In Illyriad, your settlements can recruit and command troops. So, inevitably, new players ask what they can do with them. “What can I attack?”
As a starting player, you have a few options:
1) You could, in theory, attack other players. This is a bad idea! This is the obvious option, and in many games it would be expected that you’d swiftly start battering other players – and they would batter you. But not so in Illyriad. Attacking Active players (that is, players who have not left the game) is a dreadful idea for lots of reasons. Almost any active player might have a Rune defending their town, which will kill a number of your troops before battle is even joined. Active players may also have friends or allies who will come to their aid. And even a player with no friends at the moment can make an appeal for help on Global Chat or the Forums, and find a champion to avenge the attack.
2) You can hunt Wild Animals. You will see these all over the map – A Few Wolves,Several Mammoths, A Gathering of Leopards, a Horde of Poisonous Crawlers, etc. As a starting player, cut your teeth on groups described as Few and Several, then step up to those described as Pack, Gathering and Many; don’t even think about attacking Hordes or Legions. Some creatures are weaker than others – I favor attacking Wild Dogs and Giant Rats. (If you do attack a group, in the combat report you can click on the pictures of your foes to bring up the stats for each troop type. This will help you get an idea of how tough different enemies are.) Right now, this is a great was to get some experience points for your Commanders; the animals also “drop” a little bit of gold (your troops bring this back from the battle site).
3) You can raid abandoned villages. If a settlement’s population is less than 10 then the player never finished the tutorial, so you can bet that the player has dropped out of the game. More interestingly, you will sometimes be able to find settlements where the population stays steady for days or weeks – which means that (as nothing is being built) the player has become inactive. Looting the villages of those who are no longer playing the game is considered perfectly reasonable by the community (though you may have to apologize if the player comes back later!) – it hurts no-one, and it allows you to grab some resources when you attack. After a few weeks inactive settlements stop producing resources, but for a little while sending your troops in allows you to loot their unused produce.
4) You can look out for special events. The Herald often mentions specific events which are an excuse for combat. The Tournament which is currently running is really only for the biggest players, but the previous Tournament allowed small and medium players to get involved. Keep an eye on the Herald, as no-one knows what the future will bring for Illyriad.
It’s certainly worth trying out a few of the combat elements – attacking wild animals, attacking and raiding abandoned villages, even Blockading abandoned settlements. Then if you do find yourself in a major conflict later in the game, your Commanders will have levelled up a little, and you’ll have a good idea how these different orders work.