The Lord of Ultima Castle System
– by Goemon
The castle is an optional building in Lord of Ultima. It doesn’t give you access to any new types of units, or any other new buildings. It really acts as a gate to the game’s form of PvP- or you might say all the game’s action.
Until you build a castle, your main focus is building up your city and your army, and either trading or raiding dungeons. The only interaction you can have with other players is trading or sending your army to support a city under attack. You cannot scout, siege, plunder, or assault any other cities. The tradeoff, however, is that you cannot be taken over by any other cities. It’s still possible to get plundered, and trust me, it happens. For those that don’t know, plundering consists of an enemy army attacking your base and making off with the resources. They can’t destroy any buildings or take over your city though, and they have to contest with all of your cities defenses (i.e. the hundreds/thousands of city guards as well as traps you probably have), so rest assured you’ll make it out ok.
Ben Cousins, the general manager of EA’s free-to-play team, said that he put this feature in as protection for new players. Apparently, he played Travian and got destroyed right away, so he felt the need to implement something to prevent that from happening (source: Gamasutra). The concept of the castle allows the player two distinct ways to play: as a builder/trader, or as a fighter. Even without the castle, you can still found new cities as long as there is a vacant area and you have a baron.
There’s one more big difference that comes with a castle: Your maximum army size is increased from 5000 to 400,000, which is pretty huge.
If you do decide to build a castle, though, the gloves are off. That means anyone can siege your city or even take it over, so before you do build a castle, there’s a couple of things you might want to do first (this stuff might seem like common sense, but hey, you never know):
1. Be part of a strong alliance. This is helpful all the time, but if your city is going to be susceptible to takeover, then you are definitely going to want some backup. Ideally they’ll be as close to you as your enemies. Or closer!
2. Defense! Lord of Ultima gives you lots of options. You’re going to want tons of city guards- and why not, they don’t even take up space in your army. You’re also going to want to make sure your wall is leveled up and full of pitfall traps, barricades, etc. And don’t forget Hideouts! They’re an oft overlooked building that keeps some of your resources hidden and from your attackers.
3. Check out your neighbors. If you are surrounded by enemies much bigger than you, maybe you should hold off on the castle until you get situated.
I think the castle system is a pretty great idea. It keeps the little guy alive long enough until he’s ready to fight for himself. In theory, this in turn makes him less likely to get frustrated and give up the game. And more players is always a good thing.