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PhillyDrowNinja

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Sep 25, 2018
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I'm a veteran of Civ and the Medieval War titles and thought I'd give this franchise a try. I'm reaching out here hoping to get some advice on strategy before I give up on it. I don't have any trouble conquering the independents and building an empire, but I seem to always be outgunned when it comes to fighting the other factions. It doesn't help that it seems I always have to attack them when they're behind city walls, but I'm bringing armies that outnumber them 2:1 or 3:1, with plenty of trebuchets. I either lose badly or just eek out a win after suffering massive casualties. I'm playing this on Squire.

What am I missing?
 

Dr_K

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A few questions, what class are you playing as? Any different settings (besides difficulty)? What turn do these battles usually happen on? Do you have any screenshots of the army compositions for the city battles? To see army composition. Sometimes trebuchets are not the best solution to city sieges depending on spells/city enchantments/defending units the enemy has.

One thing to keep in mind, some people do that are used to Civ and Total War is to not be aggressive enough early in the game so that they end up behind technologically and militarily. This might be the case with your situation, but possibly not. Usually this is more of a problem when the AI is more aggressive.

Another thing that would probably make the game better is to play on the level up from Squire (Knight?). If I remember correctly, the Squire AI will never go after Human players (not sure on other AI players). This results in an AI that easily turtles and just waits for the player to come to them. The next difficulty up just prevents the AI from turtling less with no extra bonuses to anything, I believe.
 

Rodmar18

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Playing on Squire difficulty, I think that you shouldn't be so punished by the AI, if you developped your empire enough. I suspect other reasons than the AI being too smart.

During combats:
- do you fully understand flanking tactics and actions points rules, and use them to your profit, or do you boldly charge the enemy, only to be surrounded and hacked to pieces on the next turn? (see Beginner's Guide)
- do you make use of battle and unit enchantments to boost some units'stats, like making them nearly impervious to physical attacks, etc, and to disable the enemy? Even a T4 unit can be stunned, frozen, entangled, blinded, etc.


Outside combat:
- when a combat is coming, pay attention to the type of terrain where it should stand. Refuse fights on disliked terrain, induce the AI to attack you on a terrain that you like more.
- use strategic spells to boost your troops and economy and cripple your enemys.
- perhaps conquering Independants is enough for good players. Not for me. I have to found several cities whenever I find a suitable spot of land, near resource sites and treasure site that grant my units special bonuses. If you can't win the AI by pure tactical genius, you can win them by economic dominance. Granted, you need time for this to be fruitful (the time an outpost grow to a rich city), but you play against AI.
 

PhillyDrowNinja

Recruit
Sep 25, 2018
4
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A few questions, what class are you playing as? Any different settings (besides difficulty)? What turn do these battles usually happen on? Do you have any screenshots of the army compositions for the city battles? To see army composition. Sometimes trebuchets are not the best solution to city sieges depending on spells/city enchantments/defending units the enemy has.

One thing to keep in mind, some people do that are used to Civ and Total War is to not be aggressive enough early in the game so that they end up behind technologically and militarily. This might be the case with your situation, but possibly not. Usually this is more of a problem when the AI is more aggressive.

Another thing that would probably make the game better is to play on the level up from Squire (Knight?). If I remember correctly, the Squire AI will never go after Human players (not sure on other AI players). This results in an AI that easily turtles and just waits for the player to come to them. The next difficulty up just prevents the AI from turtling less with no extra bonuses to anything, I believe.
Hey, thanks for your message. I've tried a few different combinations: the elf/rogue and draconian/druid of the campaign setting, and elf/druid and orc/theocrat on random maps. My orc/theocrat game has gotten to about turn 100 and the AI has really turtled in his cities. I think you're correct that my strategy has given me a slow start--my play style is to develop and expand before attacking. I don't have any screenshots, but I will say I had a strong force of orc shock troops being buffed and healed by evangelists and martyrs.

I'll try it on Knight. I realize the spells are pretty important in the big city battles, and I don't have a good grasp on what the research tree looks like. I was surprised when the AI started disintegrating my units at the start of battles. My own research is nowhere near advanced enough for that spell.

Can I ask you another question? I haven't been able to expand southward from my start position at all, because there have been stacks of tier IV bone dragons roaming around since early in the game. Is that normal? I wondered if the game was designed that way to create a buffer zone until later in the game.
 

PhillyDrowNinja

Recruit
Sep 25, 2018
4
0
Playing on Squire difficulty, I think that you shouldn't be so punished by the AI, if you developped your empire enough. I suspect other reasons than the AI being too smart.

During combats:
- do you fully understand flanking tactics and actions points rules, and use them to your profit, or do you boldly charge the enemy, only to be surrounded and hacked to pieces on the next turn? (see Beginner's Guide)
- do you make use of battle and unit enchantments to boost some units'stats, like making them nearly impervious to physical attacks, etc, and to disable the enemy? Even a T4 unit can be stunned, frozen, entangled, blinded, etc.


