Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Lord of Ultima (LoU): Resource Building

There's a lot of confusion in the Lord of Ultima (LoU) browser-based, free-to-play MMORTS game. I'm going to set out to resolve some of this confusion in a many-part series which will start with this post. In this post, we're considering resource building, the most fundamental mechanic in LoU.

In the first section, I'll address those who are just starting their first city, and then we'll get into the basic resource building strategies in the second section.

First off, let's destroy a persistent myth. There are lots of old guides out there that talk about building a "grid" of resource buildings. This is old, outdated and wrong information. Ignore such sites. LoU has since moved to a system where you need basic resource nodes (stone, wood, iron, lakes) in order to reach optimal builds.

First up: Starting Out

When you start your first city (log into the game) you have a town hall (level 1) the outline of your city wall (level 0) and, if you're playing on a castles server, your castle (level 1). You can follow the tutorial if you like, but you don't have to. What follows are guidelines for what you do if you do not follow the tutorial, but you can just catch up with this after you finish too.

The first rule is: everything you do must be focused on getting your second city. There's nothing more important at first. Resources are the right place to start. In later cities, you will bring in resources and build up your build speed first, but you can't do that in your first city, so it works wonderfully as a primer on how to deal with resources.

Various of the building types described, here, require an upgraded town hall at various levels. If you get to a building type and can't build it yet, upgrade your town hall first. A good rule of thumb for build speed is to upgrade your cottages if your lowest level upgrade would take longer than the next level of cottage. In general, I advise trying to keep all build speeds to a maximum of 20 minutes until you get to around level 6 or 7 and past that, nothing should ever take more than an hour until level 10 (9 for town hall).

Start out with three woodcutter's huts, a cottage next to those three, a town hall upgrade to 2, a city wall upgrade to 1 and three stone quarries, and a second cottage near the quarries. Your first question is going to be placement of all of those. To figure that out, you want to go grab LoU Tweak. If you are using Firefox, you will need the greasemonkey addon to use this. If you're using chrome you can just install LoU Tweak directly. IE users should get a new browser.

This should modify your user interface in several ways, but the most important right now is this: there will be a new "L" button under the list of your current resources near the top-left of the screen. Click the L and then click on the "open in flash city planner" link in the dialog box. This opens up a new page with a city planner (Adobe Flash required, as the name implies) where you can experiment with where to place buildings. Play around with it and get used to the way it works. See what kind of efficient layouts you can find. Then come back here.

Second: Layout

It's "location, location, location," and if you don't understand how to position your resource-building nodes, you may as well not play. Here's some basic configurations. These embody the most essential rules of resource building. Notice these basic rules are followed:
  • There are four basic resource buildings: woodcutter, quarry, iron mine and farm. There are also four multipliers: sawmill, stone mason, foundry and mill, which correspond to the four basic resource buildings.
  • Always have one (and preferably only one) multiplier touching each basic resource building.
  • Always have one (and preferably more than one) resource node (wood, stone, iron and lakes) touching each basic resource building
  • Share as many basic resource buildings with each single multiplier as possible.
  • For farms only, maximize the open space around each farm (there will be a separate farm article at some point).
Let's go over some configurations that use these rules:

The 3x3 layout
The 3x3 layout is where you have 3 resources, like the wood shown above, in a row. You can place 3 of the basic resource buildings in a row in front of the 3 resources and then 1 central resource multiplier like the sawmill and around it, 2 cottages. This will yield 4,526 resource units per hour.

The endcap layout
When you have two resource nodes in a row, there's a less efficient layout than the 3x3 that you can use to take advantage of the poor placement. Your resource buildings (e.g. woodcutter huts) and multiplier (e.g. sawmill) go around the end of the two, forming a "cap." I call this the "endcap" configuration. While the endcap is a nice way to finish off a build, because none of the ideal layouts are still available, it's also an important tool in building larger structures.

The double-endcap layout
Sometimes two nodes are free-standing, allowing you to place buildings all around them. In this case, you combine two copies of the endcap to form a double-endcap, which is slightly more efficient because of the shared cottages.

A generic layout which uses the others as building blocks
In this layout, you can see we use an end-cap to the left and on the bottom-right, there's a 3x3, but notice that it's even more efficient than the typical 3x3 because the multiplier is being used for the resource buildings below it and above it. This is the kind of win-win that you want to find room for in your resource cities.


This is only the start. There are many wrinkles and complexities that follow your first baby-steps into building cities in LoU, and even more when you consider non-resource cities, castles, combat, etc. I'll be covering all of those topics in later articles...

Next article: Troop Building...

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1 comment:

China Mike said...

I am sure you know this phrase "I wish I had found this post..." etc.

I have been playing just under a week. I learned via various posts and I too came across "plans" as you mentioned where there were NO nodes showing; I didn't get it. They were these very harsh looking layouts, like in England in the 1920's steel mills. Ugly and a bit Orwellian.

I have not finished my 1st city, as I had poor guidance because I was piecing it together from conflicting blogs, forums--you name it! I really like your straight forward article with pictures. I asked a number of people with no response on exactly HOW to layout the buildings to best efficiency. And HERE you put it out perfectly.

Thanks again. I have some restructuring to do.