Aceman’s Beginners Guide to Dominations - Get to Gunpowder Age in a breeze

Aceman

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Or rather: how I got to GP in a breeze. Of course, there are many ways to play this game and I won’t claim I fully understand all the dynamics of the game yet. But I played COC very intensely for nearly two years, and the games obviously have a lot in common. Here’s a couple of points I adhered to that got me a fully maxed Medieval base (except walls, and few library projects) in just over a month of game play. I hope this guide will help some new players.

This guide will be targeted to fairly active players (like myself), who like to attack, and can spend a couple of half hours each day to progress their base.

Three basic rules
Rule #1: always prioritise offensive upgrades. You will be attacking much more than being attacked, so make sure your army and tactics are in top shape
Rule #2: don’t progress until the next Age until you have your current based maxed out. On COC forums, you can find 1000s of posts on this topic, and most players would agree that maxing is the way to go. In DomiNations, this is even more valid imo, as you can only attack Ages adjacent to your own. Even in late Medieval, my major source of loot are Classical Age bases. If I would have progressed to GP early, access to Classical would have disappeared, making raiding less effective. (UPDATE read some opposing views further down the thread. If you are a skilled and devoted player, you may decide to ignore this rule and rush to EA instead)
Rule #3: whenever possible, try to raid in stretches and spend your resources on (meaningful) upgrades before logging off. But I would recommend against just dumping all gold in walls, out of fear of being raided. You will keep most (about 80%) of your resources even after being 5-starred. With a decent base design, most people will have a hard time 5-starring you in Classical or Medieval, so resource losses will generally not be too bad. And the really big upgrades (1,2m extra garrison) cannot really be done in one stretch.

Nations
I picked Roman because of the 10% extra troop space and because all top players seem to have that. There is a lot written about Nations on the forum, and I won’t repeat that.

Wonders
Again you can find a lot on the forum. I did some reading before making my choice, and Acropolis/Colosseum seemed to make most sense. Not sure if it makes a big difference really.

Attack strategy & Troop composition
In Stone and Bronze Age: just use bowmen and warriors to empty exposed farms and caravans/roads. Use as few troops as you can, and don’t worry about not winning the battle. You will stay at 200 medals for a while.
In Iron Age the above strategy still works fine. You will mostly be raiding Classical Age bases, as these simply have higher level farms/caravans, and more of them. And since you are not worried about winning the battle, it does not matter that the opponent is much stronger.
In Classical & Medieval, I switched tactics. I used 3 raiders, a dozen archers, and the rest heavy cavalry. With maxed barracks (and the extra 10% troop space), this meant 8 Cataphracts in Classical, and 11 Knights in Medieval. I would deploy the Knights first, and let them clear all defences. Then send in the raiders to mop up the resources. The archers I would try to use to support the Knights against defending troops (forest, outside stables, Colosseum).
With this strategy, I would usually loose only very few troops. Often nothing. The obvious advantage is that one can raid very effectively in a short time. Ballista towers are the biggest threat. That is where you want to use your rally for. When faced with two ballistas, spawn the troops so that they will immediately target one ballista. Then use the rally for the second one.
I would happily skip bases where this strategy would not work (separated, buried and walled ballista towers). If the loot were exceptionally good however, I would still go for it and use a sabotage tactic to freeze a ballista (and maybe my Collosseum “rage spell”).
Only tactics I used so far are First Aid (healing) and Sabotage (freeze). I bring 2 of each.

The next button is your friend (at least at these early ages), and have some patience in finding a proper base to attack. With my medieval army I would not attack even weak bases with less than 50+50k loot.

Base layout
Base layout really makes a big difference. You will notice that quickly when attacking yourself. Still, the majority of Classical and even Medieval bases out there are noob bases. Many people just have one large rectangular wall around all their buildings. That makes no sense. Use walls to make sections, to stop troops from progressing. Upgrade those inner walls first.
You also find plenty of bases with Mills and Markets on the outside and the Town Center inside. While this makes it harder for the opponent to 5-star you, you will be an easy target for people looking for resources. And that is the majority of opponents!
Bottom line: Storages inside the walls, the big town center outside, most defensive buildings inside, use walls to create compartments.

Don’t focus on the road bonus too much. It is often quoted in base design, but a couple of 10% up or down makes little difference (eg 50% extra bonus on 70 pieces of lvl 4 road amounts to about 9k gold extra per day). Don’t compromise your base design for 9k gold per day.
Below I will attach the base layouts I used in Classical and Medieval. Both turned out to be excellent. The Classical base I took from Blackbrain here on the forum. The other one I adapted from a base I found on the internet, by someone called tip9. Copy them, or make a screen shot of a base that you come across and which looks hard to beat.
I attacked this same Classical age base with a full Medieval army. Just for fun because I would normally skip such bases. Indeed I failed miserably!

