Finally getting serious with Heroes V

The new Heroes games produced by Ubisoft. Please specify which game you are referring to in your post.

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Banedon
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Finally getting serious with Heroes V

Postby Banedon » Jun 18 2009, 15:07

I thought instead of resurrecting threads over a year old, I'd just start a new one on what I'm going to do next - kinda weird to start getting serious with HoMM 5 two years after it's installed on my computer collecting dust ...

So after giving up with Inferno, I thought once more of playing something else as a surprise factor. I asked my brothers what they thought of the races and one of them gave me the following scale, out of 10:

Haven: 9
Sylvan: 7
Academy: 7
Dungeon: 7
Stronghold: 6
Inferno: 5
Necropolis: 2
Fortress: 1

I largely agree. Haven armies are really strong. They hit the ground running with Crossbowmen, their late-game units are great, they have some good heroes, their skill selection is excellent with priority on Light and Dark magic + easy access to Retribution, and they got Zealots and Inquisitors to cast their blessings for them. Add in high morale + high initiative (Haste + Maeve) and I can certainly see them as the strongest. Elsewise Sylvan armies are really strong as well, and Academy / Dungeon can make good use of their magics and early-game power to keep up.

At the other end of the spectrum is Necropolis and Fortress. Necropolis is terrible. Their creatures may be numerous but unless they can force an early fight, or unless they can Undead Transformer massive amounts of units, they are simply going to be flattened in the final fight. Their creatures are unspectacular, their abilities are unspectacular (raise more unspectacular units, yeah ...), their heroes are unspectacular, and the entire race is just plain bad. Even worse than Necro is Fortress, whose early-game difficulties end with a lack of late-game too. They just don't have enough damage. Runes help somewhat but not enough; a cursory comparison between a fully-fledged Haven or Sylvan army and a similarly rich Fortress army speaks a thousand words. The difference's bad enough that apparently every time my brothers play each other and one of them picks Fortress he loses.

So basically this thread asks two things to start. First: how is it that the community thinks Fortress is good when it seems so firmly the weakest race in the game and light-years behind everyone else except Necro? Second: is there a way to make Necropolis competitive? After all, few things are more satisfying than winning with an ostensibly "underpowered" race.
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Postby parcaleste » Jun 18 2009, 16:15

I was just thinking about giving the Necros a second chance these days, last time it happened just like you said - my ass whooped the floor the last battle. And I thought I had a good army, with tons of Vampires and stuff. :disagree: Low Damage, low Hit Points... Defense seems obvious choice, but I am not sure, since it is not a ability I am choosing. Else you just HAVE to choos Summoning and Dark, eventually Light and I think and Attack is a nice pick. Wait, you may also need Sorcery (esp. if you play against Dungeon with this Boneward). You can just blow your head off on this one. :jester:

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Postby Elias_Maluco » Jun 18 2009, 16:20

About the Necro: perhaps their units arent the best, but is very easy to grown and keep huge numbers of then, early and late game. You got necromancy, raise dead acts as ressurection, you can convert troops in the city or using that skill that converts joined troops to undead.

Also, I dont find the heroes all that bad: they got high spellpower (means they can be killer mages at late game), and good defence. Not the best race, I agree, but one of the easiest to play. and win (at least in SP).

About Fortress: their high defense makes then durable, and runes makes then almost too effective, early and late game. You have runes to attack without counter (multiple enemies, by the way), to attack twice, to attack with higher power, to RESSURECT 40% of the fallen, to become ghost-like, to cross the entire map reaching any enemy you want.

Besides, most of their troops are really good. Defenders one of the most durable and effective 1 tier troops, the spear guys arent that great, but cant cripple the enemy, very good at early game against neutrals, lava dragons are almost indestructible, and can hurt enemies just by being attacked. And thanes, thanes are just awesome. Combined with runes, and light magic (mass boosts), they become real tanks.

Thats why I think they are overpowered.

My ranking:

Fortress: 10
Dungeon: 8
Sylvan: 8
Haven: 7
Academy: 7
Necropolis: 6
Inferno: 4
Stronghold: 3

To be fair, I dont have that much experience with Haven and Sylvan, but I know their are both really strong.

Off-topic: we should start hooking up some MP games around here, take those discussions to the battlefield.

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Postby lumpoor » Jun 18 2009, 16:50

Gotta disagree. I love necropolis. Mind immunity is great. If during the tactics phase you leave out all the stacks except a stack of vampire lords (at least 20) you can take on almost any neutral without a single casuality without using raise dead.

