Siege of Elensafar - The Thrill Has Gone AKA Advice on Hard

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Steveland
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Siege of Elensafar - The Thrill Has Gone AKA Advice on Hard

Post by Steveland »

Hi everyone

I've been playing Wesnoth off and on for the last 5 years. I remember when I first started playing, SoE was a really enjoyable challenge on medium but now I'm tackling it on Hard I'm finding it impossible.

Back in the medium days (and with 80% carryover gold) I remember it really lived up to it's title of 'Siege'. It would be a long drawn-out tactical battle that was possibly one of the most satisfying levels in the whole game but now......

First of all, I'm starting with 159 gold on Hard - not enough you say? Well, I've played the preceding levels honestly and with the new 40% carry over I don't see how I can really improve on that even if I were inclined to go back to the start. Also, having to play each level perfectly so as to maximise gold for future levels would seem an excruciating pain in the butt. I though the whole point of the basic minimum starting gold was that it would be enough to have a fighting chance but not so with this level.

So my first problem is that I don't have enough gold. Over the years I started to learn that one of the joys was starting each level with a mix of veterans and new recruits, and that it was okay to take some losses. Previously I'd focussed on always recalling the best units and trying to play the perfect game without taking losses, which makes for a less interesting game. However, with only 159 gold I have no choice but to try to storm the island with my best units which leads to my second gripe...

This is a siege, no? Well apparently not. The only way to stand a chance (due to the rush of undead) is storm the castle AS SOON AS POSSIBLE... which just isn't as much fun. I really think that the undead threat shouldn't be triggered until at least turn 5 or maybe once you set foot on the island, that way it would make a nice twist/new development and would also give a little breathing space to engage in a siege.

I understand that a turn limit is necessary for some levels but for this one it's just a pain. Being able to take my time with the siege would be a fun way to play (and again emphasising the SIEGE aspect) and wouldn't give me any benefit in terms of being able to amass a huge army - the Orc has all the villages so if anything he would benefit.

So here I am at a crossroads with Wesnoth. last night I game up with it. I'm sure I could eventually beat SoE but it would require playing a perfect game and probably a bit of save/loading to get favourable hits. But the undead have swarmed the city by turn 8 so there's no chance to recruit mages to combat that. Previously, and on medium, it felt like the undead didn't hit town until much later resulting in a nice two-tiered aspect to the level - defeat orcs, regroup, set off for undead.

I guess more than anything what I'm looking for is nostalgia. I miss the old tactical aspect of the seige on medium, of shifting battlefronts and feints. Now I have to charge into town like a pack of bloodthirsty berserkers.

So, suggestions please:
1) Is 159 gold way too low on difficult to stand a chance?
2) Should I enter debug mode to boost my gold or will this mess up the whole campaign?
3) Is there a way in debug mode to extend the number of turns?
4) Actually, is there a debug way to slow the undead?
5) What are people's favourite siege scenarios?

I know SoE is one of the most talked about scenarios anyway but I hope this starts an interesting discussion.

Many thanks.

Velensk
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Re: Siege of Elensafar - The Thrill Has Gone AKA Advice on H

Post by Velensk »

You don't have to charge into the town without tactics, infact that seems like a good way to get yourself killed. I find that this scenario plays pretty much exactly the same on hard as on medium except that you need to be more careful.

1: I wouldn't want to do it with 159 gold. When I'm playing through on hard I usually come in with about 280.
2: Boosting your gold would not ruin the campaign however it would be cheating.
3: No but you can simply modify the scenario cfg.
4: Easy, create units near them that slow them down.
5: What do you mean by siege scenarios? I don't know any scenario that meets the description you give.
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zookeeper
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Re: Siege of Elensafar - The Thrill Has Gone AKA Advice on H

Post by zookeeper »

Well, posting your beginning-of-scenario save would be a good first step. There's a number of ways the scenario could be made easier on the harder difficulties, such as:

1. Limiting the number of lvl2 recruits available for the orcish leader (on easy, he only gets max 2 warriors and 2 crossbowmen).
2. Higher starting gold (most scenarios after SoE up to Return to Wesnoth have 200 starting gold, sometimes 300 on easy).
3. Easier AI behaviour for either enemy.

