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  #1  
Old December 6th, 2006, 06:00 AM
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Default Machaka screwed more than ever ?

Hey

It's fairly obvious that Machaka was implemented as an afterthought. I mean, it has curiously high number of units with one sentence description. Machaka is where all worst Dominions design decisions were dumped.
I think it actually got worse in Dominions3.

I played Machaka yesterday a bit, and soon learned to respect Atavi Infantry. Bandar Log's stone/stick throwers cause much pain to light machakan infantry, which has only shields. I dare not to think what would Blade Wind do to them.
Hoplites are nice, but mostly nice compared to other Machaka units, and you still need Productivity to use them. But their shields are rather unimpressive, and they're slow.
Light infantry is really sad (except for massable shortbows), which wouldn't be that bad... but that's all you start with, and almost all you get for Province Defence.
Spider riders and knights - would be nice, except for gold cost of 50. Spider Riders are esentially 50 gold light infantry... with curious ability to fire shortbows at 10 precision. It doesn't matter with price this high. Spider Knights are perhaps worse: I don't like units which need to die to reach their full potential. Spider Knights are neither cannon fodder nor cost-effective cavalry. Additionally, all spiders are big and easy to gang on. Web spit would be quite useful tactically, but not on 50 big, 50 gold units; you can put many archers in small room, but not spiders.
Black Hunters... 120 gold sacred unit ? Nature seems a must just to stop aflictions. Air to stop crossbows. Perhaps astral to keep mages from ganging up too easily. And then I certainly need Fire, because their attacks have quite low Attack for something so few in numbers.
I have to admit mages are mostly nice, especially their magic variety. But one thing that bothers me is that Black Sorcerers and Sorceresses (ones that transform into spiders) got old age ! Sorcerer is 60/40, and sorceress around 46/48. What's the special ability of God Mountain spellcasters ? Ah yes, spider transformation when seriously wounded. Which is a survival ability. It doesn't make them any more powerful, just grants them a chance to survive stray arrows or harpies. Something they sorely need without Air magic or Sacred status. Now, designers of Dominions3 basically took that survival power away, because you're soon to die from old age anyway. Why should I pay for Growth just to benefit from marginally useful survival ability ? What's worse, old age on Sorcerers results in -1 hp. With just 9 hp, it's even harder to survive long enough to count as 'seriously wounded'
God Mountain mages aren't even best researchers. Black Sorcerer is 8 research for 250 money and not sacred, but with 60/40 age (currentage/maxage). Regular Sorcerer is 7 research for 190 momey. Not too bad for Machaka.
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To summariz my rant:

- light infantry of sub-Mictlan quality. Terrible province defence. If you complained about Markatas, machakan infantry is something they can easily kill. With so bad province defence you'd be expected to press attack, I guess, but with what ? Certainly not your starting army. Is Machaka 'insert SC to continue' nation ? Satyrs kick their asses.

- hoplites and cheap archers are usable, but nothing to get excited over. Hoplites are sloow, and their forest survival adds insult to the injury, because they only get 'food bonus' in forests, not better mobility. Too slow to get anywhere.

-Following units are full of self-contradictions:
all spiders: high damage physical attack with added poison is bad. No synergy at all.

spider riders: much too expensive to use as archers for their exraodinary (for l.cav) 10 precision. Much too big, too short-ranged and too expensive to slow advancing enemies with web.

spider knights: just like blood9, it assumes you want your units to die. Otherwise, it's just too big and much too expensive heavy cavalry.

black hunter: everything that is true for spider knights is also true for black hunters, but worse.

mages from God Mountain: Kristoffer(?) made them more survivable with spider transformation, but realized it's too poweful ability for capitol-only non-sacred mages so they need a serious debuff. They're battle-survivable and fragile at the same time.

spidar warriors:
7 encumbrance 5(!!!) defence stealthy heavy infantry for 30g/36r.

