1. First Steps
You start the game in your own town on a Tutorial island where all your progress is safe. Your town cannot be attacked directly by other players. Start building and upgrading some buildings to get your resource and troop production going, practice gaining territory and follow the Tutorial to teach you the rest before moving to a real Realm.
If you are looking for guidance, you should open the Quest Book. Pick the quest you would like to do and click on the small (?) to the right to start the quest guidance system. It will point you to the right place to solve the quest.
Unlocking new features:
Every time you unlock something new, there will be a notification with a "Show Me" button leading you to the element in question. Use this to become familiar with your options and discover new areas of the game.
In addition, there are hints shown when you open a window for the first time that gives you more information about what you can do there. You can turn hints on or off in the settings.
2. Game Rounds
Arkheim is played in game rounds that end after roughly 10 weeks and is won by the Realm that first reaches Eternal Light on the island Panselon in the endgame phase. If you don't want to compete for a server-wide victory, your Realm can instead aim to win your Island ranking.
During Early Access, there is only one game world active at a time, but they will start more frequently later on.
Your progress is based on the game world and doesn't carry over - everybody has a fresh start on a new game world and can try a different race, new strategies or a different Realm.
Sapphires you bought and have left at the end of a round can be carried over to the next world.
After the Tutorial island phase, you will be joining a real Realm - your team of max. 15 players. You can search for a Realm that fits you right after the tutorial, or establish a new Realm yourself where others will join. You will always be part of a Realm.
Since team play is important in Arkheim, you should make sure to use votes, messages, pins and chat to coordinate and communicate with your Realm members. Realms are growing over time while others might lose members. Have a look at the Realm Finder to see who has open spots, if you consider changing your team. You can even look for specific languages spoken!
Arks, Towers and Supplies:
Your Realm's Ark connects your Town to your current map. All Realm members can place Towers to expand the Realm's territory and gain influence over Supplies, which (once freed from Goblins) will give bonus resources or troops to all Realm members every 24 hours. The bonus and timing you see are your own, and you can never take anything away from your fellow Realm members.
Towers also produce Arcane Orbs, which in turn produce Glory to level up your Realm. You can also gain Glory by attacking Barricades and solving Realm Quests. Each Realm level will grant your Realm a small Bonus.
Fight for the Orbs:
The Arcane Orbs are not only the source of Glory but also needed for Ascension. Work together to raid more from Goblin Towers, and later from other Realms - but also remember that you might need to defend your own Orbs.
Set your battle tactics:
To make coordinating attacks easier, you can use advanced options to delay an attack (gives others more time to join you) or set a target fighting strength (only start an attack when enough players join to reach the fighting strength). You can even combine the two to make sure the attack starts at a certain time, but only if you have enough fighting strength.
4. What is Ascension?
The Islands of Arkheim:
Arkheim is split into four islands floating in the sky. These islands are only reachable by Ascension Gates that unlock at pre-set times called "Moon Phases" during the game round. You can preview these times in the World Map view.
Each island has its own map and slightly adjusted game rules, and with each Ascension to a higher one, the competition gets more fierce. To win the overall game round, you have to reach the highest Island before the endgame starts - but you can also ascend in your own time and compete on one of the lower islands for an island victory.
Very important: You cannot ascend alone - your Realm needs to work together to achieve that goal.
Conquering the Gate:
Once a Gate unlocks, it is occupied by Goblins you have to defeat to get it under your control.
Once you hold a Gate, your Realm needs to own enough Arcane Orbs to start and fuel the Ascension. It takes 12 hours to attune the Gate for the jump. Be careful: If Orbs are stolen and you sink below the required number, or you lose the Gate to another Realm during the ascension timer, the Ascension will be interrupted.
The Ascension Process:
When the ascension timer is finished, your whole Realm will leave the current Island and your Ark will be placed on a new spot on the map of the next island. Your Orbs will be set to 0. There is a ring of Tower Ruins you can claim within the first 9 hours after the Ascension to help you rebuild your territory.
Half of the Towers you had on the previous map will be turned into Goblin Towers, the other half will disappear from the map.
Your Realm is now one step closer to Eternal Light. You will have access to higher levels for your Supplies and Towers. Most likely, you will also be closer to some worthwhile enemies, so prepare your Ascension carefully.