I would like to share a list of tips that I have gathered from playing Master of Mana Xtended. It's a fun mod and I enjoyed it a lot. The tips might be wrong and I don't play on high difficulty, so please correct me if I am wrong.
Map script: MoM, difficulty: Emperor
Map script: MoM, difficulty: Emperor
- always promote units as fast as possible. Promoting units in MoM doesn't heal the units, so there's no need to save the promotions.
- always beeline to Warfare, so that units have 11 str, which is barely enough to clear barbarian lairs, and it's enough to defend against AI (at Emperor difficulty), so you can focus on civilian and magic research.
- with 11 str units, farm some xp from barbs that enter you territory. You get combat bonuses from the Patriotism civic within your borders. Farm xp unit your have a few melee units that are promoted to Warlord (offense discipline). Then you can safely (probably 0 casualty) clear barbarian lairs
- always build roads everywhere. In the first few turns you can build improvement then road, but once barbs start spawning prioritize road over everything. The extra movement can potentially give your units one more turn of healing in the city
- if in doubt, your go-to choice of your first trait should be Creative, because it waives a lot of building material costs than the other traits and these buildings usually come very early, plus culture is very important in MoM. Creative also opens up Philosophical which has great synergy with a Great Sage economy (explained later). I usually time it so that I get Creative at the same time as I research Drama
- when in doubt OR NOT, always take Empyrean as your state religion, because
- it has the best temple (+20% science, +20% culture)
- it has buildings that boost great person points (50%)
- its special civic also boost another 50% great person points
- so it's the religion that gives you the most mana, spell research, and combat affinity, due to Great Sage building mana nodes like in every 20-30 turns (in the worse case!)
- if you're research slider goes below 50%, keep it that way even though you fixed your economy, since you can't manually change research sliders under 50%, and usually most of your research should come from specialists. Wealth % slider gives happiness for certain buildings.
- consider placing your city next to a river. This enables you some buildings, like Water Works.
- if a civ is designed to take a Guild that is useless, try to make up with summon units under a Great Sage economy and pick the better guilds
- in the beginning, it's usually more cost-effective to build melee units, since it has a promotion path that allows you to get Second Chance (which makes a kamikaze unit live after battle)
- it's a good idea to leave Aos Si alone, because it seems like the AI doesn't know how to work with the restoration rituals, so they just terratransform land into glassland for you to take.
- remember to take a peek at Global Enchantments during the start of the game, 'cause you might miss a civ-specific global enchantment and wasted mana in the early game.
- the raiding barbs, that go all the way from their camp to your cities, usually just pillage. The group with 2 orcs 2 globin riders always suicide-charge at your city.
- don't be afraid that barbs get stronger. You can always clear a camp with 2 meteor strikes and sweep with your combat units.
- don't fight a necropolises that have wraiths. Even if you win your units will likely get withered (I don't know how to cure it)
- it's best to raid a barb camp with Second Chance units
- since barb camps always regenerate units when less than 3 units, it's a perfect opportunity for farming xp when playing without Raging Wilderness. Lizardmen are best for farming xp, since they're not too strong and very aggressive -- they usually attack even though your unit is way stronger than them, so your units can be on the defense and get healed.
- God tier:
- Mage guild. Not only it allows you to turn mana (which is wasted in the early game) into production, you should try to rush for Catacomb Libralus so that your mages can be promoted to a sage (discipline) immediately after unit built (Sage mages can build sage towers, which can skyrocket your spell research in the early game). The last guild research gives 100xp for newly summoned units, which is what you need in the late game. Also, this guild enables decent weapons at the 3rd guild tech, namely the Frost Spear (+40 attack strength, +2 first strike) and the elemental bows (50% strength), which is VERY strong buffs for a guild tech that you can get pretty early. It allows you to build mana vaults, so you can grab fire and nature manas.
- Second tier:
- Artisan guild, which is likely my second choice. No matter when you take it, it's a must-take since it's the only guild that *reveals* resources. To put in perspective, your cities always get the 20% food bonus from Deer camps even though you don't have the Ranger Guild, and Deer is always revealed, but metal resources are hidden behind Artisan guild so you can't get 20% production bonus from copper since you can't see it. Thus, the Artisan guild is extremely powerful.
