Sunday, May 30, 2010

Human Campaign: Map 7

Now, we come to the most frustrating mission in the entire game. Before version 1.21 of the game, there was a glitch that rendered this mission impossible to beat without cheating. Even with the glitch fixed, the mission is still incredibly difficult. I'll elaborate further.

Your town lacks resources.

Basically, you start with no peasants, no barracks, and insufficient gold to train a peasant. Your goal is to attack the orc base, rescue a bunch of peasants (that have only a sliver of life remaining) and bring them back to your base. Then, the real battle begins.

The peasants can be felled by a single spear.

Here, you can see that the orcs are holding the peasants at the eastern edge of the map. This is right above the orc base. It's guarded by two grunts and one raider on the left and two spearmen on the right. You'll want to send your troops with the exception of one knight and one archer to rescue the peasants. The remaining knight and archer will defend your town from the orc raider and warlock that's coming your way.

Meanwhile, let's talk about the best way to rescue the peasants. There are two paths to the compound. You can either follow the road down the bridge and engage the compound from the left. Or you can hug the upper border of the map until you get to the upper right corner of the map and head straight down.

I recommend the latter approach because you can kill the spearmen first. Since the peasants have only a tiny sliver of life remaining, the can be killed in one hit by the spearmen. What you should do is lure the spearmen north and finish them with the knights. Then, bust open a hole in the wall and rescue the peasants while your knights and archers engage the grunts and raiders. You may need to lower your game speed to pull off the micromanagement.

Use your clerics to heal as many peasants as you can and send them to the northeast corner of the map. Then, send them back to your base along the upper border. As for your surviving archers and knights. Send them along the path, up the bridge and back to your base. Immediately send your peasants to work. Have half of them chop lumber north of town and the other half mine gold south of town.

The orc base.

What you see here is the orc base directly south of the compound. In all versions of the game prior to 1.21, all of the base defenders would immediately rush to your town and destroy it when you rescue or heal the peasants. This is due to an AI script being accidentally triggered which was originally meant for do-or-die dungeon missions. Some claim you can micromanage the clerics and survive with one knight remaining. But I've never been able to pull it off.

In any case, if your base keeps getting overrun by raiders and spearmen before you can get your peasants home, you'll need to patch the game. Otherwise, you're out of luck.

Venture south... carefully.

Whereas the red humans sent swarms of scorpions in the previous mission, here you'll have to contend with the warlock's spiders. They have the same HP, attack, and speed. But I like the satisfying 'splat' sound they make when they die.

Anyway, let's talk about terrain. There are three passageways separating your side of the map from the orc base: the lower left corner, the upper right corner, and the center bridge. The orcs most commonly attack from the center bridge, followed by the lower left. An attack from the upper right is rare, but it does happen from time to time. Mostly, they'll just park a necrolyte and warlock by the gold mine.

It's super important that you secure the center bridge with archers, knights, and a cleric. The bridge acts as a natural chokepoint so you can pick off the attackers one by one. It also give you a chance to build up your base without having to micromanage combat every thirty seconds.

Secure the choke points.

As you build up your town, secure the lower left passageway as well. You can use your clerics to reveal the rest of the map. There's more than enough gold on your side of the lake. So be sure to upgrade everything and build 2-3 barracks.

The orcs have been crushed.

The orcs will send waves of attackers but amass them just north of their base. The best time to attack their base is immediately after the most recent wave has been intercepted at the bridge chokepoint but before they've trained any reinforcements. If you attack at the wrong time, the orcs will defend with summoned scorpions and skeletons, making the battle much more difficult.

Otherwise, a combination of knights and catapults will win the day. As always, destroy the orc barracks first, followed by the temple and tower.

Next Time: Medivh's tower awaits

Human Campaign: Map 6

These next missions are the two most frustrating missions in the entire human campaign. If you can get past these, you can get past anything.

Northshire Abbey is under attack by rebels who wish to overthrow the crown. No, these human warriors clad in red aren't the nation of Stromgarde or some precursor to the Scarlet Monastery (although that would be cool). There's just a bunch of humans who decided to fight against you and give you the opportunity to not have to fight orcs for once.

