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  #11  
Old August 29th, 2006, 11:06 PM
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Default Re: Happiness in Darkness -An Argatha Ktonian Dead

Thanks, Boron!
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  #12  
Old August 30th, 2006, 12:37 AM
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Default Re: Happiness in Darkness -An Argatha Ktonian Dead

Ok now our god is complete, so we have to decide the rest of the settings. Let's start the game.
We will play a huge game with all late era nations, 18 in total:


We set the AIs to mighty. In Dominions 2 the AIs on impossible got +70% gold and gem income and some other minor boni.
In Dominions 3 the AIs on mighty get +60% gold and gem income and also some other minor boni.
There is also impossible, where AIs get +100%. On impossible my surviving chances are too small because the AIs are imho much better in Dominions 3 than in Dominions 2. They now build lots of castles for example. This change alone makes the mighty AI setting in Dominions 3 already tougher than the impossible AI in Dominions 2.
Versus impossible AIs in Dominions 3 you have only a chance if you micromanage extremely (which i normally do not do, yeah shame on me ) and if you are a bit lucky too.
Two of the 17 AI nations are death dominion nations, this makes it even tougher. I will try to micromanage more than usual, but nontheless i think i have not a very high survival chance .
The AIs also have now 3 behaviour settings which can be chosen:
Defensive, aggressive and normal. I chose random behaviour for all AIs.

Now it is time to chose the game settings:

The money, resource and supply multiplier settings are new. In 25 point steps you can chose anything between 50 and 300 points. 300 points means then 300% compared to the normal 100 points whereas 50 points means only 50%.
I leave all 3 at the default 100%.
Gold income in Dominions 3 is about 2,5 times higher than in Dominions 2 and supply got also increased by roughly the same factor.
Magic site frequency i set to 75%. This does not fit the mood of late era too well, the default setting for site frequency for late era is 35% whereas it is 50% for early era, but with site frequency this high i find hopefully enough sites to show most of the nation specific summons Argatha gets and also some other of the new summons .
And it will lead to bigger battles as a positive side effect too. The other settings are rather standard as well, so we only need to select a map and then we can start.

As map i select the beautiful new Dominions 3 map Glory of Gods from Jason Lutes. It is a quite large map, so we need to zoom out much to show the whole map (some parts are covered by the UI though):

480 land and 122 sea provinces, so roughly 1,5 times the size of large faerun .
We are lucky and start almost in a corner position.
Because the map is so big i cannot write about every single move/battle, so the first turns will be detailed and then only key battles and key decisions will be presented in detail, otherwise the AAR might exceed 1000 pages (and the writer's sanity might be in danger too ).

On turn 1 there is not much to do. I send my scout towards the bottom corner because there is probably one AI nation, i prophet my starting commander and check for mercs:

Only Frodo available. Well hobbits eh hoburgs have to die , so lets bid 225 for him.
For our remaining 175 gold we recruit

an attendant of the dead, 2 blindfighters and 1 heavy crossbow.
I am not very happy with this decision, the attendant of the dead will not be too useful with my build because i picked drain 2 and i would have rather had a 3rd blindfighter instead of the heavy crossbow.
But i decided to recruit the attendant of the dead because i picked misfortune 3 scale. So the chance is not too low that i might get my first bad event already on turn 2. If this would be a "lab destroy" event i would be totally screwed because i could not build any new mages till my god awakens around turn 36.
So i need to buy the attendant and thus in order to use the remaining resources have to build the heavy crossbow who does not fit into my planned expansion concept too well neither. Everything important has been done now though, so we end our turn.
Time for the first "waiting for turn hosting" commercial:


Seriously though hosting is quite fast . For a late turn on a big map it can take about 5 minutes though for all the calculations. I have the impression though that it is nontheless faster than hosting time in Dominions 2 on epic Faerun SP games.

Turn 2:
We indeed got Frodo. And we have our first spy reports now too:


Merovia, the province with only 30 light infantry (=LI) and militia looks weak enough. We will use Frodo against them.

