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  #1  
Old May 25th, 2009, 03:36 AM

chrispedersen chrispedersen is offline
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Default EA Ermor revisited.

The more I play this nation the more I love it. I'm too lazy to develop a complete guide; I'll let others pick up on the thread. But heres a few comments for the early game; it assumes CBM - but not much changes under vanila.

Ermor:

Weaknesses: Old mages. No national spells. No SC chassis other than recruitables. Poor access to water, astral, nature. No access to blood. Mages easy victim to Magic Duel.

Pluses: Explosive fast early growth. Great recruitable everywhere mages. Great gp/rp ratio. Great commanders. Great City.

OK: Scales: O3 S1 H1 L-2, M+3.
Pretender: Sleeping Forge Lord. A4 S4 N4 E4 Dom 3! You can go with a rainbow if you like. But there is a method to my madness. You can also do S4W4N4E4. Easier clams. But you lose out on air boosters and staffs of elemental mastery.

Ever look at Ermors gladiators? Of course not. No one ever does. But they are the trick to lightning out of the gate.

Heres one of the many mantras for EA-Ermor. Forts >> mages.
You see mages are build anywhere. Your troops are good enough (and cheap enough) you don't *need* early mage support.

Back to the Gladiators. If you took my suggest scale build, and are playing with something with reasonable starting positions - your starting build will be.....

Pontifex and ... around 5-8 leves. And the rest those beautiful gladiators. Pontifexs are GREAT commanders. They lead 45 troops, are mages, and clerics.. but more importantly.. they take no resources.....

Sure I know what you're thinking .. but but.. horrible attrition.... The rest of your first turn is... prophetize your commander, send out the scout. Nothing fancy.

Next turn - send out your two groups. Practise a bit with gladiators sp.

This starting mix does well against archers, cavalry, barbs... oddly enough watch out for wolf warriors. But generally, just pick the two weakest provinces.. and take them. Set your pontifex to something like... fflies, socourage x2... hold hold stay behind.

Repeat this tactic a turn or two. This gets you through turn 4-5by which time your resources (yes even with sloth 1) are sitting around 400. Switch over to purely leve production. Build forts in swamps (you have lizard auxiliars - its a slight advantage.. but use it). Mountains are good too. Really, you're not needing money income so much as

a). Places to build mages.
b). Places to stage troops from. After the first few turns - its faster to build a fort than it will be to continue ferrying troops. And if you build anything other than leves, asc's, maybe a rot.. you're wasting time. Ie., no cav, hastatis. Who needs morale when you have pontifexes.

Research? Conjuration till Dark Knowledge. Construction till 4. Then book to Enchant for flaming arrows. Back to Conjuration... but I digress.

One of the great reasons to take neither growth nor death - take a look for death in some of your provinces. Sometime around spring of the new year your pretender will awaken, you'll build your first augur elder alchemize gems and Dark knowledge. Death is a priority. Repeat that a few times. Compared to most nations you've got few arrows in your quiver. And it all gets fueled by death and fire gems.

Speaking of fire gems - feel free to alchemize them most of the first year to build forts... Oh and send that Forge Lord out with a good guard to look for sites. You're hosed if he dies, and your troops are cheap.....

Send him out until you get good earth, air, and nature income. Use that to guide your territories for search.

Ok.. here's your next few tricks..... Right around the time you get Con2 Cons-2... you're going to be doing well in provinces/forts.. and people are going to start noting that research...

So you are going to start cranking on research.. Don't you dare think elders. Rather - build your elders in spring.. and your augurs the rest of the time... 80 gold for 6 rp... popping up at every fort....

Strive for a ration of around 5 augurs for each elder. Later on those augur fired communions are going to be important. See, I did say you were victimized by magic duel... much better an augur bites the bullet no? Just as a side note do remember that they are fortune tellers. Well worth the time to spread em out a bit...

Sooo what are you bringing your Forge boy back for? Well forging, of course... See your next major weakness is SC's. Now the forts will help with those.. because usually an SC will choose MR over wall shaker. AoE weapon over gate cleaver. And if he doesn't .. you'll be there to punish him.

How? You are the forge Lord man. With a 75% (yes I know thats not exactly right).. bonus.. you will *churn* out anti SC items. And with the paths I had you take.. you've got something to meet every challenge.

Side Note: Somewhere the first year - build a flamen.. till you get a water random .. and send him out site searching. Useful for boots of quickness.

