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Any power gaming strategies for mages in fast games

Discussion in 'Fall from Heaven Strategy & Tips' started by ArkhanTheBlack, Oct 18, 2009.

  1. ArkhanTheBlack

    ArkhanTheBlack Chieftain

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    I usually play quick tech games on small map size with some friends in MP. The games are quite fast any are usually decided between round 150 and 200.
    For this game style, late game strategies are usually out of discussion, although there still exist some cool teching strategies to get some impressive things done. Hyborem/Basium rushes, treant invasions and horsemen spam are usually quite powerfull strategies with this settings.

    However, lately I'm trying to come up with some efficient adept/mage strategies and unfortunately I seem to constantly fail with them, since it simply takes to long. Adepts seem to be one of the most useless units in FFH2 even with some semi decent spells like skeleton summoning. Unfortunatly, it's necessary to build them very early and babysit them for ages so you can actually upgrade them to mages sometime in a distant future. Until this time, the adepts are more or less parasites, constantly draining your economy down, to weak to anything usefull in this time. Further, IF you get mages, they are only powerfull IF you have certain mana types in a certain amount and combination which also limits your race and leader choices.

    This weekend I played a Sheaim game with a friend where I tried to get mages with a specter/fireball combination. Well, it would have been cool if I actually would have gotten them sometime. As a comparisson my friend actually tried a real power combination and made a chained Hyborem => Ritualists => Malevolent designs rush with Kuriotates. He changed to Hyborem in round 73, combined his infernals with ritualists to beat the crap out of the patch I stacks of doom. He wiped out two AI's when I was still desperately trying to get my mages. Since the AI's usually have nothing better to do than taking over religions, he also got enough manes to develop his cities to huge citadels of hell in no time.
    He got malevolent designs sometime between round 115 and 120 with the infernal grimoire (Thanks to Bill Biscos idea...). A few turns later I was comparing our forces:
    On my side, I had the real ghostbusters (8 adepts) supported by some Ewoks (Pyro zombies) waiting for an enlightenment to be able to turn to X-Men (Mages) sometime.
    On his side he had Super Mario (Mardero), Batman & Robin (Hyborem & Rosier), the Fantastic Four (Beasts of Agares) and some Hell Boys (4 Eidolons) wreaking havoc on the enemies. It was almost impossible not to get a minority complex.

    Well, even if I consider having a better start, playing more efficiently, etc. I can't really think of a mage strategy that comes even remotely in this power region. It would be better if I could directly build mages when they are available, but preparing adepts before, somehow seems to stun my other options. I also don't understand why I need lots of specific mana types and experienced adepts when the Ashen Veil faction just get a combat master bundled with one of the most powerfull spells (fire ring) pretty much for an apple and an egg. I can handle other power strategies like Treant rush with march of the trees, Basium rush, horsemen spam and ritualist / diseased corpses combis, but somehow I can only see the mage strategies at the lower end of the scale, at least with our fast game settings.

    I can think of efficient strategies with special mages like vampires but not with the basic adept / mage dudes. Except I'm doing something wrong. Anyone any ideas?!?
     
  2. readercolin

    readercolin Chieftain

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    So, your goal is to get mages early enough to be useful. To do this effectively, you need a few things.

    1. Get sorcery in a reasonable timespan. Basically, this is going to mean that you NEED great scientists.
    2. Be able to build adepts who become mages quickly.

    I'll do number 2 first. The best insta-mages come one of two ways - from the Amurites with their cave of the ancestors, or from the Malakim, with their lightbringers. Now, if you have several levels of the altar, you can build ritualists who start out as instant mages. The problem with this is that you can't do that with an evil civ. So you have to either snatch 3-4 levels of the altar before becoming evil, you you need to do an excessive amount of religion swapping. And even then, you can only build them in one city. Otherwise, the only other way to get instant mages is with running apprenticeship, theocracy, conquest, have command posts in your cities, AND have the Form of the Titan... not exactly an early game strategy (hell, not exactly really a midgame strategy either), and not exactly guaranteed to be possible, especially in multiplayer.

