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Do it your own way - the anti-guide

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Solanar View Drop Down
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    Posted: 10 Apr 2015 at 03:32

There is common advice that everyone sees in GC. Don’t join an alliance right away. Drop your taxes to 0. Build up your storehouse. For some people, following the standard advice the standard way just like hundreds before them is “FUNN!!!!” Maybe you’re one of those people. If so, this might not be the best guide for you.

There is a reason the standard advice is standard. It works. I’m not telling anyone that it’s not *A* valid playstyle. What I am fighting against here is the idea that it is the *only* valid playstyle.

Building up your storehouse right away makes sense, but only if you plan on being active in chat. If you’re going to lurk, read a book while you play, or just feel like doing it yourself without dozens of people paving the way for you, maybe what you want to build first is resource fields, including the Library. It’s hard to keep research going without a library, and it’s hard to build anything without resources. There is nothing wrong with skipping the hand outs and doing it yourself.

Not joining an alliance right away is, and always has been, bunk advice. It’s whiner advice. It’s advice from people who might have liked to recruit you, but didn’t want to seem desperate and invite you too soon. You know what penalty you pay for joining an alliance too soon? Fewer donations from the GC crowd, and potentially having to wait 6 hours between dropping that alliance and joining another. If a 6 hour wait is too much for you, you’ve picked the wrong game anyway.

Telling people to drop their taxes to 0 is, again, not bad advice, but the benefit is so minor as to be hardly worth mentioning. My own advice is to wait, don’t drop your taxes until it’s solving a problem. If you *do* follow the standard advice and build the storage for your town as quickly as possible, then you may end up with a significant population increase. Which can lead to a shortage of food. THAT is when I might recommend dropping your taxes. Then it can offset some of the food shortage and buy you time to build up food plots. In fact, if you want to raise your taxes and play from day 1 at 100% taxes, it’s going to slow your growth, but it’s not going to stop you from doing anything you want to. You can always change it later. And if you’re a better planner than most, and never end up negative food? Then you are well placed to begin expanding your list of things to do in Illy by using that small amount of +gold in the corner to start building troops and diplos.

Wait, building troops and diplos? Didn’t *everyone* in GC tell you that you’re too small for troops and diplos? Well, what do they know anyway? Sure, it’s not the *fastest* way to grow to 10 cities (or 20, or 42, or whatever your goal is) but it’s a lot more interesting than spending the first 6 months building resources.

Let me digress a minute. Anyone with a calculator and some basic math skills can work out the min/max way to progress in Illy. That method is BORING. It will cause most people to quit the game and never come back. Watching your +resource grow faster than your population is like watching paint dry. You know what you should do in your first city? EVERYTHING! That city has to keep you entertained while you start the second, and the third, and the fourth. Decisions that make sense to a vet who already knows they like the game and are going to keep playing are completely different from decisions that should be made by a new player who needs stuff to do if they are going to keep coming back day after day.

So build your troops. Kill a pack of rats or a gathering of wolves and harvest the hides. Or don’t, if you feel like harvesting is as soul crushingly boring as I do.

Then grab some sov. Why? Not because it’s going to give you a benefit. People who are looking out for your best interest are going to tell you to wait for sov until your city has 10k or 20k population, to wait until your food plots are maxed and you need more. Well, so what? Yeah, it’s good advice, but there is something rewarding about that glow around your city. And if you choose to stay in the newbie circle, sov is the only thing that keeps new players from spawning on top of you.

Wait, doesn’t everyone want out of the newbie circle as soon as possible? Well lots of people do, especially people that are fond of harvesting, because they want their own space. But then, later on, lots of them will move a city back into the newbie circle. It gives them better access to sending caravans of free res to newbies, and it’s a pretty decent spot if you want to participate in Centrum trading. If you decide to keep a city in the newbie circle from the beginning, that’s a perfectly good reason to gets lots of sov as early as you feel capable of supporting it.

So when you go looking for your second city, whether in the newb circle or elsewhere, everyone will tell you to grab a 7 food spot. There is nothing wrong with that advice – it’s what I did. You can too, if you like. But it’s not the only way. It is completely possible (though very difficult) to reach 10 cities on 5 food squares. There is another thread elsewhere about the possible benefits to a 5/5/5/5/5 city when it comes to sov, military, and balancing resources. It’s controversial, but so what? Do it your own way.

