H4: Strategy, tactics and hints

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H4: Strategy, tactics and hints

Postby Siegfried » May 2 2007, 6:46

Hi,
i'd like to open this thread as a general discussion and help for H4 maps and campaigns. Stuck anywhere? Need general hints? Maybe here are some answers. Any player who does not like spoilers should avoid this thread :)

BTW: Best practise would be to include the map or campaign name in the subject, if the question or answer is about that map or campaign.

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The true blade

Postby Siegfried » May 2 2007, 6:56

I personnally would like to start asking. I have two questions about the H4 campaign "the true blade".

1. For what purpose is the purple keymaster tent found behind the quest quard which lets only Lysander and Proetho together pass?

2. What is to be done to get the heroes to the maximum level allowed? Scenario 1 limits the heroes level to 18. Most times i barely get them to level 14. Last try i got them to level 16 by eliminating anything i found. Then as last action i simply waited for the last red hero to come out and take a town for free, get some troops and try something so my heroes could pass the remaining two levels. Nothing happened, the red player kept sitting in his corner, not movin out. No chance to level up. I already considered to take out those stacks spread over the map at the start of a month, but it would take nearly an eternity to level up this way. So is there anything i might have overlooked? Any important quest? Any unknown option to level up?

BTW: Before i decided to start the attack on the teal player i already waited some time, not recruiting any troops besides those out of the external dwellings. Both neutral gryffin stacks guarding the 2 borders where taken out but the enemy did not come out. What went wrong?

Ah, and setting up the game difficulty does not work, either. The neutral stacks get bigger, but then the AI has serious problems with those increased stacks. I tried, and on scenario 3 ("The Weel") in the middle of the game i got the message that the red player (the main opponent) had been eliminated. Well, not by me. Could have been only by a neutral stack.

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Postby Jolly Joker » May 2 2007, 7:25

No, game difficulty makes no difference, because a stack is worth always the same experience, no matter the diff level: the higher the diff level, the more creatures, but the less XP each creature is worth, so if a stack is set to 500 XP it will be worth 500 XP on every diff level.

You could divide heroes differently and try to scoop up as much XP as possible for one hero, making him über which simply is discouraged by this rule.

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Postby Siegfried » May 2 2007, 7:46

Jolly Joker wrote:No, game difficulty makes no difference, because a stack is worth always the same experience, no matter the diff level: the higher the diff level, the more creatures, but the less XP each creature is worth, so if a stack is set to 500 XP it will be worth 500 XP on every diff level.

That brings up an interesting question. Over time those stacks grow. Does such a grown stack give more XP? Or is it still the same XP? So may it be worth for XP to wait until attacking a stack?
Jolly Joker wrote:You could divide heroes differently and try to scoop up as much XP as possible for one hero, making him über which simply is discouraged by this rule.

Hmmm yes, no good idea. All 4 heroes at more or less the same level is better. You need all 4 except the very last fight which is for Lysander only. But it's the very last fight only, and it is not a difficult fight.

So in other words, there is no chance to get them all 4 to maximum level? One of the main problems is the third scenario, where you get an additional hero already set to lvl 25. I'm doing very hard to get my 4 heroes to lvl 25, too, and it's only possible because there are 2 levelling trees, and i wait until the 4 have lvl 23 bevore visiting them. At that point any enemy and any neutral stack is taken out and nothing is left, just visit the final quest hut, and you're done.

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Postby Jolly Joker » May 2 2007, 8:01

No, you need too much XP for all to advance them all. I'd simply advise making some initial fights with Lysander alone because XP is not divided equally between heroes, but dependant on their level/XP they already have. So two heroes with different levels, for example 3 and 1, will divide XP NOT equall among them. That way Lysander may reach level 18 while the others will be maybe 14, 14 and 12 or something.

