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Newbie Guide (Part 2)

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    Posted: 18 Jul 2012 at 16:04

Welcome to the Not-So-Newbie Guide!

(or the Newbie Guide Part 2)

So you're a week in and past the help that the Newbie Guide gives, but you're not quite sure about some of the more advanced topics in Illy. Well this will serve as your one-stop shop for the post-newbie help topics.

One note: The following topics are highly dependent upon what you want to do and many choices will be left for you to make, this is just to help you understand what is going on and what your options are.

1) Building

So you've been building up your res and storage and are ready for something else. Yeah, res building can be boring, but now comes the fun stuff! But what to build first? Welcome to your first major decision in Illy. You'll need to ask yourself: What do I want to do, what do I want this town to specialize in? Towns have a limited build space, you only get 23 plots (25 including the Paddock and Common Grounds) but you have an available 44 buildings to choose from. So you cannot build everything.

Well, first off you should focus only on T1 buildings (most T2 buildings have a res upkeep that you don't want to pay at this point). Buildings to focus on include: Library, Mage Tower, Barracks, Consulate, Marketplace, and Architect's Office. Once those are up and you have several research unlocked you can focus on some production buildings such as the Common Grounds, Paddock, Saddlemaker and Book Binder (there are several others you could build as well).

If you are trying to work on your population the best buildings are: Consulate, Common Grounds and Paddock (these are both useful and give good pop increases while remaining cheaper and quicker than other buildings).

T2 Buildings to avoid early on (because of res upkeep): Foreign Office, Thieves' Den, Saboteurs' Sanctuary, Assassins' Abode, Spies' Hideout, Scouts' Lookout, Runemasters' Grounding, Geomancers' Retreat, Spearmens' Billets, Infantry Quarters, Cavalry Parade Grounds, Archers' Field, Arctic Warfare College, Desert Warfare College, Jungle Warfare College and Chancery of Estates.

A bit of advanced advice: Don't build up your Storehouse past level 15. Once you get it to level 15 you can research the building Warehouse, which gives more storage per level, plus once you have all of your build plots full, the Storehouse is one of the buildings you could replace (if you choose to).

Last note: These are general good goals to set for building early on (these building levels will unlock research items that are useful). Resource plots level 7, Storehouse level 15, Library level 10, Consulate level 5, Mage Tower level 11, Marketplace level 10, Barracks level 11.

Links on Building:

HonoredMule's Unofficial Illyriad Wiki:

2) Relocation/Exodus

So you've been building up your res, you may have found an alliance, your area is too crowded (or some other reason) and you wanna move your town? You can and there are a couple ways to do so, however, you shouldn't right now. You should be at, or very close to, 450 pop before moving. But you should also have that Settler ready to go! In order to settle your second town, you'll need 1 Settler. Settlers can be trained in the castle after you research the Pioneering research. NOTE: allow 12 hours for the research and 4 days for the Settler. You should begin work on your settler around 300-350 population, that way it will be complete when you hit that 450 requirement mark.

Now that you're at (or almost) 450 pop and have that Settler ready, you have some options at hand. First do you want to move to a different area of the Illy world? If so, you have 2 choices. Send that Settler somewhere and follow with the free 1 time use spell Tenaril's Spell of Ultimate Teleportation (found in the castle – relocation tab) or you can send the Settler and once it lands (and you have that second town) you can use Exodus to move. The spell is free and instant, but you can only use it once. Exodus is much more expensive, but you can (if you so choose) perform it multiple times, however it will cause all buildings above level 12 to de-level down to level 12.

So what should you do? Exodus or Spell? Another important choice. One strategy is to use Exodus with your capital so that you can grab a 7 food plot and then use the Spell to put yourself in the area you want to be. Exodus is a quite advanced topic and there are other guides discussing this. There are some links at the end of this guide detailing moving/settling.

Links on City Movement:

Where Do I Put My City? A Guide to Real Estate by Rill:

Guide to Exodus by Cerex Flikex:

3) Collecting goods from the map

So there are basically 5 Tiers of items in Illyriad. 

