For me, playing a General well is all about the *minions*...
1) Get those minion idols, starting with the monk (healer), which also does very nice ranged damage.
(Not counting items or triggered skills for any of the DPS comparisons which follow)
- Six minions from the level 1 idols do 90% of the DPS of the average level 1 Demigod.
- The six minions from the level 4 idols do DPS on par with an average level 14 Demigod.
2) Get those minion-boosting skills, including the one that gives them more DPS. Minions put out FAR more damage than most people realize, I suspect because it is "a lot of little numbers", and (if unmanaged) spread over multiple targets. But if you focus all your minions on one target, their damage output becomes quickly evident as that target vaporizes.
- Six levels of Morale will increase minion DPS by 60%, and Oak minion DPS by 90%.
- Your Demigod minion DPS will rival your own (65% for Queen and Sedna) or exceed yours (150% for Oak and 200% for Erebus).
3) When an enemy Demigod appears, kill him by:
a. Hit M and swarm your minions onto him, then hit H and pull your demigod back *slightly*. If he runs right away, then hit M and pull your minions back, nothing lost.
b. But if he keeps coming then hit N and target everything onto him and also hit him with whatever skills you have. By the time he gets to you he will be at least half dead. You may take a few lumps when he arrives, but he will be getting mauled.
c. Once he is nearly dead and starts to run, then hit H and pull your Demigod back a bit, and hit M and have the minions chase him. Click your idols to refresh any fallen minions, and (if you have it yet) click your "Heart of Life" to replenish any health/mana lost.
Get practiced with this sequence, and your Demigod will rarely take significant damage, while routinely killing off enemy Demigods *quickly*.
4) For items:
- As you want to be able to chose when you engage and when you do not, you absolutely will need to move fast. So boots of speed, wand of speed, etc. are very important.
- Damage items for me are nice, but for minions are absolutely amazing. In the early game, I look for "Gladiator Gloves" and "Gloves of Fell-Darkur".
- Health items are nice, but largely unneeded. Sometimes I will buy one of the lesser armors if I find myself taking hits, but usually not. Once you get the "Heart of Life" you will be able to top off between fights easily.
- Mana items are nice, but are not enough in the early game, and unneeded once you get the "Heart of Life".
- Do not neglect the Citadel upgrades, particularly the Exp boosts, the first level of Gold boost, and the first level of both building enhancements (regen and splash damage).
Hope that helps...