Can't make the Math work

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Home Forums Age of Wonders 3 Discussions Can't make the Math work

This topic contains 14 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Gloweye 6 years, 11 months ago.

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  • #211959

    Dano13
    Member

    Hi there,

    I LOVE this freaking game. I personally think it is the most interesting and compelling strategy game I have played in two decades, and I am including things like Civ, Master of Orion 1 and 2 and Master of Magic. I kind of wish they would go the route of Paradox and release a ton of various DLC for this. I would buy them all.

    That being said – I flatter myself that I am someone of decent intelligence, but I am absolutely baffled at how people are playing and winning on the highest difficulty setting. I win all the time at Knight and lose all the time on Lord.

    I just finished an epic Necromancer Random Map and it was so much fun. I got trampled in the end – and it is kind of frustrating because I don’t know what I did wrong.

    I read all of the tips – Using Undead Plague (very handy), Ghouling Units until my economy strained, I even managed to score 4 additional Necromancers in my army and gave them all seeker magic items so they could absolutely shred any opponent and except for Shadow Stalkers (of course), they did.
    I even had a Naga Dwelling cranking out Tier 4 Gluttons.

    So I should have easily won, right?

    Well I was playing evil, so the last three AIs ganged up on me. One of the AIs was an evil theocrat (very interesting). I managed to land troops and happily torched his inner cities. He shrugged and camped in his capital with two full stacks (including 4 of those flying altars). I am a little skeptical on how he could support that with a single city but – okay – whatever.

    The other two came at me from two different directions, and even with all the strengths I had – how the heck do you fight a three front war? I can’t make the Math work.

    How do you stop the AIs from all ganging up on you? I mean if that was a consequence of being evil then fine, I deserve it. But if that is the case then being evil is a complete handicap. If being evil is only for expert players then so be it.

    The only thing I can think of is that once I burned a few cities of that one opponent, I should have hauled back to my main cities (I didn’t know that my 4 impressive stacks left for defence would be inadequate). But I have done that in previous games and the AI just shrugs (it does that a lot I am sure) and quickly rebuilds from all the destruction I wrought, and then am soon fighting a full strength AI again.

    So – what do you do when you have three AIs on three borders declare war on you? Surrender?

    #211960

    Wintersend
    Member

    Well, I quite frankly go against all advice and turtle, and I am good at it even though most consider it wasteful.

    What I do personally is I create a few hit squads which are very powerful, quite possibly including secret summons if I got lucky with a wizards tower. Typically though, they are stacks composed primarily of T3s, T4s, heroes, and supports in late game. I get fliers if I can and even if I can’t I will try to get moderately mobile units. I focus all of them on one of my enemies while stonewalling the others and doing small skirmishes and troop redeployment where necessary so I’m never caught with less than a dozen units when I’m attacked. I typically try to keep a mix of t1s and t2s with a few solid t3s where needed. E.g. cannons, fliers for mobility, firstborn.

    Raiding wizard towers is always a good plan and with the right units you can raid one pretty fast even without focusing on military. I think I took one out and got summon obsidian dragon by about turn 20 in one of my games and used it to go on a clearing spree. Secret spells are your friend if you can get them and can easily turn the tide. A block of monster hunters supported by Great Healing Showers and Mass Bless are a force to be reckoned with and can down many times their own number, especially against AD or anyone lacking solid AOE options.

    I always try to drop one quickly if at all possible, hence the focus on mobility in my strike teams, and avoid fights I know I can’t win. Better to temporarily lose a city and hit them with a devastating reprisal than to lose the city and a stack for little to no gains.

    #211975

    Gloweye
    Member

    Doesn’t sound like turtling to me…

    Anyway, my army consists of two parts.

    1)Offensive
    Usually hero stacks, though later in the game can be other combat stacks. Think stuff like stacks of Exalted / Resurgent Succubi / 3 Deathbringer + 2 Reanimator + Hero / Mounted Archers, whatever. These stacks must be powerful enough to clear any site. When they encounter an AI, I combine them for multi-stack battles. In the case of the Necro, these are joined by my Army of Random Ghouls that all those Deathbringers create – I suicide them to soften up hard sites like Ziggurat (a true pain to necro, in my experience), or to help in those multi-stack battles against AI to prevent losses to my main forces.

    2)Defenseive.
    City garrisons, and if it feels like needed, interception stacks against AI armies that slipped past my offensive ones.

    That’s how I do it.

    #212011

    NuMetal
    Member

    Hi, Dano13!

    Your game sounds epic! ๐Ÿ˜€
    I hope I can help you a little with understanding the mechanics you asked about. However for beating multiple Emperors the only solution is practice, practice, practice.

