Okay, so some of this stuff has been said. Some of it may be easy to find, other tips may be buried in the forums. Regardless, all of it is worth saying again. These are things that I have picked up in my first month skyrocketing to LVL 110. Hopefully, it helps the next person starting out. This is not a how-to guide, look in the other posts for stuff like what screens access what feature.
[[Veterans, please correct me if any of this is wrong and I will edit.]]
Visit this screen every day. Not only is this how you unlock Ajax, but it is also the best way to get free gear. You get Titan chests regularly as you accrue points. You want to max out your links and you want those people to be active users. If someone you are linked with does not give you a +1 almost every day, replace them. Don’t be a dead link. If you don’t visit every day, the people linked to you lose out.
You need three good heroes (built up to level 20) as soon as you can get them. Not only will this help you in wars, it is good to have a ringer nearby on your raids if you run into a difficult opponent. Heracles is good, especially since you will have already started building him when you began playing. Perseus is a must, as he is probably who you want to choose for your gatekeeper. Your third choice is up to you. I built Athena, but Ariadne and Cadmus are common decent choices for their ability to call troops.
While it is important to have three strong heroes, you might not want to neglect building the others as soon as you can. Trust me, it will only get harder as you level up. If I was a more patient person, I might have built all my heroes before I was at level 100. It will cost me more invocations to do it now.
In other words, build up the three heroes you like ASAP, but once they are maxed out, raid with other heroes primarily. If you run into a defense you can’t beat with the one you are using, you can pass it up or call in one of your maxed heroes on that one. Each raid you fight with a maxed hero is a lost chance to build XP on the other ones that need it.
Some heroes are “shield-bearers.” This means that they have an extra item (a shield). It is easier to build damage resistance with that extra item slot starting out. Later on, you will learn how to add more perks into all your gear, but for now, it might be worth focusing on building shield-bearers for that reason. Non-shield bearers usually have innate perks to make up for the lack of a shield. Use the info screen on your hero list to see what those are (e.g., extra poison resistance) and take advantage of them.
Forging is intimidating when you’re new. It is not rocket science, but it is easy to do it wrong and waste resources. If you are playing a lot and doing your mount upgrades, you will be gaining levels fast. Each time you gain a level, your gear becomes a little more outdated. You have to forge or your item slots will fill up with weak items.
Here are the things you need to know first:
The color of an item is not what’s most important. I thought that making something gold or red was important, so I wasted some resources forging to quickly in my first week or two. That wasn’t entirely wasted, as it gave me some red dismantles for later, but you should know that the numbers on the perks are what is important.
You can sell your items, but I rarely do so. You don’t get much from the sale. A better approach is to use the money from your raids to roll those old items into 4-star items. This consolidates your gear and gives you better material to forge with as you get new items.
When dismantling an item (not counting refining), the outcome depends on how many stars the dismantle has. I assumed that better values on the dismantle produced better forged gear, so I would pick the best items I could. Instead, you want to pick your worst items to dismantle. This keeps your inventory clear of weak gear and leaves your best stuff in case you realize you need to build something different.
Even if you don’t know what you want to build yet, having a cache of 4* items means that you will be ready to quickly build up good gear once you have a handle on things. As you get new gear, equip it on your heroes and forge the loose old stuff into 4* items for use later.
When you get a good item and you want to build it up, you’ll need to decide how “worth it” it is to spend resources doing so. Forging it up makes it better, but if you are upgrading buildings a lot it is going to be outdated soon no matter how good you make it. You can forge it with 1* items, which will make it better than it was, or you can dismantle the 4* items you should have been stockpiling. The 4* items will produce a better result, but they also cost money to create that will be expended by dismantling them.
You have to balance getting the stats you need for wins now with the fact that soon you will be getting even green items that have better stats than anything you could build now. My advice? Use your 4* items to build the gear on your gatekeeper (since that will help protect the trophies you have now) and quick-forge anything else you feel the need to improve.
Remember, any gear that you are using that you build up to 4* items can be immediately used as a dismantle to improve the new gear that you will be getting soon. Just realize that what matters when that time comes is that it is 4*. It doesn’t matter whether you quick-forged a dismantle (built it with 1* items) or slow-forged it (built it with 4* items), only how many stars it has.
Vault of Hephaestus
Using gems to open extra boxes is basically like a slot machine. You don’t know if you will come out ahead or behind from the deal. However, I have a method for coming out ahead most of the time.
