An Orb Zombie's Tale

  • Hello...

    My Name is ShuShu...

    And I am addicted to Orbs...

    Wait, sorry, wrong audience.

    Hello, my name is ShuShu the Orb Zombie.

    Orb Zombies roam the earth... uhhh... Islands of Arkheim,

    mindlessly trying to acquire Orbs above all else.

    And yep, that's what I am.... uhhh... usually.

    You know... If you gather too many orbs you have to find a place to put them.

    And what better way to be close to a bunch of Orbs than to build nice tall towers to store them in.

    So, yes... I am an Orb Zombie, but I am a Builder Orb Zombie... uhhh... usually.

    See, once you build these big tall towers full of shiny Orbs...

    mean nasty... uhhh... Orb Zombies ...

    come along and try to take your tall towers full of shiny orbs.

    The only way to stop them is to build an army and collect the skulls of said mean nasty Orb Zombies.

    It turns out, Orb Zombies no longer covet Orbs if you rip their heads from their bodies,

    ... stomp on them

    ... lock them in a global List

    ... and mercilessly taunt them until they...

    uhhh... sorry, got a little worked up there.

    In in the words of King AhhYeah the Warrior.

    I was still a Builder Orb Zombie... a Builder Orb Zombie of Graveyards.

    Okay I am not one of those dragon slayers that call Panselon their home,

    But I did build enough graves to become one of the top 10 grave builders in Traganos (15th in Arkheim) so yeah...


    My name is ShuShu...

    And I am addicted to building graves

    Wait, sorry, flashbacks.

    It turns out.

    Once you start building a lot of graveyards,

    it has a corrupting influence on the pure of heart Orb Zombies around you.

    Pretty soon they all want to be builders... well, builders of graveyards.

    And before you know it, your Realm is just FILLED with graveyards.

    The tall towers holding the orbs are in a sad and sorry state of repair, but our graveyards...

    they are very pretty, being full of fresh new skulls and all.

    It got so bad, that the only people who wanted to take any part of our realm had more graves than WE did...

    and considering we have one of the 10 largest graveyard collections in Arkheim, well...

    Let's just say... only a crazy person would want to live in our region of Traganos.

    Which is why... I guess...

    My fellow Orb Zombies asked if we could do it again!!!

    You might ask... or might not, if you didn't get this far,...

    But if you did get this far and

    ...Are an Orb Zombie, Builder Orb Zombie or Builder Orb Zombie of Graveyards

    ...Enjoyed this brief synopsis of Arkheim gameplay (didn't see that coming did you?)

    you just MIGHT ask...

    How did a mindless Orb Zombie the likes of ShuShu come into possession of one the finest Graveyard Collections in all of Arkheim?


    I'll tell you...



  • Birth of an Orb Zombie

    My first iteration as an Entry Level Orb Zombie, began as so many orb zombies in training do.

    I completed my compulsory Orb Zombie in Training courses and quickly teleported into an unknown realm

    Chat immediately blew up with the realm's king, King RageQuit asking for more help with a suicidal raid.

    I responded "I would love to join your hopeless attack ... buuuuutttt... How do I join your attack?"

    I never got an answer, but I did get an immediate promotion.

    Important Lesson: Willingness to throw perfectly good troops away on pointless missions gets rewarded in this game!

    The next morning

    ... chat had a few disparaging words about the quality of the realm

    ... six new open slots

    ... a new king

    I did not know it at the time, but this was the best thing that could happen to an aspiring Orb Zombie such as myself.

    King MrBig was a Builder Orb Zombie.

    While the rest of us were busy

    ... throwing Goblin troops away

    ... attacking neighboring realms with nothing to show for it

    --- acting like proverbial Orb Zombie Grasshoppers

    King MrBig was busy

    ... using his goblin troops to

    ... well

    ... kill Goblins

    ... acting like the proverbial Builder Orb Zombie Ant that he was.

    He was opening supply fields by killing goblins in his own back yard,

    rather than trying to kill innocent Orb Zombies in someone else's back yard.

    Within a week, he had donated more supplies than everyone else in the realm... combined.

    Important Lesson: Be like King MrBig

    We ultimately ended up being next to a realm destined for Panselon and one destined for a dismal future.

    We were weaker than both of them.

    I was still a Silly Orb Zombie in those days, honing my grasshopper raiding skills.

    PanselonRealm swatted my flies, and politely asked me to stop, when I became too annoying.

    Something along the lines of "Are you sure you want us to stop ascending?".

    King MrBig assured me that we most definitely did NOT want them to stop ascending, and the nuissance raids stopped.

    DismalRealm declared war and immediately started sending me

    ... uhhh.

    ... less than complimentary private chat messages.


    ... spam attacked us for 36 hours straight,

    ... including a stealth war winning attack that we had predicted before

    ... they promised us we would lose the war one minute after it started.

    King MrBig countered all those attacks for 30 hours.

    I countered them for 6.

    Eventually DismalRealm lost

    --- the war

    --- half its players

    --- its voice for issuing more threats

    Important Lesson: If you are the stronger realm, don't spam attack your foe until the war is won

    Important Lesson: If you feel the need to tell a foe why they need to fear you, they don't need to fear you

    Important lesson: You need watch troops and a general online to use them 24/7 if you want to win a war

    Important lesson: If you want to go to war with someone, annoy them first because there is a big advantage to defending. I am apparently very good at this aspect of the game. ;)

    Important Lesson: Annoyance raids on a realm WILL lead to war, make sure you can win it before you decide to be a pest!

    Fast forward to end game,

    and you will find a realm with King MrBig, ShuShu the king MrBig wannabe and a bunch of Kamikazes Zombies

    We had no business being on Traganos. But there we were.

    Within the first 24 hours, we lost all of our towers and only 5 players remained after the others became black dots.

    And yet,

    we kept taking a tower back using the lessons learned about defending in wars.

    Every day we survived, we gained 3 positions in rank.

    The first realm that tried to eat us, eventually offered us peace and protection.

    We survived until we reached 24th place.

    Important lesson: Losing is part of the game, learn to LOVE it if you want to succeed.

    And THAT, is how a Noob Orb Zombie got his certification as a Journeyman Builder Orb Zombie beginning his second adventure...

    "Second adventure?"

