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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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  #2  
Old May 14th, 2009, 03:56 PM

TheDemon TheDemon is offline
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Default Re: MA Marignon Advice Needed (and newbie questions)

It seems like you have a really good handle on the basics of Marignon and dom3 in general. I'll see if I can answer some of your inquiries.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arcturas View Post
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.
Awaken Vine Orgre, in the conj tree. They're terrible all-round. Apparently they were good in dom 2. I'm told that:

Quote:
(1:43:54 PM) Ironhawk: yeah vine ogres got nerfed a lot in dom3
(1:44:05 PM) Ironhawk: in dom2, it was almost assumed that you would have a VO factory if you could
(1:44:21 PM) Ironhawk: just like it is assumed all players will have tart factories
As Marignon, I've seen Fire Snakes been used effectively, although not with xbows. They were used as a screen for fire mages, since they're immune. Same goes for Summer Lions.

Quote:
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.
You're right, pillar of fire sucks.

Quote:
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...).
They can be. In single player you'll usually be fending off huge armies, so not so much. If you had to go against single targets, or small groups of elites, or things like mammoths, a lot of the astral spells become far more useful. Mind Burn and Paralyze, for example.

Quote:
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)
MR doesn't have anything to do with fire evocs, usually. The spell description or manual's spell description will tell you when a MR check is involved.

Fire AoEs do scale with the skill of the caster, for falling fires at least. But the benefit isn't very noticable. The main purpose of a Marignon communion though would be I think to boost your astral path for the nastier astral spells like Master Enslave.

Quote:
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?
You'll always be short on gems. But your income is rather low. Use the remote search spells (Augury, Gnome Lore, Haruspex etc). Most of them are at thau 2, but some are at various other places like Arcane Probing or Voice of Apusu. You want a level 4 search on all of your provs for as many paths as you can. Sometimes you're just unlucky.

Quote:
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've been making royal guard rather than knights of the chalice because they are significantly cheaper gold-wise
Even the best players will rarely use all the units a nation has to offer. Knights of the Chalice, in addition to their price problems, are capital only, so you can't recruit them in large quantities. As your empire grows, this becomes even more of a challenge. It's usually not a good idea to spend pretender design points on a bless for a cap-only sacred. I'm sure there are exceptions.

Quote:
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.
Some people will say that thugs can solo low to medium PD and can kill armies working in teams. SCs are meant to be able to kill armies on their own.

You're quite right that troops decrease in value as research increases. You'll still need troops of some sort to act as a shield for your mages, at the very least, and buffs can make them deadly into the endgame. Depending on the situation your recruitable troops might last until endgame, or you might have to switch to a different kind of screen via summons. It may seem like I haven't answered your question, but my advice is to bring whatever proportion and quantity of troops/mages will win the current battles, and that will differ depending on your opponent.
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Old May 14th, 2009, 04:11 PM

Scarlioni Scarlioni is offline
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Default Re: MA Marignon Advice Needed (and newbie questions)

Wow. You start with alot of really in depth questions. I'm a noob but will try to answer a few of your questions.

Magic does indeed (sometimeas) scale with caster level. Look at the evo 1 fire spell fire darts. Beside the entries for number of effects and range is a plus sign. For every level of fire magic the number of effects and range increase. Shadow bolt increases in range and damage for every level of death magic. The ritual magic spell Fires from afar hits more enemies the higher the level the fire mage.

I could be very mistaken on this next bit. Fire magic interacts with armor and fire resistance not magic resistance. Armor doesnt help to much vs most fire spells, but fire resistance helps alot. Magic resistance comes into play more for resisting spell effects like banish, rage, sleep, mind control, paralyze, mind control, etc...

Pikes are good against things like heavy cavalry charges and giants that hit hard enough to penatrate shield and armor.

Well it's a start. Look forward to seeing you in a multiplayer game.
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Old May 14th, 2009, 05:34 PM

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

Thanks for the help, TheDemon and Scarlioni. I appreciate it.

Good news about the penetration and fire evocs; you can't stack eyes of the void and eyes of aiming on the same mage...as cool as it would be, it makes them blind.

As far as summoning summer bears goes, I can see how that would be good, it just surprises me. 40 gems for 10 lions? It feels expensive. A harbinger is only 25 astral, and with another 15 gems (frost brand/vine shield, or frost brand/enchanted shield/fire plate) I can have an at least thug-worthy, if not SC creature. I guess the harbinger has more trouble screening for mages, though, and that's what you're paying for. And I am fielding 20 knights/battle. The 9 snakes for 9 gems seems more reasonable, but they'd probably die faster...choices, choices. I'll have to play with them and see. Thanks for the recommendation! (Just got eternal pyre up, so should have plenty of fire gems to play with)

On the subject of thugs/SCs, how much equipment is enough, and how much is too much? Harbingers, for instance, almost certainly need lots of equipment. They have a fist and a horn, so need a weapon and shield, low prot = armor, helmet, and MR/luck is crucial. Someone like Rhuax, a king of elemental fire, has a built-in flamestrike, and while I want vine shield/marble armor/amulet of luck because his protection and defense are terrible, it seems like he doesn't need many magic items.
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Old May 14th, 2009, 05:45 PM

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Default Re: MA Marignon Advice Needed (and newbie questions)

Check out Baalz' guide to thugging. http://forum.shrapnelgames.com/showt...472#post675472
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Old May 14th, 2009, 07:10 PM

MaxWilson MaxWilson is offline
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Default Re: MA Marignon Advice Needed (and newbie questions)

What to do with fire magic? Don't neglect Incinerate. It's 100 Prec and armor-negating.