    1. AI advantages:
    The AI has multiple advantages/cheats it uses to be able to compete with a human player. The amount of advantages it gets depends on its difficulty.
    The most notable advantages for an Emperor AI are the following:
    – It has +300 Empire happiness
    – It has a huge income and research bonus
    – It gets +3def +2res bonus (or only +2/+1? I am not sure) when clearing independent sites.
    – Its machines regenerate 6 hp per turn if they are not in your sight
    – Its undead units regenerate 8 hp per turn if they are not in your sight
    – It knows what units you have standing in your cities
    – If it has spotted one of your units it knows where this unit is for the next few turns (I think there have been some changes to this so I am not so sure about this one)

    2. Alignment:
    Alignment influences multiple things but it does not automatically make AIs turn against you as in your game (there must have been other reasons for that, possibly just bad luck).
    – Being evil gives a malus on all relationships with everything and being good gives a bonus on all relationships with everything. So a pure good and a pure evil player are just as likely to become buddies as two neutral players. Pure evil + pure evil however is the least likely combination and pure good and pure good is the most likely combination to make peace and/or forge an alliance.
    – Being the first to become pure evil finishes an Empire quest and grants you some free units and being the first to be pure good does the same
    – units with “dedicated to good” like for example the Golden Dragon or “dedicated to evil” like the Dire Penguin will get hefty morale penalties if you don’t have their preferred alignment (if you are of the opposite alignment they’ll have -1100 morale!)
    – the specializations that were released with Eternal Lords give extra bonuses to units and players with a certain alignment and help you give your units that alignment
    – indirectly your alignment choice will strongly influence your playstyle because to get to a certain alignment you are forced into making certain choices like letting guards flee, not migrating cities and not taking independents by force if you want to become good or not buying and vassaling cities and making peace with other players when you want to become evil.

    Now in a ffa game with 7 Emperors to win you really need to practice a lot. You mainly need to practice tactical combat because that’s where you can defy all odds.
    If you are good enogh and are doing everything right you will basically never lose a unit in your main stacks and if you have a decent tactic it’ll be incredibly easy even against Emperor AIs.
    I’d suggest you start a game as Theocrat Orc and tech straight to Martyrs and build three of them so that you have a main stack of leader+hero+strong melee unit (if you start with a Shocktrooper that’d be perfect) and three Martyrs. After researchign Martyrs you go straight for Empire Upgrades so that you get the empire upgrade that lets Martyrs evovle into Exlated as soon as possible. You use your main stack to pick every fight possible (in which you won’t lose a unit!), use absorb pain on leader, hero and shocktrooper and than attack and kill with those three (shocktrooper running to enemy and guarding there and heroes shooting from behind). Once you are sure to win also bring in the martyrs to get the kills if possible. if you do this you’ll have the Shocktrooper on gold medal or even Champion and the three Martyrs evolved to Exalted before turn twenty and from then on that stack is litterally unkillable because the exalted keep absorb pain. Also your leader and hero will have powerful abilities themself by then and even mythical sites will be a cake-walk for you. From then on just walk from opponent to opponent and kill everything you come past (every site, every unit running around, everything!) and just kill one opponent after the other. Nothing will be able to stop you and you will be snowballign hard since your leader will definitely also convert units onthe way and all the shit you conquer will produce other armies as well.
    When I do this on Large maps I usually have won the game (as in nobody really has any chance to beat me anymore) by turn 50.
    Of course this is only one strategy amongst many super strong ones but it should teach you the “my first stack kills everything in its patch and not even capitals from other players can stop it” mode which you should always have against the AI.
    No matter what race/class you play you’ll always find a tactic that is strong enough to always win without any casualties on your side, it’s only important to get it rolling asap.

    I hope this helped a little. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Cheers!

    #212025

    NEHZ
    Member

    Keep an eye on your upkeep: you can support a lot of low tier units for the cost of high tier ones. Upkeep from t1 to t4: 4/8/16/32. So for defense, a wall and some low tier ranged units is the cheapest defense. On the offense, you’ll want some higher tier units since they tend to survive longer which is important as the distance from home makes replacing them harder. Also, you’ll need high tier units to break sturdier defenses.
    As mentioned before, tactical battles matter. It’s where you can trade so efficiently that the opponent’s AI bonuses pale by comparison. (btw, highest two AI is of the same quality as the 3rd highest, except that the 3rd highest doesn’t receive bonuses) The bonuses of the AI are relative to the amount of cities they have, so taking their cities does shrink their income.

    Note that the speed at which you need to attacking and taking AI cities might differ depending on the map size and what other map settings you use.

    #212036

    Gloweye
    Member

    โ€“ It knows what units you have standing in your cities
    โ€“ If it has spotted one of your units it knows where this unit is for the next few turns (I think there have been some changes to this so I am not so sure about this one)

    Just wanted to mention that this applies to all AI, not just to Emperor.

    And I concur, being good in tactical combat can compensate for a LOT of strategic disadvantages.

    #212037

    NuMetal
    Member

    Just wanted to mention that this applies to all AI, not just to Emperor.