    You know, the adventure where I become a Leading Builder Orb Zombie of Graveyards...

    I didn't forget...

    You thought I forgot, admit it...

    I didn't forget!

    That story is still coming.


  • Brave New world

    An Orb Zombie walks into a bar and the Bartender says...

    "Why the long face?"


    The bartender says...

    "Another one? It's an Orb Zombie Infestation! Better call the exterminator"

    And by exterminator, the bartender actually means a computer algorithm that

    ... whisks aimless Orb Zombies out of the bar

    ... aggregates aimless Orb Zombies into stacks of 14

    --- randomly assigns the stack of 14 aimless Orb Zombies to King OpenRealmFounder

    King OpenRealmFounder will call this odd assortment of Orb Zombies a Realm and give their Realm a Name... say...

    something appropriate like...


    Chat will immediately explode with various Orb Zombies whipping out their ePeens (gross) and ranting about various trivial things that are apparently key to winning the game but become irrelevant almost as soon as they are said.

    While this can be a very intimidating time for an Entry Level Orb Zombie, a Journeyman Builder Orb Zombie such as myself knows that none of the new teammates in chat claiming to have won last round... actually... you know... won last round.

    Winning a round means you came in first in Panselon...

    Nobody who has won the last round on Panselon is joining a random realm founded by King OpenRealmFounder

    If you remember one of the earlier lessons learned, it is time to state its corollary.

    Important Lesson: The amount a person knows about the game is inversely proportional to the amount they say they know about the game.

    Important Lesson (this time in English): The more a person says they know how to win... the less they actually know how to win.

    I personally find this an interesting time, because I enjoy trying to assess who actually knows what they are talking about and who doesn't. Being a Journeyman Builder Orb Zombie means I have already earned my top 3% achievements which means two things.

    --- I have a LONG way to go to earn my top 1% achievements (... well I did then, I have them now)

    --- Statistically, I am probably the most accomplished Orb Zombie on the team (.... ssshhhhhh that's a secret)

    --- I want to say very little as I do not want to be the guy running watch troops for 20 hours straight

    --- although I am probably the most skilled, some of my teammates are surely more experienced and I need to learn from them

    This new realm was a welcome step up from the prior round.

    It turns out that placing towers so that they maximize the resources ONE tower can own is NOT ...

    more difficult than Quantum Mechanics.

    I majored in Physics before I became an Orb Zombie,

    I understand both, making it hard to determine which was the more difficult concept.

    First round experience had led me to believe Quantum Mechanics was easier.

    This round has changed my mind

    Important Lesson: You will run out of towers quickly, so don't become too attached to them, most towers are placed with the intent of dismantling them later.

    I'm a BUILDER Orb Zombie...

    I love me some tall towers packed full of traps...

    I mean Orbs...

    and yet I still love to dismantle towers

    This was the first indication that this realm understood the game better than my last realm

    That is not to say everyone in the realm did.

    Sir TowerExpert was saying we need to keep some towers close to the ark because it is key to winning endgame.

    This may come as a shock to you.

    When winning endgame is twelve weeks and 3 ascensions in the future,

    focusing on endgame strategies might be a bit... premature

    Important Lesson: Endgame is not won or lost on day 1.

    okay... okay... you joined a random realm on day 1...

    you have already lost endgame.

    picky, picky

    The point is

    ... the game is very long...

    ... very long

    No single decision, no matter how depressingly boneheaded it was,

    is going to cost you the game.

    certainly not this early into it.

    As this tale continuous,

    I hope to illustrate that point because our early beginnings offered little indication,

    we would end up owning one of the finest graveyard collections in the game.

    We had to suffer a lot of setbacks early to lay the groundwork for success later.

    And I am sure in about 100 or so more replies, I will get around to talking about that!


  • So many voices, So little time

    Before I begin, it may appear to some that I am violating one of my lessons learned.

    ... By claiming I was likely the most accomplished on my new team

    ... By stating that I am an Arkheim leader in building graveyards

    ... Am I not implying that I know how to win?

    ... And thus, proving that my opinions are not worth listening to?

    Well... hmpf... maybe.

    I mean, my opinions are definitely not worth listening to if you want to win!

    But... uhhh...

    if you too dream of building beautiful graveyards full of shiny new Orb Zombie skulls,

    then you might want to keep reading.

    Annnnnnnd, if you want to feel superior by reading the ramblings of a lunatic with delusions of grandeur...

    then you definitely want to read on.

    Besides, you have made it this far, you can't stop now!

    In truth, there is a subtle difference between boasting and stating facts that is very useful to pick up on.

    I claimed I did something better than most.

    I did not claim that I did something better than everybody

    This was about to play out in Orbs chat during the early days on Cornicula.

    Cornicula is the initial island that everyone starts out in.

    It is basically a childproofed padded playpen for teenagers.

    Everyone can feel edgy and rebellious, but really nothing good or bad can happen there.

    Folks have just started playing and there are a lot of tasks to keep you online and engaged.

    In those moments where you have nothing to do for 5 to 10 minutes

    ... you can go to realm chat to pass the time

    ... you can go to global chat to remind the world that you exist

    Both will keep you occupied, but realm chat is where to go to find out who your future overlords...


    leaders are going to be.

    Remember when I said I didn't want to be running watch troops 20 hours a day?


    It was just in the last chapter!!!

    Anyway, I meant it.

    When realm chat turned to discussing everyone's exploits in endgame last round, I wasted no time proclaiming:

    "My realm lost all its towers in the first 24 hours,

    then struggled to reclaim and keep one for the next 7 days before finally being eliminated from Traganos."

    I thought that was a very effective...

    you really don't want me to lead you statement.

    That was followed by two statements by two teammates.

    One by someone you want to follow and one by someone ... uhhh ... you don't.

    Can you tell which is which?

    Sir SoulReaper: We won Midiata

    Sir TowerExpert: We were one of the realms eating you

    At that point,

    ... I knew Sir TowerExpert was not a tower expert, a leader, or in one of the realms that at us.

    ... I was pretty sure I wanted to follow Sir SoulReaper's lead for the foreseeable future.

    Just to make sure, I asked a real endgame question.

    Not a question that needed to be answered week 1...

    but one that would eventually need to be discussed.

