My Guide was edited down for the Newspaper, so I decided to post the full version here.
Battledawn is a Massive Multiplayer Online Strategy Game (MMOSG), there are many of them out there, but Battledawn is one of the ones you have chosen to play for one reason or another. There are many facets of the game to master, and many tools to help you succeed. You have to develop your colony, work together with other players, manage your army, make war, establish relationships between other alliances and other players. All of this is based on a tick by tick system, this is not a real-time strategy game, but it is not a turn based one either, it is based on ticks, different servers have different lengths of time for these ticks. Every half-hour or hour things will change whether you are logged in or not, so check often, but it is slow enough that you don't have to be tied to the computer. Battledawn is also a long term game, this is not something you pick up a bored afternoon and put away never to be seen again, the game takes a bit of time to warm up to, but it will keep you entertained for a long time to come, I have played since Spring '06. There is much to do, and you will have a good time doing it.
Battledawn is a game that is fun to play for many reasons. Some people enjoy playing solitary and seeing how far you can get whilst relying on no one but yourself. Some people enjoy the diplomacy and friendships created if they do not have time for the delicate art of war making. Others enjoy that war making, knowing you have outmaneuvered and outplayed everyone else. Some make war by brute force, persistance, others make it by using their forces in the most efficient way possible. There are tons of options to get enjoyment out of this game, and your ONLY job as a player is to find the way that best suits your needs.
There are many definitions of a good player, and these definitions are made up of several characteristics. You must ask yourself though, what does it take to succeed in Battledawn? Is it even worth my time to attempt it? The truth is, even if you are not very good at the game, you can still have fun, and there is nothing stopping you from improving if you are patient and willing to ask advice.
I think the most important aspect of being a good player is activity, if you do not login much, you miss vital information and communication that makes it difficult to make and act on the best decisions. If you check the game often, all other aspects of the BD player can be learned, but activity is up to you and you alone. That is not to say that checking a few minutes a day will not allow you to have fun, find your own fun, I am merely saying that you will not see many players that only check once a day make it to the top.
When you think about the game, two main things come to mind. The first is strategy. This is a strategy game at heart, and on the surface. You must be able to understand the game mechanics and tools laid out before you, and employ these toolls and resources in the best way possible to achieve your objective, which may vary. Plan ahead, anticipate your enemies actions, a grand game of chess with techniques and mindgames that you have not yet discovered yet, the community looks forward to what new playstyle you may bring to the table.
The second thing is, multiplayer. This is an online game played with thousands and thousands of other people all around the world. One of the most fun aspects in my mind is the ability to meet people you'd never have the chance to otherwise. Make friends, make enemies, and have fun with them all in Battledawn.
Now that we are past the existential philosophy and basic premise for Battledawn, you want to play it, but what do you do? The very first thing I would recommend you do is finish this guide! Otherwise how will you know what to do next? Secondly I would pick a double speed server (it will say two ticks per hour), I greatly prefer the regular speed worlds for serious play, but the double speed servers make for quicker resources and faster gameplay that will allow you to get to know the game first quicker. Now that you have selected your server, and you have made your colony, what is next? After starting some resource buildings I would start reading guides
and getting to know people on the forums, introduce yourself (http://prod.battlegate.net/forum/viewforum.php?f=170
and start asking questions
Maybe pick yourself up a mentor to expediate the learning process (http://prod.battlegate.net/forum/viewto
Now that you know where you can find information on your own, where do you spend your energy to get ahead?
You are setup and playing the game, where should you focus your efforts? The game is the biggest part of the Battledawn experience, but it is not the only part. Aside from building up your colony and improving yourself in the game world, you should be sending people messages, meet someone who can show you the ropes and help build yourself up. I would recommend making yourself heard on the forums, but be careful not to be overbearing. I highly recommend downloading and installing MSN Instant Messenger, it is the most useful tool in Battledawn, I spend more time talking to people from Battledawn in MSN than I do actually logged in to Battledawn.
Be aware of the forums, communicate with other players via MSN and the integrated messenger system in the game, but most importantly, realize that learning the game will not be instant, and it certainly wasn't easy for anyone when they started, so we understand. You should have goals in mind as you play, and they certainly will not be "Become the top ranked player".
