Tuesday, December 27, 2016

New Moon: Phase 1 Training

Congratulations Thunderdome students, for completing the first full moon PvP cycle. You have now been hacking away at each other for almost two weeks. At this point, you are certainly starting to realize the difference between theoretical knowledge (represented by casual discussion, GC, the forums) and the realities of Illyriad combat. That's good! You have taken your first steps into a larger world.

Now the new moon has risen, and rationality overtakes chaos. Our first true training phase will be split into two activities: timing exercises and army knowledge. All the Phase 1 timing exercises will be done with caravans, so that everyone can participate. No excuses. Army knowledge will be measured via written test. You will complete the questions and send me the answers privately in Slack.

Army Knowledge Questions

Day One
  1. How many living commanders can you have in a single city?
  2. How many dead commanders can you have in a single city?
  3. What is the single most important commander skill?
  4. What is your favorite commander skill?
  5. Which types of commanders are used for PvP army defense?
  6. Which types of commanders are used for PvP army attack?
  7. How many armies can you build in a single city?
Day Three
  1. What do we regard as defense units in Illyriad?
  2. What do we regard as attack units in Illyriad?
  3. Which terrain(s) most favor infantry? bows? spears? cavalry?
  4. What is the bonus from a level 20 wall?
  5. Why is the "surround by plains" method of city placement so popular?
Day Five
  1. Under what conditions do you attack with cavalry in Illyriad?
  2. Under what conditions do you defend with cavalry in Illyriad?
  3. Under what conditions do you attack with infantry in Illyriad?
  4. Under what conditions do you defend with infantry in Illyriad?
  5. Under what conditions do you attack with bows in Illyriad?
  6. Under what conditions do you defend with bows in Illyriad?
  7. Under what conditions do you attack with spears in Illyriad?
  8. Under what conditions do you defend with spears in Illyriad?
Day Seven
  1. If you had to suffer a cavalry attack, what units would you choose to defend, and on what terrain?
  2. If you had to suffer an infantry attack, what units would you choose to defend, and on what terrain?
  3. If you had to suffer a bow attack, what units would you choose to defend, and on what terrain?
  4. If you had to suffer a spear attack, what units would you choose to defend, and on what terrain?
  5. If you didn't know what would attack, what units (or unit mix) would you choose to defend, and on what terrain?
Day Nine
  1. How many troops will be blown up by the standard Ward of Destruction?
  2. What building reduces the upkeep cost of infantry? bows? spears? cavalry?
  3. How many military buildings are common in a military city?
  4. What is the point of military sovereignty?
  5. What is considered the typical military sov layout on a military city?
  6. How much faster will a level 20 barracks build troops than a level 1 barracks?
Day Eleven
  1. Which troop types are commonly regarded as the best for each race?
  2. Are there any other troops for each race that you regard highly?
  3. What unit(s) are the most flexible, efficient attackers in Illyriad?
  4. Are t2 units always superior to t1 units? Explain your answer.
  5. What is the difference between Points Per Upkeep (PPU) and Points Per Hour (PPH)?
  6. Why do we prefer PPU/PPH when comparing categories of units?
  7. When is Points Per Upkeep most important?
  8. When is Points Per Hour most important?
Day Thirteen

You may change your answers to any of the above questions, reflecting your improved knowledge of the subject.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Commanders: Vitality, Healing, Defy Death

A cannon fodder in the Thunderdome training program asks:
Is there any reason to raise vitality on commanders when their damage is a percentage of troop casualty?

The short answer: my defensive PvP commanders have 3 levels of Vitality and Healing. I don't bother with much for my attack PvP commanders.

The long answer:

In a standard battle, the victor takes hit point losses equal to a percent of the army lost. The loser has their commanders killed, regardless of hit points. For large PvP attack commanders, there is one of two scenarios. 1. They succeed, in which case 100 hit points is sufficient, or 2. they fail and die, in which case all the extra levels in Vitality and Healing become extra resurrection hours. I don't launch big attacks that often, so Healing 50/day is more than enough.

