They Are Billions

They Are Billions

View Stats:
My guide for beating 500%
I recently beat 500% and wanted to share what I learned for others who might attempt the same goal. It took me 350 hours of play total to unlock all 4 maps and beat the game at this difficulty. There's already other great guides out there ofcourse but I wrote up my perspective.

Playing at 500% is a completely different game than lower percentages. The techniques used are unique to this level and you’ll likely have to unlearn what you did in earlier games.

The first new concept is map selection, also known as “rolling” for a map. Because the Desolated Wasteland has so few resources, some of the maps the game will randomly generate are probably impossible to beat. I would re-roll over a dozen times per gaming session, sometimes spending 30 minutes to find a good map. My criteria was, in this order:

  • Initial food >=9 and sawmill >=10
  • Food (for farms): both amount and proximity to the command center
  • Terrain: chokes, protection, and entrances
  • Building space
  • Resources: stone, wood, iron

After the sawmill check, I found the single biggest determinate of a successful game was a large green patch for at least 4-5 farms each gathering 30+ food. If you don’t have this near your command center, your initial economy is capped and then you must use units to expand for more food. Expanding is extremely difficult early on due to the increased noise sensitive of the zombies, because even strong groups of units can quickly become overrun.

The ideal is terrain is one that has as few entrances as possible, but still with enough space to build lots of housing. I define an entrance as a place that you could have a single archer guard, and block zombies from reaching your buildings. A choke is a narrow entrance. Protection means large chunks of terrain that act as free walls, in a sense.

At any given point in the game, there’s basically 4 types of activity you might need to do:
  • Economy
  • Expansion
  • Technology
  • Train
You can remember the acronym “EETT”.

Economy: the most important resource is gold production per period. Gold is the lifeblood of the game. If you don’t hit certain gold production levels by certain times, you won’t be able to beat later waves or the final wave because your defense won’t be strong enough.

Expansion: using your troops to clear zombies and expanding the colony.

Technology: since researching takes time and 500% only gives you 80 days, it’s important to research things “on schedule”. For example, if you don’t research bank or foundary in between day 30 and 40, your colony will fall to some of the larger later waves because you’ll need thanatos for defense.

Train: unlike lower difficulties levels that give you 100+ days to defend and plenty of time to build up and train troops for your armies, 500% requires building armies very quickly. This means multiple Soldiers Centers. I used 2 with 1 Engineering Center (the advanced Soldiers Center) although some players use 3 and 2 respectively.

If you wanted to be thorough about these steps, you could pause the game roughly every 8 hours (also known as “every tick”) and go through this list of these 4 types of activities to see if anything needs to be done.

This is long for a forum post, so the rest of the guide, which includes a timeline of key milestones and troubleshooting common problems is here: http://www.baligu.com/billions-guide.html
< >
Showing 1-12 of 12 comments
Nice guide, some questions:

1) Do you build any wonders?
2) How many rangers/soldiers do you get before spamming snipers?
3) Do you feel the need to clear the whole map?
4) Is rushing stone workshop mainly for stone walls and banks/houses? Is there any reason to rush foundry if you dont have the resources to get engineering center up immediately? I tend to dawdle on wood tech for a long time since I find snipers and ballistas to be more than adequate defense until the later waves. But if I lose track of time, I get overrunned by the later waves that require thanatos or executors.
5) Do you avoid clearing the map in the days leading up to a wave so your army isnt preoccupied when it hits?
6) Whats your opinion on power plants? I usually try to avoid them unless I'm really screwed for space since they are so much less efficient than mills.
Last edited by fatlazyhomer; May 22 @ 2:24pm
Great job summarize it up. I appreciate your work.

I agree that on the first 2 waves there are no other effective way to fight the wave other than ballista and ranger kiting.

Wave 3,4,5 though, shocking tower + spike + ballista + some sniper can be effective investment to defend against those wave while allowing most of your sniper to continue their map clearing and in turn create space for your colony expansion and also boosting your economy.

