Some additional thoughts.
I do not like to put money into games, but the starter pack definitely gives you a leg up. It’s only available for the first couple days after you start the game, however, so that advice may be moot.
Regarding armor: there is a big debate over which is best–Celestial (for souls) or Dragon (for gold.) Early on, I think the nod goes to Dragon armor, hands down. You need so much gold for so many things–leveling kingdoms, buying keys, supporting your guild, fighting battles–and when you are starting out, there just isn’t enough. Once your Kingdoms are leveled, you start earning gold passively, so you can relax a little. But at that point, you suddenly have a deficiency of souls.
What you really need is Dragon Armor as soon as you can get it and Celestial by around lvl 125. Unfortunately, 1000 gems is pretty daunting for a new player. So how do you earn those gems? There are a few ways.
Best is a good Guild. I don’t know that much about Guild levels, but my 100% Guild earns 2 maps, 10 gems, 100 souls or 12 keys (or nothing) for completed tasks. I think that is standard for all 100%ers, with lower percentage guilds earning considerably less. There are a lot of good Guilds out there, and it shouldn’t be that hard to find one. For the record, my guild ranked about 200 and had open membership when I joined. Get in the best guild you can, contribute as much as you can, and hoard those ten gems a task, which come in with surprising frequency.
Treasure maps are also a good source for gems. The trick with those is to accumulate as many green chests as you can. Green and higher chests have a chance to contain a gem. The chance is greater with higher level chests, but my experience is that you are better off having a lot of small chances than to have one greater chance. Try to keep the chests down low, and don’t match the green ones if you can help it. One or two red chests aren’t bad, but I think 3 green ones has a better payout than a red. Vaults are worthless. A vault equals at least 9 green chests. I play treasure hunts fast and usually get locked up with chests and bags at the bottom and finish off eliminating as many bronze and silver coins as possible at the top. In a good guild, you will never run out of maps. Maps are also a good source for gold, especially when you run out and don’t have enough even for a battle. With practice, you can easily average 1000 gold per map (I’ve never earned less than 600, and frequently earned over 1500.) Regarding gems, I average about 3 per map, which isn’t a lot, but the other stuff is nice, too.
Tribute. This is where leveling your kingdoms is important. Higher level Kingdoms equals a better chance for tribute. Apparently, gem awards are reduced in the current update, but it is still worth getting as much tribute as you can. Even though the gems aren’t as plentiful, all other tribute currencies are greatly beneficial.
If you are okay with spending a little cash, the daily gems are great. You get 225 gems for $5, which is a steal compared to any of the other gem packages.
Finally, I expect to take some heat on this, but I don’t think you should complete the challenges until you own Celestial armor. You need enough souls initially to put one good team together. Then use it as long as it is effective. Oftentimes, it is not necessary to get a troop to level 15 to make them very formidable. With many of them, the enhancement gained with those higher level increases is not equitable to the soul cost of doing so. I used lvl 8 Avina (9 damage) and lvl 10 Boar Rider (7 damage) for a long time with great success.
Souls are hard to come by and you need a LOT. Three thousand plus to level any troop to 15, and your max earning is now 200 in the arena. That’s a lot of arena battles. (I’m not an Arena proponent. It takes a long time, and though you earn some decent cash, you can get far more invading. I only do it when I absolutely need the souls right now.) With Celestial armor on Normal difficulty, one completed challenge equals 340 souls. I guess that is about a wash with the Arena payout, but the challenges are much faster and easier. Plus, you only get to do them once. I think if you can hold off on the easy souls until you really need them, you will get a boost in your mid-game.
I am level 137 and own both suits–both courtesy of my guild. I wear Dragon when I invade, and Celestial when I complete my challenges. I would not have done it differently.