    "Interesting, my tiny realm finished about 20 places ahead of yours in the final rankings"

    I know I know...

    I said I asked a question and that's a statement, not a question!!!

    Fooled you...

    It is neither a statement, nor A question...

    It was two questions!

    Confused yet?

    okay, here were the two questions implied by that statement

    --- Would you rather be a big dog in a small pond, or a small dog in a big pond? (Metaphors are hard)

    --- How will you react to somebody saying they beat you?

    Rather than getting a rapid-fire list of disclaimers

    --- Thats not really doing better than me

    --- The Devs really need to fix that

    --- It's MUCH harder to win an island than to stay alive on a higher island

    All Sir SoulReaper said was... really? What realm were you?

    At that point, Sir SoulReaper became my King SoulReaper for the rest of the game,

    and I became somebody he knew he could discuss future plans with

    Now all we needed to do was clue the rest of the team in on the new power structure. ;)

    As you might imagine, that didn't happen right away.


  • The Playpen

    Life in the playpen is fun because there is so much to do, but it is not very eventful.

    It's all inwardly focused

    --- Build Citadel, supplies, housing, storage and troop production

    --- Kill Goblins in my backyard

    --- Build Towers, Kill Goblins, Dismantle towers

    Somebody, named Twelve, wrote an interesting guide Of Realm Tiers

    I think it is pretty good, and correctly describes our Realm.

    However, When C-TIER realms are coming in 20th place and have impressive graveyards,

    I think there need to be more tiers.


    My name is ShuShu

    I am a c-tier addict and am not ashamed to say so.


    you too can be a c-tier realm player and accomplish a lot in this game.

    Don't be depressed when you find yourself surrounded by folks doing all sorts of non-optimal behaviors.

    It will all be fine.

    I mention this because,

    the playpen is where you will be constantly reminded that you are in a c-tier realm.

    It is best that you make your peace with that fact early and remind yourself often.

    Kind of like election day in Chicago (Vote early... Vote often)

    King SoulReaper has obviously meditated, a lot.

    --- Login, remind everyone to limit goblin troops to attacking goblins

    --- Logout after reminding everyone to limit goblin troops to attacking goblins

    I liked his purity of message thing, so I picked mine.

    --- Login, remind everyone to put their troops on watch when they are not in use

    --- Logout after reminding everyone to put their troops on watch when they are not in use

    Sir TowerExpert picked a good one, but did not actually follow his own advice

    --- Login, remind everyone to donate to supplies

    --- Logout after reminding everyone to donate to supplies

    Sir ItsAllAboutMe played along too

    --- Login, remind everyone to donate to ItsAllAboutMe towers

    --- Logout after reminding everyone to donate to ItsAllAboutMe towers

    Sir Wildcard's refrain

    --- Login, I am bored, lets attack something

    --- Logout, I am bored, lets attack something

    Sir Pops

    --- Login, I am not bored, I like this game

    --- Logout, I am not bored, I like this game

    It is important to note...

    Having a Sir Pops on your team is more important than it sounds

    King OpenRealmFounder was busy promoting everybody who spoke up or donated.

    This is an underrated leadership skill.

    But it did lead to some interesting scenarios where people were simultaneously being voted

    --- Make leader

    --- Expel from realm

    Eventually, time came for us to leave the safety of the playpen.

    We ascended to Midiata and immediately got smacked around.




  • Apocalypse Now


    The island that separates the men from the boys.

    The gods destined for greater things in Panselon are just busy squirreling nuts away so that they can immediately ascend to Traganos with enough troops to dominate THAT island.

    They are not a threat in Midiata

    But everybody else?

    Everybody else is a threat.

    We landed in Midiata flanked by RomanRealm and GaulRealm.

    They were definitely threats.

    All three of us raced for the closest bonus supply.

    We WON...

    Sort of.

    We built the first tower to claim the resource but could not defend it.

    Having proven that we could not defend the bonus resource,

    both the Romans and the Gauls declared war on us.

    Both ended up collecting a war bonus from us

    --- The Romans took our Orbs

    --- The Gauls took our Towers

    Can you guess which of the two realms went on to win Traganos?

    Losing two wars immediately cut our roster in half, which is a wonderful game dynamic.

    Players unable to persevere through a little adversity are best jettisoned asap.

    Lesson Learned: Random realms should always lose their first war so that the weak will self-report and open slots for stronger players.

    Those that remained were in total panic.

    King SoulReaper had established himself as the top skull collector in the brief wars and thus had the voice carrying the most weight. He counselled relocation, and we were thus soon flanked by Romans, Gauls AND CeltRealm!

    CeltRealm was definitely a threat, notice any trends here?


    has issues.

    King SoulReaper then devised Plan B.

    We raced to the Goblin Fort north of us and relocated our Ark there.

    This put some distance between us and our stronger rivals now to the south of us.

    Relocating to somewhere you know is much better than trusting the ghost in the machine to have pity on you.

    The ghost in the machine, is a machine.

    It has no pity...

    or mercy!

    King SoulReaper then suggested that we prove an old adage...

    He who hides and runs away, lives to fight another day.

    We declared war on a weaker neighbor, proving that just like the ghost in the machine...

    We had neither pity, nor mercy...

    Nor much of a plan for that matter.

    What should have lasted a couple hours, lasted a couple days.

    It lasted so long, the CeltRealm began raiding our Southwestern towers.

    I was sent off in the role of diplomat...

    HAH... I know, right!?

    And discovered King Celt was a big Witcher fan.

    Every overture got a single word response...


    I am a Witcher fan now as well.

    It turns out,

    that simple little passive aggressive edge lord response would be the lever that moved us from a team of spastic individuals into a realm to be feared.

    but the time for that tale has not yet come.

    Lesson Learned: RomanRealm won the Traganos end game, because they were true Orb Zombies who valued orbs over towers and refused to be corrupted by beautiful graveyards full of fresh new skulls


  • Sir MadScientist

    Wars have two effects

    --- Unsuccessful wars repel the weak like Vampires from garlic

    --- Successful wars attract mercenaries likes flies to ssss...

    sugar water.

    It is during our first successful war that we added Sir SpicyShield, Sir Dark, Sir TowerHoarder and Sir MadScientist.

    To our roster.

    Sir TowerHoarder had the quickest impact making the difference in two battles immediately after joining,

    like routing troops, a minute after saying Hello.

