Lord of Ultima Fundamentals Guide

Lord of Ultima Fundamentals Guide by Awydd

I’m going to break down some of the basic principles of LoU that far to many people seem to overlook. Some of that is caused by a lack of interest in math or logical patterns that cause them to play based on assumptions that might sound good conceptually… but aren’t backed up with the way the game works. Some is just laziness. Unfortunately, laziness isn’t something I can help you overcome… though a good whipping with a cat o’ nine tails might start the process. Getting a grasp on the core mechanics without getting into the math may work though. So here goes.

NOTE: This guide is designed to aid a newer player in conceptual understanding. It does NOT give the best case / optimal process that the top players use to build at the fastest rate or the most powerful castles. But once you understand these concepts, you are on the road to figuring those things out on your own or joining a discussion about them.

Getting attacked!
One of the things that you have to deal with in the early game that can cause you to make some concept mistakes that take ages to overcome is worrying about being attacked. As a result, many people build inefficient cities that try to do everything… grow resources, protect resources, have some combat troops for attacking and defending, and maybe even have a significant amount of storage.

It doesn’t work.

Due to building synergies, you have to exceed a certain point of ‘saturation’ of a city function before it truly becomes valuable. A small number of troops won’t generally stop anything, especially after the first month of a world’s development. A small ratio of military buildings means a very, very slow recruit rate which means you never have troops ready when they’ve been wiped out. And a mediocre resource city won’t even produce enough resources to keep up its own build rates, let alone serve as a springboard for more cities. As a result, mixed purpose buildings can never really measure up… and especially early in the game when you need every bit of resources you can get in order to expand quickly.

Focus on getting the most resources out of your first several cities. Even when your Starter Orb drops and you can be attacked… these will only be Plunders unless you build a castle in your city because non-castled cities cannot be attacked (killing troops or demolishing buildings) or sieged (also killing troops, demolishing buildings or even capturing your city). The thing about plunders… they only take resources that you have stockpiled. If you’re building buildings as fast as you produce resources, they won’t get much from you even if you don’t have troops or hideouts. Given the choice between building a small military or hideouts? In the early game, hideouts are your best choice. But even more useful is a level 10 Moonglow Tower so you can refine resources that can be applied to research or acquiring a higher title (which opens up the possibility of expanding your empire). By refining any resource not being used for buildings, you become untouchable by plundering without committing any building space to military or hideouts.

Building a city
One of the most valuable tools that the player community has provided is the Flash builder site. This allows you to experiment with certain arrangements of buildings before spending the resources towards building it. This is a major advantage over just randomly starting to build a city, especially given the way recent changes have put the use of randomly placed resource nodes in a very critical place in the equation for building a solid, successful resource city.

Successful players know that not only is the correct placement of buildings important, but also the correct building ORDER is also critical. This will change somewhat depending on the focus of the city (resource, storage, gold, military, or castle), but the same key features must be considered in every case. First thing to be aware of when planning out your city build has to happen even BEFORE you settle the city (obviously, when you are building your first city you don’t have control over this… but you will on every other city you ever build).

A resource city will only be successful if it has the right types of resource nodes. There is a major random component to this but it is heavily influenced by the placement of the city on the regional map. A city with mountains touching it will gain a bonus to iron nodes. One next to hills will benefit from stone nodes. Forests will provide a greater number of wood nodes, and plains will boost the availability of cleared ground and ponds. Additionally, if you wish to benefit from water travel (merchant ships) or war ships, you must build adjacent to a river or the ocean (diagonal will NOT work, the water must run along the entire side of the city field).

The next thing to be aware of is your resource availability. Transporting resources to a city takes available carts or ships and an amount of travel time depending on distance between cities. If your city is to build quickly, the last thing you want is downtime while building is stopped waiting for resources to arrive. To prevent this problem, you will want to ensure that your maximum capacity for resources is sufficient to support your build queue. To do this, you want to ensure that your Town Hall and Warehouses get some priority in the building queue, especially early on while their build times are quick. Throughout your build process, you will want to continue to anticipate your resource needs, resupplying before you run out, so the build queue is never waiting for resources to arrive. This becomes vastly easier if you purchase a Build Minister due to the increased queue size and the ability to queue projects without resources already present in the city.

The third factor to consider is build rate. Each building takes a certain amount of time to complete once its at the top of the queue. This is modified by two outside cumulative values: the Research: Construction Speed Bonus and building Cottages. Each completed level 10 Cottage will provide 100% additional build rate (base build rate is 100%). With 1 completed level 10 Cottage, you will build buildings at 1/2 the base speed for that building type. With 2 completed level 10 Cottages, you build at 1/3. With three, its at 1/4… and so on. What this means for the long process of building a city is that the overall time it will take will be much lower if you build enough Cottages early on. Some players even build excessive cottages early on, and then demolish them after completing everything else to use those building spots for other buildings. This can backfire some, however, as you add additional Cottage build time AND demolishing time into the process and using too many Cottages can actually be just as slow as using too few… there are some tricks to this though which I’ll mention later.

