The land is your enemy.
Keep remembering that. Because once you treat it as such, your odds of survival greatly increase.
As the person who programs the computer AI in an attempt to survive this world, let me share with you some hard won tips:
#1 DO NOT GO OUT ALONE
Recruit. Recruit. Recruit. Find champions who will join your side and go out into the world.
#2 THE CREATURES OWN THE WORLD
The creatures of the world are territorial. This matters because they are not randomly wandering around. They have a territory and they will defend it. You may not see that territory at first but over time, you will recognize it and respect it. When you create a settlement or simply trespass through their territory, they will react.
#3 DO NOT LET THEM MULTIPLY
Over time, the monsters who have explicit lairs will multiply and grow stronger. That exiled butcherman that’s in the wastes near your city? He’s going to be building up just like you are. Leave him alone and pretty soon you’ll have their entire medieval criminal syndicate knocking on your door.
#4 USE THE MAGIC
This should be obvious but from watching others play, I don’t think people realize how powerful magic is in Fallen Enchantress because it’s not all pew pew magic. My personal favorite is Haste early on.
# 5 FLANK FLANK FLANK
If you run into enemies with missile weapons (archers for instance) learn to flank. Units have a kind of..area of control that is subtle. You can’t simply bypass them but instead have to go around. Similarly, if you have the archers, space your units such that your melee units can act as screens for the enemy units because they will definitely want to take out those archers.
#6 THE MONSTERS WANT THEIR STUFF BACK
The hardest thing I’ve had to deal with in writing the computer AI is unlearning bad habits. Steamrolling is not your friend. While I (or the early AI) tried to do this to other players, the monsters I had ignored earlier had grown up and started destroying my cities. And they don’t occupy cities. They’re monsters.
#7 The Wild Lands are NOT a short cut
You will ignore this and then understand what I mean.
#8 DO NOT MINDLESSLY THROW ARMIES AT MONSTERS
Biggest mistake I’ve seen in new players – trying to “wear down” monsters by sending army after army at them. Kill them or don’t try. Because, like you, they level up.
#9 REMEMBER: FROM THEIR PERSPECTIVE, THEY ARE THE CUSTOMER, IT’S THEIR GAME AND YOU ARE A GRIEFING THEM
The monsters in Elemental: FE have been written as if they are the main characters. That is, they have all the capabilities you do. They go up in level, gain new abilities, can get loot, etc. If you’ve ever read the original “I am Legend” you will understand
#10 RUSH EXPAND AT YOUR OWN RISK
The #1 AI challenge in FE has been how to write the computer players in such a way that they expand but don’t end up losing tons of pioneers. It is an ongoing effort. Do I send 3 of them with a couple of bodyguards so they can expand in single swoop or do I send them out to try to sneak past the monsters? And if I do send them out, am I ready to quickly defend that city?
#11 MONSTERS ARE SHY OF YOUR TERRITORY
Seeing civilization scares them. They will tend to stay out of your area of control. Use that. They won’t attack caravans that are in your territory.
#12 USE OUTPOSTS
FE has a new game mechanic called Outposts. They’re not cities. But they allow you to expand your zone of control far and wide. The resources will then flow to the nearest city letting you create a handful of super cities. It is better to have a few mega cities than a bunch of crappy ones (each time you found a city, your faction prestige is spread further out which slows growth in all cities). It also lets you claim land.
#13 PICK YOUR BATTLES
You and your AI opponents are able to trespass through each other’s territory. However, you can kick them out and they will remember it. This is both good and bad since they are likely to find another way but they may just declare war on you. The AI is the same way about you and may let you cross their territory or tell you go get out. (and this behavior will grow increasingly sophisticated as times goes on).
I hope this helps you survive! Also, if you have a bad experience with monsters, you can lower the world difficulty which will make them a lot tamer. Or if you’re insane, you can put it further up.