For technical questions, please check out the FAQ.

The Basics:

Here is everything you need to know to jump in and play. Check the other sections if you want to know more before you start playing.

  • There might be an icon to the left of your health value on the HUD. If so, it means your class has a special power.
  • Activate special powers with [USE]. You can bind use in the console (hit the ~ button) by typing:
    \bind SOME_KEY +button2
    You can also use the "setup miscellaneous keys" menu to bind [USE ITEM].
  • To change classes, hit [ESCAPE] to bring up the in game menu and select the class you want to become. Classes displayed lower on the menu are more powerful. A simple hint for playing that class will display on screen after you spawn.
  • Greyed-out classes need to be unlocked. A worker can unlock the next class by building a building with [USE].
  • If you are a worker (Peasant, Skeleton, or Underling), pick up gold and bring it to one of your team's buildings.
  • To find an Art of War server, use the included gamespy tab to find servers. You can also search for a servers with game "artofwar", or check out our servers page.

A Deeper Look at Gameplay:

In Art of War, each teams creates buildings which gives the team access to new, more powerful classes for that team. You win the game by destroying enemy buildings. A game of Art of War is broken up into stages:
  • Starting
    • Each team chooses a faction (using Escape Menu)
    • Each team starts with the Storehouse building where the flag would be
    • Team members all spawn as workers (Peasant, Skeleton, or Underling)
    • Workers pick up money from around the level and deposit it at any team building
  • Building and Upgrading
    • Workers spend money building new buildings by pressing [USE] (A key bound to +button2)
    • Each building unlocks a new class for that team
    • Workers upgrade buildings by aiming at them and pressing [USE]
    • Upgrading a building makes its class more powerful and gives the building more defense
    • You can upgrading a building up to three times
  • Using New Classes
    • Players switch classes using the Menu
    • Different classes are better at attacking or defending (use the spawn tips for suggestions on how to use that class)
    • Use attacker classes to destroy enemy buildings

Factions in Art of War:

There are three different factions in Art of War: The Imperial Guard, The Hand of Dark, and the Blood Clan. Each faction has its own strengths, weaknesses, and gameplay style.

The Imperial Guard is mainly defensive. The Soldier and Barbarian classes are both strong at defending against different kinds of attackers. The Imperial Guard uses Wizards and sometimes Archmagi as covert attackers to take out enemy buildings.

The Hand of Dark encourages a coordinated offense and defense. Thieves and Monks are the only classes which can steal gold from the enemy base, crippling their resource collection. Thieves and monks also provide light base defense. In the late game, The Hand of Dark can deliver a powerful assault using Liches and Demons, supported by Thieves and Monks who deal with the enemy defenders.

The Blood Clan focuses on pure offense. Unlike the other two factions, the very first Blood Clan classes (the Sprite and the Ice Troll) can damage enemy buildings. The Blood Clan later gets the Minotaur, a strong attacker which can sacrifice safety for speed and damage. The final Blood Clan class, the Elemental, is best described as a One-Man Army, having a perfect defense or counterattack for every situation.

Feel free to take the poll which matches your favorite play style with a recommended faction.