The ship wreckers are available now as mercs too for 150. We bid 155 for them.
http://img351.imageshack.us/img351/5049/9dy2.jpg
With the rest of our money we can hire 1 necro and 3 blindfighers and use up the remaining resources and gold .

Turn 3:
Our hobbits owned the indies .
http://img305.imageshack.us/img305/4007/10hz5.jpg

Those red numbers are a new feature. They show how much damage your units inflicted in combat. So now you see when your SC dies from a lucky enemy open ended dice roll .
Normal damage is shown in red colour, poison damage in green colour and cold damage in blue colour.

http://img283.imageshack.us/img283/1369/11nb8.jpg
Not a single hobbit died . We also got the ship wreckers.
http://img429.imageshack.us/img429/2326/12st8.jpg
Unfortunately there is an inkpot end in merovia and the population is very low, so our first conquest is rather worthless .

We have enough money to order another necro, bid for the black bones pirates and 3 new blind fighters.
We spend our research on thaumaturgy for thaumaturgy 2 first. Research costs are doubled in Dom3, so we need 40 points instead of 20 for the first research level.

Turn 4:
Oh no, an enemy archer hit Frodo. So despite only losing 3 other hobbits because of the death of their leader the whole squad is lost. This is annoying, i thought i have placed frodo backwards enough .
The battle replay reveals then that he died later while our troops were attacking. He was scripted to stay behind, unfortunately a stray arrow hit him.
http://img311.imageshack.us/img311/1649/13fx9.jpg
The arrow inflicted 6 damage. So the damageroll for the arrow has been quite lucky, because it was a shortbow arrow with 10 base damage, and Frodo has 14 body and 15 head protection (another new concept, now body and head protection are seperated, that means that a unit with e.g. 20 body but only 5 head protection can occasionaly get hit on the head too (i do not know the exact concepts, maybe they will be in the manual ) and thus can get killed because head protection was much lower than body protection ). So the shortbow hit had a really good damage roll, 10 higher than Frodo's protection roll!
This will severly limit our expansion

Ordering another necro and 4 blindfighters and "suiciding" the ship wreckers + black bone pirates onto another indy province.

Turn 5:
Bah. A vampire count attacks one of our provinces (random event). Fortunately he decided to attack the province with the inkpod end. And my mercenary attack was really a suicide, the defending indies were tougher as i thought.
A very unsuccessful turn .
I decide that it is time to use our blind fighters.


Turn 6:
Nothing really important happens. The Elephant Corps mercs have liberated our province from the vampire count and our blindfighter army conquered another province.
The next turns we are probably doing only what we did since the last turns:
-Check for mercs
-Buy new necros and blindfighters
-Conquer more indies

So i will speed up the process a bit and only tell unexpected or otherwise particularly noteworthy happenings for the next couple of turns. This way i can describe more detailed when early game ends (= when we run out of indies to conquer and need to start the first war with an AI nation ).

Turn 7:
http://img463.imageshack.us/img463/5038/15pi1.jpg
We build our first castle. Now each nation gets 3-4 different castle types depending on terrain. There will probably be a detailed castle chart for the nation specific castles in the manual .
We are lucky, only 4 turns to build. Afaik 4 turns is the fastest possible castle build speed in Dom3.

Turn 8:
Hehe 2 magic sites at once:

A gold mine (+100 gold income) and an iron cliff (+1 earth gem).

Turn 9:
We conquered a coastal province with [img]/threads/images/Graemlins/Fish.gif[/img]ies (= Ichtyids). Hurray. Only 33 resources though unfortunately, a castle has priority there. We start building an army of [img]/threads/images/Graemlins/Fish.gif[/img]ies there. They are afaik the only way to enter the sea via indies. Because in Dom3 water mages can no longer automatically enter the sea. So you have to forge them water breathing equipment. There are still shamblers in coastal provinces too, but only as unit, but without a commander. Because those shamblers you only get via a magic site.
So those coastal provinces with [img]/threads/images/Graemlins/Fish.gif[/img]y population are the only way to conquer sea provinces without using summons or forging water breathing items afaik. Well unless your nation has aquatic units and commanders of course like e.g. late era Atlantis.

