This tutorial covers the very basics of most aspects of the game. If you are interested in more detailed descriptions of any of the games elements, check the in-game help page.
Dragon Lords is a strategy game. It contains elements of a Role Playing Game (RPG) genre, it allows interaction with thousands of other players via Internet which makes it Massively Multiplayer Online (MMORPG), but primarily it's a good, old, turn based strategy. Those of you who have played Civilization or Heroes of Might and Magic series will know this already, for those who are not familiar with the concept though here is a brief explanation of the turn system.
TURN BASED STRATEGY
Turn based strategies, as opposed to real time strategies, give the player time to contemplate next move, to think through the strategy. In turn games time only flies when player allows it, when he's ready to proceed to the next turn (and hits End Turn button).
When End Turn button is pressed your kingdom moves ahead in time, your subjects perform their jobs (farming, building etc.), pay taxes and procreate. In the time between the turns your kingdom is frozen in time, no matter if you leave the game for an hour, a week or a month.
To keep all kingdoms progressing at the same pace each player is "given" one turn every hour. Those turns accumulate until maximum number of turns is reached. Initially this number is 15, however it can be increased as your kingdom evolves.
It doesn't matter if you log in every hour to perform your activities, or wait hours between making your turns, you're going to expand your kingdom at the same pace as other players.
Before you create your kingdom the game will ask you which realm you would like to play on and will provide a suggested realm. You should only be concerned with this if you already have friends playing on a specific realm, you will want to find it on the list and after you have selected it, press Start. Otherwise, just go with the suggested realm. Don't worry, you will have an option to create the kingdom on another realm after you have started playing.
Dragon Lords lets you take rains of one of the kingdoms in the realm filled with all sorts of fantasy creatures. You can command one of the six races: Humans, Dwarves, Elves, Orcs, Dark Elves and the Undead. Each race has its own distinct characteristics which affect the game and your kingdom in both positive and negative ways.
Before you create your kingdom you might want to read what are each race strong and weak points to find the one that fits best what you intend to do with your kingdom. For example, if you intend to wage war on other players as your main goal you might want to select a race which has bonus to military attack power. If you intend to focus on advancing your kingdom's economy more than anything else you might want to select a kingdom with economic bonuses (merchants, farmers, miners, builders, scholars).
Once you have selected your race its time to establish your kingdom. It's important to note here that there is no map in Dragon Lords, your kingdom exists in a "virtual" location. The reason behind it is simple: in a MMO game, where thousands of players interact it would be very limiting to put a player on a map, in neighborhood of just a handful of other players. Removing map from the equation allows you to trade, ally and fight with ALL kingdoms on the realm, which proves a much more rewarding experience.
The main characteristic of your kingdom is its size. It is described by the amount of land you possess counted in acres. You may acquire land either by buying it, or by taking it from other kingdoms during a war.
Initially, as your young kingdom expands, you will buy land. This can be done in the Kingdom tab, in Castle section. Every acre you buy has its cost in gold. The bigger your kingdom is, the more expensive each acre gets. As your domain grows you will find that it's easier to expand by waging a war than buying the land.
The size of your kingdom is limited by the level of your castle. You will need to upgrade your castle if you intend to expand beyond your current land limit. Upgrading your castle requires a certain amount of all of the resources and in some cases, a rare artifact obtainable either by exploring, trading with other kingdoms or a reward from the Temple.
There are 4 kinds of resources at your disposal: gold, food, stone and mana. If you want to be a successful ruler you need to make sure you utilize all of those resources properly.
Gold will be your main concern as it ties in with every aspect of running your kingdom. You will obtain gold through taxes (each of your subjects pays certain amount of gold each turn), merchants and when you have built them, mines. You will need gold to buy new land and to trade with other kingdoms (trading with other kingdoms is a crucial part of the game as you will learn). Once you decide to build an army, you will require gold to pay their salary each turn.
Food is critical resource in each kingdom, as every single one of your subjects needs food to stay alive. You will need to make sure you have enough Farmers to sustain your population. If you have less food than is required to feed your subjects at the end of the turn, they will start dying.
Stone is supplied by Miners. It is used as a material to build all the buildings in the game. If you run out of stone, the current construction project will come to a halt.
Mana, is required to cast spells. Your kingdom's mages will provide and utilize mana. Like other resources, mana can be stored, sold to other kingdoms or stolen in an attack.
The population of your kingdom is essential to victory. With each turn it grows by a certain amount (based on the amount of land in your kingdom and the current population). Your new subjects start off as unemployed, but can, and should be assigned certain jobs. The available professions are: Farmers, Miners, Builders, Scholars, Mages, Merchants and Soldiers.
Farmers grow food needed to keep your population alive. The more farmers you have, the more food they will produce each turn.
Miners provide your kingdom with stone. The more miners you have, the more stone they will produce each turn.
Builders create all the buildings in your kingdom. The greater the number of your builders, the faster selected structure will be created.
Scholars work on discovering new advancements for your kingdom. The more scholars work on a research project, the fewer number of turns will it take for it to be completed.
Mages produce mana. The more mages you have, the more mana you will receive each turn. It's important to note that in order to cast a spell, you need to have at least one mage for every acre of the kingdom youre casting the spell upon.
Merchants provide your kingdom with gold. The more merchants you have, the more gold you will earn each turn.
Soldiers make up your army. Each soldier you train is assigned to militia, your basic military force. Militia can be turned into more powerful units, which can be discovered by your Scholars.
