Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Advice for newbies to the game

Advice to Newbies to the game

How to use and manage Rubies

This is my advice to newbies. If you do not plan on buying rubies or very little this is how you should use your rubies. First off just because you get 300 as a gift dose not mean that you should use them to complete buildings. Let them finish on their own. Secondly while town houses may look and sound good don't spend rubies on them. Third don't buy ruby siege or defense tools, because while they are better than regular tools if you have a good defense it shouldn't matter that much. Fourth don't use rubies to repair damage make to your castle while it will take longer resources do the job fine. 

You SHOULD save your rubies for: Bakeries, they reduce the amount of food your soldiers eat and therefor mean you can make more. Stables, they considerably speed up the speed of your soldiers when attacking. Unlocking kingdoms, while the stone, wood and food should be easy to unlock if you want to save a lot of time and gold use them for unlocking gold instead of actual gold. Open gate, they save you from losing battles that you have no hope of winning and no damage is done to your troops or buildings. Lastly drill grounds, they speed up the recruitment time of your soldiers making for bigger armies in shorter amount of time. 

Just save up your rubies until you have enough to either upgrade your existing bakery or build a new one. You can have 1 bakery per castle. 

While browsing through the forum today I found a wonderful guide on how to manage Rubies and which buildings are important and what things are a pure waste of rubies: 
Original post: http://en.board.goodgamestudios.com/empire/showthread.php?41941-Complete-Empire-Guide-Teaser-(Intro-Tools)&highlight=soldiers

Understanding How to Spend Your Rubies

Of the entirety of my guide, this section is perhaps the most subjective. It will assess the value of rubies being spent in different ways and it will evaluate ruby buildings. As such this section of the guide should be taken with a pinch of salt, people like to play the game in different ways, something that I both respect and understand. What this chapter intends to identify is the crucial elements that should not be omitted from a ruby player’s game. The first point to make is that if you are buying rubies you have two options, the first is permanent usage, so for example, a watchtower (a building which allows you to see incoming attacks quicker). The second option is to select boosts that you purchase per week, for example overseers (boost production by 25% per week).

ThIS starting point is the most important to any player and if you are a complete non-ruby user, you too should take note. The bakery is the single most important ruby building in the game. In brief it reduces the food consumption per troop by a certain percentage ultimately increasing your troop capacity. As any experienced player will tell you troop-count is key to Empire. If you are only purchasing a set amount of rubies my advice in this section is simple. Buy bakeries with your rubies until you run out. They will help you more than any other building and are a permanent asset to have. 

A common misconception is that the bakery has a similar effect as the flourmill and on first glance it would appear so. However, this is false and is easier to disprove with an example: 

If I have 2000 food production meaning that without a bakery or flourmill I could have 500 heavy crossbowmen in this castle or outpost.

A flour mill would increase food production to 2200 and therefore mean 550 heavy crossbowmen could be there, however a bakery reduces consumption of each troop to 3.6 (4x90%). 2000 food production per hour divided by 3.6 is 555.5 meaning we can have 5 more troops at food equilibrium with a bakery than with the flour mill.

This is because the consumption has the effect of compounding the advantage, for every 0.4 of food saved, that remaining 0.4 will only be consumed at 90% the rate. In addition reduced food consumption is easier to maintain, by which I mean that other players sending 1000 food will feed more troops or if you need to transport food across realms the troops will last longer.

The point I am making here, which is often misunderstood is that the bakery does significantly more than the flour mill (which should always be level 3 regardless), it makes food management easier and 90% food consumption is actually far superior to 110% food production. In summary if you’re castle doesn’t have rubies and you’re spending them elsewhere then stop. Bakeries should be level 4 in all castles before you splash out the rubies elsewhere but above all bakeries are critical in food OPs and main castles in the ice, fire and sand realms (where your troop count will be highest).

With bakeries, the most significant ruby building tackled I will tackle the remaining ruby buildings. Drill grounds can be considered a very useful building to have, they increase recruitment time substantially but with feasting available and boosting recruitment by a vastly superior 300% with the Kings Feast, they are by no means a necessity. If you are, however, a ‘combatant’ that likes a good scrap, then they should be next on your Christmas ruby wish list after full bakeries. Many would argue that stables are the next most important building, and I would not be one to disagree. Depending on the type of player you are before you take the bigger ruby-spending leap from drill ground level 1 (1500 rubies) to level 2 (13500 rubies), you may want to first invest in Stables upgrades. The advantages are simpler to understand that that of a bakery. Quicker troop movement means a whole host of consequential bonuses such as faster looting cycles, quicker attacks on the enemy, more chance of being able to support alliance members and in summary more effective armies. 

These three buildings are what I would describe as the must-haves to a heavy ruby-user’s game. Bakeries are essential for anyone who wishes to compete man-for-man but the stables and drill grounds will provide players an ever greater platform to play the game from. So what other ruby buildings are there? The watchtower, the fire station, the ruby moat, the town house and decorations. In essence the watchtower depends on your own circumstances, are you being attacked enough to warrant its value? Will the watchtower mean your allies can get to you quicker and support you in time? These are questions that depend on the individual but in my opinion the watchtower should only be bought after the three key ruby buildings that I have already discussed since they will alter your chances of winning the battle not through more support time for others to help you but through a stronger army yourself. Less reliance can be a good thing, and the less of these latter ruby buildings the more space you will have for decorations which will boost food production and ultimately troop capacity.

