Whats the best character and setting to start with as a total noob and a few other questions

By on December 8, 2012 5:23:06 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


Join Date 07/2010

Hey guys just started playing and I like the game but I am confused about a few things. First which character is best to start off with to learn the game? Also how can you tell how many move points you people have left and how do you know when it is time to end your turn? Other 4X games I have played End turn icon will show up or it will auto jump to the character that is up to move next. Maybe I didnt notice it and maybe the game does do that but any help would be appreciated...Thanks...

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December 8, 2012 7:37:32 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'd suggest playing as Lady Irane (Tarth) for the stealth, or Lord Markin (Gilden) or Warlord Verga (Yithril) because they are fairly straightforward to play and strong physically. Stealth makes the game easier because monsters won't attack your units, so you can choose when to attack them. I think the magic-heavy factions take a bit longer to understand (or at least they did for me).

I chose to create my own faction and sovereign at the beginning because I wanted to know how that works. It's a good way to see the different options available, although you may need to refer to the in-game Heirgamenon or the Spellbook (downloadable or online) to see what some of the unlockable spells are.


If you click on any unit/army, then down the bottom of the screen, immediately under the unit's name, it will show number of Moves available. If it says zero (e.g. "0/2"), then that unit has no moves left. Check all your units, and then check your cities. If a city is idle, it will have a "Zzz" next to its icon on the far left of the screen. If you don't want to (or can't) make any more moves, then you can click the "Turn" button to end your turn. I find that most of the time this isn't necessary, and the game ends my turns automatically once I've used-up all my moves.

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December 8, 2012 9:16:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


I quickly turned off the auto end turn function (under Options). It would frequently end my turn before I was ready. For example, if you wanted to move a pioneer unit two spaces and then settle a city, the turn would end before you could. If you wanted to make a partial move into the shroud (fog of war), the turn would end before you could take the rest of your turn.


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December 10, 2012 4:52:33 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

It is curious, but it seems that many of us started by using Tarth for the first game. But what are good features, will become a nightmare when trying other factions.

If you have some experience in other 4x/rpg games, I recommend customize your own faction and sovereing, and each game try to play a bit different (the replayability is great). But I recommend to stay always far from:

- Master Scouts. You get used to walk with no penalties very easy. When you start another game without it, you almost want to suicide. Try it to see it of course, but don't get used (it took me a lot of games untill I could renounce to it)

- Monsters will not attack the units. The same. If you get used to it, once you try other traits the game will be TOTALLY different: the real game.

And Tarth got them two... Plus the fortified trait (fortify tile when in tactical combat), they play totally different to what is usual...

So my advice, is start in the easiest difficulty you can accept, and play MAGNAR (they have the slaves traits, cheap units with no maintenance, so you can experiment with them and you will not worry for the money upkeep).



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December 10, 2012 5:20:35 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I like to play gilden. They are very 'vanilla' like. The special abilities revolve around having high armor and lots of hitpoints, which is easier to grasp for a new player, imho.

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December 10, 2012 11:44:33 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I created my own customer faction that is Tarth blood, and then 3 1 point traits rather than stealth or master scouts.  Both stealth and master scout is way over-powered and will only teach you very bad habits imo.  Plus they remove a huge aspect of the game.  So in my opinion, do not use stock Tarth, and do not include them in your game.

What I did this weekend, as a new player myself, was create my custom faction and sovereign above, and then I created an additional 11 custom factions.   I made 6 empire and 5 kingdom, because the one I was going to use is kingdom, and then I picked only passive traits that I felt the AI would use even without knowing it.  I avoided anything I felt was imbalanced or would make the game unfair for the other factions or myself.  I also created them all in a way that I would be willing to use them myself.  I did not create any of these factions as races that get the -1 HP per level penalty as it is a great disadvantage, and I did not make anyone Altaris as the AI does not use henchmen well.  I made 2 heavy caster races/sovereigns per side and then the rest more weapon focused.

