Commanders are the heart of Rise of Civilizations. There are many many possible builds players can choose when developing their commanders. There are also many opinions as to which build is "best". This guide explains how to go about planning your build, and lists some common builds.
Planning you build
The first thing to consider is how long you expect to play for, or how much money you are planning on spending on the game. Legendary Commanders are the best, but also the most difficult to upgrade. Next are Epic, Elite, and finally Advanced. Most F2P (Free to Play) players focus on Epic and Elite commanders. P2P (Pay to Play) players may go after one or multiple Legendary commanders.
Additionally, you will want to consider what role you will take in your Alliance:
- PvE (vs Barbarians)
- PvE Rally lead (vs Barbarian forts, Sanctums, Passes, Altars)
- PvP Rally lead (vs other player bases and alliance structures)
- PvP defense (vs incoming attacks from other players)
Normally you'll want to focus on at least one of above for your primary commander, and then have decent additional commanders.
Specializing on troops
For attacking type commanders, there are two types - those that have skills and talents specialized to one troop type, and those that enhance all troop types equally.
The advantage to specializing is that if you can get a full march of one troop type, the buffs are effectively much higher, and you will be able to win more battles and march faster. There are several builds that focus on Cavalry, which can get you the fastest march speeds in the game, along with good attack buffs. The downside to specializing is that unless you plan on spending money to accelerate troop training, it takes a long time to get a full march of specifically one troop type. Hence typically P2P players specialize.
F2P players often choose to generalize, as they can train all troop types simultaneously, the best way for them to get a large army is to train them all. So your main attack commander would buff all units the same. You still might upgrade a cavalry-only hero for quick marches to get runes, help build alliance buildings, or other non-combat missions where quick marches help.
To some extent your build may rely on luck getting statues. Eventually you will get them all, but you likely won't want to wait weeks or months to use XP tomes on your favorite commander.
Finally, for many players, the exact troop selection isn't THAT important. Every skill and talent provides marginal improvements (0.5% attack, 3% march speed, etc). True that together these can add up to making armies 30~50% stronger, which is critical for end game PVP, but for casual players, this isn't a huge difference. So don't forget to just have fun!
PvE This will likely be your main commander. Many choose Lohan, with XXX or XXX as secondary.
Gathering You will want 3 gatherers. Secondary commanders may help some.
PvP You likely won't be leading major attacks, only joining in, so you might just care about march speed. In this case Lohan is a decent choice.
But if you do want to lead attacks, you'll want Scipio with XXX or XXX as secondary.