T1 are the basic res: wood, clay, iron, stone, food, gold

T2 are the advanced res: horses, cows, beer, books, spears, swords, bows, saddles, armor (leather, chain, plate) and siege engines

T3 are the basic materials gathered by cotters: NON-rare minerals, herbs, hides and grapes

T4 are the rare materials gathered by miners, skinners and herbalists: RARE minerals, herbs and hides

T5 are the equipments produced for troops/commanders: Special horses, weapons and armor

Basic Harvesting

There's a second way to attain more basic res: harvesting. To do this you'll need a Marketplace and some Caravans. You can train Caravans from the Market, each van requires 1 horse and some gold. Once you have your vans, you'll need to search around the World Map for some resources. The easiest way to locate them at first is to 'uncheck' the boxes on the bottom, uncheck the “Sovereignty”, “Moving Units” and “Terrain” boxes, as well as the Labels boxes: “Regions”, “Towns” and “Hubs” (if those are in the way). What you're left with is towns, encampment and resources. Now just look around and you'll (hopefully) find some resources, which look just like the pictures in your resources bar. Now the tricky part, you want to find one that does not have a caravan there. If you see a caravan there that means someone else is harvesting there and you shouldn't go there. Once you find an empty resource on the map, click it and then click the option “Harvest Resources”. You'll get an option to send some Caravans, send however many you have and they'll march off and gather that res for you!

Advanced Harvesting

There are other items to gather on the map beside basics. Basic materials are gathered by Cotters, which are trained in the Cottages. Rare materials are gathered by special units, Miners gather rare minerals; Skinners gather rare skins dropped by defeated mobs; Herbalists gather rare herbs. These materials are used in crafting special equipment for your commanders and troops. There are a myriad of items you can create (all unlockable from research) that all have different effects when equipping, such as raising attack on certain terrain or biomes or increasing the marching speed of the troop. For more detailed info see the links below.

Links on Harvesting:

Step by Step Guide to Harvesting Resources by Mara Zira:

Gathering: The Basics by Rill:

4) Advanced Resources

Once you have a good supply of res coming in, it's time to start working on some advanced resources, which are used to trade off or train units with. The most common and needed resource in the game is Cows. This is because they are used in the making of Saddles, which tend to be a bottle-neck in production (that is a town making Cows and Saddles will not be able to make enough Cows to keep up production at 100%, and you need Saddles for many important and useful units). There are several different advanced resources to build in your town and you can attempt to build all of them from one town, however, in later stages of the game, you may find that it is easier and more efficient to focus on only a few per town.

Early things to start producing are Cows, Horses, Spears, Saddles, Leather Armor and Beer. These come from buildings that can be researched without any prerequisites (Cows and Horses don't even need any research). As I said, Cows tend to trade well in the market, but they are also a very important part of your personal production, because of this, you shouldn't trade off 100% of your cows on the market (unless that is what you wish to do).

Later items to make are Bows, Swords, Chain Armor, Plate Armor and Books. The last advanced resource is siege blocks, and these are used for sieges, more on that later. All of these adv. res have many uses (unless you're an elf, then you don't need Plate Armor ever) and are nice to have a back-up stockpile of.

Links on Advanced Resources:

Trading For Dummies by Squill:

5) Defense

You don't need to worry about being totally wiped out in Illy (not unless you are really really rude). However, there are players who like PvP or who just want to steal your res. Most likely your first encounter will be in the form of Diplomats (diplos) doing something sinister in your town. Don't panic, it's not the end of the world. There are things we can do to help prevent this from re-occurring over and over.

First and most effective is Runes, you need a Mage Tower and some research. The research you're looking for is Runes and should be the first “school” of magic you research. The spell you want is Mark of Slaying, you'll find it under the Runes research tree. Once researched find the Cast Spell (lightning bolt) satellite under the Magic Seal (looks like a bluish orb). Click on Mark of Slaying (or an advanced form if you're further along). This will open up and show you a whole page of stats. Most importantly you'll note the casting cost. You'll need some basic res, mana, a book and a cow. Click Prepare Spell and there ya go. You have an active rune in your town, the next hostile units that arrive will be blasted to oblivion!

A secondary defense measure you can use is to build a Vault for a couple levels (max level 3). This will keep a handful of your resources from being stolen, however, you should note that most players advise you to not build this up too high as you may later replace it with a more useful building.

If that isn't working, then you may have a more serious problem and should seek help through GC or people you have met.

