Warlords Battlecry 3 - Cover

It didn’t take long for me to go back to Warlords Battlecry 3 after waking up this morning, especially considering how the Daylight Saving switch messed up my sleep pattern. The game dragged me in and doesn’t intend to let me go until one of us is done fur. Luckily, It turns out the game would fall sooner than I would.

Humans and Dwarves

Last night, I got to the human lands with not much to do. This morning, I ended up in the area of Enmouth, where I had to fight four battles on the same map, against Barbarians, the Undead, Wood Elves and Knights, all in defense of the Empire. The fifth battle was again on the same map but against all four enemies at once. The fights stopped being challenging by now, though, since my hero could easily clear the entire map on his own. I still stuck to my old strategy of using him almost exclusively, while building up to fire priests at my home base, but slowly, the Fire Priests were getting used less and less often.

Warlords Battlecry 3 - Enmouth

I’ve spent a lot of time here and I don’t think it was worth it.

Beating the five battles provided me with an alliance with the Empire, but that was about it, so it didn’t feel worth it. I moved on and got to the dwarven lands, where my intention was to somehow make them like me again. For some reason, I made them and the Dark Elves my enemy. I can understand the Dark Elves, but I don’t remember fighting Dwarves that often. The problem was, I couldn’t find any missions, regular or repeatable, which would help me with that goal.

The Heart of Zhur

I wandered onto an Undead island, where I got one more artifact during a chain of three missions. The Heart of Zhur now makes my hero completely immune to poison. After that, I moved on further south to the Orc lands, where I mostly fought goblins, but not before going through White Mountains, where I got one more artifact – The Gryphon Eggs. This give 30 Exp to every Gryphon I train, so they’re basically worthless.

Cureall Stone

I then finally got to the area with a mix of Plague, Orc and Dark Elf presence, where I got the Cureall Stone with my first Archmage hero. I did the same here and suddenly, I was only two actual artifacts (and two fortress keys) short of a full set of bonuses. One of the artifacts was found soon after, at Khaz-Barak. This place, according to the in-game description, used to belong to the Dwarves, so I was hoping the replayable missions here would help me get back on their good side, but even after several repetitions, it just wasn’t happening. I did get the Mythril Vein, though, which gives 10 extra armor to my hero.

Champion of Bartonia

I had one more look at my list of bonuses and realized the last one was called “Champion of Bartonia”. Bartonia was an in-game location, part of the human areas, but for some reason, I skipped it. I went back and realized that one of the replayable missions wasn’t actually replayable. I played through the chain of arena battles and soon, the final bonus and the champion title was mine. The final duel was a bit difficult, since like me, the enemy hero had an item that has a chance to heal the user, but eventually, my superior stats won. “Champion of Bartonia” also increases my attack speed by 50%, just like the Winds of the Desert do, so now I was attacking at an insane rate.

Warlords Battlecry 3 - Arena Duel Map

Arena duels take place on this map.

This thing basically made me invincible. I’m now attacking several times per second, with a chance to heal myself or do 500 extra damage to an enemy with every hit. Basically, almost nothing in the game can do enough damage to me fast enough to kill me.

The Second Fortress Key

I was close to the area of the Plague Horseman, so I took the chance to get one more fortress key. Just as it was with Bane, I had to fight with the Plague as my ally against Demons and a bunch of neutral floating skull enemies. This was easy to do, and again, just like with Bane, I got the key and a chance to ally myself with the Plague. I refused, because i would lose even more favor with the Dwarves. In hindsight, I should have accepted, since I didn’t get on the Dwarves’ good side before the game was over.

The Third Fortress Key

Now I was missing just one more key, so I took the long trip to the plains of Famine, where one more horseman was besieged by Gorgon’s forces. The game is certainly predictable, so again, I fought with an ally (the Swarm) against Demons and floating skulls and got the final key. I forgot to ask for the alliance this time, instead just rushing to the Wastes to get to the final two battles. By this point, other than my assassination chance and a high attack speed, I also had a high running speed, thanks to investing into the Running ability for the past few levels, so clearing missions was even faster.

Warlords Battlecry 3 - All Bonuses

I caught them all! Not all of them are extra useful, but some are quite nice.