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The true blade

Postby Siegfried » May 2 2007, 8:10

I did something similar, but not that extreme. Near the town where Lysander starts are some free treasures. I let Lysander take them alone before combining all 3 (Lysander and 2 more, except Proetho), so he initially gets 500 to 1500 extra XP. That gives him a slight advantage in gaining XP. Generally that results in Lysander getting the next level as first, but the others shortly after.

So the second scenario has no chance of getting additional XP, so i can then just sweep through at highest speed?

Well, that would mean to try to use the third scenario for levelling. That means to stop conquering after your first 2 towns, wait for the enemy to become stronger and wait until you get some decent levels. Hmmm...

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Postby Metathron » May 2 2007, 11:13

I've just replayed this campaign on Impossible and it was quite a breeze, all in all. Much easier to start off than, for example, the Might or Chaos or Death campaigns. The only tough battles are found in the second scenario, the toughest being against the efreeti/nightmare/medusa/minotaur stack guarding the Sword of the Gods. But even these battles are not that difficult with the presence of the Magic Spring or well or whatchamacallit.

As for the levels, I don't think you can level your heroes up to the maximum. I tried, but there just isn't that much cannon fodder around, nor are there enough trees of knowledge. But it's not like it matters that much, the heroes are powerful this way as well, it's just a minor annoyance.
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The true blade

Postby Siegfried » May 2 2007, 11:29

I'm not that a good player. I tried it in hard and expert. With hard (?) i already had serious problems. One in the fight you mentioned, the other in the same scenario, the pre-last fight. There is no potion of imortality in that scenario, and i got there several stacks of water elementals of which each of them killed a hero right away in the first strike, each of them dealing nearly 1000 HP damage in one strike, and i got 4 of them. No idea how to handle that. But as i already said: I'm no H4 expert player :)

And as already mentioned: Just setting the map difficulty up one level makes the AI just fail right away. For example in the first scenario the two opponents lost the majority of their heroes by trying to fight those gryffin stacks guarding the border. Similar in the third scenario, where one player was kicked off just by fighting a neutral stack.

So the only chance to level the heroes up to maximum is to play at the given difficulty (so the AI has a chance against the neutrals) and to play subotimal by, after initally pressing hard, retire for some time and let the AI come. Maybe i'll try that, just to see if it works.

Sometimes when i read the answers here i can't help thinking that the stack sizes on my Linux system are different than on Windows systems :)

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Postby Metathron » May 2 2007, 13:35

I'm sure you'll get better and better the more you play.

You actually can purchase potions of immortality in that scenario, from the blacksmith found along the way towards the Sword of the Gods (where the Monk and Crusader dwellings are). That is, unless the merchandise in the blacksmith changes for each map, which I don't think should be the case. ;|

I should perhaps mention that I've been replaying this campaign with the Equilibris mod, which introduces Resurrection as a level 5 Life spell, and takes the Guardian Angel down a peg to level 4.

Even so, the stack guarding the sword was very big, so I waited a bit to collect as many crusaders and monks as I could. Then it was a combination of casting Mass Chaos Ward, Prayer, Mass Bless, Celestial Armour, Guardian Angel, Resurrection, Retribution...and shooting/attacking with heroes skilled in combat, or even casting an odd spell or two with them as well (my Lysander had Advanced Nature magic). Put Song of Peace on those Efreeti as much as you can and dispose of them from a distance with your archers and monks, so as to avoid the rather considerable effects of their fire shield.

Also, if you've learned Grandmaster Life with one of your heroes in the previous map (probably Proetho), you might have learned Divine Intervention.
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Postby Siegfried » May 2 2007, 14:08

Metathron wrote:I'm sure you'll get better and better the more you play.

probably :) but it's not my main priority. I play it for fun and because i like good stories, and not because some day i want to be the best.
Metathron wrote:You actually can purchase potions of immortality in that scenario, from the blacksmith found along the way towards the Sword of the Gods (where the Monk and Crusader dwellings are). That is, unless the merchandise in the blacksmith changes for each map, which I don't think should be the case. ;|

It changes.
Metathron wrote:I should perhaps mention that I've been replaying this campaign with the Equilibris mod, which introduces Resurrection as a level 5 Life spell, and takes the Guardian Angel down a peg to level 4.