On one-vs-oe battles vampires are more or less invincible.

Single vampire strategy + raise dead + eternal servitude all cut losses vs neutrals greatly.

Yes, the rest of the creatures suck, so necromancers should focus on vampires and magic. Vampires + arcane armor is a very good combination.

As for fortress, thanes are super awesome.

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Postby Elias_Maluco » Jun 18 2009, 17:14

Yeah, mind immunity is really great, breaking the most evil spells int he game (puppet and frenzy).

I agree that, if you consider a duel-like scenario (just one big battle), the undead seens weaker. If you consider the long run, they are very effective, by being able to raise and recover large amounts of troops faster than anyone. And they indeed are great with magic late game, due to their high spellpower.

On the long run, Fortress also shows one of their greatest advantages: their cities are easy and fast to build, and harder to siege.

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Postby Banedon » Jun 19 2009, 12:57

It's been a long while since I last played MP ... but I should say that though (right now anyway) I'm playing SP I play it with an eye on MP, because I'll be using whatever I learn in SP in MP and I pretty much assume another player of roughly my skill.

Elias_Maluco wrote:Besides, most of their troops are really good. Defenders one of the most durable and effective 1 tier troops, the spear guys arent that great, but cant cripple the enemy, very good at early game against neutrals, lava dragons are almost indestructible, and can hurt enemies just by being attacked. And thanes, thanes are just awesome. Combined with runes, and light magic (mass boosts), they become real tanks.


Are Fortress units really that good? Defenders are good meat shields but they are a cut behind the best tier 1 units (Stalkers / Assassins and Sprites). The Spearwielders don't deal damage ... from a low-level ranged creatures that's what you want: damage (think Arcane Archers and Crossbowmen). Lava Dragons are OK, but they're also level 7 creatures and you can't base your strategy around them since you won't have them for a good while. Thanes are also OK, but they don't deal concentrated damage to the target creature. Bit like Succubi Mistresses, they might deal lots of damage but it's spread out.

I've always found Fortress paralyzed at creeping. Their best units are only available later in the game, and they have no tricks to play ala Gating and such. You could use runes, but you could also ruin your economy that way. Not nice at all. As for Fortress towns being harder to siege, who cares: if you lose your main town you are in trouble, and if your opponent is around to attack one anyway he usually has a decisive advantage. Siege battles in serious games occur rarely enough to be irrelevant.

lumpoor wrote:Gotta disagree. I love necropolis. Mind immunity is great. If during the tactics phase you leave out all the stacks except a stack of vampire lords (at least 20) you can take on almost any neutral without a single casuality without using raise dead.

On one-vs-oe battles vampires are more or less invincible.

Single vampire strategy + raise dead + eternal servitude all cut losses vs neutrals greatly.

Yes, the rest of the creatures suck, so necromancers should focus on vampires and magic. Vampires + arcane armor is a very good combination.


Well if you have 20 Vampire Lords it'll be well past early-game, when no race should have difficulty creeping. Although it's kinda a moot point since early-game Necro is quite stable (Necromancy, Raise Dead, eventually Lich Masters). They just get annihilated late-game. Vampires are OK - I don't think they're spectacular or above average even - but they can't carry the Necro army on their backs.

PS: There will only be one big battle or at the very very most two - that's how multiplayer largely is in my experience. Both sides build their main heroes and eventually the main heroes clash, and whichever side wins that fight wins the game. Come to think of it that's what it's like in SP too. The AI rushes you, and if you beat him you win.
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Postby Mirez » Jun 19 2009, 16:41

fortess most definetly the strongest, sylvan is stronger then haven as well, arcane archers will always have that one deadly shot at your crossbowmen before they can act

besides a knights low spellpower and knowledge isn't going to deal that much damage (I always hope I can get mass haste, mass slow, mass divine strength and resurrection as filler)
sylvan heroes (even though lacking spellpower) on the contrary can deal loads of damage, rain of arrows imbue ballista it'll be like a permanent rain of meteor storms

dungeon can be very powerfull early in the game but that won't last, a good warlock might be able to deal 4k damage with 1 implosion but if you can only cast 4 implosions before your army is dead it's not very usefull anyways

necro is like you said, you won't win any 'final' battles with it, but it's still a fun faction to play

the faction I don't really like is academy, sure they are strong spellcasters but djins suck, gremlins suck as archers and they are only usefull when repairing golems, however golems don't die very fast because they almost never act
and why does everybody consider artificer so good? I hardly ever use it because my hero almost never returns back to my hometown after he/she learned the spells I want
treants are dendrosexual 0_o

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Postby Banedon » Jun 20 2009, 2:10

So just curious how do you play Fortress if they're so effective? Because there'll be few things more amusing than roflstomping my brothers using the race.