Medal count
An interesting topic, and you can read a lot about this on the forum.
I care very little about medals in the early phase of the game. I want to be in a range where my attack strategy is successful so I can get my resources more quickly and keep my villagers busy at all times. I have been hanging between 350 and 550 medals for most of my time in Classical and Medieval. Since I win most battles, that meant I had to frequently drop medals by spawning an archer or raider on a base, and then surrender. I would also abort an attack as soon as I claimed all food and gold. No need to get extra stars. Better to keep my medal count where I want it to be. The extra rewards for being in higher leagues are rather minor (for an active player).
If I would encounter a base with juicily filled Mills outside, I’d release a couple of raiders. Wait till they die (sometimes a rally can postpone that a little bit), and surrender. A lucrative way to drop medals.

Base upgrades
In compliance with rule #1: focus on offensive upgrades. In a new age, my first upgrade would be the blacksmith. And I kept that running as much as I could (only prioritising the troops I used, eg I have so far ignored all troops but raider, archer, knight and generals).
After that I’d prioritise barracks, then academy.
Meanwhile storage (required for the more expensive stuff like Castle).
And only when I had to make a gold upgrade, I’d do defense.
But one other guideline I used as well (both for base and library): do the most expensive upgrade that you can afford. If you sit on 750k gold, you choose the 700k catapult upgrade over the 400k tower.

Library projects
Which one to do first... As always, focus on technologies that help your troops! Here’s my priority list. (you need a level 3 Library to do them all).
  1. Chivalry – chapter 1 – knights need all the health they can get
  2. Cast Iron – all chapters – extra offensive power
  3. Battle tactics – all chapters
  4. Reinforcements – all 3 chapters – these are tough defenders
  5. Watch Towers – 1st chapter
  6. Machinery – all chapters – get that extra Catapult
  7. Free companies – two chapters suffice.
  8. Fortification – all chapters – very expensive, but extra defensive building is worth a lot
  9. Zeal – chapter 1
Blessings
If you come from COC, then Blessings are something new. If you played Boom Beach, you will notice they resemble statues. But Blessings are consumable products. I have not really used them a lot at all. With the exception of Fortification and Tower. I would get those when I needed to log off with appreciable amounts (several 100k) of resources. Fortification blessing is especially good value for money.

Caravans, Farms, Trees and Animals
I have upgraded Caravans and Farms to Lvl 6 or 7. Beyond that, I felt it was a waste of builder time. The extra gold or food is marginal compared to what you can raid, or what can be raided from you. So better spend villagers on offense and defense. Even if I had two villagers left, I would not upgrade a farm, unless overnight. I’d rather keep the option to upgrade walls, and hunt an animal.
I find hunting and gathering rather tedious, and the gold and food rewards are poor. But gold mines, trees and animals are a good source for trade goods. Don’t ignore them, but don’t go out of your way to hunt every animal.

Wow, that’s become a huge post... Again, I hope new players find this useful. Drop a comment if you did!
 

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Redgar

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Rush to Enlightement age may be a viable strategy too. loot becomes so much better once you get training blessing and bigger army. You may be loosing time for upgrading defense looting 1-2m of resources instead of 10-12 each day. If you don't care about medals, defense is almost useless. Caravans will save you more gold than your top defence
 

dbukalski

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What does that mean caravan will save u more gold than best defense?
 

Redgar

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Dbuk, vast majority of maxed attack EA players usually do not care about food and mostly care about gold. So if you calculate how much gold even max defense may save you, what will you get? Sometimes, it'll save you something if you're lucky to get a peace treaty and save markets, sometimes it'll bring you even more raids, so you'll loose double, and sometimes it won't even help, if you're attacked with max army. if you leave 2m+ of gold when logging off (what is a rare case I suppose) I am more than sure, someone with 4 tactics will find you. If you leave less that 1m of gold, you may loose 50-250k or be lucky to not get attacked what is rarely happens two days in a row. So even if max defense saves you 100k/gold a day on average, max caravans will bring you more, in around 280k+/day. I'd say it's a good deal especially with SH wonder.
 

VN-ELITE

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you really put your heart in to this long writing. But i dont like the defence base style. I love the road connect all the building and beautiful structure.
 

Jo-jo

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I'd have to second Redgar's strategy of rushing offense up to enlightment to get the training blessing ASAP. On average it will double your rate of farming resources.
 

