A note to powerlevelers, monster hunters, and CC players:
This guide is not really intended for you guys, because frankly, you don't need it. PVPers and Hybrids can't easily do more than 1 Alpha Monster per week. It is much more important for us to pursue gear efficiently and intelligently. If you can farm legendaries easily, then obviously you should do so. We cannot, and that is why I do not recommend farming them. Most of the damage levels I recommend, however, do include a small % legendary drop. This is why I always recommend 3 epic damage, because usually it will include a very small chance for a legendary.
I don't have any problem with powerlevelers, monster hunters, or CC users (unless the latter pretend that they don't use their CC). I'll try to edit out any portions of the guide that may be construed (accurately or not) as snide or derisive of you folks. Since this guide only applies to a segment of the population, I don't think it should be stickied. As such, please save your rancor and overblown critique for modern art museums and Jerry Bruckheimer films.
Last edited by khanvalescent; 01-03-2011 at 08:12 PM.
Theory & Preparation
------------------------------------------------------ Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win. - Sun Tzu
War is a vibrant triptych, made up of three panels: Items, PVP, Generals. Think of it generally as: ttems are worth approximately 45%, PVP 30%, and Generals 25%. (WARNING: THIS IS NOT A HARD FORMULA, JUST A BASIC WAY TO CONCEPTUALIZE THE VALUES.) The first two are under your complete control.
This guide encourages optimal pursuit of loot. This means getting a wide variety of possible items for every point of stamina spent.
Look at the parameters of war. Seven slots with a maximum of 3 of any item. At a minimum, there must be three distinct items that fill in any slot. Think of every item slot as a pyramid split into three tiers. The lowest tier is your base, followed by the middle tier, with your best tier being the top.
Like the pyramids, construct your items from the bottom up. Unlike the pyramids, do not crack whips at your minions and resort to human sacrifice as a motivational tool. Starting from the bottom up gives you power now without sacrificing longevity later. The tip of the pyramid is the most gilded, but the base is where all the support is.
Do not aim for huge legendaries; aim to mend the biggest chink in your collective cache of items. Gain loot with reliable drop rates first. Spending 3 months farming for a single Plate of the Ages isn’t effective when 3 Deathrune hellplates, 3 Archangel’s battlegear, and 3 hellforge plates could be acquired in half the time. Remember, arena is about aggregate power – you want to be solid in as many areas as possible. Avoid glamorous compartmentalization (read: legendaries) and pursue a wide breadth of items.
The deathshield, archangel’s battlegear, and Armageddon pendant are all fantastic items with very forgiving drop rates. Most legendaries are only worth the stamina investment if they are your only remaining upgrades. A Plate of the Ages will take most people 180,000 activity to obtain, assuming you are able to do 18,000 activity per attempt. (Thanks DaveO for correcting my error). With that same amount of stamina, you could easily get the following: 3x of all relevant Azriel drops, 3 frost bolts, 3 genesis swords, 3 deathrune hellplates, and possibly a helm of dragon power.
The monster section lists the monsters in order they provide War items as well as farming strategy for each monster.
The items section details the final goals you should have for every slot as well as a farming strategy for each specific slot.
You should have a solid PVP base. The +5 slot is worth 30% of victory. This gives you an incredible amount of flexibility. After winning the +5, you only need to win 4/12 remaining points. This allows for victory over people with better gear, or better generals, and often both.
Only your equipped general’s special ability is sued. Adrianna, by a very large margin, is the best general to have equipped. Everybody should own Adrianna and Kataan. After that, just place your best generals in your best slots.
All men may be created equal, but all slots are not.
Use your opponents’ ignorance to your advantage. Most people do not properly examine the power of offhand and helmets. Weapons and armor are given a lot of emphasis, and are consequential, but they are still overemphasized. Amulets are generally an afterthought, but are surprisingly robust. Gloves and Magic are energy and stamina quagmires, requiring many resources for limited returns.
Trading Spaces: +3 or +5
------------------------------------------------------ Hence that general is skilful in attack whose opponent does not know what to defend; and he is skilful in defense whose opponent does not know what to attack. - Sun Tzu
This is purely dependent upon your pvp stats. If you beat most people offensively, and repel most people defensively, leave yourself in the +5.
Remember to be flexible. Outliers – incredibly strong or incredibly weak pvpers – will be the most common reason to move yourself.
I do not recommend going to War with anybody you cannot defeat in normal PVP. The +5 differential (its really +10) is too much of a hurdle to bother with most of the time. If you do want to annoy a High King with fewer than 500 loses, expect a slightly busier battlefeed.