    Number 1 is at least easier. There are two techs that you can bulb with a great sage. These are KotE, and Alteration. The problem is, the middle techs you want are Elementalism and Necromancy. But, you can break down and research these yourself. Then there is sorcery, the important tech to make this work. Sorcery can be gotten in one of four ways - way one and two aren't too likely, as they are the infernal grimore and the tower of divination... both of which would be far better spent on something else, and are way too hammer intensive to be worth it here - use them to snatch arcane lore or Strength of Will if you can. The third way is rather slow - tech it yourself. The problem with this is its a teir 3 tech... about the same as unlocking champions... Way four though is bulbing it - which according to some, unless you have unlocked a Sanitation pre-req, can be done with the Drama great bard.

    So, lets say you're playing as Tebryn Arbandi - Arcane and Summoner. To rush Mages, you would want to do the following. Immediately tech Mysticism, once you have that, immediately build an elder council and run a great sage. Then, grab Agriculture, Education, and Calender in whichever order you perfer. Once you have those, tech festivals, then drama. When you get a great sage, bulb KotE. Take your next great sage and bulb alteration. Once you have the Drama Bard, and Alteration, use the bard to bulb sorcery (note, I don't believe it bulbs it completely, so you'll still have to research it some). If you have drama before a second Great Sage, research Necromancy - you'll want to be stacking death, so you need necromancy to unlock the nodes. Whatever you do, DON'T research Bronze Working or Construction, because those unlock sanitation, which means you wouldn't be able to bulb sorcery. If you need units before sorcery, grab Archery or Horseback riding (your choice). This should get you to Sorcery around turn 100-120 (note, I haven't tried this before without using Dain (philosophical), and then I didn't do the Sorcery Bulb).

    Once you have sorcery, you will want to be running Apprenticeship. This will spit your units out with 2xp, wherever they have been built. I would recommend teching warfare (for conquest, and for form of the titan) and if you can build the form of the titan. Running conquest is up to you, but would allow an additional 2xp to your adepts. Then, I would tech Military Strategy, and try to snatch the great comander from that. Then, in your military city, I would use the GC to build a command post, and have it also build the Heroic Epic if possible. This would put that city putting out 4xp units with the command post, 8 if you also have Conquest and Form of the Titan. 2xp takes about 10 turns for an adept to get IIRC. Have this city begin to do nothing but spam adepts, while your other cities build other things... like pyre zombies...

    Important things to remember. When spamming Specters, realize there are several people who are immune, or highly resistant to it. These are the Lurchip (golems), the Infernals (demons), and Basium (angels). When spamming mages, you have to be able to AFFORD mages - they cost significant amounts of money to upgrade to. And lastly, when spamming mages - SPAM PROTECTION UNITS. It really sucks when your 90 hammer, highly expensive, time consuming MAGE OF DOOM, gets killed, repeatedly, by assassins.

    The only note that I am uncertain about is the bulb of sorcery. I have never pulled this off. Also, some people mention the Drama Merchant as being the one to bulb this - I am not sure if they meant the Drama Bard (as that's what the first to drama gets) or a great merchant, as that's the great person they refer to. You may want to test this out BEFORE trying it in multiplayer, just in case :p

    -Colin
     
  3. Emptiness

    Emptiness []

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    My suggestion would be to play the Sheaim, rush Bronze Working, show up on their doorstep with hordes of Pyre Zombies before their grand strategy can click into place, and then let them run to the forums to start another wave of "PZs R OPd!" threads. Of course that's not a mage strategy...

    I wouldn't recommend the Sheaim to counter the Mercurians or the Infernals, since (as readercolin mentioned) the units of those civs make Fire magic less effective and Death magic virtually worthless. I would use either Dain (for Philosophical) or Varn (for Spiritual). Varn has several advantages, including extra :commerce: on deserts (ie Flood Plains) and his starting mana: Mind (for Inspiration), Life (for Destroy Undead), and Sun (for Blinding Light).

    Bulbing Sorcery isn't practical in this setting. Sorcery is a 1,916 :science: tech, and each Great Bard gives 671 :science: toward it - so you need three Great Bards to get it completely. Considering the fact that you have to research 861 :science: out of your way (Drama and Philosophy, which this strategy would otherwise skip), and have to pick up both Animal Husbandry and Fishing even if they are not helpful (172 :science: and 152 :science:, respectively), the savings of bulbing Sorcery isn't really much of a savings anyway. The free Great Bard from Drama costs more than he repays. As inefficient as that is, using Great Bards is the most efficient means of bulbing Sorcery; using other Great Persons requires even more expensive tech detours.