Northshire Abbey is under attack!

The mission begins with Northshire Abbey under attack by two knights, two footmen, and two archers. The first thing you'll want to do is turn your game speed all the way to the lowest setting. Time is of the essence and depending on how many buildings they destroy, it will determine how difficult the rest of the mission is.

Your soldiers clean house.

Immediately start to train a peasant. You'll need one to start mining and there's no time to waste. Meanwhile, grab your starting units (four footmen, four knights, four archers) and send them to engage the rebels. There's nothing you can do to prevent the lumber mill from being destroyed. But if you're fast enough, you can save the blacksmith (barely) and the stables.

Secure the mine to the north.

The good thing about this map is there are a lot of gold mines. The closest one is immediately north of the destroyed lumber mill. Your peasant should be ready so start work on a second peasant and send the first one into the mines.

The enemy has conjurers...  you don't.

The enemy will attack from two locations: the north or the east. Not only that but they'll send swarms of scorpions to antagonize your peasants. Be sure to put your archers next to the mine so they can fend off the scorpions. The enemy conjurers like to stay outside your town to summon scorpions. So take your surviving knights and kill any that show up.

Evil humans.

Once you've built up substantial funds, you'll want to train a cleric and learn far seeing to spy on the rebel base. It's pretty well guarded. But the intel will be valuable because you'll be able to see if they've built catapults.

Your mine is depleted; time to move on.

Enemy catapults will be your worst nightmare in this mission. Luckily,  you can build catapults of your own. The location of the first gold mine (which might be depleted by now) is a good area to set up your defenses. The catapults and archers will kill any enemies that come from the north with the exception of enemy catapults. When you see the latter, use your knights to take them out. The eastern entrance to your base is your weak side. But the catapults you've stationed by the lake should be able to alert you to any attack so you can bring your knights down to intercept them.

Attack the enemy peasants to cut off supplies.

Eventually, the red base will run out of gold in their mine and start sending their peasants south. This is where you should send your forces.

Their mine is now yours.

You'll end up eliminating 10-15 peasants here. The red base will continually train peasants and you'll keep killing them. Meanwhile, you'll notice the scorpion attacks and catapult attacks slowing down.

The traitors fall.

The final attack on the base is just a full-on clash. Make sure you have at least eight knights and some clerics. Bring your remaining archers and catapults in. Then, just swarm the base.

Try to heal the knights with your clerics for as long as you can. Sometimes, the red base will be sneaky and send some troops to attack your base which is unguarded. If that happens, just finish off the red base and then send your remaining knights to mop up. Your town hall can take quite a beating before it falls and the red base loves to attack your farms first.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Human Campaign: Map 5

Well, now. This mission takes you deep into Elwynn Forest, a location that should be familiar to every WoW player. Except here, you won't find wolves to grind or fetch quests to complete.

Here we go again.

This mission introduces the human knight, the fastest and strongest unit that you can train. To build a knight in your barracks, you'll need two key buildings: the blacksmith and the stables. So you won't be able to use them right away. Until you have a barracks, you'll need to rely on archers to defend your town. The footmen become obsolete and barring limited resources in a dire situation, you should never need to train them again.

Chopping the trees.

There are three mines near your town. And by the end, if you plan to research everything, you'll need all three. The closest mine is directly south of town and is blocked by trees, forcing your peasant to walk all the way around. Set your peasants to chop a path through the trees.

Set up a wall of archers.

As you explore with your knight, you'll see that the map is divided by trees into two distinct halves. There's a tiny opening where the orcs cross over to your side of the map. Set up archers to put an end to the orc raids.

The clerics reveal the orc stronghold.

The church now allows you to research holy vision, which reveals the shroud piece by piece. You'll find the orc town at the top-left corner of the map. It's guarded by numerous spearmen and raiders. As you reveal more shroud, you'll see that the orcs love to cluster units near the barracks before sending them to their death at your archer wall.

The spearmen standing at the road intersections are default town defenders. This means if they die, the computer won't replace them.

The orcs have a cluster of spearmen.