    Hello Sir TowerHoarder, we need troops here and here Asap!...

    oh... and welcome to the team.

    But the longest and most important impact was Sir MadScientist.

    Every team needs someone who is insatiably curious,

    AND vocal about it.

    It is through them that the rest of the team learns new skills at their own pace.

    Our Sir MadScientist was not only curious about things King SoulReaper and I knew,

    he was also curious about things that we didn't.

    Sure, that meant the occasional little Equino had to die a horrible death because a scheme did not work out quite as planned,

    but hey,

    it was all in the name of science.

    The first thing Sir MadScientist did after we won our first war, was start asking all sorts of questions about

    ... portals?

    ... How do portals work?

    ... why don't we have a portal?

    ... shouldn't we have a portal?

    ... shouldn't we have a portal close to CeltRealm since they keep raiding us?

    Before anyone could say "You, know, he's got a point!"

    we had a portal close to CeltRealm .

    Thats why every team needs a Sir MadScientist.

    Of course, placing a portal is easy...

    Building it requires Builder Orb Zombies and our team only had one of those so it would be a while before the placed portal would actually become a built portal.

    There is one aspect of portals that King SoulReaper and I forgot to mention.

    Building a portal attracts enemies to attack you ...

    Like flies to ssss...

    Sugar water.

    And it did...

    It was not long before our portal was in deeeeeepppp sugar water.

    But that is another tale


  • Sir Wildcard

    You remember Sir Wildcard, don't you?

    --- bored

    --- attack something

    --- My teammates are to blame (implied)

    Now came Sir Wildcard's moment in the sun.

    The end of his boredom

    His moment to show the world what he was capable of!!!

    Ahhh, where was I.

    yep... look at that,

    Our Portal is in deeeeeeepppp sugar water.

    It wasn't apparent at the time, but the addition of Sir SpicyShield to Sir Pops and Sir SilentShield who were with us from the beginning meant that we had a rather sizeable stack of troops on watch protecting our portal. So sizeable in fact, that an enemy would essentially have to defeat our entire realm's army if it wanted to destroy our portal before it completed building.

    CeltRealm decided to do just that.

    Send an army larger than our entire realm's military to destroy our portal.

    Let me ask you this dear reader,

    if a realm sent an army bigger than your entire realm to destroy your portal, what would you do?

    (Hint, all the people who would answer "Cry", had left the realm already.)

    Sir MadScientist spotted it first...

    he always does.

    King SoulReaper immediately responded...

    we just need to let them have it

    I agreed...

    and then asked...

    Do you mind if I declare war on CeltRealm?

    They laughed politely, perhaps even lol'd or even rofl'd as good teammates are wont to do.

    But I was serious.

    CeltRealm had just sent 2/3rds of their strength on a

    2-hour march to the portal

    a six hour conquer of the portal

    and a 2-hour march back from the ex-portal

    A war declaration takes 8 hours to become active, so we only had two hours to work with.

    As soon as I said.

    Their army is tied up for 10 hours,

    Sir MadScientist was on board and asking King SoulReaper questions until we had a really solid plan.

    --- Declare war

    --- Schedule raid to end 1 minute after war activated

    --- Tell entire team they had 8 hours to join raid

    --- win war before CeltRealm could stop us.

    Simple plan.

    Simple to execute.

    --- I declared war

    --- I scheduled the raid

    --- I typed up an announcement explaining how the war and the raid would work

    --- I specifically mentioned not raiding the target tower before the war started because it would cost us the war

    The whole time I was typing up the plan

    --- Sir Wildcard kept saying no WAR

    --- Yep, the bored guy who constantly wanted to attack something was against this war

    When I published the announcement with the plan

    --- Sir Wildcard deleted the plan (King OpenRealmFounder had made him a ruler)

    --- Sir Wildcard launched a raid against the one tower with enough orbs to win the war outright.

    Sir MadScientist was the first to notice...

    he always is,

    King SoulReaper was the first to offer an opinion...

    it was not complimentary.

    I was the first to try and understand how sir Wildcard could make such a stupid mistake.

    Sir Wildcard's moment in the sun had arrived, and he had risen to the occasion.


    it wasn't meant to benefit OrbsRealm.

    Lesson Learned: When a realm Uses overwhelming force to destroy your portal, declare war on them immediately... unless it would be stupid

    Lesson learned: The do not touch pin is your friend, learn it, love it!

    It's not looking good for Realm Orbs all of a sudden.


  • Operation Cluster Fruit Cake

    Operation Cluster Fruit Cake was activated the moment the original plan was cluster fruit caked.

    As you may recall, the original flawless plan...

    had a flaw.

    The first step in correcting that flaw was to remove Sir Wildcard from the throne.

    I have never seen a vote pass so quickly.

    The second step was to come up with an alternate plan.

    There was a group of towers close to our border that had enough orbs to win.

    They were weakly enough defended that we could take them by force.

    There were also some fringe towers that we could spam raid.

    This would force CeltRealm to choose between defending one fat tower or multiple skinny ones.

    As we talked over our plans, the enemy immediately moved the bulk of its uncommitted army to the group of towers although we had not committed any troops.

    Once we finalized our plans, Sir Wildcard again attacked early.

    At this point all formal planning was performed on private chat.

    on open chat...

    a smart opponent would let the raid happen before the war starts

    The enemy then vacated the target in real time

    Does anyone else think that looks like we have a spy relaying our conversations

    The enemy moved back to block the raid

    At that point, all my public plans worked as intended.

    The enemy left all the actual targets unguarded,

    and we successfully raided all the needed towers to win the war one minute after it had begun.

    But the war did not end.

    This was operation Cluster Fruit Cake after all

    It actually took me hours to figure out what happened after the war ended.

    Our raids all finished within 5 seconds of each other,

    and that IS really cool to do and watch,

    but you need to be careful.

    You need to raid the towers with orb overflow before you raid the towers without it.

    You can only count on one tower with orb overflow in it, to have the original number of orbs when the raid completes.

    We needed 5000 orbs.

