They Are Billions is tough, a game that punishes your complacency if you think you have things covered for even a second. With its release on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, a whole new legion of players will take on legions of zombies on console and almost certainly find themselves hitting some early frustrations. Never fear, we have some They Are Billions beginner’s tips to help you survive the first 50 days.
Bear in mind, these tips are intended for They Are Billions rank amateurs — the basic strategies you see here may not apply for the more challenging difficulties and less kind maps. It’s just to set console newbies off on the right path (even if the pathfinding within the game itself isn’t too hot) and help them overcome the early struggles. Even with this simple guide under your belt, you shouldn’t take They Are Billions lightly.
1. An RTS on a controller?
The team at Blitworks have done a mostly good job of porting such a busy experience to console, but it isn’t perfect. The cursor feels a little too sensitive on the sticks, and there’s a weird button swap on unloading units that will probably just confuse you. To make things easier for you, remember that you can hold X/A to select multiple units. Likewise, pressing square/X in the command center will let you navigate the menu easier.
2. Pause for thought
Do not underestimate the power of the pause in They Are Billions; this may just be the best beginner’s tip you can give. Pausing liberally will make sure you don’t waste any hours, and also give you time to reflect on your next move if zombies are at your gates. Not a lot can happen then a everything can happen all at once in They Are Billions, so give yourself a breather whenever there is mayhem.
3. Lay your foundations early
They Are Billions gives you four units to play around with and a small pool of resources, so you’re going to want to get set up as soon as you load in to keep those resources pouring in. Place down some tents for gold income, then establish a sawmill for wood. With that wood, you can then establish some defenses. After you have some security, set up a food resource (Hunting Cottages are far less hassle/don’t take up as much space as fishing), then build a quarry to bring in stone and iron.
4. Go explore
The archers you get at the start of a map are perfect for some recon. Not only does sending them out into the darkness illuminate the playing field, but they may also come across some resources that are otherwise hard to get in the early game. Be warned: there are some strong enemies lurking in the dark, so try to keep an eye on them if you can or you could lose some of your most valuable assets. Would recommend sending out two at most early on.
5. Layers upon layers
Think you have yourself covered with a wooden perimeter around your Command Center? Think again; the infected have a nasty habit of breaking through the smallest of cracks that you may overlook, so building multiple layers of defense is recommended. This entails multiple walls that units can fall back to in case they are overwhelmed and continuously chip away at the hordes from with a generous helping of towers to boot.
6. Crank those Soulja Boys
This is a constant oversight of mine: not having as many soldiers/units as I probably should. You should try and add soldiers to your forces whenever you can, even if you think it’s excessive. Nothing is worse than having one area of your colony more understaffed than the other as this makes it especially vulnerable, so establish a Soldiers Center and build a horde of your own. Soldiers are better than archers at killing, but don’t also overlook the sniper.
7. Don’t build lodgings far from your Command Center
When it comes time to expand, you could be forgiven for trying to crank out as many tents and houses wherever you can to improve your gold. This is generally a bad idea: if the horde breaks through your outer perimeter and there are a bunch of lodgings within biting distance, you are basically just adding fuel to the fire and bolstering their ranks as they will turn the lodgers within seconds. Keep things central and manageable.
8. Choke on this
A wide open expanse is not your friend in They Are Billions, it providing the hordes too much room to move around in and making you have to cover far too much ground. To counter this, try to funnel the zombies into a narrow corridor so that your defenders can utilise concentrated fire to chip away at their numbers. War machines like the Ballista and Executor (though it’s unlikely you will get the latter early on) are at their best in confined spaces.
9. Utilise the enviroment
If you’re on a map with plenty of trees and rock formations, lean into them rather than avoiding them as they can be a huge help. This tip ties into the last one as these formations can funnel hordes as the zombies cannot go through trees or rocks, so you’re basically saving yourself the hassle of building defences and also saving yourself some necessary resources.
10. But also beware of it
A lesson I learned the very hard way, big formations can also make the horde react in ways that you may not expect, particularly with regards to their pathfinding. If the announcer says that a horde is coming from the west, you must ensure that all defenses in the vicinity are equalled well prepapred. This is because if a horde comes up against a massive rock formation or forest, they have a horrible tendency of splitting and effectively creating a pincer that can get you messed up from two or sometimes even three sides. It’s better to be safe than sorry: unload excess units from other towers and get everything covered.
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