How do you get better in Campaigns?

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weewah
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Joined: October 31st, 2019, 7:11 pm

How do you get better in Campaigns?

Post by weewah »

I have been looking around the various advice pages and threads, but pretty much all of them seem focused on PvP, where both sides have the same amount of gold. So they say things like: attack mages with ulfserkers! The opponent loses 20+ gold while you lose only 19! Which is great in MP, but total garbage in campaigns where the AIs tend to have a huge gold advantage and can afford to soak losses while you can't if you want to beat the later scenarios.

Or they say things like: play defensively, run away in unfavorable ToD, wait for opportunities, etc. But again, that assumes MP, where there is no real turn limit. Meanwhile campaigns do have turn limits, so if I keep running away and waiting, I will run out of turns and lose.

I also tried searching the forums for "campaign" advice, but apparently the words are too common so the search failed.

So in this thread, I hope to receive advice on how to get better in campaigns, how to deal with AI enemies that have large gold advantages and how to do so quickly so I don't run out of turns.
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Lord-Knightmare
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Re: How do you get better in Campaigns?

Post by Lord-Knightmare »

I shall try to keep it brief.
  • Practice makes perfect. You cannot expect to get better if you try once, fail and give up. Approach the scenario with a different tactic. Chances are the second one might make you reign victorious.
  • Pay close attention to the objectives not every scenario wants you to butcher everything in sight. If you have bonus objectives available to you, you should at least try to get that done. You might be rewarded with something special.
  • Consider your available pool of recruits, their advancements, terrain defences, resistances and abilities. Certain scenarios can be easily won if abilities like heals+8, cures and leadership are utilised at max potential. Units with regenerates/steadfast can act as tanks or hold castles against enemy waves. Cheap recruits like Orcish Grunts/Elvish Fighters can be cannon fodder/meat shields. Units with dextrous are better advanced into damage dealing advancements such as Elvish Archer to Elvish Marksman. Same argument for a strong Elvish Fighter to Elvish Hero. Certain advancements are situational, like advancing a Spearman to Javelineer if the scenario requires the Spearman to have moderate ranged retaliation.
  • Consider your enemy's unit types, specials, abilities, defences, resistances and recruits. If your enemy is undead, you need recalls/recruits that deal impact/fire/arcane damage. Defend during the night and attack during the day. Dwarves have high defense in mountains and hills, get them to flat terrain and exploit their poor defences.
  • Take good care of loyal/hero units. They have zero upkeep and are recalled for free at the start of most scenarios.
  • Do not neglect in earning your leader some XP. If he/she is too low-level at later scenarios, then they can be easily dispatched by levelled enemy units.
  • Keep an eye on the turn counter. If there are fewer turns available, be very aggressive in tactics and attacks. If you have a surplus, be defensive and chill.
  • If you have the opportunity, send a scout to grab villages, reduce upkeep and get a considerable amount carried over to the next scenario.
  • Decide if you need the early finish bonus or the experience to level up your units in a scenario. You can make better decisions regarding this with practice as you complete more campaigns.
  • If you already know what kind of enemy you will be facing throughout the campaign, build your army in accordance to that. For instance, in the Eastern Invasion, you know that the Undead are the main enemy and thus, your army should have a lot of White Mages/Mages of Light, Red Mages/Arch Mages, Shock Troopers, Iron Maulers, Cavaliers, Dragoons and Swordsmen/Royal Guards. In Dead Water, you know that your main enemy will be undead. Level up Merman Hunters to Merman Entanglers and Initiates to Diviners and Sirens. The custom unit "Merman Brawler" is also very useful in dispatching undead especially skeletons and their advancements.
  • If you still feel stuck, open up the walkthrough. For UMC add-ons, post about your problem in their feedback/development thread. The author/maintainer would tell you what you have to do or even show a replay.
  • Post about it in the Strategies and Tips forum. Somebody will respond.
  • Ask about it in the Wesnoth discord server.
Edit: I did not make it brief.
weewah
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Joined: October 31st, 2019, 7:11 pm

Re: How do you get better in Campaigns?

Post by weewah »

I don't really like to look up walkthroughs/strategy guides for specific campaigns, because that tends to spoil the story. Like if the guide tells me "Hey, recruit lots of heavy infantry!" then I know that somehow, the story will lead to me fighting undead later.

I understand that an army hyperspecialized towards dealing with the exact enemy types is much much better in every way, but there has to be some general guideline of what to do when you don't know what enemies you would have to fight later. If you start a new campaign with literally no idea what is coming next, what kind of units should you recruit? What kind of units should be leveled up?

And how do you deal with the giant blob of death that an AI enemy always sends after you? In MP, it is easy enough to stall the (much smaller) blob and snatch unguarded villages until the opponent is forced to split the blob to recapture villages or lose from gold disadvantage. But a campaign AI enemy rightfully ignores your village captures. It starts with an already large gold advantage and doesn't need the pittance given by campaign villages. That giant blob of death that it recruited with its initial gold will just charge straight towards your units and wreck them without caring how much gold they are sacrificing in the process. Are there any general tactics for dealing with that?
gnombat
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Re: How do you get better in Campaigns?

Post by gnombat »

It sounds like you're playing a campaign, for the first time through, on one of the harder difficulties (maybe the hardest)?

Obviously, it's up to you what difficulty you choose, but for most campaigns, I think the harder difficulties are designed more to improve the replay value of the campaign, rather than something which is intended for first-time players.

With the easier difficulties, the AI will probably not have a huge gold advantage (possibly it will not have the advantage at all).
Konrad2
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Re: How do you get better in Campaigns?

