1. Relax, and enjoy the gradual ascent of your empire!
Often when I have played browser-based strategy games, there was quite a lot to do in the first few weeks. Then within 3 months either (a) there was so much to do that it was overwhelming (no names, but I played one game where I had to log in 3 times a day to spend 10 minutes each time shuffling resources between my towns to avoid the resources being lost), or (b) I got destroyed by bigger players (not for any reason – just because that’s what they wanted to do). Not so with Illyriad!
I was amazed that Illyriad didn’t seem to require much time at first. Now I’m really happy with that – I have 6 cities, and while maintaining them takes enough time that I count Illyriad as one of my main hobbies, it isn’t a chore.
Since I started, I’ve seen new players asking “when will I be attacked?” and “isn’t this a bit slow?” Well, you probably won’t be attacked. And yes, it’s a slow journey – which means you won’t get overwhelmed by it later. Enjoy it!
2. Check In Regularly
Illyriad doesn’t require a lot of time to play. But it does help if, especially in the first month, you can check on it regularly. It’s like having a pet – pet it occasionally, check that it hasn’t made a mess on the carpet…. OK, maybe that isn’t a great analogy. But still….
Personally, for my first month or two I just kept a browser window open on my PC, and if I was between tasks (e.g. taking a break from work, or waiting for the kettle to boil) I would check in and see if I could build anything.
Just think about the build times for your early buildings. Most early builds take between 10 minutes and 4 hours. You can queue up 2 builds at once. Setting two buildings to build takes about 30 seconds. Obviously you don’t need to be on line all day every day, but if you can check in frequently and spare 30 seconds each time, your first village will grow all the faster for your attentions! Early in the game the main determinant of how fast you grow is how often you can glance at your browser.
3. Don’t build armies…
Like me, you may have been scarred by other strategy games, where as soon as you come out of New Player Protection, or as soon as you start falling behind your neighbors, aggressive armies start trashing your town. So, when I started, I immediately built up a defensive army. Why did I do that?! This is Illyriad – this is not browser-based bullying.
In Illyriad, people generally attack because of Alliance politics, Tournaments, or to avenge insults. Nearly all of the Sieges you see on the Herald page are sieges of Inactive players. All in all, you are very unlikely to get attacked just because someone feels that they can.
So, early on, you won’t need an army. Armies cost gold to maintain. That means you need to maintain a high tax rate. Don’t bother. Instead, go to your Castle tab, click Taxation, and set your tax rate to 0%. This will increase your resource production.
Early in the game you need Resource production. You don’t need soldiers.
4. … but do defend yourself!
Look at your Research Tree, click on Magic, and scroll down to Runes. See there, there is a sequence of nasty little destructive runes – Mark of Slaying up to Ward of Destruction. Research those Runes. Even if you ignore the whole of the rest of the magic system, research those, and keep the biggest you’ve researched up to defend your town at all times.
These killing Runes ensure that if someone attacks you or sends thieves to pillage you, they will lose units. Meanwhile, the Runes cost you virtually nothing to maintain. They are a good deterrent.
If you have Runes up, and don’t let stockpiles of Resources build up (keep building!) then attackers will lose more than they will gain from attacking you – so they probably won’t bother.
5. Never be shy asking for help.
Finally, ask the other players for help whenever you need it.
Sometimes people in Global Chat will send “welcome packs” of resources to new arrivals, and more reliably if you join an Alliance you will probably find that senior members will be happy to send you resources. (Hint: remember to “give it forward” when you are better established – if you ask for help now, be prepared to give it to others later.) Personally, I let my pride get in the way, and was determined to go it alone for months (I never asked for help, I didn’t join an Alliance) and consequently my first 2 settlements grew very slowly.
If you are attacked, again, ask for help. Ask on Global Chat; ask bigger neighbors; ask in the Forums. Lots of very big players have massive armies (30,000 troops or more across multiple cities) and are very happy to deploy some of those in a just cause – so if you are getting attacked, and genuinely didn’t bring it upon yourself, then you will almost certainly find someone willing to come to your aid.