Btw has no blindfighter yet died because there was no long battle yet. If the battles last <10 turns fatigue doesn't become a problem and the blindfighters are nearly unkillable by most indies .

Turn 11:
Lol we get 2 random events, and both are positive. Misfortune 3 rocks . Seriously this happened because 1 of the two events happened in a border province which is still outside of our dominion, so has 0 misfortune scale, so a 50:50 chance for good:bad events and the other one happened in a province where we have dominion, but not yet 3 but only 2 misfortune scale, so about 75% chance for a bad event.
All in all we have been very lucky nontheless to get 2 good events.
Outrunning your own dominion quickly with maximum negative scales is btw an old veteran strat which especially QM uses often. It still works well in Dom3, probably even slightly better than in Dom2 because more nations have good bless troops than in Dom2 and viable bless troops are a strong motivator to use bad scales.
This is especially important to keep in mind for new players. If you expand faster than your dominion spreads (and use purposely a low dominion, just enough to not dominiondie) you can somewhat negate your negative scale effects because afaik provinces which are not your dominion are treated as provinces with neutral scales. So they are like turmoil 0 or misfortune 0 provinces then for you instead of turmoil 3 misfortune 3 provinces.
If the enemy dominion there has the same bad scales as you then the provinces are treated for you as turmoil 3 misfortune 3 provinces too though iirc. You only do not profit from positive enemy scales, those provinces are then treated for you like with neutral scales.

I have to try to spread my dominion though, so i have soon to start building some temples to profit from my good scales and more important to keep out ermor and ryleh dominions because those are popkiller dominions. I do not know if i neighbor one of them yet, since i somehow forget in almost every game to use indy scouts and did so in this game too ... .

Turn 13:
Our little empire grows.
http://img419.imageshack.us/img419/9274/17sh3.jpg
Another new Dom3 feature. Random events can now happen in indy provinces too. If a random event creates armies, those armies stay and fight together with the native indy armies already present. This can lead to very nasty indy provinces. In a blitz game i had once the bad luck that an indy province had had 2 barbarian attack and 1 vampire count reveals himself events, so there have been then the normal indy troops, about 150 barbarians, 20 vampires and the count. Also this adds a new random factor. If the indy event happens in the same turn in which you try to conquer the indy province the event indies fight there too. So you can never be 100% sure that you will only fight those indies the spy report tells you about when trying to conquer an indy province. So if you have really bad luck theoretically the vampire count event e.g. might happen in the turn your SC god attacks a province and he might get killed while buffing by the flying vampires who attack him. Iirc this indeed already happened to me in one game .

In this game i dare not to attack this province, probably 50 or more barbarians have a good chance of overwhelming my ~10 blindfighters i have there. Since blindfighters are slow (1 mapmovement) i have to wait for new mercs because i will get them probably faster than it would take to travel to new indies (would take 3 turns). So the mercs can then play cannon fodder . The blackfists which played this role are decimated down to 1 man, so i have to wait for new mercs.

Turn 15:
http://img481.imageshack.us/img481/2900/18yd4.jpg
A slightly unpleasant turn. Our new fort gets besieged by a barbarian horde (random event) and the indy province enchanced with barbarians has beaten my conquest force.
This battle told me that i do not understand yet the Dominions 3 routing rules. Also my first 2 blind fighters died [img]/threads/images/Graemlins/Envy.gif[/img] .

