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  #1  
Old February 27th, 2012, 04:29 PM

Zywack Zywack is offline
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Default Some beginner gameplay and strategies questions

Hello everyone,

I've learned about the game a few weeks ago, did a lot of reading on the two wikis and forum threads to get a good grasp of the fundamentals and I decided to purchase it. The game is mind-blowingly good and it's right up my alley (I wish I knew about it years ago) and I even convinced two friends to also buy the game. I'm currently only playing either solo or with my friends vs the AI but I'd be interested in playing multiplayer in the future: Even though I know I'll get absolutely demolished in the first few games (at least), I'd be more than happy to fight my hardest and learn.

I'm familiar with research, blessings, site searches, magic boosters items and opening new magic paths with spellcaster summons but there's some important things I don't really understand even with all the reading I've done.


---1) First turn expansion. I've seen some mentions about using a fighting-oriented awake god for first turn expansion. How do you do that, exactly? I've tried a few 2-minutes games to test it out, and the results were disastrous.
The wyrm died 2 times out of 4, Ice Dragon 1 times out of 4, and various titans 3 times out of 4, all that at default independant settings (5).
I could understand waiting until turn 2 for intel to see if there's a super weak independant province to send your god to and your army to another province, but I don't understand how you can expand on turn 1 without facing heavy risk of losing the game outright.


---2) Thugs in general. I understand the concept in general but I can't seem to get it effective in practice, or even know where to start really. I know that defenses like Luck + Etheral + Awe + Regeneration all stack but I can't seem to have it be "worth it" or "useful" in either of my games.

For example, as T'ien Chi, my biggest opponent is an absolutely huge Ermor so what I'm facing is mainly hordes of small undeads. My gems are currently being used to buy spell boosters so that my earth mages can use Blade Wind, for summoning cheap tanking units like corpse men to guard my archer cavalries or to summons creatures like the Naiad and Troll King to boost my forging/summoning capabilities.

I'd love to use a few thugs to help my battles and have some variety but I have no idea what I could possibly summon/equip that could actually help in a fight, even though I have access to all magic types except Fire. There's swarms of enemies so I need something (anything) that can kill multiple of them in one round. I can't get Fire Brands, and Frost Brand are useless. Awe is useless. Fear is useless (which scraps the majority of my current thug potential). I don't see anything beside Trample that could help during fights but it feels as if the gem cost/mage turns expended would be much higher than the prospective reward.

Is there any useful thug I can summon/equip to even remotely help my armies against the Elmorian hordes or should I just follow with my current short-term plan to use Dark Vines to tank for all my archers and priests and forget about equipping any battle commanders with anything beside Cauldrons of Endless Broth?


---3) Dominion Strength of 8+. I've read in countless places that a very high Dominion strength is critical. That amounts to the majority of design points of your god, though... Is it viable to protect your dominion territories in multiplayer with 4 to 6 dominion and priests preaching on your borders, or is it simply inviting dominion death even with multiple provinces remaining?


---4) MA Oceania land strategies / multiplayer viabilities. I was amazed at the fact that there were underwater nations and I love water + nature magics so I have a soft spot for them. I've read that Oceania is a weak nation in general and that the best "official" strategy is to just turtle in the water building clams. I can definitively understand the reason for that, but it's definitively not something I would enjoy playing... but I'm still reluctant on forsaking away my first love in anything else but single player.

My first game I focused more on expanding on land faster than underwater: With my SC God (I'll admit that the lady with the six dogs on her body maybe wasn't the best pick for this), amphibious units and the few good independent troops I could take multiple land territories rapidly, while Oceanian Tritons (great units for the cost) supported by a few Mermidon were sufficient to grab undersea territories for extremely few golds. To respond to early land aggression, I used some extremely early summons like Summon Animal (not efficient gem-wise but super efficient time-wise early game) with my SC to establish myself strongly.

Would a strategy or a variant like that be even slightly viable in multiplayer, or would I simply be facing certain game over by turn 10?
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  #2  
Old February 27th, 2012, 08:33 PM
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Default Re: Some beginner gameplay and strategies questions

Welcome to the forum. I'll post an opinion on dominion strength. IMHO 5ish is fine in most cases ...olower if you can blood sacrifice. Remember.. High Dom can aid you in some global effects , how many sacreds you can buy per turn, pushing your scales (which can be bad or good).

