edited to reflect the way I understand the game to work today, the first 11 pages of this thread were written before this update, so may seem to come out of left field. Guide to Ally Ownership and Ally Plunder, by tmh, 7 October, 2010 Ally ownership is one of the most important factors in the game. Ally plunder is the main source of income for many players, whether they’re taking advantage of it or not. There are only two times you’d not really care about owning allies, if you’re a super noob brand new player (they don’t matter to you yet, all you care about are volleys and questing) or if you’re a pure spy who doesn’t care about to converting to Hansel build for income, since allies would be nothing but a liability to you. Some OSF’s do keep smaller allies, $3m, $30m, whatever, so friends can hire the allies to open the OSF when the owner is not around to do it him/herself. That’s another story though. If you’re anybody else, and that’s most folks, then ally ownership is critical to your game. There’s a spectrum, of what approach you take to ally ownership—on one end you aren’t looking for stat bonuses, you just want gold invested in allies for ally plunder bonus; on the other end, the stat bonuses from your allies are an important part of your game. If you think you’re in your endgame, then the “stat bonuses from allies” section is very likely important to you. If you are just starting? If you are that guy who costs like $1b, $2b, $3b, and you’re wondering what to do now since your free money from vollies is over and your income from quests and attacking isn’t really seeming so great? If you want to consider some specialized, less-common builds? Then check out the “allies strictly for plunder” section. There’s a good chance you’re reading this because somebody steered you to this thread. It’s because they recognized that you seemed to be in a position where your progress was suffering because you weren’t familiar with ally plunder bonus, and they wanted to help you succeed in this game. If that’s the case, don’t sweat it, nobody is born knowing this stuff, and everybody needs to learn it somewhere, from someone, unless they’re Johnny Scientist doing experiments in game mechanics. I got lucky and was in a clan with some Johnny Scientist kinda guys about 10 months ago and learned a ton from them. Hey, this whole thing is long, and I apologize for that! But it’s one of the most important things to understand if you want to be strong in this game, so I think it’s worth the time. I say this not as a masochist but as your friend, take the time to read through this whole mess a couple times, two or three, or five, until you’re reading it going “yeah, I know that”. It’ll take time, but it will help your game, I promise. ALLIES STRICTLY FOR PLUNDER This is the approach that’s appropriate for thousands of players in KaW. If you’re fairly new, this is almost certainly right for you. If you’re not yet lc (land complete) , this is a great approach for you. If you’re already bc (build complete) then you might want to go with this approach for its low-maintenance functioning, or you might find yourself ready to switch from this approach to the opposite mindset, stat bonuses from your allies (power) instead of just plunder bonus (income). If you take a cruise through the ally market around $2b, you’ll find a lot of players who should be taking this approach but aren’t… 86k or 93k attack stats from all their lands and all their forges, but having a rough time now because the free money from “volley me, building forges” has dried up, done for, and their own income is making for some very slow growth. This is a point where lots of players give up on the game, sadly. I know this, because I’ve had so many of y’all reset on me due to inactivity. RRRrrrrrr! At least by that point, $2b cost and 93k atk in today’s market, you should have started building up your ally plunder, should be giving up on volleys and questing. You should be at max plunder. What is “max plunder”? “Max plunder” is it the place to be. It refers to the situation where every time you get a win attacking, you make the most money your current build could possibly provide to you. Plunder is your income as an attacker. It’s the most important source of income in the game for most people, though so many of y’all don’t know it. Plunder is made up of three separate components, with today’s game mechanics. It’s sort of like two, really—your own personal plunder from your troops, and your plunder bonus from your allies… but there’s a third component added into your personal plunder, some extra cash for winning against an attacker who’s using def pots (defense items in the marketplace/supplies). Your own plunder from your buildings is all about your current troop power and your building setup, versus your defender’s build setup and what pots he’s using. That’s the key stuff. But that’s not the focus of this guide, this is about allies and alli plunder, so, that’s all for that. Your ally plunder is special. The best thing about ally plunder is that it’s the biggest source of money you’re gonna find, other than working the ally market once you’re dealing with hundreds of billions of gold in