The Ranger - The Vampire Lord

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loran16
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Postby loran16 » Aug 12 2006, 6:26

I just finished this mission (Version 1.0..was afraid to update till ranger campaign was over due to hearing about certain bugs), and found a little interesting things.

First i took on raven not so early, since i didnt get res until this level (Mission 3 got word of light TWICE!). In fact i had to build up to level 5 twice as the first town's guild had word of light AGAIN!

Anyhow, Raven had around 1300 Skel Archers, a good complement of wights (20) and bone dragons (14 i think) as well as a large amount of other troops.

I had 8 Green Dragons, and the rest of my forces were not too large. After losing a large amount of time, i managed to win with heavy casualties (my only survivors were the archers, druids, and 7 treants). The trick to me was Mass Haste, Mass Righteous Might (Which with skel archers as favored enemies, more than doubled my skellie killing output allowing me to kill 250-350 skel archers per shot). The treants went str8 up into the skel archers' faces and held them off till they were destroyed by the archers.

The liches proved a problem, but for me at least Raven seemed focused on her weakness spell being cast on my archers. So when my unicorns allowed me to resist the mass weakness with the archers and druids, the liches tried casting weakness themselves. By casting divine might (Mass), i was able to keep the liches from being a problem.

Finally, after dealing with the 2 underground heroes with great difficulty (Unicorn bow helped with the 2nd one), i took the bottom town,
Fortunately, my opponent's heroes had captured Sandro's cloak, and my hero had expert Dark Magic (findan finally got it after not taking a 6th skill till C5M4). With the large amount of artifacts in my possession and frenzy and puppet master, my army was strong.

Then I had to return to my sylvan town for reinforcements as vlad came down stairs. When i got back down stairs, vlad had returned through T4, I took the center town then entered T4 where Vlad was nearby. I ran from Vlad and ran right into nicolai. Thanks to frenzy i beat him on the 2nd try. He then respawned right outside Town C. i TPed to get away from Vlad (Whose army was soo huge i couldnt defeat it with spells and creatures at all,) and managed to collect all 4 dwarven artifacts, and then go upstairs to the seers tent for the pheonixs. With my strong force it was no problem to take Town C with nicolai in the garrison, as his force of 6 weeks of necro stuff was no match for my archers. Without

loran16
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Postby loran16 » Aug 12 2006, 6:28

(Continued from above-posted by accident)-

WIthout the skellie archers from the first time you fight nicolai, its no difficulty to defeat nicolai despite his 6-7 weeks of Necro armies in a castle. Had i had to take Vlad, i wouldve died, but nicolai was abreeze.

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jmgarth
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Postby jmgarth » Aug 15 2006, 4:31

I just completed this map on the 1.2 patch and have 2 observations.

1) There is now a 4th obelisk, located south and west of T5 near town G.
2) After obtaining the phoenixes, the game slowed down tremendously for a number of turns. I timed a couple of the turns and found the teal player turn was taking up to 6 minutes (my machine is not state of the art, but is not that shabby either). After suffering through a half dozen turns or so, the turns started speeding up, and after a few more were back to normal.

BTW, thanks for the great walkthroughs!
Edited on Tue, Aug 15 2006, 18:57 by jmgarth

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Postby farquit » Aug 16 2006, 1:47

I couldn't find the Unicorn Horn Bow so had to go without. My first encounter with Nicholai was not until I entered the portal at T4 (planning on raiding the remaining 3 towns starting with F) and he was up there waiting for me. The first spell he cast in the battle was Banshee Howl which I have never really understood but Findan was left with no mana so I coudn't resurrect any of my casualties. Nicholai fled the fight once he had made a real mess of my army and left me with hardly anything. He disappeared into town F so I loaded up a demon hero with a necro army from town C and brought them over to have a go at him and possibly reduce his army while Findan regrouped. Nicholai's spell of choice was Phantom Force on his dragons again and again and he annihalated my demon hero. However, by the time Findan got to F to fight him a couple of days later, Nicholai had obviously not replenished his mana and his spells were weak. Findan cast Mass Haste and it was all over with the odd resurrection here and there. Took me ages but it was a lot of fun!!

