Empire Earth - EE Overviewby Ueriah
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One of the features for Empire Earth that I feel is a welcome change to the RTS genre is the sheer magnitude of versatility that is available for players in accordance to their own individual style of tactics and strategy. Or to put it simply, there is just no one build order that people can follow to insure a swift victory. For some players, if you hit them with a rush you can expect almost no resistance. Other players will eat your same rush with a successful defense, and losing a forward army can be an event that encumbers your economy and allows your enemy to advance technologically or by methods of territorial expansion.
This guide is a commentary on various segments of game play, and may serve to teach newer placers or perhaps even allow more skilled players to compare notes. As such it's worth noting that I play primarily RM games. I would imagine that some of what applies to RM would carry over to DM (deathmatch) games as well.
One difference between Empire Earth and other RTS games that I'm used to playing is that the resource allocation spots do not exhaust themselves. (At least not during an 'average' game...) This is a little different from some other games, where you build bases until a resource patch is depleted, then move on in a hunter-forager style.
During warfare, the country with the best economy will generally have the upper hand. A strong economy allows the construction of a strong army, and a strong, well-equipped army will generally have an advantage over an army put together by a civilization that is having a shortage of one or more resources. Also, a strong economy is essential to advancing through the ages faster then the opposition, which will ultimately result in your forces having a deciding edge in technology.
You don't have to be Sun Tzu in order to realize that means that if you have 100 troops in battle and they are an age ahead of the other army's 15 troops, you will probably win the battle. With this in mind, maintaining a strong economy and continually expanding your economy should be your number one priority.
The resources in Empire Earth are as follows:
Food: It is essential to have a good supply of food. From the copper age forward, players can construct granaries. Each granary supports eight farms. In addition, eight people can be populated into a granary to increase the amount of food that each citizen carries back to the granary. Food can also be found in 'harvest patches'; or by hunting groups of animals. Food is needed to advance through the epochs of time. Food is also used in the production of 'soft units' (ie citizens and military personal).
Wood: Wood is used in the creation of buildings, as well as the formation of naval units and 'supportive' units (cannons, siege weapons, archers, etc.) As a citizen chops wood, he depletes the forests, but at a very slow rate. Forests impede movement of troops, though there are some troops that can move through the forests. Wonders also require a good deal of wood. Wood is taken to settlements/town centers/capitals where it is stored and added to your stockpiles.
Stone: Stone is a very useful resource. It allows the construction of certain buildings as well as many of the defensive structures in the game. Walls and towers are essential in controlling the movements of enemies within your boundries. Stone is also required for the creation of Wonders, and for the upgrading of certain unit attributes (such as the range of the towers). Stone is taken to settlements/town centers/capitals where it is stored and added to your stockpiles.
Gold: Gold is a precious metal that is used in the creation of many various troops types.
It is also used to advance through the epochs and research many technologies. It is also an important resource if one wishes to take advantage of the production of priests and prophets. Gold is needed for the creation of a Wonder. Gold is taken to settlements/town centers/capitals where it is stored and added to your stockpiles.
Iron: Iron is a precious metal that is useful in the creation of weapons. The value of Iron goes up as the ages advance, and it's never a good thing to get caught without ample supplies of iron. Iron is also used in the creation of Wonders. Iron is taken to settlements/town centers/capitals where it is stored and added to your stockpiles.
There's really no 'one right way' to proceed, which is another huge improvement from previous games in the RTS genre. Nor is there really a specified number of citizens to have in order to have a 'strong' economy. EE has many variables that depend on which type of game that you are involved in, and what might be a decent start for an epic game that spans from Pre-History to the Nano age might turn out to be a poor opening sequence for a game that begins in WWI.
You have a healthy economy when you can que up large groups of troops while expanding the defenses of your empire, and still manage to stockpile resources to advance to the next age. Most of the resources in your economy are controlled by the proximity of said resource to the nearest Settlement/Town Center/Capital. A Settlement turns into a Town Center once it is populated with 5 people. A Town Center turns into a Capital when it has 15 people. From there, another 35 people can be crammed into the Capital.
There is a direct correlation with the number of people that you have in your Settlements to the number of resources that you get from it. When you have 50 people living in a settlement, you double the production of everything within a two-square radius. If you get really lucky, you might some spots where one Capital covers two resource patches.