I have to say, doing all of this took a ton of time, but it was almost as a fun as playing the game.  I had to make sheets to track what I was giving each faction and sovereign so I could make sure everything was balanced and whatnot.  I am finally playing the game with these new custom guys as of yesterday and things are looking good.  Most are equal with each other and I am I am in the middle of the pack playing on challenging/challenging.  I am using ecomental mod, xlarge map, lush setting and everything else dense or more frequent, etc.

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December 10, 2012 12:49:18 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Learning curve can be very deep, so there is basically no way to tell which faction you should prefer over others. They all are different and it really means that.

Few things that you should remember in general gameplay regardless of your selection for a faction:

  • Heroes start quite underpowered. They usually got some spells to help, but in the very beginning you don't usually have enough mana.
  • Trained units may seem to have even worse attack power and hit points. Remember that these amount are for single unit, you train three units in the beginning and have got three times the attack power and hit points. Should your trained unit survive even with one hit point they will regenerate even the fallen members. Don't overlook your groups and definitely not enemies'.
  • When possible, prepare battles beforehand by equipping suitable armour and weapon for your champions. If you see elemental units and have got a weapon doing extra attack (i.e. damage) against elemental units be sure to have it equipped. When you go into the battle you can't do that anymore. Check also info of enemy units to avoid facing nasty surprises. Don't forget initiative.
  • Shields are great, but they are even greater if you have your shield-bearers "do nothing" during tactical battle, but only pass next to the enemy unit while you damage them from range. Counterattacking weapons are ideal for your "tanks", too.
  • Make sure you have got enhancement spells up, if you can afford it. Especially City enhancement spells can be game-changers if you happen to forget to cast those. Remember that some unit enchancement spells can be cast also on your trained troops, not only on your champions.
  • When you're somewhat comfortable with the game mechanics, don't be ashamed to use ctrl+n (new game with same faction) if your starting position seems to be rather unfavourable: we all spam ctrl+n but not everyone will admit that.



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December 10, 2012 4:43:19 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

As someone who just got the game recently, I would definitely say that you should start on an easy setting and work up.  Also, don't be afraid to scrap a game if you realize that you've made a massive mistake (like my first game, where I spent a decent amount of time developing my stating city and then realized that all of the other places to build that I could find were already taken.


My first game that I played to completion was Gilden and I could see that as being a good choice.  Some other suggestions, spend a lot of time here looking at posts and just understand that it could take you a bit to get the game figured out.  I have a couple games played Kingdom side and now I'm playing Resoln and discovering just how much different the Empire plays.

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December 10, 2012 7:36:39 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Altar is a very powerful faction. Wanderlust + heroic = quest loop = incredibly powerful champions.

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December 10, 2012 8:45:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

and when you want some fun pick this:


Faction: Empire.

Altar blood.



Weakness to Magic.




Sovereign: Warlock.


Death 1/Water 1/Brilliant/Scholar/Clumsy.


Fire 2/Impulsive/Tactician/Hardy/Clumsy.


In each case you can either remove clumsy or pick one more trait of your choosing!


Death/Water wants death/water 2 ASAP, and research of civics then magic tree and beeline heroes. Work your way to education. Build scrying pool for more essenses! You have some nasty spells with Death/Water2.


Fire wants to get Civics, Training and Heroes and Archers.  Build a scrying pool, build some units, then build some henchmen to lead them. One bard, One Shieldman and One Torch Bearer is great for a Stack. Those 3 plus your champs and Archer will inflict big damage.  Your champ should get Fire 3 ASAP and begin throwing flame darts.


The magic is really fun, but the real fun is having spell schools with synchronicity, some spells for instance are available only  with Death/Water, Earth/Fire, etc. You can get really far ahead in tech, with uber-exp henchmen, and sov.  You will likely have one SoD with champ, and one with sovereign, each with 1 archer, 1 mage, 2 bards, champ/sovereign. 