The game has many stages of fun... Picking a nation, designing a god, designing thugs/SCs, orchestrated battle plans (tactical and strategic), modifying strategies based on sites, diplomacy, yada yada. Enjoy the ride!

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  #3  
Old February 28th, 2012, 01:25 AM

SsSam SsSam is offline
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Default Re: Some beginner gameplay and strategies questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zywack View Post
---1) First turn expansion. I've seen some mentions about using a fighting-oriented awake god for first turn expansion. How do you do that, exactly? I've tried a few 2-minutes games to test it out, and the results were disastrous.
The wyrm died 2 times out of 4, Ice Dragon 1 times out of 4, and various titans 3 times out of 4, all that at default independant settings (5).
I could understand waiting until turn 2 for intel to see if there's a super weak independant province to send your god to and your army to another province, but I don't understand how you can expand on turn 1 without facing heavy risk of losing the game outright.
I think most folks would wait till turn 2. Just out of curiosity, did your wyrm have a dominion of 10? Gives the pretender AWE which makes him much more effective against indies.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Zywack View Post
---2) Thugs in general. ...

For example, as T'ien Chi, my biggest opponent is an absolutely huge Ermor so what I'm facing is mainly hordes of small undeads.
Uh. I'll let somebody else handle this one. That's a tough matchup unless you're prepared. No fire. You're in the middle of a game, so you can't rework your bless. Which Era is it?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Zywack View Post
---3) Dominion Strength of 8+. I've read in countless places that a very high Dominion strength is critical. That amounts to the majority of design points of your god, though... Is it viable to protect your dominion territories in multiplayer with 4 to 6 dominion and priests preaching on your borders, or is it simply inviting dominion death even with multiple provinces remaining?
I am currently in a mp game with a dominon of 5. It's tough. You can protect a core area with a dominion like that, but it's awfully tough to export dominion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zywack View Post
---4) MA Oceania land strategies / multiplayer viabilities. I was amazed at the fact that there were underwater nations and I love water + nature magics so I have a soft spot for them. I've read that Oceania is a weak nation in general and that the best "official" strategy is to just turtle in the water building clams. I can definitively understand the reason for that, but it's definitively not something I would enjoy playing... but I'm still reluctant on forsaking away my first love in anything else but single player.

My first game I focused more on expanding on land faster than underwater: With my SC God (I'll admit that the lady with the six dogs on her body maybe wasn't the best pick for this), amphibious units and the few good independent troops I could take multiple land territories rapidly, while Oceanian Tritons (great units for the cost) supported by a few Mermidon were sufficient to grab undersea territories for extremely few golds. To respond to early land aggression, I used some extremely early summons like Summon Animal (not efficient gem-wise but super efficient time-wise early game) with my SC to establish myself strongly.

Would a strategy or a variant like that be even slightly viable in multiplayer, or would I simply be facing certain game over by turn 10?
Come ashore with chaff like that near me and I'll push you back below the waves. Part of the beauty of underwater nations is that it's very difficult for land dwellers to hit you. You can raid above the waves, but holding territory is a task.
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  #4  
Old February 28th, 2012, 05:17 AM

elmokki elmokki is offline
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Default Re: Some beginner gameplay and strategies questions

I'm talking with CBM in mind, so some things might vary slightly. I also am no expert.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zywack View Post
---1) First turn expansion. I've seen some mentions about using a fighting-oriented awake god for first turn expansion. How do you do that, exactly? I've tried a few 2-minutes games to test it out, and the results were disastrous.
The wyrm died 2 times out of 4, Ice Dragon 1 times out of 4, and various titans 3 times out of 4, all that at default independant settings (5).
I could understand waiting until turn 2 for intel to see if there's a super weak independant province to send your god to and your army to another province, but I don't understand how you can expand on turn 1 without facing heavy risk of losing the game outright.
Even the best expansion pretenders are vulnerable, if they aren't going to die, at least they are going to get nasty afflictions. That's why people usually wait until turn 2 and attack only provinces they know have weak enough troops. I personally disregarded this tip on the multiplayer game I currently play though and it was fine - I had dominion 6 green dragon scripted to fire closest and it was fairly decent. It's very notable to note that some chassises just are better against indies though.