Me too. I'm playing with Linux/Wine, and the original does not work with that. I could add a no-cd patch, but that exists for the original only. Equilibris makes all, including WoW and GS, playable on Linux/Wine. So i only play that.

Metathron wrote:Even so, the stack guarding the sword was very big, so I waited a bit to collect as many crusaders and monks as I could. Then it was a combination of casting Mass Chaos Ward, Prayer, Mass Bless, Celestial Armour, Guardian Angel, Resurrection, Retribution...and shooting/attacking with heroes skilled in combat, or even casting an odd spell or two with them as well (my Lysander had Advanced Nature magic). Put Song of Peace on those Efreeti as much as you can and dispose of them from a distance with your archers and monks, so as to avoid the rather considerable effects of their fire shield.

Song of peace could come in handy. The other problem is the big stack of nightmares. With some bad luck they cast terror on 1 of your 2 spellcasters. My 2 combat heroes got life magic, so they could cast heavenly shield at the beginning, but even with heavenly shield, mass nature ward and mass bless it was not enough for the water elemental stacks faced towards the end of this scenario.

Metathron wrote:Also, if you've learned Grandmaster Life with one of your heroes in the previous map (probably Proetho), you might have learned Divine Intervention.

I've got them only to cast level 4 spells. So no resurrection and no divine intervention.

Mainly i go with mass XX ward, prayer (except against life opponents), celestial armor and regeneration, and when necessary, an intermediate heavenly shield to get some extra spell casting time. when i get all these spells to work i've mostly already won. Then throw in some snake strike and giant strength and the two combat heroes are really tough. Only against ranged stacks dealing more damage than such a hero can stand with only one strike are deadly. And those stacks do exist.

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Postby Metathron » May 2 2007, 15:03

probably smile but it's not my main priority. I play it for fun and because i like good stories, and not because some day i want to be the best.


I didn't mean it like that and I actually play for those same reasons. I meant becoming better in comparison with yourself, so that you'll be able to defeat the larger stacks on impossible difficulty, for example.

It changes.


Damn. I take it you've restarted the scenario then?
I guess luck is a factor here then as well. Though I think the potions aren't crucial, they do make your life a lot easier. But you do have guardian angel, no?

Song of peace could come in handy. The other problem is the big stack of nightmares. With some bad luck they cast terror on 1 of your 2 spellcasters. My 2 combat heroes got life magic, so they could cast heavenly shield at the beginning, but even with heavenly shield, mass nature ward and mass bless it was not enough for the water elemental stacks faced towards the end of this scenario.


I'd advise you to hide the spellcasters out of the nightmare's line of sight. The best way to do that is to change the formation from loose to tight/square. Your might heroes probably have some magic resistance, and even if the 'mares manage to cast terror on them, you can vanquish it with exorcism.
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Re: The true blade

Postby pepak » May 2 2007, 18:17

Siegfried wrote:1. For what purpose is the purple keymaster tent found behind the quest quard which lets only Lysander and Proetho together pass?

To force the player to play the scenario in a given order - first defeat the Venom Spawn, then release Proetho, then continue with other quests.

2. What is to be done to get the heroes to the maximum level allowed?

Use the available enhancers wisely (I don't quite recall if there are any Trees of Knowledge in the first scenario, but if they are, don't use them before you are at level (18-number of trees)).

Walk with one or to heroes only, buy the third and fourth only after your main heroes reach the limit. I believe I ended the map with heroes at levels 18, 18, 16 and 11 or so.

Both neutral gryffin stacks guarding the 2 borders where taken out but the enemy did not come out. What went wrong?

Artificial intelligence of H4 at its best.

Ah, and setting up the game difficulty does not work, either.

Indeed. The total experience value of all creatures is the same regardless of difficulty - the 3x growth of creatures on Champion is fixed by the fact that you only get 1/3 experience for each.