The Final Two Missions

The first of the final two missions was basically a repetition of my first “Search the Wastes” mission. It took place on the same map, with the same enemies and again, when I got to the fortress gate, I nearly lost my hero. I finally realized why to. Apparently, there are two types of those floating skull enemies. The first use melee attacks, and they’re harmless. The second type uses ranged electrical attacks and hits for 50 points of damage. These are the guys that can easily kill me if I’m not careful.

Warlords Battlecry 3 - Gorgon's Fortress

You don’t really see Gorgon, just it’s fortress.

This brings us to the second of the two final levels. Again, it was the same map, but this time, I started out at the fortress and had to survive for 20 minutes against waves of those ranged skull enemies. Suffice to say, I would not have survived for long just defending. Instead, I rushed towards the two small tower bases on the map and destroyed both of them. This triggered the victory screen and that was it – game won!

The End

I got one of those “comic book” cut scenes, the game told me the main objective was completed and that was it. Admittedly  it’s a bit underwhelming, but I can now proudly claim I’ve completed one of the games I played far too much of as a kid, but for some reason, never completed it back then.

Warlords Battlecry 3 - Victory Hint

Congratulations, I won!?

The thing is, this game isn’t really about completing the story. It’s about trying new hero builds and getting more and more powerful. There’s definitely still a huge chunk of the game I could explore. I’m just not sure I’m going to actually do it, since sadly, I have other games I also want to play. That’s the “problem” with gaming today – too many great games, too little time.

Maybe in a few weeks, I’ll try out that mode I’ve stumbled into – the Fifth Horseman. Maybe I’ll go back to one of the previous games in the installment, or maybe even turn towards the turn based games of the series. You see, the world of Etheria is primarily tied to Warlords, a turn based strategy RPG. The Walords Battlecry series is actually a spin off. There’s one more, more recent spin off to – Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords. The entire series is actually quite fun, but most games, just like Warlords Battlecry 3, suffer from lack of polish.

Warlords Battlecry 3 - Cover

Dux, the Ssrathi Assassin

Another weekend is here, which means I’ve spent another day on and off Warlords Battlecry 3. Switching my hero to an assassin was definitely the right move and the game is a lot of fun for me now, especially since I can complete missions a lot faster, so I can advance the game a bit every time I can squeeze in another fifteen minutes or so.

Warlords Battlecry 3 - Hero Titles

I don’t think I’ll ever max out some of those titles and ranks.

Dux is now level 29 and I think I won’t put any more points into Assassination. I have a 30% chance to outright kill my target with every swing and I swing about twice per second. Odds are, if I tackle an enemy here, they will be dead five seconds within the encounter at worst. Now, I need raw damage, so I can start taking down buildings just as fast.

Well, after doing some research, I found out Assassination doesn’t actually outright kill anything. Instead it adds 500 extra damage to an attack, so I guess I might have some trouble at higher levels. Still, I’d prefer to keep my hero more interesting and not just invest into a single ability.

Since I don’t have many useful abilities other than Assassination, I decided to now focus on Wealth, which increases my gold income by 15 per minute for each point invested, as well as Running, which increases speed by 1 with each point invested.

The Retinue

I haven’t been paying as much attention to my retinue as I did last week, mostly because all I need my generals for now is mine conversion, since my low Charisma gives me a horrible command radius. For those unfamiliar with the game, this probably needs explanation.

How to Get Resources in Warlords Battlecry?

There are several ways to earn income in Warlords Battlecry. You can learn a skill which increases your income with one of the four resources. You can build unites which provide income in a resource. The primary way to do it, though is to convert neutral or enemy mines on the map. You do this by standing next to a mine and using the “Convert” command. This command converts any building within range, including enemy bases and unit training facilities. It doesn’t convert towers, walls, quest buildings or shops.

Warlords Battlecry 3 - Command Radius

You can see the command radius and a couple of converted mines here.

What is the Command Radius in Warlords Battlecry?

The conversion range is tiny for most units able to use the command. For the hero, the range is bigger and it’s determined by the command radius. The command radius is a stat represented by a circle around your hero. Friendly units within that circle gain a morale, speed and combat bonus and the hero’s conversion command works on buildings within that radius. Items and the Charisma attribute are what increases this radius. The speed of conversion, on the other hand, is affected by Dexterity.