Outside combat:
- when a combat is coming, pay attention to the type of terrain where it should stand. Refuse fights on disliked terrain, induce the AI to attack you on a terrain that you like more.
- use strategic spells to boost your troops and economy and cripple your enemys.
- perhaps conquering Independants is enough for good players. Not for me. I have to found several cities whenever I find a suitable spot of land, near resource sites and treasure site that grant my units special bonuses. If you can't win the AI by pure tactical genius, you can win them by economic dominance. Granted, you need time for this to be fruitful (the time an outpost grow to a rich city), but you play against AI.
Thanks for replying.
- I do have a pretty good grasp of flanking and action points. I always move my units together, so they can protect each other, and so I can swarm the AI when they attack. The only drawback to this approach is that the AI seems to use its ranged units to single out and destroy one unit at a time as I approach them.
-I do try to buff my units, though I admit I do not have a sense of what is best or how to make a unit impervious to physical attacks. I've been buffing my melee units' resistance when I face enemies that can convert/seduce, etc.
-As for winning by economic dominance, do you mean you build up your empire until you can field more/better units than the AI and then go to war? Or are you happy to just build a strong empire?
 

Dr_K

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May 21, 2018
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One thing that might be useful is to diversify your attack forces for sieges a bit more. If you are attacking with a primarily infantry force, trebuchets are helpful, but you would likely need to completely destroy large sections of walls before even advancing to avoid incurring heavy losses for infantry that attempt to scale the walls. The wall climbing penalties can be pretty rough when most of the attacking force are climbing walls and get engaged on the walls.

When playing as a theocrat, using exalted for sieges is great. They can act as a preliminary force to engage the enemy while the rest of your forces climb the walls or break through the gates. And if they die in combat, as long as you win the battle, they will still be alive on the strategic map.

It's generally a good idea to utilize fliers and floating units for sieges if you have access to them. However, most don't have the Resurgence property like exalted :)

I realize the spells are pretty important in the big city battles, and I don't have a good grasp on what the research tree looks like.
There's not exactly a tech tree. With the exception of class units and the casting point upgrades, most spells chosen to appear in the research book are "random" choices, with probabilities favoring lower tiers based on amount of spells researched in each tier.

Full lists of spells and empire upgrades can be found on the class pages at the wiki if you'd like to peruse the entire tech lineup: http://age-of-wonders-3.wikia.com/wiki/Age_Of_Wonders_3_Wiki

Can I ask you another question? I haven't been able to expand southward from my start position at all, because there have been stacks of tier IV bone dragons roaming around since early in the game. Is that normal? I wondered if the game was designed that way to create a buffer zone until later in the game.
Yes. However, they aren't used as buffers or anything. If it's multiple stacks, it's likely that there are multiple boneyards that spawn those roaming stacks south of your position. I'm not sure on the timing, but I think that they spawn T4 units somewhere around turn 20-25 give or take a few for randomness.
 

Rodmar18

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I don't have a good grasp on what the research tree looks like. I was surprised when the AI started disintegrating my units at the start of battles. My own research is nowhere near advanced enough for that spell.
While there is no research tree proper, you'll find that specializations and classes get access to combat and global spells, and empire skills, in the same general categories: one-unit damage, are of effect damage, battlefield damage, invocations, army upgrades, terrain spells, etc. But differences are subtle enough, so that you don't feel like playing the same game (the same research tree) always.

I admit I do not have a sense of what is best or how to make a unit impervious to physical attacks.
-As for winning by economic dominance, do you mean you build up your empire until you can field more/better units than the AI and then go to war? Or are you happy to just build a strong empire?
I was thinking about synergies between such spells like Stone Skin and the one that adds +40% Armor when guarding (instead of +20%). This depends on your leader and heroes specializations, of course.
By "economic dominance", I just means that I have many cities, fueling research, mana pool and gold treasury so much that the AI can't follow. This can mean aggressive building near ennemy territory to deny them resources, but this vicinity can trigger war.

Yes. However, they aren't used as buffers or anything. If it's multiple stacks, it's likely that there are multiple boneyards that spawn those roaming stacks south of your position.
In one sense, they act as a buffer against AI players, though, because AI won't dare to enter such areas. I wait far longer than advised before cleaning those roaming stacks spawning points: they provide XP for my garrisons and heroes. More often than I'd wanted, however, I have a hard time when I let one site alive and active, only to discover later that they are 2 more of them in the areas. Then you have several stacks of T3/T4 units...
 

xlnt

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Jun 15, 2018
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1st advice - play only on emperor, no this is not a joke. Also play with hard defenders or just join us at the multiplayer community.
2nd - get your army, build a path to the enemy and follow it by only making small steps to fight all/everything on the way there. 5 turns should get you close to a AI - kill it
3rd - build only units and research only units, don't build structures, don't waste time building towns, don't research spells - be focused
4th - follow advice only if it's given by someone who played at least 10 multiplayer games - not dastactics :D Watch Hiliadan (;

Do this for some games and all else will come naturally.
 

Rodmar18

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I figure that all of this depends on how you get the fun out of this type of games. The same arises with RTS games: some want to win fast, rushing the AI or the human player with a big hammer before it's ready, some want to feel like being a mage king or a general, and field several varied armies to play chess. Sometimes, you have to crush one opponent fast before pacing down. Some games favor one trend over the other, but I feel like AoW3 lets everyone plays the way he likes most.

@xlnt: By "dastactics", do you mean the youtuber who explains how to use a game's interface?