Astro Empires Beginner’s Guide to the First Seven Days
Astro Empires Beginner’s Guide to the First Seven Days by Quasar
I found myself bored at home during winter break and decided to have a short go at Fenix server before my next semester at college starts. I noticed that all of the previous beginner’s guides are a bit lacking in some areas, especially with regards to the new protection rules. Based on my Fenix experience and at the request of a friend, I’ve compiled a new starter guide that should help newbies wade through the most recent version of AE.
New & Improved: The Beginner’s Guide to the First Seven Days
Hello there! If you are reading this, you have probably just started an account with AstroEmpires and are wondering how to begin. The following will take you step-by-step through your first week of galactic conquest. This approach is compatible with all current AstroEmpires rules. Other guides in these forums are good resources but recent gameplay changes make the approach described below the most effective.
Once you register, you are given a starting location, labeled “home planet.” (Its actually a moon, haha!) The first week in Astroempires is much more forgiving if you start with a good home. Click on “empire” and then “home planet.” Your little world appears, along with the following information:
You want an astro with at least 3 solar energy, 5 fertility, and 3 metal. We’ll cover those subjects more thoroughly in a minute, but if your starting base isn’t up to par then delete your account and start a new one, and repeat the process until things work out. Then carry on with what is below.
Great! You’ve got your awesome starter world. Click “empire” then “home planet” and then “structures.” Scroll down to where it says “Metal Refinery” and click “build.” A metal refinery provides an economic bonus and increases your base’s construction rate by the number of “metal” in the base. This is why you want to start out with a three-metal base; they build faster. Now, scroll to the bottom of the page where you will find a “construction queue.” This will have the base automatically build stuff when its current project finishes. You can add up to five things into the queue. Add in two more metal refineries, a solar plant, and another metal refinery. After that you will probably have to build an “urban structure.” These things are like houses, they increase the “population” that your base can support. Each building that you build requires 1 population, and an urban structure increases the population your base can support by whatever the fertility level of your planet is. That’s why fertility matters. If you have more than 5 fertility, you won’t need to build an urban structure quite yet. Put in a spaceport instead. The solar plant you ordered provides “energy,” equivalent to the level of “solar energy” of your base. So, if you have 3 solar energy on your base, the power plant provides three more energy. The amount of energy each building requires is listed on the “structures” build menu.
While you are waiting for stuff to build, take some time to familiarize yourself with the game. AE requires you to build bases, which can trade, generate money, research technology, and build ships. There are prerequisites to just about everything, and they are spelled out in the game tables. Click on “tables,” which is located near the top of the screen. Peruse them while you wait for stuff to build. You should spend a considerable amount of time staring at these tables.
Also, as you wait for stuff to build, skim through this whole guide so you have some idea of what lies ahead. Then return to this point and carry on with what is below.
OK! Your build queue is finished. If you haven’t already, order a spaceport, and put a research lab, a shipyard, and another metal refinery in the queue. Put in solar plants (not gas plants, because they don’t provide as much energy) and urban structures in whenever they are required. You’ll know when you need them because the build queue won’t allow you to put anything else in.
The main idea in your first week of Astroempires (AE) is economic efficiency… to get rich quick. This is because bases, fleets, and all sorts of other goodies cost money. Also, in Astroempires you start out with a week’s worth of free account upgrade. AE is free to play, but it costs money to experience the full game. If you know you are going to play on a free account, getting the most out of your first week is important. Free accounts cannot build more than 5 levels of certain structures and cannot buy more than 9 bases. However, during your week’s worth of free upgrade, these rules don’t apply to you! Its not hard to get 10 bases in the first week.
Keeping economic efficiency in mind, you should build structures that provide the most economic bang for the least buck. The structures menu outlines the cost of each new building and the economic bonus associated with it. Some buildings, like the metal refineries I’ve had you build, increase the rate at which you can construct things. Others, like the lab that’s in your queue, increase the rate at which you can research technologies. Every hour on the hour you will receive new funds equivalent to your total economy. This figure is displayed on your account profile, and under “empire” “economy.” You will find yourself running out of money occasionally; don’t worry. Your queues will automatically restart about 10 minutes after the server gives you your hourly payout.