900G for Shocking tower research + 600G building cost + 20 wood spike (600G) + 300G mill
you can also scrap shocking tower after the attack ends to get back 300G and half the resources
because it only take 5 days for it's maintenance cost to catch up with just scrap & rebuild later.

you need 1000G + 3000G to research and build foundry,
then you need 1200G + 1200G to research and build oil platform,
then you need 2000G to research Thanatos.
Originally posted by fatlazyhomer:
As for your math on building Thanatos, aren't you forgetting the 3000g engineering center?
EDIT: 2000G + 2000G to research and build engineering center,

It's already 12400G before you could even build Thanatos (600G)

You could delay Foundry -> Thanatos research to focus on expansion rush to the Western edge and Eastern edge of the map so you can establish permanent defense line and save yourself from the cost of build->scrap->rebuild great ballista over and over.
Last edited by F0URIVIAN; May 22 @ 3:49pm
Another advance map clearing technique:

You'd want to use your ranger to clear walker and push until you see runners in vicinity then you put down your ballista and use ranger to aggro and kite the runner for your ballista to take them out. This technique can free up a lot of space that runners occupy during the early game where you don't have strong enough army of sniper to just straight up push at them.

Just remember to don't pull them too much or else your ballista would generate noise to aggro more runners than you can take by continuously firing non-stop.
Originally posted by F0URIVIAN:
900G for Shocking tower research + 600G building cost + 20 wood spike (600G) + 300G mill
you can also scrap shocking tower after the attack ends to get back 300G and half the resources
because it only take 5 days for it's maintenance cost to catch up with just scrap & rebuild later.

Thats astounding. Even more reason I generally avoid building them. You really need to be able to turn these things off.

As for your math on building Thanatos, aren't you forgetting the 3000g engineering center?
Last edited by fatlazyhomer; May 22 @ 3:21pm
homer, great questions. let me break apart answers into two replies to avoid more walls of text.

Originally posted by fatlazyhomer:
1) Do you build any wonders?
No, for two reasons: I knew it was possible to beat 500% without them and I found them too expensive for the economy you can achieve on this map. That said, I've seen videos of AznElite123 (who is really in a class of his own) doing this.

Originally posted by fatlazyhomer:
2) How many rangers/soldiers do you get before spamming snipers?
I use a small force of 10 rangers, and only rangers, avoiding soldiers (even after the update which improved their stats, just out of habit).
Originally posted by fatlazyhomer:
3) Do you feel the need to clear the whole map?
I try, with ~25 sniper balls, even though I know it's possible to beat final wave having only cleared 70-80%.
Last edited by Jonathan Berger; May 22 @ 7:43pm
Originally posted by fatlazyhomer:
4) Is rushing stone workshop mainly for stone walls and banks/houses? Is there any reason to rush foundry if you dont have the resources to get engineering center up immediately?
In other guides and posts, people use the word "rush" ambiguously. So to be more specific, stone workshop around day 30 is most important for the stone walls and then bank. I research foundry next, since the engineering center stills needs oil platform research (assuming you weren't lucky with fallen resources). Technology research is one of the things in the game that can't be sped up, i.e. a limiting factor.

Originally posted by fatlazyhomer:
I tend to dawdle on wood tech for a long time since I find snipers and ballistas to be more than adequate defense until the later waves. But if I lose track of time, I get overrunned by the later waves that require thanatos or executors.
Same happened to me for a while. In the link to the full guide, I talk about the solution to this being basically 2-3 thanatos + snipers at first, and >10 thanatos later.

Originally posted by fatlazyhomer:
5) Do you avoid clearing the map in the days leading up to a wave so your army isnt preoccupied when it hits?
In the mid game waves (Day 26, 35, 40, and 46) my sniper balls aren't usually too far from the command center yet. And yes, I keep a post it note nearby my screen of the wave schedule so I can get them back in time. For late game waves (Day 52, 58, 65) thanatos can handle it alone.

Originally posted by fatlazyhomer:
6) Whats your opinion on power plants?
I needed them, to support my 2 dense stone cities. This requires building more sawmills and lots of stone quarries. I find that anything >2 stone that's protected, I'm building a quarry next to.
Last edited by Jonathan Berger; May 22 @ 7:28pm
fourivian, great points and alternate strategies.

First, you're absolutely right that I should have mentioned "ballista pulls", where you place a ballista and then intentionally make noise with a ranger to bring in runner zombies to clear areas. A crucial unit movement technique.

