Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Orc Campaign: Map 6

In the original game, the creators emphasized the player's role as a city planner rather than war commander. Case in point, you're restricted to a single town hall per map because a town cannot have two heads. Similarly, all buildings must be built adjacent to a road and in close proximity to another building. As a result of these zoning rules, the game feels like Caesar or Sim City.

Your job is to build and the fighting is just part of that experience. In later games, these zoning restrictions were lifted in order to shift the emphasis from building to fighting. Roads were removed so players could build anywhere they wanted, even right outside an opponent's base.

With zoning rules abolished, players placed buildings in ways that would maximize their effectiveness but look terrible from a city design perspective. For example, multiplayer matches in Warcraft II often saw players using farms as makeshift walls.

While the aesthetics of town building have been tossed aside in favor of practicality, I must admit that it also makes the game more fun. Nevertheless, it's nice to see that every town in the original Warcraft conforms to an orderly system and looks like an actual town.

Humble beginnings.

The humans of Sunnyglade have grown fat with prosperity and it's up to the orcs to bring them down a notch. This mission introduces two new opponents: the conjurer and the catapult. The former will summon scorpions to attack your town and disrupt your supply lines and the latter can kill your units from long range.

Immediately send your starting units in all directions to get a feel of the map layout. There's a single bridge to the north that divides your half of the map from the humans. You'll want to reveal as much of the map as possible to prevent a sneak attack from catapults.

The mine has been located.

The nearest gold mine is to the northwest. It's a bit farther from your town than usual.

Secure your town's perimeter with spearmen and a few raiders. Then, invest in necrolytes to scout the human town. The spearmen should guard the perimeter from scorpions. The raiders should engage catapults since they're the only unit fast enough to avoid taking damage from them.

Another mine lies to the north.

Send some raiders immediately north to uncover the second mine. The computer player loves to station clerics and conjurers here to harass you with scorpions. However, they are rarely protected by footmen or archers.

A human death squad assembles.

Just north of the bridge, the computer will station large numbers of troops and then attack your town in waves. A couple of these waves in succession will devastate your defenses, especially if coordinated with scorpions or catapults.

Capture the bridge!

The good news is you can build your own catapults. Station a few along the bridge like in the screenshot above. Any archers the computer sends will be decimated by the catapults. The melee units will be killed by your spearmen. As mentioned previously, keep a few raiders on standby in case the humans send a catapult to break up your formation.

The town of Sunnyglade has been revealed.

The town itself is well-guarded. Your mission objective is to destroy everything except for the tower to the west. Apparently, the orcs want to steal the human spells and pervert them to create their own casters: the warlocks. This plot point was later discarded and the orcs given a shamanic past corrupted by the Burning Legion. Thanks, Warcraft III.

[UPDATE: I've been told by dear readers that I've confused the capture of the tower to create warlocks with the capture of the rune stone at Caer Darrow in Warcraft II to create ogre-magi. The warlocks existed before the orcs crossed over from from their home world to Azeroth. For whatever reason, you just couldn't use them prior to this mission and the necessity for tower research is never fully explained.]

Dispose of the humans with a wall of spears.

Move your spearmen north and line them around the human town so that nothing can escape. Interestingly enough, the knights and archers in the town stay in their positions. You should use this opportunity to take out the three footmen to the east with your raiders.

The raiders lure human defenders into the spears.

Move your catapults up and start bombarding the barracks. This will trigger the knights and archers, who are promptly eliminated by your wall of spearmen. Once the barracks is demolished, you no longer have to worry about the human town sending reinforcements.

Move your catapults away since their splash damage will harm friendly units. Also, you don't want them to accidentally destroy the tower and lose the mission.

The fat and lazy humans of Sunnyglade are no more!

So much for the town of Sunnyglade. Blizzard should bring back Sunnyglade in WoW and have all the town NPCs be incredibly fat and lazy with prosperity.

Next Time: Who wants to be a backstabber?