    Bulbing KotE isn't particularly efficient. The tech is only worth 344 :science:. During informal testing, with a good start (3 Flood Plains), I was producing 20 :science: / turn (in the Capital, the only city, including Elder Council + Sage) when my first Great Sage popped. Instead of bulbing, I could build an Academy - which would raise my :science: output to 30 / turn. Assuming my :commerce: didn't increase, bulbing KotE would have saved 18 turns, and then Sorcery would have taken 96 turns to research. Building an Academy would reduce the research time of KotE to 12 turns, and reduce Sorcery to 64 turns - a total savings of 38 turns, plus the bonus :science: would continue for the remainder of the game.

    In any event, I was almost finished with researching KotE by the time the first Great Sage popped, so bulbing it would have been a bigger waste. I immediately built a Mage Guild and an Adept, and cast Inspiration, but by the time the second Great Sage popped I'd already researched Elementalism and had started on Sorcery. I settled it for +11 :science:; I could have bulbed Alteration, but getting Sorcery sooner seemed more prudent. I finished it on turn 92, and had a research output of 81 :science: / turn (still with the one city). My Adept was 3 xp from being able to upgrade to a Mage, though... and I'd even picked Charismatic in the Adaptive switch. I forgot to use Apprenticeship, which would have made it only one point away.

    So, all that work and now I can produce non-melee Warriors that cost 80 :hammers: instead of 16.

    Anyway, you'd want to choose your spells carefully, depending on your opponent. Against the Mercurians I'd research Elementalism and Necromancy, and use Maelstrom, Summon Pit Beast, and Blinding Light. Against the Infernals I'd research Elementalism and Divination, and use Maelstrom, Summon Host of the Einherjar, Destroy Undead, and Blinding Light. Fireball can still be used as a support spell; it can reduce city defenses and will do some damage even to Angels and Demons. Rust is useful against both foes, so even against the Mercurians you'll want to get Necromancy eventually, and potential access to Haste, Regeneration, Enchanted Blade, Flaming Arrows, and Poisoned Blade make researching Alteration at some point worthwhile.

    Desert Shrine + Apprenticeship + Conquest = 6 xp Lightbringers. Form of the Titan or Command Posts would be enough to allow you to build 8 xp Lightbringers and then immediately upgrade them to Mages (assuming you're Charismatic). As readercolin said, you'll need someone to defend them, so your starting Warriors should be upgraded Combat I - IV, then Guardsman, and upgraded to Archers when you get the necessary tech.
     
  4. ArkhanTheBlack

    ArkhanTheBlack Chieftain

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    Actually, we usually play cooperative (though not in teams) against the AI's, so I used his strategy just as a comparison of what power level I have to come up with to be able to keep up with him.

    In general I agree with the light bulbing problems of sorcery. About 650 research isn't too much for a 2000 research. I also used a great sage for an academy which is usually the better solution except some special case like Hyborem rush.

    However, the good news is that it seems to be able to get sorcery in the area of turn 90.
    I didn't play civ for almost a month before this weekend and I also tried a warrior rush on a close opponent which horribly failed because of the new stacks of doom in patch I. So I have to admit that my game was probably far from my best. I could have also skipped bronze working since my attempt to siege my opponents city with pyro zombies and adept-skeleton spam also failed (The AI was parking 20 axemen in his city :-o).

    I think I retry another game in single player where I try to play more focused. However, I'm still not really convinced of the mages. If they need body guards, it will further increase my upkeep costs. They are also very slow. The power hero strategies somehow seem to be a lot easier. I think vampires are probably more powerfull than mages since I don't need sorcery, I can directly build them instead of preparing adepts, they are also stronger and have the potential to suck XP from cities to get even more powerfull.
     
  5. PekkaR

    PekkaR Chieftain

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    If this was single player or against the human opponent, I might suggest you extend the time window available by building a T2 defense before going for adepts or harassing the enemy aggressively while you tech.

