In my last article entitled Caesar for Rookies, Part I, we examined strategies to accelerate you to the end of Heavenly Scourge Legion. We looked at which heroes and gear to use, and more importantly which ones to skip. You learned how to Island Hop gear, how to supercharge your gambit and about Mulan, the most important early hero for Caesar. So now you've got the Eastern princess with her deadly Arrow Storm. Your next objective is to get an awesome horse and start fighting other players for prestige. To do that, you need to get to level 30 as fast as possible.
Level 30 or Bust
Most guides will tell you to level evenly. That's a slow play strategy. In fast play, you want to level only a few critical buildings. The buildings are, in order of importance: Armory, Academy, Tower of Trials, Town Hall. You level buildings based on the need to upgrade. Don't push your Town Hall level up without needing it, because you will earn less Battle Points per battle.
Your key gear right now is your Nomad Bow for Saladin, your two suits of Gold Armor, and your horse. You should always be pushing these up with the money you make from taxes, especially if you are stopped by a tough opponent in campaign. Do not level evenly; when you have a choice between leveling important gear or other gear, always pick the highest priority item. Whenever your important gear has reached your Armory level, upgrade the building itself.
Your key research areas at the Academy, in order of importance are: Chivalry (gambit attack), Plate Mail (normal defense), Fortifications (gambit defense), Tempered Steel (normal attack), Conscription (extra units). Note that if you intend to go Double Horse, you can ignore Tempered Steel for now. If you are going Horse and Blade, you will need to upgrade Tempered Steel. If you have a choice between upgrading a higher priority research item and a lower one, always pick the higher one. Don't worry that they get uneven, that's perfectly acceptable in fast play. I do recommend that you try to keep the skills listed above to within 5 levels of Chivalry, because that will help in campaign battles. Whenever your key Research has reached your Academy level, upgrade the building itself.
You will upgrade your Town Hall under two conditions. First, if you have any key heroes who have reached your city level, you must upgrade the Town Hall to allow them to keep advancing. Your key heroes are Mulan, Boudica, Saladin. If you are on Double Horse, you may also consider Alfred or Gaius Marius a key hero, depending on who you selected. You should be pushing Mulan by spending Battle Points to accelerate her training. This will make her powerful quickly. Second, if your Armory or Academy has reached your Town Hall level and either building needs an upgrade, you must upgrade the Town Hall first. These are really the only two times you should upgrade your Hall. Remember, the higher your Hall, the fewer Battle Points you will receive, and you want a huge stockpile of Battle Points for later. It's okay that they are arriving faster than you can spend them, because that will change later.
Whenever the Armory or Academy doesn't require an upgrade, and you have available building teams, you should upgrade your other buildings. In order of importance, these are: Tower of Trials, Tax Office, Barracks, Residences, Marketplace, Treasury, Granary. You shouldn't let any of these buildings fall more than 5 levels behind your Town Hall. But don't feel bad if it seems like they have been left behind, because you will catch up soon.
So why is reaching Level 30 so important? There is one critical reason for Caesar that outweighs all the other considerations. Level 30 is when you can scout for powerful horses, and that will take your gambit game to a whole new level.
Recruit Your Ride
Right now you've got a white horse for Mulan, and Double Horse players will have Alfred or Gaius with a second white horse. It turns out that white horses are great for knights in fairy tales, but they're absolutely terrible for accomplishing anything in Chronicles of Merlin. Now pay close attention to the following point, because it is not well understood by rookie players, and it makes a HUGE difference in power.
On iOS, you can dispatch your Scouts for horses and cloaks at 31. On the PC, you can scout for horses and cloaks at 30.
Why is that a big difference? Because iOS requires you to leave Bari r30 for Sarajevo r40, and the PC doesn't. It is greatly to your advantage to remain in Bari r30 so your PvP opponents are capped at Level 30. So here's what you are going to do. You are going to log into your account via PC occasionally. You can follow these helpful instructions. Use the Scout feature on the 1st horse scout, and only the first horse scout. If you get a green horse, sell it. This is an expensive process, and it might take several days and a lot of silver to get it right. If you have a choice between scouting with the 1st scout and upgrading gear or buildings, always choose to scout until you have as many blue horses as you need. If you are doing Double Horse, you will need two horses. If you are doing Horse and Blade, you will only need one. Your goal is to get either of two Rare blue horses: the Darded Destrier or the Armored Destrier. Both are pretty much equivalent, and both are enormously superior to white horses. They will rip through an adversary's white cloak like a hot knife through butter. And that's what you are going to do now, because it's time to pillage and plunder some enemy cities!
PvP and Prestige Fighting
This is the time when you really want to focus on prestige. I know a lot of other people will say you should be fighting Charlemagne in Bordeaux r30 and King Arthur in Belfast r30 all along. If you want to do that, fine. It's just going to slow you down. Since you unlock Scouting at the maximum city level of 30, I find it's better to get there as quickly as possible. Once you have your blue horse or two, you will be a complete terror in PvP. Once you are powerful, you can focus your new firepower on high value opponents who are Hostile (blue), Wanted (purple), Most Wanted (orange) or Enemy of the State (red). You will get far more prestige for fighting valuable opponents, and that will accelerate your power much faster than scraping up a few dozen gray, white and green opponents.
Now that you've reached Level 30, this is also an important time to pause. You've been leveling fast, pushing your hall, armory, tower and academy faster than your other buildings. Steadily upgrade until all your buildings, research, armor, horses and weapons are +30. If you can afford the silver, try using the first cloak scout to get a green or blue cloak (if you get a Cloak of the Imperium, keep it in inventory, because it's useful later). Most of your silver should be going into horse upgrades and armor upgrades. It's okay if your Dragon Bone Plate falls a bit behind, but your front heroes should be in Gold Armor +30. Charlemagne uses siege attack, and you will need the armor to resist Astolpho and Fierabras.
A few pointers on PvP. First, try different formations. This will require research in your Academy, but getting new formations is important to PvP. The ones most commonly used in Caesar r30 are Sickle, Mallet and Serpent. Second, look over the list of kingdom heroes for Charlemagne and King Arthur. You will definitely see Astolpho and maybe Fierabras from Charlemagne. If that player is doing an Ice Age crawl in r30, one or both heroes might have a Durandal. There is very little that even Gold Armor +30 can do to resist a Durandal +30, so your strategies will be focused on getting your gambit hero(es) charged up and hammering your opponent first with a Darded Destrier +30 or Armored Destrier +30. King Arthur players will have Sir Bedivere and possibly Sir Kay. Both use magic, which you cannot resist at this point. I advise getting to Sir Kay and killing him quickly, as if you play slowly and exchange hits, he will steal all your units until you are dead and he is fine. Overwhelming gambit firepower is the way to win these battles, with perhaps some support from Saladin if you're using Horse and Blade.
If the prestige is good, you should stay in Bari until you reach 20000. I wouldn't bother recruiting Gaius Marius, unless you decided against both Alfred and Attila. If the prestige is really, really good, then consider staying until you reach 43000. Octavian is the Ceasar kingdom flag bearer, and will make your gambit heroes considerably more powerful. Hundred Years War campaign is much easier with Octavian to drive your gambit attacks to 134, or possibly more if you allow your gambit heroes to take a few hits in battle.
So now you've cleared Heavenly Scourge Legion, you have a deadly PvP setup and you are ready to begin the next phase of your adventure. Learn how to complete the Hundred Years War campaign, meet your five new best friends, and advance to Sarajevo r40 in Caesar for Rookies, Part III.