For Stronger PVP opponents:
1. Put yourself in one of the +3 slots.
2. Drop every general down one slot. Your strongest general should be in the other +3, then the next strongest in the +2s, and so on.
3. Put your worst general in the +5 slot. It is sacrificial and you don’t want to waste any resources on it.
For Weaker PVP opponents:
1. The savvier ones will place themselves in the +3 slot. I would only expect this if they have a high war rank and low pvp rank & poor win/loss ratio.
2. If you have very strong generals and very strong gear, proceed as normal. I’ve roflstomped many of these cute players 14/3 or 17/0.
3. If you are not so confident, move along. A defeat costs you the war points lost as well as the potential war points you didn’t earn. (Double Whammy).
4. If you insist, pick a +3 to throw yourself into.
5. Put your strongest general in the +5. You want to win it. They may or may not put their strongest general in the +5, but either way you want to assure yourself victory.
6. Put your next strongest general in the other +3, and trickle them down after that as normal.
7. If you lose, look to see where he placed himself. Is it in the other +3? You may want to re-adjust. You also have the possibility of losing again. This is why I don’t recommend getting into these trickery type fights. Choose targets you can easily curbstomp and afterward nonchalantly knock the dust off your pauldrons.
Evaluate, Probe, and Cross Your Fingers.
------------------------------------------------------ By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. - Benjamin Franklin
When you've found a potential target:
1. Invade at least once. If your armies are vastly different, duel. If you lose, move on. If you win, continue.
2. Look at their generals.
3. Look at their weapons, items, and magic.
4. Evaluate. Best items are on the top of every list. Look specifically for legendaries, especially Transcendence and Plate of the Ages. The former is rare, he latter more common. Look for any important item (purgatory, deathshield, Helm of Dragon Power) that is either missing or at less than 3x.
If everything is similar, go ahead and war duel. PVP advantage should guaranty a win.
If you have better generals but slightly worse equipment, war duel.
If everything is inferior, move on - you're asking for a 5/12 loss.
Last edited by khanvalescent; 09-29-2010 at 06:36 AM.
Monsters are listed in the order you should kill them, providing you have no gear. Use your own logical reasoning and determine where you are on the list - the one below is purely based on the unlikely situation of a player having absolutely no gear.
Mandatory items are those you have to get eventually. Your goal should be to get as many, but not all,mandatory items as possible before moving down to the next monster. You're going to have to use your discretion on whether to keep slogging away on an item or moving on. As a rule, after killing an alpha 4-5 times, it probably makes sense to move on to the next one.
Temporary Crutch items are filler items that will be useful as you are building up your gear. These should not be pursued, they are just a bonus and are generally fairly easy to acquire due to most being rares.
Recommended damage is based on Tim Nyota's great spreadsheets. Damages are based on farming 3x of the best items for war; not for legendary chances and not for overall success of the battle. I'm not in the business of philanthropy, and neither should you. Even so, none of the recommended damages should be considered "tagging". Links to each monster's community-contributed (HTLM) spreadsheets are included if you wish to make your own analysis.
For the most part, I recommend the minimum damage to reliably get 3 epics from Alphas, and 1 epic from vanilla monsters.
3x Amulet of Courage [25/18 Amulet]
3x Glorious Plate [20/31 Armor]
3x Honors Defender [25/30 Off-hand]
3x Righteous Helm [28/30 Helm]
3x Ring of Honor [18/25 Amulet]
War of the Red Plains
Farm order: Based on the assumption that you have none of the items. Farm both offensive and defensive sets - you won’t have to go too far out of your way to do so. You should still start off by farming the monsters in the order recommended. This guide is for addressing specific weaknesses. Adjust according to your unique situation.
------------------------------------------------------ Before all else, be armed. - Niccolo Machiavelli
1x Heart of the Woods [60.8]
3x Stormcrusher 
3x Exsanguinator [47.4]
1x Heart of the Woods 
3x Staff of Jahanna [48.2]
3x Stormcrusher [44.5]
1. Exsanguinator 100 stamina/Vincent.
2. Heart of the Woods She drops other good things as well.
2. Staff of Jahanna.
3. Stormcrusher. Valhalla sucks.
------------------------------------------------------ Your spirit is the true shield. - Morihei Ueshiba
1. Purgatory. Drops from our favorite angelic loot piņata. ‘Nuff said.
2. Honor's Defender. Corvi is stingy like Alpha Meph, but with better loot. Prepare to spend a lot of stamina.
3. Concurrent: Sword of Redemption. Stamina is useful, the sword of redemption is very useful. Don’t be a wacko and keep your stamina under 120. Even if you already have all the stamina you want, I’d recommend praying. Farming 10 demi points a day is going to take you a year and a half to get the Sword of Redemption.