First off, what are you getting from the chests? Usually, gear, XP, ambrosia, wisdom, gold, or gems. A “win” is when you get more from the chests than you would have paid in the item shop or by using gems to increase your resources. XP is nice, but not if you buy it with gems, in my opinion. Chests usually only have about a tenth of what you get from a single battle, so that is not a big boost. You’ll have to do the math to figure out how much of each item is a “win” for you.
Personally, I have found that usually you will get “winning” chests by opening the rest with gems when the free chests already produced good loot. If you opened three chests and got garbage, the rest usually (not always) have garbage in them, too.
If your first few chests were all the green ones (in the lower right corner) and had good stuff, then in my experience, you will more often than not get resources from the others more cheaply (as compared to buying the resources outright) by opening the remaining chests.
I do not guarantee this method, you can’t predict what is in the other chests. I am just sharing the method that has worked well for me. Sometimes you will regret opening the rest, sometimes you will regret not opening them. It is a numbers game.
You will see deals pop up from time to time. Get them if you can. Especially the daily gem chests. If you see a half-off sale on gems (I have been told they show up if you haven’t bought gems in 30 days), that is a good deal also.
You will also see pop-up sales on heroes and gear packages from time to time. I say get the heroes for sure. Not only will that let you start building them sooner, but the sooner you can plant them on an island is the sooner they can boost your production. The only downside (besides the cost) is that when you uncover the islands they were hidden on, that milestone won’t be as exciting because the islands will just have regular opponents. (New islands will have better production, though, so you still want to uncover them.)
I bought a lot of titan chests in the item shop as I went. I only recommend this if you have the extra cash to throw at this. Anything you buy will be obsolete soon (in that the stats will seem high now but in a few levels will not be useful anymore). However, you can always use those titan items to build your new stuff down the road. This is entirely a budgetary decision. If you are living paycheck to paycheck, the bang for your buck is short-lived.
The other chests (blue, purple, and gold) are a little better deal. The gear is not as good, but you get them for a lot cheaper, so even if they are obsolete soon, it hurts less. You can always use items you don’t need to build up other items right away.
On your smartphone, you will see a button to watch a video and get a bonus chest. This is a good way to get some loot for free. HOWEVER, make sure you have a good internet connection. Many times I have clicked on that offer when I am in an area of marginal reception and I didn’t get a chest and it crashed the game.
Another thing that has caused a lot of crashes is in-battle abrosia purchases. If you need to resurrect your hero during a battle, that costs abrosia (or now gems as a second option). If you have enough before you start the fight, you should be fine. If you have just collected your resources from your islands before you fight, you should be fine. If you don’t have enough resources in storage, but you do have enough on your islands to collect, you might be fine. It has happened to me several times that if I do not have enough ambrosia in storage but I do have some on my islands, the game offers me to collect it from my islands when my hero dies. If I click “collect,” the game often crashes. Just something to be aware of. My theory is that the game tries to collect ambrosia from my islands even when I don’t have enough to revive and it does not have a handle on how to then offer the “buy ambrosia with gems” screen as a backup. I could be wrong on that point, though.
Twice I gained an Ascension level when I was in an area of poor reception. Both times I did not get an ascension chest. Not then, not later when my reception was better. I didn’t submit a ticket because those chests are not a huge deal, but I made sure to only gain a level when I had a strong connection since then. Just a tip.
Don’t start your own alliance if you have never fought in one. Join an existing one. Search for the best alliance you can join or apply to, preferably one that speaks your language.
Unlock your third war hero as soon as you can. Wars are a great way to get loot, and you can get more loot with three heroes than with two.
Build your alliance hall up as high as you can, and donate the maximum amount to your alliance daily. You should be getting gold boosts from being in your alliance. It is only right to give some of that back. Donating also helps your alliance grow, gaining you more loot. Plus, don’t be a slacker. Donate to pull your weight.
Keep your barricades and towers maxed. Max one Artemis to unlock her as a hero, then box it up and replace it with something better. Have at least one of each kind of tower at max. Add additional towers of whichever kind you like best so that you have as many on the field as your gate allows. Make sure you are using all of your path length, also.
Do not spread your defenses out evenly across your path. Bunch them up to overwhelm attackers. Do not put towers at the gate. Let your gatekeeper handle that area. Use your towers to slow attackers from getting to your gate in time or at all.
Start your defenses toward the beginning of the path. The more space you give your attacker to breathe before they get to your structures is the more troops they will have when they do get there.
Did I mention that you need to keep your towers and barricades maxed out? It is far more important to have strong towers than to have more towers. Do not upgrade your temple and gate if you have not already maxed your defenses. You will face stronger attackers with very little to slow them down.
Do not forget to upgrade your waves and do not forget to fill the slots when the upgrade is done.
