Help with specializations

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Home Forums Age of Wonders 3 Discussions Help with specializations

This topic contains 27 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Amulet 6 years, 9 months ago.

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  • #218532

    So I’m new (as I’m sure a lot of you have noticed) and I’ve finally decided on some race/class combos that I enjoy, but I could use some help identifying some good specialization combos. Particularly, I’d appreciate it if you guys could possibly identify a few different specialization combos and discuss the pros and cons so I can wrap my head better around what the different specializations are good at.

    The combos I’m currently playing/learning:

    High Elf ArchDruid – I can’t remember my combo here.

    Frostling Sorcerer – I think I tried Fire Mastery with Wild Magic Adept

    Human Dreadnought – I’m currently trying Keeper Master with Air Adept, I figure this can tech to late while picking up vassals and get seeker.

    Any insights are appreciated.

    #218551

    NINJEW
    Member

    if you’re looking to be hardcore competitive, you should always pick seeker adept air adept on dreadnought. the most common spec choices for dread (as well as what I personally use) is air adept + grey guard master. air adept + x master is a pretty good idea in general for dread: research is a little tight (gotta get them cannons asap) and seeker is a ridiculously powerful buff, so you kind of want to eliminate spellbook clutter so it’s easier to grab seeker. master specs will have higher tier researches, which are weighted to not appear very often when lower tier researches are available for the same slot, so a master spec will increase your chances of getting seeker quickly (as will choosing specs that have few combat spells, though going for empire upgrade specs then makes you run into the “please not faster laborers i just want great blacksmiths” problem)

    in general, spec choices are going to fall into one of two categories:
    1. give me that one absolutely killer spell that will be a huge force multiplier on my armies (the seeker strategy. strategy also somewhat reflected in getting bless with creation, which is very good, and also reflected in hasty plunder/scorched earth on destruction for raid happy players. another example would be rogue going for explorer to get ridiculously powerful assassins)

    2. give me a variety of tools so i can shore up my weaknesses and better adapt to strategies that counter me (water adept is the big one here. vengeful frost is a very cost effective nuke, rot helps a ton against machine armies and undead armies, freeze water offers a pretty good mobility tool for your slow walker-bound armies, and summon baby kraken can give you some pretty sweet water superiority if water becomes important. another example: fire adept on warlord gives a powerful summon, a powerful nuke, a powerful debuff, and access to nonphysical damage, which are all things that warlord lacks)

    #218553

    NINJEW
    Member

    in general, if you’re ever at a loss for what spec you should choose, you can never go wrong with fire adept or an alignment master, and wild is very good as well (though since EL released, wild has declined in popularity somewhat). air adept is very powerful for ranged-damage-focused strategies, and water is a very versatile spec (not often that every spell will be great for you, but chances are high that ONE of those spells will be very useful). creation is also very versatile, bless is a very good (and cheap!) buff, and having an in-battle heal is always great.

    if you go earth adept you better have a pretty solid idea of what you’re going for with it, because earth adept kind of blows. earth master is pretty alright though

    #218556

    NINJEW
    Member

    picking creation for bless is actually probably not a great example of the killer research strategy, though on occasion it can be one.

    basically, your mindset should be either “how does this make what i already do way, way better” or “what does this give me and i don’t usually already have access to”

    specialization or versatility, basically.

    #218570

    Interesting, so on sorcerer it might be good to get Grey Guard + Fire adept so I can farm up casting points and have a cheap fire nuke for extra damage channels.

    On Elf AD do you think it’d be better to go X Master + Seeker Adept or is their RG + longbows enough to rely on there? Would it be better to get water or fire to have different damage channels?

    #218574

    cbower
    Member

    Earth Dreadnaught in the UG is pretty good. With earth domain(adept) and earth elemental(master). For a visual evidence watch Fakir’s summer tourney match. This is actually a fairly common and effective Dreadnaught MP build.

    #218583

    NINJEW
    Member

    Interesting, so on sorcerer it might be good to get Grey Guard + Fire adept so I can farm up casting points and have a cheap fire nuke for extra damage channels.

    actually no, sorcerer already has powerful summons (phantasm warriors specifically, though today’s balance patch gave them less res so they might get countered a little easier, which is good because the thing where phantasms had basically no real weakness before was kind of stupid), and powerful nukes (magic fist is pretty good though not amazing. chain lightning is basically the best nuke in the game though and once you get it there will be very few situations where you wouldn’t cast it, and fireball would do the job better than magic fist). Sorcerer is basically the one class that isn’t super interested in fire adept.