South of the town, you'll find a group of spearmen. The trick to get rid of them is with a set of knights. Grab some knights to incite the spearmen. Then, pull them back so your archer wall can help the knights take them out. Heal with your clerics.

The archers make short work of the orc melee units.

Repeat this to kill the raiders, necrolytes, and town guards. Eventually, the town will only be left open to attack. By this time, both gold mine should have collapsed. So send your peasants to the mine at the lower left corner of the map.


All you really need are four knights, any surviving archers you have, and your clerics. Send everybody into the orc town and start trashing things. The orcs may have a few raiders or grunts scattered around the mine. So concentrate the knights on the raiders and use your clerics to keep healing.

The humans triumph over the orcs.

You should end up with a few surviving troops when the battle comes to an end. Hopefully, you've been training more knights back at your town and can send them in as reinforcements. In the town, destroy the orc barracks first to stop orc reinforcements. Then, take out the temple to stop necrolytes from being trained. After that, destroy the town hall and place a unit on the ruins so the peons can't rebuild. The rest is easy.

Next Time: Northshire Abbey gets attacked by some evil humans dressed in red. No, not Stromgarde.

Human Campaign: Map 4

As I've been playing, I've noticed that the humans have a huge economic advantage over the orcs. It's true that all the units cost the same in gold and lumber for both races. However, the human cleric has a healing spell that's so powerful that it almost breaks the game. The spell allows ordinarily weak units to survive long stretches of battle at relatively low mana cost. And as I said in the last section, the cleric is the only unit in the entire game with the ability to restore HP.

A knight may cost the same as a raider. But when paired with a cleric, the knight can fight three raiders and still emerge victorious. This means raiders are essentially three times more expensive than a knight.

The game designers must have realized how effective the healing spell was because they promptly nerfed it in Warcraft II. Not only was the mana cost increased and healing power reduced, they also removed the slow-moving cleric and replaced him with the tough-to-micromanage paladin.

In all of the upcoming missions, the cleric will be the most important unit in your army. And in the end game, combining a cleric with a water elemental will let you destroy an entire orc town in seconds.

The Dead Mines...

Oh no! Sir Lothar sent troops into the Dead Mines to find the Tome of Divinity and got captured by ogres. Are you a bad enough dude to rescue the knight?

Your goal in this mission is to find the wounded Sir Lothar, heal him with clerics, and bring him back to the exit. Luckily, you won't have to face anything stronger than an ogre. The fire elementals and daemons show up in a later mission.

If you've already played the orc version of the Dead Mines, you may recall how effective the raiders were at slicing through the ogres. Unfortunately, the human army doesn't have that luxury. Your starting army consists of archers, footmen, and three clerics. It's important you keep the clerics alive for as long as possible because their healing spell will be the determining factor in how successful your rescue will be.

Maintain this formation.

In the beginning, you won't face more than one ogre at a time. Navigate the narrow tunnels and keep the units in the formation depicted above. Keep the footmen in the front as meat shields and use the archers to shoot down attackers. Use the clerics to heal the footmen.

When you get to the very bottom of the map, take a left at the fork. But keep an eye on the clerics because some ogres may try to sneak up from behind.

Use your archers to soften the ogres.

Once you start seeing cobblestone, set up an archer trap. Line up your remaining archers and guard them with your footmen. Then, move footmen up into the shroud and back down to the archers. Doing this will lure the ogres guarding the area to attack you one by one. After 2-3 ogres have been killed, move farther north and set another trap.

Lothar and his wounded men lay on the floor.

The final room has a lot of ogres, and they'll all attack at once. So have your clerics selected and do some on-the-fly healing. Once they're destroyed, move north and you'll see a lot of wounded troops huddling under blankets. Use your clerics to heal them and they'll turn into archers. The wounded man in the upper left is Sir Lothar.

Sir Lothar has his own unique sprite and character portrait. Unfortunately, there's not much you can do with him because all the ogres should be dead. In every Warcraft game, Lothar ends up getting shafted. In the sequel, his character exists solely to be murdered in the penultimate human mission.

Breathe the free air!

Take Lothar and some troops back to the entrance.