At the end of 2019, Lilith Games reported over $11 million in revenues from their highly successful mobile RTS Rise of Kingdoms. Their recipe for success is quite straightforward: an intricate and thoroughly entertaining strategy game that’s also F2P friendly. This is not to say that you’ll have an easy time if you don’t make in-game purchases, but that you have a good shot at becoming a force to be reckoned with in the end game without opening your wallet. You’ll see what we mean in a moment.

Rise of Kingdoms – Early Game Mistakes to Avoid

Whether you’re a P2W or F2P individual, there are several key mistakes you ought to avoid when you get started on your first kingdom. This is especially true for players who want to stay F2P, as it will help them get a much-needed early game boost. How impactful are these errors? Well, they’re significant enough to make a lot of players turn back on months of playing and start a new account.

1. Commander Levelling

This is one of the most contentious topics for newbie and veteran players alike. While it is true that you’re going to use multiple legendary commanders in the late-game, you have to be extremely careful about which ones you level up to begin with. You want to keep unlocking the commanders you think you’ll need, but focus your attention entirely on levelling a select few to begin with (1-2, maybe). When you get to level 10 with your legendary leaders, don’t push them further unless you max out your first skill.

Rise of Kingdoms – Early Game Mistakes to Avoid

Whether you also go for their second skill is a matter of debate, your situational needs, and spending habits. It also doesn’t make much sense to spend a lot of resources on secondary commanders since they’re basically there for the perks. Their final ability is unlocked at 30, which is your last power bump. A few months in, you’ll want to bring most of the characters you use up to 37, especially the gathering group (like Joan, Constance, or Sarka), because this will max out their gathering speed and grant you a bonus upon task completion.

Rise of Kingdoms – Early Game Mistakes to Avoid

2. Spending Gems and Resource Tokens

The golden rule of thumb is to never spend gems. Think of yourself as a fairy-tale dragon guarding a valuable treasure. Don’t waste any of this premium currency in the shop or courier station unless you’re getting those valuable books of the covenant. If you need speed-ups, use resources for them. Aside from books, VIP level and gold statues are the other two things worth spending gems on as an F2P player.

Rise of Kingdoms – Early Game Mistakes to Avoid

You also need to be thrifty with your resource tokens. If you need resources, farm and then use them accordingly. Essentially, these items represent valuable potential capital that cannot be stolen from you by stronger players, but only if you spend them on time. With a fully-stacked account, all it takes is one scout from a more developed kingdom and they’ll all be gone. It’s also worth trading back resources for tokens if you’ve spent them in the early game. When the mysterious merchant appears at the courier station, you’ll be able to do this back-trade. It won’t be in your favor, but it’s better than losing everything.

Rise of Kingdoms – Early Game Mistakes to Avoid

3. Seizing the Means of Production

Another common early game mistake is to have empty building queues. This is even more painful when you upgrade to the necessary VIP level to have two builders. Twice the pain. Never, ever have builders on idle – it’s precious time you can use to further develop your kingdom. The same is also true of troops. Always be building/training something. Your goal is to reach City Hall level 22 in order to dispatch 5 troops at a time.

Rise of Kingdoms – Early Game Mistakes to Avoid

4. Don’t Play Alone

Although many of us are used to single-player RTS games, Rise of Kingdoms is definitely not one of those. Especially if you plan on staying F2P, you’ll be a support for big spenders and super whales. In the endgame, your main objective will be to fill rallies and do anything else in your power to tip the tides of the Lost Temple battle in your group’s favor. You won’t necessarily dominate in battles, but you’ll have a whole lot of fun. Generally speaking, F2P accounts will fare much better if they don’t transition to Tier 5 troops altogether. The training cost is too high, while the healing cost is soul-shivering.

Rise of Kingdoms – Early Game Mistakes to Avoid

Don’t make the mistake of waiting for the right alliance – it may take some time until you stumble across it. Join a decent one right away. In the end game, you’ll want to be a part of an alliance that has a shot at the Lost Temple, but this won’t always be the case. Even if you’re not achieving your objectives, you should try to pitch in as much as possible. Some alliances are more casual than others, so you ought to find a group of players whose goals are aligned with yours. This is usually a trial and error process.

5. Don’t Spread Your Resources Too Thinly

Also known as the perfectionist syndrome, upgrading every building in your kingdom is not the way to go, at least not for the early game (by which we mean the first several months of playtime). Since your first goal is to reach City Hall 22, you should only upgrade the structures that are necessary for this central building to grow. Everything else, with the exception of the Alliance Center, can be spared, for now.

Rise of Kingdoms – Early Game Mistakes to Avoid

Because of the building speed bonus, China is widely recognized as the best starter kingdom. Down the road, you’ll have one free switch to another civilization which you can use according to your heart’s desire. You can get Joan of Arc or Boudica even if you’re not playing with France and Britain, respectively, so don’t base your transition on commanders, since you’ll get them anyways.

6. Play on BlueStacks

Last, but definitely not least, it’s much better to play Rise of Kingdoms on PC with BlueStacks than on your smartphone. You’ll be able to automate repetitive tasks, such as attacking barbarians or upgrading resource buildings, which will greatly speed up your gameplay.

If you’re thinking of starting several farming accounts to funnel more resources to your primary kingdom, BlueStacks will let you manage as many burner kingdoms as you need with the Multi-Instance Manager.