    i guess this brings up another important thing to consider: is there any redundancy between your spec and your class? your specialization should give you access to something you don’t already have, no matter if you’re going for the “killer spell” strategy or the “versatility” strategy. Dreadnought, for example, doesn’t have access to any kind of ranged damage buff in its spell book (except maybe overload but that’s a poor choice for cannons, more of a golem spell), while seeker is a really, really good ranged damage buff. Warlord doesn’t have access to nukes or summons and no real access to debuffs, so fire is just an all around amazing package for warlord.

    sorcerer and fire however, there are many redundancies. summon hellhound and sorcerer’s summon spells are pretty redundant, there won’t be a whole lot of reason to use hellhounds over phantasms or wyverns generally, so it’ll just be left unresearched while you focus on more helpful things. fireball is redundant with both magic fist and chain lightning, so sorc isn’t exactly hurting for another nuke, so all fireball does is clutter up the research book, taking the place of other, more useful spells.

    grey guard on sorcerer is a very good pick though, essence harvest is amazing in general but especially on summoning classes.

    On Elf AD do you think it’d be better to go X Master + Seeker Adept or is their RG + longbows enough to rely on there? Would it be better to get water or fire to have different damage channels?

    i’d say no. longbows already don’t suffer from damage falloff, so all seeker is giving you there is no line of sight penalties and +1 damage. which is nice, but not really the same kind of damage multiplier that no line of sight penalties is to the ranged dominance that is cannons.

    keep in mind that longbows/hunters are fairly squishy and easy to kill. so if you cast seeker on your longbow, then the longbow immediately gets killed the next turn, you’ve basically wasted your cast. plus, longbow damage output is pretty good but not incredible, so you aren’t really gaining a toooonnnn (as opposed to cannons, who have ridiculous damage, so they can take advantage of no LOS penalties way better, especially since they have a longer range. also: cannons can take a few hits). seeker isn’t really something you put on archers usually, it’s more of a support buff (elders or white witches with seeker are pretty damn powerful)

    again, AD is a summon class, so fire isn’t spectacular here (though better choice than sorc, since hellhounds are animals and AD can buff up animals). I’m honestly not sure what specs ADs usually like, i don’t particularly enjoy playing AD myself. my AD playing friend swears by creation though, and destruction isn’t a bad choice either since AD will play the citysniping game (though to a lesser extent than rogue does).

    #218597

    Awesome, thank you for the advice.

    I’m really liking the look of dreadnought with Keeper master and Seeker adept.
    Sorcerer looks like I should probably go with either Grey Guard Master and Water or Creation or Wild Magic adept.

    I’m still relatively unsure on my AD choice. Any AD players out there that can give opinions?

    #218620

    Loki-330
    Member

    I tend to creation master with AD. You get a heal, buffs for your units with bless and later on the Big One: resurgence. Makes sure your precious animals stay alive, especially the evolved spiders that have become immune to banishment.

    #218946

    Hasbulat
    Member

    I love the creation mastery. It gives a possibility to convert power nodes with additional power AND research, wich is great for the rush development and has very cheap bless and heal spells.

    As the third spec is a fire adept with cheap and very efficient combo:
    Fire resist debuff + firball very good.
    This combo is really great as for the beginnung as for the late game as well. Even the hardest enemy let them kill very quick with this spell combo.
    If your has units with the fire damage, it makes the combo amaizing efficient!
    Additional, you get passive more power from the fire nodes.

    The air aadept might be good for the dread with his cannons only. But I am not sure whether the fire debuff is less mighty for them!

    #218983

    Gloweye
    Member

    I love the creation mastery. It gives a possibility to convert power nodes with additional power AND research, wich is great for the rush development and has very cheap bless and heal spells.

    Every Elemental Mastery Sphere gives this option. (Creation, Destruction, Fire, Earth, Air Water)

    #220491

    Well, I’m back after playing the game quite a bit.

    I’m definitely in love with the combos I was given before, but I’m struggling a bit on my newest one. I want to play a rush style, heavy creeping theocrat. I think in the smaller games my friends and I have been playing it would be very strong to play this way. (I won’t be using this for the larger maps, probably play my dread there.)

    I’m stuck on a few things, hoping for some help / some Theocrat players to weigh in. If my intent is rushing & creeping, I’m down to what I think are four main choices and my thought process:

    Draconian – Starts with fast healing, great archers, fire channel, great supports (after getting the heal upgrades), T3 fliers
    Dwarf – Sturdiest units, very armored, healing on their supports (I can get healing on all supports with Theo, but it would be nice to have it from turn 1)
    Orc – Most HP, great melee & class units in general
    High Elf – Great archers, best support (probably), covers dreadnought weaknesses best, T3 fliers

    Since I want to rush and creep it would be much better to stick mainly to race units and research mainly spells, cast points, and upgrades. I want to avoid researching class units as I never expect to make it to Exalted/Shrine before the game is over.