    We hit three towers with 2500, 1500 and 1000 orbs in them

    We hit

    ... the 1500

    ... then the 2500

    ... then the 1000

    We ended up with 3000 orbs and here's how

    ... The 1500 tower immediately refilled with 1500 orbs from surplus in the 2500 tower leaving 1000 orbs

    ... The 2500 tower now only had 1000 which immediately refilled from surplus in the 1000 tower leaving 500 orbs

    The 1000 tower now only had 500 orbs in it


    In real time it looked like a massive bug,

    ... two of the three raided towers were full immediately after we raided them.

    ... it wasn't a bug.

    ... It was Operation Cluster Fruitcake.

    Ultimately, we still won the war because we were able to raid the same towers, we raided the first time.

    The general who made such a hash of the plans was praised by the waking Europeans for the flawless execution of a flawless plan (ssshhhh... don't tell them)

    Sir Wildcard was returned to CeltRealm in a diplomatic bag.

    I would rather be lucky than good.

    Lesson Learned: Don't count your surplus orbs before they are hatched...

    I mean, always raid the tower with surplus orbs first.

    We do get better as the game progresses... I promise!


  • Arkheim is Poker

    Pop quiz...

    You just won a war against an opponent because they destroyed your portal.

    What do you do next?

    If you are smart,

    like King SoulReaper,

    you consider your next move very carefully.

    If you are not smart,

    like a poker player...

    uhhh ...

    that didn't come out right.

    You rebuild the portal in the exact same place you built it before.


    rebuilt the portal in the exact same place we built it before.

    We were bluffing,

    we still couldn't defend it,

    CeltRealm was not about to call our bluff because they were now paying us tribute.

    This was the first of many times where I needed to convince King SoulReaper that it is smart to be stupid in this game. Most of the time he let me have my own way, because otherwise I whine a lot, and it's not very pleasant.

    Lesson Learned:  It is smart to be stupid

    He was absolutely right that CeltRealm should destroy our portals as fast as we place them

    I was absolutely right that they wouldn't

    In fact, they even let us connect it without destroying our towers.

    Sir TowerMaster is not a poker player.

    Sir TowerMaster just figured we were too stupid to realize our portal wasn't connected yet, and was busy

    ... Making our realm target rich for CeltRealm

    ... Flaming the rest of us for not connecting the portal

    It became clear that CeltRealm was not going to call our bluff by

    ... destroying the portal,

    ... Conquering Sir Tower master's Punish Me towers,

    It was time to

    ... Build the portal (the Journeyman Builder Orb Zombies handbook, stated that I had to supply the portal)

    ... Map out an efficient portal path that the team completed in about the time it took the portal to activate

    We had essentially beaten the top chip holder in the region on two straight hands

    --- CeltRealm had bet big on a convincing bluff that we called

    --- CeltRealm folded early on a hand where we held a pair of deuces

    --- Despite always having a much larger troop strength than us, CeltRealm was our whale upon whom we fed until we were able to ascend

    Allow me to digress a moment to discuss King SoulReaper through the eyes of this poker analogy.

    King SoulReaper is the professional poker player earning his living from the game.

    ... he understands the game better than the rest of us

    ... he is risk adverse, never risking more chips than he is afraid to lose

    ... He is the one that makes all of our plans work

    ... He also has two suffer with the other two leaders constantly going all in

    This dynamic would ultimately serve us very well.

    ... King SoulReaper was never really comfortable going all in

    ... Sir MadScientist and I were never comfortable with going all in without talking to King Soul Reaper first

    ... Ultimately, whenever we DID go all in, it worked, and usually because of some concern King SoulReaper insisted was addressed before we could go all in.

    If I ever sound like the sole voice of reason on the team was a hindrance,

    please understand,

    that voice of reason was the biggest contributor to everything we accomplished.

    Lesson Learned:  Although it is smart to be stupid, it is not stupid to be smart

    Anyway, we were busy debating just how much we had to worry about the BlackHole and FrankenFood realms when the GaulRealm insisted that we needed to worry about them instead.


  • Who's your daddy?

    I am sure you all remember that GaulRealm was the realm that made us relocate...

    twice, because they took our towers.

    We were never sure whether they declared war on us to salvage some amount of Frankish pride,

    or whether they just liked the idea of us paying them tribute.

    Either way, with a 50% larger standing army and a history of eating us,

    they knew who our daddy was...

    and they were it.

    We on the other hand, figured we had only two ways to win.

    ... Plan A. Fight to a three-day stalemate with 0 losses on either side

    ... PLAN B. Stack our troops on the border next to their most distant towers, and hope they made a mistake.

    My understanding is that Sir SoulReaper had reaped a lot of souls executing Plan A while I slept.

    I definitely spent a lot of time moving watch troops around while I was online.

    That did not stop me from flagging towers for dismantling.

    I mean, who doesn't look forward to a good round of tower dismantling?

    Sir TowerMaster apparently. He

    ... Logged in

    ... Saw three of his towers flagged for dismantling

    ... Mumbled something about his tower mastery skills not being appreciated

    ... Dismantled all four of his towers

    ... including the one on the critical path to the portal

    ... Logged off

    ... Yes! He DID disconnect the portal in the middle of a hot war.

    ... Why, is that a bad idea?

    No sooner had I started squawking "Come Back" like Rose floating on a door in the north Atlantic...

    A fellow teammate said "we don't need him"

    Okay, that's a lie,

    nobody actually SAID we don't need him...

    They just said we don't need him.



    They said nothing.

    But they claimed the critical tower.

    Who needs a grumpy tower master anyway?

    Couple that with a brief scan of all of our troops showing that most were at partial strength and, well...

    things were looking up!!!

    Wait, do I need to explain THAT too?

    Having troops at partial strength meant

    --- There were a lot of troops on watch

    --- There was always a general online to use them

    Having someone online to claim a tower meant

    --- The partially troops were getting replenished over the span of the day

    --- There was always somebody restocking a defensive stack on a fairly regular basis.

    We had the power to sustain a defensive war indefinitely!!!

    Considering that was plan A...

    That was very good news.

    That was such good news,

    I figured I could send a little Equino up to the goblin fort closest to the enemy...

    just in case.

    I do realize little Equinos have not been invented yet... but they are about to be.


  • The Goblin Fort Gambit

    The Goblin Fort Gambit is so powerful, that I hesitate to mention it because very few people understand it,

    It is one of the things that made the region grow to fear and loathe me.