    Some rushing difficulty comes from considering mages the sweetspot. What if they aren't? Running the race all the way to archmages could actually be easier. You get Alchemy Labs and Crown of Akharien on the way, or you can opt for the hero variant (Gibbon Goetia, Hemah) to get a single powerful one faster.

    What game speed and difficulty are you using by the way? Together with Small map size they could make the turn numbers mean something. :)
     
  6. ArkhanTheBlack

    ArkhanTheBlack Chieftain

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    We are playing quick tech on monarch or emperor. Archmages are pretty much out of discussion. Even with a tower of divination fast tech, it'll take far too long to get them. I guess the infernal faction would probably get a Meshabber of Dis before I'd get an arch mage...
     
  7. readercolin

    readercolin Chieftain

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    Ahh... quick tech drastically reduces the effectiveness of mages in general, archmages in particular. The reason? At quick, pretty much anyone can pump out a champion a turn. A champion is generally better than a mage, in pretty much all ways. If you were to slow the game down, (normal, epic), mages become significantly more effective, simply because a specter a turn can match a champion every few turns. Also, the slower rate of the game allows for more xp units. Really, if you play quicktech, choose a different strategy.

    -Colin
     
  8. PekkaR

    PekkaR Chieftain

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    I played couple of test games. Small Erebus, Emperor, Quick.

    First game was with Kuriotates to get used to Quick speed. With a heavily forested grassland start riddled with rivers, getting Sorcery fast was easy. The path goes through Mysticism and Writing after all. The added happiness from Sprawling and Philosophical for an early Great Sage (turned into Academy) were the most important advantages. If going for the Infernal strategy described above, it helps that both Great Sage and Great Prophet can be useful. Mysticism is enough to assign 2 specialists in that case. I felt the second city I founded was a little detrimental (due to upkeep, tying down some extra defenders, leeching time from even 4 workers) in this short term rush. Decided not to found third city because I wasn't going for world wonders like Great Library with only Sorcery as the aim.

    The problem with the Kuriotates game was that reaching Sorcery does nothing. Mages don't just pop out of the air. I had barely built an adept at that point, nevermind about getting exp. All exp gaining units seem to suffer from Quick speed, unless that's adjusted too. I felt production, not research, was a big problem with the Kuriotates game. If I had adepts early enough they'd have more time to reach level 4 and magehood. The production is needed during a fairly short window of time after KotE but before it's too late for the adepts to gain exp before Sorcery.

    For the second game I switched to Dain the Caswallan. Arcane would help make the adepts ready for upgrade by the time Sorcery pops and Philosophical would give that early Academy as well as halve the build time of Elder Council and Library. I'd take KotE earlier than in the Kuriotates game, too. Fire from Palace would let you pop Alteration if you wanted to without worrying about Elementalism, and Meta could allow some early switching around with only 1 node. (If you just want fireballs though, consider Firebows.)

    The circumstances to try this mage rush should be a grassland start with rivers and hopefully a happiness resource that doesn't require too much research. My first start was all plains and I didn't play it. Second start was grassland with all the resources of the third plus wine plus Yggdrasil. Didn't play it. Third start is pictured below, 1 happiness available from resources without AV temple. The Cotton is a little excessive but I included Code of Laws in the research so it's a wash.
    Spoiler :


    I built a worker first, then warriors. Teched Agriculture, Calendar (switch to Pacifism and Agrarianism), Exploration (for route to resources). The start turned out pretty cramped! Good thing the plan was to stick only to capital anyway. I made efforts to keep good relations with the neighbors (aided by the trade routes they built) and kept close eye on the power curve.
    Spoiler :


    Tech continued Mysticism, Knowledge of the Ether, Education (switch to God King and Apprenticeship). I built Elder Council immediately and assigned the sage. The monument was a small hedge against the culture spread from neighbors. These 5 warriors were enough to gain a decent power curve position until Falamar got Swordsmen, and even then he didn't have tíme to build enough (or just didn't feel like attacking a good pal like me). The sixth warrior I'm building actually wasted a few turns of production because I didn't cancel it in time. Switched to more important and time critical things and never finished it.
    Spoiler :


    While building the Mage Guild, I teched Crafting and Mining to prepare for extra production. Then Code of Laws and Writing. (Code of Laws was pretty unnecessary in this game but I had included it in the Kuriotates game. In retrospect I should've taken Writing first though.) Built Library between Adepts. Assigned second sage specialist.