Some people would rather have S4 rather than F4. S4 lets you build crystal coins, crystal shields. Forge Lord + coin gets you ROS, and then ROW.

Other people want Blood. Personally I think your pretender is going to be way to busy to be an effective way to kick start a blood economy.

Some specific items to consider: Botox Bows. Eye shields. Firebrands, Charcoal shields. Ring of tame lightning. all at 75% off.

Mantra #2. Expect to be behind on research year one. But if you're behind on research year 3 .. you're in deeeeeeep doo doo.

Sooo you get con4.. you've got great gem income.... why not race to artifacts? Waste of time. Race instead up the conj tree... you *really* want the ER chassis.. and of course Tartarians.

OK.. next few things to look for...Flamens can get you fever fetishes. You have competent healers. Ok.. they're not competent.. But you did start with a low dominion didn't you? So on the turns they're not healing you can use em to preach. And besides.. the forge lords a cripple. Why not heal him while he's forging?

Speaking of flamen - Row+Staff of Elemental mastery + F/W flamen - breaks you into water. Which is why you took the A4E4S4N4, right?

Other things to look for. Flaming arrows. You need it. You have fire mages.. fire gems. All your troops have javelins. And slingers are to die for. Seriously... flaming arrows + slingers will bring you half way through the midgame.

Communions, and anti SC thugs get you the other half. Hurry up with those tartarians.

Well, I'm about talked out. A few notes. The other reason you search with your god - is to find sites that will give you some diversity. Nature is easy to find - but you need him to jumpstart it.

N4.. also gives you GoR. Use it.

Remember Banefire, and banefire archers. If you look likely to be jumped fast... (mostly unlikely, as there are much easier targets, usually).. evo gives you fireball.

A cheap early trick is an assassin with a skel talisman. Got nothing better to do- cheap way to take out a province. Or Drop a thorn staff on him, maybe a eye shield.

Sooooo...

1. Blitz with your cheap gladiators.
2. Build forts.
3. Site search. Death Death death death death.
4. Transition to augurs Research like your life depends on it.
(it does).
4.b Astral Coin, Ros, ROW. Staff of Elemental. These things will let you build almost anything.
5. Be tricky in the midgame. communions. Reverse communions. Thugs. Flaming arrows.
6. ER royalty. Tartarians. Banefire. Try to get Goh or chalice - won't happen.. Thats ok. The're good thugs anyway.
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  #2  
Old May 25th, 2009, 04:23 AM

Dragar Dragar is offline
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Default Re: EA Ermor revisited.

Thanks for the guide Chris. One question - why up to lvl 4 in the schools? Using the bless at all? Otherwise you should be able to get away with lower paths, perhaps add another path?
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Old May 25th, 2009, 05:09 AM

Calahan Calahan is offline
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Default Re: EA Ermor revisited.

Think this strategy is in serious danger of being rushed in the bless happy EA environment. Low Dominion and disappearing Gladiator armies says "please come and get me" IMO. None of your national recruits could stand up to even the weaker bless nations, plus if you are recruiting and sending out a Pontifex for the first 5-6 turns, you are not getting any research done. Even a horde of Ponifexes don't produce enough RP to suddenly burst out a few research levels in an emergency, plus if they're having to preach (due to your low dominion) they are not researching or leading armies.

Really like your idea in theory ChrisP, but think there are a few problems getting this to work in the MP environment. Done a fair bit of SP testing with EA Ermor recently, but kept coming back to the problem of how to avoid them looking like the easiest rush target, which I think is a problem that is only increased by your strategy.
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Old May 25th, 2009, 06:14 PM

chrispedersen chrispedersen is offline
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Default Re: EA Ermor revisited.

Everyone has a problem with bless nations - its why they win so many games. but your problems are no worse than any, and less so than many. Here's what you do:

If you start next to a blessed nation - and you can't make a deal with him - it does force you to change your strategy .. a lot. But ermor is by *no* means the easiest victim for a rush.

A few comments.

First, if you follow the advice off the get-go - you should be the biggest nation NEXT to an EA-Mictlan. So your very size should dissuade him.

Second, if you can't diplomacize, (and you need to figure this out fast) you have three counters. And if you can't make peace, you have to push forts and mages HARD.

A turn 6/7 rush is just enough time to research the first two solutions. After that you have options.

A). Fireball.


