1) Upgrading buildings:
A) If you can be patient enough, following this tip will pay off in some fairly cool ways after about a week of playing. Every time your character levels up, stop doing anything else until all of your buildings are"maxed" out. Max level is whatever level your character (not your generals) is at that time. Doing this at least until level 31 (which is when you lose the "ALL" hammer option unless you invest the $5 to keep it and get a few diamonds...well worth it IMO) will assist you in not running out of resources. Doing it this way, you will find once you unlock the barracks that you spend quite some time upgrading buildings as you will likely level up twice just while doing it. Be patient .
B) Clicking on the hammer that appears above a building after you start an upgrade will reduce the time it takes for the upgrade to complete. Early on you can power through many levels of upgrades by using it.
C) You will find that you spend some of your early prayers on lumber and/or gold to keep the upgrades going of you follow this technique, but after a while the need to do so will stop.
D) Keep upgrades running at all times if there are any you can do. You must be logged in for them to go, so I will oftentimes start the upgrade and leave the window open as I do other things (or even overnight). Having the"ALL" hammer is a very big bonus if you do that as it will keep you upgrading without the need to hover over the game.
E) Hold on to your Gold Hammers as long as possible. They will fully complete 4 upgrades immediately. Saving them until your upgrades take hours(even when reduced) instead of minutes will make you happy you did save them. (NOTE: There is a spot early on where you have a mission to use one...go ahead and do it for the 5 diamonds it will cost)
F) From time to time, you will open up a new place for a building. Don't worry about trying to max it immediately. If using the"ALL" hammer, it will get priority every time a builder becomes available (priority goes to the lowest leveled building). Once all the other buildings in that section are maxed then move on to the next. Eventually it will catch up.
2) Prayers, the Market, and the Black Market: These are things you can use to obtain resources that you need other than your buildings.
A) Prayers looking to the skies for the hope of resources
1: If you follow the slow progression that I am suggesting, you shouldn't find yourself in desperate need of using your prayers at almost any time. As I already stated, you will spend some early on timber and gold to keep upgrades going, but the need for that will pass after your first extended time of not playing.
2: You will receive free prayers sometimes when you level up. You will also get a free slot spin for some diamonds and prayers as a log in bonus after your first week of playing. Since you can only hold a max of 25, I suggest never holding more than 20 at a time. This will limit the potential for wasted freebies (5 is typically the most you can get, but you can get as many as 25 on the log in spin).
3: Prayers can also be purchased with diamonds. You will receive some diamonds free (such as with the daily log in) or you may purchase them. The cost starts out as 2 Diamonds per prayer,but the amount increases as you use them. It maxes at 6 per prayer for Gold and Timber, 15 for Food and I honestly do not know for Iron as I don't pray for Iron but imagine it would be 15 as well.
4: Prayers will award you based upon your current production of that resource (another reason to not use too many early on). They will award you either even, 2X, 4X or 10X your base resource generation for the chosen resource.
5: Above all, do not just use them because you have them.
B) Market: A store where they may or may not have what you need right then
1:Opportunities to make purchase at the Market accumulate throughout the day. Initially, you will get 1 every hour, but that will eventually increase to 2 per hour. You may also get extra opportunities when you level up.
2: You can purchase Timber, Food, Recruiting Horns (used to cut 5 minutes off of troop recruitment time for a specific General) and, later on, Iron from the Market.
3: I typically will prioritize like this: Food, Recruiting Horns (1 horn will cut 5 minutes off your recruitment time for that General), and then Timber when all offers are equal.
4: Personal needs will impact your priority. Food becomes a high priority later on and you may find yourself taking a deal for 800 Food when there is also one for 1200 Timber because you need Food. I will almost always take an offer of 3 Recruiting Horns as they are a very scarce commodity at times regardless of other needs.
5: When it comes to Iron, I would only suggest purchasing the 1000 Iron for 5000 Gold. The exchange rate gets much worse for the 1200 and 1600 Iron offers.
C) The Black Market should be a last resort only. All purchases here have horrible exchange rates. I do not suggest ever using it, but understand if you are too im patient to wait.
3) Scenarios: This is like a small story line for you to follow.
A) Early on they will teach you some very basic fighting technique.
B) Doing them will open up different Technology for you to research. More will be discussed on Technology in a later section.
C) If you are following my suggestion of upgrading buildings as you go, then you will clear the first page of scenarios by level 23.
D) At first, the scenarios will give you zero problems. Eventually though, you will have to have your Generals and equipment upgraded to proceed further. Just keep upgrading and trying. Eventually you will pass it. NOTE: If you fail on a specific scenario, you will have to redo it to continue. These do reset to full strength.
E) Every now and then, there will be a quest or sub-quest for "Challenge Looting". This can be found on the scenario map. Look for a face with a timer countdown. Doing these will give you bonus EXP or resources. If you fail to pass these in one go, it will not reset. Simply recruit more troops and go again. After defeating it, the face icon will go to the right side of the screen. You can repeat the quest by spending diamonds. These are not Generals you can collect.
F) You will eventually unlock Campaigns which are entered on the Scenario screen. These are advanced missions (some are easy, but it is an advanced task to complete) so I won't discuss them here.