Update on 6/2017
Goodgame Studios added several things to the Empire game that through it out of balance. In an attempt to fix this and save the game they reduced the values of gems people paid 495K rubies for and devalued armor sets that they paid over a thousand dollars per set. More and more people are leaving the game. It is my suggestion that if you do play this dying game you not spend a single dollar. GGS did not compensate these large buyers appropriately. No rubies were refunded. Their money was not refunded. GGS flat out ripped off these people. It is nothing short of a bait and switch (fraud.)
Goodgame Studios Empire game is by far the worst Empire building "strategy, war" game out there! The game lags and crashes continuously. Not only does it crash freezing up the flash player, the connection is dropped regularly. Updates are often rewrites of existing bad code and bring back old problems time and time again. Defending when these updates come without notice and hotfixes come with 1 minute notice most often causes you to lose your defending army. Sometimes GGE will replace them but getting GGE to do so can take weeks. Attack troops can be lost as well and the same thing applies. Expect week(s) to get an answer and it is unlikely you get your troops back even if you bought them.
This supposed "Free to Play" game make tens of millions off their customers yet cannot provide weekend support or hire support for each of their games. During the week, support works bankers hours. Support is for ALL games not just Empire. Support tickets and issues on average take 7 to 21 days to get a response and issues are resolved about 25% of the time. Support has even gone as far as calling a paying customer a liar.
Price increases as much as 200-400% for ruby items are the norm at GoodGame Empire. They are continuously taking features such as a bakery and making changes that wind up gouging their customers. It is beyond the point of ridiculous now.
GoodGame Empire recently added supercommanders that can be bought at a ridiculous price. They also added "gems" The gems for attacks are far superior to the gems for defense making it impossible to defend against supercommanders. You can attempt to buy, once again BUYING expensive defense tools but you still get slaughtered. Once slaughtered it takes a lot of time and coins to rebuild only for someone to come along and slaughter you again. Large, strong armies search for small alliances with minimal defensive abilities and bully them regularly. GGE has made this easy and does nothing to give these people a chance to enjoy the game. When you bring these issues to a larger alliance you often hear "Goodgame Empire has coded it so this is allowable. Don't talk to us, talk to the developers." While people have complained GoodGame Empire only cares about making as much money as possible therefor they pander to the big spenders at the expense of the average player. GGE does very little for defenders and everything for attackers. This has caused thousands to give up and leave the game.
Multiple accounts bullying other players is another huge problem. Most recently, after two months of prodding GGE to act, support finally closed 42 accounts that all belonged to one bully. This same person is already creating more accounts. There is no email verification for playing GGE and nothing to stop a 10 year old from using one email for a hundred accounts. GGE has also admitted they do not block the IP of bullies either.
To sum it up, with money grabbing updates, terrible support, horrible lag, a lazy bug crew and development crew, and a ridiculous slant towards attackers GGE has sucked the fun out of the game. I highly suggest you try Forge of Empires or Imperia instead of GoodGame Empires. You will have a much more enjoyable experience, you will not have to spend a ton of time and resources rebuilding. Weeks can be spent just putting out fires.(In FoE your defending armies are not killed off and left for you to replace and attackers do not have an unfair advantage.) You will have a staff that is hands on and takes care of issues immediately (even on weekends which GGE does not.) Do not waste your time and effort on GoodGame Empire. You will regret it later.