To all impossible mode players

Anything else to do with the original Master of Magic
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Lupinedreams
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To all impossible mode players

Post by Lupinedreams » Sat Jul 29, 2006 4:11 pm

I haven't been playing MoM as much or as long as most posters here, and just recently started delving into impossible mode - and getting utterly crushed. I've tried aggrressive races to expand quickly (either by conquering or my own settlers or a combination) and I've tried more defensive strategies (since the computers and even the neutral raiders seem to get massive armies for free and constantly attack

I always end up getting overwhelmed fairly early though. Surely it isn't all just about being lucky and starting alone on an island to be able to survive the early game?

The farthest I've gotten in impossible was such a setup, I took over my island home and expanded to put up as many cities as I could on it - by that time the AI had started sending water walkers and naval units to harass me and I was forced to use my armies just to defend my towns or risk losing them one by one - my hope at that point was to break through the wizard tower on my island, giving me an opportunity to expand in what I hoped was an untouched territory.

When I got through I found that one of my opponents was Ssra. The whole myrror map was covered with his cities.


so....thoughts?

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Implode
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Post by Implode » Sat Jul 29, 2006 9:19 pm

Some suggestions :)

1) Don't bother with settlers, at least until you've taken over all neutral cities on your island. On Impossible, the AI (both enemy wizards and neutral cities) gets such ridiculous unfair production/growth bonuses, you're better off letting them built up cities for you and taking them over rather than getting settlers and trying to build them up yourself. Any time you're building settlers is time you're not building troops :)

2) You have to have some strategy to get going really fast. At least to take over your island, take out the easier lairs and nods, and get your power base up quickly. Now what that strategy is is entirely up to you, it can be to churn out Longbowmen/Slingers (both have low building requirements) and cast Heroism on them all; pick Storm Giants/Wraiths/Basilisks/etc as your starting Rare spell and summon lots of them... or do the boring one and get Torin early on. Coming up with new ideas for how to get started quickly is what makes MoM still fun after all these years :) With any luck, you'll run into an AI wizard early on and can kill them before they become much of a threat.

Sure other folks with have some other suggestions :)

Implode.

pebblepuppy
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Post by pebblepuppy » Mon Jul 31, 2006 8:20 pm

Sometimes you get wiped with an impossibly strong, impossibly too soon unit/stack, but most of the time you do have a fighting chance.

Read the extremely detailed FAQ on MoM. There are tricks, almost exploits, that can save you in dire need (try casting invis on a unit and just click your way monotonosly "Done" through a fight without moving...) Of course, in todays gaming world this type of thing is considered an exploit and is usually patched quickly. Kinds takes the fun out of it. At that point I generally concede defeat and try a new map.

I do, however, save often and will refight battles several times to achieve the greatest victory. The game there is to figure out the best strategy in a given situation (battle), which I find entertaining. The "perfect" battle... ;-)

One way I like to play a quick(ish) game is to limit myself to a single city, collect some heroes, and try to get as many spells as I can through diplomacy/loot/banishing/research--then cast the spell of mastery. It takes a lot of turns, but you have very little to do each turn that way. What I do is abandon any banished wizards home cities and leave them to whoever takes them first (while raking in some taxes until it falls). Or not. Sometimes I allow myself to expand ONLY by banishment. That slows the endgame somewhat, but is also fun.

pebblepuppy
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Post by pebblepuppy » Mon Jul 31, 2006 8:50 pm

Ooo, there's a thought. We talk a lot about artificial constraints we impose on ourselves to enhance the game. That is how MoM IME could transcend the original--by programatically enforcing these kinds of rules up front. (it's probably there already, but I haven't installed IME yet.)

I'm thinking of my suggestion about to allow expansion ONLY through banishing. Or only through conquest (disable settlers).

I have thought about this many times over the years, and came to the conclusion long ago that the true brilliance of this game is in its configurability. Most games, certainly most of its time, had only 1 real winning strategy. Once you figured out that 1 strat, you could win any game. With, Mom, there are many strategies.

I (selfishly ;) ) hope you don't give up on this project. I looked all over about a year ago and saw many half-hearted attempts to do what you are doing. I don't think anyone else has ever gotten this far. After all these years, I still break out MoM about once a year or so for a few games.

(Then we'll have to see about a hand-held version for the PocketPC, he he.)

Richrf
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Post by Richrf » Thu Sep 28, 2006 6:26 pm

I second what implode said. In this game, settlers are not really worth it, except to snag the adamanium mines.

Most of the time, capturing a netural/enemy wizard city is *the* way to expand except maybe if you play fast growing races but even then....