- Merchant guild. I usually get it when I am running 50% research 50% wealth, unless your civ needs lots of money. The Trading District usually saves my economy. Also, 50% wealth is +5 happiness for Banks
- Third tier:
- Ranger Guild. Personally I don't use this guild very often, because captured animals take up unit capacity. Also, the Harvesting civic gives bonus to glassland-based improvements, which is rare (in the MoM map, usually the good civs, Elves, and Aos Si are spawned in glasslands). Though, it's a must-take for archer-based civ since all bows demand very high lumber
- Religious Guild. This one benefits more for the Good civs than the Evil civs, since the good side allow you to build the Altar which expands the capability of priests. Though, Evil civs can't run Herbalist so this is the only source of Medic II.
- Herbalist. Pick this if your starting area is full of grassland. End of story. I think this guild makes promoting to archmage more viable, since your units can take the Potion of Clarity to raise their xp to level 8.
- Trash Tier:
- Slave Guild. While you get decent production from slaves and extra unit capacities from Guild/Hall of the Nine buildings, this guild tend towards penalties to Great Person points, so it's bad for the long run. Also, it gives unhappiness which is annoying.
- Cult of Esus. The invisibility is useless in single player, and I only play single player.
- you capital is always a good candidate for sage district, because
- it gives you the great library, which boosts Sage specialists
- MoM maps usually gives you 2 food resources at the starting places, so the pop will be high
- focus on building a Sage-based specialist economy. Sage can build mana node so +str to affinity is limited to the amount of free land that you have. Late-game summons with mana affinity can overpower everything.
- if your city has a peak in the city radius, almost always consider building a Sage district, since the peak enables you to build an observatory (+50% science, no resource needed)
- if your city has lots of food resources, consider building a Sage district for a Great Sage farm, as long as your economy can handle it. The more the better. Build a merchant district if you're going to run in deficits.
- consider building a merchant district when precious metals are nearby.
- consider building a merchant district if the city is adjacent to a river (enable brewing house; and with Herbalist guild, you can build an apiary)
- at one point in mid-late game, it's probably best to focus on Bard districts for the unit capacity and culture
- before building a magic Tower, always research spells that allow you to build buildings that give you mana, otherwise you might lose that mana without replacement
- usually you want to get fire mana ASAP, since it has the best offensive spells, but only 1 is needed
- usually by some point during mid-game, you want 1 water and wind mana, so that you can terratransform your land into grassland.
- then you should build a single type of mana node:
- nature mana nodes: you can cast Gift of Nature, which is THE spell that allow you to support a huge empire and crash your foes with absolute economic might. Gift of Nature doesn't have an upper limit, so once you have like 10 nature manas, you won't run out of resource again. Well I just like playing big empires, so this is my go-to mana.
- life mana nodes: good economy and Blessing of Life is the best-in-class enchantment that gives you the effect of March, 10% bonus heal speed, on top of +1 affinity to life mana.
- I didn't really tried to mass-produce other kinds of mana, though based on the effect descriptions, I think mind mana is not bad. Tome of High Arcana have global enchantments that aren't bad, your Phantom Warriors becomes +3 affinity with mind mana, March's effect, and 50% heal after combat.
- Experience rates are different for units with experiences 0-30 (unit gets roughly 10xp per kill) and 30-and-on (unit gets roughly 2xp per kill). To maximize the stregnth of your troops, farm experience in this way (for non-charismatic leaders):
- level up any units with < 30 experience (usually it takes 3 kills), so that units get a discipline
- once all units have > 30 exp, level up the ones in the 30-40 exp range, so that units get a class
- once all units have > 40 exp, pick your best unit (that doesn't get second chance) and level it up to 300 exp, so that it gets the Hero promotion, then level up your next best unit to get the Hero promotion. Attach a great commander if you can. Usually for me this would be a Recon/Cavalry unit.
- don't bother with siege units. They come too late and mages are better, because usually cities have 4 units in the garrison so collateral damage isn't meaning -- don't know, I never used siege weapons in this mod.
