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.
Lastly, there is a small rock-paper-scissors type buff with the 3 unit types. Cavalry has a 5% bonus against Archers, Archers have a 5% bonus against Infantry, and Infantry has a 5% bonus against Cavalry. All 3 have a 5% bonus vs Siege. It is a small effect, but can turn the battle if all things else are equal.
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!
Gathering Get all the gatherers and upgrade all their gather and march talents. Use other gathering commanders as secondary.
The exception perhaps is Joan of Arc, who also has some very good fighting skills. You can fully upgrade all her skills and talents for gathering, and in the end it won't make a difference if you use her as a secondary commander.
PvP Offense 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.
For attacking castles, Scipio is the easy choice.
PvP Defense You will need to have a primary and secondary commander assigned to your wall. All garrison (defense) Commanders are specialized, and you can choose any one you like. You can choose between your highest ranked Commander, or any other commander with Garrison talents.
Fast attack You'll likely want to make a specialized fast march for quickly joining rallies or gathering runes. Some combinations:
- Lancelot and Dragon Lancer (Cavalry). While these aren't the best units in the end game, they are the easiest to upgrade.
- [[Cao Cao[[ and Minamoto are also great fast cavalry commanders, but they are much harder to upgrade.
- Hermann and Tomoe (Archers). These are harder to upgrade compared to Lancelot and Dragon Lancer. El Cid has the best Archer March Speed, but is hard to upgrade.
- Richard I is the only commander with Infantry specific march speed bonus. Not really something to shoot for.
Skills are the most important upgrade for commanders, without them, the talents and stars don't make a difference. All commanders have one active skill, which triggers when the commander's rage meter maxes out. They then may have 3 or 4 additional passive skills.
All commanders start off with one level 1 skill.
To enable more skills, their star level must be upgraded. Once the skill becomes available, the skill may be upgraded with Sculptures. However, for almost all main lead commanders, you will want to upgrade their first skill first to level 5 before enabling other skills!
Higher rarity commanders require more sculptures to upgrade their skills. To upgrade all 4 skills to level 5, it takes:
- Legendary: 710 sculptures
- Epic: 400 sculptures
- Elite: 250 sculptures
- Advanced: 160 sculptures
When upgrading skills, one of the available skills will be randomly selected to upgrade, until they are all level 5.
Once your commander has reached level 10, you can upgrade his star level. But wait until have maxed out its primary skill to level 5, unless you are sure what you're doing.
Before you upgrade, decide if you want to attempt to jump to 3 stars (so the hero can get a secondary support hero on marches), or not. In most cases you do.
To do the 3 star trick:
- Apply 2 starlight sculptures, to get to 40 or 80% of the first star.
- If it doesn't critical, apply one more to get to 60 or 80%.
- If it doesn't critical, apply one more to get to 80%, but hopefully not 100%.
- Then if you can get it to 80%, apply 6 stars all at once. This will take you to 150% stars, and you'll have a good chance that it will critical, you'll get double experience, and the 3rd star will open.
- If you're unlucky and miss it, you'll just have to wait until the hero levels to level 20.
This trick doesn't work for the 4th or later stars as those required too much star experience.