As soon as your spaceport is completed, you can start a “trade route.” In order to start a trade route, you need to find another base to trade with. Click on “map” and then on the part of the map (sector) that your home planet is in. (You can see everything within this sector, but to see what’s in other sectors you need to have a ship or base in those sectors). Click on all the stars, check out your neighbor’s bases. If a planet has a base on it a name will display below the planet. Click on the name, and a screen displaying info about the base will appear. At the top right of the screen is a fraction showing the number of trade routes open over the total number. If any nearby bases have a spaceport and have a trade route open, send the owning player(s) a message (to do this, go to their profile, and click “send message” at the bottom) and ask if they would like to trade. As soon as one gets back to you, copy the coordinates of their base, click on “empire,” then on “trade,” then on the fraction next to your base name, copy their base coordinates into the space provided, and press “start trade route.” This will cost a sum of money equal to half of the distance between the bases involved. For now, only trade within your galaxy, otherwise you’ll be paying too much. A message will be sent to the other player asking them to confirm the route. If they do, your economy will go up by several points. You can get a second trade route by getting 5 spaceports, a third route by getting 10, and so on.
You might wonder why I had you talk to the other player first, as opposed to just requesting the route without talking to them. The reason is that you want to make sure the player is online to confirm the route.
Alright! By now, your research lab should be done. Go to your base, click on research, and next to “computer” click research. Put another computer and two energy in the queue. If you’ve been looking at the game tables, you know that these technologies will allow you to build robotic factories and research laser. Later, when those technologies are finished, research laser, and fill the queue up with energy. Your shipyard should be finishing up as well. As soon as laser is researched, buy ONE and only one fighter. To do this, go to your base, click on “production,” type in “1” next to “fighter” and press submit.
Since you’ve just paid for your first warship, its time to discuss what sort of combat you must prepare for. Answer: for now, not much. The game has rules built in that prevent players from being attacked when they are just starting out. These rules are based around your player level, which is displayed on your account home page. Protection rules are as follows:
Players with levelPlayers with level>=10 and LevelPlayers with level>=20 and level
So, in other words, you have nothing to worry about until you get to level 10. This takes longer than you think, because the level calculation has a fourth root in it. DON’T build any more ships or defenses until you reach level 9.5.
Now you’re asking, “why did I build that fighter?” The reason is that although you can’t be attacked, your trade routes can be “plundered” if you do not have something over your base. The plunderer would then receive money equal to the distance between the two bases. You would then be unable to trade for 24 hours, and that would hurt.
By now we’ve covered the basics of day 1. Continue building up your base. When determining the order in which to build structures, prioritize buildings that have the best cost/benefit ratio. Intersperse a few more research labs in your build order. If you started early, you should have built the following by the end of the day:
5 research labs
8 metal refineries
4 robotics factories
Make sure to create another trade route when your fifth spaceport is complete. Before you go to bed, put three more labs and two more shipyards in the construction queue and put energy in your research queue, enough so that you will have 8 energy completed when you wake up in the morning. If you started later in the day you might not be this far along, just work on what is above, and make sure your fifth spaceport is done when you wake up (sometimes the rule of prioritizing structures that have the best cost/benefit ratio can be scrapped when you want to take advantage of your sleep time to have your bases work on long projects).
AE includes a built in guild system. Sometime during your first couple days, you should join a guild, because that will connect you to people you can trade with. Look in the recruitment forums to see if any guilds are recruiting in your area. Look around you to see what guilds strong neighbors are in. Ideally, the guild you join will be fairly centralized, with many players in your area and experienced leadership. If the guild you join first turns out to be made of people who have no idea what they’re doing, you are free to leave and join another. Joining a strong guild is important; guilds go to war with each other periodically, and these occasions are much more fun if your side is winning.
Day Two and Three:
Rise and Shine! If you aren’t finished with the above yet, finish it. You’ll want all of that done in your first 24 hours (by the time your account age says “1 day” instead of “0 day”). At this point, you want to queue up shipyards, enough so that you’ll have 8 when the queue finishes. Also, research stellar drive and put three more stellar drive in the research queue. When that finishes, research warp drive. Don’t spend money on anything else.
This section covers the base building part of days 2 and 3 of your week. From this point forward, the schedule becomes a little blurred. A key element in AE is how active you are; how often you check your account. If you check it at least three times throughout the day you’ll be alright. You don’t have to spend much time in each session, say five minutes per log in. If you check it five times a day you’ll probably do great and should have no problem getting 10 planets in 7 days. If you are addicted and are online all the time, you’ll probably run well ahead of schedule, and might get 11 or 12 bases.