Kev
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re impossible

Post by Kev » Wed Mar 05, 2008 10:52 pm

It all depends on the map - sometimes you REALLY should settle that fat river valley , esp if your home city is on bad land. Otherwise, let the AI build up cities. The key to winning is usually getting to myrror early and snagging a few neutrals there, or being lucky enough to clean up your land mass and turtle till you can field a few nasty stacks. You MUST own your chunk of land. That is the cardinal rule of MOM AI - it will never stop coming after you if it can reach you, but water tends to be > than it. Never attack an enemy wizard except at his tower, and TAKE IT. Then his cities are yours. You only need to defend one city in the game - your tower. The rest do not matter. If you find it too hard, just use life+sorcery magic and halflings - build slingers everywhere, use a invis flying unit to gather money from nodes/lairs, and.....build slingers everywhere. Dont forget to use the "healer" units wisely to mend other units after battle.....

Kev
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Here are some things to make impossible easy...

Post by Kev » Thu Mar 06, 2008 9:40 pm

To get used to impossible (especially the computers rabid production and mana), use the 11 book strats, as they greatly increase your early power, which is the only dangerous part of the game.

11 white: Some use Torin (incarnation), but you will get him later anyway and he takes forever to cast+gear+level up. Stream of life is a good strat if you have an advanced race, but again very slow results. Invulnerability and guardian spirits are the easiest win EVER - makes the game a screen saver (spoiler warning! this is beyond ez mode). Lionheart + cavalry units are also very cheap and powerful, but not quite so incredibly cheesy. Always grab heroism - always. Any of those 4 rare spells at the start should = a very smooth game for you. Hell you can actually do really well without a rare - just prayer+heroism is pretty much a free lunch unless you get severely out-developed.

11 black: Wraiths Wraiths Wraiths. Take black prayer as well. Thats about all you will ever need - just choose your fights well - avoid magical ranged units. The legions of upkeep-free troops the wraiths will generate let you play at a comparable army strength level with the AI (the only way you will ever do so). As long as you do not wait too long, you can take most enemy wizards out with a wraith stack (until they start getting good summoned critters to guard their tower). Save weak ruins (warbears,guardian spirits, etc) to feed the wraiths with. Boats also make good meals. Try to keep the undead legions alive (they take no food), and sacrifice your regular troops when someone must die, but be sure to get rid of badly hurt undead (they do not heal). 11 Black is kind of its own little game-within-a-game, as the mechanics are so different than other colors.

11 blue: Two ways to do this - either mind storm or air elemental. If mind storm: ignore the AI and just harvest the ruins with confusion/flight/mind storm. You can get 3-4 flying slingers/bowmen and you will be AMAZED at what they can take down. The sheer cash and mana will allow you to pummel the AI with flight/phantom beast. Air elemental is pretty much a I-win button vs computer troops, even well into the mid-game, you will just need to really pump skill the first 100 turns. I would take the air ele with halflings or elfs (so you have a free melee asskicker to go with the ranged troops) and use mindstorm with other races. The key to sorcery is maxing your skill out early - you will need to be able to mindstorm + confusion to really make money on the ruins or to even cast air ele. The uncommon spells you will get (flight,phantom beast) are more powerful/useful than the rare spell. Sorcery is a bit slow compared to the other 11 book strats due to the heavy skill requirement, and no overland summon (storm giants suck) but its the most certain of all victories if you can survive a bit. The ultimate turtle color is blue.

11 Red: Several options, again. Flamestrike is awesome for killing neutrals/computer armies, but crappy for most ruins. Doom bolt exactly the opposite. You can do either one, and max your skill out asap to make good use of it (high elfs work very well for skill-maxing). I prefer however to take warp reality and chaos channels, and get a horsebowman or cavalry unit(s) early and just run over everything that isnt in a node. The -2 to hit in the early game is just devastating (vs elites later on with a natural +2 to hit its not so great). chaos channels is incredibly useful at the start - no upkeep, and you get either flight/+5 defense (awesome) or breath (not bad, lets you hit flyers). When the other guys are all -2 to hit, you can win lots of 2-3 vs 9 city fights...

11 Green: Gorgons can work, but they are soooo slow in cast time and movement (like Torin). The setup there is gorgons+natures cures+pathfinding (he will need a pathfinding cavalry to speed him up). Better still is basilisk+pathfinding+iron skin and research natures cures or trade for it. Some get gaias blessing but I find that food is not really a problem when all of your offense is the basilisk anyway (and you will learn GB eventually). Just buff the lizard to the fullest, pathfind+waterwalk+iron skin+resist elements and let him rock. This is actually one of the strongest 11 book starts, from the weakest school of magic....

