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Tribal Wars - Becoming a Great player
Before I begin, let me tell you a little bit about myself. I began playing Tribal Wars back in 2007 when the Swedish servers opened. I have participated in a lot of different worlds, though I took a pause inbetween V15-V26. On the earliest worlds, I topped at around 25 million points and have 8 different world victories under my belt.
Tribal Wars is a free to play Massively Multiplayer Online Real Time Strategy Game (MMORTS) developed by InnoGames and published in Germany 2003. Today it is available in over 30 countries.
In Tribal Wars you start with a small village in a large, constantly changing world. You need building to produce resources, store resources and train soldiers and ultimately noblemen that will conquer other villages for you. Since there are thousands of players at the same time on each server, cooperation is key for survival. Therefore, tribes are formed between players that usually are geographically close to each other so that they can coordinate attacks and defense among each other.
So how do I become a great player?
There are two things that are extremely important if you wish to even make it up to the top 25 players in your world. First and foremost there is activity. Tribal Wars is an extremely time consuming game, and if you're not ready to spend many hours farming and raiding people every day, you won't have enough resources to upgrade your buildings quick enough. However if time is an issue, do not give up! I'll soon cover what a CO is and why it's important to get one, just hold on a bit.
The second important thing, that I'd argue that is the most important thing in the game is communication. You want to scout your area for tribes that are looking strong, but you want to avoid the tribes with the most players in them, especially if the world is fairly new. Those large tribes are usually mass-invite tribes with many but unskilled players. Instead, you want to check the compacter tribes with a lot of ODA (Opponents defeated as attacker) for their points and amount of players. Those tribes are usually made out of active and experienced players that know what they do. I recommend that you find their diplomat or recruiter and talk to him/her and explain that you're looking for an active tribe with good and friendly players.
A good sign for an experienced tribe is that they have a Skype group or some other kind of communication than the tribe forum, since it can be pretty bulky at times. This is also important, as you want to have a place where you can chit-chat with your tribemates and hopefully even become friends with them, since if you're going to win the world with them you may very well be stuck together for a couple years. Seriously, put in an effort to make friends, it will make the whole game a LOT more enjoyable.
This is also where you'll want to start looking for a CO-player. That is someone that hopefully has a different schedule or time-zone than you that you can share your account with. It is extremely important that you trust this person before you hand out your password to him. Having a CO-player makes life so much easier, since you can share the burden when your account is under heavy attack or when you must time attacks during difficult times etc.
The Market screen
This is very important if you wish to climb the ranking ladder. You must be as efficient as possible, which means that your storages must under no circumstances be full, because resources are wasted that way. You do also not want to upgrade building in vain. If you have lots of barbarians around you, focus on building lots of light cavalry and farm them instead of upgrading your resource production. If you're playing def for your tribe, you might want to consider rushing towards heavy cavalry and use them for farming and defense.
If you're attacked, make sure to use up all your resources before the attack lands. Then send away all soldiers, though you might want to keep ~50 def units and a couple spies to avert fakes. Ducking is, though, really important. It is often not worth defending a village unless you can get in over 40k def pop into it, as defensive villages take longer to rebuild than offensive.
Resource management gets less important later on in the game, though time becomes a more important resource then. You need to make sure that your units don't die in vain, since it can take weeks to rebuild a full village. Always keep this in mind with everything you do. For instance, if you decide to defend a village, who will loose the most time? Will it take longer for you to recover your losses than the enemy? If so, consider not defending.
World 42 Tribe Map
This is where good players really separate themselves from bad ones. Fighting can seem really simple, since everything is text based. But don't get fooled! The most two common maneuvers are noble trains and sniping. Depending on the world settings, they can be more or less difficult.
Noble train is when you send four or five attacks with nobles as tightly as possible, on most servers this is 50ms delay between them. This is now a feature in the base game, so no third-party plugins are neccessary for this.
Sniping is a much more difficult maneuver, especially for someone without training. I do still sometimes miss snipes on the first try, so don't get discouraged if you fail now and then. The concept of sniping is to send in defensive units inbetween the sharp attack at the beginning of the noble train and the end, since all the offensive units usually are in the first attack. This requires you to calculate EXACTLY when you're supposed to send the assistance and then you just need to click the 'Send' button so it arrives inside the train. This can require training, so one thing I often do is attack a barbarian village with a single unit and try to hit a specific millisecond. If the noble train lands between 150-300ms, try to attack a barbarian village so the attack lands at 151-199ms. If you succeed with that a couple times in a row, you just need to do the exact same thing but with defense to your attacked village to kill 3 of their noblemen.
Noble stacking is a much harder and more time consuming noble train. For it to work, you must have at least 4 villages with noblemen. Then you choose a time you want to conquer the village on and send the noble attacks one at a time to land on that exact time, much the way you do when sniping. This way, it's possible to have 4 noblemen land with just a couple milliseconds between them, making sniping pretty much impossible for anyone but the best players. This is also coordinateable between different players and this way you can even send a nuke with each nobleman if it's really important to take that village.
Re-takeing is when you attack your own village with a nobleman optimally just a second or so after a whole nobletrain has landed. This way, you'll re-conquer the village before the enemy even has time to send home his units that became stationed in your village, and since this almost always is offensive units, you'll both take back the village and kill a bunch off. I have survived a war when I was extremely outnumbered (10 to 1) for weeks just by sniping what I could and retaking the rest.
Faking is key in wars. A fake attack is an attack consisting of just 1 catapult/ram and maybe a couple spies as well. If you fake properly, you can disguise your real attacks and sometimes even nobles so that your enemy won't be able to react optimally. Say that you only send a single noble train against a player. He will know that it's a noble train that's probably sharp as well, and will be able to send in a lot of defense. But if you send a couple hundred fakes on all of his villages, he will have a lot of a harder time to distinguish where he should send his defense, and if you mix in nukes in the fakes he won't be able to be online 24/7 and duck all incoming attacks, which results in that some of your nukes will hit his nukes when they are home and you'll get some nice OBA. Just avoid sending all your fakes from the same village. 10-20 fakes from each village is what I usually go for, of course against different villages.
If you learn to master those maneuvers and are active enough, this will easily be able to take you far.
But please note, do not be afraid to experiment and think outside of the box! There are tons of strategies and maneuvers that are yet to be discovered. I did for instance a couple years ago build 1000 catapults in each of my def villages and used those ones both for fakes and completely crushing villages. This is sometimes even more effective than nobling it, since they cannot retake it and it can take weeks to rebuild it. Optimal targets for catapults are the farm, headquarters and clay pit. If you can destroy all three of those it'll take a while for that village to be productive again. Though nothing works as well for psycological warfare as sinking all of their villages to 26 points.