For those with some math or logic inclinations: be aware that 1 cottage gets you to 1/2 build time (200%). 3 cottages gets you to 1/4 (400%). 7 cottages get you to 1/8 (800%). 15 for 1/16 (1600%). 31 for 1/32 (3200%). If a building level is going to take 12 hours without any cottages, having 1 level 10 cottage will turn it into a 6 hour build. 3 makes it 3 hours. 7 makes it 1.5 hours. 15 makes it 45 minutes. 31 cottages makes it 22.5 minutes. Considering the amount of time saved by each of the first several half steps, it should be clear that you want at least 15 cottages in any city. I recommend 16-20 cottages as your minimum, with more when building the particularly long build time buildings, like shipyards, workshops, etc. Of course, there is both a time and resources factor involved in pushing the building pace; so this lower number is recommended for early empires. When you’re established and have excess resources, you can push build rate much higher for faster city builds.

Cottage placement should ideally be in the location where you will need those Cottages for their other benefits (as a resource gain multiplier for your mines, quarries, and woodcutters), but in some instances you might be using more cottages than your final build needs (especially in military cities), so just put these extras in where they won’t get in the way.

Finally, you’re going to start layering in your other buildings. I’ll cover these in specific detail as I talk about specific types of cities. As well as some tricks and techniques for getting the most out of a city fast.

One of the last general notes is a reminder to build marketplaces and/or harbors in any resource city (and many military ones) for the ability to transfer resources to another city and more importantly, so you can send the necessary supplies along with a baron to settle new cities. Also necessary are a Trinsic Templar and a Moonglow Tower, along with a single Barracks. The temple is needed to produce barons. The tower is so you can refine resources for research and titles. You’ll always want at least one if not a couple open spots in your barracks to produce a Baron to settle new cities (you cannot disband units, so if you forget to leave room, you have to attack something to kill off a unit in order to recruit a baron). The rest of the barracks spots can be used to recruit a few (up to 995 or so) Templar. This few won’t do much really, but there’s no need to leave the barracks empty either.

The First City
Building your first city is a bit of a challenge in trying to account for efficient growth while trying to supply everything you need without feeding in resources from another source. The first thing to be aware of is that there are quests that you can complete for resource rewards. Do these! But in doing them, be very aware that it is possible to accept a reward for which you do not have storage space. Do NOT turn those in until you do. You don’t want to waste these resources. They will make a huge difference in whether you limp along for your first couple cities or if you get a solid start into the game.

It is also possible to need to use ‘first city’ style planning when you build your first city on a new continent, even if you have a reasonable sized empire on your original continent. This is due to the very long transit time needed to send shipments of resources to a different continent. It’s best to plan to produce what you need locally, in that case; and supplement only when you have to. Alternately, you can set aside quest rewards and artifacts to use on those new cities instead of shipping in resources.

The major difference between a regular newly settled city and your First city is that you need to focus on resource production earlier in the process. This means you won’t be able to build up Cottages first, unfortunately, because they will not produce resources (alone) that will regenerate what you spend building them.

Your first city does need to be conscious of resource storage space, maybe even more so than later resource cities. You can hardly afford to waste what little you are bringing in as you get started, so you don’t want your resources to cap ever. Make sure you build your warehouses up early (I recommend a minimum of two warehouses, if you’re going to place the next to a forge, sawmill, windmill, or stonemason so they store extra amounts of those resources… otherwise go with three). Also remember that boosting your town hall gives you access to additional building types. This won’t matter as much on your first city as on others, but you WILL want access to both windmills and the forge sooner or later, to boost the production rates of your farms and iron mines.
You need all four types of resource to raise your title and gain access to the ability to settle additional cities. So be sure to plan for that. Ideally, you want to take advantage of the randomly placed resource nodes that your city started with… but always remember that you need all four on this first city, whether the nodes are ideal or not. As such, you may not get close to optimizing this first city… especially not compared with some of the specialized ones you can produce later.

Planning out placement of buildings: Resource cities (+first city)
There are a number of standard grid formation builds out there that will provide a decent amount of resources and don’t take a lot of mental effort to copy into each new city.

These builds were actually far closer to an optimal total than most people could achieve up until a recent patch introduced new resource buildings and mechanics. Now it can take a bit of work to create the best possible build.

The following resource structures use the Flash city builder to provide an example of how things work. I won’t show every possible combination, but knowing where these go in relation to each other will help optimize your build overall; especially if you can be aware of how certain patterns can piece together with each other. I will use STONE as the basis for comparison due to the default wood gain that is automatic for all cities.

General principles to be aware of:

A resource building produces more resources the more nodes of its type that it is in contact with.
0 node: 250 stone
1 node: 375 stone http://bit.ly/aX8Y2V
2 node: 475 stone http://bit.ly/b8uDit
3 node: 575 stone http://bit.ly/bwKEv1
4 node: 675 stone
5 node: 775 stone
6 node: 875 stone
7 node: 975 stone

However, you’re only going to get a few placements that allow you place next to 4+ nodes; and should make a conscious effort to prioritize any location that allows you to be placed next to at least 3 nodes. Use those points as the core for your build. Also, it will become pretty clear that having a Quarry that doesn’t touch ANY nodes, is at a severe disadvantage.

Next, you will get a significant advantage for placing a Stonemason (Forge or Sawmill) adjacent to every Quarry (Iron Mine or Woodcutter). No resource building benefits from more than one of these, however; so be sure not to waste building slots overlapping them.