Situation right before the rout:
http://img355.imageshack.us/img355/1844/19uk2.jpg
It is currently the enemy turn, the barbarians did break our fodder mercs in that turn. Then our blindfighers, who were a seperate squad and just started creeping (5 actionpoints, that doesn't deserve getting called moving ) towards the enemy routed also. Fortunately they were still at the corner of the battlefield, otherwise the barbarians would have slaughtered them all. So only one died to the barbarians and the other 12 escaped. Under dominions 2 rules because they were a seperate squad they would have been unimpressed by the slaughtering of the fodder militia and would have continued fighting. Now they routed at the same time when the militia mercs routed. I know that routing rules got changed for Dom 3, but i do not know how exactly they got changed. The change lead to my humiliating defeat though .

At least we soon have enough fishies for attempting to go underwater. The army at my capitol i left there purposely as a reserve if i run into an AI. It has not yet happened, but should soon happen. In most of my former games i expanded like hell and then almost simultaneously got attacked by 2-3 AI neighbors i ran into and they did beat my scattered armies then and because i had no reserves did wipe me out. So this time i left some reserves to be prepared just in case. Or at least i try to convince myself of that via Boronian autosuggestion .
My "save" but slower expansion seems to work so far well enough, i am nontheless leading in the province race.
http://img358.imageshack.us/img358/8791/20qk1.jpg
Mictlan is 2nd and Ermor 3rd. That might mean that Mictlan has a good bless.

The AI expands normally slower than a human the first 20 turns, even on impossible. This is because the AI uses big armies normally. The effect of this is normally that you start getting confident around turn 20, then around that you also run into your first AI neighbors, and you have your armies spreaded out whereas the AI has massed their armies and attacks you very likely then and beats your spreaded armies. It can be quite mean . You start feeling confident and 5 turns later the dream is over and the AI is overwhelming you. So basically the AI lets you expand (and suffer casualities from indies) and then steals the provinces from you. Quite nasty .

In the next update we should meet our neighbors . Expect the next update in ca. 15-20 hours .






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  #13  
Old August 30th, 2006, 02:57 AM

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Default Re: Happiness in Darkness -An Argatha Ktonian Dead

On the Design Dominion screen shot shouldn't it list Productivity 3 as giving resources +30%?
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  #14  
Old August 30th, 2006, 03:12 AM

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Default Re: Happiness in Darkness -An Argatha Ktonian Dead

It does for me... The second last image of Boron's first post, the one shwing all the scales? It says income +6%, resources +30%. (Doesn't it?)
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  #15  
Old August 30th, 2006, 03:16 AM

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Default Re: Happiness in Darkness -An Argatha Ktonian Dead

Quote:
Frostmourne27 said:
It does for me... The second last image of Boron's first post, the one shwing all the scales? It says income +6%, resources +30%. (Doesn't it?)
On my screen is says resources 30%. The '+' is absent.
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  #16  
Old August 30th, 2006, 03:18 AM
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Default Re: Happiness in Darkness -An Argatha Ktonian Dead

> ... first bad event already on turn 2. If this would be a "lab destroy" even ...

Lab destroyed cannot happen before turn 5 now IIRC.
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  #17  
Old August 30th, 2006, 04:06 AM

Frostmourne27 Frostmourne27 is offline
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Default Re: Happiness in Darkness -An Argatha Ktonian Dead

About the + thing, yeah, sorry, it is missing a +. I don't know what I was thinking. Still, I think it's fairly clear, productivity probably doesn't lower resources to 30% of base or anything...
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  #18  
Old August 30th, 2006, 05:19 AM

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Default Re: Happiness in Darkness -An Argatha Ktonian Dead

Wow, this promises to be one hell of a brawl. Looking forward to more.
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  #19  
Old August 30th, 2006, 09:10 AM
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Default Re: Happiness in Darkness -An Argatha Ktonian Dead

I have a question...what's Middle Era Ulm like?

That map looks gorgeous. Let's hope you have good luck with those sites. Can't wait to see all the new summons.

And I can't put to words how much I apreciate pictures. Preeettyyy pictureeees~
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Old August 30th, 2006, 09:56 AM

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Default Re: Happiness in Darkness -An Argatha Ktonian Dead

Very nicely done.
Looking forward to the actual gameplay stuff .
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