When you level up enough, you will have three defenses available to choose from. Do not forget to make sure your best defense is selected before exiting the game. More than once I have come upon high-level players with nothing on their path. I can only imagine they were about to build a new defense and forgot to switch back to their finished one.
Don’t be in a huge rush to use the Helios and Nyx. Both of those are important, but when you first get them, they are not all that powerful and you don’t really have enough path tiles to support a defense custom built to utilize them well. It can be done, but you may be better off waiting until your next gate upgrade when both of those can be built up with more range.
You don’t always have to point towers toward the beginning of the path. In fact, many towers are more effective if turned perpendicular or even away from attackers. Direction is crucial to an effective defense.
Test your defense. Change one thing at a time and test it again. Repeat. Then repeat a bunch more times. Besides having your defenses maxed, extensive testing is the best way to improve your defenses. This is also a good opportunity to try out various invocations without having to spend gems on them. If you change too many things in between tests, you won’t know which changes were good and which were not so good.
When you run across a player at your level that you cannot beat, screenshot their layout before you fight them again. Then pay attention to how their towers were pointed when you fight them again. Go back to your own defenses and see if you can apply any of those lessons to your own defenses.
In wars, you can preview defenses of players at much higher levels. You can also do this for other members of your alliance. Do this and take notes, but remember that what is effective at their level may not always be applicable to your defenses until you have as many available structures as they do.
You also want to max out the troops you use in your defense. I mean, you want to max out all your troops eventually, but the ones you use in your defense should be your first priority. You can also use the same troops in your offense, so the resources you spend in the Academy do double duty.
Powers and Invocations
When you upgrade powers in the Shrine, that only increases the power when it is cast (the free spell at the bottom of the screen in a battle). It does not increase the stats of the power when used as an invocation. Invocation strength is controlled by your ascension level. It took me a while to get a clear answer on that, so for my first 60-70 levels I spent a lot of money upgrading powers that I wasn’t using in a misguided effort to keep my invocations at max. That money isn’t wasted, as I will need those powers soon, but it would have been more efficient to use the money elsewhere at that time.
You should upgrade your war heroes’ and gatekeeper’s unique powers as often as you can. Battles will be much easier if they can use those to their fullest.
My free advice on which powers to become familiar with would be Bia, Asclepius, Damocles, and Talos. Pheme is useful, but more so at higher levels. Pandora is nice for some things, as is Ikeanos. Play around with all of them and upgrade the ones that work for you.
My personal preference on invocations is Fist of Power, far and away. Calling troops is very useful, so if you are not using Ariadne or Cadmus, I would suggest equipping the Dragon Tooth or Spindle as your other invo. The Tooth will call several troops on its own, which is handy if you autoplay a lot. The Spindle allows you to pick the troops, which is handy if you are in manual mode.
Regarding celestial invocations- Chronos is very useful in a choke point or against a very strong gatekeeper. Tartarus can really help you blast through a keeper and a gate- IF you have troops handy to sacrifice. Definitely play with both when testing your defenses, since they are expensive. Either can help give you a needed boost against a stong opponent.
I had a hard time learning what all the icons on the items meant. It went much easier when I realized that the info screen on the heroes has all these icons next to their names (and current values for that hero).
Structures and enemies have strengths and weaknesses. You can see what these are in their respective info screens (the little “I” in the top right corner of each one). It can be overwhelming at first, but learn these as soon as you can and try to tailor your attacks accordingly. For example, the Phoenix is immune to fire. If you use Talos against one, you have just totally wasted that spell. They are weak against ice and lightning, though, so you would want to have those on hand.
Cursed items can hide rare perks. They need to be equipped to be uncursed, but they don’t need to be on your main profile. Equip them on an inactive one as soon as you get them. Some curses don’t even need to be equipped on the hero doing the work, so check all your heroes for these items. You can do this easily by clicking on your hero temple and looking for the curse button. Each item is color-coded according to whether it is equipped.
Equip your gatekeeper with as much physical resistance as you can.
Chests only give you things you can use (except items, even if all your slots are full, you can technically buy more, so there is no cap on those). This means that if your XP is maxed, you won’t get XP in your chests. If gold is maxed, you won’t get gold. Some players purposely max their resources before important chests (war chests, odyssey chests, titan chests) to increase their chances of getting gems and gear. You can do this by letting your storage fill up through raids or fill your storage with gems. This is a decent use of gems, as you always need gold, wisdom, and ambrosia, so the expense is never wasted.
Complete the odyssey on the highest level you can afford/beat. You only get so many opportunities for these valuable permanent boosts.
I will add to this from time to time. Hope some of it helps.