Links on Defense:

Basic Self Defense for New Players by Rill:

6) Magic

Yes, you've already learned about Runes, but there's more to Magic than just Runes (though Runes are the most useful school of magic!). First there are 3 schools of magic: Runes, Blights and Geomancy. Runes are defensive and Blights are offensive, while Geomancy is for economic boosts.

Runes have 3 classes: Destruction, Seeking and Fear. The most useful Runes to have cast in your towns at all times are Destruction Runes (Mark of Slaying, Death Rune, Killing Glyph, Ward of Destruction). Destruction Runes are so useful because they will hit armies, thieves, saboteurs and assassins (they will not trigger on scouts or spies). Seeking Runes (Mark of Seeking, Seeking Rune, Seeking Glyph, Ward of Intentions) are useful for when you know a specific type of Diplo unit is heading for your town. They hit for harder but will only activate on a specific unit type (scout, spy, thief, saboteur, assassin). Fear Runes are absolutely worthless. They will fail to do anything at all if the number of incoming units exceeds the number the rune can handle. NEVER EVER CAST FEAR RUNES!

Blights are used during war and aggression. They limit the res production of enemy towns or destroy the advanced resources stored there. These are not to be used casually! If you would like to test them out, use them on an alt account or ask some friend if you can cast on them. THE CASTING OF ANY OF THESE SPELLS COULD START A WAR!

Geomancy spells are good for boosting your economic output. These spells boost your towns res production (there are ones for Wood, Clay, Iron, Stone and Food). Typically you will have food boosts (Spirit of Nourishment, Gift of Nourishment or Nature's Bounty) cast in each of your towns.

Last note on magic: You can only cast 1 Rune and 1 Geomancy boost at a time per town. You cannot cast both a Destruction Rune and a Seeking Rune, nor can you cast Nature's Bounty and Gift of Nourishment.

Links on Magic:

Step by Step Guide to Using Illy Magic by Mara Zira:

7) Diplos

There are 5 different diplo units that you can train at the Consulate, and each has a special use: Scouts, Spies, Thieves, Saboteurs and Assassins. Besides these there is another special unit called a Messenger which is a consumable unit. These are used to send to a camped army so that you can change their orders (usually used to bring them back home). All diplo units can be used defensively to stop their own type of enemy diplo unit from succeeding in your town (the same works for your enemies) and have an upkeep cost of gold.

Scouts are used to gain information about army sizes and unit types. These get sent to NPC groups in order to learn exact unit types and numbers so that you can better plan how to attack them (what units you should send and how many). You can also figure out how many troops an enemy city (or inactive) has stationed there, as well as commanders and their levels.

Spies are used to gain information about enemy towns (or inactives). They will tell you what buildings are built and what levels each are at. The spies also find out how many resources (both regular and advanced) are being stored at a town. Both scouts and spies are immune to Killing Runes but can be targeted by Seeking Runes (also, enemy scouts will try to stop scouts and spies will stop spies, the same goes for all diplo units).

Thieves are used to steal resources from enemy towns. T1 Thieves can only steal basic resources (wood, clay, iron, stone, food) while T2 Thieves can steal anything and everything. Thieves do trigger Killing Runes. Thieving from a player is considered an act of war, so do so with caution.

Saboteurs are used to cancel the current build order in a town (some of the res used to build that structure will be returned to the building player). Like Thieves, Sabs trigger Killing Runes and are considered an act of war.

Assassins are used to kill the army commanders of enemies. If they successfully infiltrate a town that has a commander there, they will kill him, which causes leaderless, non-functioning armies. Of course, the use of assassins are considered an act of war and they will trigger any active Killing Runes.

Links on Diplos:

Questions about Thieves by Mandarins31:

8) Mysteries

Illy is full of mysteries, literally! Some of them have been solved through long hours of searching and cooperative brainstorming.

The wiki has solutions for the 3 solved mysteries: 2 of these are worthwhile for your towns: Steamtastic Brewery and Heroic Human Statue, and should be completed in each of your towns (yep, you have to do them more than once!).

There are also many unsolved mysteries: The Rift, The Misted Lands, The Heart of Corruption, Fortress of Shadows, Duraz KaragThe Mysterious No Food Zone, The Other No Food Zone and the Fortune Tellers (I can't put a link to these because they move around every day).

There are alliances wholly dedicated to working out these mysteries.

9) Armies

This is the meat of Illy strategy and not something that can easily be covered in any one guide. So, I will give a brief explanation on the workings of armies and let you experiment and research on your own.