However, to test those it'd be handy to have a savefile with which it's currently unreasonably hard, and then a specific balancing suggestion which would address the issue.

HomerJ
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Re: Siege of Elensafar - The Thrill Has Gone AKA Advice on H

Post by HomerJ »

Velensk wrote:5: What do you mean by siege scenarios? I don't know any scenario that meets the description you give.
I beg to differ here, my favorite siege scenario is Eastern Fortress in Northern Rebirth. Lots of time, lots of units, lots of space to maneuver...


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Edit: Messed up correct name for scenario
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Anonymissimus
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Re: Siege of Elensafar - The Thrill Has Gone AKA Advice on H

Post by Anonymissimus »

Steveland wrote: 3) Is there a way in debug mode to extend the number of turns?
Anonymissimus wrote: actually, it is enough to do
:debug
:lua wesnoth.fire("modify_turns", {value = -1})
to turn off a turn limit.
(or to set it to any other desired value instead of -1 for "infinity")

And don't rush into the isle. I found that waiting until most of the undead wave is over was the key. I enter at around turn 15-18 IIRC. You can lure the necromancer out of the cave by presenting him a unit without a ranged attack.
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monochromatic
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Re: Siege of Elensafar - The Thrill Has Gone AKA Advice on H

Post by monochromatic »

Yes, IMO 159 is too low. You omly can recall up to 7 units! And 8 units plus recruit. Thats not enough to fight thriugh this horde. I usually come to this level with a gold level in the high 200's. You might want to replay some of the earlier levels to get more gold.

Also, you don't have to rush the orcs early. Here's the strategy I used for scouts only plus recalls on hard:
With the money I had I split my forces in two, one with more newly recruited scouts (A), and one with the mages and paladins (I had leveled both knights into paladins, which greatly helped this scenario) (B). A good way to slow down the undead is to use mermen. I recalled the storm trident warrior and a priestess, which both melted a couple skeles in the north before retreating slightly to the west to heal. Meanwhile A rushed to the northeast of your starting pointing, luring down a good number of orcs to the forest and killing them with the help of Konrad. Split B again, placing fast units at the mouth of the north bridge, but not engaging the orcs, and the mages to the northwest. Accept the thieves' offer to help infiltrate the city. He'll show you a secret ford. Now rush all of your B units there plus Konrad. A should attempt to finish off the rest of the orcs. For me they ended up wiped out except for two riders, but since your doing normal units you should be okay. Make a stand on the little island until the orcs are finished, then rush the undead in the center island. With two paladins and a white mage with a holy sword, a almost leveled Mage, a hoplite with a storm trident, and a priestess, the undead didn't stand a chance. Now rush your units north to get a good EFB.

cerion
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Re: Siege of Elensafar - The Thrill Has Gone AKA Advice on H

Post by cerion »

Needs 200 gold minimum I think, checked my replay folder and I passed this one with 234 gold on hard using a strategy of holding the southern bank of the river to kill orcs. The armies meet at night so some unit losses are unavoidable (put sacrificial fighters on the hexes that can be hit from 3 directions), but being able to charge assassins and crossbows in the water really helps

Schierke
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Re: Siege of Elensafar - The Thrill Has Gone AKA Advice on H

Post by Schierke »

Steveland wrote:First of all, I'm starting with 159 gold on Hard - not enough you say? Well, I've played the preceding levels honestly and with the new 40% carry over I don't see how I can really improve on that even if I were inclined to go back to the start.
It seems you need to learn on of the great skills in Wesnoth, how to make a lot of gold: do not to overrecruit and milk easy scenarios and level loyal units first and foremost.

