I would consider myself relatively good at this game. This is mostly due to experience in other games similar to it (such as Dwarf Fortress). I decided that I should make a guide of sorts for newer players looking to either get better at the game by mimicking what someone experienced does or at least give them the information they need to get a grasp of things and develop their own strategies.
I am not good at playing a lost game, I'm good at taking from a disadvantage but would rather put myself at an advantageous position in the first place. Ray doesn't see this as a game that you "beat" but you can easily prove him wrong... if you win. If you are at all familiar with what micro and macro play are, you should have no trouble understanding most of what I explain. If not listen to the next bits carefully so that you understand what you're getting yourself into.
To put it in the simplest way, micro is the small stuff. Makes sense right? Micro is grabbing villagers to keep them out of trouble or moving resources to speed things up. Micro could also be handling individual mobs that your defenses cannot reach.
Macro is the (overall) larger things that you have to constantly keep in check to keep things running smoothly. Buildings, jobs, assignments.
In Rise to Ruins one of these becomes quite important for "winning the game" but both of them are essential. The only difference is that macro is maintained and will likely stay maintained so long as nothing drastic happens that leaves things open to change (such as a new building requiring workers to be assigned), micro has to be maintained constantly because it should always be changing (essence, collecting essence and proper spell usage). This guide is mostly to inform you of one thing; you're a god, force the corruption to kneel before you. I would make a video of sorts for this but considering everything is quite generalized and situational it should simply be applied knowledge.
When you first start a game you immediately make an extremely important decision, camp placement. Why is it important? Well I had a relatively strategy-changing conversation with a friend about how the corruption works. I have yet to ask Ray about the mechanics directly, but I think I understand enough. I won't assume anything so for now I'll give the simplified version of what I discovered without saying something that may be untrue.
- Corruption placement is based on camp placement (most experienced players should have assumed that much by now).
- The corruption spreads (yup, that's obvious too).
- The corruption (after choosing a starting location based on the placement of your camp) will CONTINUE to spread from it's original position until it finds resources. This can potentially cripple you for the rest of the game if the corruption spawns somewhere without resources (that resource seems to be trees, which is what I'll assume throughout this guide but that may be untrue, they use other resources as well).
- If the corruption spawns somewhere and has access to trees, it will stop spreading (until drones cause it to spread).
- Trees that enter a corrupted zone separate into a sort of grid.
- One of the following determines mob spawning: amount of corruption tiles, amount of graveyards within the corruption, amount of villagers. Monster types (specters, skeletons, etc.) are not determined by the number of days. If they are, you can break this by directly damaging a graveyard but it's more likely that a single graveyard provides the corruption with a wider variety of monsters and increases the spawn-rate of each type, effectively meaning that any type can spawn.
These are the things about corruption that should concern you. You have a singular objective, prevent the construction of any graveyards and preferably, anything at all. Follow this guideline to effectively eliminate the corruption, anything marked with a (letter)-2 will be micro, meaning you will have to do it in the background as anything above it (letter)-1, macro, is being completed:
A-1. You will need a camp location that allows/forces the corruption to spawn in a large grouping of trees. This will cause the corruption to cease spreading faster and the land it spreads to will be dotted with trees. This means that graveyards can't be built where these trees are, at least not immediately or at all to my knowledge. It is more likely they'll build some sort of defenses.
B-1. With your location picked, you should immediately (as of U1) remove all villagers from limbo (limbo is due to be removed so in the future you won't have to take this step).
C-1. Build the following in this order:
- 1 housing
- 1 lumber mill
- 1 essence collector
- 1 farm
- 1 well
- upgrade your camp
D-1. After setting up these few buildings assign villagers to each resource (excluding food and water for the moment as you cannot collect them).
A-2. While the above is going on and you set things up, you will need to find the corruption.
B-2. Once you find the corruption find the trees that are in it's vicinity and are not corrupted, begin to spam the dissolves spell and ensure it is using all of it's range.
E-1. Upgrade your housing if it is completed (maximum capacity), assign lumber workers if it is available (maximum amount), assign farmers if it is available, assign water masters if it is available
F-1. If all of your buildings are complete change assignments so that you are collecting nearby food and water.
G-1. Begin upgrading your camp for the second time.
H-1. Construct large fire pits and ensure you are building them towards the direction of the corruption, you want a line of fire pits all the way to the corruption and extend your build range over to that area.
C-2. Ensure that you are keeping a steady usage of dissolve on nearby forests and every 3 or so dissolve uses collect enough essence to spawn a holy golem. Place the holy golem as close to the corruption as possible. It should be noted that you are fully committed at this point and must repeat all of the micro (-2) steps repeatedly to ensure you have a constant flow of essence and are always outputting holy golems. You need to constantly harass the drones (which will infinitely spawn as they die). Use dissolve on all forests as often as possible, spawning golems in between. It will become increasingly difficult to manage as well as manually collect the essence outputted the farther you are forced to use dissolve from the corruption. Ensure that your scroll speed is high enough to maintain a constant back and forth but not too high so that you are not causing essence to fly out of range from you as you move around. The micro steps will remain a constant hassle. The essence collector combined with the lumberjacks should provide you with a holy golem every once and a while. Ensure that you also collect from other essence sources on the map.
If at any point during this process the corruption builds a graveyard, you have lost. You should reset your world immediately and try again. Your golems will attack the graveyard repeatedly causing spawn-rates to increase and make the impending night that much more difficult to survive. If a graveyard is built and you would like to continue the strategy regardless, be my guest. Once night hits you will find yourself severely hindered as all of your time was spent building campfires and spamming golems meaning you will not have defenses.
I-1. It is at this point that your campfires will have gotten close enough to the corruption and you are ready for the next step. You will need a perimeter of large fire-pits, wooden walls, and bow towers. How you increase the build limit for that is up to you but you will definitely need the space. You will need several bow towers and a bowyer. Once the defenses are complete you can begin focusing on improvements to your village, the corruption will no longer bother you.
D-2. You will still have to maintain a steady stream of golems to keep drones pre-occupied. You should also dismantle your essence collector (if you can't afford to have two) or make a new one so that you have something essence collection from dissolve is quicker. You can opt to go without the first essence collector, however you miss out on the safety net it provides.
With the corruption fully contained, you have successfully ensured the continued survival of your village for years to come. It should be mentioned that as time progresses you should upgrade your wooden walls to stone and have curtain walls behind your bow towers and ballistas behind those (because you can afford to go overboard). These should all be upgraded to the maximum. I recommend poison or fire for bows and cold for ballistas. Notably, a blood moon can still impact your game play but that's nothing that a few wooden golems and maybe s a few space out towers can't handle. As another side note, you could use bullet towers instead of bow towers but they shouldn't be used for the earlier part of this strategy as you would have to invest into mining and that does not produce essence. However they are likely the better option later on (I do believe they do more damage than bow towers or have higher dps in general).
I hope this gives you a general idea (though difficult) of how to screw with the corruption as much as it screws with you. This is mostly thanks to Shade who made me think way too much about fighting the corruption without ever actually building defenses.
(Please excuse any mistakes, I will get around to edits if they are needed.)