Mostly what I’ve been doing is telling you to ignore the common advice. That’s not entirely what I meant this thread to be. My primary point isn’t to do the opposite of the crowd in every situation. My point is that there is more than one right way of doing things. If you don’t want to follow the common advice, you don’t have to. You won’t be doing it wrong….You’ll just be doing it.

Ignore the haters. The question isn’t “What is the right way?” The question is how are YOU going to do it?



Edited by Solanar - 11 Dec 2016 at 23:50
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Rill View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Rill Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Apr 2015 at 03:46
While I generally agree with the points made, and advocate for some of this stuff myself, I am a bit distressed to see people giving well-intentioned advice in global chat characterized as haters.  I think it's possible to suggest different ways of playing the game without denigrating other people.

One piece of advice I do tend to disagree with is the idea that you should not lower taxes until you start to run low on food production.  While the tax/food connection is strongest for established players, players who are just starting a city benefit from not only more food, but more basic resources to build and more research points -- which are very useful early on.  One would not generate enough gold from a 25% tax on a very low population to make the trade-off worthwhile.  It makes a lot more sense to harvest items with cotters or make cows and sell them to get gold.

The point about being able to lower taxes later on in order to avoid catastrophic population loss is well taken, but this is a relatively ineffective solution for a fairly rare problem.  The people who experience catastrophic de-leveling rarely notice it until it is already happening -- and even a 25% bump in food production is often not enough to get out of the hole.  It would be more effective to for example ask in global chat for an enhanced geomancy spell, or a shipment of food.

In summary, maintaining higher taxes sacrifices significant benefits in order to provide an ineffective solution to a problem that is relatively unlikely to occur, especially if one pays attention to net food production.  I recognize that you give that advice in all sincerity and with the best interest of new players at heart, but I think it is unwise.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Solanar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Apr 2015 at 03:50
Haters are people who tell you that you're doing it wrong, not people giving well intentioned advice in general.
 
edit:  You'll note that I didn't say anywhere that the common advice was bad. I never said the standard way of doing things is wrong. Even the 0% taxes. My standing argument is that the same advice gets repeated so often people who don't know any better think its the only way to do things.
 
Going to 0% taxes right after the tutorial gives only a couple of resources. Compared to the deluge coming from GC, it's insignificant.


Edited by Solanar - 10 Apr 2015 at 03:56
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Alcie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Apr 2015 at 05:26
As someone who joined an alliance 10 minutes after starting, built library to level 12 almost before anything else, made enough spies to start statue quest as soon as possible, and started sov really early (in, admittedly, a sov obsessed alliance) I really like your (non?) guide! These things all worked well for me... and more to the point they were fun for me (I like libraries!) even if they were not the most efficient possible way to do things.

More generally, I agree that there are many ways to start the game. Guides are useful--it is useful to know that library/mage tower/consulate/etc. are standard buildings normally in every town. It is useful to know what changing tax does. It is useful to know about cotters. Specific guidance about exactly what level and what order to make these buildings or what percent to make your taxes? Much less useful. I sometimes tell new players to skim a couple different guides to get a sense of what the important issues are, but then to do things in whatever order they want in practice. They can experiment and ask questions to learn how all these things connect to each other.


I have been too lazy to make a guide myself, but I always thought the perfect guide would mention a lot of main issues, mention multiple different ways to do things purely as examples, and emphasize that this is a very forgiving and experimental-able game and you can try things differently. Some people like to follow exact directions--they can follow the examples. For those who don't, they need a guide which tells them the very few things which truly are pretty mandatory (e.g. make a library so you can even start research at all) versus optional (make your own res plots versus make storage for gifts,etc.).


As to the particular points being argued about a little in this thread...I feel like the main point is most of these bullet items really can be done in many different ways.. but I will throw my two cents in anyways.

