🧪 The Beta Beat (v23) [NOW RELEASED] – Sharing the Big Picture on What's Going on in Beta: Stronghold 22/23 & Alchemy Lab, New Challenge Event Heroes, New Knights of Avalon & Pirates of Corellia Challenge Events, Costumes, November/December HOTM

We aren’t wrong.

20 Characters.


As somebody who maximizes resources, I’m astounded you would take a farm out of service for that. (Personally I’d be more likely to take a mine out of service than a farm, as I see iron surpluses returning in the long run and ham shortages forever!)

But I think that the 4 advanced buildings can share time with each other and the 4 forges easily enough.

I currently have two forges usable. Most of the time both are idle, even with only two. If I had only one I might have to plan a bit more ahead, but it would still be idle most of the time.

My hunter’s lodge gets used like my forges … except that it must sit there unusable for days during upgrades and research…when it is done, it will be idle a lot!

My barracks is idle even more; I only use it when I save up some ham to eat feeder troops, at most 2-3 times per week. It could be hidden, only showing up briefly when a builder frees up between building upgrades as needed.

The alchemy lab as first tested appears to be able to run continuously, at while least working through a surplus … if it is worth doing so … the first iteration didn’t appear to be. So that building might need to be visible most of the time.

Worst case, I’d want both a hero academy and an alchemy lab churning away 24/7 like my training camps. Leaving two forges to share between forge, barracks, and hunter’s lodge. Seems very doable to me!


Don’t be so pessimistic about getting an event hero. I’m thinking SG is probably going to “feature” one or two each event so the odds will be slightly better for that specific hero. @Petri … is featured heroes for the event summons a possibility?

I commend you for your optimism, but I don’t think they’ve ever done this (by which I’m assuming that you mean something along the lines of “featuring” say G. Panther and G. Falcon during the next Guardians Event so they would have slightly higher probabilities than the other guardian heroes) with events before outside of Atlantis. I’m curious as to what would lead you to believe that they would change that now? Has somebody in a position to know actually said something along these lines?


Nobody “in position” has said anything to that effect that’s why I tagged Petri. But SG is a buisness and no matter how you slice it they will do what is effective. If the odds stay the same most people that have been playing awhile won’t pull to chase heroes because you have a good chance of pulling a duplicate.if you feature a hero from the event then people are more apt too. Buisness wise it makes sense because they can get a return over a bunch of event cycles. Doesn’t hurt them and helps the player base. I do find SG will listen to suggestions and as much is said on the forumns changes have been made.

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I am a strong advocate of “What is in your roster?”

IIRC you have many more uses for food, and iron, than I do.


Sounds like a well thought out plan for your base.


I never understood why the Devs decided on 4 mines, 9 farms, and 1 Watchtower, then only allowed Watchtower to produce while upgrading.

This heavily penalizes upgrading a mine ( 16.52% iron production loss ) versus upgrading a farm ( 8.544% food production loss ).

Unintended Consequences #1 or Food hoards

I do understand that hoarding food in camps at Stronghold 11 ( and much better at 12 ), caught them by surprise but it was an unintended consequence of long training times.

Food hoards greatly facilitate the hoarding of finished heroes in training camps.


But the Devs lack of symmetry with iron hoards has created an imbalance. If you could use iron to train troops with a chance of 2* / 3* / 4* troops or craft gems or craft emblems then iron hoards could exist and I could switch between prioritizing food and prioritizing iron.

With no way to hoard iron, iron production becomes a higher concern for me.

Heavy duty Healer play style

Until the infusion of recruits from AR, and Advanced house, I did not collect from farms, or mines, for months. I just did not spend that much food, or iron.

I do not know how the Devs expected Empires to be played, but it has become increasingly clear, my play style, especially multiple heavy duty healers, is not it.

When shards, or trade, is introduced, chasing 2x Grazul is a strong possibility.


The Devs system of rarity for 4* ingredients, 4* ascension items, 5* healers and 4* troops seems to have backfired in my case by removing all pressure on food, and iron prior to Stronghold 21.

