The W2G Art of WarA Guide for Battle Strategies and Army Building
"Never underestimate the power a cunning mind can possess on the battlefield, when facing a superior foe."
- The Ferryman
One can take several approaches to troop development and army building. The key is personal tastes and finding combinations that work for the individual. Some will prefer the durability and range of HT-Rocket combinations, whereas others prefer the speed of aerial assaults with fighter planes and special forces (sf) or some of the other characteristics of other attack combinations.
However, whatever our preferred methods of combat are, everyone should know some key basics to succeed in warfare. This guide will not cover other game basics, such as where a city’s military sector screen is versus the production sector screen. That is basic information that can be found in the beginner’s tutorial and the F.A.Q. - both “must reads” for any player.
City Construction for Army Building:
The key to army building is good city development. First and foremost is actually making sure your city is laid out well and “neat.” Try to place your military buildings together and in the same area in every city.
A city’s Military Sector has 33 slots for buildings. Most military buildings are limited to one each and are crucial to the city and to army development:
City Hall: High levels required for field production slots and for wall development.
Military Institute: An army is as only as good as its officers. The higher the level, the better selection of officers you will have.
Staff Headquarters: Level 4 should be a minimum req. as you will need a minimum for four officer slots: a mayor, a military officer, a knowledge officer, and a valuable open slot ready to take on a captured officer or hero.
General Headquarters: The higher level, the better is the rule for this building and should be the first target for Plan of Building. The level of this building directly affects the maximum size of the number of troops one can launch.
Research Center: Not directly related to troop building, this building is still critical for important tech development and should be leveled where and as needed.
Radar Station: A critical defensive building important to be able to respond to incoming attacks.
Communication Center: Having a couple of levels of this building is required to house allied troops in defence of your city.
Transportation Center: This building increases the speed at which your troops travel between cities, to allied cities and to captured fields. This is vital to ensure fast travel times in moving troops about quickly to reinforce.
Airport: Level 1 is required to build vital scout planes. Beyond that, upgrade as tech is advanced for required units: Level 4 for fighter planes, level 7 for bombers, level 9 for SF.
Naval Academy (Coastal only): Can only be built in coastal cities and, as with airports, only upgraded as needed for troop building.
Trade Center: From a combat perspective, critical for hiding resources on defense.
Light Manufacturing Plant: Indirectly important for research, not troop building.
Heavy Manufacturing Plant: Indirectly important for research, not troop building.
This leaves 21 slots (20 in coastal cities) for houses, warehouses, and arms plants. Opinions vary as to the best ratios involved, but a good target is at least 10 houses and 6 arms plants. This will allow a decent base population while still building troops quickly, leaving 4 or 5 slots free to alter as needed. Using warehouses is a personal issue. The more active you are, the less of a need they are, as there are better ways to protect resources from attacks.
Resource production is also another matter of opinion, and there are various ways to build a city: specialized or balanced resources. The key is that your city be able to feed your troops and make enough oil to move them around. The one interesting take on this is a “war city” where 25 to 30 (or more) of the production fields are dedicated to food.
If your population is too low to build many troops at once, you can use a few methods to correct the situation. First, determine the problem. If you are close to your max population, the best method is to build and upgrade more houses. Additionally, you can lower your tax rate. Once you do this, using the Green Card - Pacify Citizens option (available via your City Hall) will add 10% to your population. Another option is to decrease your Operating Rate on production; however, this will also reduce your resource output.
Research for Army Building:
Many technologies affect combat directly or indirectly. The five main ones are fairly simple:
Firepower: The harder you hit, the more damage you will do.
Ballistics: This is critical for ranged units, such as rockets and aircraft carriers, as you can decimate opponents who have lower ballistics before you come into their range.
Armor: The less damage you take, the more of your troops will survive.
Fuel Engine: This is an interesting one, because not only does it increase unit speed, but it can also give an advantage as to who hits first in a round. Usually, all things being equal (skills included), the defender hits first in a round, for that unit type. An attacker with a higher Fuel Engine tech can remove that defence advantage nicely.
Jet Engine: Similar to Fuel Engine, giving air units and additional speed boost.
Indirectly, some other technologies are also useful:
Training: The ability to speed up troop builds means you can get troops into combat faster and more efficiently.
Leadership: Increasing the manpower cap of your armies means that you have the ability to field larger forces.
Reconnaissance: Researching this technology will tell you more about your enemies, human and otherwise. If you don’t know what you’re going to fight, knowing what to send is difficult.
The main rule of thumb here is different strokes for different folks. Everyone has their favorite unit types and styles of attack and defence. Here are the unit types and their uses.
Infantry (Inf): A slow, weak unit that has little value save for being a free honor target for one’s opponents when in large numbers.
Motor Units (MU): Fast, cheap unit that can be useful as a blocker or for accessing/protecting fields from small scouting parties. They can also be used for long range “scout-plunders” to test an enemies gates. Always good to have a have a few around, but of little use in large numbers
Trucks: The basic transport unit and not meant to be used in combat.