Your kingdom becomes more powerful as you construct additional buildings, each providing a specific bonus. You will need to hire builders in order to construct them. Each building has a specific 'build cost', so the more builders you hire, the faster it will be completed.
Discoveries are your kingdoms way of advancement. They are divided into three categories: buildings, magic and military. Each discovery has a specific "requirement" of how many discoveries you need to complete before researching it.
Before you start your struggle with other kingdoms you will need to name your Champion. He is going to be your most powerful and valuable subject. Champion will lead your armies to battle, explore new lands, find treasures and through his skills, increase effectiveness of your people.
Your Champion is characterized by a number of statistics:
Life - The amount of hit points your champion possesses. Each military conflict and exploration attempt carries a risk of injuring your champion, or even his death. He can be healed and resurrected but remember, as long as your champion is dead, you cannot send your army into combat, nor command your champion to do anything. Each point spent into rising Life grants your champion 5 hit points.
Spirit - Spirit represents the number of actions your champion can undertake at a given time. Each study, exploration or gambling attempt consumes 1 Spirit point. Champion's Spirit is replenished 1 point every 5 minutes until it reaches the maximum (initially 5). It costs 3 points to increase Spirit attribute by 1.
Combat - This skill represents your champion's ability in hand-to-hand combat. Each point decreases the chance of your champion being wounded during either a battle or an exploration attempt. It costs 1 point to increase your Champions Combat skill by 1.
Strategy - The ability and skill of your Champion to lead your army. Each point of Strategy increases the combined strength of your whole army by 1%. It costs 1 point to increase your Strategy skill by 1.
Magic - The ability of your champion to reinforce the power of your kingdoms mages. Each point of your champions Magic skills increases the mana generation by 0,5% and the total magical power of your kingdom by 1%, both when is used offensively or defensively. It costs 1 point to increase your magic skill by 1
Leadership - The ability of your champion to inspire the civilian population. Each point spent in Leadership increases the productivity of farmers, miners, builders, scholars and merchants by 0,5%. It costs 1 point to increase your leadership skill by 1.
There is a number of activities your champion may undertake. Initially you will only be able to Study and Explore new lands, later as you grow your kingdom and raise an army you will also be able to attack rival kingdoms. Other activities for your Champion need to be unlocked. Each activity will consume one Spirit point.
Studying - your champion spends time improving his skills through theoretical knowledge. Studying carries no risk of your champion sustaining any injuries and grants a high amount of experience. The more your champion studies, the higher the rank of the skill and the more experience it grants. Every level of Study grants your champion one extra skill point.
Exploring - This action allows the hero to venture into dangerous lands in search of gold and various powerful artifacts. Each land has requirements that must be met. Your Champion must be at a required level, have adequate Combat skill and sometimes be accompanied by a group of soldiers. Some of the lands have their own specific list of treasures which might be found there. Exploring carries a risk of your Champion getting injured or killed. Every exploration attempt awards gold and experience.
Magic is one of the important tools you can use to support your own kingdom, help your allies, or damage your enemies. Magical spells are divided into two categories White and Dark magic.
White magic is used for peaceful and defensive purposes: conjuring resources, enhancing the productivity of the civilian population, summoning magical creatures for your army and shielding your kingdom from attacks.
Black magic has only one purpose: to damage your enemies. You will use Black magic to destroy enemy kingdom supplies, hinder their profession productivity, kill its people and even destroy their buildings.
Sooner or later your kingdom will need an army. Your Champion might need a few strong men to help him explore one of the lands. You might want to protect yourself from attack of another kingdom. Or you might decide to attack someone yourself. For all this you will need soldiers.
Once you assign your unemployed subject to be Soldiers, they will become the basic military unit at your disposal: Militia. While Militia is a fairly weak unit on its own, it has no upkeep cost and can be upgraded into one of the more powerful units, once you discover them. Each of the advanced units needs to be trained, which is a onetime cost, then for each of those units salary needs to be paid every turn.
When you start playing Dragon Lords, you have to accept the fact that if you want to become Dragon Lord you WILL have to take part in combat. Fighting other players is the core of gameplay. Even if you do not wish to attack anyone, there will be others who will send their armies to stop you from beating them to the ultimate goal.
There are two forms of military encounters in Dragon Lords: raid and invasion. Each of those attacks can only be performed once in a turn.
Raid is a quick attack on an enemy kingdom with the aim to steal resources. Your loot depends on the amount resources gathered by target kingdom and the size of that kingdom. If you're picking kingdoms smaller than your own, the loot is going to be significantly lower than if you raided someone bigger than you.
Invasion is the ultimate form of military attack. While invasion will also yield loot, its main purpose is to steal land from your enemy. This attack can only be performed during an active Alliance war.
An alliance is a group of kingdoms working together under one banner. Allied kingdoms can form pacts to enhance their economy, magical or military power. All kingdoms in the alliance have a chance to improve their worker productivity through Guilds. The most important matter however, is that only an Alliance can raise the Nether Portal, key to achieving victory in Dragon Lords.
There is one more aspect of the game reserved for Alliances: War. Single kingdom cannot be in the state of war with another kingdom, this political action is reserved for groups of kingdoms, Alliances. The purpose of a War is gaining land and resources by taking it from another Alliance. After you declare war on another alliance there is a 24 hour period for preparations. When that time is finished you have 24 hours to attack or use Black Magic spells on any given kingdom belonging to a hostile alliance. Only during the 24 hour period of active war it's possible to launch invasions.