0 node + Stonemason: 438 stone
1 node + Stonemason: 656 stone http://bit.ly/anWCnN
2 node + Stonemason: 831 stone http://bit.ly/cp1F8v
3 node + Stonemason: 1006 stone http://bit.ly/bK1M54
4 node + Stonemason: 1181 stone
5 node + Stonemason: 1356 stone
6 node + Stonemason: 1531 stone
7 node + Stonemason: 1706 stone

You also get a multiplier from Cottages adjacent to your Quarry:

0 node + Cottage: 325 stone
1 node + Cottage: 488 stone
2 node + Cottage: 618 stone
3 node + Cottage: 748 stone
4 node + Cottage: 878 stone
5 node + Cottage: 1008 stone
6 node + Cottage: 1138 stone
7 node + Cottage: 1268 stone

Which are individually pretty bad, unless you’ve got a Stonemason in the mix also:

0 node + Stonemason+Cottage: 569 stone
1 node + Stonemason+Cottage: 853 stone http://bit.ly/ae5xC9
2 node + Stonemason+Cottage: 1081 stone http://bit.ly/9jQSrD
3 node + Stonemason+Cottage: 1308 stone http://bit.ly/c7WS2f
4 node + Stonemason+Cottage: 1536 stone
5 node + Stonemason+Cottage: 1763 stone
6 node + Stonemason+Cottage: 1991 stone

Unlike the Mason, however; it’s entirely possible to benefit from more than one Cottage on a given resource building.

0 node + Stonemason+Cottage x2: 700 stone
1 node + Stonemason+Cottage x2: 1050 stone http://bit.ly/bwNQnw
2 node + Stonemason+Cottage x2: 1330 stone http://bit.ly/9jQSrD
3 node + Stonemason+Cottage x2: 1610 stone http://bit.ly/aDXpsY
4 node + Stonemason+Cottage x2: 1890 stone
5 node + Stonemason+Cottage x2: 2170 stone
0 node + Stonemason+Cottage x3: 831 stone
1 node + Stonemason+Cottage x3: 1247 stone
2 node + Stonemason+Cottage x3: 1579 stone
3 node + Stonemason+Cottage x3: 1912 stone
4 node + Stonemason+Cottage x3: 2244 stone
0 node + Stonemason+Cottage x4: 963 stone
1 node + Stonemason+Cottage x4: 1444 stone
2 node + Stonemason+Cottage x4: 1829 stone
3 node + Stonemason+Cottage x4: 2214 stone

Its not enough to pick the highest single total, however; you also need to look at building slots used in the process. For example, it takes six buildings to produce the result on the last line there: 2214 (the 3 node + stonemason + 4 cottage) total, which is 369 stone/hr per building. Considering a single resource building with only one node adjacent to it produces 375 stone/hr per with a single building… it would be a mistake to use six buildings for the task.

Here’s a list sorted by per-building production value:

Code:
    Node    Msn    Cots        Res        Bldgs    Res/bldg
8        0        0        1075        1        1075
7        0        0        975        1        975
6        0        0        875        1        875
7        1        0        1706        2        853
-----------------------------------------------------------------
5        0        0        775        1        775
6        1        0        1531        2        765
5        1        0        1356        2        678
4        0        0        675        1        675
6        1        1        1991        3        663
7        0        1        1268        2        634
-----------------------------------------------------------------
4        1        0        1181        2        590
5        1        1        1763        3        587
3        0        0        575        1        575
6        0        1        1138        2        569
5        1        2        2170        4        542
4        1        1        1536        3        512
5        0        1        1008        2        504
3        1        0        1006        2        503
2        0        0        475        1        475
4        1        2        1890        4        472
4        1        3        2244        5        448
4        0        1        878        2        439
3        1        1        1308        3        436
2        1        0        831        2        415
3        1        2        1610        4        402
-----------------------------------------------------------------
3        1        3        1912        5        382
1        0        0        375        1        375
3        0        1        748        2        374
3        1        4        2214        6        369
2        1        1        1081        3        360
1        1        0        656        2        328
2        1        3        1579        5        315
2        0        1        618        2        309
2        1        4        1829        6        304
1        1        1        853        3        284
2        1        2        1330        4        332
1        1        2        1050        4        262
0        0        0        250        1        250
1        1        3        1247        5        249
1        0        1        488        2        244
1        1        4        1444        6        240
0        1        0        438        2        219
-----------------------------------------------------------------
0        1        1        569        3        189
0        1        2        700        4        175
0        1        3        831        5        166
0        0        1        325        2        162
0        1        4        963        6        160

And here’s the list unsorted, for each in tracking down the production and per building value based on specific combination:

