Sunday, October 3, 2010

Human Campaign: Map 10

Remember how easy the 10th orc mission was? You could send all your units to the human base and win the mission. If you try that here, your forces will be ripped apart by enemy spell casters. Warlocks love to blanket the screen with poison clouds, shredding your units to pieces. The necrolytes will cast unholy armor on raiders, making them invincible. Basically, the only way to win this mission is through extreme micromanagement. But if you take too long trying to set up formations, the enemy will send waves of spiders.

A brave army facing uncertain doom.

Here's your starting location. While your army looks impressive now, you'll definitely lose about 90% of them by the end. The first thing you should do is reduce the game speed.

Expendable scorpions.

Send scorpions to scout the map. Your conjurers should have enough mana to summon one each. The scorpions will run into some orcs and get killed. You should also use the cleric's far seeing spell to uncover the orc town to the west.

Attack, attack!

Move your entire army to the center of the map, just across from the bridge that leads into the orc town. Don't attack right away. The warlocks will blanket the bridge with poison clouds and wipe out your army. Instead, send scorpions into their base to make the warlocks waste their mana. If this doesn't work, set up a wall of archers flanked by catapults. The warlocks will eventually summon spiders.

If you're lucky, your army will reach the temple intact.

As you send your army across the bridge and into the orc base, you'll want to keep a tight formation: knights in front, clerics in the back. Keep healing the front line. As soon as you see a necrolyte cast unholy armor on a raider, redirect your knights to kill a different enemy. The worst thing you can do here is have your units attacking invincible units while the rest of your army gets torn apart by poison clouds. If the warlocks summon more poison clouds over the bridge, immediately tell your units to stop moving.

Keep summoning scorpions to keep the pressure on!

The best way to kill necrolytes and warlocks is to use catapults. The splash damage is very effective. With a bit of luck, you'll have a few units left to mop up the town. It took me about 4-5 tries to finally complete this mission.

Next Time: On to the twin cities of Rockard and Stonard

Human Campaign: Map 9

You're tasked with destroying two orc towns who thankfully do not defend one another. The geography is your friend. Both towns are situated across the river and there's only one entrance into your base. If you can hold the bridge that separates the western half of the map from the eastern half, you can focus your energies on building your army.

Here is your starting location. Don't be scared of the shroud. The orcs will only attack from the north. So move all of your units north.

Into the swamps we go.

There are two mines on your side of the river. The closest one is to the southeast. You shouldn't need more than two mines to complete the mission.

Here's the closest mine.
Guard the town with your starting units.

As you explore north, you may want to move your units to the bridge.

Prepare for the inevitable poison cloud attacks.

Meanwhile, when building your town, you'll want to make sure you leave a lot of open space between your buildings. The reason for this is to avoid taking too much damage from poison cloud attacks.

Research invisibility.

You get two new spells in this mission: invisibility and rain of fire. Used together, you'll be able to do a lot of damage to orc units. However, learning both spells and training the units necessary to use the spell is very expensive. You certainly don't need to research these spells to complete the mission.

The poison cloud attacks may come from across the river.

Here's the first poison cloud attack. The warlocks come in packs and will blast your northern-most building. Occasionally, they'll target your units. It's important to immediately move all units away from the cloud and redirect any units who might walk through it. Better yet, kill the warlocks before they get close to your base. The poison cloud lingers for a while and will severely damage your buildings, but you don't need to repair anything until the buildings are in the red.

Thankfully there's a bug that causes the warlocks to cast poison cloud over the river from time to time.

Guard the bridge.

As you hold the bridge, set up the standard archer trap. However, be vigilant and use the knights to destroy orc catapults before they tear apart your garrison.

The lower base is revealed.

Use far-seeing to uncover the orc bases. There's one to the south and one to the north. It's easier to attack the southern base first because there are less defenders. Also, with the southern base destroyed, you have the security of a third gold mine should you run low on funds.

Cast rain of fire to weaken the orcs (who cannot heal).

While optional, you can use the rain of fire attack to soften up the orc defenses. Then, mop up with knights. Keep a few clerics on standby to heal the knights.

Hit and run tactics are very effective.

If your conjurer gets harassed, summon scorpions and run. Keep your clerics and conjurers away from the town. The AI has a tendency to attack buildings, depleting your mana. In fact, once the main defenders are killed, just pull your spell casters back and return them to your town.

Crush the upper base.

Once the lower base is destroyed, move your units to the bridge directly south of the northern orc base. Set up your archer trap at the bridge. Now, you have many different options to destroy this base. I personally like to summon scorpions and harass the defenders. Remember that the orcs can't heal their units. So you can soften them up with scorpions first and then move in with your knights.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Human Campaign: Map 8

And now, we come to my favorite mission in the game: Medivh's Tower. It's more like Medivh's cave, if you ask me. The mission is completely linear and straightfoward, but requires a lot of unit management, MP conservation, and formation tactics. The enemies don't come at you one by one. They're spread out across the map as separate skirmishes that gradually become more and more difficult. Also, you go head to head against Medivh in the end after battling the daemon and the fire elemental in a tag-team match! That's just awesome.