B. Aug 1-4 Communionslave Hold Fireballx3 Spells
Aug 5 Communion Master, PotS, Phoenix Power, Fireball

Now if Aug 5 is an August master so much the better.

C. Thau 4. Terror + Bonds of Fire. Nothing better than to watch jaguar warriors stuck in bonds, where your slingers can gradually whittle them down.


D. Finally, a head to head competition is not necessarily a loss.

When you recruit, alternate gladiatores and leves on the recruit track

lglglglglglglglglglglglg and end up with n gladiators where n is the square root of the troops you're buying.. so if you're buying 40 more or less
lglglglglglglglglglglglglglglg....gggggg. Set for hold and attack.

A few things will happen:

A). Your leves will toss a few javelins.
B). The jag warriors will charge and attack the gladiator screen.
C. The remaining levels and gladiators will attack.

Now, I told you to choose the Trident/net gladiators. And heres where they shine. Typically a mictlan or xheim is going to be vastly outnumbered. Vanheim relies on glamour, and mictlan relies on lots of hit points with two forms and good defense with a water bless.

Both of these are handled ok by this formation. Glamour is popped by missiles - and you are going to overwhelm mictlan with numbers of attacks. Once one of the nets hits a jag warrior - his defense is nothing.. and a leve can hit him.

Even better: He blows his attack routine trying to get out of the net - and will *often* fail.

IF the mictlan player is *only* building sacred troops (as is customary) if you match up with equal production ie.. 45 troops vs. 7 jags.. give or take you will usually win. But you have to be very careful of morale.

On a side note - you could also try for fire resistance with flamen....
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Old May 27th, 2009, 09:19 AM

Amorphous Amorphous is offline
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Default Re: EA Ermor revisited.

I must be missing something huge, because however I look at this, it just does not add up.

The pretender costs too many points. If you exchange one of the non-earth magic paths with fire, it does work, but then your reasoning about elemental staffs seems rather strange. And however you choose to spend your points, the forge lord will always have at least one level of fire as he starts with it.

Also, the pretender part of your strategy changes a lot in vanilla. The 50 additional points the forge lord costs here is not so much the problem as that it uses double the amount of gems for forging in comparison to the cbm forge lord. That difference is rather significant.


400 resources seems much too high with sloth 1 - I practically never get that much. Some number-crunching tells me that my not getting it is very far from a fluke. With sloth 1, Ermor's capital province generates 68 resources and consequently needs to collect another 332 resources from neighbouring provinces with its 60 admin great city. This translates to needing surrounding provinces with a total of roughly 550 resources. That is a lot. A very good start with 6 neighbours would require the average province to have about 92 resources (46 visible on the map).


Now, I happen to agree with you that Ermor does not need to fear rushes more than anyone else - especially retiarii are great, quickly recruitable problems for a lot of would be rushers. However, I have trouble following some of your reasoning, here.
If we are talking about a rush around turn 6 or 7, you will not have researched more than 1 level of magic and to get even that, you have to forgo recruiting more than maybe 2 pontifex. It is also questionable that you will know what you are facing this early. Neither will you have many mages casting whatever it is you have researched.

I also wonder how you manage to conquer territory faster than practically anyone else. Probably I am just misunderstanding something, but from your explanation above it seems to me like your rate this early in the game is about equal to any nation with reasonably bad troops and an awake SC pretender. Obviously, it gets more effective with a rising number of neighbours, but as soon as your neighbours are conquered the one fight limit of the gladiator and the retiarius will complicate the logistics.

Suppose you start in a province with 6 neighbours and that you buy a pontifex and some levees in addition to a number of gladiators/retiarii each turn.

Turn 1: Prophetize, 0 additional provinces.

Turn 2: 2 armies attack, 0 additional provinces.

Turn 3: 1 army attacks, 2 returns for troops, 2 additional provinces.

Turn 4: 3 armies attack, 1 returns for troops, 3 additional provinces.

Turn 5: You have now conquered your six neighbours and maybe one of your old armies have enough ordinary troops to attack another this turn. Your freshly built army in the capital cannot reach any unconquered territory till next turn. On the plus side, you can use independent commanders to ferry troops, so most commanders will only have to wait a turn for reinforcements.