I do use Vitality and Healing on my defense commanders. In particular, a siege camp or blockade will take many hits. You don't want your commanders to die from hit point loss, or your entire army will lose 10-15% defense effectiveness, and will lose the +50% speed bonus from Forced March. Losing that speed bonus is painful, especially if the survivors must march home over a long distance. I put 3 levels in Vitality and Healing for my PvP defensive commanders. That's enough to weather several hits. Losing over 200 hit points means your army has lost 75-90% troops, in which case the commanders will die anyway. I personally feel that it's useless to have a commander with 600 hit points. There aren't realistic scenarios where you could lose that many hit points and not have the army destroyed.

Take note, I do consider the siege commander to be an exception. While that commander is an attack PvP build, they are part of the siege camp. I would go as far as Vitality 5 and Healing 5 on that single commander, just because they are carrying the banner for a million troops.

Before anyone asks: Defy Death is junk. If I just lost 100000 kobolds in a particular army, there is no point to my commander having a 10% chance to survive. I can spend the two days on resurrection, because it will take a lot longer than two days to rebuild that particular siege army.

Until next time, cannon fodders:

Misbehave. Kill lots of stuff.

<^^^^^^^^||==O    Skint Jagblade

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Idea: Supply the World

Today in the pre-coffee gloom, I arrived at an unusual notion for supplying your military account. I'm sure there are many problems with this particular thought experiment. As with all such considerations, the value is not necessarily that it yields a great approach, but that it makes you think about the various factors in play.

Supplying the World

Centrum has a robust commodities market for basics and food. So what if you decided to just set up shop next to Centrum, and sell those resources for gold on a daily basis? The distance means that your caravans would travel a few minutes at most, allowing you to empty millions of resources per day directly into the central market.

Let's deal in approximate numbers. Prices hover around 0.75 for clay, iron, and stone. Wood is 1.0; food is 2.0. A typical level 20 resource plot will produce 2500 per hour; farmyards make 2000 food per hour. If you used a common 5/5/5/5/5 town, set to 0% taxes, that adds up to about 85000 gold per hour of ordinary materials. That's actually killer! A very well constructed gold farm will give you about 85000 gold per hour, and that's after you spend weeks building it into a huge city.

Further, let's assume that you construct the bare minimum buildings: warehouse, storehouse, marketplace, library, flourmill, (paddock), (common ground). That leaves you with 18 spots for cotters. There are large mineral deposits near Centrum, so you could easily average around 1200 minerals per day. That's another 7500 gold per hour, average.

Using my old setup of 1 capital at 20000 population, that easily allows for 5 commodity supply towns. That would allow gold generation of between 425000-450000 per hour with a very minimal account setup. If the capital contained 2-3 geomancer's retreats, that could boost resource output another 20% for all the commodity towns, taking the final tally to 510000-540000 gold per hour.

Many Flaws

Since this is a thought experiment, there are many flaws to the thinking.
  1. The biggest flaw is that commodities markets aren't really bottomless. If a player really started pumping 300000 of each basic resource into Centrum every single day, the market could saturate quite quickly. Prices might start to fall, or buy orders might dry up completely.
  2. It's a lot of effort to empty your entire inventory every two days.
  3. Gold farms can accumulate limitless gold. If you redline on basics and food, you lose the surplus.
  4. The cotters are minor money, but still a nice bonus income. It might be very hard to keep 90 cotters busy, even if you divide them into 20-25 teams of 4.
Still, it's worth considering that this might be a fairly easy way to generate 12-15 million gold per day. It doesn't cost much prestige to speed build the final levels of basic resource plots. You might need 250 prestige per city, which might sound like a lot, until you remember that 75 prestige sells for about 20 million gold. Building up the cities wouldn't take long at all. And who knows, it might be fun to be a commodity tycoon, trying to set prices on the single biggest market in Illyriad. That would allow your military main to focus on the two most important tasks in the game:

Misbehave. Kill lots of stuff.

