Part 50: Stronghold Campaign, Map Four, Part Two
Is Sandor just now starting to acquire Orc speech patterns, or did I fail to notice that before?
It's subtle, but it's definitely there in earlier maps - if you pay attention to how Sandor speaks as he moves through the maps, you'll notice he starts speaking in shorter sentence fragments. But at least he's still using pronouns!
Last time, we got started on this fairly... dull map. This time, we're going to finish it.
There are two more Inferno towns on the map, and this is the one that's closest to the portal that accesses directly to that Fort south of our town, so I'll be glad to take it out. Both of them also have that annoying strucuture that deals 300 Fire damage to us every round.
Now since there really isn't much to say during this map, I'll be talking about what I feel are the strength and weaknesses of the campaign in general.
For what it's worth, the maps are definitely unique. No one map falls into the same line of 'go to X, kill things, repeat' that some of the other campaigns fall into. This map is I believe the only real weak point because of how dreary it is, but I appreciate the effort.
It's also a good beginner campaign if you don't like to be spoiled about the plot. There is very little learned about the overall Griffin/Angel plot during the campaign - the only things are that Anastasya killed Slava and... a few nuggets about the Angel/Faceless war, but nothing special. We also see Mukao and Haffayad, but if you haven't played the other campaigns then they don't really stand out.
It's also challenging. Sandor doesn't have the most difficult campaign (I think that award goes to Anastasya), but No Country for Orc Men and The Barbarous Seven both usually stand out to me, because I either had to get unorthodox with some of my tactics in the former, or because of the utter annoyance of the AI in the latter. Neither are really difficult though, and this one is just a letdown.
When you reach 100 Crystal...
How is the crystal count?
Going well. Not enough, but going well-
Blood and thunder! What was that?
Once I got rid of the first town, the Inferno starts to pop in and out of the other portal like crazy. They're very annoying since they will Town Portal away like rabbits once I send Sandor back to town, and then come back through the portal once Sandor leaves again. I eventually lure them within striking distance of the town then send Sandor back to crush their skulls in.
Now for the downsides. The biggest problem for me has always been how little Sandor relates to the overall story. It's a bonus if you don't want to be spoiled, but otherwise if you write everything but the first map out of the story, there's almost no consequence.
Sandor doesn't even meet with any of his siblings past the first map. I think he and Kiril are barely mentioned in the same sentence.
It's not a bad standalone story, and you could say Irina falls into the same boat of barely meeting anyone else. But Irina's personality really does save her I think, while Sandor kind of... fades into the background against Kraal. They interact well together, but if Sandor was forced to stand alone, like Irina, he'd be pretty forgettable.
Maybe it's because the writers realised they didn't really have an end goal for Sandor to strive towards. They couldn't have Sandor go after Gerhart because that's Irina's shtick. They can't have him go after Anton because you can't kill off another of your protaganists.
So instead, you pretty much have him rising up among the Orc society and leading them against the demons. Again, not a bad becoming-of-a-Hero story, but as part of an overarching campaign, it feels a bit lackluster.
But maybe you guys feel different. What do you think of the Stronghold campaign? Does it have any big memorable moments? Any glaring weaknesses? How do you feel about Sandor in general, and the supporting cast?
But we've dawdled on long enough, and we have more than enough Wood/Ore/Gold to trade for the remanining Crystal.
At 200 Crystal...
Since the worm came we've had nothing but trouble - it smells the Tears of Asha, it hunts them and feeds on them.
And it makes more noise when it eats than my entire army.
Rrr. The Orcs are gone; nothing but a big hole. Sandor should - I mean I should go down and see what happened.
Cutting it close there, Sandor.
At 300 Crystal, your Crystal mines start collapsing one by one. They're gone for good, but they leave behind holes that you can go down to find lots of tiny Crystal deposits. It's completely safe, too, so you can use mule Heroes for this task.
But we have enough Wood/Ore to end the mission now, and there are no more conversations, so let's jump ahead (after collecting all the stat boosts on the map) to...
Alright, let's see what happens tomorrow.