5* Battle items

I had hoped 5* Battle items would effect multiple enemy targets, but Devs decided not to go that route. This design choice greatly reduces the usefulness of 5* Battle items and the need for food, and iron, to produce them.

Hunter’s Lodge

I am especially sad that Hunter’s Lodge does not unlock at Stronghold 10, and that Hunter’s Caltrops effect only 1 target at a very high cost per use. A minor version, similar to antidotes and mana potions, would have been awesome.

Perhaps add a Witch’s Hut that unlocks at Stronghold 10 and contains charms that add 30% immunity to enemy debuff or 30% chance to disrupt an enemy buff or -20% Attack to allies for +30% Defense to allies.

Unintended Consequences #2 or Stronghold 21

The hobbled roll out of Advanced Buildings, and its timing with my 4*+16 to 4*+18 heroes, is creating a temporary bottle neck for iron.

While positioning Hero Academy at Stronghold 25 also reduces pressure on food production.


Depending on how it is implemented, trade should put further pressure on food production.


Given the past, and current, roadmaps, I expect things to get interesting in Spring of 2020. Devs do like their first quarter roll outs.


Click for notes

4x Mines Level 20
3,617 / 21,882= 16.52% iron

9x Farms Level 20
5,300 / 62,031= 8.544% Food



I concur that hoarding or banking iron isn’t possible in any useful way.

But I fail to see a truly compelling reason to do so … from how I’ve played the game and seen it played, building out a stronghold fully maxed to 20 from starting the game with two builders can be done with iron earned from mines/watchtower, farming, chests, and raiding by an active player, seldom having to leave a builder idle … with some leftover to craft some battle items. (I did that build before emblems existed so that extra cost might make a small crimp in things)

And once there are no buildings left to upgrade, all surplus iron can be spent crafting battle items until the crafting ingredients run out … iron cannot be collected. But iron transformed into battle items can be hoarded without limit besides the crafting ingredients to do it.

Ham is easy to bank … if you have a surplus … and since only a tiny bit of stronghold growth costs food to build or research, once that is done, the expenditures don’t decline much.

Beta Update

Strongholds 22/23 and Alchemy Lab have returned to Beta with a new version.

I’ll update with more information shortly.


I can’t wait to read about it! Hope they listened to suggestions. Thanks @zephyr1 for all your hard work.


An Initial Overview of the New Version of Alchemy Lab

Alchemy Lab Levels and Costs

I held off on sharing the Alchemy Lab level costs during the initial release because they seemed very likely to change — and have, significantly.

Based on initial review, of the update I think there are still adjustments needed, but I feel it’s worth sharing them at this point, and will do so in the next day or two, when I’ve had time to update my notes from last time, and type everything up in detail.

In the meantime, I’ll provide an overview, and kick off discussion of the updates.

Overall Design Changes

The second version of the Alchemy Lab is largely similar to the first, with costs adjusted, and the introduction of Alkashards (more on that below).

I would say my initial impression is that this is a very significant update, but I wouldn’t describe it as a complete overhaul of the initial Alchemy Lab design.

General Changes to Transmutation Costs

In advance of providing full details, I’ll answer the main questions most people will have:

  • Gems have been removed from the costs for Levels 1 through 5, which cover Transmutations of Uncommon items from Common items, and Rare Crafting Ingredients and Battle Items from Uncommon ones

  • Gems are still required for all Transmutations that produce Rare Ascension Materials, Epic Crafting Ingredients, and Epic Battle Items — but the Gem costs have been reduced

  • Staff have indicated that the Transmutation times in Beta continue to be just for testing, and will be longer in the live game

Removal of Bonus Items

The first version of Alchemy Lab had a low percentage chance of producing a “Bonus Item” for some Transmutations, sort of akin to drawing the HOTM from a Summons.

This functionality caused some confusion in initial testing, and has been removed.

Introduction of Alkashards

A new Item has been added to Beta as part of the Alchemy Lab, called Alkashards.

