Saturday, January 14, 2012

Empires and Allies tips

So I've been playing a lot of Empires & Allies lately. Here are some tips I've figured out:
  • Energy maximization is typically what you're trying to do. Longer contracts on Oil, Lumber and Farms gives the best return on your energy point, but those longer contracts demand larger amounts of land space. You want to balance your contract length with your available land space. Generally speaking you want to aim to use the longest contract on every building for maximum energy efficiency
  • You want to be energy efficient because the fastest levelling actually comes from combat. While almost every activity in the game converts energy into experience at a 1:1 ratio, combat gives a roughly 175% return in converting energy into experience. This is because of the crit rate which seems to be ~30% against "Great Targets". Crits reward an energy back, which basically means free experience. Crit kills reward 3 experience and 2 extra energy.
  • Try to aim to hit 0 energy just as you're about to level, since levelling up gives a free energy refill you want to make sure you're maximizing that bonus.
  • If people gift you energy, don't use it right away! We all have real life events that limits when we can be in front of the computer, but you really want to time your level-ups to happen when you are at 0 energy, so hoard your energy gifts and use them when you're just a few energy short of a level-up. This minimizes wasted energy due to do other life activities by allowing you to level up at a time that's convenient to sit and play.
  • Clicking on houses is a sucker bet, dont' ever do it. You're basically turning 1 energy into 1 XP + 200-400 coins which is a terrible conversion rate. After level 6 your click is worth at least 1 XP + 1000 coins, if you're not getting at least that much value - don't do it.
  • If you're clicking to queue up a bunch of commands and you accidentally click on a building you didn't mean to click on (such as a house) click the Red "X" cancel button in the bottom right corner, this will complete the current command but then clear out the command queue.
  • Clicking on consecutive "loot icons" such as coins and xp that come out of buildings can chain. You've probably noticed the bonus meter in the top right. You want to maximize this for maximum coins. Keep track of where your tractor is, if your tractor needs to move a long way to reach the next click location, hold off on picking up the loot until your bonus meter flashes red a few times, then pick up the loot to keep the bonus meter filling. This should give your tractor enough time to reach it's next destination.
  • Government buildings take a long time to process and will kill your chaining bonus. The easiest way I've found to deal with this is to play in full screen and try to get my Government building and a regular buliding on a different island on the screen at the same time (or scroll back and forth a lot). As you tell a tractor to use the government building, switch over quickly to your second island and start farming there to keep your chain bonus going. Then, when the government building is done, pick up the loot there.
  • Land is at a premium! Military units take up space! When you take a unit out of a barracks/hanger/port instead of placing it in the world, click the red "X" button in the bottom right, that will stash the unit in your inventory! It is now available for combat but doesn't take up any space
  • If you end up placing military units to complete quests, or you have old military units that are in the world for whatever reason, you can either sacrifice them in a war or just sell them to free up space.
  • In early levels, you get so much resources from repulsing an attack, you actually want to be attacked by something weak enough to fend off. The best way to get attacked is to put a bunch of juice targets in the middle of your island and don't defend it. Wait for somebody to attack you, then push them off your island and collect your defense bonuses. Caution, as you get higher up in levels and the units become more costly, the loss of units will start to cost more than the repulsion payoff.
  • There are a few ways to influence what other people will attack
  • 1. If your island is full of defenders except for one region which has no defenders, opponents will tend to attack the region that has no defenders. For this reason it can be useful to set up a set of buildings that you don't care about that much so that fighting can happen there without affecting the rest of your operation. In my case, I deliberate don't defend my houses because I never click my houses, and I'd be totally thrilled if somebody attacked them.
  • 2. People tend to fight on your main island, all things being equal. If you put a juicy target in the middle of your main island, that's the first thing people will see. I put a set of undefended government buildings in a cluster on my main island as a juicy target. This is because somebody camping my government buildings doesn't really interfere with the rest of my plan.
  • 3. If you have defenders EVERYWHERE, people will still attack you. People tend to ignore defenders because ultimately the attacker has so many advantages in Empires and allies in terms of choosing what units to attack with and having the option to use power-ups. So if you do have defenders everywhere, you still need to pay attention to which part of your island is the juiciest target for other people. If you have a buildng you care about and click a lot like an Ore Mine II or something, set it off to the side, in the corner of your second island, so that it's not as likely to be attacked.
  • When you are attacking somebody else, the units that are left at the end of combat are the units that the defender needs to defeat in order to kick you off. This has been emperically tested. So if you really want to try and hold your aggressive stance, use big units.
  • However - if you are attacking a friend and simply want to farm resources and black hearts, attack with weak units, or less than your full army. This is a kind and considerate thing to do so that you're easy to kick off. I will often try to gauge my attack army so that I end the battle with the smallest possible force so that it's easy for my friend to repulse me.
  • If you really want to get fancy, set up an agreement with a friend to attack each other using minimal units. The goal here is to farm more resources out of attacking each other than the cost of what you're losing.
  • Even better is to set up a Camp Treaty. I'm making that term up now. You heard it here first! A Camp Treaty is where you each agree to attack the other person but NOT repulse the other person from your island and more importantly, do not accept offers from other people to help repulse your friend off the island. Have you ever visisted a neighbour to see a red "attacker" that you can't interact with? That icon means that the person was attacked, but repulsed by another neighbour, but the island owner hasn't yet accepted the help. The catch is that the aggressor can still farm the defender every 4 hours until the defender agrees to accept help. You and your Camp Treaty partner are now camping each other's base and collecting free resources and Infamy every 4 hours without every having to spend action points.
  • If you have a Camp Treaty, set it up as a 3x3 grid of whatever your treaty partner wants, usually Ore. If you set up 9 ore mines that means you're basically getting 45 ore every 4 hours for free.
  • Additionally, you do not even need to finish the ore mines for your Camp Treaty. Just lay down the 3x3 grid of ore mine foundations - your attacker will get full benefit for attacking even placed foundations (in this way it cost you 0 energy to lay)
  • In combat, you don't want to match up unit counters exactly. For example, if your opponent has 4 paper and 1 rock, you do not want to play 4 scissors and 1 paper. You'd think that your units are exactly lined up to counter the enemy units, but this is actually suboptimal. The truth is that you already know you are going to win this battle, so your goal isn't to "win more", your goal is to minimize your losses. If you run with a 4 scissors and 1 paper loadout, then the opposing papers are going to choose your lone paper to attack. (Units tend to attack the enemy unit they have the most advantage against. Note that this isn't 100% of the time, but it's a rule of thumb). The likely outcome of such a battle is that you'll win but your paper will be dead. A better lineup is to run with 2 scissors and 3 paper. You attack the Rock with your paper early, and the most likely response is the enemy rock will attack your scissors. However, the damage will be divided roughly evenly between your two scissors units. You kill the rock before losing any units, then use your remaining 2 scissors to attack the 4 papers. The 4 papers will likely divide their damage evenly between your 3 paper, and because of your combat advantage you are likely to end the battle with 0 losses

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