Obliterated by endgame strategic spells

By on July 4, 2013 3:06:02 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

rowyerboat

Join Date 06/2013
+2

First post here.

So. I was mopping up a (theoretical) victory on Expert, having wiped out all but Pariden on a medium map (Curgen's whatever).  I had destroyed the bulk of her armies and she had...lol...sued for peace.  She was down to about 5 cities, and was hiding all her champs in one of them (I had killed them all recently).  

I have 5 full Deadly/Epic armies marching down several of her last 5 cities when suddenly BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM some combo of spell hits EVERY ONE of my armies, and over a course of three turns--during which I could do absolutely nothing, since ALL of my troops had been scattered/immobilized by Tornadoes on EVERY turn--they were utterly annihilated.  

My question is, obviously, how the heck did this happen?  This includes killing a 240-health dragon in two turns, with nothing but strategic spells.  As far as I can tell from the descriptions, there's nothing that could possibly do that much damage, especially since she couldn't have had more than a couple of any given type of shard.  I can buy that she had enough heroes to cast that many Tornadoes--which in itself is a bit OP, to be able to just spam it multiple times every turn for a mere 45 mana each--but I just can't figure the damage.  And that's even assuming she had piles of mana to cast all that, which I'm guessing she did as Pariden, even though she had already pulled a less extreme (but still painful) version of the combo over two turns about ten turns earlier (my armies had recovered/been replaced by the second combo).

It's even more disturbing because there's absolutely NOTHING you can do to defend against it, other than just stay out of her land and go for a Master Quest victory, which I didn't want to do.

Thoughts?

P.S. I had Spell of Making victory disable for this match, and was going for Conquest since I've never bothered to fully complete one.

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July 4, 2013 3:40:59 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I guess Falling Star could have come into it, that does a lot of damage.

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July 4, 2013 3:57:27 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

That was definitely part of it, but at 18 damage + 3 per fire/air shard it couldn't have been more than 30 or so damage per cast...unless you can cast it like 5 times per turn (?!?!?).

And if it was...that's certainly OP.

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July 4, 2013 4:05:29 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Pretty sure it's per unit in an army (meaning if its a full 9 companies/hero units that make up 1 army each one is going to be hit for that much. I've used Fallen Star before against armies that wanted to keep comming after me and I got sick and tired of it so I just bombarded them with it and it would destroy an army with something like 546 hp to about 48/153 with just one use. Not to mention I could use other abilities as well to wombo combo. It seems like most of these abilities become insane later on (like using Arcane Outpost to take most of the map quickly and then when in need just keep porting your units with either call of the titans or air cloud.)

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July 4, 2013 5:14:41 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Glad to hear that the AI is using strategic spells effectively, even if it's a pain in your case!

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July 4, 2013 5:22:19 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

There's nothing you can do to defend against this? I can think of two ways. 

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July 4, 2013 5:39:00 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I can think of ways too. Spreading out your troop more comes to my mind first.

It would really be nice to get a better indication of the strategic spells the AI casts on you. Having to guess what spells were cast is not fun.

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July 4, 2013 5:39:35 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Right, but the dragon had 240 hp by itself...other units had probably about 100 each or so.

 

And while yeah, two of my armies were close enough to get hit with one spell, the rest were not.  But I agree some kind of combat log would be incredibly helpful.  I just saw the screen light up with fireworks when I pressed the "turn" button.  Could have been 15 spells for all I know.  Either way, still seems unbalanced without any kind of counter or spam-preventing-mechanism.

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July 4, 2013 6:16:21 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I agree more information as to what happened would be helpful, but why is it unbalanced? You wouldn't say it was unbalanced if your armies had been defeated by the AI with armies, so why is it unbalanced if the AI beats you with spells?

I've not had this happen to me, but I assume spreading your troops out more and giving them magic resistance cloaks would help. Falling Star specifically says is does fire damage, for example, so fire resistance should protect against this. If all else fails, you can knuckle down for a war of attrition. Build two stacks, maybe one of cannon fodder, one well protected and mounted for fast movement, send in your cannon fodder to get obliterated while you leave your stack of doom inside your borders. After the AI has cast lots of spells on your cannon fodder army, send in your well protected army, which should hopefully be able to survive whatever the AI has left. You can cast Call of the Titans on any tile, it doesn't have to be in your borders, so use it to move your stack of doom next to the AI's capital city after it's used all its spells on your cannon fodder stack. I find it hard to believe you couldn't take one city at a time, and certainly on Expert, the AI should run out of mana eventually.

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July 4, 2013 6:22:00 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

After some thought I guess fire- or cold-resist cloaks would be an answer, but without knowing which spell was cast (could be falling star or vetrar's howl, at least) I can't know which cloak to get.  In fact she could have access to both, and probably does.  And it doesn't help against the Tornado spam.  I know for a fact she was casting 2-3 Tornadoes every turn.  Heck if the AI was really smart it would have just run out and picked off my scattered and immobilized troops one by one, without even needing a damaging strategic spell.  

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July 4, 2013 6:43:23 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I posted just as you were merlinme, thanks for the suggestions.  I guess knowing what is about to happen, I can go back and try something a bit more coordinated.

Still, my gut feeling is that Tornado shouldn't be so easily spammable.  

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July 4, 2013 7:28:37 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

You should get a message about the spells cast, just like the messages about finished buildings etc.

 If you didn't, I suggest you check your settings and version of LH.

Strategic spells are very powerful,  maybe a bit too much so. An easy solution is to stay out of your opponents territory. Only invade when you can take a city/outpost that turn.