- melee (without Second Chance): always go for Offense discipline then Warlord. Nothing else is worth it than getting Second Chance.
- melee (with Second Chance): always go for Vengeance (can equip Frost Spear, 40% attack strength + 2 first strikes) then Blade of Fury (1 first strike & 1 movement range - the movement boost is more valuable than the first strike).
- melee (Garrison): always go for Defensive then Lord Protector
- econ/cavalry: always go for skirmish since units can take Exotic weapons (i.e. Frost Spear, +2 first strikes) and can promoted up to Drill 4. So with Frost Spear most units can get 6 first strikes. Usually I go for Bards as the unit Class, 'cause it boosts culture
- usually I take the first 2 promotions that increase aura targets, then a discipline + class, then max out promotions that increase the number of spell targets
- I found that there are only 3 classes of mages that are useful:
- Sage (Wizardry discipline) - I usually build 2 sage mages per city: 1 for building the sage tower, and one for conjure matter
- Warlock (Sorcery discipline) - these are my combat mages
- 1 Seer (Wizardry discipline) - I usually keep one of them for +3 visibility range
- I found other kinds of disciplines are pretty useless
- the majority of your empire's improvements should be farms, mines, plantations, because they can potential discovery resources; other than that, build Lumbermill and Groundwater well (for adjacency food bonus)
- I left out quarry because it's usually worse than mines, because
- only the slavery guild boosts it, and the guild's features sucks
- I found that early city buildings require wood instead
- though do build quarries if adjacent tiles have stone/marble resources
- don't build cottages unless its your civ's specialty. Cottages just suck in comparison to a Great Person (Sage) economy.
- try to build as many wineries as you can in Sage & Merchant districts, since they usually lack happiness
- avoid trade posts too, since Trade Center has a 1% (!!) change of finding the Herb resource (like Wheat and Banana), which doesn't grant any bonus other than 1 Herb resource (the currency for buying potions) and ruins a possible place for mana nodes
- Sheaim - forget about Ashen Veil and go for Empyrean -- high Armageddon counter can't beat mana spam. In most of my games, Ashen Veil civs usually die to the AI first. Also, Thralls can turn into Soulbound Demons, which is a decent unit (2 movement, March, mana affinity).
- Grigori - ALWAYs make your adventurer fight, so that it gets the Hero promotion after combats. Don't promote your adventurers unless they have the Hero promotion, or you'll regret it.
- Aos Si
- use Firefox to scout the area, then delete it so that you can build Shrine of the Champion (same goes for Loki).
- don't pick Fellowship of the Leaves, because its bonuses don't work with Eternal Woods, which is a bit anticlimactic; pick Empyrean instead
- Jotnar - if you pick the Ranger guild, you get a 22-str Cykrop instead of a normal ranger. Basically like getting a tank in the ancient age.
- Clan of Embers - I think it's better to use the free Great Commander from Warfare to build command post, so that with warrens, warrior district and training yard, you get 2 melee units of 40xp out of the gate. That's quantity with quality. Also, use your units to scout and hope for it to pop Crafting in one of the goody huts.
- Sidar - it's better to command post with a Great Commander from Warfare. Experience gain is lower to like 2-3 exp per combat after 30 exp, so I think (not 100% sure) it's more efficient to wane with 40xp units out of the gate, and rebuild the units once the xp drops to a certain point.
- Luchuip - the only type of golems you should be building are Clockwork Golems and Iron Golems. I think Luchuip gets bonus lumbers and stones to make up with the cost of the golems, but it's actually better to spend them on buildings and improvements. Even though I suggested Empyrean for everything, it's not a bad choice to pick Kilmorph as the state religion, since Luchuip lacks melee units (i.e. Second Chance) and Soldiers of Kilmorph is a melee unit
- Kuriotates - in case you didn't realize, each Kuriotates cities can build all 3 basic districts (noble, merchant, sage)
- sometimes a barbarian city is next to an orc camp. If you conquer that city, then move your unit out, the orcs will conquer the city back. Each time when you conquer a city you get roughly 1000 gold. Imagine repeating this indefinitely.
- you can summon beyond your troop limit as long as your mana can handle it