Saturday, September 24, 2011

Attacking vs Defending

1. Attacking vs Defending - As a general rule of thumb, the defender will typically have the advantage. This is due to a couple things. The first is that there is a restriction on the number of troops that can attack. (Your rally point allows you to send different number of troops based on the level) This restriction doesn't apply to defending troops. Thus, if you have 300k archers defending your city, they will always have the numeric superiority over attackers (which max out at 227k with level 11 Rally Point and an Aura of Conquest). The second advantage is that once you level up your Wall to a high enough level, you can build defenses on your wall.

When starting out (the first couple months on a domain)there will be people that can take you out relatively easy. Should you find yourself being attacked by a superior force, it's ok. You don't have to defend. You can set your defense to "Hide in Sanctuary" from your castle. None of your troops will die if you hide, however the enemy will then have free reign to get your resources. Early on in the game, it is wise to have a storehouse in each city and use it to protect your resources. If you have more resources than your storehouse can protect and find yourself being attacked, either cue up more troops, hide the resources in a nearby wild, or send it to a buddy.

Generally you don't want to defend early on unless you have a superior number advantage. You can always call for reinforcements from alliance mates to help kill incoming attacks but you are restricted to the number of waves equal to the level of your embassy. Also, you will have to feed those troops that are reinforcing you.

2. Matchups - We covered the basics on attacking vs defending, lets talk about the specifics. Each catagory of troop (there are 4 catagories) has their strength and weakness when matched up against other catagories. These strengths and weaknesses will help you make choices on what to attack with and what to avoid. You never want to send troops to their demise with no shot of dealing damage to the enemy.

Ranged troops - Basic ranged troop is the archer. The archer is probably one of the most effective and most used troop in the game. The advanced ranged troop is the ballista. The ballista can be a real powerhouse but it comes with the job of feeding them. Both are extremely effective against Melee troops (pike and swords) but both are suspect when dealing with Speed troop (Cavs and Heavy Cavs). Archers will kill both kinds of troops but you want to protect them (via melee troops) if you are facing Cavs or Heavy Cavs. Archers are also extremely useful for attacking barbarian camps.

Melee troops - I am not a big fan of melee troops for attacking purpose. Archers will generally kill them with no losses if the defender has sufficient quantities. They (pike) will kill defending Cavs and Heavy cavs at a cheaper cost than archers and with a little bit more effectiveness. But my preference is to use them more in a defensive position in protecting my cities archers from Speed units (once again Cavs and Heavy Cavs). You can use swords effectively against smaller quantities of archers, but I still prefer to use cavs or Heavy Cavs for that.

Speed Units - Cavs and Heavy Cavs. Overall great troops but definitely have disadvantages defending. Speed troops are extremely effective against ranged troops (archers and balls) as they use their speed to close the distance and nullify ranged troops advantage. Watch out though as Heavy Cavs take a LOT of ore to build. That same speed that is an asset in attacking is a disadvantage in defending. The disadvantage is that your Cav is the first troop (after the scout...which is the fastest troop) to defend and the Heavy Cav is the second to defend. The disadvantage is that if the other player does a scouting against you and sees that you have Cavs and HC, he can send a couple waves of pike to kill them all and allow him easier access to your city. Many people will move Cavs and Heavy Cavs to a nearby wild or into a city that isn't defending when they aren't online.

So to review......Ranged is strong against Melee, but weak against Speed. Speed is weaker against Melee but strong against Ranged attacks. Melee is stronger against Speed but very suspect against Ranged.

There are other factors that effect the outcome such as research levels in your labs, does the defender have any xbows defending the city, and is there a quantity advantage. Make no mistake....archers kill pike easily....but if you send 10k archers to kill 100k pike, you are going to lose.

3. Sequence of events - When attacking or defending, there is a sequence that takes place based on the speed factors. Certain troops attack and defend before others and that is based on how the game was built.

When attacking the fastest troop will attack first (or attempt to). Think of it this way. You have a group of troops that is being sent to attack a fort. You have some pikeman, some swordsman and some archers. As soon as you see the fort, your troops attack. The first thing that happens is your archers stop walking and grab an arrow. The swordsman (who wear heavy armor) continue marching towards the target...while the archers are knocking and firing their bow. The pikeman who are much lighter than the swordsman and thus faster, run out infront of the swordsman...and the archers who are firing their bow. So that means that the pikeman will reach the target first, followed by the swordsman, and then the archers will stay put and continue to shoot arrows.

Sequence for look at that situation for the defender. Same basic rule applies but we are going throw in a few more troops. Scouts are the fastest troop in the game. If the defender has scouts in his or her city, they will run out faster than any other troop and defend against the closest enemy. In this scenario...lets say there are scouts, cavs, pike, swords and archers defending. Scouts will run out first to fight the advancing pike (which were first of the attackers). This is not a good matchup at all for the defender. As a matter of fact, you want to avoid this happening if you are defending at all costs. So, the scouts die on the end of the pikes and as pin cushions to the attacking archers (as the archers will attack the closest defender). Right behind them are the quickly moving Cavs followed by the running pike and huffing and puffing swordsman carrying all that armor. Oh by the way, back in the fort, the archers are returning fire at the advancing enemy. So the scouts are dead and the cavs close the distance next. The attacking archers are now firing at the cavs (advantage to the Cavs except for the pike and swords inbetween the Cavs and archers. The defending archers continue to shoot arrows at the pikeman until they are dead or until the pike kill the cavs and advance into the fort. In this scenario, lets say the pike kill a few of the Cavs but succumb to the arrows. The Cavs will then continue to defend until they are dead or all the swordsman are killed. The defending archers will now target the swordsman who are engaged fighting the Cavs. The defending pike and swordsman are still running out to defend against the attacking troops. Lets say the swords kill the cavs. They will run towards the pike who are the next fastest defending troop. The attacking archers will now target the pike (advantage attacking archer and attacking swords at this point...not factoring in quantities and the fact there are defending archers back in the fort now shooting at the swords). So the attacking swordsman engage the pike while the defending swordsman are running to close the distance. Archers continue to fire at the closest enemy. This continues until either the attacker is defeated or until the attacker takes down the fort and loots it.

Understanding the sequences based on speed and the matchup strengths and weaknesses will give you a better chance when faced with either attacking someone or defending against an incoming attack.

Some of this information is para-phrasing so to speak and some of it is exactly how it happens but all in all, it is very accurate. Don't forget the X factors (research levels at the lab and defending xbows) as they will change battle outcomes very easily.

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