<^^^^^^^^||==O    Skint Jagblade

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Announcing the Thunderdome PvP Arena!

I have already written about my belief that n00bs should be encouraged to explore PvP in Illyriad. You can find my comments in Let the n00bs fight! and Don't apologize for war. Clearly many people will always believe that endorsing n00b fighting is a bad idea. I'm not one to tilt at windmills, even when I disagree strongly with the muggles of the Illyriad Community™. So how can the situation be remedied? The 300 agree that if we are to champion PvP, then we must put forward a better solution.

Therefore, we are pleased to present Thunderdome, brought to you by 300.

Fight without fear of destruction...

Thunderdome is a training regimen of military exercises and close range PvP fighting. New and existing players are welcomed for instruction.  From the new moon to the full moon, students will complete lessons on basic military combat: self defense, troops, terrain, equipment, diplomats, sovereignty, timing, magic. Training is mandatory. From the full moon to the new moon, players will engage in a free-for-all within Thunderdome. The only restriction is no catapults. Everything else is legal within Thunderdome, per the rules established below.

...except for the events where you destroy each other.

At every solistice and equinox, the Thunderdome PvP format will change to Last Man Standing. Cities within Thunderdome will fight to the death with live siege armies until a victor emerges. Participation is open to all warriors across Illyriad, as long as they obey the rules of the battle arena. Students may remain and fight, or may exodus outside Thunderdome during the seasonal battles, at their option. Once the event is completed, Thunderdome will be wiped clean, and then a fresh cycle of training and fighting will begin anew.

Keep your allegiances.
Alliance membership is not required to train at Thunderdome. Participants may remain in their current alliances or remain neutral. Approval from the 300 is required to enter the Thunderdome combat zone, and we require that students join our Slack training channel. To keep the playing field level, players are limited to a single city in Thunderdome. Although this may seem restrictive, one city is more than sufficient to learn all the basics of Illyriad combat. Tiny n00bs are welcome to join Thunderdome, although it is recommended that they enter early in the season so they have time to complete research and participate in training.

Active participation is mandatory.

Players joining Thunderdome are expected to fully participate in all training and fighting. There is no exception for established players. It is completely possible to play Illy FarmVille for half a decade and not really know anything useful about Illyriad combat mechanics. Therefore, existing players who desire instruction on advanced tactics will first have to prove their knowledge of the basics (easy) and their actual combat proficiency (not so easy). Any player who stops participating in the new moon training lessons may be removed from Thunderdome, at the discretion of the 300.

The Laws of Thunderdome
  1. Permission from the 300 is required to enter Thunderdome.
  2. Alliance membership is not required.
  3. Participants must join the 300 Slack training channel.
  4. Approved players may teleport, exodus or settle a single city into Thunderdome.
  5. Players are limited to a single city in Thunderdome, regardless of account size.
  6. Cities must have at least two adjacent passable squares that are not plains or small hills.
  7. The 10 square rule does not apply within Thunderdome.
  8. PvP is full contact. Anything goes inside Thunderdome.
  9. Catapults are specifically prohibited, except during the Solstice and Equinox events.
  10. Internal armies, diplomats, magic and other hostile actions cannot exit Thunderdome.
  11. External armies, diplomats, magic and other hostile actions cannot enter Thunderdome.
  12. Caravans may freely enter and exit Thunderdome.
  13. Inactive players may be removed at the discretion of the 300.
Break a deal, face the wheel. If you can't remember 13 rules, there is only one sentence.

It begins now!

Thunderdome will begin taking applicants on 1 December 2016. Due to the first cycle starting so close to the winter solstice, the inaugural Thunderdome: Last Man Standing event will begin on the vernal equinox, 20 March 2017.

Send an in-game mail to Ten Kulch or Tinkinator to discuss your membership.

Misbehave. Kill lots of stuff.

<^^^^^^^^||==O    Skint Jagblade