    First Great Sage had popped earlier and got turned into Academy. Second I settled because Alteration turn estimation was so short. Didn't matter which of the 4 techs I picked, no mana nodes. Third I just kept around because finishing Sorcery was pretty close.

    Sorcery happened turn 107. I had switched to building Research after fourth adept to shorten the vulnerable time as much as possible. One of four adepts had 10 or more exp, two others were close. In below picture I have the first Wizard with Fireball on turn 108. I also tried using Arcane Laguna, which gave the Arcane units 2 exp at this point of the game. That meant 2 more mages.
    Spoiler :


    The Great Sage I had was able to bulb one third of Arcane Lore. In retrospect I wish I had kept the second Great Sage around to use both of them here. Arcane Lore would give Govannon(!), another Great Sage to put somewhere, access to Spell Extension II and Crown of Akharien. It's too bad Cave of Ancestors was only available after reaching Sorcery (and Alchemy Lab too for that matter).

    I'm not a big fan of Quick speed or trying to rush all the way to mages. Compared to the Infernal / Malevolent Designs rush you might reach Sorcery while he's missing Fanaticism. (I'm assuming Infernal Pact came first to start building Grimoire.) Diseased Corpses and Ritualists are a pretty good army already though. After Malevolent Designs around turn 120 (I think it was) he'll have to build the T4 units. Beasts of Agares consume population and cause revolts so that's a significant delay. The iron requirement on Eidolons would be significant but Hyborem's palace gives it. Then the mage force starts feeling inadequate again.

    I think I'd prefer an Octopuss Overlords variant that has better early defense through Drowns and gets a bigger payoff later because Hemah comes at Arcane Lore. It would also allow you to assign both Sage and Priest (perhaps after first Great Sage) because you could use either one. (You'd have to keep Mining on hold to bulb Message from the Deep.) Mind Stapling for Saverous and Tower of Complacency is optional. Financial could be an alternative to Philosophical, especially with Fishing. Arcane might be replaced with superb production or alternate plan to gain exp. (Big fan of promoting level 4 Lightbringers to Mages here, but you'll have to spend some extra research or GPP to have them start with enough exp.)
     

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  9. Demus

    Demus Chieftain

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    to the OO variant: wouldn't lanun help here? Their pirate coves help with hammers as well as commerce and food so you wouldn't be as forced to grab mining. Hannah would give you faster tech, while falamar allows for earlier mages.
     
  10. readercolin

    readercolin Chieftain

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    Techwise, the Lanun would be good. However, running mages doesn't work that great for them, because they are missing either Arcane or Summoner. To be honest, teching to Sorcery isn't that big an issue in most games - as shown above, you can get it by turn 107 on a quick game, faster if you get a good start. The problem is getting the adepts XP, or having them be really useful once they became mages. Arcane allows for faster mages, which is always good. Summoner allows for stronger mages, allowing them (once you have them) to actually replace units like axmen/champions except as a defensive force. This actually wouldn't be a problem at slower speeds, as the XP gain isn't really affected by game speed. A quick game however leaves the problem of more units is better, rather than higher xp units are better, simply because they don't have time to get the XP needed.

    -Colin
     
  11. Demus

    Demus Chieftain

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    well, falamar's charismatic would get them to lvl 4 faster as well wouldn't it? And the pirate coves production would help in getting those adepts trained without reducing commerce or food (3 coves and some forested hills would be ideal). Still, the lanun would probably be better off in a different tech path like stygians, especially on a water-heavy map.
     
  12. grayrest

    grayrest Chieftain

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    Since I'm the one that you're getting this from, I'll add a few things.

    The bulbing order for a Great Sage is:

    1. Arcane Lore
    2. Alteration
    3. Pass Through the Ether
    4. Divination
    5. Elementalism
    6. Necromancy
    7. Omniscience
    8. Sorcery
    9. Strength of Will
    10. Knowledge of the Ether

    With the techs significant to this discussion bolded. As you can see, it's possible to bulb your way up to Sorcery but you need to pull off 5 G Sages to do it (6 if you don't research KotE).