As to the fire station you are essentially alerting enemies that your defenses are weak, since you are prepared to burn. It is not only a bad ruby investment since it will not strengthen you, but on the contrary, it takes up a fair amount of space which could be boosting troop capacity through food production. The 10% fire reduction is pitiful too. Anyone with a fire station I would recommend demolishing it. Additionally if there is an incoming attack which you cannot defend it is significantly more cost effective in terms of rubies to open your gates rather than repair the damage which can often be in the thousands of rubies.

The ruby moat again is not worth the money. It does not offer another slot to moat defenses and the 12500 rubies it costs would better be spent on fire moat tools. Of course the 10% boost is permanent and will make a small difference but if your rubies are limited buying the ruby moat is pointless - The 10% permanent boost will rarely affect battles but the 110% bonus from a fire moat will often be decisive. At 84 rubies each, 148 fire moats will be a great boost to your defensive capabilities for the same price.

Townhouses by many top players are being demolished because coins are much better acquired by towers in the sand and fire realms. You can make a nice 35000+ coin profit off a dragon, and off a sand tower you are looking at an 8000+ coin profit. That profit is the amount of coins you are rewarded minus the troop costs to recruit and potential transportation costs from one realm to the next. It is clear that 10 minute tax cycles are of the past, and one person in my alliance by demolishing all dwellings and townhouses and replacing with decorations which increase food production, managed to increase his total troop count by 1500. Population 0 is what is desired by many top players now. If you are not yet in sands or fire, it is still a good idea to stick to dwellings since the benefit of town houses is by no means great and additionally the knowledge that you will eventually not need them should be enough to put you off them.

The final permanent ruby buildings are decorations. These are for the heavier ruby players and are mainly to increase production (and troop count) as well as recruitment times and other public order benefits. The most important ones to note are the jousting list and the festival squares. The festival squares are clearly the best public order/space decoration in the game, meaning a castle fully kitted with these ruby decorations will have a very high level of food production, however, to any players who can’t break the bank so easily I will suggest an alternative. A park provides 104 public order, a jousting list 180 public order and a festival square 190 public order. It is clear that there exists a significant jump between parks’ and jousting lists’ benefits whereas a much lower difference between jousting lists’ and festival squares’. At 4375 rubies compared to 5500 rubies you are spending 79.5% as many rubies for what is a 5.3% bonus to public order. When we consider that production is given by the formula 100+2*Square root of Public Order ie 100+2*SQRT(PO) we realise that this 5.3% bonus will in fact be an even smaller boost to production due to the diminishing returns of Public Order. In other words splitting your ruby decorations between buildings and purchasing jousting lists instead of festival squares (unless you have unlimited rubies) is the best option and the ‘certified’ Humpers recommendation.

Permanent ruby buildings are in my opinion the most important things to spend your rubies on. They will provide the basis to any player’s ruby investment and these next temporary bonuses vary in terms of importance, however, as I started with bakeries in the first section I will start with food overseer here. The one weekly upgrade worth purchasing above all else is the food overseer, a boost of 25% to food production will mean a significant increase in troop count (which I am aware I keep harking on about now!) and at 625 rubies per week is a steal. If the additional troops that you get from this bonus defeat a few sand fortresses per week, you are already in ‘ruby-profit’. Indeed the veteran overseers which rarely appear in the Hunter’s Lodge are offering an even better 30% boost to production at 999 rubies per week. However, here is the best bit: you can have both overseers running simultaneously, a 55% total production increase for only 1700 rubies per week. When you see the vet overseers in the Lodge next time, make sure you grab that food overseer and stock up on his delicious bonus for your hungry troops! Another way of identifying when this wonderful man arrives is that the King’s Market tab will turn orange indicating his presence.

All the rest of the ‘heroes’ such as the other resource overseers, the merchant and so on are all in my opinion luxuries and although each provide their own useful bonus for me they are in the circumstantial bracket. If you have the rubies to spend and have a lot of lower level alliance members perhaps you will want to siphon off more of your resources and invest in the merchant, in other circumstances during a particularly gruesome war the medico may be a wise choice. As I set out, however, in the introduction to this chapter, these all end up as personal choices and I cannot comment therefore on them. 

So what else in the ruby world is there? The Kings Flag? No benefit in-game unless you want to show off that you have 5000 rubies to spare. The majority of players I see with the Kings Flag I actually assume are bad players, since those 5000 rubies could have certainly been used elsewhere. How many times do I see an up-and-coming player with a Kings Flag and think, why didn’t you build a bakery with those rubies… Well after this chapter of the guide I hope a lot less. Try to hold off from ‘speeding-up’ construction of auto finishing with rubies unless you have a lot of rubies to spend. Remember that this game is not a sprint, and any rubies you ‘auto-build’ with could have made a decisive difference in a battle with tools which are worth noting. Please refer to my previous chapter about tools if you have not already; they often make the difference in battle and can save literally thousands of troops, however, the choice of how many to buy and whether to use normal ruby tools or armourer tools is again a personal one, based on how many total rubies you have to spend. As a general rule, the more ruby tools, in particular, armourer tools, the better your attack and/or defense will be (as long as used within the guidelines of my Tools chapter).

The last thing worth noting is alliance donations. Again these are a personal choice, however, in any alliance, donations are hugely appreciated and costly upgrades are more often than not obtainable through very small individual contributions. What is important to remember is that these donations although not directly impacting your game will ultimately improve your experience whilst playing Empire and your chances in war. As for alliance upgrades, member count, support speed and attack speed are all critical with number bonus being ultimately useless, many top players when fully built struggle to get rid of their resources quickly enough, and looting bonus being occasionally effective for food starving (a topic and strategy about which I will write when discussing warfare).

By Vishal Verma Google