You have a colony in place, you have some resource structures under production, you know where to find information that you need and you have begun trying to meet people. This is your first round, what are some things you should keep in mind? The number one thing to understand is this, you WILL get conquered. There is no way around it, you will be conquered. You don't know anyone, you don't understand what is going on, or how to play just yet, there is no shame in that. What you must realize is that being conquered is just part of the game, it is not the end. The only things that change when you are conquered is that you must pay a tribute (10% of your income) to your conquerer, and you are not able to conquer other players while conquered yourself. The benefit is, now no one has a reason to attack you. Focus on economy and the meeting people aspect of the game.
The goal of this round is not to win, it is to learn the game. Figure out the mechanics, keep reading the guides, and put the information you learn there to use for you in game to see how things resolve themselves. Experiment with different kinds of armies, play with the mathmatics of it, have fun without the pressure of having to do well, this round is for learning, not for winning.
It may take more than one round of this style of play to make you feel comfortable expanding yourself and attempting to play the game for real, don't feel bad if you are unable to move to the next stage of play after just one round of learning. Conversly, however, you must realize that you don't have to learn everything to move on, you will keep learning the game forever, you will never master it. The game is evolving and people are figuring out new things to do all the time, so don't feel you must become Tiger Woods before playing on a real golf course.
After you feel that you have a basic understanding of the game and would like to move on, there is a whole new set of goals to achieve. The beauty though, is your main goal should still not be to win. You should focus your efforts on joining an alliance of other people at your level, people that know the game and are willing to put forth the effort to do well, but are still rather inexperienced. Build your economy, most likely as a conquer of someone, and then build up your forces. Prove that you are around and able to cause some damage, and you will attract attention. If no one invites you, seek an alliance yourself. You can do well, but if you are not noticed it does not do you much good in terms of finding an alliance.
You now have an alliance you are happy with, people you can learn the aspects of the game with that you have not experienced before. Working as a team, larger scale conflicts, and inter alliance diplomacy. The goal of this round is not to win, so what is it? The objective here is to keep learning, but at a higher level than before. Figure out the subtleties and complexities of the part of the game you have not played much yet, also to get noticed. While you learn, be persistent and dedicated, people will notice. Determined players are hard to come by, so if you play the game with persistence and ingenuity you will be noticed and it will greatly help your stance in the game as a member of the community and as a player.
You may want to play a few rounds at this stage, joining a round by yourself or a few other players and winging it as you go along, finding new friends to enjoy the game with and picking up tips and criticism to your play along the way, constantly improving yourself and making your way to phase three. Don't worry about winning, just about getting better, and getting noticed. Depending on how lucky you are, you might be brought into an alliance that wins the round, or you may be a quick learner and find a way to make that happen for yourself. I'm not saying it is impossible, just that it should not be your focus.
After you have a solid understanding of the game, you've met a lot of people, you have gotten very used to adapting yourself to what you learn about the game, and you are an active asset to alliances you play in. Where do you go from here? It is now time for you to play the game more seriously, try to win, destroy your enemies, and get experience playing on a high level. This would be a chance to try to join your mentors alliance, or to maybe put together an alliance of your own now that you know what you are doing. You don't have to be perfectly aware of every facet of BD, you will learn more along the way always, but now is the time that you can put the skills you've gained to a more determined use.
Try to join the best alliances you can, start keeping track of which players you admire, which players you know yourself to be better than, and which players you'd love the chance to play with. Not everyone will warm up to you immediately, just be nice, be friendly, be funny. Usually this just involves being yourself, but you won't find yourself many good alliances if you are a jerk to everyone. Even if you lose, if you play well and don't give up you will be respected and given the chance to play in alliances gunning for the win.
What more is there to say? You understand the game, and even if not completely, the rest comes from sources you already know and from experience. Don't be afraid to lose, just do the best that you can, and most importantly, have fun. You will find your place in Battledawn. Where do you go from here? Well that is entirely up to you. This is as far as I can take you. The play style you choose and evolve into will always be changing, have fun out there. One day you will be writing a guide of your own, I only hope I've been helpful in guiding you through the path you should take up the ladder, out of the masses and into the spotlight.