    Finally, I have no idea about specializations here again. Is destruction worth it to quickly take/plunder cities/get a late game summon? (I obviously intend to be pure war monger here) Is creation master worth it? Do I need water adept to help against machines?

    Any additions to this (especially pointing out where I’ve gone wrong) would be appreciated.

    #220500

    NINJEW
    Member

    I want to play a rush style, heavy creeping theocrat.

    sounds like a textbook evolving-martyrs strategy to me. good races for that are halfling and orc, i hear (halfling in particular is kind of ridiculous for evolve strats).

    frostling is probably a pretty good choice for a non-evolving strat. having heal on white witches is pretty amazing, since you get a unit with both ridiculous offensive power and also a great sustain ability. mammoth riders are pretty damn powerful, their traditional weakness is that between their high hp and low defense they have 0 sustain, so they run into the dreadnought golem problem of “really good for one battle, good luck living through a second battle.” healing on white witches more or less negates this, which is pretty sweet.

    spec-wise, water adept is always a safe choice. air adept is pretty good for theo too, since you’re always going to be support heavy and seeker is awesome. if you’re planning on burning everything down, destruction is always great for the hasty plunder + scorched earth supercombo.

    #220501

    Hasbulat
    Member

    My best early rush game I made with humans.

    You expect to produce quickly your units. Dwarves could get problems with gold with quick production.

    Humans racial trait – + 10 production for each city, so they are ready for the quick rush earlier as opponents at the same situation at the same map constellation. They have support with heal and buff. The marine ability is also great for the quick rush.
    T2 cavalry is able to evolve to t3 knights, knights becomes from the beginning slayer of monsters and dragons. Most of units is armored.

    As for me, it is the best race for the early rush.

    #220505

    Human does sound pretty decent admittedly, but I was worried about doubling down on physical/spirit channels.

    halfling in particular is kind of ridiculous for evolve strats

    What makes them better at this than others? Also, doesn’t the 20% physical weakness ruin your early creeping ability? Let’s assume this is going to be for live multiplayer, not PBEM. I have to auto everything.

    #220508

    NINJEW
    Member

    What makes them better at this than others? Also, doesn’t the 20% physical weakness ruin your early creeping ability? Let’s assume this is going to be for live multiplayer, not PBEM. I have to auto everything.

    Their irregulars (so their Scoundrels and Martyrs, for example) have Slingshot instead of Shoot Light Crossbow/Throw Stones. So, to start with, they have a 3x attack, rather than a one shot attack. To not get into the math too much, this means that they have roughly a 1.5x rate of experience gain. So, that’s very good for evolve strategies, to start with.

    This also means that their units function more like Archers than Irregulars. A Halfling Martyr can hang in the back and use its slingshots to plink away at its target, rather than having to suicide rush behind the enemy formation for a flank to deal damage (huge deal for manipulating the AI into keeping the little buggers alive).

    On top of this, Luck gives them some pretty nice survivability. T1 irregulars like Martyrs and Scoundrels are made of wet paper to begin with, so 20% physical weakness doesn’t do a ton, since they’ll just die in 2 hits regardless. Luck gives one of those 2 hits a chance of missing, however, in which event the Halfling survives an attack that another Martyr would not.

    Plus, generally, with an evolve strat for a weak unit like this, you’re picking your fights carefully (don’t attack Quarries, be very wary of Magma Forges and Mana Nodes), and also will be bringing multiple stacks into each fight. 6 Martyrs might have some difficulty getting through a goldmine fight without casualties, but 12 Martyrs will have a much better time of things (there’s also some AI manipulation tricks you can pull for even more consistent results). it’s a tiny bit slow to get going, since you have to amass twice as many units, but t1 irregulars are really cheap so it’s not that bad, and once you have 2 stacks in each fight (very important: make the stacks are side-by-side for the fight) you can clear with basically no casualties.

    you have be pretty careful with your fights. look at the enemy units participating and think carefully about how your armies would fare against those specific units. plus, terrain matters quite a bit: going with a bunch of halflings into a volcanic goldmine could result in some lost martyrs. but between the extra xp and the added survivability that luck grants, halflings are the most consistently good evolve race by a mile.

    #220631

    Well NINJEW, you came through for me again. After trying it 3 or 4 times repeatedly I finally saw the strength of the halfling Theocrat, and I think it’s exactly what I was looking for.