allies. If you’re not there yet, then ally plunder bonus is the single biggest source of income available to you. And a super cool thing about ally plunder is that unlike your normal plunder which decreases as your troops get lower and lower, ally plunder is the same when you’re at full troops or when you’re attacking with one lonely soldier. The way ally plunder works, mathematically, is a little complex, but, the key factors are as follows: 1) Your specific building compliment 2) Your total power from buildings (atk, def, spyatk, and spydef) 3) The defender’s total power from buildings 4) How much $ worth of allies you own #2 and #3 are sort of the flipside of each other… if you’re weaker and your opponent is stronger, you have the potential to earn higher ally plunder, a sort of reward for beating someone stronger than you. If you’re stronger and your opponent is weaker, you’ll earn less ally plunder, sort of a penalty for choosing the easier win and beating up on somebody and stealing their lunch money you jerk. #1 is an oddball, and doesn’t make sense to a lot of folks at first, maybe even most folks. Don’t sweat it. It is the way it is because that’s how the devs (the game devlopers, the guys who designed, built, and maintain this game) decided it should work. Whether or not it seems like what you would expect is irrelevant, just know that this is how it works today… every building compliment has its own inherent maximum possible ally plunder bonus base. If you’ve got all 25 lands, if you have one T3 and 23 L4 guilds, or if you have one L4 guild and 23 T3’s, or if you have this or that, your maximum possibly ally plunder is different. The rankings of the buildings in terms of how much ally plunder they provide to you, from the highest on down, are: L4 guild L3 T3 L3 guild L2 T3 L3 T2 And then all the other buildings you shouldn’t have at this point. If you’re still rocking the other buildings, then you should probably still be questing for gold and hoping for volleys, or thinking about tearing down what you have and putting up a build made up of the types listed above. To put it another way, the builings not listed here are good, and useful buildings, in the earlier stages of the game, and that’s a time when allies aren’t critical to you unless you’re volleying allies with a 3rd party, which means you’re probably an expert already or working with one. Anyway… The most possible ally plunder you’re going to earn is with the strongest Hansel build available, which is one T3 and the rest L4 guilds. You can make around $11m a hit in ally plunder with that setup. With a pure T3 build, you’d make somewhere closer to $8m a hit in ally plunder (but your own personal plunder would be much higher than the Hansel’s, let’s call it $2m a hit. So hey, that’s the building compliment aspect of it. That’s really all there is to that. Personally, I like to use builds like Hansels or near-Hansels (like 4 T3’s and the rest L4 guilds) for pure moneymakers, and something with more T3’s for war-readiness, anything from maybe 6 or 8 T3’s up to 24 of em if that’s what you want, depending on your ally stat bonuses (the other section of this guide) or your general desire to smash strong people. This is where allies come in, ally plunder bonus, allies, allies, allies Your build and the stats comparison of you versus the defender only determine what your maximum possible ally plunder bonus is. They have absolutely nothing to do with how much of that maximum possible you actually get. That’s determined solely by the 4th factor, how much $ you have tied up in allies you own. With any given build that you might have, and any given build for the guy you’re attacking, there’s a maximum possible ally plunder value associated with that. To get that maximum, you need to have a certain amount of money invested in allies at the time of the attack. Because of the complexity of the math, I’m not going to try to describe it perfectly, and will just say that it appears to be non-linear, exponential in nature, and is also shelved into separate discrete tiers like it used to be, where people at the weakest or strongest ends of the spectrum of who you can attack use somewhat different math than those in the middle. That’s all I’ll try to say there. Also, thank you to all the people who let me attack them to collect data so Krullian and I could try and determine the exact math behind ally plunder calcs under the “new” current system which is now several months old. How to test if you’re earning max plunder This is SUPER IMPORTANT. If you don’t know how to do this, you need to know! Critical! Why? Because if you’re not earning your max plunder, every attack you win is income but from another perspective is a wasted win—if you’re earning $0 ally plunder per hit when you could be earning $2m ally plunder for every single win, you’re cheating yourself out of millions. Here’s how you test. Find a target you can attack and beat, and that is readily available for you to do it; you’ll need to be able to attack this target two times and win. Attack that target and win. On the “Victory!” screen, note your Allies Bonus. Write it down exactly. Then hire a cheap ally, different people recommend