I would compare Alkashards to two things many people will have encountered in their lives:

  1. Customer Loyalty Programs or Credit Card Reward Points, where you earn points that can later be redeemed for an item selected from a catalog

  2. Arcade Tickets, where you can trade in a large pile of tickets for an item of your choice…and everyone wants the item that costs more tickets than anyone is ever going to get without spending a very large amount of time and money at the arcade

The Alchemy Lab produces Alkashards whenever any Transmutation is completed. The number of Alkashards produced varies with each level of the Alchemy Lab and the items being Transmuted.

In this initial version of Beta (remember this is highly likely to change), once you have 10,000 Alkashards, you can Combine the 10,000 Alkashards into an item of your choice, selected from 6 random options.

I’ll include full details on the number of Alkashards produced by each Transmutation when I document all of the Alchemy Lab Levels, but suffice it to say, in this first version, it requires a LOT of items and/or Gems to get to 10,000 Alkashards.

In my opinion, the cost/conversion ratios are in need of significant adjustment to make them worthwhile — but the premise of how it works is excellent.

The options that you can select one of currently appear to include:

  • Your choice of 1 of 2 random 4* Ascension Material selections (e.g. Poison Tonic OR Mystic Rings)
  • Your choice of 1 of 2 random 50x Titan Battle Item selections (e.g. 50x Hurricane OR 50x Time Freeze)
  • You choice of 1 of 2 random 200x Emblem selections (e.g. 200x Fighter Emblems OR 200x Rogue Emblems)

You can choose 1 and only 1 of those items, e.g. 200x Fighter Emblems. You don’t get both of the items from that category, just one.

To say this again to prevent confusion:

While there are two options of each type, you only get 1 of those — so you’d pick a Poison Tonic OR Mystic Rings, for example, not both.

Once you select that 1 item from the choices and Combine the Alkashards to produce it, all 6 of the item selections are changed randomly again.

Please remember that this is Beta, and everything is extremely likely to change. It’s a near certainty that the released version of Alchemy Lab will NOT be precisely the same as this current Beta version.

Additional information to follow as I have time to further test and document the new Beta



More RNG. Disappointing. So it took half a year to gather 10k shards and now I can get a tonic or darts whereas I need tabard or rings. Sweet.


So, do you see those 6 random choices from the beginning? So, I’m on 0 Alkashards, and I see that one of my choices when I reach 10,000 Alkashards will be my most needed item (poison darts), so I know I need to get cranking on transmutations. Or I see that the 4-star mats are a D. blade and a tome, both of which I have plenty of, I might take my time and settle for 200 fighter emblems.


Less RNG than the previous version, but yes, disappointing.

But my reason for disappointment isn’t the RNG here — I actually think I’d always be ok with the selection of one of the Emblems or 4* Ascension Materials if the time/costs needed to get to 10,000 Alkashards weren’t insanely long.

In this initial Beta, I would argue that the costs to get to 10,000 Alkashards are excessively high, and that this feature is not currently attractive or useful. But I think the design of it has merit, and could work well if the costs and ratios are adjusted.

Yes, you can see the items from the beginning, so you know what you’re saving up for.

But practically speaking, barring a radical change, it wouldn’t make sense to pay much attention to those items until you were close to 10,000, as producing that many Alkashards will be very difficult or costly.


I’m guessing the amount of shards you get is ridiculously low, like around 1-5 per transmutation?


How many gems are we talking about here?

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The range is 2 to 1200 per Transmutation, but the problem at the high end is the Gem cost associated with those Transmutations.


Yeah I’d take any 4* item but still it’d better to get item you currently need.

To get to 10,000 Alkashards, for now I’ll just say, way too many.

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How many gems? 1200 shards for 50 gems would be fine with me, for example. 9 transmutations to get 10k shards and 2 4* mats? Not too bad… a Hell of a lot better than the last version we saw. Still, I hate F2P getting priced out.

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That particular Transmutation is 250 Gems, and also requires putting in a 4* Ascension Mat and 256k Food. It produces a different random 4* Ascension Mat as the output of the Transmutation.

Also worth noting: that’s of course Alchemy Lab Level 10, which requires a very long time to upgrade to.

That’ll be clearer when I post full details of the Levels.


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