The neutral stacks get bigger, but then the AI has serious problems with those increased stacks. I tried, and on scenario 3 ("The Weel") in the middle of the game i got the message that the red player (the main opponent) had been eliminated. Well, not by me. Could have been only by a neutral stack.

Yes. Higher difficulty is useless on maps supplied with the game, unless you are into the special challenge of beating the first map on higher difficulties (the barbarian campaign is particularly difficult).

Fan-made maps are much better in this aspect - the difficulty of the game actually follows the difficulty you chose when you started the map.

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Postby pepak » May 2 2007, 18:22

Siegfried wrote:Over time those stacks grow. Does such a grown stack give more XP?

Yes, of course, At a given difficulty, each creature gives you a fixed amount of experience points. If a stack grows, so does the experience gained. Which is why My Brother's Keeper is so much more difficult on Advanced difficulty than on Normal (because the number of creatures you fight is constant but the experience gained is smaller for each difficulty level).

All 4 heroes at more or less the same level is better. You need all 4 except the very last fight which is for Lysander only. But it's the very last fight only, and it is not a difficult fight.

Not at all. You only need Lysander to level up, the others are there just for the ride.

So in other words, there is no chance to get them all 4 to maximum level?

You could wait for a month, kill all newly spawned neutral guardians and wait again, but why bother? You will lose two of the four heroes by map 4 anyway.

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Re: The true blade

Postby pepak » May 2 2007, 18:25

Siegfried wrote:There is no potion of imortality in that scenario,

Yes, there is. Keep restarting the scenario until the Blacksmith gives you a PoI instead of a less useful potion...

and i got there several stacks of water elementals of which each of them killed a hero right away in the first strike, each of them dealing nearly 1000 HP damage in one strike, and i got 4 of them.

Repeat the Holy Prayer of Might & Magic with me: "I will level up Combat, Melee and Magic Resistance first, at the exclusion of any other skill."

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Re: The true blade

Postby Jolly Joker » May 2 2007, 18:40

pepak wrote:
Siegfried wrote:There is no potion of imortality in that scenario,

Yes, there is. Keep restarting the scenario until the Blacksmith gives you a PoI instead of a less useful potion...

and i got there several stacks of water elementals of which each of them killed a hero right away in the first strike, each of them dealing nearly 1000 HP damage in one strike, and i got 4 of them.

Repeat the Holy Prayer of Might & Magic with me: "I will level up Combat, Melee and Magic Resistance first, at the exclusion of any other skill."

Sorry to say so, but this post are two (out of some more points) that perfectly illustrate some dumb points about the game. Any (sound) advice (from someone who should know) that starts with "Keep restarting the scenario until..." is extremely indicative.
Moreover, levelling up Combat, Melee and Magic Resistance first at the exclusion of any other skill may be a prayer of M&M, but only of version 4. If there is a way that has to be followed (at the exclusion of others), that's indicative as well - there shouldn't be.

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Postby Meandor » May 2 2007, 19:11

Repeat the Holy Prayer of Might & Magic with me: "I will level up Combat, Melee and Magic Resistance first, at the exclusion of any other skill."


When i finished first campaign second time my Lysander had 0 combat/melee/resistance skills. Second map was challenging and last battle was interesting :)
...

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Postby Siegfried » May 3 2007, 6:35

Metathron wrote:
probably smile but it's not my main priority. I play it for fun and because i like good stories, and not because some day i want to be the best.


I didn't mean it like that and I actually play for those same reasons. I meant becoming better in comparison with yourself, so that you'll be able to defeat the larger stacks on impossible difficulty, for example.

Well, i think, it would be possible to beat those stacks. But you need much potion of immortality and luck.
Just think of this: The effreeti attack and kill Lysander. Lysander is restored by potion. The nightmares cast terror on one of the spellcasters. The medusas then kill Lysander again. Game over, even if i would be able to win that battle now. If Lysander or Proeto are killed in that scenario, even if they could be resurrected at the sanctuary, the game says "blabla is dead, all hope lost, blabla" and you lost the game. So if this army which is guarding the sword of the gods is able to kill right away 2 times, with just a little bad luck the game is lost.

