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Old May 14th, 2009, 02:01 PM

Arcturas Arcturas is offline
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Default MA Marignon Advice Needed (and newbie questions)

Hey everyone, I'm a recent convert to Dom 3 and am now de-lurking. I've been fantastically impressed by the community and have found the nation-specific guides really useful in starting out. (Baalz, of course, gets a special shout-out) I have a few questions, though.

I'm playing a game (vs AI) with MA Marignon, doing relatively well, but I'd like some advice on what to do with my mages. So far, I've expanded well with armies of Royal Guard backed by crossbows, and increasing numbers of mages in the back ranks throwing down fire evocations. (began with fireballs, now am up to phoenix power -> holy pyre/falling fires. Holy pire only because I picked a fight with Ermor and it's nicer on the ff side) I've also just figured out using some scouts to shuttle fire gems to the army commanders, so I can ration their gem use letting them cast a single flame arrows (so good with x-bows!) and then settling down to fire evocs.

Things I've found cool: knights don't take a lot of damage from crossbows, and do can tank while the crossbows reload (though I need to work on placement to avoid x-bows running in front of knights too much if they're out of range on turn one). Crossbows are awesome in MA, although Ulm is nearby and might be tricky to crack with them. I love lightless lanterns; I hit con 6 and my research doubled the next turn. I have few fire gems now, but I think it's worthwhile as the only other use I have for fire gems are flame arrows and constructing weapons for SCs (just teched the angel summons, though I don't have enough pearls to get them). My pretender is a dormant rainbow enchantress who did site searching early on, and now is summoning angels, faerie courts, and naiads. She also builds things for my angel. (I have one so far) Gift of Health is great, too, for my old mages. Also, I've managed to use the air randoms on my cap-only mages to produce eyes of aiming, which seem more useful than void eyes for evoc spamming.

Fever fetishes! These seem awesome, now that I've started micro'ing them. One cool thing I've found is adding a ring of regen to a fever fetished scout/indy commander, after they get to half health. They sit at half health forever not losing life, and generating gems. It might not be a perfect use of nature gems, but I don't have a lot of other outlets for them (my clam production is bottlenecked by water gems, and my SC production by S gems, so I don't need vine shields). What is this with vine ogres everyone's talking about? I haven't gotten into summoning up armies, just SCs/thugs, and it seems rather gem-expensive to do so.

Side-question about them. Would it be a good strategy to fever fetish old mages (particularly research mages) if you had a nature bless, and throw shrouds on them? I see lots of folks talking about shrouding good random cap mages once they get diseased to keep them alive. It seems like it would just increase their efficiency to add a fever fetish. Also, how does this interact with old-age disease? It seems old age afflictions can't be healed by faerie queens, etc. (only the chalice and GoH, no?) Would the fever fetish disease pre-empt the old age disease, so that if you later wanted to heal them you could? Would they both operate simultaneously?

I'm curious at this point what I ought to be doing with my mages other than falling fires. Flame storm is a few levels away, but seems really rough for the x-bows and knights, and I'd have to pay close attention to make sure all my mages were fire protected. Pillar of fire is even farther off, and seems a not-so-great tradeoff for the AoE of falling fires. Are the astral evocs worth it? I can get some astral fires or stellar cascades on my cap mages, and astral geysers from the S randoms, but I've gotten so used to the fire evocs, and so far haven't had much trouble with resists. I suppose I could forge some S helms and spam astral geysers, but it seems a poor use of my S gems since I'm struggling to summon angels as is, and given my lack of death access, this seems like the best ways to get SCs (and I don't know that I have great thugs. I could try a paladin...).

Are communions worth it for Marignon? I have unreasonable access to communion slaves, but it seems like the choice is between a witch hunter as slave and a witch hunter spamming falling fires, and I'd rather have the evocs. Do fire evoc. AoE's scale with the fire skill of the caster? (I'm unclear what the mage magic skill affects other than fatigue, and in some arcane way MR)

Additionally, how do you all balance the different uses for your gems? I'm struggling with what seems like a low gem supply and too many things to use them on. Currently I have 20 provinces (playing on the Warhammer map someone posted on the llama server, and loving it) and am generating 7F, 4A, 5W, 4E, 5S, 6D, 13N gems a turn. This feels low now that I have reached the upper levels of research (8 conj, 4 alt, 5 evo, 7 const, 6 ench, 4 thaum). In other games, I've put together a blood economy generating 100 slaves/turn 2 years earlier without trouble, costing only ~100 gold a turn in lost revenue. Is there really such a large disparity between blood income and other income?

How do you all evaluate different units? Does it just take a long time to get a feel for the average str/def/prot/hp/etc values for certain gold/resource costs? I've exclusively been building x-bows and knights for offense because it's simple and works, and the other marignon units seem to be little better than indy ones, which I assume are typically worse than good nationals. I like the idea of pikeneers, with their long length, but I fear friendly fire chewing them up. Ditto the swordsmen. Halbardiers I can't really figure out; if I'm getting sieged they seem like they'll be too high resource cost to mass-produce to leverage their castle defense bonus. I've been making royal guard rather than knights of the chalice because they are significantly cheaper gold-wise, and don't seem that much worse without a good bless, as I assume sacred units are priced under the assumption there's a good bless around. Admittedly, they have a higher prot, which might help with the friendly fire arrows, and 2 higher MR for friendly fire evocs; do is 14-17 prot, and 10-12 MR good enough to justify twice the cost when you're worried about FF? x-bows are armor piercing, too.

In a less marignon related note, what's the big difference between thugs and SCs? Is it mostly that SCs have magic? Are thugs primarily aimed at killing PD/armies without mage support, and SCs at armies with mage support? In the end game, how much of your army is troops and how much mages? It feels like infantry decline in value drastically when you have high level magics and SCs running around.

Thanks! I have far too many questions, so if you only have comments on pieces of them, I'd still love to hear from you.
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