Plundering is a part of the game that isn’t going anywhere. Inno Games built Forge of Empires with plundering as part of the design, and they’ve made no bones about it that it’s here to stay. For some, attacking and plundering is second nature. For others, being the victims of plunder and never the attacker happens more frequently than they’d like. It’s just kind of the way it goes. If you’re lucky, you sometimes live in the middle of that where you don’t attack your hood often, and it’s rare you get attacked. However, we all hit that stroke of luck in our game at one point or another where we have a relentless attacker and plunderer, and we’re left with few options.
Plundering is the act of attacking your neighbor, and then stealing their stuff. So when you’re looking through your neighborhood, you’ll have two options: Aid or Attack. In the image below (taken from PC) you’ll see that the “Aid” buttons are big and orange, and then to the right of each avatar are three more images (on mobile when you click a person it will have a button clearly marked attack). The little swords at the bottom are to attack. Clicking to attack will open up the battle screen, but unlike working on your continent map or GE you cannot see what they have set for a defending army nor what their defending army’s attacking and defending boost is. It’s a gamble.
If you attack them and are successful, you get the chance to plunder their stuff. If you lose, then you get nada (aside from some experience fighting if you did so manually, which is recommended when dealing with the hood). On success, you’ll enter their city and if stuff is available, you can take it (if you want). If nothing is available, you can come back later. There will be a lightning bolt where the swords once were. You can also come back later if nothing you want has popped up for the taking yet, but that’s also a gamble.
Remember though, once you attack it will show up in their event log, and they may choose to retaliate: whether you were successful or not, and regardless of whether you plundered upon success. Just because you attack and don’t plunder doesn’t mean they will do the same.
Green thumbs are where your defending army won, and red is where they lost. You can watch a replay of each one which will give you an idea as to why, and can be really important to avoiding further attacks (discussed below). It’s also a way to learn strategy from other players. So if you attack and win, your neighbor will get a red thumbs down in their log. If you attack and lose, they’ll get a green thumbs up. Either way, it prompts them to revenge.
If you’re plundered, you’ll get a sweet notification in the side bar (PC only) that shows a red-outlined lightning bolt, and you’ll just need to match it up with a lighting bolt over a building in your city to know what they took. On mobile there’s no side bar, and instead of a lightning bolt you’ll have a burglar face over your plundered building.
Dealing with Being Plundered [Often]
It’s fun to be on the giving end of plundering, and much less fun to be on the receiving end of it. When it happens here and there, it’s inconvenient but not terrible. However, when you end up in a hood full of plunder maniacs and you cannot get away from it, then it might become a nightmare. There are a some various things you can do to stop it, with varying degrees of success.
Sometimes all it takes to not get plundered, or to cease the plundering, is to aid the attacker. Aid is a really important part of the game, and as players get more and more special buildings that require aid to offer the best stuff, they’re looking to get as much aid as possible. Therefore, some players have an “aid before raid” policy whereby if you aid them, they will aid you back instead of taking your stuff. Or, just attack for points and skip the plunder.
Send a Friend Request
If someone is on your friends list then they are unable to attack you. Guild mates and friends cannot attack each other because that essentially defeats the purpose of being guild mates and friends. You’ll need to have less than 80 folks on your FL to do this, but you can attempt to send a friend request and see if they accept. If they do, then you’re in the clear (unless they remove you from their list).
Donate to their GB(s)
It’s kind of extortion, and kind of not (if they demand it, yes; if you do it without their asking, no). Some attackers will state in their profile message that donating to their GB(s) keeps them out of your city… which is akin to paying the mafia a protection fee. However, it is a legitimate thing in the game and so it is a way to possibly keep in someone’s good graces and their hand out of your cookie jar. Just depends on if you’re willing to do it. Personally I’d feel dirty allowing myself to be extorted, and I don’t like to just give away FPs, so this isn’t one I’d recommend. You have to do you though.
Once you have at least 8 seats unlocked in your tavern you can spend tavern silver on a 24hr City Shield. This is a 100% sure-fire way to prevent players from being able to attack you, and thus steal your stuff. There is a catch to this though! If you activate the city shield after someone has attacked you, they can still plunder (up to 24hrs from the time of the attack, when it resets again). So it will not stop someone from plundering who has already defeated your defenses in the last 24hrs. Once you have 13 chairs unlocked you can get a shield for 48hrs, and at a full 16 chairs unlocked you can get a shield for 72hrs. They’re not cheap though, so it’s not a long-term solution. Some plunderers even like to use one so they can attack, and then stop retaliation.
Set-Up or Change-Up your Defense Army
If you have not set up a Defense Army (the game defaults to two spearmen in this case), then you should try that first. There are some attackers who are only in it for points, and spearmen give the least amount out there, so if you don’t give them points then they take your stuff. In this instance it’s easy to avoid getting plundered simply by having a defense army they can get points off of, and they’re happy. If you have a defense army and someone keeps breaching it, then try switching up what you’re using. Sometimes that can trip up a would-be plunderer (at least once per change-up) and spare you the loss of your goodies. Especially if they attack with the same configuration, you can plan your defense accordingly. This is why it’s important to watch the replay and see what they’re bringing to the table.
Raise Your Defense Boost
Just like you can raise your attack boost, you can also raise your defense boost. There are a lot of special buildings now that offer this, and some are worth having and some aren’t. The most common ones though are ritual flames and watchfires. In addition to those are Deal Castle, St. Basil’s Cathedral, and Terracotta Army; all GBs that can help with your defense. Some choose to take up a lot of space in their city building these things, and others choose not to do so. This is really a personal choice. Of everything, it’s usually only worth building a special building that gives a defense boost if it has other bonuses you need, and as far as GBs go Terracotta Army is the only surefire one you might want. Otherwise they’re really not all that impressive and take up a lot of space you could use for something else. Again though, it’s personal choice. You have to decide what’s right for you. Just remember that an avid attacker is likely to find a way to breech your defenses sooner or later regardless of how good a defense boost you have is. Some say using the GBs to get a higher attack bonus for your defenders can really make a difference, but that’s debatable and extremely costly (in FPs) to do.
