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Dead alive


Make way, villainy! Hero coming through!” – Minsc, Baldur’s Gate II.

The big hook in Warlords Battlecry 3 is its RPG-inspired hero development. There are a lot of choices available and the choices made will impact gameplay.

I decided to go with an Undead Necromancer hero as per Ben McDonald’s Undead FAQ. As he puts it:

Your armour and damage are way up there, you can replace your elite troops instantly, and if your Necromancer is still alive you can create armies in the blink of an eye. The battlefield is yours. Go claim the skulls of your enemies.

In other words, the Undead Necromancer will slay his enemies, resurrect them as skeletons under his control and then transform them quickly into juggernauts of destruction to be used against his remaining foes. He is your typical Complete Utter Bastard.

The hero is an important unit but aside from a few missions in the campaign, a dead hero doesn’t necessarily mean game over. However, it’s in your best interests to keep him alive as his ability to obtain resources for manufacturing buildings and units are essential early on. You can carry on without him but it’s more than likely you’ll fall behind your opponents in the arms race.

Keeping my Undead Necromancer alive un-dead is easier said than done. Being a spellcaster, he’s not really cut out for frontline face-to-face combat and I have to make sure he stays out of more trouble than he can handle.

Doing this is made slightly easier because you can assign Attitudes which govern unit and and hero behaviour. Among other things, you can get individual units or groups of units to guard your hero or have your hero run away whenever trouble rears its head. It’s not a perfect system — I wish I could combine two or more Attitudes — but it does help reduce the tedious micromanagement common in RTS games.

Players have a lot incentive to keep their non-hero units alive as well since units improve as they gain battlefield experience. In addition, high-level units and Generals (elite units that can capture resources) can join a hero’s retinue to be carried over to subsequent battles. The number of units in the retinue depends on your hero’s charisma. My Level 15 Necromancer has a pitiful charisma — being undead is hell on your socialising skills — so he gets only two units for his retinue. I usually reserve one slot for an elite melee unit and assign the other slot to a General. The melee unit (typically, a Slayer Knight or a Doom Knight) usually functions as my hero’s bodyguard while the General ensures I’ll have two units available at the outset to capture and convert resources. As McDonald points out in his FAQ, the Undead are a very resource-hungry faction and you need any edge you can get in the early phases of the game.

(Image obtained from Enlight’s WBC3 wallpaper page.)

Posted in Games, WBC3.

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