Up to and including the Iron Age, your village in DomiNations will be fairly quiet. Buildings and upgrades will progress at a steady rate and you will likely never get attacked by another player. However, things begin to change during the Classical and Medieval Ages, when raids become an actual threat and upgrades are slow enough to warrant careful prioritization.
Several new and significant buildings, a fifth house, and a number of interesting units with special combat functions become available. Meanwhile, if you have scored well during attacks thus far, players of a higher level are sent to your base in search of resources and glory.
The Classical Age: First Upgrades
As your villagers poke and prod their way into the Classical Age, a great number of upgrades become available at once. As with the Early Ages, we recommend building the new house (for 2 extra villagers) and upgrading the blacksmith (for better units) first. However, you’ll quickly notice that you cannot store enough gold or food to make this happen.
As such, your initial goal is to upgrade your resource storage and resource generating buildings. Place the new caravan and farm, upgrade them to level 2, then start working on one level 5 mill and one level 5 market. Next, upgrade the market to level 6 and the blacksmith to level 4. At this point, you’ll have ample storage space for both gold and food, so feel free to raid for resources, fortify your walls, and research new units whenever this is possible.
The Library and the War Academy
Once the new house is built and the blacksmith upgraded, it’s a good time to introduce the library to your villagers. The menu inside the library is similar to the Technologies screen in Sid Meier’s Civilizations, albeit on a much smaller scale. Four starting technologies branch into no less than 48 additional ones, each with 5 potential chapters.
Your goal is to research everything you can in a level 1 library, which will take both time and resources. Although your priorities here are a matter of preference, we recommend Reinforcements (which then branches into an additional tower, wall pieces, and more) and Free Companies (for boosts to your troops on the offensive) first. Roadways and Pottery also result in impressive bonuses, but mostly in terms of the resources you generate. As you already know by now, however, the fastest way to gain food and gold is to raid for them, rather than produce them yourself.
The war academy is another new building that becomes available with the Classical Age and that can be placed early due to its low cost. In the level 1 academy, you can research and store one war tactic at a time. Your choices, at this point, are “Barrage” and “First Aid”, which you can use during an attack in order to thin enemy defenders and heal your own troops, respectively. Both of these are relatively cheap and will noticeably boost your offensive capabilities.
Classical Age Units and Tactics
All of your previous units can be upgraded to a better version during the Classical Age. We recommend that you start with the Cataphract upgrade since horses are your strongest offensive units during this era. The warrior upgrade comes with a significant damage boost, so we prefer this upgrade next, followed by the archer, the horse raider, and the wall miner, in that order.
The wall miner is a unit first introduced in the Classical Age and can be used to destroy one piece of wall during an attack. Although the miner can be potentially useful to help your horses start hitting a catapult faster, for example, it is also very easily countered, especially by ballistae.
In terms of defense, two new buildings are worth prioritizing at this point. The first is the ballista tower, which, when properly protected by walls, can obliterate enemy horses. The second is stable, which functions much like a garrison and will summon one or more horse units when your base is assaulted. Both should be placed inside walls for maximum effect, while the ballista should also be positioned near your catapult(s), since the latter will likely be the first target for enemy cavalry.
Classical Age Wonders and Events
Four new wonders are introduced in the Classical Age – the Colosseum, the Terra Cotta Army, the Notre Dame, and the Forbidden City. As we’ve already mentioned in our guide to the best wonders in DomiNations, only one of these can be built per village. We recommend the Colosseum due to the fact that it offers both an offensive and a powerful defensive boost, but different play styles might warrant different choices. Regardless of which wonder you go for, the latter will be built in stages, each costing 80,000 food and 5 hours working time (with 4 villagers).
Meanwhile, starting with the Classical Age, you can take part in special events that offer interesting rewards. For example, the Fall of Alamut Event was chosen by the community and could be completed by collecting victory stars in regular multiplayer attacks or during World Wars. The rewards included massive deliveries of food and gold, as well as Assassin units and a temporary Assassin Fortress.
The Transitional Medieval Age
Once you’ve completed all the upgrades that come with the Classical Age, you can move on to the Medieval Age by clicking the corresponding option in the town hall menu. Unlike the Classical Age, however, the following era does not introduce many new elements to the game. As such, you can use this time to make a clean transition to the Gunpowder Age, when more powerful players might target your base and attempt to steal your resources.
The process is essentially the same. First, you should rush to upgrade your blacksmith and units, then you should focus on your resource storage and production. Upgrading your barracks and mercenary camp will grant you more troops during attacks, while improving your walls, although very costly, will ensure that you can withstand raids from players in more advanced ages.
A few upgrades in, you might feel tempted to push into the Gunpowder Age, but we strongly advise against this. Not only will this likely lead to you losing more resources in raids, but it will also match you up against higher level players on attacks. Overall, this will reduce the amount of food and gold you can steal due to a discrepancy between your troops and enemy defenses. Albeit fairly time-consuming, the Medieval Age is the perfect time to ensure everything is up-to-date and ready to face the challenges of further eras.