I realize I should make use of their excellent priests (+10 stealth Ear, +15 patrol Eye) and varied mages, but everything else just sucks. Well, maybe Bane Spiders don't, but not for such price.
It would seem I need order3 productivity3 Growth3 + SC to play Machaka...And milk my provinces to death with 15 patrol priests. And lots of Air magic battle pretender to stop arrows from obliterating my army&mages.
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  #2  
Old December 6th, 2006, 07:44 AM
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Default Re: Machaka screwed more than ever ?

Black Sorcerers are 60/46.
Sorceresses are 45/48.

AFAIK, the ages of the Machakan mages are automatically calculated. Human, lots of magic, etc probably equals 60 years. Human, Fire magic, etc probably equals to 46. Black Sorcerers have a 1/4 chance of getting Nature 1, which increases their maxage enough to make them not-old. They also have a 1/4 chance of a Death pick, which makes them more resistant to old age. What you SHOULD complain with their old age is the fact that it bestows them +2 encumberance... but then, they only start with 2, which is better than all humans and most other nations.

Sorceresses don't usually start old. Startage of commanders is a bit random, but while some may start old, just as many should start with 6 instead of 3 years until the start of their old age. They also have Death magic, again, making them more resistant to the effects of the old age.

Great Hide Shields are much worse than most shields for protecting the wielder... but with a parry of 6, they are very good at deflecting arrows. Only parry affects that. Tower Shields have parry 7, Great Hide Shields of the Hoplites have 6, and lower encumberance and defence penalty too.

And about those cheap archers, and uselessness of Black Sorcerers... Flaming Arrows. Machaka is a Fire nation with cheap archers. Unlike Marignon, they can forge cheap Fire boosters (Skull of Fire). And Marignon's (and Abysia's, who doesn't even get native archers) mages are old, too, but suffer from it more than Machaka's, because they won't get any Nature or Death. And again, unlike Marignon, Machaka's infantry has shields, and good shields at that.
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  #3  
Old December 6th, 2006, 09:27 AM

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Default Re: Machaka screwed more than ever ?

Eh? I really wasn't playing any blitzes with this nation but I've made some tests with them.

1. their mages have excellent battlefield magic
2. growth 3 and you won't have too many affliction problems because of old age
3. their mages can cast flaming arrows
4. their sacreds might cost a lot [again with good scales this is not a big problem], but if the rider dies you will still have the spider. So basically its 2 units in 1.
They should work very well with bless combo / good scales, especially in raids.
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Old December 6th, 2006, 10:07 AM

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Default Re: Machaka screwed more than ever ?

Also many of the Black Sorcerers can cast Twiceborn, all with a Skull Staff. That helps mitigate the age problem.

As said, excellent battle magic: Blade wind, Magma Eruption, Flaming Arrows.

Black Sorcerers with Fire Shield & Invulnerability make good thugs. That's what their spider form is for. If they had a change shape command they'd be brutal.

As for units, Spider Knights are pretty robust and once you've got a bunch of them, the web becomes surprisingly effective.
Dual bless Black Hunters are also impressive. Fire/Earth works well for the Hunters, Fire/Nature once the rider dies.
I wouldn't worry about arrows, they've got either good protection or lots of hp. The low MR of the spider form is their biggest problem. They weren't affordable in Dom2, but with the extra money in Dom3...
Blessed Hunter Lords make good thugs as well. The spider form of the Black Sorcerers is sacred too, but I've never been able to get them blessed reliably.
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Old December 6th, 2006, 10:14 AM
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Default Re: Machaka screwed more than ever ?

From thematic point of view: God Mountain is not an academy. It's a place where higher caste of sorcerers lives. They are said to have blood of a dead god in their veins. It's pretty clear they're there because they were born there, not because they earned their place in God Mountain.
In short: no reason for old age.

As for old age being not so bad, I think I read somewhere that it gets worse depending on how far are you behind the max age. 60/40 is pretty far.

From balance point of view: mages seem to be all Machaka has, and they're not spectacular. Good at best. Why nerf them ?
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Old December 6th, 2006, 11:13 AM
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Default Re: Machaka screwed more than ever ?