Code:
    Node    Msn    Cots        Res        Bldgs    Res/bldg
3        1        4        2214        6        369
2        1        4        1829        6        304
1        1        4        1444        6        240
0        1        4        963        6        160
-----------------------------------------------------------------
4        1        3        2244        5        448
3        1        3        1912        5        382
2        1        3        1579        5        315
1        1        3        1247        5        249
0        1        3        831        5        166
-----------------------------------------------------------------
5        1        2        2170        4        542
4        1        2        1890        4        472
3        1        2        1610        4        402
2        1        2        1330        4        332
1        1        2        1050        4        262
0        1        2        700        4        175
-----------------------------------------------------------------
6        1        1        1991        3        663
5        1        1        1763        3        587
4        1        1        1536        3        512
3        1        1        1308        3        436
2        1        1        1081        3        360
1        1        1        853        3        284
0        1        1        569        3        189
-----------------------------------------------------------------
7        1        0        1706        2        853
6        1        0        1531        2        765
5        1        0        1356        2        678
4        1        0        1181        2        590
3        1        0        1006        2        503
2        1        0        831        2        415
1        1        0        656        2        328
0        1        0        438        2        219
-----------------------------------------------------------------
7        0        1        1268        2        634
6        0        1        1138        2        569
5        0        1        1008        2        504
4        0        1        878        2        439
3        0        1        748        2        374
2        0        1        618        2        309
1        0        1        488        2        244
0        0        1        325        2        162
-----------------------------------------------------------------
8        0        0        1075        1        1075
7        0        0        975        1        975
6        0        0        875        1        875
5        0        0        775        1        775
4        0        0        675        1        675
3        0        0        575        1        575
2        0        0        475        1        475
1        0        0        375        1        375
0        0        0        250        1        250

Remember that these are completely unshared building costs. When you start using the same Stonemasons and Cottages for multiple Quarries, the cost is shared; and the efficiency of the particular combination goes up. Unfortunately, this takes some experimenting in the builder to really optimize. Still, if you work on a priorities basis; putting Quarries (or their equivalent) on the highest node intersections first, then put Masons (or their equiv.) in so every Quarry has one, then look at places you can put Cottages where they are touching multiple Quarries; you’ll do fine.
It’s most often better to place another Quarry on a location with at least two nodes and a Mason than to place a Cottage that will only touch two Quarries. It’s better to place another Quarry even without Mason or Cottage than to place a Mason or Cottage that only touches one Quarry as long as the Quarry touches at least two nodes. There’s pretty much no reason to ever place a Quarry that only touches one node (and never a reason to place one that touches zero nodes).

Now, once you’ve decided on how you’re going to build your city using the Flash planner; you need to determine what your cottage count looks like. If you have between 16-20 cottages in your optimized build; you’re really set. Go ahead and start those cottages using external resources. Level them all the way to level 10 before you even start building any else (EXCEPT your Town Hall and Warehouses, you want to level those so they stay about 2-3 levels above your current cottage average level). IF you have fewer than 16 cottages in your optimized build, find a place on your city map that you aren’t using, and build some temporary ones that you will demolish at the end of your build process. A good choice is to use those late build spots for farms and windmills, because they need clear ground (and ponds) to be effective… and they benefit very little from Cottages. Here are some sample configurations for optimizing food production: http://bit.ly/bshqcL

Military cities
There are four critical factors involved in deciding what and how to build a military city. These include: Purpose (offense or defense and type), Maximum capacity, Recruiting Rate, and Supply/Logistics.

The Purpose is where many people go wrong with military cities, by trying to mix and match and try to make the city do something they never built it to accomplish. The first part of this decision should be in whether or not the city will eventually be Castled… this is absolutely necessary if it is intended to be an offensive city, as only Castled cities can ever attack anyone. However, it is also possible to Castle a defense city; though this is really only recommended in peaceful areas or if plenty of your allies are nearby to help support you (or if you have a number of defensive castles near each other to share units if you come under attack). Remember, Castles can be destroyed by warships (War Galleons) and by siege engines (Catapults and Rams… though Rams will only knock down walls and towers) or Captured using barons during a siege. Castling should never be done lightly, especially early in the process of building your empire unless you definitely are confident in what you are doing. It takes a large amount of resources and defensive units to keep an offensive castle safe from enemies.

Maximum Capacity (gained through the use of Barracks, multiplied by a bonus from a Castle) and Recruiting Rate (gained primarily through the various military buildings: Moonglow Tower, Trinsic Temple, Training Grounds, Workshop, Shipyard, and Guard Barracks… but also boosted by the presence of neighboring Barracks) are something of a balancing act when deciding on how to build a military city. You can choose to build exceptionally fast units, which enables you to recover them quickly after a battle; sometimes even more quickly than an enemy may kill them… or you can choose to build an enormous number of units relying on the sheer mass of troops to carry the day and worry about recovery during the period of peace that follows. Or, you can balance at some point in between. No matter what point of balance you choose, you should observe how barracks enhance the recruiting rate in addition to providing higher troop numbers. It is not uncommon for players to build military cities that have low troop totals but still end up with low recruiting rates because they’ve placed the military buildings and barracks in poor positions. For example: http://bit.ly/bgeYvH

A lot of people like this sort of checkerboard pattern. It’s not too bad, this city if self-sustaining (it produces more food than the Berserkers it holds can eat by just a small amount… there is sufficient food production to stay ahead of just under 168k zerks), it has a decent build rate (6200%… which is actually above the rate needed for 3 second Berserkers… but would be far too low for Mages, Knights, or Siege Engines) and can hold 160k zerks. It has solid storage levels to allow for large amounts of food in case of siege (during a siege all defense in the castle eat food from it instead of their home cities like they normally do). The city is capable of refining (or shipping out in carts) plundered resources, and producing Barons for use in settling cities or taking over other castles. Still there are definitely better combinations. Without changing the ratio of buildings (24 Training Grounds and 40 Barracks), we can get a much higher recruit rate. Max capacity will remain the same due to keeping the same number of Barracks: http://bit.ly/aBZHPd

This difference is due to the way the Barracks now line the Training Grounds, so that every one of them is touched by at least five Barracks with many even having six. In the checkerboard, only four Barracks touch each TG. This results in a loss of 50% from the total bonus per Training Ground. That adds up fast.

