The Will of Asha campaign is the first campaign of the Tribes of the East expansion, following a brief tutorial. It tells the story of Ornella, a fallen knight who is guided by Giovanni the vampire hero.

The detailed walkthrough written by our resident expert maltz starts with an overview of dark energy, for those of you who have not played with the new necromancy yet and are unfamiliar with the "nerfed" necromancers. Next comes the usual section about skill selection and the step-by-step instructions to complete the level... and get a little surprise.

More articles should become available during the next few weeks. But remember that finishing a scenario on your own is more fun, even if we try not to include any major spoiler in our articles.

The bad arses are back! It has been a while since Markal's glory... Or, maybe you prefer to use the word "struggle" as the Necromancers have been repeatedly toned down throughout the patches. Nevertheless, with careful planning and endless persistence, we will still find a way.

If you are not familiar with the Dark Energy system like myself, let me quickly summarize. No longer do you auto-raise Skeleton Archers after battles. You are now given weekly allowance of Dark Energy points depending on the number and quality of Necro towns and heroes you own. After a battle, you can spend the Dark Energy points to raise some of the non-undead creatures to their undead counterparts , usually of the same tier and the same upgrade level. For example, Imperial Griffins are raised into Vampire Lords.

After you use up the Dark Energy points, you have to wait for the next week. The points are very hard to come by and the raises are very expensive. As a result, Necromancers are further weakened in the late stage of a mission, as there is no more hundreds and thousands of raises after huge army clashes. Fortunately, by then we are usually powerful enough to win anyways.

To see more detailed description of everything please download the ultra-complete, fan-created manuals hosted on Age of Heroes:

Even though this is a Necropolis campaign, the first mission involves a fallen Knight named Ornella. We have no idea who she is, and why she became fallen. She is apparantly guided by a vampire Giovanni to follow "the Will of Asha", hence the name of the campaign. Let's help Ornella to follow the Will of Asha... and hope that she doesn't have to blow herself up in the market place.

Will of Asha
M1: Last Soul Standing

Map Size: Small
Level Cap: 12
Difficulty Index: 2/5
Last Updated: October 22, 2007, Patch v3.0

Your ultimate objective here is to capture a Necro town (C) controlled by the Green player in 3 months. In order to reach it, you have to unlock a passage, which involves some running back and forth. Also, you need to gather a powerful army to win the siege battle. This is achieved by taking two Necro towns (A and B) controlled by the Red player.

As for skill recommendation, try to reach expert level of Ornella's Dark Magic and pick up the Master of Mind feat. Mass Slow is always great, and Mass Confusion (enemy can't shoot or retaliate) gives you a crazy edge against non-undead foes in the final battle. If you are lucky, you can pick up Frenzy or Puppet Master from the mage guilds, which helps further in troop conservation. Also, since you will mostly rely on your army, pick Luck and Attack if you can. Forget about Leadership because you will be leading undeads.

Pick the Lich bonus because shooters are always useful. You start at the SW corner (1). Directly north of you is a stack of Skeleton Archers offering their service. Your starting army is a mixture of Haven and undead army. For now, the Archers' ranged power is very much needed, and you want to keep them alive as long as you can. Later on, when you own a Necro town, you can convert Haven creatures to Necro if they haven't died off.

Keep going east and flag a tier-1 creature building. Turn north, and you will fight some bizarre Necro creatures that are quite tough. Like Renegade units of Haven, they are alternative upgrades. In a sidequest of this mission you will uncover its secret.

Now keep going north, visit a Mercenary Camp stat boost, and visit the Stable (2) for some movement bonus. This Stable is quite useful for the mission, and you can travel further by visiting it at the beginning of a new week.

Now head west and challenge the Necro town (A) controlled by the Red player. The AI isn't powerful at all, and I chose not to deploy my archers (as they will be killed first). Next, flag the Saw Mill just SE of Town (A) and the Mercury Lab down south.

There are a lot of things to build in Town A. Since income is limited you can focus on economy first. In the meantime, run Ornella south to pass through a two-way portal (I) to flag an Ore Pit (3) on the other side of the portal. The Red player in Town (B) will claim it back later, though.

If you haven't done so, hire a secondary hero to pick up resources after Ornella. Whenever the Red hero from Town B is not around, flag the Orc Pit (3) back and visit the nearby Windmill with this weak hero. The Red hero in Town B will go after your weak hero if you are within his daily travel distance, so be careful.