As to the whole 'don't join an alliance immediately'. Some members get lost in GC and quit the game. Others who join the first alliance they are recruited by feel unhappy and unable to leave and quit the game. These are both bad situations. And these types of reactions depend on the particular player. I personally feel like we should emphasize the following:
    1. don't be afraid to join an alliance as soon as you want.
    2. don't feel pressured to join an alliance quickly (especially just because someone in that alliance helped you/etc.). Wait as long as you want to decide.
    3. If you are unhappy in your alliance, don't feel bad changing alliances.
   There are plenty of other suggestions you can make (talk to the leader, read profiles, etc.) which are good advice as well, but I feel like people often get messed up by not knowing the 3 items in my list. Being told only one of the items is fine for some but puts the exact wrong kind of pressure on others. My opinion obviously, but it goes in the general 'different strokes' theme for this thread.

taxes... Again, I think it is definitely good to tell new players how taxes work and what they affect. But Telling them to do one particular change seems bad to me. I made lots of spies and scouts when I was super small.. if I had had zero tax I couldn't have. On the other hand, I did lower my tax some. Again, suggestions in a guide are fine (multiple examples...0 percent-- what affects this has, 5 or 10 percent--what affects this has.. 40 percent--what affects this has). Personally I would tend to advise the more flexible non-extreme case (lower some but not to zero). But, again, I think different tax rates will work for different people. A guide should perhaps even encourage experimentation--you can change it every day after-all.   

Again.. its not bad to have easy concrete suggestions when asked questions—newbies often want concrete suggestions because they are still learning and it is confusing to think of everything at once. But for both guides and for general chat-talk, there should perhaps be more emphasis on the flexibility of how to do things so that the players which might hate one way of doing things know that they have options.


Edited by Alcie - 10 Apr 2015 at 05:46
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Brandmeister Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Apr 2015 at 05:52
I built troops immediately and started hunting. If I hadn't, I probably would have quit from boredom. It took me months to join an alliance, and for me that was the right choice. If I had an objection to the advice in GC, it is that it is pitched as a one size fits all solution that is often focused on food and city size.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Belegar Ironhammer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Apr 2015 at 06:11
Originally posted by Rill Rill wrote:

One piece of advice I do tend to disagree with is the idea that you should not lower taxes until you start to run low on food production.  While the tax/food connection is strongest for established players, players who are just starting a city benefit from not only more food, but more basic resources to build and more research points -- which are very useful early on.  

Not even remotely true. The extra res is utterly insignificant. 5 or 6 extra res per hour makes no difference at all as buildings quickly require thousands to upgrade. Additionally, given the tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of res that vets regularly dump on noobs, the tiny amounts of extra res are again rendered into a barley noticeable drivel. 

Time quickly becomes a limiting factor not res. 

The main thing here is that literally everyone is told to reduce taxes to 0% when reducing taxes like that does hardly any good at all, and one can get along quite fine without it. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shûl-nak Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Apr 2015 at 11:35
Hell yeah to this - I was thinking along the lines of doing something similar, albeit in a slightly more comic and less reasonable fashion. Diversity of progression is important. From the get-go I was making harmless mischief with diplos, sending troops to die for the hell of it, accidentally bumping people off resource nodes and generally having a good time.

The 'reinforced' method of playing is fine for folk who can drop in every now and then to set up their build queues and go away, but if you have more time and want to get to grips with the game it's very boring.

As Solanar said, there are methods of min/maxing, but as a romantic I find it much more interesting to poke things with sticks and flip off the right way of doing things just for kicks instead of placing constraints on my own fun for the sake of mathemagics.

The important thing would be to keep this post right up next to the other guides, so people can compare and contrast differing viewpoints to follow what they find most appealing, instead of following what may seem to be presented as The Unassailable Truth (through no fault of those who present such advice - it is solid and reasonable).

Illy does a fantastic job in ensuring that there is no one true way - because what is efficient might also be brain-rottingly dull - and what is wasteful and eccentric might be far more exciting. And it is ultimately a game, is it not?


Edited by Shûl-nak - 10 Apr 2015 at 11:41
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LoonieOne Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Apr 2015 at 13:39
I prefer the loonie way.  Start hitting buttons until something hasppens.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bobtron Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Apr 2015 at 16:41
Well the way i played the game was to spam cotters on the minerals nearby, drop taxes to zero, and use the revenue gained from selling minerals at hubs to maintain a huge army, though i was and still am in negative gold


Edited by Bobtron - 10 Apr 2015 at 16:42
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dungshoveleux Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Apr 2015 at 17:49
I always import a package of stuff into any newly settled town.
If I had to pick, I'd say books and basic resources and a little food.
Then I bring in enough stuff to build diplomatic and military.
The books keep the early research going.
The basic resources keep the queues full at all times.
Cotters and caravans provide herbs and minerals to sell for cash.
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