You should come out of Muff Malal's Peninsula into The Siege with at least 200 gold, enough to beat the scenario.
Steveland wrote:Also, having to play each level perfectly so as to maximise gold for future levels would seem an excruciating pain in the butt. I though the whole point of the basic minimum starting gold was that it would be enough to have a fighting chance but not so with this level.
Ugh, then maybe playing on hard is not the greatest idea. Most scenarios on HtTT are fairly easy, even on hard, that's why you need to play them very well in order to be well prepared for for those roadblock scenarios.
Steveland wrote:So my first problem is that I don't have enough gold. Over the years I started to learn that one of the joys was starting each level with a mix of veterans and new recruits, and that it was okay to take some losses. Previously I'd focussed on always recalling the best units and trying to play the perfect game without taking losses, which makes for a less interesting game. However, with only 159 gold I have no choice but to try to storm the island with my best units which leads to my second gripe...
Really, just Muff Malal's Peninsula again and try to beat with as few units as posible while using some mermen to capture all the island villages and you should be able to get at least 200 gold.
Steveland wrote:I understand that a turn limit is necessary for some levels but for this one it's just a pain. Being able to take my time with the siege would be a fun way to play (and again emphasising the SIEGE aspect) and wouldn't give me any benefit in terms of being able to amass a huge army - the Orc has all the villages so if anything he would benefit.
This is the mistake of trying to apply your favorite strategy and play style to every scenario, you have to adapt to the scenario and not viceversa. Adaptation is a big part of playing Wesnoth, if a certain tactic doesn't work in X scenario, then you should try something else.

The AI in this game is not a big challenge (not complaining, what more can you expect from a free game?) so you need some pressure to keep the game challenging, otherwise very scenario would consist of you just steamrolling the enemy.

Playing on hard and being a rather mediocre player i was able to beat SoE on my first try (having played it in normal some months ago) and only losing 3 new recruits and 2 recalled units (one of this loses was completely and totally unnecesary, caused by my [censored] habit of trying to "milk" the leaders all that i can) because i came very well prepared (290 gold and a nice recall list).

I divided my army in two, most of it (elves, mages and mermen) went to the front to lure the orcs to fight on the water while a small group of knights, lancers and horseman moved to the east entrance and they, together with the assasins, killed the orc leader in one turn, then i moved the back rear of my army to cross the bridge to surround the orc army and kill them easily as they stand on the shore and water. The undead are all level 1 even if there are a lot of them, so you just have to keep your army tight and retreat weakened units as you slowly mow them down.

Sure, if the AI was smarter and only held their defensive positions inside the city, then it would be more like a siege, but until then speed is the key in this scenario.
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James_Tarquinio
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Re: Siege of Elensafar - The Thrill Has Gone AKA Advice on H

Post by James_Tarquinio »

I'm also stuck here. I am playing on Normal, on the iPad. I enter the Peninsula scenario with 260 gold or so. Obviously I can beat the scenario by simply running, but that doesn't gain me any XP, and I need it. I can beat the scenario militarily, but I end up draining my gold reserves to do so. In that case, I get to the Siege scenario with insufficient gold to recruit/recall the units I need.

I don't understand how to win the Peninsula militarily with just a few units. I send some merfolk to grab the island bases, which is easy enough. But that leaves maybe 180-200 gold with which to recall units -- so I have to try to win on land with just nine units? The enemy spams dozens of units, and while I do make steady progress, I have to be careful so as not to lose units to enemy spellcasters etc. That means pulling back a bit at night, for example. Eventually I grab enough bases that I can recruit more units, but this again drains me of gold. What am I missing? How many land/sea units should I be using, and what mix of vets/recruits?