    โ€“ It gets +3def +2res bonus (or only +2/+1? I am not sure) when clearing independent sites.

    This one too I think.

    #212098

    Wintersend
    Member

    What I meant was I know a lot of people say its wasteful to have lots defenders in your cities and I’ll stick 2 stacks of monster hunters in a chokepoint city and have other units nearby which can get there with one turn of warning but I might only have 3-4 stacks in total out actually attacking.

    #212125

    SiaFu
    Member

    As others have made good suggestions I’d just emphasize one thing when fighting attrition at a numerical disadvantage: Conversion. Seducing, Charming and Ghouling enemy units is, like summoning, great for your economy because you don’t waste upkeep on units travelling to the front from your production centres – you get them where they’re needed and usually when they’re needed.

    Instead of cranking out Gluttons that cost 32gp/turn while travelling to the front, I’d go for Matriarchs. They have Curse and Charm as well as Cause Fear (1/battle) and if your enemies have low-res units, turn their strength against them by conversion. Naga are great ghouls because Regrowth still works with undead (I hope they don’t patch that out). So you may want some Guardians as meat shields and self-sufficient garrisons as well.

    Also, AI underuses heroes so Arcane Forge and good item combos should be a priority . You can raise hero CP and get some spells that don’t drain your Leaders CP.
    Hero spells have infinite range so you can use them on the AI while it’s in defend mode, and then strike when it’s weakened. Immobilizing and debilitating spells (stiffen limbs, Slayer’s doubt etc.) really help against enemy Tier IVs.

    As a Necro you’ll still want crafted healing on some of your Necro heroes if you haven’t researched Harbingers, and pair them with the DPS-ers so you don’t waste skill points and rounds on devour corpse.
    Get as many Cadavers as you can as expendable chaff that draws fire from units you’re nurturing to Elite, even if you don’t have Bone Collectors in the battle. Get raise undead to mitigate Attrition in your ranks.

    Convert undead, if it works, could net you some high level tomb defenders, but you’re probably too late in the game for building up advantages by creeping treasure sites.

    Try baiting AIs into attacking cities with Chant of Unlife and walls so you can lull them into false overconfidence and reduce their numbers with minimal losses.

    And, as an evil Necro, you can play scorched earth in the AI’s backyard as they’re poor at garrisoning their cities, even on Emperor.
    Use Haste berries and rough terrain to get some Lost souls and Banshees (with any other floaters/fliers) razing their economy centres – you can always animate the ruins later, while the AI seldom takes the time to rebuild.

    #212160

    Gloweye
    Member

    Just wanted to mention that this applies to all AI, not just to Emperor.

    โ€“ It gets +3def +2res bonus (or only +2/+1? I am not sure) when clearing independent sites.

    This one too I think.

    Nah, only on King and Emperor. IIRC it was +2/+2, but TBH I don’t know for sure.

    #212207

    Dano13
    Member

    Hey thanks for all the great answers.

    Getting units wasn’t my problem, supporting the ones I had was the main problem.

    I think my main mistake was thinking that I could detach a major stack and burn an AI into submission but on a large map – unless you have scouted the over and underworld (a seriously difficult feat when surrounded by enemies) – that really doesn’t work does it? He must have has a group of cities hidden somewhere because his lone capital was supporting 6 shrines of smiting (he built more since last I wrote) in three full stacks. I guess the only way to beat an AI at this level (for me anyway) is to work like a machine. Keep the surface area of your empire as small as possible and expand like a fire burning those around you.

    Anyway – I’ll do better next time. I still LOVE this game. I have had more nail biting battles in Age of Wonders 3 than in all the strategy games I have played in my life.

    On a related note – does anyone know of a decent way to keep AIs relatively civil to you?

    #212208

    NINJEW
    Member

    On a related note โ€“ does anyone know of a decent way to keep AIs relatively civil to you?

    Pretty sure this basically isn’t worth attempting. Been a while since I’ve played the AI, but it can turn on you at the drop of a hat

    #212210

    quo
    Member

    The main way to keep them from aggroing you is to have them get into a fight with someone else instead. I don’t really have a reliable way of doing that, though.

    #212227

    zeelilus
    Member

    Pretty sure the AI gets a large enough gold boost on higher difficulties that it can sustain multiple stacks with a single city quite easily.

    #212237

    Gloweye
    Member

    Pretty sure the AI gets a large enough gold boost on higher difficulties that it can sustain multiple stacks with a single city quite easily.

    ^^this. Lord AI gets +33% income and +100 global happiness boost, so that might help it. Still, 3 full stacks with 6 T4’s is a lot for that…

    @dano13, you need to expand if you want to build an army capable of fighting the AI. It’s a boon to be in the corner of the map, but it doesn’t really matter that much. Generally, having some stack around AI’s domain will make that AI keep his armies in his garrisons. Even if you can’t take their cities, they’ll be unable to mount an offensive against you.

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