Post by Konrad2 »

Dealing with the blob of death:
Mass your units near your keep and give the enemy enough space so the fast units split from the core of the army. Now you can easily dispatch some enemy units before the real fight starts. Decide when and where you fight them and get the first hit in rather than being the one who gets attacked.

A lot of it is experience.
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patience_reloaded
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Re: How do you get better in Campaigns?

Post by patience_reloaded »

"Massive blob of death" kind of sounds like "Northern Rebirth", which is said to be the hardest of the mainline campaigns.

Something that I didn't learn for a long time despite the pros saying it's so obvious that it doesn't have to be mentioned: Troop rotation. When your troops get injured in the fight, send them to villages (or healers) to heal as soon as possible, and replace them with units that have more HP left. A few turns later (maybe already one turn later), the units that you sent back to the villages have healed and now have more HP than the ones currently at the frontline, so you swap them out again. With this system, you can strongly reduce losses, which immediately helps you win the scenario.

There are people who have trouble with some campaigns and decided to make an easier version of it, so they took the campaign, made it easier, and published it as an add-on so others can play the easier version too. You could try one of those if you want to. I guess there shouldn't be so much of a "blob of death" there any more, since those who make these easier versions have similar problems with the normal version as you do.

If you play the game for the story mainly, there are other things you could do:
- Abuse savegames: Basically you save the game before every maneuver that could go wrong, and if it went wrong, you reload. With this, you can make your horseman hit that necromancer in his castle twice even though it's unlikely. It just takes several reloads. To some, this feels like cheating, to others, it doesn't. To me it is: You have to work for it, so basically you replace your lack of strategic/tactical skills with hard work. I do that a lot.
- Use debug mode: You can use :debug ingame to enable debug mode (doesn't work in online MP). Debug mode enables you to create or kill units. If some important units of yours get caught in an ambush: Spawn in some troops to protect them. If the turns are running out and you can't kill the enemy leader any more: Just directly kill him by right-klicking and selecting "kill unit". To many, this feels like cheating, but if you just want to enjoy the story, go for it! There are definitely more than just a few people who do that.
Remember: The most important aspect of the game is to have fun. So play it in a way you have fun, and don't worry about other people judging your playstyle.
Konrad2
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Re: How do you get better in Campaigns?

Post by Konrad2 »

weewah wrote: November 10th, 2020, 1:14 am I don't really like to look up walkthroughs/strategy guides for specific campaigns, because that tends to spoil the story. Like if the guide tells me "Hey, recruit lots of heavy infantry!" then I know that somehow, the story will lead to me fighting undead later.

I understand that an army hyperspecialized towards dealing with the exact enemy types is much much better in every way, but there has to be some general guideline of what to do when you don't know what enemies you would have to fight later. If you start a new campaign with literally no idea what is coming next, what kind of units should you recruit? What kind of units should be leveled up?
I kinda forgot to answer to this part. I'm not going to give you real strategic advice for this, because I have usually have a completly different approach to this:
I want to have at least one, maybe two units of every kinda I can have. The sideeffect is that you will always have some units at hand that can deal with whatever enemies you encounter, or at the very least some of your units will be more effective for what you are doing than others.
Of course, there are scenarios where you can't afford to play like this. But in those it's fairly obvious what kind of unit you need, so you can just recruit that way.
Zrevnur
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Re: How do you get better in Campaigns?

Post by Zrevnur »

What is IMO essential for most harder campaign scenarios: "Good safe" basic tactical ability. Not which unit to recruit and not how much gold to spend and other such (strategic) choices but where/when to place (and attack with) individual units without looking too many turns ahead. So how to tactically outplay the AI. This is in some scenarios also sufficient to win - meaning you dont need much of a strategy. (In some scenarios/campaigns however this wont be enough.) Note that this "good safe" is quite different from what you need in PvP - you dont need optimum genius level moves. Just solid good moves in general ("good" part) without making major mistakes ("safe" part).
weewah wrote: November 10th, 2020, 1:14 am I don't really like to look up walkthroughs/strategy guides for specific campaigns, because that tends to spoil the story. Like if the guide tells me "Hey, recruit lots of heavy infantry!" then I know that somehow, the story will lead to me fighting undead later.
I understand that an army hyperspecialized towards dealing with the exact enemy types is much much better in every way, but there has to be some general guideline of what to do when you don't know what enemies you would have to fight later. If you start a new campaign with literally no idea what is coming next, what kind of units should you recruit?
I dont know which campaigns and difficulty you are writing about but if its not the harder campaigns in the hardest difficulty then simply recruiting a spectrum of whats available is enough.
weewah wrote: November 10th, 2020, 1:14 am What kind of units should be leveled up?
Simple basic scheme: Make enough 8hp healers first, everything else later. Support units (leadership, slow, whatever) may be better early leveling targets than other units if you are using them well. Other best leveling targets are the units which end up most powerful or most useful like Sylph or Dwarf Lord.
weewah wrote: November 10th, 2020, 1:14 am And how do you deal with the giant blob of death that an AI enemy always sends after you? In MP, it is easy enough to stall the (much smaller) blob and snatch unguarded villages until the opponent is forced to split the blob to recapture villages or lose from gold disadvantage. But a campaign AI enemy rightfully ignores your village captures. It starts with an already large gold advantage and doesn't need the pittance given by campaign villages. That giant blob of death that it recruited with its initial gold will just charge straight towards your units and wreck them without caring how much gold they are sacrificing in the process. Are there any general tactics for dealing with that?
I dont think there is a general best way to deal with that. See the above point about tactical ability. But sometimes getting it to split up can be beneficial. Far as I know the AI charges your forces in a quantity-for-quantity manner. So if you have 20 units and move 10 to the left side of the map and 10 to the right side of the map it will use half its forces against the left side and the other half against the right side. Whether this is good or bad for you depends...
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