SHIFT+1-9] to put them all together.
- To cancel / reset groups, select nothing or another group and press [CTRL+1-9]. This will overwrite the previous grouping.
How to move the camera with WASD
By default, you must scroll the mouse to the edges of the screen OR use your keyboard pointers to move the camera. You can also use WASD naturally without changing any settings.
- To move the camera with the WASD keys, [ALT]+[W/A/S/D] socket. While holding the Alt key, you can scroll the camera with WASD. It's not a perfect solution, but it's built into the game.
It also works with the [SHIFT] key. You can change SHIFT/ALT in control settings.
How to Bind Keys – All Keys
There is a default keyboard shortcut binding menu in AOE4 - but some keys are locked. You can bind most keys, but some are disabled. If you want to bind a key, you will need to find the key binding profile. Here's how to find it.
- In the AOE4 settings, create a New control profile and select it. Make your changes and save.
- Close the game and go to Control Profile file in the AOE4 installation files.
- Navigate here: DocumentsMy GamesAge of Empires IVkeyBindingProfiles
- Open your profile with Bloc-notes++. The file will be .rkp format.
- Find the keyboard shortcuts you want to link. Replace the keys, then save the file and close it.
If your control profile is selected in AOE4, your custom keybindings should work. If something goes wrong, just delete the control profile and start over. This issue is known to developers and is at the top of their priority list. For more information on reassigning keyboard shortcuts, see this guide.