Metathron wrote:
It changes.


Damn. I take it you've restarted the scenario then?
I guess luck is a factor here then as well. Though I think the potions aren't crucial, they do make your life a lot easier. But you do have guardian angel, no?

Not restarted. But i played that campaign several times now. And i think, yes, both spellcasters do have guardian angel. But the effreeti and the nightmares are faster. And guardian angel has to be casted before.
Metathron wrote:
Song of peace could come in handy. The other problem is the big stack of nightmares. With some bad luck they cast terror on 1 of your 2 spellcasters. My 2 combat heroes got life magic, so they could cast heavenly shield at the beginning, but even with heavenly shield, mass nature ward and mass bless it was not enough for the water elemental stacks faced towards the end of this scenario.


I'd advise you to hide the spellcasters out of the nightmare's line of sight. The best way to do that is to change the formation from loose to tight/square. Your might heroes probably have some magic resistance, and even if the 'mares manage to cast terror on them, you can vanquish it with exorcism.

Exorcism is no option since if i get the chance to cast a spell as long as Proeto and Lysander are both alive i'd cast Guardian Angel. If i do not cast it, the game is over then. And, as stated above, with some bad luck it may even be over when the first spellcaster gets to the point where he can cast something.

I think it would be possible to keep them out of the line of sight. But then (already tested) Lysander it terrorized. So when he then is killed by the Efreeti and restored by ths potion, after that he has no chance to get the next potion and is killed a second time by the Medusas. Game over.

In normal difficulty and one level more this army is not able to kill Lysander two times right away. So with some tricky spellcasting you can get through. And as soon as all the important spells are cast winning the battle is easy. The crucial part of the battle is the first round. And in that round, with a huge enemy army, you need luck to survive.

What i learned the last days is, that the first spell to cast is not Mass XX Ward, but Mass Fervor. This costs one action of one spellcaster, but gives another action for all actors in the first round, and that may get the crucial splls beeing applied :)

Still the pre-last army may be deadly, depending on what you get. I sometimes got Water Elementals, other times Genies. Both can be absolutely deadly, since they do ranged attack. If that stack is at least partly melee, then it's much easier.

But indeed these two fights are the worst in the whole campaign. There is only one more which is bad, too: The fourth scenario, where you have to beat the chaos hero. He has a very mighty spell. I think, it's Desintegrate, i'm not sure. Even with good HP and Heavenly Shield he [b9nearly[/b] killed Lysander in one strike. But luckily Lysander survived, so the applied spells where kept active. A killed and restored hero has no spells active. So then in the second round Lysander kept more HP, and then each round more, where the enemy only lost HPs. So this was winnable. And i don't think that this army grows with difficulty that much as neutral armies.
Last edited by Siegfried on May 3 2007, 7:19, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: The true blade

Postby Siegfried » May 3 2007, 6:50

pepak wrote:
Siegfried wrote:1. For what purpose is the purple keymaster tent found behind the quest quard which lets only Lysander and Proetho together pass?

To force the player to play the scenario in a given order - first defeat the Venom Spawn, then release Proetho, then continue with other quests.

No. You can get access to that keymasters tent only with Proeto and Lysander together. But then, when you have visited that tent? For what is it good? I've never found any purple border guard. There is a blue border gurard which is essential. You only get the dwarfen hammer if you beat the orange player behind that border guard, but that border guard is blue. Where is the purple border guard? IÄve never found any.

pepak wrote:
2. What is to be done to get the heroes to the maximum level allowed?

Use the available enhancers wisely (I don't quite recall if there are any Trees of Knowledge in the first scenario, but if they are, don't use them before you are at level (18-number of trees)).