(NOTE: Deathshield actually has the highest drop rate of any of skaar epics. Getting 3 of these should be much easier than getting 3 Honor's Defenders.)
------------------------------------------------------ A crown is merely a hat that lets the rain in. - Frederick The Great
3x Helm of Dragon Power 
3x Windchaser Helm [49.3]
1x Righteous Helm 
3x Helm of Dragon Power 
3x Righteous Helm [49.6]
1x Windchaser Helm [49.3]
1. Righteous Helm
2. Helm of Dragon Power. This one is a pain in the ass, but is still incredibly strong. The 25 dragon kill achievement sweetens the deal.
3. Windchaser Helm. Valhalla sucks.
Don’t spend too much effort on the HODP, it intentionally takes a while to get, back when the developers allowed anybody to get a good item through hard work – not unlimited stamina pools.
Alchemy items, in order of difficulty (easiest first).
Dragon Talon – Tag raids.
Jewel of Fire – Between red dragons and cronusii, you should get a fair amount of these.
Dragon Scale – Stick to blue dragons. 25 BODL achievement should get you 1 as well.
Wall of Fire – Tag raids. See monster discussion for more.
------------------------------------------------------ There is no armor against fate. - James Shirley
3x Plate of the Wild [44.0]
3x Glorious Plate [41.7]
1x Deathrune Hellplate [36.9]
3x Plate of the Wild [46.1]
3x Glorious Plate 
1x Deathrune Hellplate [39.6]
1. Deathrune Hellplate. Doesn't drop that easily, but you could gain 12 skaar epics for the same amount of stamina as 2 Corvinthius epics.
2. Glorious Plate
3. Plate of the Wild. You'll easily obtain 3 on your way to 18 runes.
*Plate of the Ages warning*
Don’t get too engorged over the 51.5/59 effective attack/defense. It requires stamina. A lot of stamina.
------------------------------------------------------ Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies. - Mother Teresa
1x Force of Nature 
1x Moonfall Amulet 
3x Amulet of Courage [37.6]
2x Lifedrop Pendant [37.5]
1x Force of Nature [74.5]
1x Moonfall Amulet 
3x Lifedrop Pendant 
2x Ring of Honor [37.6]
0. Moonfall Amulet - Health is marginally useful now. Farm serpents and PVP and you'll get there in no time if you don't want to pray.
2. Amulet of Courage + Ring of Honor. Ring of honor is a rare.
3.Lifedrop Pendant Rare, Aurora drops a lot of other neat stuff too.
4.Force of Nature. By the time you can get to 3 staves of Jahannas, you should also be fairly close to 18 Life Forces. I only recommend killing Jahannas until you have 3 of the weapons and 1 Force of Nature (unless you are close to making a second one).
Is transcendence worth farming? Short answer - no. Long answer – nope.
What about moonfall amulet? Yes - be disciplined in getting 10 demis/day. Farming serpents will get you even more demis per day.
------------------------------------------------------ Everyone has a plan 'till they get punched in the mouth. - Mike Tyson
3x Gauntlet of Fire [19.3]
3x Hellforge Gauntlets [18.2]
1x Hand of Life 
3x Virtue of Temperance [18.2]
3x Gauntlet of Fire [18.1]
1x Hand of Life 
1. Gauntlet of Fire.
2. Hellforge Gauntlets. Mainly just due to the collective yumminess of Bahumat.
3. Virtue of Temperance. These drop frequently. Trust me. You will have many more than you want.
4. Hand of Life Rare.
DO NOT FARM FOR THE DEATH TOUCH GAUNTLET.
It is worth 2-4 pts more than the other items, or 0.1% of your collective item power.
------------------------------------------------------ We launch our souls from the cannons of art and discipline, and on any one night, hovering over the chimney tops of Europe, halfway to the stars, there are armies of brightly spinning spirits that have risen like fireworks, tethered to the souls of those men and women who, by reflection, mortification, and devotion, effortlessly outdazzle kings. - A Soldier of the Great War
1. Swarm of Darknesss Cheap stamina.
2. Frost Bolt. Fairly poor drop rate, but low stamina requirements and nice demi pts.
3 Nature's Sunder. Can be done concurrently with the other two, rare drop makes it easier to get.
Last edited by khanvalescent; 04-13-2011 at 09:45 PM.
This will be brief, there are many more robust pvp guides out there written by people with more experience.