I'm not big on summons either, but I can think of two advantages to a summoned army over a thug: summoned creatures generally crank out more damage-per-turn than even a thug with an area-effect weapon, and summoned creatures in a mass have more aggregate hit points than your typical thug and are thus more resistant to single-target spells like Incinerate, Frozen Heart, etc. If I were planning on cracking a mage-heavy fortress I'd probably spend the gems on summons rather than thugs.

Of course, the most efficient way to spend gems on summons is to summon them during battle. A W9 caster spamming Living Water in cold climate is downright scary.

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Old May 14th, 2009, 07:20 PM

chrispedersen chrispedersen is offline
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Default Re: MA Marignon Advice Needed (and newbie questions)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arcturas View Post
Thanks for the help, TheDemon and Scarlioni. I appreciate it.

Good news about the penetration and fire evocs; you can't stack eyes of the void and eyes of aiming on the same mage...as cool as it would be, it makes them blind..
You certainly can go blind doing things here...
But I wouldn't suggest eyes of aiming and eyes of the void. Rather, try an eye of the void and a green eye. +4 penetration....

As for not hitting anything ..100 precision spells dont' require site. Neither do self buffing, or battlefield. Or if you're fighting ermor and you're an SC on defense - who cares where the spells go. Anywhere it lands its going to kill something.....

Your gem production is *very* low considering your research level - and your blood production is very good, relatively.

With MA marignon - seraphs become the goto guy. And are very worthwhile both as SC's. Harbingers are also useful both to open up casting paths.

Usually the Djinn is there as well at con-8.
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Old May 14th, 2009, 08:45 PM

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

Yeah, I'm really digging the harbingers and angels of fury. Arch angels are a little trickier, as I feel like I'm wasting them if they're just hitting things with swords, but they're solid.

Angels of fury seem really fun because they have built in fear and blood vengeance. I've been throwing on a starshine cap/horror helm, amulet of luck, amulet of MR, shield of gleaming gold/vine shield, and a hydra armor/marble armor. Plus a brand of some kind. How important is the MR on there? I was thinking of swapping on a ring of regen. Base MR is 18.

On the Harbinger or Arch Angel I was thinking of going dual shields. I've got a pair running around with vanilla equip - brand, vine shield, luck/mr, marble armor, and wanted something tricky. I was thinking about an amulet of luck, starshine cap, amulet of MR, messenger boots, rainbow armor, vine shield and shield of gleaming gold/charcoal shield. Then spam the close-range evocs. (fire or air).

I suppose a follow-up question would be how worth it increasing awe/fear is. If I stack a horror helm on the angel of fury I get fear +5. That's a 5-square radius fear check vs. 11. Clearly fear is much more effective in friendly dominion, but I'm mostly on the offense. I feel like stacking awe on top of fear +0 is more effective than going from fear +0 to +5. As far as awe goes, Arch Angels get Awe +4 base. I haven't tested to see whether it's linear, and 2 shields of gold would get me to +6. If so, it seems worthwhile to stack versus chaff, much less so versus thugs/mages/scs. (I could even go two shields of gold and an armor of faith, then spam spells...Awe +7?)

I guess this thread is rapidly turning into me asking questions about equipping SCs. Thanks for the link to Baalz's thug guide! It's very helpful, though I'm still figuring out how to translate it to SC usage.

I'll have to try the blind + 100 precision spells! I didn't realize it worked that way. It's a pretty hilarious image, though.
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Old May 14th, 2009, 09:12 PM

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Default Re: MA Marignon Advice Needed (and newbie questions)

MR on SCs/thugs- Depends on the opposition. In SP, not really important. In MP... tends to be very important, doubly so if you're facing a nation with a lot of astral (Arco, Mari, Pythium, Bandar, etc.) MR of 25 plus is not uncommon against such nations, sometimes even over 30.

Dual shields- Not a bad idea. Important considerations in that case would be having enough reinvig, and whether your enemy can give his troops the right resistances.

Awe vs Fear- Depends. Fear doesn't actually protect against attacks, while Awe does. However, with Fear you don't have to kill as many people, and it can greatly enhance your awe's efficiency.
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Old May 14th, 2009, 09:58 PM

Illuminated One Illuminated One is offline
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Default Re: MA Marignon Advice Needed (and newbie questions)

If you have awe already taking fear is like +1 to awe (and the chance to rout them) afaik.
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