    I kind of like being feared... and loathed... and am loth to give that up...

    Okay, since you asked so nicely.

    Rember that whole C-Tier realm thing?

    Well, S through B tier realms don't need the Goblin Tower Gambit because they have active players.

    C-Tier realms don't know about it because, I believe the article said...

    the leader knows their players are not active enough.

    The Goblin Tower Gambit is what provides room for a tier between B and C.

    The C+ tier Leaders know their players are...

    actively, and religiously restocking their armies and putting them on watch.

    The C+ tier Realm is a defensive monster

    Attacking a C+ realm is the equivalent to attacking all players in the realm because all the troops are on watch and can react.

    The difference between a B-tier and C+-Tier realms

    B-tier realm can invade realms

    C+ tier realms cannot invade realms

    ... Unless there is a possible Goblin Fort Gambit.

    The little Equino had moved next to the goblin in case the fort was ever left undefended.

    If that were to occur, Equinox...

    ... Speed boots

    ... Speed promotions

    ... Few troops

    Hence LITTLE Equino...

    Would race to the goblin fort.

    Once taken

    ... WATCH TROOPS could be routed to it to hold it

    ... The online troops could then launch attacks from it.


    The goblin for was defended,


    Sir MadScientist had logged in and had a crazy theory about a concept he had just invented.

    A spam attack against the back lines.

    I know, I know, but everybody has to learn what happens to those for themselves.


    I had an inkling he might be enough of a smokescreen to trigger the goblin fort gambit.

    Sir MadScientist launched his attacks,

    I repositioned two of my warlords to join the little Equino.

    When the GaulRealm failed to react to the reinforced Equino, the stage was set.

    ... Wave one conquered the Goblin Fort and Waited for the Counterattack

    ... Wave one moved onto three tower raids the moment the counterattack started

    ... Wave two consisting of Watch troops to retake the tower from the counterattack, and a second offensive wave launched a counter-counterattack

    As drawn up,

    the first wave was guaranteed 50% victory,

    ... Little Equino was unstoppable, i.e., the enemy could not stop the equinox raid in time

    ... if the two raids in force worked, the war was over

    ... If not, wave 2's raid in force of a single tower would be enough to work.

    Everything worked as drawn up...

    ... oh,

    ... except for the part where the King Celt sent his entire army to the Goblin fort to interdict wave 2.

    --- Wave 2 won that fight, but it forced the Raiding force to fight and so they were weakened on their raid in force

    In the end

    Wave 1 took 2 of its three raided towers

    Wave 2 was stronger than the GaulRealm could muster for a counterattack

    King Gaul

    ... was so gracious in his concession and praise of the Goblin Fort Gambit,

    ... and only briefly complained about only have 5 players online,

    I didn't have the heart to tell him we did it with only two. (shhhhhh.... don't tell him!)

    Just one problem

    ... damaged troops are not as strong as healthy troops

    ... we lost the wave 2 raid


  • The Goblin Fort Gaslight

    A well-executed Goblin Fort Gambit is a beauty to behold.

    But it does have consequences.

    Pretty soon EVERYBODY was routing troops to Goblin Forts.

    King Celt was determined not to let us have the southern goblin fort again... ever.

    Our weak northern neighbors messaged me asking me kindly not to contest their ownership of the northern goblin fort....

    and we were fine with that ...

    GaulRealm, on the other hand, was not

    GaulRealm was about to contest the one measly warlord the northern realm sent to garrison the fort with...

    two thirds of its entire army.

    sound familiar?

    The Goblin Fort Gambit works when you can use the Goblin Fort to access enemy towers that are closer to the fort than to the enemy's Ark or Portal.

    It is not nearly as effective When you have to march you army Across the entire span of the enemy realm only to attack towers right next to the enemy's ark.

    ... or so I have been told.

    I awoke to see the following

    ... Various towers next two our ark garrisoned with severely battered troops in need of reinforcements

    ... Large stacks of severely battered enemy troops retreating to a Goblin Fort that must have taken forever for them to conquer

    ... Freshly reinforced troops marching from our portal to the front lines

    ... CeltRealm seriously over committed to the defense of yesterday's goblin fort

    --- GaulRealm seriously over committed to the defense of the towers raided yesterday

    --- More goings on in the chat than I could read.

    I gathered the following impressions

    --- the European wing were pleasantly surprised to see we had some orbs but no idea how

    --- the GaulRealm had launched a full-scale attack

    --- We had taken advantage of that to raid another tower

    --- Then defeated their assault

    --- The current topic was about winning the war

    Which we did in rather short order.

    Lesson Learned: Beware of Goblin Forts bearing gifts.

    The GaulRealm ceased to be the GaulRealm by next morning (faint of heart self-identification)

    Victory was a Joyous time

    ... having just thrown of the shackles of our former Daddy...

    ... gotten revenge for the earlier stomping received at their hands.

    Many plans were discussed as part of the celebration.

    Sir TowerMaster found his voice again and had many genius strategies about how to pack as many towers around our portal as possible. (Never too early to start planning for endgame)

    I merely suggested that someone who disconnected the portal in the middle of a war should probably adopt a lower profile in the post war celebration.

    He did...

    But not before leaving a huge huff of smoke before he quit the realm.

    Lesson Learned: This self-identification feature is wonderful.

    The newly opened spot caused quite a commotion

    ... Admit ex-player from newly defeated realm

    ... Immediately expel ex-player from newly defeated realm

    ... Joke about never doing that again for fear of losing King SoulReaper to a heart attack

    ... Admit Sir LateBloomer, an ex-player from newly defeated realm.

    ... Keep it a secret from King SoulReaper (he still doesn't know, so sssssshhhhh, don't tell him!)

    With that, the exciting times ended for a while, until....

    King SoulReaper began to wonder how we were going to defend against the CeltRealm once the truce wore off

    Sir MadScientist saw the answer first... he always does


  • Ooooorrrrbzzzz!

    Leaving Sir MadScientist with free time on his hands is always a dangerous proposition.

    He tends to spend that time looking for anomalies in the game, and those anomalies usually result in us going to war with someone...

    And many Little Equinos dying

    This time, Sir MadScientist found a stack of orbs roughly two thirds the amount needed to ascend to Traganos.