Looking ahead, you have 6 additional provinces, next turn you will get another one and the turn after that probably 4 more, netting a total of 11 additional provinces turn 7. This is about the same as the above nation with an awake combat pretender that funnels reinforcements into its one original army. Starting turn 2 it will in all probability conquer two provinces a turn, so it ends up with 10 additional provinces turn 7.

That difference certainly does not mean much. From now on you should move further ahead about every other turn and a second castle should come on line. Reasonably speaking the difference will appear significant around turn 10 or 11.

What am I missing?
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  #6  
Old May 27th, 2009, 12:08 PM

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Default Re: EA Ermor revisited.

I tried a sleeping Forge Lord F4E4S4N4 dom7 O3S1H3M2M1 in CBM.

6 levees+18 Gladiators will clear out medium-strength indies, at a price of 140g per province.
After a few rounds, however, I switched to recruit sacreds, they need that minor Fire bless to hit anything regularly but with that they're nice. 17 provinces by turn 11 in a test run which could have been increased with some better planning.
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  #7  
Old May 27th, 2009, 07:54 PM

chrispedersen chrispedersen is offline
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Default Re: EA Ermor revisited.

Hey Amorphous - I haven't been precise and polished this - I said it was a rough guide - so you may not be missing anything. I'll address a few of your comments directly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amorphous View Post
The pretender costs too many points. If you exchange one of the non-earth magic paths with fire, it does work, but then your reasoning about elemental staffs seems rather strange. And however you choose to spend your points, the forge lord will always have at least one level of fire as he starts with it.
Yes; the build will work with fire, and if you switch to non fire, you have to make a point cost adjustment. I tried to point out the pros and cons of each. Generally I think the non-fire build E/A preferable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amorphous View Post
Also, the pretender part of your strategy changes a lot in vanilla. The 50 additional points the forge lord costs here is not so much the problem as that it uses double the amount of gems for forging in comparison to the cbm forge lord. That difference is rather significant.
I don't believe this makes a significant difference. The Forge Lord is still a viable pretender in vanilla; the role he will fill is still a viable roll.

Sure, you have a lower forge bonus. However, other pretenders are also, less effective *and* item costs are higher. And the bread and butter items you will be forging - dwarven hammers, firebrands, etc - you will still be forging at a significant competitive advantage.

I don't believe there is any differnce here that throws the strategy off kilter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amorphous View Post
400 resources seems much too high with sloth 1 - I practically never get that much. Some number-crunching tells me that my not getting it is very far from a fluke. With sloth 1, Ermor's capital province generates 68 resources and consequently needs to collect another 332 resources from neighbouring provinces with its 60 admin great city. This translates to needing surrounding provinces with a total of roughly 550 resources. That is a lot. A very good start with 6 neighbours would require the average province to have about 92 resources (46 visible on the map).
I tried 4 SP starts with average setting, on Asia with Twists Map. My starts were always similiar - starting in a mountain location. Each time I had more than 400 resources after conquering neighbors.

I suspect however that you are right. Adjust build as necessary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amorphous View Post

I have trouble following some of your reasoning, here.
If we are talking about a rush around turn 6 or 7, you will not have researched more than 1 level of magic and to get even that, you have to forgo recruiting more than maybe 2 pontifex. It is also questionable that you will know what you are facing this early. Neither will you have many mages casting whatever it is you have researched.
With fixed starts, you will know who your neighbors are before you encounter them on the map. Even with random maps, you can get an idea. For example in a four man game- if mictlan and xheim are playing and you can't get diplomatic commitments from either of them, then you need to plan on being rushed.

If you expect to be rushed, you don't recruit *any* pontifexes. And you have to do a solid analysis on when and how to build castles. A choke point castle in the path of a bless rush is gold.

A 3/4 turn construction in forests or swamp costs 800 and will mature turn 6/7. And with alchemy/taxes, and cheap expansion via glads is easily feasible.

I don't usually build more than 2 Pontifexes, anyway. Hire independent commanders and then make judicious use of the retreat order.

1a2
bC3
4e5

So for example, if you have an army of retiaris with a barbarian independent, you can attack with the retiaris, and order your pontifex to retreat. The barbarian will allow the retiaris to take the province - the pontifex will retreat to C because you've attacked a,b,e in that order for example.. giving him nowhere else BUT the capital to retreat to.

