This week's tip will be about the initial building of you base in the early game period. A lot of time can be cut away, things can be done faster, and in the long run, you will have units out on the field earlier, which can give you an advantage over someone who does not use this.
The first thing we have to remember is hotkeys. They are essential to speed and always will be in RTS gaming. Here's your four most important early game hotkeys.
B: The shortcut for the builder, try NEVER selecting your builder manually, for it's much faster overall to select it by hotkey.
T, R and C: These are the resource building hotkeys for all factions. Goblins and Dwarves use T; Elves, Men, and Mordor use R; Isengard uses C. These are essential because you don't have to click the icon to the right of the screen, so you don't have to move your mouse to select a building icon.
First Production Building Hotkey: Whatever it may be for the faction you're playing, this is useful to know. Again, you don't have to click the bar at the side all the time it's a simple press of the button, then place your building. Elven and Men Barracks are C, as are Goblin Caves and Orc Pits. A Dwarven Hall of Warriors is R. An Isengard Uruk Pit is C, and Warg Pit is R.
`/~ (The one located at the top left of the keyboard): This is the shortcut for the power point window, and if you select a power early game, this can do it a lot faster. Simply press it and then select the power and then press it again to close the window.
So, on to the base building, you want to do things in this order:
Send your first builder (the one selected by B automatically first) to the LEFT, he is already on the left, therefore will reach there faster.
Press B again.
Send the selected builder to the right, for the same reasons as above.
Without changing builder again, and having both on the move, select your first resource building, then place it when the builder arrives.
Pressing B again, to select you other builder, press the hotkey for your resource building again and place it when he arrives.
Once the first resource building is complete, move the builder to his next position and then order him to build whatever your next building may be.
Remember to ALWAYS keep an eye on your cash early game, as soon as you have enough for what you need, use it.
Finally, while they're building, hotkey your buildings using control groups (CTRL+number) so you can quickly select them.
Here is a short video showing how early game base building can be optimized.
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