Aceman

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Eight lvl 7 caravans bring in around 170k per day. It hardly costs any citizen time to get them to 7.
And caravans are exposed to raiding as well, so actual numbers will always be lower.
The last week I got attacked only twice. Both were fails. It's been ages since I had a peace treaty. People simply skip my base, because there are plenty of much weaker bases out there with similar amounts of loot. So a strong base saves gold, but gives peace of mind as well, lol.
 

Aceman

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I cannot really judge - maybe it is more efficient to rush. But with my current strategy, I never needed a training blessing. All defenses would be killed with minimal (max 3 knights) troop loss. That's the beauty of it - continued attacking.
 

somuchdust

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I too love the road connection, i have 430% currently, dunno how to raise it lol
 

Redgar

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I was comparing potential max caravans gold revenue vs max defense gold savings. I still believe that caravans win and defense is useful when you need to protect your medals. At my current EA stage, I do not need food resource, while gold is always spent to 100-300k, so I do not really care if I am attacked or not. I am upgradingy defense now of course, because all buildings that neede food are already finished.
 

Redgar

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Aceman, I suggest you compare your loot/hour or day at different medal levels. Sometimes with training blessing I am looting 1,4m gold in 30 mins and 2.2m in total at 1200 medals, so it is way better than I had before
 

Aceman

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I understand your comparison, but the 280k number is irrelevant in this context. It implies that someone who focuses on defense has not a single caravan. I have max defense, and minimally upgraded caravans (lvl 7). Still those caravans bring in 170k.
So I get 100k from defense (your estimate) and 170k from my caravans, which puts me very close to 280k.
 

Aceman

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Will do - good point. But I am still Medieval - and this guide is aimed at beginners. 1200 medals I don't think I will enjoy yet.
Did you rush to EA yourself? Would be good to read some experiences on that.
And why don't you rush on to Industrial? You seem ready with you offense?
 

Jo-jo

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I didn't rush to EA, but knowing what I know now I would rush it. There's a limit to how fast you can go, because you need to reach a certain player level before the next age will be unlocked. That causes you to have many defense upgrades anyway.


However, if I didn't get long enough playing sessions to farm an entire upgrade, I might go the slow way again. You'll lose a lot of loot to other players with the way the current shield system is.
 