Armored Vehicles (AV): Slow and decent against air attacks, it normally serves a ‘blocker’ roll versus air units and particularly nasty versus SF units who do not handle armor well.
Light Tank (LT): Faster than a Heavy Tank, but with less attack. Costs less to build, and for a reason.
Heavy Tank (HT): The main unit of any ground force, it is somewhat slower than the LT, but has great attack and defence values.
SPG: A medium ranged unit that is great versus fortifications and decent versus air units, provided their are suitable blocking units.
Rockets: The longest-ranged unit in the game, and deadly versus anything save air units. However, because of it’s poor defensive ability, it requires HT’s or AV’s to provide suitable blocking cover.
Scout: The recon unit. Scouts are critical to one’s intel, both offensively and defensively. Much overlooked and underused, it is probably one of the most vital tools in a Commander’s ****nal.
Fighter: Generally a player’s main air unit. It has the best anti-air rating of the units that can be built in any city. Medium cost and in big numbers deals lots of damage.
Bomber: The slowest plane in the game. More expensive than a Fighter. Deals more damage to ground and sea units but is less effective versus air.
Destroyer: One of the cheaper (but still very powerful) sea units. Good against everything, great against nothing. The heavy tank of the seas.
Submarine: Like a rocket in the ocean, but without the range. For its cost, it devastates other sea units, but its low anti-ground and anti-air ratings make it vulnerable to bombers and rockets. And its low hit points can make it a liability against large battleship forces.
Battleship: The medium-expense sea unit. It has the highest anti-naval attack in the game and can perform almost as well in every other combat scenario.
Carrier: The most expensive unit in the game. It eats more than anything else, requires more idle pop than anything else and is slower than any other nonground unit. But it also has the second-best range in the game, the strongest anti-air attack, anti-ground, the second-highest wall rating and the second-highest anti-air rating.
Special Forces (SF): Devastatingly fast air unit that is good if not great against anything but will get slaughtered on counterattack. Use this unit if you don’t expect to be hit back.
City Walls: The first line of city defence. It provides hit point depending upon the level of the wall, ranging from 20k at level 1 up to 2M at level 10. Also, the level of the wall increases the defensive range bonus of stationed troops, by 5% per level (this is covered later in the guide). Lastly, it allows the building of wall defenses.
Wall Defences: The covers your basic Bunkers, Howitzers, Anti-tank Guns, and AA Flak. The best pro advice I can give is “Use at your own peril!”. Unless working on a mission, there is no need to build more than one Howitzer (to increase the range an opponent has to cover to get to your walls), as Wall Defences provide huge Honor targets for experienced players and are easily taken out.
Bunkers: The toughest armored and most durable defense, but with the shortest range.
Howitzers: Long Range defense. Very good versus ground units. Every city should have at least 1.
Anti-Tank (AT) Guns: Like Howiters, with more damage, but only mid-ranged.
Anti-Air (AA) Guns: Very good versus air units.
If you do chose to build wall defences, remember that they are only supplementary units designed to assist defending troops. It is a common opinion, among more experienced players, that wall defences are “free honor” targets, especially if one locks down their troops.
There are three main types of offensive dispatches you can launch at a target: Scout, Plunder, and Seize.
Scouts are one of the most vital units in the game and no Commander can expect to succeed without them, both offensively and defensively. Wars are won with not bullets, but brains - and scouts and a high Recon tech level are key to your military intel. Offensively, they give you a clear picture of what you are facing, how many (and how little) troops and what types to launch. Defensively the both keep you aware of what enemies may have to attack you with and by providing a strong scout wall, even prevent enemies from attacking. This is because it is foolish to attack an opponent blindly, in almost all cases. Never attack without scouting a target first!
Plundering and Seizing:
With that overview of unit types and abilities comes a very important question: In using these units, should one plunder or seize? Many new players wonder if they should plunder or seize -- or if one is better than the other.
The differences are:
1) If you plunder, you will not face the opponent’s wall or wall defenses. You also will not get the opponent’s gold. As such, you can theoretically use any unit to plunder -- rockets or fighters, sure, but also something as simple as a truck. If the enemy’s units have been set to not fight on a plunder, you are free to take what you think you can get away with taking.
2) If you seize, you will face the opponent’s wall and wall defenses. You will be able to get the player’s gold. Any opponent ranged units set to fight on a seize will have longer range, as determined by the level of the wall. Take the wall level and multiply it by 5 to get the percent range bonus. For example, a level 2 wall confers a 10 percent bonus (2*5=10), and a level 10 wall confers a 50 percent bonus (10*5=50). For this reason, a city defended by more than 1,000 rockets should not be seized by rockets unless the player seizing is willing to lose a great deal of rockets. One tactic to use against this formation is to send a lot of bombers, which hit rockets hard and which will be relatively unscathed by even several thousand rockets.