Some people also go the other direction, benefiting as much as possible in every single TG (note that this changes Barracks/TG ratio so must be viewed independent of the previous two builds): http://bit.ly/9sLqkA

This castle (which is virtually identical to one I captured recently) has a much lower Recruit Rate (4200%) which is only 5 sec for zerks, not awful but much higher when compared to someone rebuilding at 3 seconds. Also, 4200% on Moonglow for Mages or on Trinsics for Knights… would be ridiculously slow to accumulate units. Admittedly, this castle will hold up to 208k Berserkers; which is a huge offensive advantage (though there are much larger groups out there) if you’re not worried about the down time between fights. When you have many offensive castles, you can cycle through them and its not so important that every one of them is ready for every fight… having a couple weeks build time between fights when its your own castle can be counterproductive, especially if your enemy is rebuilding their defensive units faster than you. There’s not much we can do to fix this one though. We lose out on 100% from the four center most TG touching the Town Hall instead of a barracks, but moving out from the TH will force us out of the center to locations where the Barracks cannot be used for as many TG. This is an ‘optimal’ build if you don’t want to completely give up on recruit speed for maximum capacity… though, of course, its possible to go further by sacrificing TG’s for additional Barracks.

It should also be noted that by going this high in capacity, the Food production is no longer sufficient to sustain the troops. This castle will lose food storage at a rate just under 10k food/hour. This isn’t too bad, 236k food per day with a 3 million food storage capacity means it can go almost two weeks without replenishing before units start to die from starvation.

Another common error that costs Recruit Rate is when the player builds Barracks down the center line with the Town Hall while using the long lines of military buildings between lines of Barracks:

http://bit.ly/9lCyhW

This results in several of the center most Training Grounds not benefiting from their full six Barracks, costing some % of Recruit Rate. This is completely avoided by using the military buildings on the center line, running left to right or up and down.

http://bit.ly/bWqxtx

It’s not much (150%), but depending on where you are on the Recruit Rate; it can be the difference between needing to use another Training Ground to get the right recruit speed… or adding an extra Barracks or Farm to benefit another part of the equation.

Make sure you look at the necessary Recruit Rate in addition to just building for the highest possible one. For example, Berserkers only need 5725% to produce zerks on a 3 sec cycle. To find the specific amounts, divide the base recruit rate (the number of seconds to produce the unit BEFORE any building is build… the easiest way to find this is to open the recruit window and then switch to a resource city that has NO military building built) by the time you want to build it in plus .5 (it rounds). So to find the point at which you can produce 4 second Zerks, you would take the base time of 200 seconds and divide it by 4.5. The answer is 44.44 (4444%)… so you need at least 4450% (they’re always increments of 25) to ensure that you can build 4 second Berserkers. So there would be no need to use additional Training Grounds beyond that point… you can use those building slots on additional Barracks or Farms, as needed.

The final part of the decision process for building your military city is in the Supply and Logistics side of things. Do you want the city to be self-sustaining so you never have to check to be sure it has food? Do you want to spend some effort on feeding those troops, so you can push just a slightly faster Recruit rate or Max Capacity… or do you want to push for an optimized Recruit Rate and high Capacity and not produce any local food. You should be warned that a top notch Castled city can have an optimized recruiting rate and hold over 200k troops. This can result in food demands over 70-80k PER HOUR (I have a Knights castle that eats 110k/hr). These castles must be checked and fed at least once per day and you must have food producing cities nearby to keep troops fed. There is no doubt that there is an advantage in creating this sort of army, but it comes at a high cost in maintaining it If you miss a day, you can lose weeks worth of troops that must be recruited all over again.

You’ll also want to make sure you have sufficient storage space for other resources… this will make it easier to queue up larger numbers of units at once and not have to check every couple hours to replenish your resources for the next troops. It will also make large plunders and dungeon raiding more effective by keeping from capping resources before you can refine them or ship them off to another location.

As you can see from these builds, there aren’t many Cottages in the average military city. But you still need them to build the city in a reasonable amount of time. Some of the military buildings are the longest base build times, which makes it even more critical that you build Cottages in the first stage.

This is a good sequence to use when building a non-Castled military city for defense:

Planning
I have a new Castle nearly completion, but it’s not Castled yet. An enemy nearby has recently castled and has been using Mages to plunder my neighbors and members of my alliance who are nearby. Before I open myself up to attack, I want to be prepared to face this threat… so I want some Templars to pile into my Castle to keep it safe. I want a fairly fast Recruit Rate, because I know that Mages are a somewhat pricey attack force and a fast rebuild time will ensure that my defense always recovers faster than this enemy. I want a decent capacity of units too, because I know that until I get around to Castling; this enemy is going to continue to get stronger. There are also a number of my alliance members on another continent, so it would be very helpful for me to build not just Templars but a way for them to get around to support other people… that means I’ll need Shipyards for Frigates. Finally, I don’t want to have to maintain this city unless I’m rebuilding troops, so it needs to make enough food to sustain itself.

