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Unit Information Game Strategies History

Medieval Age to Enlightenment Age
Industrial Age onwards

The Spy is a type of support unit specialized in infiltrating and undermining enemy operations available from the Medieval Age.png Medieval Age onwards, as long as Science.png Science 2 (Mathematics) is already researched. Spies are recruited and upgraded at the Fort.

Spies are unarmed and extremely weak, starting with a meager 15 hit points and have no armor or weapons. However, Spies are not meant to aid the nation through brute force. They instead have several special abilities at their disposal to carry out special operations.

Special abilities[]

Being infiltration units, Spies are immune to Attritio.png attrition damage in enemy territory. Spies are also invisible to the enemy most of the time, thus cannot be targeted or attacked by enemy units; they remain hidden even when moving or executing orders, and only units with ability to detect hidden units, including Scouts, Helicopters and Lookouts (along with all upgrades) can spot them.

Spies have three special abilities at their disposal, which require a certain amount of Craft.png Craft, which regenerates automatically over time. Each Spy has a maximum of 1000 Craft.png Craft and successfully using an ability will consume some or all of it (aborting a mission won't consume any Craft.png Craft at all).

Spies stay hidden while using an ability and will remain so if the mission fails or is aborted. However, right after successfully completing a mission, the Spy is revealed to the enemy for some time.

When giving orders with multiple Spies selected, by default only one of them will actually carry them out. For examply, if you have five Spies selected and consecutively target-click on five different enemy units, each Spy will attempt to bribe one of them - quite handy. However, if you want all of your Spies to attempt on the same mission, you can change their behavior in the game options.

Ability Description
Allows the spy to kill an enemy spy unit or to remove an informer from a building or unit. Scouts have this ability as well. Default action when targeting enemy Spies (cursor turns into a knife). Costs 500 Craft.png Craft to use.
The target unit becomes yours - permanently. Civilians, ships, aircraft, scouts and enemy Spies cannot be bribed. Artillery units can be bribed, but the Spy has to move next to the target unit. If an enemy building is stranded in your territory, it can also be bribed. Costs 1000 Craft.png Craft to use.
Infiltrates the target structure or unit, revealing its line of sight to the player who planted the informer. When infiltrating a production or research building, the current production/research (queue) is revealed as well. Most civilians and special units cannot be infiltrated. Costs 500 Craft.png Craft to use.

Upgrading and unit costs[]

Spies, along with Generals and Patriots, can be upgraded several times by researching Strategy technologies at Forts. Each upgrade increases their movement speed, hit points (+30, +75, +135), line of sight and operation range. In addition to this, each upgrade gives a special bonus: Tactics allows them to be trained twice as fast, Operations doubles the rate at which their Craft.png Craft regenerates and Strategy decreases their training cost by 50%.

The Spy's production cost increases progressively for every other Spies, whether on the field or currently in production, by a fixed +10 Metal.png Metal and +10 Wealth.png Wealth, which is capped at 150 Metal.png Metal and 150 Wealth.png Wealth.

East Asian modern Spy skin[]

This information applies only to Thrones and Patriots and the Extended Edition, but not to the base game.

Unlike other Spies, the Asian Spy doesn't change its appearance in the Industrial Age.pngIndustrial Age. This is because of a missing entry in unit_graphics.xml. The entry was present in the original Rise of Nations but was removed in Thrones and Patriots. It is not confirmed whether the removal was intentional or not.

The file can be modified in a text editor to restore the previous appearance, although it should be noted that doing so may cause multiplayer games to go out of sync with players not using a modified file.

The previous Spy texture can cause the unit to be extremely difficult to see while cloaked.

Additionally, some players have noted that the removed texture can have poor visibility in some circumstances due to its limited color palette, resulting in poor contrast depending on the color of the controlling player and the surrounding terrain. For example, if the player is yellow or white, the unit can be difficult to see in desert or snow terrain. Visibility deteriorates further still if the unit is cloaked, because the majority of the texture will have heavy transparency applied.

To restore the previous appearance, open unit_graphics.xml (located in the \Data\ directory of the game installation) and insert the following between the entries for SPY-ARAB-AGE5 and SPY-INDIA-AGE5. Each entry starts and ends with the <UNIT> and </UNIT> tag respectively.

<UNIT name="SPY-ASIAN-AGE5" model=".\art\Spy_6.bh3" texture=".\art\Spy6_Asian.tga" cache="1" scale="1" trackdist="10" tracktype="Foot" shadowtype="Biped Shadow" shadowwidth="50" shadowheight="50" skeleton="Machinegun" tex_id="TEX_UNITS_2" tex_col="7" tex_row="1" tex_x="-1" tex_y="-1" tex_clip="1">
  <ANIM name="CHAR_DEFAULT" file="Spy3 Default"/>
  <ANIM name="CHAR_IDLE1" file="Spy3 Idle3"/>
  <ANIM name="CHAR_IDLE2" file="Spy3 Idle5"/>
  <ANIM name="CHAR_IDLE3" file="Spy3 Idle4"/>
  <ANIM name="CHAR_WALK" file="Spy3 Walk"/>
  <ANIM name="CHAR_JOG" file="Spy3 Run"/>
  <ANIM name="CHAR_ATTACK1" file="Spy3 Counterintel RemoveInform"/>
  <ANIM name="CHAR_ATTACK2" file="Spy3 Counterintel KillSpy"/>
  <ANIM name="CHAR_ATTACK3" file="Spy6 Bribe"/>
  <ANIM name="CHAR_ATTACKWALK" file="Spy3 Counterintel RemoveInform"/>
  <ANIM name="CHAR_DEATH_STAB1" file="Spy3 Death1"/>
  <ANIM name="CHAR_DEATH_STAB2" file="Spy3 Death2"/>
  <ANIM name="CHAR_DEATH_SHOT1" file="Spy3 Death3"/>
  <ANIM name="CHAR_DEATH_SHOT2" file="Spy3 Death4"/>
  <ANIM name="CHAR_DEATH_SPLODED1" file="Spy3 Death5"/>
  <ANIM name="CHAR_DEATH_SPLODED2" file="Spy3 Death6"/>
  <SPHERE x="0" y="0" z="30" rad="40"/>
  <EXISTEVENT starttime="766" endtime="2664" anim="CHAR_ATTACK2" type="Spy6Gun" node="0"/>
  <EXISTEVENT starttime="1665" endtime="5494" anim="CHAR_ATTACK3" type="Spy6Breifcase" node="2"/>
  <PARTICLEEVENT starttime="1498" endtime="1548" anim="CHAR_ATTACK2" type="RIFLE FLASH" node="1" axis="-2"/>
  <PARTICLEEVENT starttime="3330" endtime="4662" anim="CHAR_ATTACK3" type="SPY0 BRIBE" node="3" axis="3"/>
  <PARTICLEEVENT starttime="0" endtime="4662" anim="CHAR_ATTACK3" type="SPY0 BRIBESPARKLE" node="3" axis="3"/>
  <SOUNDEVENT starttime="1498" anim="CHAR_ATTACK2" file="ATTACK"/>