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (YouTube via Polsy)
Click here to listen to the conversation!
Then we're worm hunting. We'll gut it, rip out the Tear, and burn what's left.
So, Sandor. You are Irina's famous brother... Daimyo Jubo's brother... This explains much.
When you are finished here you should go and find her, and look to your family.
First I will take Gerhart's heart.
Then you must hurry. Irina has the same plan, and moves more quickly. After that you must look to the Angels, the Faceless...
I had warnings of this. I make no promises... but if they have attacked my family, I will have vengeance.
Nnn. Orcs must think first of family, then of clan, then of blood, then of Ashan.
Before we go gut a worm, let's take a look at Sandor's final stats.
Over 50 Might Power and Might Defense means that fighting anything controlled by Sandor in Might combat in just asking for it. Magic is obviously lower, but at about 20 odd each he's not completely helpless. 160 Mana isn't a lot, but it's enough for several castings of Regeneration/Drain Life at least.
Sandor's picked up a number of strong passives, like Defender I/II/III, as well as Counterattack I/II/III. What few active abilities he has are Heroism, Evasive Maneuvers, Reinforcements II, Regeneration, Drain Life (Mass), and his two reputation abilities. I got rid of Mentoring with the last respecialization, so Airini's left in the cold (oh well).
The Biggest Fishing Lure (YouTube via Polsy)
Mother Earth, protect us!
Kraal? What is it?
Not demons, Orcs! Orcs eaten by great worm. Worm eats Human parts, spits out Orc blood in form of Demon.
Ahh... horrors of Urgash. Mother Earth cries for vengeance!
Nice. Pretty soon Sandor noiser than worm.
Let's do this.
Boss Fight: Abyssal Worm
- The Abyssal Worm has 75,000 health. It also has the usual Boss fanfare - it gets two turns a round and can't be slowed or blinded.
- The Abyssal Worm burrows underground and appears in another tile as its form of movement. When it's attacked, it will attempt to burrow to another tile and spit lava for some Fire damage. It will usually use a lava spit for that purpose, but might also hit targets in front of it for Melee damage.
- The Abyssal Worm can also Devour a stack similiar to that of the one-time-per-game Abyssal Worms one can visit on maps. If let untouched, it will slowly consume 10% of that unit per stack. Enough damage to it and it will spit it back out on its turn. It can't burrow away while it's Devouring. You can also get an achievement for killing the Worm while it's Devouring a stack.
- The Abyssal Worm enrages below 35% health, getting 3 turns a round instead of 2.
The Abyssal Worm is a joke. By the time you fight it, you have enough creatures to kill it easily within a few rounds. In fact, you would have to be trying to get it to Devour your stacks. The other fun part? Sandor's Might over Magic skill completely nullifies almost any damage the Worm can throw at you for 2 rounds, letting you get a free onslaught on it. If that wasn't enough, the Abyssal Worm is vulnerable to Weakness if you have it, which cuts its damage by about half.
Yeah. No problem at all.
Click here to listen to the conversation!
Orcs! Warriors of the Pao Islands! Once again you have thrown the Demons back in defeat.
For the blood! For the children!
Now we give this Tear of Asha to the Naga. Let them do their magic. If magic works, Demons are gone. But if magic fails...
What happens Shangy?
If the magic fails, more Demons for us to kill!
So Kraal. We have come through blood and chaos and fire... to this.
Nnnn. Demons dead. Orcs free. Sandor almost as famous as Kunyak.
So... Sandor goes where now?
The things I heard from my mother and the Naga bother me. I will take some troops to the Griffin Duchy and see what will be found there. If the Angels and the Faceless are twisting the world to their ends, I will stop it.
Nnn. Kraal wants to know who killed Slava. I want my vengeance too...
Kraal! You used pronouns.
Accident. Won't happen again. Heh heh heh. For the tribe!
And that concludes the Stronghold campaign! It doesn't necessarily mean Sandor's out of the story completely, but we've seen how far he has to go for the main story at least. I suppose it's a nice ending.