different values but I like $200k. The point is, you want to hire an ally that will be hired away from you within a day, but not within a minute or two. $200k allies have proved successful in that regard, for me. After you buy the ally, attack that same target from before, and again note your Allies Bonus. Is it identical, to the one? If it is, then you are earning your max plunder, which is awesome. If it changed by even one single gold piece, then that means you were not earning max plunder before hiring the ally, and likely are still not after hiring it. I don’t have exact numbers, which I am slightly ashamed of, but I’m gonna ballpark it and will edit this post with corrections to these numbers as people tell me I’m too far off. 100k atk from forges, max against strong OSF is roughly $1-2m full T2 build, maybe $3m Mix of T2 with a few T3, some guilds, maybe $5m Pure T3 build roughly $8m Max Hansel build with one T3 and the rest L4 guilds roughly $11m Those numbers are off by a little, I’m sure, but they’re probably close enough for horseshoes. If you have a 100k atk forge build and you’re earning $0 ally plunder, hey, you need allies to earn that extra $1.5m or whatever it is per hit. That adds up! If you’re earning $50k ally plunder, or $100k ally plunder, you almost certainly need more money in allies and you don’t know it. That’s the gist of it. Details of your build and defender’s build determine what your max possible is, and how much $ you have invested in allies determines what fraction of that you earn, up to the max, with each attack you win. That’s it! Volleying allies without caring about their stats This is something I strongly recommend to anyone who’s new to ally plunder, working towards getting to their max. Other people recommend going straight into working the ally market, which is a totally viable approach, but I personally am a sucker for building a mostly-permanent ally plunder base in one or two volleyed up allies. Why? Volleying is a whole different guide, but the point of it is, when you volley allies up, both of the people doing the volleying earn income from it, the process generates cash. For the guy who doesn’t keep the ally, it’s just straight-up pure cash on hand, cash money. But for the guy who keeps the ally (you!) that cash is generated but ends up tied up in the value of the ally, not as cash on hand. So the reason this is great is that if you start with $10m cash you’ve got on hand, hire a $50k ally, and volley him up as high as you can volley him where you keep him, where you can still afford him, you end up with an ally costing more than $10m. At the end of your volley, your ally costs more money than you had in the first place. Everybody should have a volley buddy. You want to add value to your ally that you volley for your plunder base, you ask your volley buddy to help you do it. You both make money. He wants to add value to his ally, you help, like that. You both win. And you’re buddies! If you can choose an ally that’s not inactive, you really ought to. Check their wall for activity, if there are lots of people accusing them of farming they’re probably active. If you choose an ally that’s been inactive for a long time, once they hit 6 months of being inactive, they get deleted and you only get back about 70% of what you last paid to buy them, about 66% of their price listed on their profile when they get nuked. That’s bad. So look for a guy that’s active or recently active. Every time you make money, get your volley buddy to help you add that money into your ally’s value. To be able to have your buddy hire the ally and you rehire, one time, you need something between 8 and 9% of the ally’s cost, as your cash on hand. Think of it as 10% and you’ll never go wrong. Push it, and you might end up with your buddy hiring and you being a little short of what you need to rehire. And that’s no good. How do you know if the money you’re saving up should go to upgrading or to volleying your ally? That’s easy—test for max plunder like described above. If you’re at max plunder, you should be saving up cash for that next upgrade. New land, upgrading a building, that sort of thing. DO NOT sell your allies to make upgrades in way that drops you below enough $ in allies for max plunder! Don’t do it! You might think it rules cause you upgraded and you’re more powerful, but it actually sucks, because you’re not earning as much money anymore, so you’ve effectively slowed your future growth. That’s shortsighted! Every time you add a new building or upgrade an existing building, do the $200k ally test to see if you’re at max plunder. If you are, awesome, start saving up again for that next upgrade. If you’re not, save up for another volley of your ally, or volley up a new ally. Keep testing as you go, once you’re at max plunder, save up for upgrade, after you upgrade, get back to max plunder, repeat repeat and before you know it you’re land complete, then build complete, then ready to switch over to the other approach. STAT BONUSES FROM ALLIES This is a HUGE factor in the endgame of KaW, when you’ve got your build as far as it’s gonna go, and you’re building up ally stat power which is what makes the difference