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Corleth
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Postby Corleth » Aug 19 2006, 17:12

There are 3 level-up sylvana trees on this map, can use to go from level 30 to 33. The first is left of the quest hut, the second left of the artifact merchant below middle necro town and the third left of the path that crosses the water to Nicolai town.

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Postby roguetrt » Aug 19 2006, 20:18

About ready to chuck this game cd out the window! Attacked Nicolai only to have him reappear, which was annoying so I read the faqs and foudn out if I killed the shadows dragons around, he would not reappear, he did anyway! Tried everything and still could not actually kill him. Decided I would try and kill him like 5 times and see if that did it. I took all the towns on the board and almost every generator. I was shuffling all the undead to my main hero and takign the elf people to a necro town and turning them into undead. I figured, Nicolai woudl be easy, after all, last time I looked at him, he had like 80 dragons, 5k skeletons and various amount of other stuff. I have almost 300 dragons, 6k skelleis, 2-3 k zombies and ghosts, 400 or so liches, no problem. I go to attack Nicolai and low and behold, somehow he has almost 700 dragons! I hate it, the game is spawning him dragngs and monsters when he is running around and has no resources. What a load of bull! I am goign to follow the walk through exactly and give it one more shot and if that doens't work, I think I may have a Heros 5 Frisbee going out the window!

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maltz
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Postby maltz » Aug 21 2006, 16:53

Did you kill ALL 6 groups of shadow dragons? You will get a cutscene and the light would be restored to the world (at least in this portion).

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Postby Darrow » Sep 2 2006, 23:35

Maltz:

You should consider playing this mission on version 1.2. On Month 1, Week 2, Day 5 Raven ambushed me with 1000+ Skeleton Archers, 12 Liches, 6 Wights, 6 Bone Dragons, 32 Vampires and 33 Spectres. Raven was level 31, 3 Attack, 14 Defense, 15 Spell Power and 40 Mana. Her Mass Confusion spell took my 67 Master Hunters out of action completely and it was lights out. Casting the Magical Immunity spell on the Hunters only prolonged the agony. My 2 weeks' production of Sylvan creatures could not protect the Hunters long enough to take out the Bone Dragons and Skeleton Archers. I did leave the Treants with Dirael. Perhaps with another week's creature production and the Treants I could survive this encounter and even Resurrect a fair part of my losses.

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Postby Giirov » Sep 4 2006, 10:39

Well, this map contained some fun battles. I played on heroic with patch 1.2, and as always I used a slow approach - killing all neutrals, flagging all mines, visiting all structures and collecting all treasures in an area before moving to the next one. So I faced some rather large armies of Skeleton Archers - Raven with about 1800 in the SE area, a necromancer with about 4500 in a siege battle in the underground and Nicolai and another necromancer both with about 8800 on the large western continent.

But by that time, I already had more than 350 Master Hunters und more than 120 Druid Elders in my army, so winning the battles wasn't a challenge - the challenge was winning it without any losses. Here's how I did it in the last two battles:

- I only employed my Master Hunters and Druid Elders because the AI likes to change its target, making it nearly impossible to resurrect every creature if you have more than two stacks.
- Because of Findan's special, the Skeleton Archers were reduced to about half their number before the start of the battle, making them no imminent threat. Archliches were even less of a concern, since they mostly cast Weakness on my Master Hunters (which didn't really reduce their effectiveness).
- With Mass Haste, I was able to kill all melee units before they could reach my shooters. In Nicolai's case, this included some Phantom Forced Specters - Master Hunters are great for this, because out of their two shots one will usually hit.
- Nicolai once cast Frenzy on my Master Hunters, but I was able to cast Cleansing on them before they could do any damage, which would have ruined everything. So there was a bit of luck involved - with a different order of initiative, things might have turned out not so well.
- Then I killed the Archliches and the Ballista with my Master Hunters and reduced the Skeleton Archers to a reasonable number (about five hundred) with my Druid Elders.
- By that time, both my units were at about half their original strength, so now it came to a lot of waiting and resurrecting. I was able to resurrect more creatures per round than the enemy hero and the skeletons together could kill, so I was making slow but steady progress. Of course, it needed a lot of Mana. In the battle against Nicolai, I only had about 125 points left, but I managed to just scrape by (didn't even need my Druid Elders' Mana Feed).
- The Ballista continued to whittle away the Skeleton Archers. In one battle I had to destroy it with my Druid Elders' Stone Spikes before it would kill the stack completely.
- A bit of foreplanning: Destroying the Ammo Cart about eight turns before my units were projected to get at full strength made the tricky business at the end easier, because the AI could then only target one of my stacks per turn. But it is important to get the timing right - if the Skeleton Archers run out of ammo too early, they will charge your units, kill some and die, ending the battle.
- Now it was just a matter of getting the order of initiative right and hoping that the enemy hero would attack the right (i. e. not fully resurrected) stack. Resurrect the last creatures, kill the remaining skeletons -> 200'000 experience points and no losses.

