Thursday, November 24, 2016

How to Kill Your Way to Capturing a City

Yesterday, Rill made some comments on the Illyriad forums about new player sieges. The Illyriad Community™ frequently warn small players about the expense of armies. These admonitions are presented without any numbers or context. In GC, these ominous statements are usually followed with a recommendation to grind out resource plot upgrades.

Since you all know that I adore both weapons and maffs, I am going to set the record straight.
Rill wrote:

To get a level 20 barracks you'll need a fairly high level warehouse.  The resource requirements for a warehouse and barracks are not insignificant.  If you are planning to get the resources for them through trade, you might want a higher level marketplace to allow you more caravans.  Other than trade, the only reasonable way to get those resources is either time or being part of an alliance.

If you plan to use your own siege engines, upkeep for them is fairly expensive, so you'll also want to have some gold for that.  Each one takes around half a day to build, and you'll want a minimum of 5. With 5 siege engines it will take a day or two to complete the siege, plus travel time and the 12-hour setup period.

If you intend to execute all of this on your own without alliance or other support, it would be difficult to gain the required gold (for resources, supplies and troop maintenance) in a short amount of time without purchasing prestige and selling it for gold on the market.

All in all, sieging and capturing a second city on your own can't really be described as "quick."  But good luck with your efforts! Look forward to seeing how you do.

Let's get something straight. Your first city is garbage. With the exception of a human 5x5 resource plot layout, all the other races begin with a worthless foundation. At some point, you are going to exodus that city, and rip everything inside back down to level 12. Your first city is a platform to learn about the game, explore some options, and then settle or capture a real city. I always recommend capture. Personally, I find no joy in the boring grind of the early research and resource plots. You've already done that once with your starter city. The map is littered with better cities, ripe for the taking. So right off the bat, this new player has the correct idea, and I always respect a little self sufficiency.

Do you need an alliance to build a level 20 barracks? Heck no. A good alliance will definitely make it easier to get free resources, but it isn't necessary. That ominous gold cost isn't really so menacing when you understand how the Illyriad markets work.  It takes approximately 1.5 million of each resource to build a Warehouse 17 and a Barracks 20. Let's call it 6 million total. You can usually buy resources for around 1 gold per unit, depending on your area. So how do you get the gold?

Cotters. You heard me right, cotters. Those little harvesting scrubs that you can build on your very first day in Illyriad. The market prices for basic minerals and basic herbs fluctuate between 150-300 gold per unit. Every day, a single cotter can pick up 100 resource units, for 15000-30000 gold per day. They can work in teams of 4 on a mineral or herb location. So your tiny settlement with 20 cotters can harvest 300000-600000 gold worth of minerals and herbs per day. That's equivalent to about 75000-150000 of each basic resource daily. N00bs, do you have any idea how long it takes to grind on resource plots until you produce 3000/hour of each resource? A damn eternity, and it will mostly go to waste when you rip down your crappy starter town, because the real production kicks in after level 12.

But wait, there's more. You see, since you will be focusing on your Barracks, you will quickly get the benefit of hunting. Basic hides sell for 2500-3500 gold per unit. Even a modest kill will yield 50-100 hides, which can be collected with a single cotter. Your barracks research will yield several excellent options for hunting: advanced bows at 9, basic cavalry at 11, advanced infantry at 13. By assembling a proper hunting army and following my Basic Hunting Guide, you can supplement your herb and mineral harvesting and earn even more money. Efficiently killing animals is almost free, and is far more entertaining than grinding basic resource plots.

So how expensive are these siege engines? Not very. A catapult will cost about 12000-15000 gold to build. The hourly cost varies per race, around 150/hour, which is only 3600/day. Five will run you about 18000/day, or about 100 minerals or herbs. You can see why this isn't a big deal, right? That's a single cotter worth of gold, and you can easily support 20 cotters.

Is this method slow? Nope. You can complete the Barracks 20 and the Siege Encampment research in about 7 days. If you insist on building your own siege weapons, that will be another 3 days. Factor in some inefficiency, and a determined player can be ready to capture in about 2 weeks. It's probably the single fastest way to acquire a good city. When you are ready, just ask politely in GC if anyone can help you capture a decent city. Ignore anyone who starts giving you the speech about grinding resource plots and receiving gifts.


Materials cost for WH17, B20: about 6,000,000 gold equivalent
Upkeep for 5 catapults: 18000 gold/day
20 cotters per day produce: 300000-600000 gold

It's a no brainer. Your first city is disposable. Harvest and kill your way to a Barracks 20, then capture a worthwhile city. You should be there in only 2-3 weeks. This method is much faster than the FarmVille grinding recommended by the Illyriad Community™. If you need help, just speak up in GC and eventually an actual military player will help you. Until next time, my dear cannon fodders:

Misbehave. Kill lots of stuff.

<^^^^^^^^||==O    Skint Jagblade


  1. This method definitely works! When I was a newb in NS I was making millions with cotters. The bottleneck of this DIY project is the pitiful amount of resources that you're able to transport on your own when you start the game. Get players to sell you resources and deliver them to you with their vans, rather than try and buy off the market. With determination it's totally doable.

  2. ^^^ It's very true that the marketplace is your early bottleneck. You could also put up town buy orders which only require one caravan of yours to carry the gold. Would have been great to know :]

    I effectively quit making non-food resource plots a week or two into the game and still haven't started 6 months in. As soon as I started to drown in gold from herbs and minerals I racked up my caravans to where I could buy enough to build a 20 barracks in my second town. From a lucky siege on an inactive town that had level 20 plots I have one with as much production as my other cities together that's been feeding three other towns. Population and food are too much more valuable than basics to focus on regular plots until you have multiple cities or just get tired of buying it.

    1. That's a much more entertaining approach than grinding resource plots.

      When you run 20-25 cotters, what you're really exploiting is that big crafters can't field many cotters. They consume more herbs and minerals than they can hope to harvest with 1-2 cotters per city. Most of them have fully built cities, and are overflowing with basic resources because they focus on city size and food. So they are happy to swap basics for herbs and minerals and hides. Simply speaking up in GC and advertising your wares is usually enough to get a full load of basics in exchange for cotter items. No buy order required (although that's another effective method).

      In Night Squires, I ran a capital, a single 25000 population skinner city, and five cotter towns. At the time, herbs cost 300, beer 100, spears 100. So every cotter could harvest the equivalent of 150 kobolds per day. I was running five towns with 20 each, so that was about 15,000 kobolds per day with hardly any effort.

    2. That is a good playstyle... man. Alt / low key account.