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  • General FAQ

    This is an attempted exhaustive guide to frequently asked questions about Ikariam. I have redone the guide in a format that should hopefully be easier to navigate, and added a lot more questions. This guide is divided into three parts: Economy, Military, and Miscellaneous.
    The Economy Section contains questions on subjects such as resources, building, research, colonizing, trading, corruption, satisfaction, and action points.
    The Military Section contains questions on subjects such as units, upkeep, defense, pillaging, alliances, and spies.
    The Miscellaneous Section contains questions on subjects such as bugs and troubleshooting.

    These questions and answers come from many different sources, and it is nigh impossible to track down the original question or the original answer. Credit for these questions does not go to me, but to all the players of Ikariam. We were all newbs once.

    If you have any suggestions or wish to discuss this FAQ, please use the following link to the General forum: General FAQ


    Q: What kind of Resources are there?
    A: Every island has a Lumber Mill from which you can harvest Building Materials, mostly referred to as Wood by other players. There are four other “luxury” resources: Wine, Marble, Crystal Glass, and Sulfur. And of course there is also Gold.

    Q: What are these Resources Used For?
    A: Every building requires Wood to build and upgrade, and most require Marble to upgrade after a certain point. Wine is used to keep your people happy. Glass is used to upgrade the Academy (instead of Marble), research troop and fleet upgrades at the Workshop, and rush your research. Sulfur is only used to build units and war ships. Unlike the others, Gold is pooled between all your cities. Gold is used to support troops and fleets, pay scientists, and buy Resources with a Trading Post.

    Q: How do I get a Resource that’s Not Found on my Island?
    A: There are three ways you can do this: Trading, Colonizing, and Pillaging. These are covered in various parts of this guide.

    Q: I can’t put a lot of people to work on the Mill/Mine. Is there some way to put More Workers?
    A: Yes! Each of these structures should have the option to Donate Wood to them, and once a certain amount of donations is reached, the structure will upgrade, allowing more workers to be placed on it.

    Q: Some people are Gathering More than I can from the Mill/Mine.
    A: Researching Helping Hands allows you to “overload” the mills and mines, but the extra workers only generate ¼ the normal amount of Resources.

    Q: What should I Build First?
    A: Probably an Academy. Research grants a huge advantage to those who have it. Almost all buildings and actions are locked at the start of the game, and are gradually made available through research.

    Q: Can I Build More than One building at a Time?
    A: No. This would allow players to advance quicker than the developers feel comfortable with, widening the gap between the powerful and the weak. So don’t expect to see this feature in the near future, however much you may want it.

    Q: Can I Build buildings Faster?
    A: Again, no. It’s for the same reasons as above.

    Q: What should I Research First?
    A: Welldigging. This technology gives an early boost to Satisfaction and Population limit. After this, I would recommend either Wealth for anyone, or Professional Army for the military minded.

    Q: What happened to all my Research Points?
    A: The way the research works, your points are not "spent" until you actually finish researching something. So if you are researching Wealth until it is at 70%, then switch to Paper, the points would switch over as well. In this case, you would most likely research Paper as soon as you switched, as Paper takes fewer research points than Wealth does. Any points left over would go toward your next research goal. Switching immediately back to Wealth would mean that you will no longer have it 70% done, as the research points had been spent on Paper instead.

    Q: What are Trade Ships?
    A: Trading Ships, also called Cargo Ships, are used to move troops and resources around from city to city. They are required to both trade and pillage. To get Trade Ships, you must build a Trading Port. Trade Ships may then be purchased from the Port.

    Q: How do I Trade with my Friends?
    A: You can send resources between islands in your cluster, but islands beyond your cluster require you to research Expansion first.

    Q: Is there another way to Trade besides sending each other the goods we want?
    A: Yes, by researching Wealth, you will be able to build Trading Posts (not to be confused with the Trading Port). At your Trading Post, you can specify what resources you want to buy or sell and then the amount of gold you wish to buy or sell them for. You can also look up deals others have posted to see if you can find what you’re looking for.

    Q: What's Pushing?
    A: Pushing is when a lower ranked player sends resources to a higher ranked player, but receives nothing of fair value in return within 48 hours. Pushing is a bannable offense, and is most likely designed to cut down on multiaccounting, also a bannable offense.

