The Conquerors also introduced various new gameplay features and tweaks, including the new game modes Defend the Wonder, King of the Hilland Wonder Race. Additional maps, some based on real life geographic locations, and new winter and tropical terrain textures were included. In-game, infantry are able to garrison in battering rams, protecting the infantry while increasing the ram’s speed and attack, while ships are able to form formations for more effective fighting. The graphics are left unchanged, but new civilizations have been added such as the Spanish, Huns, Koreans, Mayans and Aztecs. In addition to new units, the in-game upgrade lines have been extended to provide more unit choices.
Micromanagement is made easier, by an improved scripted Artificial Intelligence of villagers and siege weapons. Villagers will now automatically commence gathering resources if they build resource gathering sites. Wall construction has also been improved: when assigning two or more villagers, they evenly spread out instead of working on the same patch, and when multiple farmers are sent on one farm, the surplus will start cultivating adjacent farms instead of idling.Mangonels and onagers will not automatically fire if their attack is likely to harm friendly units. Additionally, a button was added to the mill, which would allow farms to be paid for in advance, so that when an existing one was exhausted, it would automatically be replanted. Chat commands are introduced, in order to communicate more effectively with allied computer players.
The Conquerors adds four additional single player campaigns. These are based on Attila the Hun’s rise to power, Montezuma’s defense against Hernán Cortés, and the adventures of El Cid. The fourth campaign, “Battles of the Conquerors”, is actually a group of unrelated single scenarios, each based on a significant historical battle. These include the Battle of Tours, the saga ofErik the Red, the Battle of Hastings, the Battle of Manzikert, the Battle of Agincourt, the Battle of Lepanto, the Battle of Yamazaki, and the Battle of Noryang.
As of June 2006, the MSN Gaming Zone CD-ROM section was shut down for Age of Empires players, as well as many other CD-ROM games. In the online realm, there exist not only built-in random maps, but also user-generated scenarios.
The Aztecs and Mayans lack the ability to train cavalry units. This is partially balanced by the fact that they start with Eagle Warrior infantry units, who have many of the advantages that cavalry have. Both civilizations also lack access to gunpowder units. The Huns are also unique in that they do not build houses to support their population, from the start being only limited by the fixed population limit of the game.