As for the others, Arcane Archers might act first over Crossbowmen but in the final battle Crossbowmen don't deal that much damage anymore. I see Haven casting Mass Haste (with Maeve, preferably) and then the Champions chumpcharging the Arcane Archers. The battle will probably be intricate though with Treants binding Champions etc, and of course there's Wyngaal to think about. The Knight can't deal much damage but then his is a might-oriented race - he casts blessings and curses which are very effective. Either way both races are great.

Don't see why you think 4k damage with Implosion x4 won't be enough to win. 4k damage will kill, what, 15 Archangels? That'd be removing one stack from the game with every cast. It's not that Dungeon's creatures are very bad either (they deal lots of damage).

By the way part of the strength of Academy is that they are unpredictable - they can be using any of the four magics. Their creatures aren't that great but the hero can win the battle for them. That's my experience playing against the race with Expert Sorcery + mass spells. Also if your main hero doesn't return to the town you can't set your Avenger list either ...
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Postby parcaleste » Jun 20 2009, 5:32

Banedon wrote:... As for the others, Arcane Archers might act first over Crossbowmen but in the final battle Crossbowmen don't deal that much damage anymore...


Was thinking isn't it better idea for the final battle the AA to shoot some creature with hight defense first? As far as I remember they were reducing the defense while shooting?

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Postby Mirez » Jun 20 2009, 9:23

parcaleste wrote:
Banedon wrote:... As for the others, Arcane Archers might act first over Crossbowmen but in the final battle Crossbowmen don't deal that much damage anymore...


Was thinking isn't it better idea for the final battle the AA to shoot some creature with hight defense first? As far as I remember they were reducing the defense while shooting?

nah crossbowman can still deal loads of damage if you trained enough of em, especially when you use Dougal and you have used divine strength on them

Banedon wrote:By the way part of the strength of Academy is that they are unpredictable - they can be using any of the four magics. Their creatures aren't that great but the hero can win the battle for them. That's my experience playing against the race with Expert Sorcery + mass spells. Also if your main hero doesn't return to the town you can't set your Avenger list either ...

that might be true but I tend to get expert avenger a lot faster then expert artificer, I dunno why but when I play academy I tend to focus more on getting expert summoning and sorcery fast enough

also:
how to win with fortess
1. Use runes
2. Win everything
treants are dendrosexual 0_o

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Postby Banedon » Jun 20 2009, 15:15

I'll get you a replay of Fortress vs. whatever and you can tell me what went wrong ;)

PS: Peasant -> Crossbowmen training is greatly nerfed, kinda surprised you mentioned that; also you have to set Avenger late because if you do it early you can't put down the later creatures ...

@parcaleste - final battles are too complex to theorize to be honest. There're just so many variables and so many things that can happen. Do whatever you think works best :)
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Postby Mirez » Jun 21 2009, 15:04

with avenger I'm not necessarily aiming for the higher creatures, mainly for archers, or units that only serve to protect archers
treants are dendrosexual 0_o

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Postby Elias_Maluco » Jun 22 2009, 13:37

haloswift wrote:also:
how to win with fortess
1. Use runes
2. Win everything


True. Just play your runes well and own every battle. And by the way, it will not ruin your economy unless you overdo it at the start of the game. Same goes for artificier, but runes are much cheaper and later you wont have to care about resourses anyway. Thats your problem right here, Banedon: if you dont use the runes, Fortress is really nothing special. Use the runes, use then all, a lot.

Also, about Thanes:

Banedon wrote:Thanes are also OK, but they don't deal concentrated damage to the target creature.



You are using the wrong thane then. Get the thunder one or even dont upgrade then at all. Both thunder and the basic one will deal an extra damage right after the regular attack, which almost doubles their effective damage and makes then absurdly deadly. The basic one is actually stronger, the only reason to upgrade is to get that ranged attack you can use once per battle.