Extra junk equipment instead of being sold for 8 gold can be equipped on the henchmen. As a side note, having one mage/one archer can cause you to win "auto resolve" battles you would otherwise terribly die in. It can make every difference.  Also, even when you play tactical battles, a mage overpasses most defense, archers help with enemy mage killing, and sovereigns bear the wrath of the force.

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December 10, 2012 8:48:02 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Oh, and stay away from:


Wealthy - Master Scouts - Tarth: These teach you bad habits. Also, experiment!  Sometimes after getting civics, you might decide to go for training and archery before getting henchmen (reason: you get more buff in the field faster with 2 archers and 2 spearman BEFORE one bard because the bard will need to shop at the store or be naked and worthless.


Always remember to set your troops to auto-upgrade.


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December 11, 2012 1:28:11 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I will add in the "Try your own faction" too...I did this almost imediatly and have not looked back...but I am on for liking to customize my faction (like Alpha Centauri...love that game...).


Also: IMHO essence is VERY important in building cities...say you see one tile next to another...one has +1 Material but the other +1 Essence. TAKE THE ESSENCE. You can then cast Enchanted Hammers (An Earth novice spell) to make up the +1 Materials difference BUT you now have the flexability to swap out the enchantment with something else (Need mana? Put on Meditation. Need Gil? Propaganda). Plus there are many enchantments that get better and better depending on how much Essence there is in a city.


Only thing with it is be careful about wether or not you have the spell actually availble. But I run so many Champs I get access to low level spells pretty quick (which most Enchantments are).

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December 11, 2012 4:00:54 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

If you have enchanters, then anything with 2+ essence is a great fortress to train units in.


If not, you want a 3 essence fortress if you can get one.  4+ grain should always be a town - and a conclave can be any irrelevant city with at least 1 mana (so you can cast meditation).  Enchanters is very very nice, and it can turn a piece of crap starting point into something nice.


So when you have to choose between "2 average cities" and "one great city", ask if the "great city" has 5f/3e or 4m/3e.  Either way the "great city is better", and it is better to have your great city be a fortress than anything else. 


Food determines a LOT, so i can not stress enough the purpose of the town.


Normally, i like to get one fortress with 3 essence, 2-3 conclaves with 1-2 essence, and 5 cities (all 5 become guild grocers!) and all enclaves become the thing that produces +1 crystal unless you really need the extra mana.


So how do you settle the world?  Well, you have to start by getting your sov/champ a few goodie huts and weak quests.  If you get the archer unit quest reward and a token of the sand golem, your in great shape!  If you look at the later game spells, one of them changes worthless dead land into vitalized land. I believe the tiles become dead because the total yield of the tile does not equal 6-8 +/-1, but i could be wrong.


Kill the weak monsters, start any quest that is safe to start (once you start a quest, the AI can't steal it) and start looking for victory conditions. Nearby wildland?  thats as good as a weak neighbor, but some of those wildlands have ridiculous units that you won't be able to kill - until you get used to using world map spells to deal your opponents damage and debuffs pre-battle.


I used to suck really bad at this game but learning how to use magic well; i usually research "green only" after henchmen, and research the extra food tech 5-8 times before doing blue-red techs.  Why do i do this? Because with world map spells on your side, you can't lose!


So have fun, get to know the mechanics and spell synchronicities.  I gave you fire/earth and death/water - there is also air/earth and i think water/air (i could be wrong on this one). Once you understand what abilities the spell levels really give you access to, your first turn will look like this:


Settle good spot.

recruit champ.

cast meditation in capital/set tech to civics, cast tutelage on sov, tutelage on champ, and your good to go.  If you like a beat 'em up, i suggest you learn grow-shrink, and haste-slow. Otherwise, if you like magic as much as i do, you will rarely see an enemy actually make it up to attack your Sovereign.

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