Of course, the real fun was killing the 900 Wights with 172 Sprites, 106 War Dancers and 111 Master Hunters (again without losses, naturally) ... I could only do it because half of them were Wraiths who stupidly Harm Touched my War Dancers instead of killing them outright.

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Postby wayne » Sep 7 2006, 8:48

When I first played this stage on normal difficulty, Nicolai passed his stack of Spectral Dragons (100+) to Lucretia (I think) and although I won the battle, I suffered major losses. This occured in the middle of month 6. Nicolai amassed 20+ Spectral Dragons (he had only 2 towns) in the next day or two. I confronted him after a week or so after he did who knows what in the fog of war and my eyes nearly popped out when the tag below his Spectral Dragons read 2k! Not 21, 22, or 29, but 2k! Is this a bug?

Thankfully I learnt from earlier stages to regularly save my game...

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Postby shep61 » Sep 7 2006, 15:40

I must be missing something. I follow the walkthrough exactly and go through the portal to the SE section on day 1, week 2. I'm immediately attacked by Raven (level 29 hero) with a massive army of 1K skel archers, 20 dragons, 50 liches, etc. Moreover, Raven's first move is to Phantom Force the archers, who then immediately get a turn. So, I get hit by two stacks of 1K archers each, before I get a single turn. I lose two complete stacks before the battle even begins!

So, I tried again and waited until week 2, with a larger army. Now Raven had 2K skel archers! Same result!

I'm on hard with patch 1.2. What am I missing?

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Postby shep61 » Sep 8 2006, 0:44

Maltz, sorry, I hadn't read your comments below before I wrote mine. I note that you tried this with patch 1.2 and had the same experience that I did. Did you quit or did you find a way to get through it? Any advice?

Giirov, it looks like you got through this mission with 1.2, but you didn't mention how you got past Raven in the beginning. Any advice?
Edited on Thu, Sep 07 2006, 18:49 by shep61

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Giirov
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Postby Giirov » Sep 8 2006, 18:57

@shep61: I don't remember much about the battle with Raven. As I said, I took my time, so it was probably late in the second week that I went through the teleporter. Seeing Raven and finding her rather daunting, I travelled a bit westwards, killing some neutrals (meaning that she couldn't harvest them as Skeleton Archers) and collecting some much-needed treasures. Raven pursued me, I fled via Town Portal, upgraded my troops, collected all recruits I could afford, traveled back through the teleporter and attacked Raven, whom I vanquished without much trouble.

As for the battle itself, I don't know what hints I can give you beyond the obvious. As the Skeleton Archers seem to be the main problem, make sure they are set as your favourite enemies, and play around with the units you take into the battle (splitting stacks or leaving unimportant ones out of the battle), trying to get your Master Hunters to get their turn before the Skeleton Archers. Of course, much will depend on how strong your Findan is and what skills he possesses. If you wish, send me (giirov at bluemail.ch) a savegame, preferably of your second try, so that I can take a closer look at your chances.

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Postby shep61 » Sep 9 2006, 4:09

Giirov, thanks for the advice. I did finally win the battle against Raven. I had to wait for week 4 to have enough treants and unicorns to absorb some of the damage. I had thought Raven would continue to out-grow me, but her army was not much bigger than what I saw in weeks 2 and 3. Thanks again. By the way, I like your slow and steady approach. I use it all the time and it's more fun than rushing, in my opinion.

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maltz
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Postby maltz » Sep 11 2006, 22:46

Sorry, I haven't updated this mission's walkthrough to patch 1.2 yet. I am quite certain that they have made it harder on 1.2 heroic, but I've also heard people beating it. So can you!