Of course, this is classic Warcraft. Back then, Medivh's backstory hadn't been fleshed out yet. He didn't have an assistant named Khadgar and he didn't work with Garona. Medivh was just a crazy and evil wizard who opened a portal into the stygian abyss and summoned demonic orcs to destroy Azeroth. He needed to be destroyed and it was your job to do so. There was none of that 'guardian' stuff, no possession by Sargeras, no reincarnation as 'the prophet,' no Draenor, etc. Things were simpler then.

Let's start off by talking about the big bads. You'll fight skeletons, slimes, and spiders along the way. But nothing compares to these three enemies:

Fire Elemental: You'll fight four of these creatures in the mission, but thankfully not all together. They're extremely fast and attack by exploding. Their attack damages one of the units surrounding it, but it's hard to tell which one. Three explosions kills a knight. Two explosions kills everybody else. The last one you fight is paired with a daemon.

Daemon: Before the Burning Legion, there were these 'daemons.' Nobody knows where they came from or where they went after Warcraft II, but Medivh has one in his pentagram room. The daemon is the strongest unit in the game in terms of HP and attack.  He can kill your archers, footmen, and clerics in one hit. You'll need to use Medivh's corridors and your archers' long range to your advantage in order to minimize the damage.

Medivh: The big bad wizard himself will continuously summon spiders until he's out of MP. The spiders will eat through the door and attack you from time to time. Not only that, but he has an incredibly damaging fireball attack with a really quick firing rate and long range. It will definitely take all of your remaining troops to take him down.

The map looks like this and your formation will be key. The numbers below correspond to each skirmish. It's important to enter each skirmish with the right formation and then completely heal all the units with your clerics afterwards. There is no time limit on this map, so you can take as long as you want.

1: Fire Elemental

Be careful of the explosions.

Send one knight to lure the fire elemental back to the rest of your knights. Have your cleric heal the knight that's being damaged by the fire elemental and you should defeat it with all of your knights intact. Continue to the very bottom of the map. You can leave your footmen behind if you want. They don't do anything in this mission until the very end.

2: Fire Elemental, 3 Skeletons

Muster your forces.

Set up a chokepoint at the bottom of the map. Archers in the back, knights in the front. Two clerics to prepare to heal the knights. Take one knight along the path and lure the skeletons and fire elemental back to your chokepoint.

The fire elemental approaches.

Once again, you should be able to clear them out with no casualties.

3: 9 Slimes

Set up your formation once more.

Proceed past the small room and set up another chokepoint at the tunnel. This time, you'll be facing some slimes. There are three slimes clinging to the bottom of the map and six more on the right wall. You can lure the slimes back to your choke point in two different waves.

Slime attack!

Once again, your knights might take a little damage, but nobody should be killed. Take your clerics and use far seeing on the upper right corner of the map. You'll uncover a den of spiders.

4: 10 Spiders

Spider attack!

These spiders don't run out of mana. Luckily, they're just as weak as the summoned spiders Medivh's been throwing at you. The way to them is unblocked, so just take four knights and clear out the den. Heal with the clerics and bring the rest of your troops to the spider den.

5: Fire Elemental, 3 Skeletons

Here comes another fire elemental.

Set up a formation just south of the spider den and lure the skeletons. The fire elemental might come too. If everything goes right, you won't lose any troops. Now all that's left is Medivh, a final fire elemental, and a daemon.

6. Fire Elemental, Daemon

Use the maze to your advantage.

At this point, the stupidest thing you could do is rush in and attack the fire elemental, daemon, and Medivh all at once. You haven't come this far just to throw it all away.

The knight will serve as a decoy.

Bring the rest of your units down to the walled area just outside Medivh's chambers. Don't break any of the doors. The goal here is to send a knight into the room with the pentagram and lure the fire elemental out. Then, while it weaves through the corridor, you shoot it down with archers. Sometimes, the daemon comes along. If that's the case, send all your knights at it to keep it away from your archers.

Beware the daemon.

If not, just repeat what you did with the fire elemental. The daemon is a lot tougher and might kill a few of your knights and footmen before you can bring him down. But in the end, you'll be left with a passable army against Medivh and his spiders.

7. Medivh, 0-12 spiders

Medivh is a formidable opponent with a very long range.

Depending on the situation, Medivh might have a huge swarm of spiders, or none at all. Remember all those footmen that did nothing? They'll run interference by giving Medivh some extra targets to shoot. Your remaining knights and archers should be enough to bring him down. Just make sure your footmen don't accidentally block the door and prevent your knights from getting close and personal. The mission ends when Medivh dies. If it doesn't, it means there's some spider, slime, or skeleton along the way that was missed.