Quote:
B0rsuk said:
From thematic point of view: God Mountain is not an academy. It's a place where higher caste of sorcerers lives. They are said to have blood of a dead god in their veins. It's pretty clear they're there because they were born there, not because they earned their place in God Mountain.
In short: no reason for old age.

As for old age being not so bad, I think I read somewhere that it gets worse depending on how far are you behind the max age. 60/40 is pretty far.

From balance point of view: mages seem to be all Machaka has, and they're not spectacular. Good at best. Why nerf them ?
1st - whether or not the mages are trained in an academy or not ISN'T THE POINT. What affects starting age is the amount of magic a mage has. Having a second shape could also have an effect.

2nd - Only maxage affects aging. This was confirmed by one of the developers in an old thread. I'll try to dig it up. The [startage divided by maxage] doesn't do anything, only maxage matters. Also, it's 46, not 40. 50, -2 per pick of fire, so 46 for a Black Sorcerer with F2, 44 for one with F3 (one random), 42 for Black Sorcerer with both 100% and 10% randoms in Fire.

3rd - I think I said Machaka has things other than mages. Because I happen to think they have more than mages. They have HI that's very good against missiles and can punch through at least medium armor, they have cheap, easily massable archers, they have good priests (including stealthy ones)...
Now, these mages Machaka has, they were NOT nerfed. Nerfing would be a change spesifically targeted to Machakan mages, and the only deliberate change to Machakan mages has been the restrictions set on their randoms. Due to general changes in the game and the addition of new game mechanics, they might be weakened. If you want, you can report this as a bug, as in Black Sorcerers should start young or live longer. I don't think it is, because many other good mages are old as well.


P.S. I use the spiders too, but I don't know whether or not that's such a good choice.
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  #7  
Old December 6th, 2006, 11:50 AM
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Default Re: Machaka screwed more than ever ?

Imho Machaka is weaker than in Dom2.

Some major changes disadvantage them a lot. Some of them were mentioned already, but i will list all changes that imho hurt them in a summary.

-Fever Fetish nerf

In Dom2 Machaka was really good at hoarding fever fetishes.
You used those gems mainly for flaming arrows and for FftS.

-Flames from the Sky price increase

The combo of fever fetish hoarding and spamming of flames from the sky was quite useful for Machaka in the lategame in Dom2.

-Minor nerfs for fire battlemagic

Fire battlemagic was slightly nerfed, at least the midgame spells like falling fires.
In lategame you get pillar of fire though.


In Dom2 Machaka was an average nation, imho fine. In Dom3 i would still rate them average, but they are slightly weaker than in Dom2.
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  #8  
Old December 6th, 2006, 05:57 PM

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Default Re: Machaka screwed more than ever ?

I would go along with the idea that the Black Sorcerors could live longer. They definitely seem to be of supernatural origin.

Otherwise, I don't see that they are so bad. The fever fetish change is the big thing that hurts them. Fire battlemagic is just as good if not better than it used to be because it doesn't miss all the time.
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Old December 7th, 2006, 12:11 PM

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Default Re: Machaka screwed more than ever ?

I don't think they can be too bad. Machaka is the most powerful nation in one of the games I'm playing.
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  #10  
Old December 7th, 2006, 01:53 PM

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Default Re: Machaka screwed more than ever ?

In strict game terms the fever fetish nerf isn't so bad. Recruit an indy commander and stick a fetish on him 9 turns. You'll pay about 50 gold all told for the 9 gems, which is less than 6 gold/gem - a great price.

The real world micromanagement of a big pile of fetishes is of course utterly grotesque. From the micromanagement point of view, they should incapacitate a commander somehow rather than kill him. At the very least if a fetish kills somebody in a lab the fetish should go back to the lab. Actually, that would be a good rule for any noncombat death in a lab. If I forget to take a booster off a commander aging to death can't the undertakers take the magic items off the corpse?
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