That means that if a miner hauls back 15 iron to a Capital with 50 people inside of it, the treasury of the kingdom is credited for 30 instead of 15.
If all other aspects of you and your opponents are equal, and you take advantage of the above fact and fill your Capitals to 50 whereas he leaves his as Town Centers, you will be outproducing your opponent by a ratio of 30 to 16 in stone, iron, and gold.
Early in the game, particularly if you enjoy playing epic battles that start from the prehistoric ages, you may find it useful to send out some hunters to gather meat. This is a pretty good idea, since you won't always have ample patches of pumpkins nearby. Herds of animals can reproduce if only one animal in the herd remains alive. Instead of focusing my initial attentions on the animal herds, I usually dispatch my people to the pumpkin patches. Once I get six people working a patch, I'll hotkey them to a hunting party and send them away to kill nearby animals. This has another cool advantage early in the game, namely, if your opponent sends a lone scout or a very small scouting force, you can make short work of the scout with a hunting party of six. Unfortunately, cannibalism doesn't seem to be a permissible game feature, so your hunters can't go out and grab enemy citizens for stew-meat. Maybe in the expansion.
Again, there is no 'perfect'start, but I generally try to have a few hunting parties set up like that. It's also advantageous to sometimes send hunting parties out to kill the animals that are a little further away to give the ones that are right by your starting settlement a chance to multiply a little before getting hunted to extinction. The 'thin' animals, like deer and giraffes and such, reproduce twice as fast as the smaller herds of larger animals (ie Elephants, Walruses, etc) and the larger animals should be hunting in parties of at least three or four to make sure that the animal doesn't get the upper hand with a lone cocky hunter. The 'thin' animals have half the meat of the larger animals.
The seas are another source of food, and for only 50 wood a pop. This is a great way to establish wood for food in the stone age! However, it's also worthy of noting that fishing spots last significantly shorter then the harvesting patches on land, and if you are planning on any amount of fishing, you will want to make sure that you have a few warships to defend your fishermen.
If you do plan on creating a fishing fleet, it's best to start with one or two fishing boats and have them scout about the nearby shores in search of fish. If you find some suitable fishing waters, you can right click on the fishing spot with the Dock selected and you will set up a waypoint so that your fishing ships will be created and head off to the selected area in order to fish.
Foraging is one way to gather food. As with fishing, once you have selected your Town Center/Capital you can set up a waypoint and que up multiple citizens to be built. Each patch can support up to six gatherers. If more then six are at the site, the extra gatherers will remain idle until one of the gatherers gets up to bring the food back to the storage facility.
The forth, and perhaps most efficient way of maintaining a stable food intake, is the use of Farming. In order to farm, one must built a Granary first. Eight fields will be automatically created in a perimeter around the granary. Granaries can populated in a similar manner to citizens populating Town Centers. Eight citizens in a granary will increase the size of the loads of food from the surrounding farms.
Also, it is worth mentioning that various technology improvements become available throughout the epochs. In order to research these, which increase the rate of which your farmers collect food, one must check the Granary as the new epoch is attained.
You can set a waypoint for a farm once the Granary is built and your new citizens will automatically being constructing farms. You may also set a waypoint on the granary itself by placing the waypoint directly on the Granary. When the new citizens arrive, they will automatically populate the Granary with up to eight citizens.
When farmers are beset by attacking forces, they will usually flee in terror. Sometimes they only run so far as the next field over, though, and a casual observation won't always pick up on that It does pay to check your farms after each enemy raid to make sure that they are still producing at maximum efficiency, as one single farmer that is not toiling in the fields will reduce the output of that granary by 12.5% (100/8=12.5%).
In order to gather iron, gold, and stone, you will have to send citizens out to mine these resources. A single mine, or 'supply pile', will support up to six workers. As mentioned above, if you wish to optimize your resources, you will have to make sure that the supply center near the mine is within two squares of the resource and holds as many citizens as possible in order to get the most out of your mine.
It is also worth noting that, much like fishing and farming, it is possible to spend food on new citizens and have them head directly for the mines by use of the hotkeys. By establishing a way point on your resource site, the new citizens will come into existence and report immediately to work at the mines.
Before you begin placing buildings, you need to consider a few things; What are you looking to accomplish? If you are looking to rush your opponent with Calvary, it only makes sense to put up a series of Stables instead of one stable, one archery range, and one barracks. What are your expectations for base defense? If you want to have a stronghold that is difficult to razed, you will need to build plenty of towers, good housing coverage and aa guns (epoch permitting).
