This guide is for new players who are just coming out of the seven day protection period and are facing for the first time attacks from players looking for easily won resources.
It is assumed that you have spent the last seven days preparing for this. You have built a strong economy and have a healthy hourly flow of resources and gold. You have built as many traps, abatis, and archer towers as possible. You have a truce agreement or two and a handful of other buffs available. You have at least a level 5 beacon tower coupled with a mid level in informatics. You have constructed two or three warehouses per city.
You will be facing overwhelming numbers from your opponents. The key to survival will not be attempting to outgun the enemy. You must protect your assets- both military and resource.
1. Close your city gates. Although you will be vulnerable to enemy scouts, the fact is: you don't have not much of value, anyway. Closing your gates will allow you to conserve your army for offensive operations: the conquest of valleys, raiding barbarian villages, and counter-attacks.
2. Your wall defenses will be decimated by a superior attacker or group attacks. While this is discouraging, you must continue to rebuild your wall defenses. Strike a balance between improving your economy, building military units, and rebuilding wall defenses. The strategy here is to make attacks on your city an expensive and bothersome proposition for aggressors. Their military assets will be better used elsewhere on easier targets.
3. Attacks effect loyalty and public grievance. This is where a healthy economy will come in handy. Use comforting to keep your loyalty up and public grievance down. Disaster relief is an inexpensive way to do this. Reduce your taxes as needed post attack to increase loyalty if you are unable to use comforting.
4. Spend resources on intelligence, namely beacon towers and informatics technology. You will gain acceptable intelligence reports around level 7. If you know the size of the force being sent against you, you will know whether or not to counter attack by opening your gates.
5. Hide your gold. Use the marketplace: place a low bid on an expensive commodity, ie. 0.1 for lumber. Hit the max button, then post. Your gold will be held in the marketplace until you cancel the bid. This is known as banking your gold and is the safest way to hold on to your gold while under attack. This works best on a level 2+ marketplace as you will still be able to conduct trade even while banking your gold.
July 1, 2009 Edit: You cannot use the marketplace to hide your gold. Alternatively, load transports or workers with resources that you want to keep, then send them to another city or valley. After the attack has passed, recall your transports or workers.
6. Build and upgrade warehouses. Most attackers cannot loot goods under the protection of a warehouse. This is the easiest and most cost effective way to protect your resources. When you are able, research Stockpile technology. This will expand your warehouse capacity. Give emphasis to lumber and iron- the two most valuable and sought after strategic resources.
Counter Attacks and Loss Prevention Strategy
It is a common attack strategy to send a force to wipe out wall defenses, then send a couple of lightly armed forces later to pillage. Close your city gates for the first wave. If your tower indicates a smaller force approaching after the main force, determine whether you can defeat the oncoming wave. Do this by using the exercise function on your rally point. Open your gates and destroy the pillaging force(s). Your tower may be giving you estimates for the oncoming forces. The following chart will be helpful in decoding this:
Scout your enemy's valleys and check for occupying forces. If you can spare the manpower, attack undefended valleys. Withdraw your forces after your counter attack. This will hamper production of the very resources being used to attack you. It will force your opponents to dispatch forces to retake the valley. These forces will be unavailable to attack you.
Lastly, use your Truce Agreement item. This item will not be effective on forces that are already inbound. You will receive a 12 hour reprieve from attacks, but you will be unable to scout or attack others. I suggest applying the truce agreement immediately after protection expires. An extra 12 hours of immunity will allow you further develop your economy and military assets.
Diplomacy and Alliances
A very good way to discourage attacks is to join an alliance. Look for one well established in your area and contact the officers via mail. There may be conditions for entry: prestige, gold, resources. An strong alliance is a good deterrent and your alliance may garrison troops in your cities to aid your in your defense. Your alliance may also provide resources for you to improve your defenses.
Contact those who are attacking you with mail. They may be under the impression that you have abandoned your city. Tell them that you are an active player, and a new player. You may be offered a spot in an alliance. You may buy yourself some time. If they are aggressive, stall them. Ask for some time to consider your options. Do not pay tribute. Any resources you give to other players may be used against you!
It is possible to become strong even under constant attack from others. Be patient. Do not be discouraged. You will prevail and soon you will be able to repay those who ruthlessly attacked you in kind.
Use sound strategy, be consistent, involve others, counter attack.