In general avoid hard hitting indies (yellow lizardmen, barbarians, knights) and most special stuff (undead are nasty if there are mages summoning more, the dark vine provinces can be fairly nasty too)

Quote:
---2) Thugs in general. I understand the concept in general but I can't seem to get it effective in practice, or even know where to start really. I know that defenses like Luck + Etheral + Awe + Regeneration all stack but I can't seem to have it be "worth it" or "useful" in either of my games.

For example, as T'ien Chi, my biggest opponent is an absolutely huge Ermor so what I'm facing is mainly hordes of small undeads. My gems are currently being used to buy spell boosters so that my earth mages can use Blade Wind, for summoning cheap tanking units like corpse men to guard my archer cavalries or to summons creatures like the Naiad and Troll King to boost my forging/summoning capabilities.

I'd love to use a few thugs to help my battles and have some variety but I have no idea what I could possibly summon/equip that could actually help in a fight, even though I have access to all magic types except Fire. There's swarms of enemies so I need something (anything) that can kill multiple of them in one round. I can't get Fire Brands, and Frost Brand are useless. Awe is useless. Fear is useless (which scraps the majority of my current thug potential). I don't see anything beside Trample that could help during fights but it feels as if the gem cost/mage turns expended would be much higher than the prospective reward.

Is there any useful thug I can summon/equip to even remotely help my armies against the Elmorian hordes or should I just follow with my current short-term plan to use Dark Vines to tank for all my archers and priests and forget about equipping any battle commanders with anything beside Cauldrons of Endless Broth?
I'm no expert in thugging, but shadow brands should still damage the undead, shouldn't they? Don't underestimate trample though, as long as it's on a big enc 0 unit (poison golems are brilliant). Poison golems with stymphalian wings for flight and boots of quickness for quickness are pretty nice especially since they can get full or nearly full elemental resists fairly trivially too if required. AI especially will rarely use spells that can hurt them and their prot is quite high.

Also for spare air gems and weakly armored masses bows of war (air) are brilliant. In Aftermath II (multiplayer game) most of my commanders got one and thanks to the nature of the game being most players having huge armies of weakly armored summoned chaff half of my commanders have the hall of fame heroic trait. Similiarly in general fire/acid wands are fairly useful.

Quote:
---3) Dominion Strength of 8+. I've read in countless places that a very high Dominion strength is critical. That amounts to the majority of design points of your god, though... Is it viable to protect your dominion territories in multiplayer with 4 to 6 dominion and priests preaching on your borders, or is it simply inviting dominion death even with multiple provinces remaining?
I personally take the risk and have dom strength 5 or 6 unless I am blood sacrificing a lot or need awe on my pretender. It's a risk, sure, and recruiting huge masses of priests is expensive when that money could be spent on mages, but in general I've usually lost the game when dominion becomes a problem if it ever does.
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  #5  
Old February 28th, 2012, 09:24 AM

Zywack Zywack is offline
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Default Re: Some beginner gameplay and strategies questions

Thanks for the answers everyone! It's very appreciated.

1) No I didn't have Dominion 10 for Awe... That certainly would account for a lot of what I was seeing! I think I'll stick with with 2 turn expansion when I have an awake combat god, then.

2) I'm playing in Late Age against Ermor. I had expected Shadow Brands to deal some sort of "dark" damage that undeads would be immune to (which in retrospect doesn't exit), but you are correct: From the description it seems that it deals Fire damage. I'll check to see if I can summon anything thug-worthy that's fire immune or if I can craft anything that gives fire immunity (so that the brand doesn't kill my own thug).
Bows of War are an awesome idea! It's super cheap and Air gems are both my highest income and my highest stockpile. It doesn't help with having a strong frontliner, but on the other hand the faster the skeletons die the less time my front line has to hold either way. The poison golem is a bit out of reach for now but Gift of Reason on a Gargoyle and making it trample or something similar is a much closer goal. Thanks for help, it'll be quite handy!

3) That's what I was hoping to hear! Spending so many design points to reach dominion 9 or 10 just breaks my heart so I'm glad to hear that it's not necessary to do so.

