THE PRINCIPLES OF THE MASTER BUILDER
This is it. Welcome to the Big Time. What you are about to learn is what I believe is the biggest secret of Financial Management that only a few top players have ever learned. I myself didn't learn this until only this last summer. Just tells you how much I have yet to learn in this game. The elite players have always known this, but I did not. As a result, my game has improved dramatically. Use this knowledge well. Harkdawg, one of the all time best Atreides players ever was known for his amazingly quick Mino + Sard Elite rushes. This combo, when used well and used early is utterly devastating and one of the reasons why Harkdawg propelled himself into the ranks of the greatest Atreides players of all time.
Back during the summer of 02, Sardcore and I teamed up for a few games with Dawg himself. It was us vs. Dawg and Sarbaukar. We just were floored at how utterly fast Dawg was able to get sard elites on a 10k game with no prebuilt. It takes a long time to pump out sard elites. Yet by the time I had a barely had my second ref made, with 2 mino's, Dawg already had matched my 2 minos and had 3-4 elites running around. Well a difference of 4 elites early in a game is virtually guaranteed death unless you are a really bad player. Sard elites are slow to produce...almost the time it takes to make a mino. Making a sard barracks is 700, and the upgrade is 1000. With only 10k money to start and no refinery, it seems very expensive to make an upgraded factory, and upgraded sard barracks and still have money to spend! Sardcore and I were scratching our heads, wondering "how does this guy make elites so fast? This is impossible!"....or is it?
Sard and I decided once and for all that we were going to figure this out. No matter how long it takes. We began several knife fight games and started a thorough scientific analysis of every possible BO we could think of. We documented results, compared and counted units, and investigated numerous permeatations. We spent numerous hours doing this until.....we found the answer we were looking for and we were stunned! By chance, during a game, I thought to try out a principle instead of a specific BO. I told sardcore:
"Sard, lets do a new game. 10K, no prebuilt. First player to make 10 inf, 10 bikes, 5 minos and 5 sard elites yell STOP!"
Using the principle I thought of, I had 2 minos and 3 elites by the time Sard had 2 minos and hadn't even upgraded his sard barracks. I realized then and there that I had discovered the secret of building with Atreides. When I yelled stop, he had 4 minos, 10 bikes, 10 inf, 2 refs and 2 sard elites. My army had 5 minos, 10 bikes, 10 inf, two refs, and 5 sard elites with an extra sard barracks! My army could have crushed his.
What is the secret then?
The secret lies in two principles of building. These are principles that I never realized until two months ago, and since then, my level of play has gone up dramatically.
I am going to make you a promise: if you obey these two principles, you will go from a new player to an average player, an average player to a good player- a good player to an excellent player- or who knows? Maybe even an excellent player to a great player. The point being- you will improve your game without a doubt. The first principle is the most important principle in all of Emperor: Battle For Dune. It works on all houses, all settings, and is the fundamental difference between the good players and the great players. The second principle is an important one for making units quickly in order to defend vs. rushes.
Before I explain these principles you need to know what the concept "riding zero" economics means.
All of us have experienced the horrible situation of "riding zero" money. It is when you are trying to build and your money goes to zero. You are outbuilding your income. You may have one harvester on your refinery dumping in spice, but because you are building so much, your money just stays on "zero". Production slows to a crawl until your money input is greater than your spending output. Riding Zero is the forbidden situation you must avoid at all costs. Now, I reveal to you the secrets:
Principle One- The Key To This Game (all houses): Pausing.
Always...always....always pause vehicles when riding zero. Never ever pause Sards or Fremen. Never pause any upgrade to your refinery or any building of a refinery (only exception is if your partner is rushed and needs a turret ASAP). If you have a Mino at 50% finished and you hit zero, and your upgrade refinery is almost done, consider canceling the Mino in order to finish the ref upgrade. When my money is at around 200 and dropping, I will always pause my vehicles. Keep them paused until the money goes back up to 200 or more. It sounds so strange that you will build FASTER this way! Yes! Through pausing alone, I can get more Minos and elites faster than you will without pausing- guaranteed. The reason?
Follow this logic. Put on your thinking caps and reason with me. It will all become so clear:
Lets say it takes 60 seconds to make a mino and 60 seconds to make a refinery with normal money flow (just for the sake of argument- i know the actual times differ). So, we have
1 Mino = 60 seconds at 1300 solaris each
1 Refinery = 60 seconds at 1500 solaris each
Now, lets imagine you have zero money and you have only 1 harvester on the map making 1500 solaris a minute.
now, how long will you have to wait until you get your Mino and your Refinery? Well combined they cost 2800. And you make 1500 a minute. And since they both build at the same speed, you will end up waiting 2 minutes. Your production time will be doubled. Instead of waiting one minute for that Mino, you will have to wait 2 minutes. Same with the refinery. The time it takes you to make both the mino and refinery will be two minutes. After 2 minutes, you will place a refinery and a mino will pop out at the same time.
Now lets assume that I PAUSE my mino. Now what happens? Since I make 1500 solaris a minute, my refinery will build normally. After only 1 minute, I will have a refinery placed. After another minute, my mino will pop out. So, by pausing, I, too have a mino and a ref after 2 minutes- just like you. But my refinery was placed a minute before yours and I've been harvesting spice for the last minute, while you haven't been doing anything, hence i earned an extra 1500 solaris more than you and I can now afford a Sard barracks while you cant!!
My friends, can you understand yet, how important pausing is?? If not, go back and re-read my example until it 'clicks.' Your eyes will be opened to a whole new level of gaming you haven't had before and you will greatly increase your playing capability. Guaranteed.
Principle Two: Never make more refineries than you need to.
When you play Atreides, you should never make a second refinery while your first placed refinery has room for an upgrade. Example: I have one refinery with one upgrade. I refuse to build a second refinery until my first one is fully upgraded. This is the key to Dawgs quick elites in low money games! It is also key to using the Clam74's Atreides Maximum Landfill Crapper. Why? Because if you are making a second refinery while upgrading your first one, you will be riding zero big time, and it will take you a lot longer to get a sard barracks out. Instead of making refinery, you should be making a sard barracks! (or if using Clam's BO, getting out more inf and bikes). Listen to this little known fact: One fully upgraded refinery can completely support a factory pumping minos and a sard barracks pumping elites. With one fully upgraded refinery, you can pump out minos and elites non-stop. You doubt this? Go start a single player game. Make one bar, one fac, one ref, and one sard barracks. You will be in utter shock how much one ref can support! It is a WASTE of money making a second ref too soon when you can be making those precious elites! (or fremen). Know what 1 refinery can support, and what 2 can support, and what 3 can support. Your target income iis to have about 5-10k at all times during the game. If you are playing and have a steady stream 45k money, you are not managing your money very well. You should have a LOT more units on the map. You built too many refineries and not enough units. Conversely, if you are riding "zero" or have from 1-3K most of the game, you are not managing very well either. Just like the guy with 45k, you don't have enough units on the map either. You tried for more than you could afford. Yet if you have about 7k for the whole game and are building, making exactly what you want steadily, then you are an expert financial manager.
I know this was a lot of info that was somewhat complex. If you didn't understand it the first time, by all means go back and re-read it until the light turns on. Of everything on this site, this one page is the most important. If you understand what I just told you, then you are on your way to a major improvement of your game.