    A few questions:

    It seems like rushing the Martyr evolution research is vital, with this being said is it worth it to take something like Destruction Master so there are few things in the tree to research?

    A follow-up to the first is I tried Creation Master and it seemed like there was just so much to research that I would never wade through the sea to get to what I want.

    How far into building tech should I go for my cities? My initial thoughts are to get enough hammers to 1 turn martyrs then crank 6-10 martyrs, then focus on knowledge buildings while creeping. I’m not sure if this is the correct thought process.

    Any other Theocrat players feel free to chime in thoughts on build orders and specializations particularly. Thanks again!

    #220660

    freese2112
    Member

    Just my $.02 – but I really like going Keeper of Peace Master with Theocrat. The ability to get the +2 DEF with Keepers Creed and the Crystal Tree/Enchanted Armory can allow you to build just uber-tank Crusaders that can tank hits from T4’s. It’s doubling down on a strength, but I find it’s really effective. I usually match that up with Wild Adept to get some solid de-buffs to make up for some relatively lighter hitting units.

    If you can get a Mercenary Camp as a Theocrat (or as a Rogue) it’s really important because when the Martyr/Scoundrels evolve they keep the upgrades (+1 ranged attack, +1 defense, and +1 to each attack channel (so +1 physical and +1 spirit for Exalted, and +1 physical and +1 frost for Lesser Shadow Stalkers).

    #220698

    NINJEW
    Member

    It seems like rushing the Martyr evolution research is vital, with this being said is it worth it to take something like Destruction Master so there are few things in the tree to research?

    yes, picking specs that won’t flood your empire-upgrade section of the spellbook is a very good idea. so is casting seek inspiration constantly.

    How far into building tech should I go for my cities? My initial thoughts are to get enough hammers to 1 turn martyrs then crank 6-10 martyrs, then focus on knowledge buildings while creeping. I’m not sure if this is the correct thought process.

    when i do scoundrel evolve, my basic plan is to get some infrastructure first before the scoundrels. make sure you can 1turn martyrs, then build up research and mana until turn 8 or so, which is when martyr production should begin. spread your starting army out into a bunch of 1unit stacks that go scouting in all directions, then pull them back a little before martyr production starts (pull back the heroes and leader early, like before turn 5, it’s kinda disastrous if they get sniped by roving scoundrels and a leader + hero on your throne will keep your throne from being sniped too). you don’t want to be clearing with nonmartyr stacks anyways, since then that’s nearby experience being used up on not-martyrs (once you have martyrs joining fights, don’t worry about this. everyone surviving is more important than maximizing xp). i like to build until i have 4 stacks of mostly-scoundrels, or 2 pairs of scoundrel-stacks clearing. after that, you should probably be gearing your throne up for producing some other unit, one more powerful than martyrs, so you have a little extra muscle when your exalted stacks hit your enemy (in the case for my scoundrel strat, i try to build up a stack of assassins. you’d probably want some kind of traditional theo army, so get crusaders researched and pump out a crusader+support stack. brew brothers are kinda shit supports, so you’ll want to see if you can gian access for another option. teching to evangelists might not be a bad idea)

    because you scout out a giant chunk of the surrounding map early with your starting army, you don’t need to summon cherubs early, and can instead focus on seeking inspiration until you get the evolve tech

    #220873

    Well I’m back after some testing.

    because you scout out a giant chunk of the surrounding map early with your starting army, you don’t need to summon cherubs early, and can instead focus on seeking inspiration until you get the evolve tech

    I’m not sure if it was just my specializations, but this doesn’t seem to work with this particular research. In 3-4 games casting seek inspiration every time it was available I literally never got the Martyr evolution research. I was forced to eventually research either the healing supports or the devoted infantry before it would be there. I’m not sure that the seek inspiration strategy is viable in a real game against people.

    #220945

    NINJEW
    Member

    seek inspiration is the only way that you can guarantee you get the tech you want. i haven’t done evolving martyrs myself, but looking at the wiki, theocrat only has 4 empire upgrade techs, of which 3 are displayed at a time. so yeah, either you got colossally screwed over by luck, or specs are messing with things. i’d say that researching order of templar knights early isn’t a bad idea if your first or second inspiration fails, just because it’s cheap and that gets it out of the way.

    what specs are you running? creation master doesn’t have any empire upgrades, but destruction master does have a couple. you might want to try paying attention to which empire upgrade techs are coming up instead, this can help pinpoint what exactly the problem you’re having is.