Non 11 book setups that rule:

1) Conjurer setup
conjurer, alchemy + 2 sorcery 2 life 4 chaos
- hell hounds at start, then just move up the creature tree, buffing and recalling/teleporting as needed. I usually go hell hound->gargoyle->hydra or drake. Get endurance and floating island at start and just pump every crystal into mana and every mana into a hell hound. Hell hounds are fantastic early on (figure 1 hell hound can kill 4 swordsmen or so). You can win very very quickly with this setup, especially if you can get a node or two early.


2) Hero Pwn
alchemy,sorcery mastery, channeller, artificer + 3 life and 3 sorcery
- Slow, but ultimately the most powerful setup. Trade anything to get summon champion early. Sorcery mastery is a must here (along with spell lock) to keep the AI from chumping you with those 200 point disenchant area spells. channeler is key here as well. Use a defense race (high elf or halfling). No regular units will be able to keep up with your heroes anyway. By mid-game you should have 3-4 heroes flying at 5 or 6 move and taking every resource on the map that isnt nailed down by using confusion/phantom warr/beast. Use piecemeal tactics with your ranged scrubs to take enemy towers, then let the heroes rape the defenseless armies that are left for xp. Fun, epic type game.

3) Troop Pwn
alchemy, warlord, myrran + 3 life 2 sorcery
- draconians are the fastest win, trolls the most certain. All the myrran races are so superior.....you will not need top units for most things, as the halberdier- level troops are deadly enough. lots and lots of heroism and endurance. Also provides very good heroes, but you cannot enchant the good stuff and you are susceptible to dispel (and high buff upkeep).

In all impossible games:

1) scout scout scout - know where the hell you are going and what will be there when you arrive. - I summon and sacrifice magic spirits constantly. Usually easier to summon another one rather than fly one back 20 squares (paying the upkeep the entire time...). you should never enter a node that you have not scouted out with some scrub unit (ruins are easier b/c of the no dispel, but same thing applies to the tough ones).

2) own your island. You must do this first - before nodes or ruins or anything else - kill the neutrals and kill enemy wizards that are on your land. If you are on a giant land mass with 2-3 other wizards, and you dont think you can take em down - turtle your tower, abandon the others, and move to myrror.

3) work your magic sliders - I almost never have balanced sliders - I will either have all mana or all skill. I hardly ever put research above 0, unless I REALLY need that next spell (summon champion, wraiths,etc.). As soon as I make some cash (breaking items on forge, take city, etc) - I slam everything back into skill again. But you will need to run on pure mana alot in the early game - just get used to it. Fact is, unless you are life/sorcery, most of your power is from summoned creatures, which = mana hog.

4) Use missle troops. They have an enormous advantage in this game due to the forced groupings at the start of combat - even the fastest flyer takes a turn or 2 to get to them. Slingers and longbowmen rule, but horsebowmen, rangers, and shamans are also generally a much better deal than melee troops. This goes double for heroes - get the casters if at all possible (they also help with overland casting if they are at your fortress). It is a rare hero who can actually wade in and melee with higher-level troops/beasts (basically the first strike heroes are the only ones who can melee effectively). Side note - bow heroes suck. This is because there is no talent (like might/arcane power) which increases bow skill, so they get stuck at +1 per level, with 8 shot max forever. I will keep one bow hero around just to hold on to a nice bow till I need to break it on the anvil.


5) maximize your movement speed. Various spells will do this, as will certain units (mountaineers/heroes/foresters). Build 3 engineers and let them pave OR get 4-5 triremes/galleys on the coast near rough terrain to skip guys around OR use floating islands for the same thing OR....you get the point. Summoning circle and word of recall = instant movement. Often you cannot beat the AI head-on, you must out manuver and flank it while doing more damage to his lands than you are taking - that is where movement speed helps.

6) Tailor your best stack for one thing - killing the next enemies tower city. Keep a magic spirit near his city to spy on it, and bring a good match (he has ranged, bring heavy defense or invis or fast flyers - he has heavy melee bring ranged, etc). Often it will take two stacks to drop his tower - you will have to kill his flyers first or his magicians first before you can safely bring in your sweet stack. a stack of leftover spearmen/swordsmen can also be very nice to ping into him one by one right before your main stack - 9 units can drain a ton of mana if he is a counter-speller or high prayer user. If you have a pally or a invis unit you can drain him his full skill each time.....add mana leak to that if you have it......you get the idea.



7) avoid big spells in overland. If you have word of recall, you are usually better off moving units than doing anything else with your mana unless you have something bomb you need to cast. When you must commit to a 10-15 turn spell (like summon champion or incarnation or death knights or crusade etc) - prepare for it. Get the reserve to handle the spell so you can cast defensively if needed, and dont plan on any major mana expenses for the duration. Sometimes you just have to wait a while before committing to a biggie, because you cannot afford to stop buffing/moving units because you are fighting for your life. On the same note - try not to leave skill unused if you have mana - buff SOMETHING or at the very least summon a spirit and go scout a node.