4) And that's what I was expecting to hear but was hoping not to... I'll have to be change the plan, then. Back to the drawing board!
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Old February 28th, 2012, 03:14 PM

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Default Re: Some beginner gameplay and strategies questions

Regarding Thugs:

Thugging is tricky; I'm newer, and still have trouble with it; and some thugs will work well against some enemies but not others.

Have some guides though:
http://dom3.servegame.com/wiki/Gearing_Thugs_and_SC%27s
http://dom3.servegame.com/wiki/Super_combatant
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Old February 28th, 2012, 04:15 PM
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Default Re: Some beginner gameplay and strategies questions

Shadow brands are not fire magic though. And the only way to resist it is high magic resistance and/or high protection. (its Armor piercing, not armor negating)

As for dominion strength I have a personal rule to never take less than dom 5 on an awake god and never take less that dom 6 on a sleeping or imprisoned god. I have only broken this rule once and I got to regret that. If you want a supercombatant but dont want to spend points on high dominion I recommend a dragon of some sort. They can do without it in CBM.
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Old February 28th, 2012, 04:36 PM
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Default Re: Some beginner gameplay and strategies questions

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Originally Posted by Zywack View Post
[...]Thugs[...]
Before even discussing anything else I think it's important to restate what is meant by thugs. When talking about thugs people generally mean somewhat beefy units that can be recruited and equiped relatively cheaply but can still move out on their own* (or sometimes in pairs/with light support) to accomplish a specific goal, the most common being to raid enemy PD.* Examples might include Bane Lords with vine shield and a fire/frost brand, or Vanjarls with [some weapon] and E/N bless casting Mistform at the start of battle. If you're using CBM Shishi's are practically the epitome of thugishness, either naked or with some cheap equipment.

This type of thugs works very well in MP as they can easily and cheaply take out moderate amount of PD or small wandering troop squads without mage support, while not representing a big loss when they inevitably run into something they can't handle. Not so in SP though, where the AI's habit to recruit massive amounts of troops and have them running around in all provinces means such thugs will inevitably get swamped by sheer weight of numbers without accomplishing anything much, meaning that too take (or hold) provinces from the AI you really have to move towards what constitutes a SC. (See below)

* Another type of/purpose for a thug can be to accompany a regular army to cause some extra damage to the enemy in support of the regular troops/mages. While this certainly can work I've never been very fond of this myself, since regular battlemages often do similar or more damage, while not risking themselves on the frontline. If you do go this route you generally want to put a bit more effort into maximizing damage and adding an extra layer of protection, while crowd control is somewhat less important since you're less likely to be surrounded. (If you take the above Bane Lord example you might want to add boots of quickness as a for instance, while the vine shield is less crucial - though still nice.) Also, when accompanying an army you can often have your mages add extra buffs to your thugs, replacing or supplementing their equipment. (luck, etherealness, quickness, regeneration, mistform to name but a few are all available in one form or another, from short range one target buffs, to battlefield wide effects.)

A SC (Super Combatant) on the other hand is a true collossus on the battlefield, who can take out entire armies on his own. (Theoretically at least. In practice this roughly translates to: "Any amount of troops with moderate mage support not specifically tailored to deal with the weaknesses of said SC." Since players obviously don't like to loose big/expensive armies they try to foresee as many eventualities as possible in their mage scripting and/or accompany their armies with Thugs/SC's of their own specifically outfitted to take out enemy SC's. As such attacking large armies with a single SC in MP is most often suicidal unless you totally outgess your opponent and catch him unprepared.)

In SP though SC's, even the less inventive ones are pretty much an 'I win' button, since the AI doesn't know how to counter them. A low research example (specifically avoiding F magic) might be a Bane Lord with Shadow brand or sword of swiftness, vine shield, starshine skullcap, boots of swiftness, lucky charm, and ring of regeneration. While this would be complete suicide against a player (far too expensive while vulnerable to fire and lighting, all undead counters and with lowish MR) the AI won't know how to counter it, and it will be able to clean out entire provinces of chaff on it's own.

[disclaimer: it's been a long time since I played SP, and I might misremember what it takes for a SC to be effectively immune to AI effort.]

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Originally Posted by Zywack View Post
[...]Early Expansion[...]
First off, many pretenders, especially in vanilla, really aren't very suited to soloing independents without equipment, even if they look impressive. The Titan for example is potentially really nice with some equipment and research for self-buffs, but cannot really be made to work for naked expansion, due to having too low protection. (You can get awe from high dominion, but this really isn't enough to protect you.)