between the toughest guy out there and the 10th toughest and the 100th toughest…. The power at the top of the game is ally stat bonuses. Why? Ally stat bonuses are semi-permanent power. I say semi-permanent instead of permanent because everyone knows allies can always be hired away; when they’re hired away, the power goes with them, but as long as you own them, it’s an always-on power. This is different from building power, which decreases as troops decline, for every building other than towers. Whether you’re at full troops or have that one lonely soldier attacking, your ally bonus is always at full strength, always. Just how misunderstood the importance of ally bonuses can be seen in tmh clan’s war history. The reason for all the wins is that the challenging clans (as of this writing) haven’t had any players with strong enough ally bonuses to get much if any wins against me. I won’t give an exact number, but will say that for most of these wars, tmh ally defense bonus stat was between 20-30 million. What does that mean? The attack power of a L3 factory is roughly a million. Many, many people have a tough time understanding the difference between the bonus power they receive from allies, the bonus power they give to their owner, and their own actual power. That’s described below, so if you don’t already know it, go read that real quick and then jump back up here. The attack power of a FULL factory is roughly 1m. So with an ally defense bonus of 20m, that means your ally bonuses are roughly cancelling out 20 full factories worth of attack power. If you were a pure spy, 0 defense, and someone with 20 factories was attacking you with full troops, if you had 20m in ally def, that would be roughly the right amount to cancel out all of his attack power, making it a coin toss for the win. Ally attack bonus is the same deal, always on, so if you have 20 factories that are full, and 20m in ally attack bonus , it’s sorta like attacking with 40 full factories. Who can defend against that? A guy with strong ally defense bonus. Normal players with full T3 builds but weak ally defense would crumble to the attack power. So it should be obvious by now that ally bonuses are a big deal. What does this mean to you? If you’ve got your build complete, which means every building is a L3 T3 or a L4 guild or maxed out tower, then you’re totally ready to build ally bonuses. Difference between your own power and ally "bonus to" or "bonus from" stats Look in your profile, your own stats... your attack power or spy attack power is probably over 1 million, or at least in the hundreds of thousands. Right now, I have attack power of 5,307,000. Five million. Ever looked at an ally's stats and seen five million? No. That's because those type of stats are "bonus to allies". 5.3 million is my actual attack power, raw, in the terms that the game's math system actually thinks of them. My attack in terms of "bonus to allies", the power I'd add to my owner, is 157,920. That's more like it! 157k atk, that sounds reasonable. The difference is, my bonus to allies is in the same power units as the stats you see when you look at someone else's profile, "bonus to allies". Actual power is 50x more than bonus to allies, or to look at it from the other side, you provide a bonus to allies that's 2% of your actual power. Many people think that if they have 100k attack bonus, like you'd have from your forges when you cost $2b or $2.5b, that by hiring an ally with 100k attack bonus, they have doubled their power. This is not the case, because of the different power units. To double your power, you'd need to hire 50 allies with the same stats as you. The power units listed for pots are not "bonus to allies" stats, because pots don't have anything to do with anyone's allies. They are in the same units as your own actual power. Your true total power is the sum of your own personal power from buildings (NOT in terms of "bonus to allies") with whatever percent stat bonuses you have from permanent items, PLUS your ally stat bonuses in their native units, PLUS the power of your pots in the units that you see when you look at the pots. Your own "bonus to allies" stat is irrelevant here-- it's only a representation of 2% of your power, which is what you'd grant to your owner. Working the ally market Working the ally market is an art and a science, a place to make friends and make enemies. If you concentrate on certain price points, you’re likely to buy allies away from one group of the same folks who work the price point below yours, and have your allies hired away from you by another group of people who work the price point above yours. You’ll recognize patterns in the names over time, and if you consistently see underpriced allies hired away from you by some guy and then owned by a different guy within seconds, you can identify people using alts to volley allies they hire. How do you decide what price point to shop? Well there’s the art and science of it. There are a few key points to consider, which is all I’m going to get into. They’re fundamental aspects to consider when you come up with your own strategy. I’m not going to hand anyone a strategy, and anyone at this stage of the game ought to be able to put together their own plan anyway. 