Early game is the closest to MP as you can get. At some point of course you are going to meet your neighbors, at which point bets are off. However, sp I have no problem getting 16+ provinces the first year.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 08:05 PM
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Default Re: EA Ermor revisited.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrispedersen View Post
...
With fixed starts, you will know who your neighbors are before you encounter them on the map. Even with random maps, you can get an idea. For example in a four man game- if mictlan and xheim are playing and you can't get diplomatic commitments from either of them, then you need to plan on being rushed.

If you expect to be rushed, you don't recruit *any* pontifexes. And you have to do a solid analysis on when and how to build castles. A choke point castle in the path of a bless rush is gold.

A 3/4 turn construction in forests or swamp costs 800 and will mature turn 6/7. And with alchemy/taxes, and cheap expansion via glads is easily feasible.
...

If you expect to be rushed, one of the worst things you could do would be to spend your gold on a choke-point castle. It doesn't actually create a choke-point, it's just a present for the bless rush nation to take after he crushes you with the troops that he spent his money on instead of putting up a castle in turn 4.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 08:14 PM

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Default Re: EA Ermor revisited.

EA Ermor has 1000g forts in forests.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 09:14 PM

chrispedersen chrispedersen is offline
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Default Re: EA Ermor revisited.

Hey Amorphous - I haven't been precise and polished this - I said it was a rough guide - so you may not be missing anything. I'll address a few of your comments directly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amorphous View Post
The pretender costs too many points. If you exchange one of the non-earth magic paths with fire, it does work, but then your reasoning about elemental staffs seems rather strange. And however you choose to spend your points, the forge lord will always have at least one level of fire as he starts with it.
Yes; the build will work with fire, and if you switch to non fire, you have to make a point cost adjustment. I tried to point out the pros and cons of each. Generally I think the non-fire build E/A preferable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amorphous View Post
Also, the pretender part of your strategy changes a lot in vanilla. The 50 additional points the forge lord costs here is not so much the problem as that it uses double the amount of gems for forging in comparison to the cbm forge lord. That difference is rather significant.
I don't believe this makes a significant difference. The Forge Lord is still a viable pretender in vanilla; the role he will fill is still a viable roll.

Sure, you have a lower forge bonus. However, other pretenders are also, less effective *and* item costs are higher. And the bread and butter items you will be forging - dwarven hammers, firebrands, etc - you will still be forging at a significant competitive advantage.

I don't believe there is any differnce here that throws the strategy off kilter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amorphous View Post
400 resources seems much too high with sloth 1 - I practically never get that much. Some number-crunching tells me that my not getting it is very far from a fluke. With sloth 1, Ermor's capital province generates 68 resources and consequently needs to collect another 332 resources from neighbouring provinces with its 60 admin great city. This translates to needing surrounding provinces with a total of roughly 550 resources. That is a lot. A very good start with 6 neighbours would require the average province to have about 92 resources (46 visible on the map).
I tried 4 SP starts with average setting, on Asia with Twists Map. My starts were always similiar - starting in a mountain location. Each time I had more than 400 resources after conquering neighbors.

I suspect however that you are right. Adjust build as necessary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amorphous View Post

I have trouble following some of your reasoning, here.
If we are talking about a rush around turn 6 or 7, you will not have researched more than 1 level of magic and to get even that, you have to forgo recruiting more than maybe 2 pontifex. It is also questionable that you will know what you are facing this early. Neither will you have many mages casting whatever it is you have researched.
With fixed starts, you will know who your neighbors are before you encounter them on the map. Even with random maps, you can get an idea. For example in a four man game- if mictlan and xheim are playing and you can't get diplomatic commitments from either of them, then you need to plan on being rushed.

If you expect to be rushed, you have to do a solid analysis on when and how to build castles. A choke point castle in the path of a bless rush is gold.

A 3/4 turn construction in forests or swamp costs 800 and will mature turn 6/7. And with alchemy/taxes, and cheap expansion via glads is easily feasible.

I don't usually build more than 2 Pontifexes, anyway. Hire independent commanders and then make judicious use of the retreat order.

1a2
bC3
4e5

So for example, if you have an army of retiaris with a barbarian independent, you can attack with the retiaris, and order your pontifex to retreat. The barbarian will allow the retiaris to take the province - the pontifex will retreat to C because you've attacked a,b,e in that order for example.. giving him nowhere else BUT the capital to retreat to.

Early game is the closest to MP as you can get. At some point of course you are going to meet your neighbors, at which point bets are off. However, sp I have no problem getting 16+ provinces the first year.
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