    The reason I didn't write this in the top 10 civ tips thread is that for the Amurites, the goal is not Sorcery but Arcane Lore for Govannon and the Crown. It's more efficient to save two sages for Arcane Lore than to use them earlier, hence my recommendation for research KotE, bulb Alteration, research Sorcery (or partial bulb with the Drama Bard), double bulb Arcane Lore. You wind up with 1-2 extra great people with Dain. An extra sage gets settled, an extra prophet goes to bulbing Priesthood or to a shrine. It's a civ/leader specific pattern and the reason you do it is because the Amurites aren't so hot without Gov.

    On the Drama Bard:

    First off, sorry for typing Merchant. As for efficiency, Drama (at least on patch G) is 600 :science: (standard speed) and the bard bulbs a bit more. The only prereqs to Drama are Festivals and Education. Festivals is iffy, but useful more often than not. I'm not sure where all the other requirements Emptiness mentions are coming from. To me, Drama represents a "free" tech that has the bonus of providing an easy border pop to new cities and trade fodder to the AIs. The question then is whether to put the Bard into Sanitation or Sorcery. I normally don't get a choice since I need the axemen for defense.
     
  13. Emptiness

    Emptiness []

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    The bulbing order for Great Bard is:

    1. Drama
    2. Festivals
    3. Education
    4. Astronomy
    5. Sanitation
    6. Writing
    7. Animal Husbandry
    8. Animal Mastery
    9. Exploration
    10. Fishing
    11. Agriculture
    12. Medicine
    13. Mysticism
    14. Philosophy
    15. Omniscience
    16. Sorcery

    If you skip Calendar then you can cross off the first two. You can't skip Ancient Chants, and skipping Agriculture would be foolish, so you have to research Education and thus Writing. Astronomy is easy to skip, skipping Sanitation means no Bronze Working or Construction (which is fine). Skipping Animal Husbandry would require skipping Agriculture, which again is foolish. It's hard not to skip Animal Mastery. You could skip Exploration, and thus Fishing, but it's probably better not to do so because that would mean no roads. Medicine was skipped by skipping Sanitation. Mysticism can't be skipped, and that means Philosophy can't be skipped either. Omniscience is way out of the picture.

    So, practically speaking, you have to research all the bolded techs to be able to bulb Sorcery with a Great Bard. But skipping Festivals and Drama required skipping Calendar. This usually means less :commerce:, since Plantations unlock most of the best early :commerce: sources, and also means no Agrarianism - and so slower production of settlers. Well, unless you've got a :hammers: heavy start, in which case God King will allow you to still put out Settlers at a decent pace, but that probably means lower :commerce:. Gold and gems would give plenty of :commerce:, but less :hammers: so again slower settler production. In my test I never built another city, but in practical terms that's very bad. You don't want to be looking at turn 100+ on quick speed before you found a second city. So if you want to be producing settlers at a reasonable pace, and still teching relatively quickly, then for most starts you'll need to research Calendar. That means researching Festivals and Drama as well. Even on normal speed the Great Bard bulbs only 1002 of 2860 :science: needed for Sorcery. Festivals costs 257 and Drama costs 858, so again, the free Great Bard from Drama doesn't even pay for itself. (My numbers are from a Standard sized world; you're probably seeing 600 :science: for Drama on a smaller map, but there too you should be seeing less :science: from the Great Bard.)
     
  14. grayrest

    grayrest Chieftain

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    Thanks for explaining. The two times I've bulbed Sorcery has been in games where I must have tech traded for the economy techs and had Philosophy for the Bone Palace/Priesthood (which is normal for my Amurite games). It's a fairly unusual situation due to needing Bronze Working most games and I just assumed it was high on the list.
     
  15. Emptiness

    Emptiness []

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    Yeah, in most normal games those techs would likely be researched before Sorcery anyway. It's just the need to get to Sorcery as soon as possible in this special situation that makes bulbing it with a Great Bard inefficient.
     
  16. Grey Fox

    Grey Fox Master of Points

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    Amurites or Sabathiel of Bannor or someone else who is charismatic to make Adepts that start with 8/10 xp so you can instantly make them into wizards/mages. Enough mana to get free promotions so you can take mostly combat with the mages.