PVP is worth 5 points in War, but since War is a zero-sum game, it is really worth 10 points (opponent wins 5, you don’t earn 5). I recommend that you don’t suck at PVP. For the purposes of War, “not sucking” means keeping your BSI at a minimum of 5. As mentioned previously, high energy and stamina help with item acquisition, but the 3x limit places a very low ceiling on the benefits of being a monster hunter. With a good BSI, higher attack and defense still allows more damage per stamina point. You won't be able to do 40M damage, but we aren't hopelessly ineffective. As long as you can do 7-8M activity (yes, you may have to use energy) in a typical fight, you have more than enough energy and stamina.
Defense or Attack?
Get your BSI high enough to where it doesn't matter. Most players are not built for pvp, a glass canon 5.0 BSI will successfully attack 95% of all players. A 6.0 BSI will successfully defend AND attack 95% of all players.
Whatever you choose, you should think about your normal PVP play style. I’ve spent hours building up an impenetrable base and an overwhelming blitzkrieg force of ground, aerial, and cavalry troops to defeat 3 Kobolds and a pack of grumpy geese in a real-time strategy game. So I’m defensive. Very defensive. I also have a shred of humanity and sometimes feel guilty about attacking people – but never feel guilty about successfully defending.
If you go offensive, you will be able to retaliate (as a semi-wall if someone defeats me offensively, there are very few scenarios where I can successfully retaliate). You will also be able to successfully choose a lot more targets with the same BSI. Remember, however, that War does not have any (legal/implemented) method of retaliating/bookmarking. This deadens the benefits of defense since you can’t be bookmarked (legally). It also removes the retributive joy of retaliation.
If you don’t know, just stay balanced at 1:1. Long term, a lot (possibly most?) of people end up close to 1:1 anyway.
So how do I get good?
PVP is very simple:
1. Stop putting points into anything but attack and defense.
2. Gather skill points.
_____b. Gold medals. 200 stamina has allowed me gold medal damage in all non alpha monsters without using refills.
_____c. Use your energy for quests.
3. Below level 300, level slowly. War isn’t (legally) open ended like PVP, so a strong BSI matters since most people will only wage war through the battle page.
Last edited by khanvalescent; 12-29-2010 at 03:43 AM.
What Generals to Use Where
Put your best generals in your best slots. "Best" means calculate attack + (0.7 * defense) when attacking. Calculate (0.7 * attack) + defense when defending. Generals' stats are multiplied by 6 (see below), so it is important to put in a little work and figure out who is best.
Don't be lazy and keep the same generals in the same spots when attacking and defending. If you use any generals with a significant difference between their attack and defense (23/18, 18/25, etc.) then you will most likely need to swap them around. Remember, there are few ways in castle age for actual effort to be rewarded - this is one of them. Don't be lazy.
In some cases it may be worth it to be cute and stack your best generals in your +2 slots. For the most part, War is not that competitive enough to bother being tricky. If you are being bookmarked (illegally I might add), it may be worth it to try and rearrange things to shake your stalker. Otherwise this guide recommends evaluating your targets correctly so that you do not have to rely on gimmicks, trickery, and or shenanigans to win.
Only the general you have equipped will have their ability take effect. Adrianna is absolutely the best general to use, followed distantly by Hyperion. After that, equip whichever general best improves your PVP ability.
Generals and the Multiplier.
Initially it seemed that a general's stats were insignificant. My top gear provides 335.7 attack rating (attack + .7 defense), while Kataan (my best attacking general, QQ) provides only 37.4 attack rating. This is almost exactly 10% of total attack rating - not much, right?
Yet as time went by, the community noticed that the formula is different from normal duels. Better equipment configurations were losing to poorer ones. Right now the popular weight value is 6x. So Kataan's effective rating becomes (37.4 * 6) 224.4. This is almost exactly 40% of my total attack rating. Much more consequential.
My worst possible gear configuration leads to 194.9. In this case, Kataan would be worth 53% of my effective attack.
Best attacking general is Malakus. 43.6 attack rating * = 261.6 That is a 37.2 attack difference between him and Kataan, the best attacking general anybody can readily obtain.
Big deal? 37.2 attack differences in other slots:
Meat Cleaver ---> Frost Edge
Purgatory ---> Atlantean Shield
Plate of Ages ---> Pauldrons of Light
Helm of dragon power ----> Frost Helm
Moonfall amulet ----> Thawing Star
2 Death Touch Guantlets ----> Nothing
Gladiator's Strength ----> Nothing
If I saw any of these contrasting items, I would automatically know the reason for losing a given slot in war.
Equipment that specifically modifies a general's stats is calculated in War. There was a tweet a while back saying that not all equipment was properly modifying all generals, but (as usual) no specifics were given nor did I ever hear of a fix. At this point, just assume that all gear affects all generals.