dbukalski

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if you calculate how much gold even max defense may save you, what will you get? Sometimes, it'll save you something if you're lucky to get a peace treaty and save markets, sometimes it'll bring you even more raids, so you'll loose double, and sometimes it won't even help, if you're attacked with max army. if you leave 2m+ of gold when logging off (what is a rare case I suppose) I am more than sure, someone with 4 tactics will find you. If you leave less that 1m of gold, you may loose 50-250k or be lucky to not get attacked what is rarely happens two days in a row. So even if max defense saves you 100k/gold a day on average, max caravans will bring you more, in around 280k+/day. I'd say it's a good deal especially with SH wonder.
Wrong on multiple counts. Ur missing key tactical decisions in ur analysis. Here is the reality of proper max defense versus max caravans. In general u will get attacked 2-3 times a day depending how long peace treaty u get. If u break peace treaty. If ur logged in for big chunk of the day. But in my experience 2-3 times per day should be a reasonable number. If u put your tc in vulnerable position outside ur defenses many players hunting for only medals. Who have maxed out bases so have no need for gold will kill the tc only and leave the rest of your base and their army alive. This is the first part where your analysis breaks down. If were talking about a player with maxed out offense. And then the choice of maxed out defense + slightly upgraded caravans. Or maxed out caravans and slightly upgraded defense. Then were basically talking about a lvl 100ish player towards the higher medal ranges. Where ull find the majority maxed out attackers hunting purely for medals. So i would say about 50% of my lost defenses are quicky tc kills. If i had low level walls, with weak defenses but high level caravans then that would encourage a lot more players to go full force on my base. A certain percentage of tc only kills would turn into full blown attacks. Again thats the result of having weaker defense and beefier caravans. If u flip it..and i have beefy defense but weak caravans then ur base starts to be less and less apealing and tc only kills start to be more common. Your next mistake is underestimating how often youll have 300k gold to loot. Anything over 1.2 mil gold in storage gets u the 300k maximum. Only low level players think theyll be able to log off with no gold in storage. When walls and upgrades are 4+ mil each. Capping out at 1.2 mil in storage will happen a lot....unless u stop ur gaming session prematurely purely for the sake of not having anything in storage once u do an upgrade. But all ur doing is hurting ur base development by stoping early just to prevent defense looting losses. If at 10pm i upgrade a wall and drop to 0 gold....i may still play until 1015 and end my game session with 1mil im storage. Im better off playing for 15 more minutes. Ending with 1 mil...lose 250k...and be left with 750k is preferable than end early...and be left with 0k. The other reason ill end a game session with lots of gold is. Lets say when i wake up, or shortly after waking up. A building will be finished upgrading. It will be 4.5 million to start the next upgrade. I need that gold to be available in full, imediately. To prevent idle workers sitting around. So i will farm the gold in evening before bed. So many, many times im sitting on big gold in storage. So besides the 50% of the tc only kills that i lose 0 gold on which is a result of strong defense(and walls) and vulernable tc. Lets look at the numbers for when players go full attack on me. Theres a mixture of pure raider attacks. In which case i will usually lose 1 of 3 storage. Theres many attacks that spend the entire 3 minute battle trying to kill my defense buildings and even fail to achieve that goal. So lose all attackers. Without ever getting to my gold storage. Probably 1 out of 3 attackers get the 300k loot available. Which means 100k per battle on average. Which means 200-300k total lost for the day(because 2-3 attacks per day). Now thats what i currently lose per day which i could post screen shots of my defense reports but i think were past that point. Now i can only speculate what my defense reports would look like with similar max lootable resources of 300k, with tc outside defenses. And with weak defense buildings but high carabans. I think a 30% increase in loot lost is a reasonable guess. Based on some of the 50% tc only kills converting into fullblown attacks. Then some of the 1 storage only...or no storage lost because entire battle timer was spent attacking defense buildings. Those attacks turning into 2 or more storage lost. If u accept 30% more gold losses. Then were talking 250k x 30% = 75K extra gold lost per day because of weaker defense. Now thats based on my personal numbers. My defense is for sure not maxed. My cannons need one upgrade each, my towers need 3 levels each, my stables have been upgrading so completely offline, my garrisons are low level 2 except for one which is offline. If my defense was actually maxed out the percentage of tc only kills, 1 or no storage lost battles would increase quite a bit. So i estimate if i did everyhing the same but had max defense vs low defense the actual increase in gold lost would be closer to 100k per day.......now lets look at caravans. They produce 170k per day. Except raiders will take about 50k(most of that in the one raid before u wake up, but smaller amounts in the other raids where ur able to clean up the caravan vulnerable gold). So after raiding losses caravans will provide 120k gold. And im assuming at least lvl2 or so caravans when its still like 5 minutes or so to upgrade them. So even maxed defense player will get some gold from caravans for almost no worker time investement. Lets say 10k. so in comparison.....maxed defense(slight caravan upgrades) player will save 100k gold per day from his improved defense + 10k gold earned from baby caravans. Versus maxed caravan(medium defense because honestly it doesnt take that long max caravans and then get moving on defense again) player who earns 120k from caravans after raid losses. Thats like a 10k gold per day advantage to caravan guy. But max defense guy is actually way better off for the following reasons. 1) dominations street cred. This is mostly a joke. But who here would prefer the option of maxed defense versus medium defense but maxed caravans when others check out ur base? Right now that doesnt matter too much. Your alliance will love you no matter how awesome ur defense is. But....alliance wars is coming. Weekend or solo events are coming. Industrial age with new, long upgrade times is coming. Maxed defense player is better positioned to take the next step into industrial. Or to tackle the weekend, solo events better. And get better rewards(gems, unique units what have you). When alliance wars come being in the best alliance will start to matter more. Alliance will compete for rank which means league/rank rewards based on alliance performance. The best alliances with best rewards will be selective who can join stay in alliance. Maxed defense guy will be able to join better alliances. Which means better rewards overcoming the 10k per day advantage caravan guy had. 2) its also more fun to have maxed defense. Its more fun to watch replays and ur defense shred people. Even if u lose the defense its more fun to see the guy walk away with mercenaries, tactics, and lvl20 generals lost. Its more fun to tackle weekend solo events with ur stronger base.......tldr....max out offense, defense, traps, roads, caravans, farms in that order. Rush to EA at maximum speed
 

Redgar

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I am always low on gold. For that purpose I keep even some lvl7 walls and start the next layer without finishing previous completely. I never left more than 600k gold ever. While I am building some lvl10 walls already. But I stop active play so far. Giving a try to age of empires and working. It may change with time, but then my defense will be quite good. And all this time I enjoy more golds from caravans what is more important not in quantity, but that you collect needed 3-4m faster
 

Nathan Win

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I don't rush to the next age, I like to max out everything in the current age first. Good post Aceman.
 

sjb

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I don't rush to the next age, I like to max out everything in the current age first. Good post Aceman.


I rushed once to GP but regretted it. I'm maxing from now on, but does the benefit for maxing out change from one age to the next?
 
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