My Basic Strategy in Warlords Battlecry 3

In any case, my hero’s Charisma is low, so my radius is terrible. Because of this, I usually take a general or two into battle with me, to help me convert mines faster. Once I convert a couple of mines for each resource, I start hunting down enemy heroes. If I think I need protection, I command my generals to guard my hero, so they follow him, but I don’t control them as a group, to make use of my hero’s fast walking speed. You see, when you control a group of units in Warlords Battlecry, they move at the speed of the slowest unit.

Once I hunt down enemy heroes, I either take down their bases myself or I build up a large group of Fire Priests and use them to destroy everything. This works on most levels.

The Campaign

Last time, I failed hard at the Wastes, looking for Gorgon, the fifth horseman. This time, I wasn’t a complete idiot, so I cleared the mission and found Gorgon’s iron fortress. The game then sent me back to Khazdul, where I head to fight some Dark Dwarves to gain audience with their Runelord. He finally told me what I needed to do. I need to find the three keys of Gorgon’s fortress, defeat Gorgon and lock it inside the fortress. Then, the Runelord will use a spell to bury the fortress underneath the wastes. I wasn’t told where the keys are, but at least now I sort of know what’s going on in the game’s story.

Warlords Battlecry 3 - Gorgon´s Fortress

Whenever I get to an important part of the story, I get stuff like this.

After that, I did some business with the High Elves and allied myself with them in the area of Lunarion and Ehlariel. They have a problem with the Dark Elves, so allying myself with one side meant going to war with the other.

The Garb of Tyatis

Next up was the island where the Dark and the Wood Elves lived. There are three areas here where I can find pieces of an item set – The Garb of Tyatis. One of them meant fighting and angering the Wood Elves, so I skipped that one, mostly because I got that item already from a random Dark Elf ambush. Another piece had me fight the Dark Elves again, so I was fine with that. What I wasn’t fine with was that the item was meant for magic users, so it was useless for me. Since the third piece of the set was guarded by Knights, I decided to just drop it, since I probably won’t be using the set anyway.

More Barbarians and the First Fortress Key

I got through the islands of the central sea, so I decided to circle back North to see if I missed something. I got ambushed by Barbarians along the way, but I didn’t find much, especially at the Plains of Ar which turned out to be completely empty. At Ylarie, I helped the High Elves defend against Orcs and got another artifact as a reward – a Frostwyrm Pelt. This gives me an extra 15 frost resistance.

Warlords Battlecry 3 - Bonuses

My artifact collection is getting bigger.

Next up, I got to the Lands of Death, where I helped Lord Bane defend against a siege by Gorgon’s forces. The reward for this battle was the first of the three fortress keys, as well as a chance to ally myself with Bane. I didn’t accept this, though, since I was told the Knights wouldn’t like it and I’m trying to be the good guy here, sort of.

After getting the key, I went back to the Barbarian area, around the Plains of Ar. At the Gap of Ar, over the course of two missions in which I fought the Minotaur, I recovered two of the five fingers of the Hand of Sartek. I then found two more at the Plains of War and the last one upon returning to the Plains of Ar. This gave me one more artifact – the Hand of Sartek, which gives my hero 8 extra Combat.

The Humans and the Dwarves

The last thing I did was to go the Knight lands, but I didn’t find much there yet.  I did get into an extremely annoying mission – Troll Hunting. This one takes place on a map full of “neutral” trolls and, pause for effect, sheep. The joke of this game is that trolls, which usually hurl boulders at you, can pick up sheep and hurl them instead. Basically, on a map with sheep, they can get limited, but extremely powerful ammo. I’m not sure if sheep bypass armor or something, but Dux was getting hit hard on this map, so I had to take it extremely slowly. Since the goal of the map was to kill all 40 “neutral” trolls, it took me a while to get through.

Warlords Battlecry 3 - Troll Bridge

Trolls also ambushed me after the mission. On a bridge!

After that, I scouted through several areas of the human and dwarven lands, but found almost no missions, other than replayable ones. As for the Dwarves, they hate me now, so I’ll have to find a way to get back on their good side, if that’s even possible. The irony is, the Dark Dwarves actually kind of like me. Well, not really irony, just fact.

Anyone Else Playing This Game?