    Sure. It was right next to the ark of a realm with a standing army 50% larger than ours.

    But that Realm happened to be the CeltRealm, and folks had been asking about ways to get revenge on them for interfering in our war with the GaulRealm...

    and now we had one

    There are two common ways used to assess a realms' strength, both inaccurate

    --- Standing army or how strong they are in the first fight

    --- War power or how strong they are in sustained fighting

    Both those measures indicate how good a realm is at building an army.

    The Skull ranking is the ranking that tells you how good a realm is at USING an army, and we were ahead there.

    For Example... If you see a large army sitting in the ark, that realm is not scary.

    Those troops require someone online to move because ark troops are not on watch.

    We were about to exploit that.

    ... We spammed a lot of little Equinos to far away corners of their empire

    ... Then sent all the dispersed stacks on the border in a combined assault on the orb tower after giving folks a day to join

    The plan worked as intended.

    ... CeltRealm stationed watch troops everywhere we had a border stack

    ... CeltRealm committed the border stacks to Equino squashing missions

    ... CeltRealm had the desired Oh Fuuuuuuuudgicle Moment when a 20 million army started marching on their orb tower

    ... CeltRealm did manage to attack, retreat and attack a second time, But the fight was not even close

    I sent KingCelt a friendly message saying that a number of folks were not happy with his interference in the GaulRealm war, but after his very generous orb donation all was forgiven.

    Let's just say, KingCelt lost his Witcher edge lord cool for a while after that.

    Apparently, I embody all the worst traits a human could possibly possess.

    Who knows, maybe it's true.


    I am not human...

    I am an Orb Zombie, so he must be wrong.

    This war had taken a long time to occur because we needed the truce to end and the single stack attack to fill up.

    That gave Sir MadScientist enough time to make us all experts on the fine art of orb dispersal.

    It seems folks thought it might be a good idea to prevent other realms from doing to us what we just did to CeltRealm

    First... Close to a portal is SAFER than close to an ark.

    You can teleport watch troops to a portal, not to an ark.

    Secondly... Launch your attacks from multiple towers so that the orbs are spread across those towers

    Thirdly... If you attacked from a hard to defend tower.

    Dismantle it immediately.

    The orbs will end up closer to the Ark which is better than on the fringe of your realm

    We now had enough orbs to ascend...

    But we didn't

    sorry for the delay, of this installment.

    But new Orb Zombie recruits have renewed the need to share our history with them,

    so hopefully more installments are coming.


  • Journeyman Builder Orb Zombie

    We did not ascend because King SoulReaper did not allow us to ascend.

    He believed we were not ready, and he was correct.

    I personally had many buildings left to Construct.

    It is my personal belief that unless you are one of the game leaders, it is best not to ascend to Traganos until you are ready to shift from being a Journeyman Builder Orb Zombie into a Builder Orb Zombie of Graveyards.

    A number of things need to happen for that to be true.

    --- You have cleared all your supply fields

    --- You have opened all your building fields

    --- You have begun maxing your supply fields

    --- You are able to continue building and recruiting 24/7

    I had mentioned I was still two days away from point three above.

    King SoulReaper was a little surprised and verified I was not exaggerating.

    His response... Nice City resulted in a number of folks paying my city a visit.

    Whether it happened at this point or not I cannot say,

    I can say that there were a LOT of Nice Cities in our realm by endgame.

    In the meantime, we fed on what was left of the old GaulRealm.

    The rise and fall of empires is an interesting thing.

    the realm that we

    --- lost towers to

    --- relocated twice to get away from

    --- had scared us when they surprised us with war

    That realm, was now our food.

    We won a conquest victory against it.

    We reclaimed the towers it had taken from us, plus three bonus resources.

    It was now a dead realm, paying us tribute for another three days.

    Realms all around it were gnawing on it like sharks in a feeding frenzy.

    Our realm had become a realm of Journeyman Builder Orb Zombies...

    with a sudden hankering for the taste of resource tributes.

    We were ready to ascend at the end of that tribute phase


  • The Edge of the world

    We ascended late by any definition of late.

    As a result, we were far away from any anvils, but also far away from any serious threats.

    Our biggest concern was the following question.

    Which is worse

    --- You are a spy who failed in you mission

    --- You were so clueless that you managed to sabotage your own realm so badly they thought you were a spy

    There were many players in the neighboring realms who failed the first rule of being an Orb Zombie.

    "Keep King SoulReaper Happy"

    Much like a prison guard sent to jail,

    we were bordered by many players we had cut for one reason or another.

    That was oddly reassuring.

    One in particular was of note.

    Sir Wildcard was in the CzechRealm which was closest to us.

    Considering CeltRealm would never ascend,

    multiple people pinged chat with almost the same word for word phrase.

    "He was just bad at the game"

    We each added our own flavor...

    Me --- "I guess I owe Sir Wildcard an apology... he was just bad at the game"

    Sir MadScientist --- "Innnnnteresting, I guess that means... he was just bad at the game"

    King SoulReaper --- "he was just bad at the game...!"

    As if the former spy could still read our chat,

    Sir Wildcard immediately offered up free experience at the altars of our newly minted tower constructions.

    The race, and fight for the closest bonus resource and neighboring Goblin Fort was on.

    We Won, and immediately plopped down a portal

    This is not interesting beyond...

    Sir SoulReaper saying... This is Traganos, nobody is going to make the mistake CeltRealm made here.

    CzechRealm never did, we had to win our fights against them the old-fashioned way,

    we had to earn them... foreshadowing.

    King SoulReaper's primary concern was Keeping our newly won prizes away from the stronger CzechRealm.

    We all, agreed...

    Until we didn't


  • A tale of two goblin forts

    The first thing to happen was ArthurianRealm appeared to our north.

    And they brought a 50% troop bonus fort with them. Y

    es, they were stronger than us, who wasn't, but they were still building towers.

    Ssssshhhh... Don't tell anyone, but I used to think a goblin fort was a Goblin fort.

    It's our secret, okay.

    You have no idea how much my teammates will tease me if they found out.

    Anyway, no sooner did I send a squad of Gob Hunters out to claim the fort than PanselonRealm1 to the northwest said... NoNo, that is OUR goblin fort... and marched an unbeatable stack across our entire realm to prove the point.