1) At a given price point, what are the best stats you can find in allies? What are average stats, what are bad stats? What ally can you hire and within an hour or a day he’s hired away, and what ally can you hire and be stuck with forever 2) Are you trying to build an ally power base that’s going to be consistently hired away from you, giving you that 1.5% profit each time? If you’re warring a lot, and you like to sleep, you might prefer to go for allies that give decent bonuses for price, but they don’t get hired away constantly putting your cash out while you sleep during war 3) Do you want allies to make you a stronger attacker, stronger defender, stronger defense against spy atks, a balance of all of them? What are the differences in stats per dollar for atk-heavy allies at a certain price point, defense-heavy, or spy allies? 4) How much risk are you willing to take of your allies resetting? Allies who aren’t build complete are much more likely to reset, maybe because they reached lc and are going for completion bonuses, maybe because they’ve given up on their progress and want to start fresh off a new volley, or maybe they’re just 6 months inactive. Build complete power-player allies are way more reliable, but also provide far less stats per dollar. How much do you want the extra power and extra risk of reset, and how much do you prefer the stability and security of the expensive guys, considering their lower stats per dollar. 5) What sort of risk are you subjecting yourself to by hiring a given ally? “Please don’t hire my allies” is such a common thing, people say that totally oblivious to the fact that they once hired that ally away from a previous owner. Is he/she going to farm you? “Don’t hire my ally I’m in war” is another one. I would love to hire ShadowKAN today, he’s priced awesome for being ShadowKAN! But how would Sumsette feel about that? I know the answer, and I haven’t bought ShadowKAN. See what I’m getting at there? Some people are ally poachers, hiring allies specifically knowing that the current owner wants to keep them for whatever their reason, so they hire the ally for the 1.5% profit on hiring and getting the ally hired back. On a $50b ally, that’s kind of a big deal. But will the current owner throw some fists at you for it? Will you start a clan war? Do you care? Those are the main points to consider when you’re walking the path of owning allies for stat bonuses, I’d say. For me, it’s been an ongoing process, an evolution of approach that’s changed over the months and continues to change over time. What’s the best approach for you? Go find out. Specialty ally functions There’s an extra category that’s distinctly separate, special function allies. There’s something more to them than the previous sections explain. One example would be an OSF that hires handfuls of $3m allies or $10m allies or $30m allies or whatever. As a pure spy, any time an ally is hired away, as long as your spies are over 20% full, you’re vulnerable to being attacked until all that cash is gone. That’s the whole point in this example. The OSF hires allies such that friendly parties can hire the allies at any time, one at a time, to open the OSF and get free hits. Cool! A piece of advice… if you hire allies from an OSF and farm the cash away, without permission, you are stripping them and can expect to get you butt handed to you by whoever has their back. Food for thought. Another example is the safety ally. An ally that provides you max ally plunder, but is also so severely overpriced that they remove the risk of an opponent hiring them away to put your cash out. I don’t know what her build looks like while you read this, but during the All-Star War, Arsh’s build was a pinnacle example of this technique. Convertible Hansel/OSF build (tear down or build a T2 or T3 to be Hansel or pure spy) – she cost around $200b. She also had two allies that each cost around $200b. This is an extreme example, but it is pretty much the ideal implementation of the safety ally. During war, a serious war against super-power opponents, biggest dogs out there, she could switch to pure spy, make sure to have $0 cash out, and go to sleep and not be at risk. There’s a saying “pure spies with allies have no business on a war roster”. It’s super stupid. UNLESS the allies cost so much that there’s realistically no risk of anyone hiring the ally away to open you as OSF like described in the first example. Steal farms, and attack farms who want to be able to switch to Hansel for giant plunder, this approach is for you. I’ve discussed it plenty with people, and my angle on it is, a pure spy or that pure spy’s allies should cost at least $30b to be safe against smaller enemies, at least $80b to be safe against standard strong enemies, and more like Arsh’s $200b to be safe against super-power enemies. Don’t get it wrong, there are people more than capable of hiring away a $200b ally. The point is, how much money are they throwing away to get to you? How committed to destroying you are they? Okay well there’s plenty more to talk about but this is already too long. Hope this helped you, and thanks for reading. Cheers!