8) Focus on myrror. This is key even if you start there. The races are so much more powerful and the AI is usually far less omnipresent as well.
Life magic has it easy (as usual!) with plane shift, but even without that just find a tower and get through it. You NEED to get there early to scoop up the lovely ruins (the nodes are just too brutal till end-game), and grab a few neutrals. The myrran neutrals are where your end - game troops should come from, unless you have paladins. One little troll city can = difference between Sssra owning you and you owning Sssra. Your one TRUE enemy is the myrran wizard(s). They will always be the most powerful, not only from the inherent race advantage but also the lack of competition and the power that most myrran races provide mana-wise. I have won many hopeless looking games by basically defending my tower city with word of recall while my arcanus empire burns, and sending every available unit to take a myrran city, which I max/buy troops from and recall them home.....hammerhands or war trolls will bitch slap any arcanus units.

9) Master the tactical combat. Especially get used to using the first strike/breath units to attack and move back, so as to always get the first shot. Learn when to move ranged up to get better +hit, and when to move all your units back till the enemy runs out of ammo. If he starts pounding on a particular ranged unit, heal/buff the unit and let it eat all the fire. Learn to bring extra units to absorb the initial blast when you attack - shaman are the best for this as he cannot resist them and they are cheap. Nice to have around to move on top of wounded stacks to heal them as well.


hope that helps - enjoy!

- Kev

gejsiv
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Re: To all impossible mode players

Post by gejsiv » Tue Oct 28, 2008 11:05 pm

I suggest for impossible you sue one of the broken strategies first, just so you get a feel for the game.
Example:
Put the game on small land mass. This limits the opponents since they won't have as much room to build ridiculous number so cities. You should also start with only one or two. Don't bother with diplomacy besides trading useless spells for good ones.

Take mostly sorcery with sorc master, alchemy, and archmage. Your ultimate goals are invisibility and flight.

Starting race is either highmen or orc.

Build warships. Make them fly. Cloak them. Pwn everything. Ever.

If you're feeling gutsy, throw in a retort of artificer and then try to earn one of rune master. Your dispels will be epic powered, for on, and for two with rune master, artificer, and enough skill, you can make time stop last forever. Then you can explore at your leisure and see all the interesting things that change in impossible mode.

Notes on impossible mode: opponent wizards pay no upkeep. This is how Sssra can afford 80 million doom bats all the time and doesn't have to worry about food when half his cities are revolting.
The strongest colors for surviving impossible mode are white and blue; white gives you some of the best unit advantages to make up for your opponent's own hax, and blue allows you to limit those advantages (great unsummoning, detect magic+spell blast, suppress magic, invisibility, mass invisibility, etc).

Incanur
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Re: To all impossible mode players

Post by Incanur » Tue Oct 13, 2009 8:32 pm

I've found that the good 11-book strategies make impossible downright easy. Wraiths simply demolish everything, generating an army of undead in the process. I love dominating the two worlds this way. A combination of guardian spirits, endurance, and invulnerability can win even more quickly.

With persistence and bit of luck, many different starting picks work fine on impossible. 5 sorcery plus runemaster and artificer gives you the ability to both enchant items to break for mana and to equip heroes with flying and magic immunity. At that point, you many have to watch out for web and cracks call. This setup struggles until you get a hero, then goes nuts. 5 life also works, allowing you to make items of invulnerability.

Incanur
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Re: To all impossible mode players

Post by Incanur » Fri Feb 26, 2010 5:44 pm

Another fun strategy that I've had success with is the hell hound swarm. The key picks are 4 chaos, channeler, conjurer, and chaos mastery. Beyond that you can play around a little. If you find an enemy wizard early enough, a full stack of dogs tends to do the trick. Sometimes you run into much more powerful summons, but I've found this setup wins more often than not.

Aureus
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Re: To all impossible mode players

Post by Aureus » Mon Sep 26, 2011 3:56 am

To win at impossible consistently - large land mass, that is - you need to know all the tricks in the book, and be very attentive to your play. [I'm ignoring any of the easy 11 book strategies]. This means, rather than willing to lose an unwinnable battle you run around and try to flee the AI until the 50 turns are exhausted (this takes a lot of practice). Summoning magic spirits as your scouts and making a specific point of taking out AI outposts before they grow to cities (this doesn't start a war). Magic spirit is hands down the best unit in the game - use it wisely! Sometimes the AI will go after cities of yours that were formally neutral. Attack the AI when it comes close and they'll retreat. Whatever you do, do not prompt a war against the AI until 1408. You will almost surely need all this time to build up your strength. As Kev said, never attack an AI city unless it's their fortress (as a general rule). Taking out cities is a wasted effort - you need a lot of bang for your buck. See, lots of little things...

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