    When PanselonRealm2 to our northwest sent a comparable stack, I started to wonder why two Panselon realms were marching large stacks of troops across large distances.

    I had a lightbulb moment.

    Yeah, yeah... fine... a dim lightbulb moment.

    In a land of constant wars, the only way to keep your warlords fully staffed is to have troop bonus goblin forts. Something the devs later agreed with when they nerfed the bonus on that fort.

    Okay, so we were about to be a child's play toy for two Panselon Realms...

    Or worse, a play toy for one of my pit bulls.

    Dog toys have a very short lifespan in our house.

    Anyway, where was I?

    Oh yes... diplomacy of course.

    People think diplomacy is all about grand alliances.

    It isn't.

    It is all about making friends. Those friends may eat you because you are in their way...

    but at least they will be sad about it.

    Case in point.

    I reached out to PanselonRealm1 to say ...

    Uhhhhh, I was just keeping it warm for you...

    And they sent back the friendly reply...

    Sorry to say old chap, you are food, and we are hungry...

    I then wrote back,

    I understand, but you know, we are tough and stringy, you have a couple tastier, food sources closer to you, and we can help you with PanselonRealm2

    The diplomat forwarded the message onto the leader and the leader came back...

    We agree, there is tastier food nearby, you give us what we ask for, and we will protect you from the other predator who wants to eat you.

    How wonderful is that?

    To cut that story short, the two realms fought each other for two straight days, sending stacks 50% stronger than our entire realm back and forth with PanselonRealm2 gaining the upper hand...

    and then we struck.

    We hit one stack that was set up to eat three waves of PanselonRealm1, and then immediately retreated.

    We immediately got a thankyou from the Leader of PanselonRealm1 who also agreed that we were tougher and stringier than we looked.

    We never had to worry about demands from either Panselon Realm again.

    So, about those softer tastier Realms. CzechRealm, remember them? and BuenaVitaRealm were fighting for that other Goblin fort when PanselonRealm1 starting munching on them...

    wonder where they got that idea from.

    BuenaVitaRealm was winning which meant, CzechRealm was really depleted.

    Time for a recap.

    Within four hours of promising King SoulReaper we would not start any wars while he was sleeping,


    --- Solidified the north with strategic concessions to the regional superpower

    --- Convinced the regional superpower to attack our competition for the second goblin fort

    --- Broke our promise with King SoulReaper and declared war on BuenaVitaRealm

    Hope he had a good night's sleep.


  • Making Friends

    We won the war before I woke up the next day.

    King SoulReaper and Sir MadScientist were debating whether we should go to war with the CzechRealm.

    I immediately placed a portal next to the second goblin fort and donated the 15 million resources needed to start activating it.

    I was a journeyman builder orb zombie with a taste for skulls after all.

    That pretty much ended the debate.

    War was declared, 8 towers captured to connect the portal, and suddenly we had two realms paying us tribute.

    We then entered the NomNom phase of the game. That phase where you cannot attack the realms you want to attack, and don't want to attack anyone else. Nothing left to do but NomNom on realms after they kill goblins at goblin towers.

    NomNom phase ended when

    --- the two Panselon neighbors ascended

    --- We gained sole control of the 50% troop bonus tower

    --- Tributes ended

    At this point WE were the regional superpower.

    --- We fed on BuenaVitaRealm... and they just conceded to us

    --- We fed on CzechRealm and they were incredibly difficult to subdue

    --- We fed on the ArthurianRealm and they were pissed at us for attacking them while they were already at war

    Two of those three realms became very important allies in endgame. any guesses how and why?

    We saluted the CzechRealm leader on his tactical prowess. That started up a conversation during which we offered to come to their aid if they are ever attacked, if they stopped the pressure war, they were now waging and losing against us. I suggested that winter was coming as strong realms will fill the gap in the north and eventually be a problem.

    His response was... Winter has already come for us, but it makes sense to team up.

    Ally One

    ArthurianRealm was very upset that we attacked them. We mentioned that we are open to work with anyone who reaches out to us. His response was. Really, that's all it takes? If we promise not to defend will you just take orbs and maybe help with our current fight if you can?

    We just took orbs and attacked their enemy as much as we could.

    Ally Two

    Two days before endgame, we were expanding towers so that we could hop portals from consumed realm to consumed realm...

    --- we hadn't gotten the memo yet

    --- okay, we got the memo but didn't read it

    --- okay, some of us read it, but none of us understood it

    between the changes to endgame and the devil landing on our back porch, our allies were going to end up protecting us rather than the other way around.


  • Hades Realm

    We had a wonderful plan for endgame, providing for three tiers of resistance when the devouring hoard came.

    --- Outer ring 1 was our allies who we would aid by hitting large stacks on conquer missions to soften the enemy up

    --- Outer ring 2 would be our towers protecting our allies refuge towers

    --- Helms deep would be the small realm in our backlines that we would have eaten early in end game between the three of us

    Of course, if the hoards did not come, we had four realms marked out for consumption.

    None of that would have worked, because

    ---- we didn't get the memo

    ---- we got the memo but didn't read it

    ---- we read it but didn't understand it

    Anyway, none of that mattered.

    HadesRealm dropped in our backlines three days before endgame.

    Their appearance immediately erased our status as a regional super-power because their standing army was 25% larger than ours and war power double ours. But we knew something they didn't.

    We are stringy and not the tastiest realm around.

    We immediately promised our allies we would shield them from this new threat, and immediately began shielding them from this new threat.

    Within a day, they started building a portal close to our farthest towers. And that's when the fun started.

    Remember when King SoulReaper warned us that Traganos Realms would not over invest in portals?

    He had obviously never taken the Styx riverboat cruise offered by Charon Tours unlimited.

    HadesRealm never had fewer than ten million troops sitting there for 2 days and into endgame.

    And I never had fewer than 1 nor more than three warlords attacking that stack. I gained 30 levels in 3 days. never having less than 2-1 kill rate on a target with twice the power score will do that... at least at the beginning.

    After about one day of it, teammates asked if they could play too.

    It was not long before we had the higher realm power.

    And once endgame started, it was time to eliminate the threat


    ---- we didn't get the memo

    ---- we got the memo but didn't read it

    ---- we read it but didn't understand it

    Uhhh...., we got off to a rocky start