Good house coverage is defined as having the maximum houses within the radius of the dotted line that appears when you click on your town center. In tournament game play, you will want at least 2 houses territorially for maximum morale bonus. In standard game variant, you will want to have four houses. The housing raises morale in the same manner as a Warrior Hero, which is that it reduces damage taken by X%. Full housing is 40%.
Have a designated farm area. I usually strive for about 6 full granaries, 3x2, and surround the farmlands with walls, towers, and AA if appropriate, as well as a few troops.
Undefended farmland will be laid to waste if you are attacked by fast units, that can rush in, slaughter some farmers, and run back out before other forces are brought to bear against them.
The more wood you collect, the more military production buildings you can build. If you have six barracks and double click on one of them, you will select all six at once, and if you que up units all six buildings will produce them. This is a great way to make squads of troops fast so that you can pay attention to other aspects of gameplay with greater scrutiny. Consider this: Double clicking one building in the above example then hitting
‘Shift-Unit type' will create thirty units (assuming of course your economy can meet your demands!) in a much faster fashion that building 10 troops in three barracks. Also, you can easily convert wood to food, whether it's for fishing ships or farms.
If you are playing the earlier epochs, especially before the invention of gunpowder units, Temples are essential, if nothing else to make sure that enemy prophets don't lay you low with calamities. I'd strongly suggest them for any island board as well, as a well placed hurricane can destroy a navy if it catches the commanding naval opponent unaware.
Towers are a great way to discourage land units from standing around slaughtering your people. I try to build a few of them in a triangle around my farmland area, and a few around the resource sites as well. Towers seem most useful Pre-Dark, and then they seem to enjoy a comeback from WW1-Nano.
WW1 brings the introduction of AA guns, but by WW2, they are a necessity. Hide your AA in between buildings, amidst trees, etc. and since AA is so vulnerable to fast Marine raids, make sure to post either a couple of towers or couple of guards, or better still, both. Much like troops can be upgraded, so can AA encampments, for damage, range, and hit points.
If you are going to spend the resources to defend an area with housing, it might be worth it to build a couple of hospitals so that your troops can last longer. Having at least one hospital is essential… send the troops back from the front line and get them healed, as opposed to building new waves and not having any survivors.
The First Ten Minutes, or "Rush vs. Boom"
One observation of the EE multiplayer community is that the first ten minutes of game play seem to signal which direction the game will go in. One extremely useful tool in the first ten minutes of game play is to hit f11 as soon as the game begins. This will show a timer. I’ve found that regardless of your style of play, the ability to see the timer elapsed helps you meet your goals that you define for yourself.
The concept of ‘rushing' is to hit your opponent with the intention of damaging their economy to the point where it costs them more resources to recover then it cost you in the expenditure of their attack. Simply put, him them fast, hit them hard, and while they struggle to recover, keep pounding them down.
The concept of ‘booming' is to focus on the defense and growth of your economy, and to outproduce other players, hopefully culminating in either having a larger military, a more advanced military, or in some cases, a military with an epochial advantage.
A good player will do both of these things, finding a balance between ‘fast attack' as well as territorial defense is one sign of growth as a player in terms of skill development. Let your intentions dictate your actions, especially in the first ten minutes of the game. If you are planning on a tank rush, for example, why devote early attention to harvesting gold or stone?
At the end of ten minutes, evaluate your position. Have you already hit them? Do you need to really dig in and prepare for the counterattack or do indications suggest now might be a time to get some military production buildings placed closer to the enemy?
Are you producing troops steadily?
One good rule of thumb- try to have a military production building up no later than the 2nd building to facilitate a troop type that your civilization enjoys at least one natural bonus in.
Following the initial skirmishes of the first ten minutes or so of the game, the roles of each player becomes a bit more defined in terms of aggressor and victim. A defensive player that resigns himself to playing exclusively defensive has resigned himself from territorial expansion, and therefore with all other aspects being equal in terms of skill, will face extinction sooner or lately. Or, to put it more simply, if you find yourself entering the mid-game of the defensive, you need to be able to not only defend yourself against the current attack, but launch a counter attack as well.
Following the opening of the game, territorial expansion begins, based on resources available. If adequate scouting was available during the opening phase of the game, you should have no problem advancing to needed resource sites.