Also, I keep reading negative comments about the AI. Yes, it makes some dumb mistakes, but I've seen worse. One thing about the AI: it does not get the massive advantage we do -- the ability to reload a saved game. If it makes a mistake, or rolls bad dice, it can't reload. We can. I think people routinely underestimate the huge advantage that gives the human player. If one really wants to test the AI, one should refuse to reload except for UI glitches and the like.

monochromatic
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Re: Siege of Elensafar - The Thrill Has Gone AKA Advice on H

Post by monochromatic »

James_Tarquinio wrote:Also, I keep reading negative comments about the AI. Yes, it makes some dumb mistakes, but I've seen worse. One thing about the AI: it does not get the massive advantage we do -- the ability to reload a saved game. If it makes a mistake, or rolls bad dice, it can't reload. We can. I think people routinely underestimate the huge advantage that gives the human player. If one really wants to test the AI, one should refuse to reload except for UI glitches and the like.
We leave it up to the player, but generally save-loading is unofficially considered as cheating. Of course, if you like to do that, go ahead by all means! But, there is a good number of people here that don't believe in that, and they are usually the persons who test out the AI.

Also, on SoE, how many level 2's do you have? They will greatly help this scenario. Also, for Normal you should aim for around 250 gold, IMO.

James_Tarquinio
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Re: Siege of Elensafar - The Thrill Has Gone AKA Advice on H

Post by James_Tarquinio »

I made it to SoE with about 8 or 9 level 2s -- but only about 170 gold. That's barely enough to recall the level 2s, leaving me with nothing left to recruit level 1s as cannon fodder (or to recall level 1s that have significant XP).

I guess my trouble is gold. I spend all my gold generating units to beat the Peninsula scenario. I don't understand how people beat that scenario with just a handful of units -- the enemy spawns lots and lots of undead, albeit weakish undead. I can beat it, but I end up with only 50 gold or so, and only a fraction of that makes it to SoE. Am I missing some killer tactic in Peninsula? My sea units grab the undefended island villages, and my ground forces push forward, rather cautiously perhaps.

Ineluki
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Re: Siege of Elensafar - The Thrill Has Gone AKA Advice on H

Post by Ineluki »

I beat SoE on hard with 163 gold, one lvl 2 unit is spawned automatically so that leaves me enough gold to recruit 8 more lvl 2 units, that's 9 lvl 2 units and a lvl 3 unit (konrad), at the end of the scenario I had 3 of the original lvl 2's dead but 4 leveled up, so that's ok with me.

I used the river ford to my advantatge forcing the orcs to attack me from bad terrain and with a white mage healing me, and a merman warrior with storm trident wreaking havok, slowly advancing to the orc keep to recruit some lvl 1 units, and then just storming north towards the undead.

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zookeeper
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Re: Siege of Elensafar - The Thrill Has Gone AKA Advice on H

Post by zookeeper »

James_Tarquinio wrote:I guess my trouble is gold. I spend all my gold generating units to beat the Peninsula scenario. I don't understand how people beat that scenario with just a handful of units -- the enemy spawns lots and lots of undead, albeit weakish undead. I can beat it, but I end up with only 50 gold or so, and only a fraction of that makes it to SoE. Am I missing some killer tactic in Peninsula?
Maybe you're using so many turns that the early finish bonus won't give you much? The sooner you kill Muff Malal, the bigger your early finish bonus will be.

James_Tarquinio
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Re: Siege of Elensafar - The Thrill Has Gone AKA Advice on H

Post by James_Tarquinio »

Hmm, on my latest play I ended on turn 21, and I ended up with more gold than usual. That takes me to SoE with around 200 gold. From what ineluki says, that should be enough? I'll give it a try...

James_Tarquinio
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Re: Siege of Elensafar - The Thrill Has Gone AKA Advice on H

Post by James_Tarquinio »

OK, with a bit more than 200 gold, I breezed through the Siege on my first try, lol. I just pushed up through the center, letting the orcs throw themselves at me from the water. Their boss went down surprisingly fast (though I am playing only on Normal). Once I had the orc castle, it became easy -- I was able to recruit units to soak up damage from the undead, and my 4 level 2 mages made short work of the skellies.

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