To start with the basics, armies are made up of 1 or more commanders and any number of units. There are 4 different units in Illy, each with 2 tiers: Infantry, Ranged, Spears and Cavalry. These are all trainable from the Barracks, however you first must complete research for them all. Each unit has a different cost in advanced resources and have an upkeep cost of gold.

Once you have trained some units you will need to promote one into a commander, go to the Commanders satellite under the Military Seal. Form up an army (go to the Armies satellite) by assigning 1 or more commanders and then transferring troops from the town pool to the army. Now you can begin gaining experience for your commander(s). I will link some guides on Armies below.

Links on Armies/Commanders:

Advanced Attacking: a work in progress by Innoble:

Everything you need to know about commanders by Fluffy:

10) Sieges

Sieging is a section of military/armies and the point of this is to attack enemy (or inactive) towns with the intention of utter destruction or capture. When a siege is conducted on a town, the siege engines will attack the town's buildings in an attempt to reduce their levels. Once a town's population has been decreased to 25% of it's total pop when the siege began, the besieger is given the option to Raze or Capture. Razing a town completely destroys it while Capturing will hand the town's ownership to you. However, in order to capture a town the player must first have the ability to have a new town (you must have the current pop requirement to settle a new town in order to capture). More specific details on Siege can be found in one of the linked guides.

In order to prep for a siege army, you first need to level up your Barracks to 20. This unlocks the Siege Encampment tech, which is necessary to conduct a siege. You also must be able to train T2 siege engines, which requires level 15 Barracks and the War Machines tech. Siege engines are built from the Barracks and require horses, gold and siege blocks.

Sieges get reported to GC when they land, alerting everyone who is being hit, what town is being hit, who sent the siege and from what town. Most of the siege reports that you see in GC are people either razing or capturing towns from inactive members. So, even though you will see siege reports every day, it's not really an exciting event.

I should not, however, that sieges are extremely hurtful. In a matter of hours, weeks of work can be erased and in a matter of days a player could be left with 0 population. For this reason, no one should take sieges lightly.

Links on Siege:

Seiging an abandoned town – are ther any how tos? by plum (scroll and find the post by Rill, detailed explanation on sieging):

11) Sovereignty

Now for the last, and arguably, most complex item in Illy. Sovereignty (sov) is the claiming of the land surrounding your town. Once you claim ownership of this land, you can build a specialized structure on that square that will boost some production in your town. What is boosted depends on what you build, and there are a lot to choose from. I will link more involved guides on sov, which I suggest you take a look at when you are finally ready to start claiming your little piece of Illy. Here I will give a brief overview.

Before you begin there are some things you should know about sov. First claiming land costs and upkeep of gold and research points. How much depends on the distance from your town and level of sov claimed. Next, you could have an upkeep of res, depending on what structure you put there.

The first step to claiming sov is to send an army to the desired sq around your home. Since the further away you go, the more it will cost you, you should choose 1 of the 4 squares (sq) adjacent to your town for your first sov. Send the army and have it camp there for some number of days (this process will take awhile). Once the army lands you can begin claiming sov there. Once you reach level 1 of claiming, you can begin building there. Building on sov takes days and goes faster when you have an army camped there (this is why your army was set to camp for days).

There are 2 types of structures you can place on sov: Resource Structures and Production Structures. Resource structures provide a flat bonus to res production in your town, the amount of this bonus depends on the value that sq has in regards to that res (Plains have a value of 5 for each res, so a res structure will give a 5% bonus at level 5). Production structures give you a boost in production speeds for adv res or units, but these cost you an upkeep of basic res that increases every level. If you look around the map at the various squares, some of them will mention a +x% to some production. For example deer plots will give you a +1% Horse production per level of Farrier. For this sq, if you build a Farrier here you will get a larger bonus to horse production than if you build a Farrier elsewhere.

There is much more to sov than this, and you should really read more specific guides on Sov before attempting this on your own. It is a fairly complex game feature, but one that can really help your town out. Below are some links to good guides on Sov with more detail and more specifics.

Links on Sovereignty:

A Guide to Sovereignty by Manannan:

Step by Step Guide to Claiming Sovereignty by Mara Zira:

12) Random other items

Trading: When trading on the marketplace, sellers are shown at the top ranked in order by price/item, buyers are on the bottom also sorted by price/item. A market history is located above the sellers and can be changed to display various amounts of time.

