It shocks me whenever I see a base with a low level Vault, especially around my HQ level. One of the top priorities whenever you level is to maximize your Vault immediately. Why? Because it’ll minimize how much an opponent can damage you.
Even at 2% per level at the higher end upgrades, those small percentages add up quickly over time. Right now, some time tomorrow my base will have a Vault at level 19, which is just one less than the maximum. That provides me with 86% resource protection and is pretty huge. One of my first goals once I hit HQ 19 was to focus on my Vault for upgrades as my first major upgrades. For something like Iron, which is hard to come by, that little amount can be huge, especially for some heavy pushes.
To me having less resources stripped after a successful base attack against me implies that I have less raiding to do. That in turn translates to lower VP and less difficult opponents while still allowing me to chase after high amounts of loot. Until I hit HQ 20, I really do not want to push my VP too high too quickly as the base variance of difficulty can be pretty horrendous.
What about other defenses or offensive capabilities once you hit the next HQ level? In truth, it really depends on what you need and how much you have available as well as what upgrades and new buildings are made available. Like if you had to choose between Sculptor and Vault, most likely you should go for the Sculptor if you had the resources. But if you had the materials for the Vault (like say at HQ 20 where the Sculptor cost is insane), I would just go straight for the Vault, unless I managed to get all the resources for the Sculptor first. If you’re not getting attacked, then Vault might be less important. But I feel that it’s not realistic to expect never getting attacked.
The other side benefit of having a Vault is just more storage. It’s not a huge amount but say you have a level 9 Gold Storage. Certainly, getting level 10 means you’ll never have to worry about upgrading your Gold Storage again. But do you really need that Gold Storage right this second if you can get that Vault with a few more battles? There’s no downside to upgrading your Vault at all but the Gold Storage won’t protect resources and may be overkill if all you really need is just another 100k of gold to reach the next upgrade for a tank.
I suppose the start of this rant came about because I saw a severely underleveled Vault in one of my attacks the other day. I got away with nearly 500k gold and tons of other resources. My attack was flawless and that person probably lost a lot in my assault. And because his VP was close to my own, that means he’ll have to fight equally challenging opponents who will continue to ravage his resources. On top of that, this all occurred while I was aiming to get more resources for my Vault. So do you see the irony in all of this? (pun not truly intended)