Regarding wave defense and shocking towers, it's an interesting point and I didn't experiment much with that strategy. Did you find shocking towers had to be placed at chokes or do they work even for "long wall" defenses?

I agree they're much more cost effective than a thanatos defense, especially for a wave as early as wave 6 (day 46). But since you'll need more than shocking towers for later and final waves, seems like little harm in pushing for them early? I could see an argument that mid-game wave defense with shocking towers allows groups of sniper to stay out clearing more effectively.
You don't need thanatos at all. No matter what map and what difficulty.

https://steamcommunity.com/app/644930/discussions/0/1694920442963161373/
For me, if I don't already have or not any food potential to have around 600 gold per tick at early day 20-ish I know it's done, because if I'm not starting to build snipers there won't be enough time for the final wave. Food is the most important factor here, there were too many crap maps that give you no food. I had a game that I see no greenland even I put lookout towers in all directions... Terrain is fine, this map makes me like open areas more than chokes that prevent me from building anything :D. If there are too many entrances I'll just build a few more rangers early on. Pushing too far out and leaving "holes" between rangers is my most common mistake, I now start to put single wood post here and there just to make the sneaking zombie more visible on the minimap.

Since the last patch I think the map gen is a lot better now, haven't seen impossible maps since then.

I do build the food wonder, feels like I don't need to worry about expanding aggressively for farm midgame, and just take my time to clear the map.

Personally I don't like shocking tower becuase the range is too short, I just spam walls and ballista for waves. If possible I'd avoid moving back snipers.

Originally posted by Jonathan Berger:
Regarding wave defense and shocking towers, it's an interesting point and I didn't experiment much with that strategy. Did you find shocking towers had to be placed at chokes or do they work even for "long wall" defenses?

https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1392657889
This is how a "Fortress" look like, you can make something like this and let it stand out taking aggro from multiple directions and it will drain VoD and clear quite a large portion of map in no time.

Depend on how closer to the corner or the edge of the 4th map, this "Fortress" setting, even on open area, might even need just a tower of 4 soldier, 1 shocking tower, 26 wood wall, 0 wood stake trap. It's all depend on how strong they needed to be.

Originally posted by Jonathan Berger:
I agree they're much more cost effective than a thanatos defense, especially for a wave as early as wave 6 (day 46). But since you'll need more than shocking towers for later and final waves, seems like little harm in pushing for them early? I could see an argument that mid-game wave defense with shocking towers allows groups of sniper to stay out clearing more effectively.

I usually do this fortress setting to aggro and clear out East and West edge of the map fast then later scrap them down and send out the veteran soldier to secure perimeter and expand peacefully with no infects to bother your expansion.

I use this "shocking tower pull" and "ballista pull" and delay pumping out sniper so I could quickly expand my colony and economy. early economy expansion will soon outweight the cost of your early investment on them. You'll be making quite a bit of number of sniper when you wait out for the aggro to end anyways, those sniper can meanwhile farm exp from the North or South side of the map. In this way, you can secure East and West of the map long before you have your first thanatos (or need them).

you'll eventually need thanatos for the later wave (wave 6 onwards) but before that you can focus on your economy expansion and let shocking tower hold out for you.

Edit: Oh, one last thing, SPAM 'X' KEY (repair all) to victory.

P.S. I only need single layer of 2-tiles-thick wall to survive the last wave.
Last edited by F0URIVIAN; May 23 @ 3:22am
https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1392761306

Shocking tower map clearing in progress (screenshot taken after 3 days passed)
Double Ballista is overkill :P
Originally posted by Jimmy King:
For me, if I don't already have or not any food potential to have around 600 gold per tick at early day 20-ish I know it's done

Agreed about the food point. Food is so essential on this map. I personally haven't noticed any changes to the map generation algorithm.

Originally posted by F0URIVIAN:
I use this "shocking tower pull" and "ballista pull" and delay pumping out sniper so I could quickly expand my colony and economy.
Very cool, I like this idea. You should make a video tutorial/guide for this technique, it might catch on.

< >
Showing 1-12 of 12 comments
Per page: 15 30 50

Date Posted: May 22 @ 1:33pm
Posts: 12