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Postby Fudashi » Sep 12 2006, 2:08

Jjust finished this level today on patch 1.2 hard, and it turned out to be quite the paper tiger. The most difficult battle was with Raven in week 2, which I actually may not have won were it not for Sandro's cloak which I liberated from the S1 spectral dragons. Rushing through the portal in the beginning of week 2 is not a foolproof tactic by any stretch of the imagination. But with my Findan sporting Dark and Light magic, I managed to defeat raven and using puppet master on her last remaining stack to stall for time and taking advantage of my vast mana reserves (230 or so) I managed to get out with most of my pathetic week 2 forces intact.

The underground was a joke, I came across Orson and another necro hero wandering outside their towns, each had 1k or so skeleton archers and not much else. The towns were essentially undefended, D didn't even have any towers, and this was late in the 1st month (I believe I captured E sometime in the second month).

When I went through T4 it was the 1st or second week of the third month, and resistance was once again non-existent. F was defended by a level 1 Lazslo with neglibile forces (~100 skeleton archers + a few zombies and spectres), and I ran into Nadir who was similiarly outfitted. Nicolai was cowering in town H with a fairly substantial force consisting of 2k sketelon archers, 25 or so dragons, 40 wraiths, around 100 vampires and over 100 liches, but by this time I had over 100 druids, 350 hunters, nearly 100 unicorns and a stack of treants that was essentially invulnerable (ie. 70 or so). I had also collected all the artifacts in the underground, so I sacked H and that was that.

I actually feel a bit disapointed, this page in particular had me worried, and I ended up steamrolling this map through with no problems. In retrospect the most difficult mission of this campaign was definately M2 (a bit embarrassed to say it, but after I ran across a massive army in the center inferno town which then mobilized and killed Findan while he was trapped at the south west island, I ended up turning down the difficulty to normal and restarting), and with that one exception I had very little trouble with this entire campaign and I by no means consider myself a skillful player.

While I find maltz writes very informative and thorough walkthroughs, the advice lent on what forces you can expect and where can be highly inacurrate, which I suspect is due to randomness of the game rather than any oversight on maltz's part. I think it would be helpful for players who are struggling if the walkthroughs for M2 and M5 were reviewed, as the suggested paths through the maps (essentially rushing through at breakneck speed) may lead to brick walls.

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Postby psirek » Sep 14 2006, 23:37

used this walkthrough on heroic, patch 1.2, did it less than 3 months (took some time getting the stats modifiers). The hardest part was week 1, then it just got easy afterwards. Nicolai had a very small army (60 dragons, some thousands archers etc.) which i could kill without breaking a sweat, but he dropped his army in the garrison in his last city and just stood waiting with 300 zombies and 2 emerald dragons... VERY short fight :)
Edited on Thu, Sep 14 2006, 17:39 by psirek

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Postby psirek » Sep 14 2006, 23:39

used this walkthrough on heroic, patch 1.2, did it less than 3 months (took some time getting the stats modifiers). The hardest part was week 1, then it just got easy afterwards. Nicolai had a very small army (60 dragons, some thousands archers etc.) which i could kill without breaking, but he dropped his army in the garrison in his last city and just stood waiting with 300 zombies and 2 emerald dragons... VERY short fight :)

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maltz
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Postby maltz » Sep 18 2006, 21:58

Now that patch 1.3 is out... I guess this IS the version for the final update of the walkthrough?... I will see if I can gather myself to replay the campaigns and update the walkthroughs. :)

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Postby maltz » Sep 26 2006, 16:58

>P1x44r: Which patch are you playing with? Patch 1.3 increased the wood requirement quite much. Generally speaking, you can leave out all upgrade buildings till later except master hunter (for warding arrow). Once you have enough master hunters the neutrals shouldn't be able to touch you. If you are playing pre-patch 1.3, master hunter + resurrection = perfect battle sieges as well.

Later on, you can simply town portal back to upgrade your existing army in one go.

War dancers are less "pro-active" so you probably don't need them (at all). Druid will eat up your ore so you definitely can't build them in both towns. Get some treants growing in the background so when you want to buy them, they are ready for you. Also, try to get the fortress upgrades ASAP to boost the creature count.


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