Some things too look out for when choosing a pretender for this role:

* High(ish) hp's. (Say, anything above 40. Less can work, but becomes very risky, and you better know what you're doing.) Really, hp's are only there to counter bad luck, and the occasional hit that will inevitably get through though, and no matter how much hp's you have, it will never be enough on its own.
* Awe/fear. From your opening post I gather you have a good idea of base mechanics so I won't go into detail. Bottom line is awe forces a morale check to hit you in melee, while fear lowers enemy morale. This is the combo that most expansion pretenders are built around. You get awe from having 9 or 10 dominion, while lots of chassis come with built in fear, while getting 5D also grants you fear. (And any extra points of D magic increas your fear score.
* At least medium protection. Even with damage avoidance from (for example) the awe/fear combo, some hits will get through. You really want the average hit to do little or no damage. So, against the average human with a pointy stick/piece of metal this means around 12 protection. More is very nice. Less is workable if you have other defenses, but makes things risky. Remember that taking earth magic also improves your protection. (Note that this in itself is rarely reason enough to take earth magic, but if you're taking it anyway...)
* extra perks: regeneration, recuperation, etherealness, immortality all help.

Classic chassis for early expansion include (off the top of my head) Wyrm, Prince of Death, Cyclops and Great Kraken. (Underwater only) The dragons also work fine in CBM, although I seem to remember they're suboptimal in vanila. Others that require a bit more work and/or are a bit riskier might be the Geat White Bull, Lich, or even Ghost King. (And there are various national ones of course)

And, as others said before me, even the strongest expansion pretender can succumb to the stronger independent provinces (Lizards, knights, barbarians, possbily massed crossbows,...) so attacking on turn 1 will allways be a risk.
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  #9  
Old February 28th, 2012, 04:57 PM

rdonj rdonj is offline
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Default Re: Some beginner gameplay and strategies questions

Also you shouldn't need to be building boosters in order to cast Bladewind. You have access to E2 guys who can cast summon earthpower - that takes you to E3 right there and gives you additional fatigue regeneration. So that part shouldn't be a problem. You also have access to Cleansing Water with celestial masters, which is one of the premier anti-undead spells, or Wither Bones with communioned Spirit Guides (one out of 4 gets an astral random), but that one may be slightly beyond your comfort level yet.

For a bog dirt cheap thug, try either banes or Ancestor Smiths. If you're spamming anti-undead spells in a battle an ancestor would probably be the better choice here. But anyway. If you're going to use an ancestor smith, try giving him just a shadow brand, a vine shield, and a girdle of might. And script him for summon earthpower, ironskin, holdx3, attack. This will keep his fatigue down and allow him to fight the undead mostly in peace and without having to purchase any extra armor. If he gets an air random you could consider adding mirror image or air shield to the script if it looks useful for the battle. And as a bonus they can self bless, so if you have something nice there they can benefit from it while thugging. If you had access to fire, fire shields are quite nice against undead as well, as they will quickly kill themselves trying to attack you. The trampling gargoyle idea should also work, though.

You may be interested to know that with an ancestor smith, earth boots, 35 earth gems and a laboratory located in a wasteland, you can get access to fire magic by casting Hidden in Sand

And yes, corinthian is correct about how shadow brands work.

Amhazair has the right of it as well, thugs are *much* more effective in MP. In sp things need a lot more gear to survive, generally. That's why I suggested something cheap, so when it eventually dies you won't miss it too much :P
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Old February 28th, 2012, 05:28 PM

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Default Re: Some beginner gameplay and strategies questions

Regarding expansion with combat pretenders:

Don't neglect protection! IMO prot 12 is by far not enough, especially if you haven't got a decent shield.
All your fear, awe and even petrification of the Gorgon (a great SC pretender!) will help you nothing against a good bunch of ranged units.
As MA Man I met a Wyrm as well as a Prince of Death early in the game with a medium sized army of Longbowmen (~30).
The Wyrm barely escaped due to his high HP, the PoD due to flying. They both didn't stand a chance.
So prepare for ranged units. High protection is the easiest. If you don't have it you should have ethearelness, mistform, air shield or something the like.
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