    Q: What’s the difference between a Town and a Colony?
    A: None, really. Usually when speaking of colonies, though, you are not including your Capital. So one person could be said to have 4 Towns, or a Capital and 3 Colonies.

    Q: How do I Build a Colony?
    A: Research Expansion and build a Palace. Then select the island you wish to colonize and click on a yellow flag. To build a colony, you need five(5) Trade Ships available, 1250 Wood (Building Materials), 12,000 Gold. See the Colonisation Guide for more info.

    Q: I built a Colony, but I can't Gather Resources from it!
    A: At the top left of the window is a drop down menu with your currently selected city. Make sure you have the correct city selected.

    Q: What does Corruption do?
    A: Corruption decreases the satisfaction, research points, and gather rate of that town. Corruption appears when you build new colonies, and is the result of not having a properly upgraded Governor’s Residence.

    Q: How do I Get Rid of Corruption?
    A: You must build a Governors Residence and upgrade it so that it's level is the same as the number of towns you possess minus one. So if you have 4 towns, each should have a level 3 Governor’s Residence, except your Capital, which has a Palace instead.

    Q: My Corruption Level shows Two Numbers, and one is in parentheses.
    A: Corruption is a new feature, and was introduced at a much reduced effect. Over the upcoming updates, corruption will slowly gain it's full strength. The number in the parentheses is the full strength of corruption. The number in front of that is how much is actually affecting you. So build that Governor's Residence while corruption is still weak.
    Note: As of v.0.2.5, corruption is at half strength. With the next update (v.0.2.6) corruption will be raised to it’s full strength.

    Q: How do I Keep my People Happy, and what does it do?
    A: The happier your people are, the faster your town will grow. Researching Well Digging gives an early boost to your capital's satisfaction. After that, you need to research Wine Press and build taverns or Cultural Exchange and build museums. The tavern requires you to continually serve wine in order to get the full bonus. Even serving no wine, however, the tavern still makes a few citizens happy. For the museum, you must make cultural exchange treaties with other players. Then you can distribute your cultural goods among your museums. See Satisfaction and population Explanation

    Q: What are Action Points?
    A: Action points allow you to send out trade fleet and armies. Every action costs 1 action point. The action point will be returned when the action is finished. Each town starts with 2 action points, and every fifth level of the town hall grants an extra one. So a level 5 town has 3 points, a level 10 has 4, a level 15 has 5, etc.


    Q: What Kind of Units are there?
    A: At first, all you can train are Slingers. Through research you can unlock other units, each with there own strengths and weaknesses. Some units gain a bonus when attacking, while others gain a bonus while defending. Some units knock down the walls of an enemy town, while others heal your units. Some units are so cheap that they aren’t worth the money it takes to train a thousand of them, while others are so expensive that even one isn’t worth the cost.

    Q: Which Units are Better?
    A: There really is not definitive right answer for this. One thing everyone agrees on is that Slingers are worthless. However, Swordsmen and Phalanx are considered to be the best offensive and defensive units respectively. The Diving Boat is worth it’s weight in gold, cost-wise, and in fact seems to use gold to sink itself below the waves. That’s probably why it goes so slow. The Diving Boat is considered by some to be too expensive to be considered a viable war ship. For more information on unit and fleet stats, see Combat Units and Comparative Ratings (by Kayi)

    Q: Is there a way I can Upgrade my Troops?
    A: Yes, troop and fleet Upgrades may be researched at a Workshop, and cost Glass and Gold. These upgrades will work for all units of that type, so you only need one Workshop. It’s advisable to put it on a Crystal island.

    Q: Why is my town Paying Upkeep when there are No Troops there?
    A: Upkeep is distributed evenly among all your cities according to size. In the end it makes no difference, as gold, unlike other resources, is universal for all colonies, and therefore income and costs are all just added together regardless of which town they come from.

    Q: Help! I'm Under Attack!
    A: Calm down. There are three things you can do to avoid being pillaged. First, if you have warships in your harbor, then the attacker can't land an army without blockading your port first. If he does not send a fleet to your town, then you can build a fleet to turn his army back. The second thing you can do is train quick-training defensive units like the phalanx to try to strengthen your army before the attack. The third thing is to contact the person attacking you and ask why they are attacking you. "A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger." (Proverbs 15:1)

    Q: What can I do to Keep from Getting Pillaged?
    A: Your Town Wall provides a substantial defensive bonus at higher levels. It's worth the effort to expand it if you think you might get attacked. Make sure you keep it at or above the level of your Town Hall in order to get the full bonus. Keeping a sizable standing army is expensive, but will also help. The same goes for keeping a fleet around. In the event that you are pillaged, having a high level Warehouse will protect your goods, and having a low level Trading Port will limit the goods the raiders will be able to carry off with them.