I’m going to plan to feed 50k Templar and the 100 Frigates that it is going to take to haul them around (at a minimum). That’s 3 food per day for each Templar and 500 per frigate, a total of 200k food (per day). I’ll need to make sure my Farms have at least an 8340 food/hr yield. That’s far easier than the average Castle, for certain. I’m not going to use a Moonglow or high Warehouse capacity, because I don’t need a stockpile of food and I’m not going to be raiding with Templars. I will leave a market in the build, however, to siphon off excess food for the nearby castle. More than once, this has saved me from having to ship in food from resource cities further away when storage was low.

First stage: settle next to a river http://bit.ly/99NW2n
I lucked out a bit with Pond placement. This should make it easy to produce the food I need with a minimum number of buildings. That bodes well for meeting my TS (troop strength) and Recruit Rate requirements.

Second stage: The first thing I do with a new city is place a couple Warehouses (level those to level 3), level the Town Hall to level 4, use the rest of my resources to place the first Cottages… and in a military city, begin clearing unnecessary resource nodes in the center section so I can take advantage of the best building location.

http://bit.ly/cvoRej

Note that I have one of my cottages in place in the upper left section. I intend to use that with my Farms up there, so it saves time to place it in advance. This gives me a 2100% build rate. Some builders prefer closer to 3000%, but I find that the added build speed at full isn’t necessarily worth the extra cost in getting another 10 Cottages to level 10 and demolishing them.

As with a resource city, I continue to level up my Town Hall and Warehouses along with the Cottages to ensure that I have a decent storage capacity while building (with full TH and Warehouses, this starting setup with hold 575k of all resources). When all cottages reach level 10 and the middle section is clear, I’m ready for stage 3. That’s my favorite part… because its the point at which we go from just building a city to going crazy on getting troops built up.

Third stage: I lay in all the military buildings I’m going to use, the Farms, and then fill in as many barracks as I have slots remaining for. Because Barracks are a very small base build time, they’re the ideal building to use as the swap type for those Cottages that we won’t need later on. Even with most of those Cottages gone, it won’t take all that long for the final Barracks to build. On the other hand, a Trinsic Temple or Shipyard would take days.

Here’s what it’ll look like now… remember that at first, all these buildings are going in at level 1. Even with a Build Minister, you can only queue 16 of them at once… at 10 secs apiece. so expect to spend some time babysitting the queue while you’re in the early part of this stage. I’ve found that doing three of these simultaneously is almost perfect for using your time effectively.

http://bit.ly/c6sqFl

I’m shooting for 5 second Templar here. I’d go for 4 second if I weren’t also using Frigates, but I’d have to sacrifice a bit too much TS to pull it off with them in the mix for my liking (would need 7800%).

With all the buildings in at level 1, someone with a Build Minister could turn this on Autobuild and just feed it resources for a week to ten days. I like to get some immediate benefits out of my defense cities though. While everything is still at fast build speeds (levels 1-3 of these buildings should all be under 15 seconds), I’ll let it all build (mostly I’ve done these manually, since the auto-build option is a new one). Once the military buildings (Shipyards and Trinsics) are up to level 5, I’ll focus exclusively on the Baracks. This rapidly pushes the capacity of this city up to 40-45k units in just a few days. Because the military buildings aren’t completed yet, the Recruit rate is still somewhat lower than it will be when complete, but the Barracks benefit is still there and its surprisingly quick as long as you keep resources fed to build troops (Iron in this case, since we’re building Templar). And as we only plan to build 50k Templar and then 100 Frigate to haul them, we’ll actually have most of the base Templar capacity before even starting the Cottage swap.

Once all the Barracks are capped, the longer process of building up all the Trinsics and Shipyards can run its course. This takes a while, unfortunately, but you’ve at least got the use of your defense in the meantime.

The Final Stage: is just a swap out of Cottages for your remaining buildings. Make sure you’ve finished building ALL current Barracks, military buildings, warehouses, Farms and Windmill before starting this process. If you don’t, you’ll regret it later and cringe every time you look at the build queue and see how much longer its going to take to build.

The first building to build in the Cottage swap is the one Marketplace we’re going to want later. We’ll get it out of the way while build speed is still high… though often I wait and do this as the last building… mainly because it doesn’t have any impact on my city even if it takes days for it to complete. Those carts won’t get used often anyway.

Then, we’ll swap over Cottages for Barracks. I usually do these three or four at a time at first, but cut down to two per, once the build rate gets lower and every bit counts. And finally, we have our end product:

http://bit.ly/9I7ZKN

There is one minor flaw in my plans, unfortunately. As it turns out, I got a bit extra troop capacity from what I expected and the food requirement is slightly too high: 8791/hr (assuming 110 Frigates, 52k Templar) while the city only produces 8702. There’s a couple ways to solve that… I can either swap one of the extra Barracks over to a Cottage or Farm for the extra food (or something else). I could just remember not to recruit the last 100 or so Templar… which I’m bound to forget while maintaining a couple hundred cities. I could just remember to supply it food once a month (also likely to forget). In the end, I think my decision would actually be to turn that last Cottage into another Farm to the left of the lower Pond. This leaves me with the higher TS in Templar and solves the food problem. If slowly.

Of course, if I took the time to work out this whole plan using the Flash builder in advance of doing it on the actual city, I’d already know the problem existed and plan accordingly.

