Much of the game is automated, and much of the automation depends on your settings. Your settings are part of your individual tradecraft. There are many opinions about settings, and each player develops his own tradecraft.
At the top of your country home page, on your right, you will see the hyperlink for "settings." Click on that, then click on "configure automatic systems." The following are the items of the automatic systems, and some comments.
1. Defend your country with the available weapons if it is attacked. If this is turned on, defensive weapons will be relocated automatically when your country is attacked, according to defensive needs. (Automated defense in itself is not the best defense, and much more needs to be done to provide a strong defense.) Click this box.
2. Reactivate weapons when war is declared and you did not login. Some of your defensive weapons may be deactivated. (You can deactivate weapons manually. Also, if your country lacks sufficient manpower for your defense forces, the automation will deactivate some of your defenses.) If someone declares war on your country and you have some defenses deactivated, while you are not logged in, 10% of your defenses will be reactivated each game month during the war. Click this box.
3. Update salaries for government workers and the army, depending on the economic situation. The job market has a public sector and a private sector. The public sector has the government workers, including the army. The private sector has the workers of the corps. You can choose for salaries of the two sectors to be comparable or different. But if salaries in the private sector are substantially higher than those of the public sector, some public sector workers will quit their jobs to go work in the private sector, and that can hurt your public infrastructure. Until you understand this issue better, click this box.
4. Automatic placing orders for products that your country needs. Your country consumes many products. You can buy them manually or let the automation buy them. Buying them manually would be time-consuming but could allow you to get bargains. At least initially, it should be easier to let the automation do the buying. Until you understand this issue better, click this box.
5. Automatic setting of the budget. At present, the budget of the country has little consequence. Click this box.
6. Automatic building of new corporations. You can let the automation choose what corps to open, or you can make the choices manually. The automation often chooses to open corps that have low profit margins. Your country is more likely to prosper if you manually open corps that can get high profits. Unclick this box.
7. Buy and sell shares for your investment fund automatically. Country investment funds can buy and sell shares of corps. The dividends from shares benefit citizens who are investors. Those citizens pay income taxes. The higher their dividends, then the higher their income tax payments. Therefore, your country will profit from effective management of investment funds. In general, investment funds try to buy shares having a price earnings ratio (P/E) lower than 10, and try to sell shares having a P/E much higher than 10. Until you understand this issue better, click this box.
8. Send message to confirm share transactions entered manually. You are not likely to benefit by getting many messages about share transactions. Unclick this box.
9. Requested quality when ordering products your country needs. The higher the quality of a product, the higher its price. Unless your country plans to resell products it buys, paying for higher quality is not helpful. The cheapest quality is 100. Until you understand this issue better, click "set quality," then enter 100.
10. Production. Your new corps can produce at between 10% and 100%+ of their capacity. The higher their production, the more potential profits they have. Corps with an automatic production setting will change their production depending on the supply and demand for the product being produced. Maximum production usually is an effective goal. Click on "set production level to:," then enter 100.
11. Hiring. Your new corps can hire at between 10% and 100%+ of their capacity. The higher their hiring, the more potential profits they have. Corps with an automatic hiring setting will change their hiring depending on the supply and demand for the product being produced. Maximum hiring usually is an effective goal. Click on "set hiring level to:," then enter 100.
12. Upgrades. Ugrading a corp costs money but provide benefits. Effectivity upgrades allow a corp to produce the same quantity of products with fewer employees. Quality upgrades allow a corp to produce higher quality products. Until you understand this issue better, click both boxes.
13. Quality of supplies. The higher the quality of a product, the higher its price. Similarly, the higher the quality of the supplies for a corp, then the higher the quality of its product. It's debatable what is the best setting for quality of supplies, and this setting should be reconsidered as the corp upgrades. Until you understand this issue better, click on "set quality" and enter 180.
14. Salaries. The automation can change the salaries of the new corps depending on how profitable or unprofitable the corps are. Accordingly, the automation would increase the salaries if a corp is profitable and decrease the salaries if a corp is unprofitable. It's highly debatable what is the best setting for salaries. Until you understand this issue better, click on "target salaries," and enter 200.
15. Selling production.
a. Automatically put production on the market. You can manually try to sell the production of each corp, or let the automation try to do the sale. Sometimes you may want the corp to store its products so that later you can buy the production yourself or sell it to an ally. But it's less time-consuming for you if you let the automation handle sales. Until you understand this issue better, click this box.
b. Automatically retain production for contracts. Each of your corps can enter into productions contracts with your country, another country, another corp, a ceo, or even a combination of any of those. If a corp has a production contract, then it's necessary to retain enough of the monthly production to sell the agreed amount of products. If you click this box and there is no production contract, nothing will be retained. Click this box.
c. Sell strategy. A best price selling strategy will sell products at the market price. A time-based selling strategy allows you to specify the prices at which your corps offer products. Products in shortage can get higher prices while products in surplus can be hard to sell. New players always sell according to the best price selling strategy, regardless of the setting. For when you're no longer a new player, let's assume that you open new corps that sell products generally in shortage. Click on "time-based sell strategy," and enter 20; then click the box that says "follow changes in produced quality," then enter 5. This setting will allow your new corps to offer products at 20% over the market price, and to reduce the price of any unsold products to 5% each month. Selling strategy is highly debated, and this setting should be reconsidered periodically.
16. Buying supplies. This setting is similar to the selling strategy. A best price buying strategy will buy supplies at the market price. A time-based buying strategy allows you to specify the prices at which your corps try to buy supplies. Supplies in shortgage can be hard to get while supplies in surplus can be bought below their market price. New players always buy according to the best price selling strategy, regardless of the setting. Leaving this setting at the best price default is effective because the corps will buy supplies at competitive prices, and will rarely have shortages. Buying strategy is highly debated, and this setting should be reconsidered periodically.
17. Automation of state owned corporations. These settings are for existing corps while the previous settings are for new corps. Similar to the settings for new corps, click the boxes for product purchasing, product sales, effectivity upgrades, quality upgrades, and retain products.
The previous settings are within the conventional range for beginners. However, it's important to emphasize that there are widely differing opinions about some settings, especially about salaries and pricing strategies.