Your secondary hero has another great use - to ship basic troops to the Hill Fort at (4) for upgrade. The upgraded troop buildings are temporarily disabled in both Town A or B. You want to build the Capital (Lv 15 town, 10000G) in Town (A) as soon as possible. Then, build the Vampire and Lich buildings. Vampires resurrect themselves, so they often give you perfect victory especially against shooter / caster neutral stacks. Liches are powerful shooters. If you have a chance, always spend Dark Energy to raise more of them. Skip Ghosts, Zombies and Wights to save money for now.

While you slowly build up your undead army, have Ornella flag the Gem mine north of the Hill Fort (4), and the Sulfur Pit SE of it. There is no Crystal mine around but you can pick up some on the ground. You only need them for Mage Guilds anyways.

Take town B as soon as you have the strength. The Red AI builds the town quite rapidly, and you will face a difficult siege if the AI hero defends in there with full strength. You can intercept the Red Hero by first visiting the Stable, and lure him far away from twon (so he is on his way to reclaim the Ore Pit, or chase your secondary hero). By defeating the Red hero first, the town defense is severely weakened. Divide and conquer!

The assault on Town B is probably the most difficult battle of this mission. Throw a Mass Slow and cast Raise Dead on your most powerful attacking stack - probably the Vampires. You really need to bring all the Zombies you can afford at this moment. They are likely to be the last undead standing! Although you are severely weakened after taking Town B, the productivity of two towns will catapault you to superpower in just a few weeks. It is time to think about the quests.

First, have Ornella (the quest only works with her) visit the Witch Hut south of Town (B), marked by the blue (W). You have to find 10 Glowing Ore and 50 Zombies. The Zombies have to be the vanilla type (not upgraded). The glowing Ores are to be found at an abandoned mine at (5), after defeating the shooters guarding it (try Vampire + Confusion). When you approach the mine, you automatically gather 10 Glowing Ore. Go back to the Witch Hut with 50 basic Zombies to earn a check mark on this sidequest.

You now understand the secret of the alternative upgrades, and you can now build the corresponding structures in towns and hire them directly. However, you still cannot get the alternative upgrades from Hill Fort, and the existing, original upgrades do not mix with the new upgrades just like the original Haven creatures are incompatible with the Renegades. In addition, among them I don't like tier 1 and 4 - you lost the ranged power from Skeleton Archers and the no-retaliation attribute from Vampire Lord's attack.

Therefore, I think you are still better off to ignore the buildings as a whole, and just pour your cash into troop hiring and upgrading in the Hill Fort (and you will just break even). You'll have a better army in the mission boss battle that is not so far away.

As your army grows further, challenge the Shadow Dragons and their cousins at (6) and (7). After defeating each group you get half of "the key". Next, visit the one-way portal at (III) to trigger the quest of visiting the Forge at (8). The Forge can be accessed by the two-way portal SW of Town (B), (II). Your two half keys can be forged to one there.

You now have some free time to explore and accumulate fine units until about Week 2 of Month 3. (You can certainly rush to the end earlier.) I have marked all the stat boosts with (R). Whenever you feel comfortable, gather everything you have and march Ornella across the one-way portal (III). There is no turning back!

You emerge on the other side of the mountain (III'). After the cut scene, forget about the paved road to the north, and follow the dirt road east. It is a long-winding path through the swamps. You will eventually reach Town (C).

The Green hero guarding Town (C) is actually a wizard leading an Inferno army - how weird. The Inferno army does not grow over time, but it is quite a huge army from the start -- on heroic, I saw 60 Pit Fiends, 60 Nightshades, 72 Hell Charger, 180 Succubus, 240 Cerberus and 300 Horned Demon. The good thing about the Inferno army is that they are totally vulnerable to mind control spells (Puppet Master, Frenzy, Confusion), and you should have a great time slaughtering them.

After winning the fight, Ornella is officially converted to a Lv 1 Necromancer. "NOOOO!" You should scream now because all your efforts in the past few hours have been flushed down the swamp! The game resets all your stats and skills! The only good thing is you get a free ride of levels here. Well, that might be a bad news because there is no way you want to restart this mission even if 50% of your attribute fall on Defense. Still, congratulations!

What skills to pick? Just follow your instincts - Necromancers rely on magics, so Dark Magic, Summoning Magic (both are featured in Necro towns) and Sorcery are never going to cripple you.