The whole point of the game thus far has been to build an outpost ship as fast as possible. As soon as you have 8 shipyards and have researched warp drive, you can build an outpost ship. This will allow you to create a new base on another astro. An outpost ship costs 100 credits. It will cost an additional 50 to create your next base. Each additional base will then cost twice the cost of the one before it (50, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, etc). and will require you to use a new outpost ship ( the outpost ship is consumed in the base building process). Buy the outpost ship as soon as you can afford it. It will take about 2 hours to build. Then, send it off to whatever astro you’d like to colonize next.
Now you’re asking, “what should I colonize next?”
In answer to this question, there are three rules of thumb:
1) Planets are better than moons or asteroids. Why? Because they have more area. Yes, prings on planets are more expensive, but the exponentially rising cost of area makes developing moons and asteroids more expensive then planets in the long run. Asteroids have 2 crystal, but this isn’t enough to make up for their costs later on down the road. They are great if you only plan to play for 6 months or less, but eventually they start to hurt you.
2) Rocky terrain is better than everything else. This is because you get 3 metal, which equal high construction and production, along with high fertility, which makes developing the base less expensive.
3) 1st position (4 solar) is better than 2nd position (higher fertility), which is better than third position. This is because energy use rises faster than population later on in the game.
If you are going to be on a free account, definitely do not colonize any moons or asteroids. You’ll run out of area quickly. a solution for players unable to pay for long term upgrades is to just upgrade for 1 month, or 3 months. A 1 month upgrade doesn’t cost much and you can use the time to build more bases and structures, so that in the end you won’t feel handicapped.
The next thing to decide is what kind of base you want to create next. In AE bases are normally categorized into three groups: economic bases, production bases, and research bases. We’ll stop briefly here to discuss astro types.
Economic: Crystalline. These are best because you can build crystals mines on them, which are cheap way to boost your economy really fast. If Crystalline planets are not available, default to rocky. It should be noted that crystals are slow-growth bases that ultimately will not be able to pump fleet as fast as other astro types. That’s why you should take at most two of them. The purposes of these bases is making money.
Production: Rocky. Craters or Metallic astros can be used in a pinch but look for rockies first.
—Production bases are intended to increase your production capacity; your ability to create a warfleet. In the future, you’ll build lots of shipyards and a few orbital shipyards on these bases. To some degree, all of your bases should be production bases.
Research: Rocky bases are the best because they develop faster. Research bases will ultimately build at least 22 labs each, so area becomes a concern. Therefore, pick rocky planets; this is one of the cases in which the benefits to planets are seen rapidly. If rockies are unavailable, a two metal arid, tundra, or gaia astro is also acceptable, since they possess high fertility and area. You should plan on building labs on at least three of your first 10 bases.
—Research bases are pretty self-explanatory. Eventually you’ll put a bunch of research labs on these bases.
Regardless of what type of base you build, do not colonize anything with less than 3 solar energy. Four solar energy is preferable for production planets. See “TUM’s Astro Guide” in these forums for more info.
Your home planet will probably be a bit of all three types for awhile. Your next two bases should be economic-oriented. Why? Because once the dough is rolling in affording the rest of your bases becomes a lot easier. (The only exception is if you are going to be a free player and you can’t find any crystal planets.
But enough about astros and terrains, you’re still in the process of building your second base. After you’ve digested what I’ve written, send your outpost ship to a suitable location.
Important note: try to avoid building lots of bases in the same system or sector. Spreading out your bases makes it less likely that one player will swoop in and smash multiple bases, and also gives you the ability to see into more parts of the galaxy.
Lets say your outpost ship has finally arrives. Click on it, and press “build base,” which should appear above the fleet description in the window. Give your base a funky name. Then start construction on it immediately. Note that it is important to build quickly so people don’t kill your outpost ship (your bases are protected, your exposed fleets are not). A good technique is to send you ship to a crappy astro in the same system as the one you want to colonize. When it gets there, then make the 2 minute hop to the astro you want to colonize. That way, if people are competing for that astro they might not notice you hovering nearby. If money is tight, hold off on further research & development elsewhere while you get your new base’s construction rolling (this is efficient, because structures on new bases are cheap).