    Then you need gold for the upgrades, so RoK helps. And quickly getting to Sorcery will require sages or whatever.
     
  17. ArkhanTheBlack

    ArkhanTheBlack Chieftain

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    One problematic aspect with the mages is, that their 'power level' is highly dependent on the spells and abilities they have. Of course it's easier to get mages with the amurites, but they are or not necessarily the best mages you can get. Sheaim might be a bit slower in getting their mages, however if you want to play a 'Necromancer' style, their mages are a lot better than what the amurites can get.
    The Sheaim only need two free mana nodes to be able to build the tower of necromancy. With that, they get St4 skeletons and St6 spectors with summoner ability. In addition they have fire mana which allows them to get fire balls. Therefore those mages are pretty much a combined siege and combat weapon. I prefer to wait a few rounds more and get a real bad ass than getting a mage earlier who only knows some magic tricks for carnival entertainment.

    Therefore, even in quick tech games, I think the Sheaim mages ARE powerfull. Especially since you can build an unlimited amount of them. If I try a power hero strategy and then loose the hero accidently in a fight, I might be in serious trouble since I can't rebuild him.

    The problem is really the combination of long teching time, needing adept, 10 XP and gold for the upgrade. In this time a lot can happen. For example in the last game I got mages but the AI Amurites somehow got a flash of genius and did cast their spell blockade world spell right when the Calabim were attacking me with a moroi stack of doom (I was almost speechless...). The game before I fell victim to a production/research freeze world spell (from Illian I think).
    The risk is simply very high with long term tech strategies even if the gain is also very high. It's easier if you can get your toys out earlier.
     
  18. ArkhanTheBlack

    ArkhanTheBlack Chieftain

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    Okay, I gave it another try with Sheaim in a single player game. This time my economy was more solid and focused and I got sorcery with three cities somewhere at round 110. I had 8 adepts and two where ready to upgrade to mages. I had the money for more, but not enough XP on the other adepts.
    On the pro side, the adepts offer a half solid defense with the skeletons until you get the sorcery tech. And skeleton armies can be a real force if they are supported by some fireballs. Against an average resistance, a bunch of selli spam adepts backed up by a few mages with some fireballs can be quite effective.
    Unfortunately, the real problems arise with heavy defended cities, which leads us to the con side of the strategy. Well, the biggest problem is that fire balls only damage an average of about 3 units, and this damage can be very low. The ultimate test was a heavy fortified city with about 15 defenders of archer level. Unfortunately, they were able to heal the complete damage of 8 fire balls in one round since the fire ball damage was spreading through the units. Actually, I had the strong impression that one fire ring spell from a ritualist makes more damage than 10 fire balls together if it comes to big stacks. Although I had strength 7 specters with 3 death mana and the tower of necromancy, the city defenders were just laughing at me. I was just able to weaken the enemy but not to kill anything. And every damage was pretty much regenerated in one round.
    The fireballs remain 'usefull' for destroying city fortification boni, but considering what I had to invest to get it, that's just not enough. A ritualist is much easier to get and a lot more powerfull. The summonings are not worth it since they are just low to mid strength. That's okay for defending, but it you want to conquer something, you either get high strength units or you better stay at home.
    Arch mages are the only mages with high strength summons, but they are too difficult to get. Although it's possible to rush the arch mages tech with 2 - 3 sages for arcane lore (they give ~1000 RP for that tech, no idea why. Normal is ~600 for other techs), and the tower of divination for the key tech. But also getting a level 6 mage for each arch mage is a bit too much.
     
  19. Senethro

    Senethro Overlord

    Joined:
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    What you have to remember is that mages are equivalent in power to Champions. If you want to see success you have to build as many mages as you would champions.
     
  20. PekkaR

    PekkaR Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
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    Mixing in a Mage or two with Air II instead of Fire might help a lot. I'm a little surprised fireballs and sacrificial stack of skeletons (which you can repeat at fairly rapid pace) weren't enough to wear them down. Stacks of 15+ defenders or something like that haven't been a common sight in my Emperor games, assuming roughly equal tech level. Big stacks would've usually fought outside the city.
     

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