Leveling is done primarily through acquiring tech chests and R&D and using them to upgrade. It can be a grind, but power scales dramatically. Each level will help you compete more effectively in PVP and events.
Hit warhammers and dark forces, and conserve vitality by using Diana. Vitality recovers slowly, and can be acquired in vitality packs for gems or $, daily through the monthly card, and when you level up. Aim to use all your vitality before you level, given it will fully replenish.
Diana can be used against dark forces x25 (5 hits) for only 15 vitality. Earlier on, tech chests are typically the bottleneck, but at levels 70-80 the R&D needs increase substantially. Search for a high level dark force near you, attack it x25 with Diana, and run rallies against warhammers with other marches.
Pair Diana with Bob for faster march speed, and equip each of them with march speed skills.
Gold and Level 80: Keep your gold mines in line with your level, investing tech item choice choices in gold mines where necessary. This will maximize your gold from free and 100/150 gem quick collects each day, and also save gold chests for when you hit level 80. At level 80, R&D and tech become no longer useful, while gold (and odinium) become critical. Gold allows the unlock of a second dock (as well as hangar and garage), but it takes ~20K gold chests to make the 15ff to do so. Valhalla units cost 5ff and 100K odinium that can be mined but must mostly be purchased.
Each day, a number of events and buildings reset which give you gold, tech chests, components and other helpful items. A guide to a few of these is below:
Dimensional Mine (pictured): Attack mine nodes that offer tech chests and gold, up to 5 per day. These are level 1-5, and higher levels offer tougher competition but higher rewards.
If you attack a mine that is already held by another player and win, you will dislodge them and take a portion of their rewards. The 11 hour timer does not reset however, so pay attention to time left and avoid mines with a lower timer.
Warzone: This provides a PVP ladder in rotating scenarios, in server and SVS (cross-server). Make sure your PVP components are equipped, set your defense with your best march (typically navy until late-game, as most will not have an effective air force march to counter it). March sizes and components have an outsized impact here.
Sandtable: Enable your world boss / stationary target components here. The best hero combination is Nimitz (or a stronger navy hero like Bassel if owned) and Merida. Merida’s skill has a disproportionate effect in this scenario.
Island Battle: Choose your best march, and make sure to enable PVP components as these have a significant impact here. Progress as far as you can for rewards. The 5% bonuses don’t appear to be worth it, when the alternative is attacking dark forces. Use health barracks when you can to regain HP.
Hunting Guild: Complete quests for a variety of rewards, including treasure stores and wheels. These can also summon a treasure guard (TG) with valuable rewards. The rare TG is difficult to kill until you are higher level, but once you hit above 2.5T (equip world boss components), you can one hit these and win rewards from your own TG and from others. You also receive rewards for damaging but not killing a downed TG, maxing at 4 chests for 50%+ damage.
Warhammer/Refugee Participation: Be sure to enable auto-join, under Battle in the Alliance menu. This 8 hour timer will allow you to participate in other rallies for free rewards, up to daily limits.
Arms Races and World Boss: The daily arms races competitions are each themed, and offer decent rewards even for coming in the top 100. Focus on the theme of the day (e.g. gathering, warhammers, dark forces). The world boss appears three times a day, and you receive rewards for number of attacks (up to 5), individual ranking and alliance ranking. The next day, you will receive rewards for the highest ranking you achieved of the three appearances.
Expedition Base: Not a daily activity, but offers very significant rewards if you can progress. Choose your best march, ideally one that counters the enemy (navy vs. army, army vs. air force, and likely match navy to navy until late game). Optimize PVP components for the military branch you are using, if you are stuck. And make sure you click on the boat in the main screen (maxes out every 12 hours) for rewards. These rewards will be better if you set the best heroes on the main screen, matching or exceeding the requirement.
When you reach level 45, you have the ability to choose between Combat Elite and Mechanical Master classes. The guidance in choosing between the two is that if you are free-to-play, Mechanical Master is typically the better option, and bigger spenders should choose Combat Elite. Combat Elite primarily provides boosts to combat, while Combat Elite primarily provides boosts to combat. Each alliance should have a number of players in each profession.
Full set of options in the following link, with resource costs and upgrade time: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1TVgWWt5V3Lad4qKhyQySwgXPYtSxopkl4WM8J8HuBUE/edit?usp=sharing
From the Top War FAQ on Discord:
+ attack against other bases
– training, repair time reduction
+ world boss attack
+ Super Rally, larger rallies
+ crit rate and crit damage
-> > > Combat Elite 2nd path, tactical master adds many buffs to units such as high damage reduction. Grand marshal allows the use of more units and eventually command 3 heroes per march.
+ Troop max resource load increase
+Marching speed boost to gathering locations
+Gold loss reduction when base is attacked and defeated
+Build a super gold mine, food farm, oil mine (alliance can gather at the building + free RSS for the builder)
+Gold, food, oil collection speed
+World collection speed Level 65 unlocks special traps for battle boosts.
BOTH professions offer equal upgrades in unit damage received reduction, unit HP, and unit attack. As you progress through the tree, upgrade times can become very lengthy – days. Class perk speed-ups, available at a discount in treasure stores and other places, can help reduce gem costs to speed these up.
Combat Elite Strategy: It can be well worth it to rush through the combat elite tree, using speed-ups and a focus on gathering or buying resources to push through. Once complete, you have the choice of selecting the Tactical Master or Grand Marshall tree.
Tactical Master is for most everyone the right choice at this point. There are tremendous benefits to damage increase and damage decrease early in the tree, which can change the outcome of PVP. Grand Marshal offers the amazing potential of three heroes in a march, but it takes thousands of nameplates and countless resources to get there. Thus, a strategy of leveling Tactical Master until nameplates and resources have been accumulated, and then switching to the Grand Marshal Tree somewhere around the Encirclement tech of Tactical.
Resources: The oil and food resources on the map can be gathered, and are necessary for progression in the professions above. Level 5 resources, towards the middle of the map, allow for the longest gathering loads and times.
Marches: Use Black Widow and Kate Curry each for dedicated oil and food marches, and put appropriate skills on them. Ganso is a good pairing given his level 3 exclusive gives a 15% boost to gathering speed; could pair him with Kate Curry for example, and give them both oil and world map collection skills.
Perks: You will eventually have all 5 star purple heroes. Try unlocking the first couple perks on ones you won’t use, like Hammer, to see if you luck into a gathering speed (world map collection, food, or oil) perk. If so, max it out and use that hero in your gathering marches.
Base Hits (KE): Against a relatively even opponent – and at times when outmatched – tactics can decide the battle.
Defense: On defense, make sure your defense is set to your best march with the ideal set of units (which needs to be reset each time you level) and best army/navy/AF heroes set as backup. If a march is attacking you (red screen), your options are to quickly shield up, port so that the march misses, or take the hit. You can only port if all your marches are at home, so don’t leave gatherers out when going to war.
Attack: The ideal scenario is to catch the opponent with their main march out, which means you’ll be facing their B team or sometimes a mixed march. This can be done in different ways. You can catch them while attacking others, or as a counter on defense, porting aside and quickly sending an attack while their march is out. In both cases, you can use bait – a friend, or your own aggressiveness – to open the opponent up to attack.
Careful use of speed-ups is essential to ensure your attack will land before they can move, and to get your march back to strengthen your defense and allow you the option to move again. Expect a skilled opponent to use speed-ups as well.