Follow the same construction order as last time, minus the labs. If you built on a crystalline astro, you’ll want to insert crystals mines in your build order. Remember, when ordering structures, pay attention to the cost versus econ benefit ratio of each structure. Mastery of this principle is crucial to AE. (Math majors like this game). Also remember that the cost of a given structure goes up with each level of that structure – don’t queue up 5 of a given building and expect to pay the same price for all of them. To see the fees for each level, go to the structures page and click on the name of the building. A page with the price of each level will display.
After you build your second base and have its construction going, buy another outpost ship. When its done, send it off and build base #3. Construct. During this time your first base shouldn’t be building too much, because you need the credits elsewhere. Add a metal refinery or two to it, an econ center, a nanite factory, but nothing more. Prioritizing new bases over base development makes sense in this stage of the game because bases aren’t terribly expensive. Your second base’s construction should continue until it has reached a level of structures equal the first (minus the labs and a couple shipyards, and plus crystals mines). Build another outpost ship as soon as you can, send it out, buy base four. At this point things should seem repetitive. By the end of day three (by the time your account age reads “3 days”) you should have three bases, and four if you are fast. Your econ should be over 150.
During this time you also need to continue research. By the end of day three, you’ll want to have researched the following:
4 stellar drive
This will unlock nanite factories, economic centers, corvettes, and missile turrets. As mentioned above, you’ll want to build a level of nanite factories and econ centers on your bases at this time.
Corvettes are useful for scouting the sectors around you and finding suitable locations for new bases. Remember to bookmark any good astros that you come upon so you can find them later. To bookmark, click on the astro, then press bookmark, then fill in the label and press submit. You will also want to be escorting your outpost ships with corvettes, because the protection rules only apply to your bases, not any ships you happen to have flying around. They also allow you to blow up other outpost ships that might take “your” astro.
In all probability you will be hitting level 10 sometime during your third day (or second if you are really fast). When you reach level 9.5, buy a missile turret for each of your bases. Don’t build laser turrets. Missile turrets are pretty strong; it takes about 20 corvettes to get through each level of them. Remember the protection rules; at this point player more than five levels above you cannot attack you, even if you are over level 10. Purchase 10 fighters for each base to bolster your defense and guard your trade routes.
When you get past level 12, buy another missile turret for each base and make sure you have 25 fighters over each. This will happen around day 3 or 4.
When you are getting close to level 15 (say, day 4 or 5) you need to make a decision about what defense strategy to pursue. If you are one of the strongest players in your galaxy, you should probably tech right up to ion. This is more efficient and will allow you to pursue more rapid growth, but carries the attendant risk that some threat you don’t perceive will show up and fry you. In new galaxy sets this strategy is more likely to be appropriate. If you are in an older galaxy or are surrounded by players of equal or greater skill, you probably want to take the slower but safer route and build 1 or 2 more levels of missile turrets. In any case don’t build plasma turrets; they provide comparatively little firepower given their cost.
By the end of the week, you’ll want 2 levels of ion turrets and 200 fighters over each base. This will be more than enough to make other people more appetizing to whoever’s out hunting.
Speaking of hunting, you should be on the prowl yourself. Those half-dozen corvettes can be put to good use finding and roasting other people’s bases. If you see a base belonging to a player over level 10, you can hit it. Note: when determining what hits to make, compare that player’s defense fleet to yours, and factor in their turrets. Remember, each level of turret includes 5 units. The relative firepower & armor of the various turrets and ships are spelled out in the tables. Basically, avoid planets with missile turrets until you have either frigates or cruisers. Use corvettes to fry undefended bases. Sometimes, since players are saving credits for new bases, you’ll get huge pillages. A “pillage” is a sum of credits you get (partly from the defending player’s treasury) when you occupy their base, and is roughly proportional to the value of the base to their total economy. However, every base has “minimum pillage” associated with its econ: if you pillage a 30 econ base, you will always get at least 500 credits; if you pillage a 40 econ base, always at least 900 credits. You will also receive 1/3 of the base’s income while you occupy it, and can plunder their trade routes. Usually, a pillage and trade plundering is enough. Occupy the base but if they start fighting back let them go; occupying active players long-term is usually not worth the effort.
One important note: you must have built a command center to occupy a base. Each command center, regardless of where you build it in your empire, allows you to occupy a base. If you plan on attacking, build a few on your older planets.
Another way to use your fleet is to plunder the trade routes of your neighbors. To plunder a route you must first clear all defensive fleet off of the base, then press “fleet” then “piracy” then “plunder.” Doing this destroys your enemy’s trade route and gives you a sum of money that varies according to how long the route was. The implication of this is that if you see players without fleet on their bases you can take their trades, EVEN IF they are under level 10.