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July 4, 2013 7:42:21 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

If you have access to Nature's Cloak (Earth spell) I imagine that would immediately solve the problem. It's cheap enough to cast on every unit in a stack, and will give +25% resistance to all magic elemental damage, + x% per earth shard. (It says +10% per shard online but I thought it was +5%.) Even at +5% per earth shard, if you have four shards that gives 45% protection against all damage. If the AI only has access to one damage type, with the right cloaks you can give your troops 95% protection. Even if the AI is using both, if you equip half your stack with cold protection and half with fire protection, the AI will have to use both (and accordingly burn more mana). Even the damage you're not cloaked against will still only be 55%as effective.

I don't think resistance is effective against Tornado (which seems to cause physical damage), but Tornado damage is relatively low anyway, unless they have a lot of air shards.

I thought they'd raised the mana cost of Tornado, but I don't have access to double-check at the moment.

From memory I think you can check the AI's mana reserves in the Foreign Relations window, or, failing that, you can quit a game and check the graphs to work out how close the AI is to using up its mana stores.

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July 4, 2013 7:47:23 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The 1.1 patch notes say cost of Tornado was raised to 150 mana.

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July 4, 2013 11:20:26 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


I question I have is why were these stragetic spells not being cast throughout the rest of the game? Why now at the end only when you have only one faction left?

Is this the first time you've approached Paradin?

Were you unaware of the potental damage strategic spells can do?

Is there inconsistency to when these strategic spells are being cast?

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July 4, 2013 12:45:04 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The only annoying thing is tornado, no cooldown makes it too easy to spam, and regrouping your armies every other turn is highly annoying. However, the AI is stupid so you can send in a couple of units before moving in with  your main army, and they will get freezed/tornadoed/bombed from orbit. Kinda stupid system, but you can game it a bit. 

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July 4, 2013 2:29:16 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting GFireflyE,


I question I have is why were these stragetic spells not being cast throughout the rest of the game? Why now at the end only when you have only one faction left?

Is this the first time you've approached Paradin?

Were you unaware of the potental damage strategic spells can do?

Is there inconsistency to when these strategic spells are being cast?

 

Yes to the first three questions.  I had been on good terms with Pariden until she was the only one left.  I had never seen the AI use them except for an occasional Freeze/Pillar of Flame and the Pillar had never done THAT much damage.  Also, I had never really used them much myself, because I rarely find myself on the defensive side of things.

In response to Fallenchar, there were messages regarding all the Tornadoes, but not whatever spells were doing the damage.  Maybe that's some kind of bug.

I don't know how I overlooked Nature's Cloak, that would indeed be the counter I was looking for.

Thanks everyone for all the helpful input.  Gonna reload and see what happens.

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July 4, 2013 3:31:13 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


Nature's cloak is the #1 counter.

The other is to have an Ophidian in your main stack... 

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July 4, 2013 4:48:06 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Tidal wave can be used offensively to soften up stacks before engaging You also have that freeze town spell that lowers initiative by 3 and stacks if a city looks particularly nasty. 

While fire magic is awesome early game, get enough water shards and things start really looking scary end game. (blizzard scrolls are OP, hint hint )

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July 4, 2013 6:15:37 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

One last update:

On the second try, Pariden didn't use any spells besides Freeze.  I was all cloaked up anyway, and needless to say I steamrolled her down to two cities and she surrendered.  I looked at the mana chart after the game, and it doesn't appear that she would have had nearly enough mana to blast me with all those spells.  So it seems something was wonky that first time...

Cheers and thanks again for the feedback.

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July 5, 2013 3:42:45 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Fallenchar,

You should get a message about the spells cast, just like the messages about finished buildings etc.

 If you didn't, I suggest you check your settings and version of LH.

Strategic spells are very powerful,  maybe a bit too much so. An easy solution is to stay out of your opponents territory. Only invade when you can take a city/outpost that turn.

 

Last time I checked, you got a message for spells like wither, freeze, and curses affecting cities (Antipathy and the like). I personnally have yet to be tornadoed; but I quite confident you DON'T get any notifications for Pillar or Flame or Falling Star - and something it is quite surprising to see a whole portion of the fog of war reappears without knowing what happened to your stack

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July 9, 2013 1:45:43 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

From my experience, with around 7-10 shard, tidal wave and vetral howl each can do around 80-100 damage. Falling star can do roughly the same. Only happen at end game, and surprisingly i was pariden too (but i'm not on the receiving end). I've wiped AI defender hero with around 150 hp once with falling star + vetral howl. Though i don't know if some things has changed now, it's on v1.1 or maybe even v1.0 (the last time i played this game is one month ago).

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July 9, 2013 7:56:18 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I always thought that wishing the AI would use strategic spells was a case of being careful what you wish for!

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July 9, 2013 8:10:49 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Great stuff!  I was just going through my usual end-game mop-up when all of the sudden I got hit by something (I don't know what) and attacked on the same turn.  My stack of doom started the battle with about 1/3rd of their original hit points and the AI made quick work of me.  It had three level 17+ heroes and a bunch of fully upgraded archers in its own stack of doom.  AWESOME!  Way to go Brad!  I thought the game was over, but apparently not!

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July 9, 2013 9:44:20 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think FE/LH would be better with a limit on how much mana can be expended on strategic spells each turn, like MoM has.

Nonetheless, it is good to hear that the AI has learnt to cast spells! (I don't have time to play right now so haven't experienced myself )

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July 10, 2013 2:15:12 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I don't think an artificial limit is needed. Spells are limited by cooldowns and mana cost. If the devs can prevent the AI from spending resources they do not have, we'd be halfway there.

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