I don't really recommend ever buying this gear. If you have enough money or FP acquisition skills to do buy 6 slots worth of general gear (12 X 25 FP), you should probably use those FP on chests.
Throw out the typical "epic" vs "non-epic" binary description of generals. Some epics are simply FP sponges (Kull) or have a gimmicky situational use (Stone guardian, Orc Warrior, Kobo).
More recent bimonthly generals and Onslaught & Oblivion generals not listed above.
Buying Generals This thread details Chest rolls and costs. It takes about $57 to get an epic general. Best Bang for the buck is Onslaught, followed by Oblivion, Vanguard, and finally Alpha. Do remember that epic generals are not required to rank up in War (nor to even reach Alpha Vanguard), and that chests are an expensive gamble. Worry about things you can control - PVP & Items - before you throw away the kids' trust fund on 1200 FP.
Must own generals:
Buy these two before you spend any FP on chests. Special abilities only apply to general that is equipped as your main general. Adrianna is by far the best general to have equipped. Hyperion is a distant second. After that, whichever general best affects PVP is best.
If a general is only in Silver/Gold in offense or defense, they are only worth .5.
Some of the alchemy generals have decent stats, but do NOT create Medius unless you have 6 Frost Bolts and Genesis Swords.
Pursue her only, and ONLY, if you already have the Dreadnought Plate. Tag raids for the demon strength, and the rest of her items drop readily. She is useful in War defensively, and moderately effective offensively, but the stamina cost of obtaining her is so incredibly high.
TL;DR version: Generals matter, but epic generals are not required.
Last edited by khanvalescent; 11-07-2010 at 10:39 PM.
Why don’t you recommend any legendaries?
Their opportunity cost is too high. If it makes sense to farm a legendary, then you are beyond the scope of this guide.
Why don’t you recommend the DTG?
See above question. This guide is not about stroking your epeen to charismatic mega-items. It is about getting strong. Fast.
Ok wise-guy, then why do you recommend the Helm of Dragon Power?
There is a considerable drop off in power (25-50%) after the first three helms. Farming raids takes minimal stamina and rewards Chase. 25 dragon kills awards great achievement rewards. Between the two of these, a player should be able to create 1-3 HDPs.
What about the Atlantean Forcefield?
There is no serpent achievement. The Atlantean Forcefield is much less powerful than HDP, and there are a great deal of similar options for far less opportunity cost.
I thought war is about items and generals, why do you recommend a solid PVP build?
PVP is a third of war. You don’t need 1k stamina/energy to farm any 3 epics. You don’t even need it to get a legendary here or there.
Are generals really that important?
Yes. At this point, it is universally agreed upon there is a multiplier. This thread (thanks to Zserg for finding it!) posits it is a 6x multiplier. To date, it is the only public thread showing any real research with credible results.
I don’t have any epic generals, should I bother?
Yes. I still saw a few Alpha Vangaurds (top 2%) with no epic generals, and it almost seemed like a majority of Vanguards (top 3-5%) had no epic generals. War is much less competitive than the Arena.
Why are the rewards itemized for invasions and not war (i.e. a 3 item buy limit)?
My theory is War was designed to be PVP for monster hunters (it isn’t) and that the rewards were to be roughly equivalent, for stamina spent, to PVP rewards.
Will there be more tier rewards released?
Probably. It depends on how hard the developers intend to push War. Traditional PVP is the unmentionable stepchild of the game and has still gotten a few tier updates over the months. Conversely, raids and Atlantis are all but forgotten, so it is not a given.
Is bookmarking possible?
Yes. It will get you suspended.
I’m being bookmarked, haaaalp!!??!
The best solution is to politely and diplomatically approach the attacker. Do not threaten them. Do not make accusations that their mother AND FATHER are BOTH romantically involved with various barnyard animals. Do congratulate them on the victory. Do compliment them on their gear/generals. Do remind them that it is not intended. Do politely ask them to stop. As in the real world, a little humor and self-deprecation can go a long way.
If you’ve followed this guide, you probably won’t be bookmarked. You will be strong enough that anybody who can beat you will be able to beat basically anybody else. The only problem is the lack of high ranking War players.
Why does everything in war cost an order of magnitude [10x] more? No clue. I think it is a mistake and combined with the lack of (intended) retaliation, the primary reason for War’s unpopularity. To give war longevity. Otherwise, everybody would be max rank in 1 week like normal LOLPVP.
Where do I start if I have absolutely nothing?
Normal Vincent, Corvintheus, Azriel, Bahumat. In that order.
Last edited by khanvalescent; 01-03-2011 at 08:16 PM.