Research Phase Guide

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Guide accurate as of Feb 20th 2010.

When you create a new mage, you will be in the "research phase" which is the portion of the game where you need to research constantly before you are able to actually start playing(attacking other players).


  • Disband all units
  • Destroy all barracks
  • Build up to 299 workshops, turn by turn, explore if necessary
  • Set your skill to something that fits your playstyle(#appa on if you are not sure)
  • Depending on your color, you may choose to select to research blue spells first, in order to get Concentration, or research some of the easier spells in order to get a higher spell level.

Your spell level determines how strong your spells are, the chance of casting spells(especially off color ones) and how many units you summon per spell. Without a max spell level, you essentially cannot compete in the game, unless it is the start of a new set and am trying to rush to the top first.

Start of Research

Taking a look at either the status report or the pop indicator at the top of the screen, try and match up max residential pop and food production. 1 farm provides 500 food and 100 pop space, 1 town provides space for 1,000 pop space. The ideal ratio is around 3 farms to 1 town(fine tune as necessary). 1 person = 1 gold generated. Keeping your pop at 100k total in the research phase should fix money issues. Wilderness/most other buildings will create a bit more max residential pop, but it's not very significant.

Depending on which server you are playing on, the moment you manage to make enough gold for the minimum amount to bid for Favor, you should do so. You need to go into black market->altar of darkness and give the minimum amount(10 mill on Arch, 15 on standard speed servers like guild, 20 mill on fast servers like blitz) to Science. If you get a message that you suceed, Science will give you an item generation boost, which is important in your research phase as item generation is dependant on number of guilds(which you have a lot of as you are researching). It's about a 50-50 chance to suceed or fail, and if you fail the god usually just remains silent.

Next, keep exploring, building guilds as you go. Do NOT spend more than exactly 120 turns, this is the limit for "apprentice protection" where you cannot be attacked. Once you hit 120 turns, save turns till you hit the max. You should also build some nodes after coming out of protection. At around 2,000 land, you should end up with around 150-200 nodes, and a lot of mana. At this point stop exploring and summon up some cheap fodder(zombies are preferable if you have adjacent access to them, as they cost no gold). At least 20,000 zombies would be a good idea.

If you have a sufficient spell level(at least 100+ if blue is not your color), you can try to cast concentration, which will help speed up your research, you need to have the mana and nodes for this however, and should recast it every 100 SL or so if you have the available mana(you need to dispel it first, or the spell will take your mana/turns and simple fizzle).

After 2,000 land

Check rankings, and click on "80%-125%". In the options menue, you can also set it to be the default setting, and can also hide mages that are unattackable by you(in the rankings page). Starting from the bottom, attempt to pillage each mage once and once only (unless you want to start a vendetta). If you suceed, you get gold and an item, if you fail, the defenders will attack your raiding force as they run away. To defend against a pillage, it is a good idea to have at least 1% of your land in forts and at least 10 troops per acre(dependant on army size, not power), a better ratio is 15 troops per acre. You should do this everytime you get max turns, aka every "run", this will help to generate more gold in order to get favor with Science, and items for future use. If you are stuck with more turns after that, you can either use active research(if your server has it) or simply geld(generate more gold).

When pillaging or attacking, it is best to attack a mage only once in 24h at most, anything else is a serious breach of etiquette and is known as "multi attacking", which generally gets you death listed. Certain mages/guilds have specific rules of engagement(ROEs) that you should take note of as well. Exceptions : When you know a mage is inactive(remained at the same power for days without moving, etc), feel free to take full advantage of it.

At this point if you have researched the appropriate complex level spell of your color, you can attempt to summon and keep a defense stack. Generally, for each color it's the following :

  • Black : Vampires or Wraiths
  • Blue : Djinni
  • Green : Treants
  • Red : Efreeti
  • White : Arch Angels

And some good fodder to defend against pillages. You may also want to assign some very cheap items/spells that you will not use later on(pouch of herbs, war drums, powder keg) for defence, to be used when someone attacks with over 50% of your force, under assignments.

Things to take note of

  • Do NOT build more than 1% of your land in forts, they will massively inflate your power, making you appear stronger than you really are.
  • You CAN explore more than 2k land, but your chances of being farmed will go up dramatically, especially as land makes up a significant part of your power. I would not advise this until you have a decent defence stack at the very least.
  • It is almost certain you will be farmed in this phase. There is nothing you can do about it unless you have a guild protecting you, just explore and rebuild whatever you lost. Its more important not to get gold/items stolen via pillages at this point.
  • If you see a cheap Sage type hero in the Tavern of Heroes, you should bid on it, Sages have a skill that speed up research significantly, and since low level(below 16) sages provide no benefit past the research phase, the only real demand for a Sage is at the start of a set(when everyone is researching). Make sure not to purchase a hero less than level 9, as that is when they get the first level in a skill.
  • When you have finished researching, you can demolish most of your guilds(keeping 5-10% for item/skill point generation), and start building barirers/forts, as well as nodes and farms/towns as necessary. #appa on would be more helpful at this point.