This is one that might seem counter-intuitive to some, but sometimes if you hit them back and win they’ll realize you can’t just be pushed around and will stop. It can be that the best defense is a good offense. Worst case scenario is you try to hit back and don’t succeed. All that will happen is they keep doing what they already planned on/were doing presently. As in, you’re no worse off for trying, except perhaps down a couple of troops. If you succeed and get them to stop their attack on you, then it’s worth it (plus you get the points for having won).
Snipe/Level their GB(s)
This is good for retaliation if you’re able to. Sniping is the act of getting on their GB and locking a spot for less than the reward you’re going to receive back. Easier to do if you have a power Arc, but still possible regardless if you’re lucky. If you notice they have a GB within a few FPs of leveling, you can also level it on them which denies them a double dip in most cases (Zeus, ToR, and Terracotta Army have no collections). Double-dipping, if you’re unaware, is the act of collecting a GB, immediately leveling it, and collecting it again. It’s nice to do on any GB with a collection, but the ones that make FPs are usually the ones players are most concerned with double-dipping (and Traz if they’re a fighter). Sniping/Leveling a plunderer’s GB(s) if you can’t get them to stop is a way to get back at them (and sometimes stop them) when nothing else seems to be working (or in conjunction with other stuff). Just don’t spend a lot of FPs to level a GB if you’re getting nothing back (or take too big a loss if you’re sniping). Less than 10 is ideal because it’s easy to get that in hourly earnings.
Time Your Collections
Life happens, so this isn’t always a foolproof plan, but if you time your collections for when you know you’ll be in-game, then there will be nothing for anyone to plunder. This means trying to be on to get your daily collection within minutes of it coming ready, and setting up any other productions to complete when you know you’ll be around as well. An attacker cannot plunder that which does not exist. Just as an FYI: Great Buildings cannot be plundered, and certain special buildings cannot either. You’d need to look up each individual building though to see which can and cannot to know for sure, but in general if it is a special building that requires aid to get part of its benefits (like an SoK or Tribal Square), then once it is aided it cannot be plundered.
Ask for Help
This is not generally recommended to do of complete strangers in your hood, but rather of fellow guild mates if you have had the fortune of landing in the same hood together. It’s not that you can’t ask a random person for help in your hood (or a bunch of random persons), it’s just that you have no idea if they’re even fighters or willing to help you out. Chances aren’t typically in your favor. With a guild mate however, you’re more apt to know if they are someone who can help you, and if they’d be willing. So even if you cannot win against the plunderer’s defending army, a mate might be able to and be relentless until the plunderer leaves you alone. Similarly with guild mates, sometimes mates who aren’t in your hood will have mates of the player who is relentlessly plundering you in their hood that they can attack. So it’s an assault on the guild that the plunderer belongs to as an effort to use peer pressure to get the plunderer to stop.
Ask them to Stop
Of all the methods, this is the one that’s probably not going to work, but it cannot hurt to try. Here’s the thing though, you are going to need to be polite and not a jerk. Plunderers tend to live for the hate mail they get, and an avid plunderer gets a lot of hate mail. On top of that, if you are really bad (swearing, slandering, threatening harm in real life, etc) they can report you to Inno Games and you could end up banned (possibly for life). If you think players aren’t that nasty, think again. So yes, you can reach out and ask that they attack for points only, but chances are they’re not going to listen. If you’re polite about it though it doesn’t hurt to try.
This is more of a long-term fix in general, but take the time to make your city stronger. Improve your own personal ranking (spending goods outside of trading, winning battles, raising your GBs up levels, etc) so you’re not in the bottom of your hood. A lot of times if you can be in the top 20, you’re less likely to be attacked because there’s this assumption that you’re somehow a tougher opponent. Top 10 is even better, and if you’re really good getting in the top 5 or even being #1 in your hood is amazing. However, it takes playing strategically and really focusing on how to get strong to do this. Having a helpful guild will assist you in making this happen, because they’ll have GB leveling programs, a treasury you can donate to, lots of GE you can complete, perhaps GvG, etc. with which you can get ranking from. While ageing-up also gives points, it should be noted that until you grow strong for that era you might slip down in hood placement instead of higher. Just be mindful of that.
If All Else Fails…
If all else fails, just wait. Eventually the neighborhoods will change, your scout will meet new folks, and you’ll [hopefully] be separated into a hood that doesn’t have a bunch of bloodthirsty players. Luck might not always be on your side, but at least it’s a pretty decent chance.
At the end of the day too, think about what it was they took and if it really impacted you that bad. Being plundered definitely hurts worse when your city isn’t as established or if it’s frequent, but when it’s the odd plunder in an established city it usually is easy to recover from. By this I mean that if you make 200 FPs a day when you collect and someone takes 5 FPs from your Terrace Farm, it’s not that big a deal. Especially if it happens once in three months for example. If it’s a younger city though that’s only making 20 FPs at collection, or you’re still establishing your goods to be able to support your tech research and such, that will hurt a lot more. Therefore perspective is going to matter a lot, too. Keep this in mind as you’re building your city and deciding on how to go about things, because some of the ways to avoid plundering might seem really necessary in the beginning, and then pointless down the road.
In the end this is still a very long game, and what works today might not work tomorrow. Try to keep yourself open to adapting to changes, and good luck.