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Postby ywhtptgtfo » Jun 22 2009, 22:36

haloswift wrote:dungeon can be very powerfull early in the game but that won't last, a good warlock might be able to deal 4k damage with 1 implosion but if you can only cast 4 implosions before your army is dead it's not very usefull anyways
Implosion is not that good of a spell actually. Despite its high damage, it has a high mana cost and no other side effect. The only reason to use it is if your highest priority is to decimate a certain stack above all else.

Otherwise, spells of other elements tend to be more useful, especially the ice ones when you have Master of Ice and Cold Death. Fire spells are also great to single out a stack for mass slaughter, which is especially useful for Dungeons since their troops tend to have high initiative.

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Postby Banedon » Jun 28 2009, 6:52

Elias_Maluco wrote:Use the runes, use then all, a lot.


If you use the runes a lot you burn a hole in your economy that you might not be able to get out of ...

haloswift wrote:with avenger I'm not necessarily aiming for the higher creatures, mainly for archers, or units that only serve to protect archers


That's incredible. With Avenger I always favour the most dangerous of my opponents' stacks, which would almost always be the high-level creatures (Champions, Angels, Black Dragons, Grim Raiders, etc).
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Postby wimfrits » Jun 28 2009, 13:25

Banedon wrote:If you use the runes a lot you burn a hole in your economy that you might not be able to get out of ...


True. But if you can get past early game without burning that hole, it's game over.
Runes would be balanced if resources limited casting, but late game this is no longer the case. Can't believe how they came up with this imba-by-definition system
Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?

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Postby Banedon » Jul 1 2009, 0:05

Just played a game with Necro on Heroic, and amazed myself with just how incredibly smooth Necro early-game is. You've got early Raise Dead, Mark of the Necromancer for mana, Eternal Servitude, a ranged creature right off the bat, Necromancy raising even more of that ranged creature, sturdy meat shields and eventually Necromancy raising Vampires. This game I remember I cleared out all my mines in the first week with just my starting army + units from new hero + dwelling. I even took out Djinn Viziers in the first week I remember, and early in the second week a set of Grim Raiders (from which I raised 20 Vampires) - and from there everything else was cakewalk.

But ... all this early-game speed has a really very frustrating problem: the Necro build tree is incredible. It's even worse off than Sylvan, and I thought Sylvan had it bad already. Sylvan takes up a lot of wood, but it's managable: you can still build the Hunter dwelling even if you can't upgrade it, the Druid dwelling is accessible without wood. Sprites, Arcane Archers and Druids is pretty much all Sylvan needs for early-mid game. Sylvan economy early-game is a struggle with wood but a managable one.

Necro, however, is utterly paralyzed. You can't skip the Zombie dwelling and it takes 5 ore. You can't skip the Ghost dwelling either and it takes more ore. You can't access Vampires and Liches without first reaching town level 9, and both buildings take 10 ore. Wights take ore as well, not to mention sulphur, and you need sulphur for Druids + the Necromancy-boosting building. Dragons are even MORE off-limits, requiring Castle, and then even more ore. Ore ore ore ore ore. So much ore required, and all I had in my corner of the map was one ore pit and one stack of ore (I counted!). Even getting to town level 9 so I can build the City Hall - an "oreless option" - was a struggle. There's nothing to build that does not eat away the precious ore. Marketplace ... Tavern ... and then pretty much I have to use either sulphur or ore.

The upshot of it all was that my hero relied entirely on Necromancy + his starting creatures to survive the first week. In that he did spectacularly. Did I mention above that Necro early-game is remarkably smooth? I should do so again. While my town was struggling with providing me something other than Skeleton Archers as reinforcements, my hero just shrugged it off and kept going. Amazing. Absolutely amazing. Even more amazing was me raising 20 Vampires off a stack of Grim Raiders early in the second week. Beating the stack would never have been possible with Sylvan (insufficient Arcane Archers - in fact I probably wouldn't even have a single Arcane Archer at that point). It might be doable with Inferno + Deleb, although I'd churn through meat shields extremely quickly. But with Necro, I used Mark of the Necromancer on my Skeleton Archers, used Raise Dead and all I lost were Zombies.

I'm beginning to think Necro might actually have a chance in some select maps. I could field an army far larger than any other race could hope to achieve, and it's not just because of Necromancy. The Undead Transformer played a part too. With another race I'd have to 1) get lucky and have a neutral town or foe spawn as Necro, 2) take it or destroy said player and then 3) build up the town. With Necro I just put everything into the Undead Transformer and voila, mountains of Skeleton Archers and Spectral Dragons come tumbling out.