    #220948

    That could be it, I was using destruction master. It was probably 12 casts so I was very confused as to how it could happen that way without ever seeing it.

    #220950

    NINJEW
    Member

    that’s kind of ridiculous, even with destruction master. exalted martyrs is a t3 research so it shouldn’t be being pushed out of the pool due to weighting. what was your third spec?

    sounds like you got rng screwed real bad. if you try a second time, does it similarly never pop? if you see a empire upgrade that doesn’t cost a ton and that you want anyway, it’s a good idea to research it despite it being not-exalted-martyrs. as long as you can finish it before you get off 2 casts of seek inspiration, you aren’t wasting any chances of exalted martyrs popping

    also, while you want it as fast as possible, as long as you get it eventually you can still continue with the strat. gold martyrs will evolve immediately once you’ve researched it, so as long as you can continue leveling your dudes up to gold it works out.

    #220954

    I think I was running Destruction Master Creation Adept. I’m really liking the destruction spec so I can just burn the whole world to the ground essentially, but I was trying the other out for Bless I believe.

    I’ll give it another shot tonight, I’m also a bit intrigued by Orc Theocrats without a big focus on Martyrs. I think the victory rush + leader heals + support heals could be devistating. I’m a bit worried by lack of mobility though.

    #220955

    NINJEW
    Member

    orc theocrat is pretty great. their crusaders get tireless, which eliminates the only real melee weakness that crusaders have (being AP drained). pretty sure they’re a top race for it.

    #220957

    Awesome, thanks for the all the help NINJEW.

    One last (haha yeah right) question for you:

    I’m looking to pick up one more leader and I’m sort of settled on Tigran Warlord. What are some good specialization combos I should be looking for here? Expander and Explorer each look good for different reasons. I also like the look of Fire Mastery, but was sort of wondering what works well.

    #220959

    NINJEW
    Member

    fire master isn’t a bad idea. fire adept alone is already really good. expander and explorer actually aren’t typically good choices for WL unless you’re going all in on monster hunters or something, as all the empire upgrades will make getting training regimen (<— very important) much harder. shadowborn is a pretty good pick, the cost discounts stack with training regimen and lifesteal is pretty great considering how melee focused WL is. creation for bless is a pretty good idea. air master is pretty good, windward and haste are pretty killer for WL armies (though air adept doesn’t really give you much, since you don’t have particularly good seeker options). wild is good as well.

    #220966

    Amulet
    Member

    Hi doctorbigtime,

    I’m also newly and I’m also playing with Arch Druid High Elves for now.

    At first I played a several games with a custom leader with Air Mastery and Creation Adeption. But now I decided to give a try to a Fire + Water + Creation Adeptions combo, after reading the appreciations of Fenraellis in this other thread: http://aow.triumph.net/forums/topic/high-elven-longbowman-hunter-and-shamans/

    (The thread is not about especializations but the conversation led they to talk about it).

    I liked the Air Mastery for several reasons (Seeker enchantment, Artic Empire, Air Elemental,…). But after playing against several machines and undead I see that with this especialization you remain so weak in front of them, at least in early and middle game.

    Also, I tended to go with Shaman and Storm Sisters for ranged but now I’m trying to take more advantage of Longwobman and Hunters so now the Seeker enchantment is less important to me and now I prefer to prioritize to get more variety of damage channels.

    With Rust Strike enchantment from class plus Rot from Water Adeption you get a very good help against Machine and Undead.

    For wall crushing you can help trebuchets and battering rams (or maybe even substitute them) with Vengeful Vines enchantment from class plus Fireball from Fire Adeption (and also with summoned elephants or mammoths if you have the expansions).

    For damage channels, with Arch Druid Elves, apart from physical, you get blight and shock but with Fire Adeption (Fireball, Skin oil, Hell Hound) and Water Adeption (Vengeful frost) you add fire and frost damage to your repertory. Recruit a pair of Theocrat heroes and you will get all damage channels.

    With Creation Adeption you get Holy Cure and you can complement this with other healing enchantments from theocrat and sorcerer heroes. And finally, with this adeption you also get Cleanse the Land to avoid unhappiness from terrain and be free to found or conquest cities in any area of the map. Also if you take advantage of summoned animals and Beast Horde enchantment maybe you will not mind to loose some units in a combat far away from your empire to replenish the army stack and follow your trip.

    For now what I see is that any combination always will have traits and enchantments that we will consider useless for how we play so I think the important is to focus on what skills you prioritize for your personal strategy or playing style. Right now I prefer versatility. When I gain more experience maybe I will prefer other ways…

    (PS: Sorry for my poor english).

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