Unless you are behind and need to focus on your own development, I would advise investing in the research necessary to build frigates by day four, and carriers by day six. If you are really active, you’ll get these ahead of schedule.
These units are helpful because they have four hangar spaces (fighters and bombers are stuck where they are unless someting moves them). This allows you to bring fighters and bombers on your attack runs. Fighters are the games’ most efficient unit; bombers cost twice as much as fighters but pack twice the firepower per hangar space. When attacking with fighters/bombers, always move your frigates/carriers to the target, then move them away, leaving the attacking bombers/fighters behind. This prevents your carrying units from dying. Make sure to build a few recyclers; these ships pick up the credit value of “debris” that your attack leaves in its wake.
If you are starting on an older server, in an older galaxy (ie, the players around you have accounts that are at least a few weeks older than yours) build a couple recyclers as soon as you have 4-5 bases running. You can send these around to nearby astros and collect the residual debris lying around from battles between your neighbors.
Remember not to get distracted from the week’s overall goal: expansion. Your investment in ships meant for attacking should not be so much that it slows down base building. Attacking to get money for bases is a good idea, building massive fleets but not using them (or using them on well-defended targets) is a bad idea.
Day Four and Five:
During this period you’ll want to continue building bases while making some attacks, as discussed above. Hopefully you walked out of day three with four bases in hand, but if not that’s OK, just keep plugging away. On day four shoot for bases five and six. Remember to keep developing your younger bases. Plan ahead when buying outpost ships – they take hours to fly to a given location, not to mention an hour or two to build. By the end of the day your econ should be around 300. This might seem like a lot, but really its not too hard. Lets assume you’re a bit behind and have just five bases:
5 bases at an average econ of 40 = 200
10 (2 per base) trade routes at an average of 7 credits each = 70
Total: 270 econ. That wasn’t too bad, and hopefully your bases are worth more than an average of 40 and your trade routes worth more than 7.
When building new bases, send some corvettes to hover over the base, build it up a bit (say, to its first trade route) and then build a missile turret. You don’t want your new prize to get smacked right after being born.
On day five, build base seven, and if you have the money, base eight. You probably know the drill by now. Your econ should be nearing 500.
Start building more on your older bases, they’ve probably been idle for awhile. Put up two more levels of econ centers & nanites, and more importantly, shoot for a third trade route.
If you have not already done so, you need to get your first base to 12 research labs, and begin researching the armor (lvl 10), shielding (lvl 2), and ion tech (lvl 1) that you need for ion turrets. You will need to have the prerequisite techs (energy 12, laser 10) to begin this research.
Day Six and Seven:
On day six, get base eight if you haven’t, and base nine. Base nine costs 6400 smackers, so if you haven’t gotten rich off attacking you’ll probably need to save up for awhile. By the end of day six your economy should be over 600.
If you haven’t built ion turrets already, do so. Once you have ion turrets you can tear down your missile turrets; they aren’t needed so you might as well save some energy and area by getting rid of them. Keep any plasmas you may have built for now.
On day seven, build base 10. 12800 bucks! You’ll have to save up. If you don’t quite make it here, that’s OK, you’ve made a good start on your new empire.
If you are going to be a free player, you’ll want to start buying up advanced structures; try to get above level five on all of them, especially on terraforming. Also, if it comes down to getting another base versus paying for turrets and fleet, get another base. You can always fight off occupiers, you can’t always build another base. If you are doing exceedingly well, you might get even more than 10 bases.
Credits: Parts of this guide are derived from previous guides and the discussion of the “10 Planets in 7 Days” thread on these forums. Many thanks to Dacus and all who contributed there. Once upon a time, I read that thread and learned to play AE.
If this helped you, consider reading the “7 Days, Now What? Your Guide to the Second Week” that I have also posted in these forums. Of course, if this didn’t help you and you think I’m a dolt, look elsewhere
TUM’s Astro Guide provides a fairly in-depth discussion of terrain types, I would read it.
Search the regular help forum for “How to Build Your Trade Empire.” It will help you navigate trading in later stages of the game.
To better understand combat, go to the AE wiki and read the article entitled “The Small Fleet Doctrine.”
If you get occupied, read the thread in the tutorial subforum thread entitled “So You’re Occupied, Now What?”
Enjoy the Game!