    Q: It says the wall gives a 10% Defense Bonus for each level, but it is Only Giving me X%!
    A: You must keep your Wall up to the same level as your Town Hall, otherwise you start losing the defensive bonus of the wall.

    Q: My wall has Holes in it!
    A: You are watching... Lost in Translation: Possible Breaches! No, your wall does not have holes in it. The "possible breaches" is the number of walls your opponent has to knock down in order to balance out the defensive bonus of the wall. For every breach they make, they gain a 10% attack bonus, so when they have breached all your walls they will have an attack bonus equal to your defensive bonus from your wall, unless your wall is a lower level than your town hall. Your wall is automatically repaired after each fight.

    Q: I want to Attack someone. How do I do that?
    A: Well, first off, you need an Army. Swordsmen are the standard attack unit, as they are cheap and powerful for the price. Next, you need to have Cargo Ships to carry the plunder. Then you just click the town you wish to attack and click on the icon on the left with the crossed swords that says "Pillage" beneath it.

    Q: My troops got Turned Back. What gives?
    A: The person you attacked may have a fleet in his town. If you want to pillage that town, you need to clear his ships. This can be done by Blockading his port.

    Q: What does a Blockade do?
    A: Besides clearing the way for invading troops, blockades also intercept any Trade Ships leaving or entering the port. These Trade Ships will be redirected to your port, stealing the resources that were being sent to or from that player.

    Q: What's Bashing?
    A: Bashing is attacking the same city more than 6 times in a 24 hour period. Only successful attacks and sea battles count. Bashing is a bannable offense.

    Q: How do I Start an Alliance?
    A: You need to research Foreign Cultures and build an Embassy, first. Then click on your Embassy and enter the Alliance Name and Tag in the appropriate fields. You need 3 diplomacy points to create an alliance. For further info, see Alliance Guides

    Q: How do I Join an Alliance?
    A: Again, you need to research Foreign Cultures and build an Embassy. Then click on your Embassy and search for the Alliance Tag you wish to join. Or you can look for alliances that are around your level. You need 1 diplomacy point to join an alliance. Once you find an alliance you like, click the icon of the shaking hands and enter your message to that alliance. See Ally joining tutorial

    Q: How do I get Other People to Join My Alliance?
    A: First, you need to click on your Embassy and transfer some of your diplomacy points to the alliance. You need 1 alliance diplomacy point for every person you wish to join. Then, the other person must find your alliance with his Embassy and submit a petition to join. Once you accept, they are a part of your alliance.

    Q: What do Spies do?
    A: Spies are trained at the Hideout and used to both get enemy information and protect your own towns from enemy spies. Be aware that there are risks in using spies offensively. See Merlin's Spy FAQ: FAQ: Hideout and Spies

    Q: I Caught a Spy. What does this mean?
    A: It means someone was spying on you, and may be getting ready to attack you, or maybe they’re just curious. Sometimes you’ll get no information out of the captured spy, sometimes they’ll spill the beans and tell you everything about their employer, include the island of origin, town of origin, troops in town, resources in town, and more. Most often you’ll only get partial information, such as the island the spy came from.


    Q: Why can't I log in? Why is my server not displayed?
    A: There are two separate sites for Ikariam: the .com and the .org sites. The .com is the US site while the .org is the UK site. There are also many international sites. Make sure you are on the correct site.

    Q: What's with all the German text?
    A: They're still working out translation kinks, though they have translated a lot more stuff than they had before. To get a translation, go here: Translation Thread

    Q: What does Vacation Mode do?
    A: While in vacation mode, you do not gather any resources, perform research, and cannot be attacked. In essence, your account is "frozen." You can only enter vacation mode if you are not building any buildings, have any trade ships or armies out, or have an army attacking you. When you enter vacation mode, you cannot log in for 48 hours. When you do log in (after the 48 hour wait), you automatically leave vacation mode.