Discoveries: There are an unknown number of Discoveries out there to be found. Currently we know there are 2 from Quests (1 from each type: Trade and Diplo): Block and Tackle which increases the load speed of vans while harvesting (from Trade quests) and Inquisitive Populace which increases the sight to hostile diplomats. When you finally settle your 10th town you unlock the Famine Management discovery which increases your food production in your captial by 10%. Lastly there are 2 from solving mysteries: Allembine Research, received from completing the Heroic Human Statues, which increases your research point income by 5 per library level (so a level 10 library will grant an extra 50 rp/hr) and Gnome-Brew, from completing the Steamtastic Brewery, which reduces the amount of food needed to produce Beer.

Quests: Building a Tavern and researching in the Quest tree can unlock quests. There are 2 types of quests that can be completed, Trade and Diplomatic. Each quest type has a hidden Discovery to find that gives your town a permanent bonus of some kind. To see what quests are available to you, locate the Scroll satellite under the World Map Seal. For more information on quests, see the link below.


You've made it through the newbie guides and are a fully-fledged Illy player! You may still have more questions about things (well you should at least!), and as you know GC is always there to help.

If you feel unclear about any of the above or would like to leave comments and concerns, please contact me: tallica in game. If you need a review, visit the Newbie Guide Part 1.

Now for all those helpful links!

There have been many players who have compiled lots and lots of information about Illy, some of which you may find helpful. Visit these links for more detailed guides on individual topics:

HonoredMules's Unofficial Illyriad Wiki:


Basic Self Defense for New Players by Rill:

City Movement:

Where Do I Put My City? A Guide to Real Estate by Rill:

Guide to Exodus by Cerex Flikex:


Step by Step Guide to Harvesting Resources by Mara Zira:

Advanced Resources:

Trading For Dummies by Squill:


Step by Step Guide to Using Illy Magic by Mara Zira:


Questions about Thieves by Mandarins31:


Advanced Attacking: a work in progress by Innoble:

Everything you need to know about commanders by Fluffy:


Seiging an abandoned town – are ther any how tos? by plum (scroll and find the post by Rill, detailed explanation on sieging):


A Guide to Sovereignty by Manannan:

Step by Step Guide to Claiming Sovereignty by Mara Zira:


Step by Step Guide to Quests by Mara Zira:

Edited by GM Luna - 17 Aug 2012 at 19:57
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Avion Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Jul 2012 at 17:33
Very good summary - thank you!
Suppose they gave a war and nobody came?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ser Sigis The Dread Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Dec 2017 at 23:25
This was very well done overview of some advanced topics of game play. 
     Thank you for this helpful guide and I look forward to implementing some these tactics. Also really appreciate all of the links. The sections on Exodus/Relocation & Gathering really helped me grasp some concepts I was wrestling with. Also the rune and magic sections really helped dip my toe in this ever growing pool of depth in this game. As always I appreciate the time and effort put into these guides.

~Ser Sigis The Dread (Sig or Sigis if you prefer)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Antivirus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Feb 2019 at 07:11
OMG! Yes, the info is basic and good. Except where newbies are advised to go to GC if you need help. You might get lucky and find a kind hearted player there but you are more apt to find bullies, trolls and war mongers there! That is where they hang out. They do it because they have been here for years and have grown big and can do it with immunity. You are more likely to be belittled if you ask for help there or complain about being attacked. I have been here a little over two years and I know this from personal experience, if a bully/war monger wants your city he will take it or harass you until you move it. So my advice is for you to not settle your city near or around any player who has multiple cities in that area. Pic a site with level 7 food and resources appropriate to your military goals. Make sure there is good sov in the area appropriate to your goals (make sure you have goals). Make clusters of cities of at least two or three and make at least one a military city for protection. Join a good training alliance. After the training pick an alliance based on the NAP they have with other players in your area. If you are joining an alliance only for protection, forget it! They will help you with resources and knowledge but when push comes to shove the reality is no alliance (with the exception of war mongers) will go to war to protect you! They avoid war at all costs especially the larger alliances. Everything is done by Diplomacy and what isn't done by Diplomacy just doesn't get done. That's just the harsh reality.
So in general I would keep a low profile, be polite and stay off of GC!
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