The startup phase

This is clearly a crucial phase in Warcraft. If you screw this one up, you've already lost unless you face a newbie.

Low resources (2000 gold/1000 lumber)

This is the resource level I'm used to play with. It is more challenging than other resource levels, and the building order needs special care. This is how to build: This is devastatingly effective. You'll have exactly 500 gold and 250 lumber when you build the second and the third farm. Therefore your resources are optimally used. After the third farm, you'll be back at 0 gold and 0 lumber; that's why you should put an extra peon on wood after building the barracks to be able to build enough farms later (and a blacksmith). After a while, you can even afford another barracks; that will produce a neat grunt rush.
On sea maps, you will have to build a lumber mill instead of the barracks and then go for a shipyard ASAP.

Medium resources (5000 gold/2000 lumber)

Here, you have the choice to produce a lot of grunts instead of peons, which will create an early advantage but will let your town grow very slowly afterwards. You'll produce 13 food for 6 peons and 7 grunts. 6 peons will be enough to allow you to pump out grunts constantly. Your town will stop growing, though. That's why you should put three peons on wood as soon as you started to train your last grunt (together with a peon; as long as a unit hasn't popped out, it doesn't need any food.) Of course you must attack immediately (start searching with your first grunt) or you'll lose. If you find your opponent, he'll lose though :-)
This strategy is pretty cheap and if everyone uses it, you'll be left with a small town and very few peons. Basically, it will only slow down the game, then. That's why I rarely play on medium.

These two building orders are well known on the net now. Everyone who plays on kali or network must know it to survive. Methos' strategy guide takes a closer look at the early building stage and has got some alternatives which are easier to perform.

Shaf's resource page covers the problems that arise with high and medium resources.
Copy Cat's resource page offers some very special and advanced strategies for low resources.

I don't play high resources, not even on water maps, and that's why I won't explain anything about it here. By the way, high resources suck ;-)

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