‘Forward Building' occurs when you build military production closer to the enemy for purposes of avoiding those long marches, particularly on larger maps. Some players choose to try and strong arm a resource pile that is unattended relatively close to enemy land as to deprive them of a resource as well as expanding your own economy. When you are forward building, it is of the utmost importance to have a populated settlement and housing. For the cost of 100 wood and 250 food (or less) you almost double the lifespan of all troops stationed at the forward lines of battle! A hospital and a few tours makes a great addition.
Another interesting take on forward building is to pick an area close to their base with no resources nearby. Even better, do so as a backup in case your forward base is destroyed; a handful of troops might still be enough to turn an aggressive army away from your territory and bring them back to the defensive of their homeland.
One of the most difficult questions is when to advance in epochs during multi-epoch games. It has been my observation that players who hoard resources to try and advance rapidly through the ages will find themselves defeated at the hands of enemies who devoted their resources to the production of military units instead. The general trend seems to be that the best time to save for the next epoch is following a successful military conquest, when your opponent is using his resources to renew production and rebuilt lost troops.
Boomers use the mid-game section to secure their economy, and allow it to continue to expand. If they are able to continuous produce greater and greater amounts of wood, that trinkles down instead greater food production which can be used quite easily to fortify iron, gold, and stone deposits to 50 people each, effectively doubling their production.
Communicate with allied forces regularly! Learning to coordinate attacks with different groups of available troops is essential to the successful conclusion of any military advance. Faster units can draw the attention of defending forces while followup forces strike now-exposed targets. Some units, such as Artillary, Bombards, or Cannons, can be used to lay in wait and dissolve pursuing enemies.
All players will benefit from upgrading their military units, and will enjoy the benefits the greatest if they choose their upgrades in accordance with their personal playing style.
Upgrade your units according to their use.
If you are on the offensive, the end-game generally stems from the your opponents inability to respond to your military advances. If there are other players remaining on the enemy team, it is a time to regroup your forces and make a final march on their alliance. It is also a good idea to try and make your final assaults from multiple directions, as well as leaving a few troops scattered along the perimeter to pick off citizens that they might be trying to regroup elsewhere on the board.
If you are on the defensive, try to get a few citizens over to one of your allies territories. Even if you can only contribute marginally, you have your attention to devote to the team. One good scouting unit, for example, doesn't cost a lot, and yet lets you keep track of troop movements for your allies.
There is a certain point where it becomes apparant, particularly in single player games, when one player is going to win. There is no clear way to say when is the time to offer to wave the white flag, but I have witnessed sometimes players will misjudge the situation and surrender when victory was much closer at hand then they may have realized.
However, if you do surrender, it's generally frowned upon to simply drop out without at least saying "I surrender"; or "GG"; or something to that effect that acknowledges that you are opting out. If you win, don't gloat. Each person having a little bit of self-control goes a long way towards improving the quality of the EE community.
If you do suspect a player of cheating, as there is currently the possibility of someone enabling a trainer and giving a large tribute to his allies, it is probably better to first investigate the final screens and compare tributes with resources collected and spent. If something is way out of whack, work from there and take screenshots. Don’t just assume that if someone is faster then you that they are cheating.
Becoming A Better Player
As with anything else in this life, the more one practices and the more new things one attempts, the better that one will become. Don't limit yourself to the same old strategy each game, try mixing things up all the time to learn from a variety of conditions.
Stick out games until you are absolutely done. The longer you are around, the more you learn about the later parts of the game.
Pay close attention to the resources collected at the end of a game. Take screenshots and review them to notice trends. Are you finding yourself low on gold on a regular basis? Or are there aspects of battles that you'd like to concentrate on, such as a better kill to loss ratio?
Learn from what works. Learn from what doesn't work. Try to play as many games as you can with people of equal or greater skill so that you can learn from what they use.
Keep confident, but not cocky.
If you really want to get focused on your game, keep notes on what went right/wrong during each game. Identify and utilize those trends and apply that to your own style of game play.
Learn to communicate with your allies. Build a rapport throughout the game. If you have a surplus of a resource, offer it to an ally who is using that resource for production. If you have a few extra units, send them to an allies battle lines. If you need help, make a request. It's much better for an alliance to have one member ask for help as opposed to remaining silent and getting defeated early on.