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Age of Empires 4: Zhu Xi’s Legacy Variant Civilization details revealed

A more aggressive counterpart to standard China
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Another Variant Civilization has been revealed for Age of Empires 4: The Sultans Ascend, the upcoming expansion of the RTS game for PC and Xbox Series X|S, with Zhu Xi’s Legacy. This variation of the Chinese takes that faction’s economic boom potential and twists it to transform it into an aggressive early game powerhouse with the potential to cause massive damage very quickly in a match.

Zhu Xi’s Legacy’s Tang Dynasty allows players to construct cheaper Landmarks, enabling them to age up more quickly. They’ll have an Imperial Official right from the start as well, boosting their economy early. In Age 2, the Variant Civilization already gains access to the Palace Guard, which is an Age 3 unit for the regular Chinese faction. Having this fast infantry unit out early enables the Zhu Xi’s Legacy players to exert pressure on their opponents quickly.

Age of Empires 4 Zhu Xi's Legacy artwork showing Shaolin monks during their combat training.

Zhu Xi’s Legacy has access to powerful Shaolin Monks as a unit type.

That does not mean Zhu Xi’s Legacy neglects the economy: A new Age 2 Landmark, the Meditation Gardens, generates resources based on its surroundings. However, nearby enemy units can disturb the peace and reduce that income flow. The Song Dynasty bonus for building both Landmarks of Age 2 makes all economic buildings cheaper for Zhu Xi’s Legacy, providing yet another economic boon.

In Age 3, Zhu Xi’s Legacy can construct the Mount Lu Academy, another new Landmark. It adds food to the tax income the Imperial Officials bring in and allows players to research several other technologies that boost the effectiveness of Imperial Officials. In addition, Zhu Xi’s Legacy can build the Shaolin Monastery, enabling them to recruit powerful martial arts masters.

Age of Empires 4 screenshot of Shaolin Monks.

Shaolin Monks are unlocked by building the Shaolin Monastery.

As for Age 4, it gives Zhu Xi’s Legacy access to Zhu Xi’s Library and the Temple of the Sun as its Landmark buildings. The library contains powerful technologies, but only a selection can be researched in a single match, so players must choose wisely. The temple has four abilities that players can toggle to boost specific units globally. One of the technologies in Zhu Xi’s Library, Dynastic Protectors, unlocks two strong cavalry units, the Imperial Guard and Yuan Raider.

The Chinese in Age of Empires 4 are a powerful faction with a potent economy, but they need a lot of time to get built up. It looks like Zhu Xi’s Legacy keeps much of that potential in place, but is able to act aggressively a lot earlier, building speed and momentum more quickly than its standard counterpart can.

Make sure to check out the details on Jeanne d’Arc, the Ayyubids, and the Byzantines coming with the expansion as well.

The Sultans Ascend launches on November 14, 2023.