1. Unlike other games of this nature, lack of food will not result in loss of troops. Which leads to the main point, explore the interface, learn how things fit together, and look at some of the videos that explain the various relationships and possibilities of playing...
2. The ability to gain necessary components to create gear intermediate to the best gear comes, almost entirely, from the ability to attack Invaders. Early on, gain the ability to effectively attack Invaders by upgrading Knowledge for Invader Attack. This also means gaining the knowledge of how, and when, to upgrade Energy Resources. This leads to learning which paks to be purchased from Bank that compliment attacking Invaders...mainly Hero Energy....
3. Hero and Shaman are not created equal...you gain greater early benefit via Hero than Shaman...Concentrate on Hero upgrades, especially in Sustained Attack and Hit Power...Energy regeneration is not important because if you cannot purchase paks for Hero Energy, you will never be able to keep up...In that case, join Clan that will allow you to hit Invaders after a Clan member (or someone else) has reduced the Invader Energy to a low enough level you can hit it one or two times to kill it.
4. Do not waste time Forging Gear or inserting Gems that are less than Legendary. Do not deconstruct Gear you no longer need...advanced Gear will ALWAYS demand the use of other Gear...that means you will need Inventory spots to keep all the Gear until you need it or no longer need it...that means you have researched the gear you will need and know what it takes to acquire it.
5. Do not create all the Troop Types...Early on, learn which type you want to use and which troops each is effective or weak against. Concentrate on compatible troop types that allow for your Attack and your Scouting...Do not fall for the typical ploy of using siege engines to farm resource spots...use your Level 1 attack troops to yield...that way ALL of your troops can be fully developed and ALL can be battle ready!
6. Try to maintain an upgrade balance between Knowledge, Building, and Troops where your highest level of Influence is Knowledge. At the beginning, get rid of any advanced troops you cannot upgrade...they increase your influence but you cannot upgrade them...they become victims for bigger players and a waste gathering resources...try to keep your Military/Troop Influence at about 10-15% of your total Influence...that way, a devasting troop lost is not as devastating.
7. Pay attention to your Ranking...if you advance to fast, you miss the benefits of any particular Rank and are forced to gain benefits from Events against bigger and stronger players...being a whale among minnows is the advantage you seek..learn how the Ranking system and Events can work to your benefit.
In the end, everything will depend on a good, solid plan of advancing...nothing beats planning but research...do your research, ask questions of advanced players and learn how to play at the beginning, rather than after spending time and money on needless, unnecessary things.
Almost forgot! Forum, Forum, FORUM....The information here is much better...the details of what does what, where to get what, and general knowledge about differing aspects of game are ALL here...With the videos that players have made available on places like youtube...you can become a badazz really quick.