I've never found one in the first scenario. In the second there is one. I used it as the very last leveller. In the third there are two. I used them both only after anyhting other except visiting the final hut was done. The maximum last time i tried was level 16 in the first scenario. Allowed is 18. In the second i got them to level 20, limit is at 25. So i get more and more behind the possibilities.

pepak wrote:Walk with one or to heroes only, buy the third and fourth only after your main heroes reach the limit. I believe I ended the map with heroes at levels 18, 18, 16 and 11 or so.

I walked with three until they got level 11, since Proetho already comes with level 11. After that i combined them and let them level together. I got them to level 16 all four. That was the end.

pepak wrote:
Both neutral gryffin stacks guarding the 2 borders where taken out but the enemy did not come out. What went wrong?

Artificial intelligence of H4 at its best.

Hmmm, i checked relative army strength, and indeed mine was the most powerful. I just thought that the enemy AI would try to increase it's army. So i stopped recruiting, except from external dwellings. But still nothing happened. The enemy AI simply gave up aparingly. It just did nothing.

pepak wrote:Fan-made maps are much better in this aspect - the difficulty of the game actually follows the difficulty you chose when you started the map.


Well, i have then to try some of them :)It's just that i like the stories of the original campaigns much.

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Postby Siegfried » May 3 2007, 7:00

pepak wrote:
All 4 heroes at more or less the same level is better. You need all 4 except the very last fight which is for Lysander only. But it's the very last fight only, and it is not a difficult fight.

Not at all. You only need Lysander to level up, the others are there just for the ride.

You keep those other until the last scenario and within that last scenario until the very last fight. So they are not just for the ride. And besides Lysander you loose the game too if Proeto is killed. And in scenario 3 you get Desette, which you don't have to loose either. And in the 5th scenario you have Sir Kentaine as well. I think you should not loose him either. So you need them all. The only theoretically expendable are the two additional heros of your choice from the first scenario, but why throw away when you urgently need them?

pepak wrote:
So in other words, there is no chance to get them all 4 to maximum level?

You could wait for a month, kill all newly spawned neutral guardians and wait again, but why bother? You will lose two of the four heroes by map 4 anyway.

Why? I never lost one. And in map 4, you do not have 4, but 5 heroes (Lysander, Proeto, Your additionally choosen 2, plus Desette).

BTW, is there a way to grab that Haven castle behind the blue border guard? I vagely remember that i once did it, but don't remember how.

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Re: The true blade

Postby Siegfried » May 3 2007, 7:13

pepak wrote:Repeat the Holy Prayer of Might & Magic with me: "I will level up Combat, Melee and Magic Resistance first, at the exclusion of any other skill."


Well, the game itself pushes towards combat, that's true.

Fot this campaign there are a few options. You get a beastmasters hut directly in front of Lysander that offers Basic Combat. And the Seminary (the only possible in your initial area) sells a mixture of combat and tactic skills. Two other beastmaster huts exists. One offers nature or order magic (randomly chosen of these both), the other offers Nobility. So these are the basic skill lines. You will walk with 4 heroes, so it's best to choose 4 slightly different lines. These where my choices:

Lysander: Mainly Tactics branch plus Nobility branch, with a sidebranch of Combat and Life Magic.

Hero1: Mainly Combat branch plus Nobility Branch, with sidebranches in Life Magic and Scouting

Hero2: Cleric. Mainly Life Magic and Nobility, with Order Magic and Nature Magic as sidebranches (One from the beastmaster hut, the other from the seminaries of the conquered towns), good chance to make him Archmage.

Proeto: Mainly Life Magic and Combat, with sidebrahcnes in Nobility, Order and Nature Magic, again good chance for Archmage.

The Life Magic for the 2 combat heroes is quite useful, although mainly for 2 spells: heavenly shield and regeneration. Heavenly shield helps to survive the first round and gives some extra time, and regeneration then gives him the necessary durability to get through the whole thing. Against strong troops you may then need some potions of healing from time to time, or later sometimes a "bind wound", but the main durability comes from the regeneration. The good part of that spell is that it lasts until the end of the battle.


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