With these buildings being put in, you recruit the rest of your troops… remembering to STOP building Templar at 52k tops to leave room for the 110 Frigates. This actually works out slightly better, because it leaves a few unoccupied Frigates (100 would hold 50k but you would occasionally lose Templar due to not being able to carry all of them if more Frigates were lost ratio-wise than Templar). On the other hand, a King can use Horns to speed the support of 60k troops (100 Frigate, 50k Templar) at double speed. With the extra units along, it is now above that Horn’s capability… resulting in a reduced effect unless you use Emperor level horns.

Resource needs
While I already mentioned that we need all of the resource types in order to gain titles, Recruit Barons and expand our empires; there are a few other basic ideas about resources that are fundamental to understanding the game.

Food
Food is one of the easiest to produce in large quantities for only a few buildings. It also doesn’t get used much unless you have high numbers of troops… but then it gets used a lot and in great amounts. It’s great to be able to build self-sustaining defense cities and even some castles… but sometimes that’s just not doable. For example, when running a Castle of Knights. These guys and the horses they rode in on will eat you out of house and home. Fortunately, it doesn’t take much to build a nearby food producing city to supply them. Many players will even build double purpose cities that mix storage or gold production with Food production. Just don’t let the early part of the game trick you into thinking its not worth the effort to build more food than you need to research titles and the occasional Unit Speed upgrade. If you plan to use troops, you’ll need a lot of food eventually.

Iron
Iron also doesn’t seem like its needed all that much early on. Other than Research for Titles and Unit upgrades for troops you don’t have yet, it won’t be. But again, ignoring the value of it at first is a mistake. You’ll need millions of iron to recruit even a single city full of troops, let alone Castles or recovering entire clusters of troops after a battle. For example, 52k Templars require 4.68 million iron. 160k Beserkers will take 24 million iron. Fortunately, it won’t be all at once (unless you’re using a great many artifacts to instantly recruit reinforcements) but at 3 sec recruit rates, you can expect to be using 180k iron per hour… just in recruiting one castle worth of zerks… for about 134 hours (about 5.5 days). So you either have a stockpile, or you have several dedicated iron production cities feeding the castle (usually its both).

Wood
Wood is going to be your main limiting factor for much of the early game. Not only is it needed for a number of military units, to research higher titles, but it is also the primary building material for most resource buildings (between 2-3 to 1 compared to stone). You will need crazy amounts of wood early on, so if at all possible; build your early cities near forests and don’t be afraid to take advantage of the wood nodes while you’re building your resource cities. Even when the building costs balance out later on and you’re using more stone, wood will remain useful for ships, balista, rangers and city guards. You’ll never regret having a solid wood production rate.

Stone
Stone is going to be the limiting factor only on Cottages in the resource city stage of your game. Now that the standard city isn’t heavily weighed towards cottages instead of resource nodes, the demands on stone won’t be high until you begin building military cities. Then you will need major amounts of stone shipped in for construction. Fortunately, stone isn’t used for units (except Catapults). That keeps the demands for stone fairly controllable (unless you decide to start building multiple military buildings simultaneously).

Gold
Gold is one of those things that you’re almost certainly never going to have enough of. It’s used as part of the cost for many military units and its a big factor in researching titles so you can expand your empire. As such, you can never have too much gold production. However, doing so efficiently is never a bad idea. Townhouses, the only source of gold, benefit from being placed next to Harbors and Marketplaces. Thing is, they get alot more from bordering Harbors… but the number of Harbors (like Shipyards) is limited in any given city… and are only possible in river/ocean cities. To get the most out of your Townhouses on a per building basis, you should only build them along the waterfront. As many resource cities will have harbors to ship resources around, this works out well.

Some people do like to create dedicated gold cities, however. These take a long time to build up and due to the Townhouse build time, the final stages of the Cottage swap out will take weeks. Here’s a sample of what a dedicated gold city will look like: http://bit.ly/chdTXo

Take note that of this 45k total, 10400 can be acquired with just 21 buildings (http://bit.ly/chdTXo). The remaining 3/4 of the total takes 4/5 of the buildings.

I recommend trying to keep your gold production rate at or above half of your empire score (with 400k score, you’d want at least 200k gold/hr). I’ve typically survived with less… but I guarantee I could have expanded faster if I’d have more gold. I’ve frequently supplemented my gold production by raiding dungeons, which is a good way of fixing the need for gold from townhouses.

Resources from plundering and raiding
If you have a stable military that’s not getting any other use, you should find a nearby dungeon and start running it repetitively. Make sure the city/castle doing so has sufficient storage space and either a Moonglow Tower to refine the excess or a good sized tally of carts/ships to move the resources. Especially at the higher levels (and even more so once they start accumulating ‘complete’ status), dungeons can provide enormous resource gains, far beyond what any single resource city can produce (even after the reinforcement recruiting costs and the price of feeding your military). Most of the top players have armies that do nothing but raid dungeons. They don’t even use them against other players… they’re imitating resource cities… and doing a really good job of it.

Storage sites (Hubs)
There are a number of different types of Hub builds out there. Some focus on moderate capacities plus some military for protection. Otherwise have a huge amount of Hideouts to protect the resources. Some just rely on nearby defense cities to step in and protect the storage… or a block of scouts to hide them… or just plain anonymity. No matter how you accomplish it, each cluster or two of cities you produce should have some place where excess production can be stored away for a rainy day… like after a major battle when you need to recruit huge numbers of units. One of the best ways to limit plundering of your Hubs now is to ensure they have a Moonglow Tower… and worst case, you just convert it all to refined resources, which can’t be taken from you.