That's not to say Necro doesn't have problems though. They do, and some pretty serious ones, so seeking some comments on how to deal with them:

1. Ore problems at the start. This could be a problem with the map I played (Island of Desire), which had an Ore Pit accessible from day 2 but no loose stacks of ore around it. Still even if I'd gained 10 ore from loose stacks I'd still have a crippling ore problem. Come to think of it I lucked out this game by learning Conjure Phoenix from a Dragon Vault and then eliminating an AI Academy for more spells so I didn't need to pump more ORE into the Mage Guild (was a pretty funny battle - I deployed my army, had them all Defend and the Phoenix took out the defense).
2. Necro heroes are pretty bad. I'm not sure which rotten apple to pick out of all the rotting apples. Probably either Lucretia (the Vampire specialist) or Vladimir (Raise Dead for early-game) or possibly even Kaspar.
3. Necro heroes are pretty bad. They're pretty much entirely reliant on Summoning + Dark, and Summoning itself is a one-trick wonder in Conjure Phoenix. Destructive Magic is 8% chance of being offered, but I can't see them matching Warlocks at using it. They're probably closer to Wizards but not enough so - Wizards can at least count on a variety of different magics.
4. Necro anti-morale tactics are a bit, eh. Howl of Terror has reasonable prerequisites, but it takes a, what, level ~25 hero to learn it? Impossible. Beyond that all you can do is hope for the artifact set Death's Embrace showing up and using Spectral Dragons. Total -3 to enemy morale. Not impressive at all, since it's not that hard to build up fantastic morale with, say, Haven (certainly 11 morale is possible).
5. Necro late-game is horrible. No denying this. They have nothing to do other than overwhelm the enemy with sheer numbers, which in this case it worked really well, with over 30 Spectral Dragons after 10 weeks or so.

Still if I play Island of Desire again I might give Necro a try. Now all I have to do is pick a different colour and hope for more ore!!

wimfrits wrote:True. But if you can get past early game without burning that hole, it's game over.
Runes would be balanced if resources limited casting, but late game this is no longer the case. Can't believe how they came up with this imba-by-definition system


No offense but I really don't see why Fortress is that powerful. Elias_Maluco said above that if you don't use the runes, Fortress is really nothing special. Well, he's wrong: if you don't use the runes Fortress is utterly mediocre. Like Necro and Inferno, their units are bad ... they are balanced with runes in mind. Compare for example the Thunder Thane, probably Fortress's best unit, with one of the strongest level 6's: Champions.

Thunder Thanes: Flyer
Attack: 16
Defense: 23
Damage: 9 - 13
Initiative: 10
Speed: 8
Hit Points: 145

Champions: Walker
Attack: 24
Defense: 20
Damage: 20 - 35
Initiative: 12
Speed: 8
Hit Points: 100

That's like ... wow. More than twice the damage - not counting Storm Strike, but not counting Jousting either. 8 points (!!) higher attack. More initiative. A lot less hit points and slightly less defense, but considering the enormous difference in offensive power I think this is more than offset. For the Thanes to be comparable they need their runes, and to be honest I've not found runes strong eough to matter.

Still, I can't put down precisely why I find runes not overpowering. That's why I'll go get a game with Fortress vs. whatever race, and upload it somewhere. That'll take some time though (might be over a month), so in the meantime I'll just leave Fortress be.
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Postby parcaleste » Jul 1 2009, 5:16

The resource problems could easily be solved with Spoils Of War. Well, if you want to "waste" that slot. Still you can pick Soldier's Luck, so it is not bad + some extra money are never needless.

Summoning is not only "Conjure Phoenix", you can do wonders with "Hive" or simply "Wasp Swarm", by totally isolate entire HUGE stack from enemy's army not to act at all. What about "Phantom Forces"? That gives you one extra shot with an stack, which can also be used as a shield, and what a shield - 50% Incorporeal! Have to mention also "Blade Barrier", "Arcane Crystal", they do their work when needed.

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Postby Mirez » Jul 1 2009, 9:45

champion can only hit up to 2 stacks, thunder thanes can hit up to 8, his awsome ability is why his attack is nerfed so much
treants are dendrosexual 0_o

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Postby lumpoor » Jul 1 2009, 11:29

Also storm strike gives a much bigger bonus than jousting. It will always at least double the damage dealt to the target, so it really is 18-26 damage, and then it deals 9-13 if the target is adjacent to another enemy. Jousting at it's best won't give 100% bonus (I think), and the chain effect from storm strike is much better than champion charge.


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