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You try these games out in the vain hope that they might actually be worth your time.
But this one is just plain unbalanced, broken, and apparently full of people who I'm pretty sure have problems steming back from their childhood when their parents didn't love them enough.
First, the game itself...
The units and buildings you can get are pretty standard fair, you build barracks to make troops, an Academy to research new technologies and better weapons and the like. An Embassy to help you if you are in an alliance, so the other players can reinforce you if you get attacked. You also can set up farms,quarrys, iron mines and lumber yards outside your city to produce the recources you need to make all this stuff and support the troops you build. these can be supplimented by going out and conquering valleys around you, which will give you a bonus to your resource production. I have heard that the game is not always clear about how things work, but that wasn't a but issue for me personally.
Despite the seemingly simple setup, the game quickly looses its new feel when you realize that you are just doing the same things over and over again, and no matter what you do, you will never have enough resources. The size of the army you need to survive against other, more established players who are all too eager to ransack your city the moment your 7 day protection is up, will very quickly outstrip your ability to feed them. The answer to this, is that you have to raid NPC cities around you, in a constant attempt to keep your sizable army fed, otherwise, the moment you run out of food, you start loosing troops.
The units are balanced about as good as the rest of the game (which means they aren't.) You get Workers (which don't do much in a battle) Warriors (regular townspeople that are given a weapon. Fodder, pretty much) Scouts (the most broken unit in the game, I'll explain that in a minute) Pikemen (Supposed to be decent against cavalry) Swordmen (better defense then Pikemen) Archers (a must have in stupidly high numbers) Cavalry and Cataphracts (heavy armored cavalry, pretty much). Then you have Transports, Ballista, Battering Rams and Catapults. The last two, Battering Rams and Catapults, you'll hardly ever use, because they take forever to build, take forever to get anywhere, and consume more food then they are really worth.
Things get worse when you actually end up fighting another player who has any experiance at all exploting the game mechanics. You can build up your wall around your city to help ward off attackers, but don't rely on it too much, as a single attack wave can wipe out even a fully built up wall with full defenses. And once all the defenses are gone, the wall becomes completely useless until you build them back up (which made no sense to me at all... Your telling me that troops in a city cant use a wall as protection, giving them a defense bonus at least, regardless of what defenses are on it?)
Even if you manage to get past all that, and manage to build up to a decent degree and have a good-sized army with the best technologies from your Academy and a fully loaded wall, you still have an uphill battle to even defend yourself.
And whys that? Simple. Scouts.
A player who has figured out how to build Scouts quickly and can do so from multiple cities (you can have up to 10, if you have managed to get promoted high enough...) will always have the advantage. Scouts allow you to scout other persons cities (well duh, they are scouts) and learn exactly what they have in there, from troop counts to what resources you have. You can counter this by simply having more Scouts in your city they they can send at you, but multiple waves of Scouts will wear yours down until they can finally see what you got.
No big deal, right? You still have a big army, you can hold them off. Sure... Until they start using those same Scouts as attack waves instead of just scouting runs (commonly called 'Scout Bombs'.) Now, these same Scouts will bypass all your defenses, and instantly attack whatever troops you have the most of (usually archers.) They will wittle down your defenders, and since they are relatively cheap to make, they can always make more. Eventually, your troops are wittled down to the point where a single big attack wave can overrun you, and you can watch all the work you have put into your army, your wall, and all the resources you have collected, go marching off to some big bullys city, just because he can. (Even though it probably would have been easier for them to farm off of NPCs...)
The argument has been made that you can heal your troops, but at best, you only get 50% back, at worst, 10%. And, if you have any sort of life outside of the game, chances are all this will happen while you are offline (god forbid someone under attack should get any sleep...) You can use items to temporarily stop attacks, or even move your city to some other place. but moving often accomplishes nothing besides giving you different players to deal with, who may or may not be just as bad or worse. There is no penalty or restrictions for attacking someone substantally smaller then you, so no reason not to do it.
The 'tactics' of this game all boils down to 'farm, build a bigger army then the other guy, farm more to feed them, build more, eventually get attacked more 3 or 4 people at once (I have yet to see a balanced battle in this game), get wiped out, start over...'
Now, this isn't to say that /everyone/ is a bunch of cut throats. Getting into an alliance is the only way you'll ever survive. But big, established players always seem all too eager to attack smaller ones at the drop of a hat for little to no reason at all.
This isn't a wargame. There are no 'tactics' to really use outside of manipulating the flawed mechanics of the game itself, and 'Scout Bombs'.
Steer clear of this one, if you want to have any fun in the long term and have a life outside of being on a computer.