Military units and combat
One of the most common errors in combat tactics is the use of mixed collections of units. With the way the damage is calculated and shared out, it is almost always more beneficial to focus on the development of one type of unit than to split focus. This is even more important when you are considering the Purpose of your city or Castle. Don’t try to mix unit types… trying to make an army with Catapults and Zerks results in both types recruiting very slowly. Additionally, the damage types don’t ‘stack’ well… as a result, it is easier for defenders to survive both types when a focus on one type of attack may have overpowered the defense, wiping them out.

Similarly, don’t mix defensive units into your offensive group (and vice versa). There are times when its ok to have some of both in the same city (mainly when you’re converting from one Purpose to the other… or after you’ve made a major attack and are expecting retaliation and build a heavy batch of defenders to cover you castle until you have time to recruit up your offense again) but mostly you want to avoid it.

Unit types:
It’s really important to understand that there are clear differences in the stats of offense and defense units. It’s not good to defend a city with offensive units. Nor is it effective to attack someone with defense troops.

Offense: Berserkers, Knights, Mages, Warlocks, Rams, Catapults, War Galleons
Defense: Rangers, Guardians, Templar, Balista, Sloops
Hybrid/special: Paladins, Cross-bows, Frigate, Scouts

Technically, Paladins stink. They have a lower defense ability than Templars with a slightly higher offense… but they don’t compare to any real offense units and the hybrid potential really doesn’t merit the loss of defense against magic. The only significant use for Paladin is that they use the Cavalry movement rate… which means you can move them around much faster than a Templar.

So if you want ‘rapid response’ templars… by all means, use them. Crossbows work much the same way against Cavalry. If speed is important, use them… otherwise, stick with the better defenders.

The four best defense units are Rangers (used to defend against Zerks), Guardians (defend against Knights), Templar (defend against Mages), and Balista (against artillery and ships). Not only do these units have the top defense value per troop strength (especially when used in their area of expertise), they also benefit from both the City Wall (if you Castle, your City Wall MUST be level 10… or you might as well hand over your castle) and from special towers which double the defensive value of a number of these units per tower. Properly filled towers will make your Castle far more defensible than simply using other units to defend (including crossbows or paladin).

Sloops are a great defensive unit at stopping Frigates (usually used to ship in boatloads of Zerks and Mages during an intercontinental attack) and War Galleons. They also work well against ground based artillery like Rams and Catapults. Unlike Balista (which are vulnerable to Knights), Sloops are susceptible to Mages. As a result of their heavy use in defending water placed Castles, most attackers will include at least some magic attack to wipe out Sloops before their Galleon waves arrive. The best bet for preventing this from wiping out your defense early is to also include a healthy dose of Templar in your defense but you can also use Balista to counter artillery instead of Sloops. Far fewer people use Knights in their Naval attacks because Knights are a slow build, especially in a city with buildings dedicated to a Shipyard. Knights also eat a ton, making them a nuisance to maintain.

If you’re one of the many people using Mages and Paladins and a few Catapult and War Galleons to defend your Castle… go ahead and hand over your city now. Any serious attacker is going to make mincemeat of these units and demo or capture it before you have any chance to recover. Similarly, if you’re throwing wave after wave of paladin, ranger, or worse of all, guardians at a Castle, trying to bring down its defenders.. its time to go home and take a solid look at what you’re doing. These units are all made for specific purposes and using them in odd mixes or contrary to that purpose is going to be wasteful at best… and ineffectual at worst.

Order of Engagement and Vulnerabilities
Knowing is half the battle. Ok, its a cheesy GI Joe line, but its dead on. If you know your opponent has 100k rangers, 25k Templar, 45k Guardians, and an unknown number of Sloops (lets say for the heck of it that there are only 500) inbound from other cities in their water castle; your ideal First Strike is Mages. This strikes to the vulnerability of the target: they’re low on Templar to start with and the one unknown is Sloops which are like offering candy at a parade for Mages… they’re going to pounce and go into sharklike feeding frenzies.

Hitting this with a Mage assault off the top is going to kill between 70-80% of all the defense in one hit, depending on the Tower mix… at a cost of about 55k Mages

Doing a First strike with Zerks instead of Mages would result in only about a 40% kill rate on the defenders… and a loss of 110k zerks.

As a result, a Mage first strike is going to leave a much smoother follow up round for Zerks to play clean up… And the total losses to your offense will be much lower, enabling a faster return to full strength and the continuation of your military agenda.

The best way to identify these vulnerabilities is to be sure you have scouts running around at odd times, figuring out who has what and where. Also pay attention to what you are attacked with and don’t forget to scout out the non-castles… if none of the nearby cities are military defense, then you know the defense is either camped out at the castle or will need to be moved longer distances. Take advantage of this info in your strategies.

Remember that your enemy is going to be doing the same… so have scouts on hand to defend your information. You might have to do small-ish plunders and sieges to acquire intel, if your opponent is covered by scouts.. be wary of them doing the same.

This concludes the Fundamentals of LoU. Hope you learned something. If you use it to kill me, I’m going to whine at you.

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