*** Because you may be facing enemy troops, as well as wall defences, it is almost always preferable to plunder before any seize attempts. At the very least, “test” the gates with a single unit like an MU or Truck on a plunder. If the unit flees in fear, then the enemy has his gates open and units out. ***
Because you will face the player’s wall on a seize, you will have to use enough units to take down the player’s wall in 40 rounds. How you do this is up to you.
Units players prefer include:
1) Bombers: fast, but sending them requires a lot of oil, and possibly trucks if their range is insufficient, thus requiring yet more oil
2) Heavy tanks: slower, but they need less oil
3) Rockets: slower still, and extremely vulnerable to wall defenses, but they pack a punch for walls and wall defenses
4) Special forces: the second-fastest unit in the game, and able to really hurt walls and wall defenses, this unit has few hit points and low armor and should be used only where it will not get hit
Having covered four units commonly used to seize cities, how can players take this knowledge to the next level?
When using rockets to plunder a player, verify that your ballistics level exceeds the other player’s or that your fuel engine exceeds the other player’s. If neither of those is the case, consider plundering with bombers or with enough light or heavy tanks that the player will not be able to kill your units in time.
Against a player who has made mostly air units, two good approaches to plunder or seizing are to use either a mass of SPGs with fluff (single MU, light tank, etc.) to keep the air units at bay while the SPGs kill them from afar -- or to use a mass of heavy tanks and target any bombers first.
The United Offensive:
There are times when a large target cannot be taken down by own Commander, due to a lack of the desired troop numbers or types needed for the attack. That is the time to call in your allies for a United Offensive (UO) attack. However, such an attack needs to be well discussed in Alliance chat to make sure everything is in order and planned out first.
On the main Dispatch screen, there is a section on the top right - Invite Friend(s)’ Troops - with a drop down box. First, select the agreed amount of alliance members to join by choosing the appropriate number from the drop-down. Then set-up your attack as normal. It needs to be noted that the *entire* troop total cannot still exceed the max. troop total of the player launching the attack, ie. If your troop total is 150k units, and you invite two other player in on the UO, each player can send a max. of 50k troops.
Then enter the Intelligence Screen and click on ‘View’. This will bring up a small ‘Troop Details’ screen. There at the bottom, you will find an ‘Invite’ button. Clicking on that will allow you to invite the chosen player.
Reinforcing alliance members under attack is also another often unused tactic, and when coupled with the right Stratagems (see below) can be timed wonderfully to trap an attacker. For this tactic to be used properly, the following considerations must be taken into account: ‘Can the player feed the extra troops housed?’ and ‘Are those unit types set to defend the city?’ Reinforcing a city is as simple as dispatching troops there.
One often made mistake is reinforcing for scout defences. Sending scouts to help defend an incoming scouting attack does not work and those reinforced scouts from other players play no part in defence, save to eat extra food.
The proper use of Stratagems are where the cunning and guile of a Commander can really come into play to turn the tide of a battle. The list of Stratagems and their basic uses is as follows, although how to get creative with them is up to the Commander:
Force Exaggeration: Creates false report of troop strength, by increasing 5 to 10 times the actual numbers. A great way to bluff an enemy.
Show Weakness: Creates false report of troop strength, by decreasing 1/5 to 1/10 the actual numbers. A great way to bluff or trap an enemy.
Material Exaggeration: As with Force Exaggeration, but affects resources instead.
Conceal Materials: As with Show Weakness, but affects resources instead.
Heavy Siege: Traps units within target city, making them unable to be dispatched. This is extremely useful to prevent a player from reinforcing his allies or from running away from a battle or hiding his resources outside of a targeted city you are about to attack. It’s main weakness is that it is easily overcome with a Break Siege stratagem.
Break Siege: Used to cancel a Heavy Siege stratagem.
Riot Rumor: Useful in speeding up the capture of a city by decreasing morale.
Sow Discord: Useful in speeding up the capture of an officer by decreasing loyalty.
Undeclared War: Useful for making sudden strikes on nearby or vulnerable opponents, such as those who have just used an Advanced Resettlement Plan.
Cutoff Retreat: Lengthens the time an attacking force takes to return home. Excellent for setting up counter attacks.
Set Ambush: Lengthens the time an attacking force takes to reach a target. Excellent for creating additional time to reinforce.
Fast Retreat: Speeds up time an attacking force takes to return home.
Forced March: Speeds up time an attacking force takes to reach a target.
Public Enemy: Of little real value considering the cost. Mostly used for revenge strikes on targets to small to be otherwise hit.
I intentionally left out the very common basics of the game for two reasons: first, to keep the guide concise; second, information like setting Operating and Tax Rates, is in the basic game guide and tutorial and all players should be encouraged to study it first.
I have also left out creation and use of Officers as well as the proper use of Intel, Recon and Scouts; these topics are beyond the scope of this guide and require lengthy guides of their own. Additionally, while this guide can provide the basics, a Commander’s best weapon is his or her own cunning and guile. Read Sun Zhu’s “Art of War,” keep a cool head at all times, know your tools and weapons, be aggressive, and remember to have fun - it is a game, after all.