Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Neutral Affairs

Remember those opportunistic bastards from the neutral campaign who stole Erathia's western territories? It's time for them to get their comeuppance, courtesy of Queen Catherine.

Neutral Affairs begins with the wizards of Bracada finally agreeing to give Erathia military aid. What took them so long? One can surmise that King Gavin Magnus, in his infinite wisdom, realized that he had to maintain order in Antagarich by preserving a balance of power. If Queen Catherine were to fall, the Kreegans would certainly invade Bracada next. It's also possible that the map makers noticed a serious lack of tower cities in the campaign thus far and wanted to devote at least one scenario to wizards and alchemists.

In any case, I found the map to be quite challenging. I can only surmise that I somehow played the map incorrectly. The scenario begins with two Erathian towns and a tower. My first order of business was to upgrade both towns into castles by building forts. Then, I aimed to grow my gold supply by advancing toward a capitol. Any of the three cities is eligible for a capitol. It's best to build it in the city that's furthest from the enemy. If the enemy captures a city that has a capitol, they will destroy it. You'll then have to spend 10,000 gold to rebuild it somewhere else.

The starting area is filled with lush green Erathian grass. However, the majority of the map consists of dense swampland. As I've already mentioned in an earlier post, swamp terrain is notoriously difficult to navigate. Your heroes will be bogged down (literally) without Expert Pathfinding. Unfortunately, wizards and knights have rarely learn that skill without a witch hut.

The enemies on this map are the beastmasters of Tatalia and the barbarians of Krewlod. Both factions have high-level heroes with strong creatures. Thankfully, they'll spend more time fighting each other. Try to stay out of trouble and build your army.

There are three garrisons that separate the grassland from the swampland. You'll notice that these garrisons belong to neither Tatalia nor Krewlod. If you only break through one garrison, the other two will remain standing and protect your starting area from enemy heroes.

Something I hated about the map was its lack of gems ponds. There's only one on the entire map, and it's deep in enemy territory. Unfortunately, both titans and archangels require gems to recruit!

I had to rely on windmills and my marketplace to obtain gems. Nevertheless, I could never muster enough resources to recruit every available titan or archangel. It was frustrating to face off against enemy hydras without a large stock of level 7 creatures. They were sitting in town, waiting to be recruited. Suddenly, I was hit by a week of the PLAGUE and half of them disappeared.

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