I’ve done some googling to see if anyone else is blogging about this game. I always thought it had a lot of fans, but this doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. I mean, sure, there are wikis and old fan sites, but not many people are actively creating new content. I found a review and a mod which I intend to check out, but that’s about it.

Oh, by the way, the CRPG addict is actually playing a game I know off, so I strongly recommend visiting him.


Warlords Battlecry 3 - Cover

I Restarted the Campaign

So yeah. My High Elven Archmage was absolutely not fun to play. There’s no point to having access to more than one or two magic schools, really and I kept losing him in battles because he was squishier than an Ancient Wisp. Being forced to babysit something that’s supposed to be your most powerful unit makes Warlords Battlecry 3 not very fun. Because of this, I decided to restart the campaign with a different hero. I took the easy way out. I made an assassin and picked the Ssrathi as his race.

Meet Dux, the Ssrathi Assassin

Assassins get extremely powerful once you get their Assassination skill high enough. Assassination, you ask? Well, this skill starts out with giving each of your auto-attacks a 4% chance to outright kill the target and it increases by 1% with each skill point invested. After about 15 to 20 points invested here and with a fast attack speed, you can basically take out whole armies. Of course, you’ll still have issues with buildings, but we have Strength and Crushing or Fire damage for that, not to mention the excellent Ssrathi Fire Priests.

Warlords Battlecry 3 - Hero Screen

Seeing screens like this one makes me happy for some reason.


Ssrathi Fire Priests

The Fire Priests are the sole reason I picked the Ssrathi. You see, I suck at strategy games. I can do some nice micro management, but I always neglect my economy and macro, so I end up losing to most human opponents. I can deal with AI, for the most part, but it still makes it sort of a stressful experience. Well, with the Ssrathi, macro is easy. You build the home base and a couple of Worker Sects, followed by a rush to tier 2 and tier 3 soon after. Then you just train Fire Priests and upgrade their range once you reach level 3. These things, combined with some retinue generals and my assassin hero are basically unstoppable. They’re cheap, outrange towers and do fire damage. They also have a healing spell to help them.

Warlords Battlecry 3 - Fire Priest Formation

Formations in this game are mostly useless, but there are exceptions.

The Campaign

I started out mostly focusing on Dexterity, with a couple of points into Strength just to make it easier to stay alive at early levels. I put most of my points into Assassination, with a couple of points into Running to increase my movement speed.

I was having a hard time figuring out what to actually write about, but once I got to the map node called Dragon’s Maze, I decided to just keep a log of all of my missions and what happened. Here goes…

Dragon’s Maze

I had three treasure hunting missions here. They were basically just regular skirmish battles against Minotaur and Barbarians, but each of the enemy bases had a couple of chests with minor treasures in them. My strategy was the usual – train fire priests, kill enemy heroes early and eventually obliterate everything. I got all the way to level 8 during these missions and started to get assassination kills on a regular basis.

Al-Diraq and Daros

I had a couple of battles where building weren’t allowed. My Naga generals are extremely helpful in these, due to their shield ability which increases the armor of nearby units. The trick is to dodge the enemy long enough for their mana to charge. This can be an issue on smaller maps, though, since the AI just loves to charge you in a straight line.

Warlords Battlecry 3 - Ssrathi Titan

Titans are the game’s ultimate units, extremely expensive and strong. This is the Ssrathi Sun God

I started fighting the Swarm in this area, which is annoying since some of their units have poison attacks. Thanks to one of the missions here, I can hire level 6 Warlords for my retinue when I need them. I got to level 10 in this area and found two awesome items. The Ice Blade adds 25 frost damage to my auto-attacks and the Giant’s Helm provides mi with a whopping 12 extra combat.

Tongu, Kalpaxotl and New Selentia

I fought my own people in these areas – the Ssrathi. It was worth it, though. The Gifts of Couatl mission sequence gave me a bunch of nice items and I got an artifact which gave me permanent +2 to the sight range of all of my units. The items I got were strong, but sadly (or luckily) I quickly replaced them.

Northern Diraq and the Realm of Famine

I got into a couple of Swarm ambushes here, which was actually awesome because one of the enemy heroes dropped an awesome new cloak. It was an upgrade to the armor I wore in every aspect and it didn’t have the penalty to Spellcasting that the armor had.

Warlords Battlecry 3 - Titles

The game tracks statistics in something like a basic achievement/ title system.

In Northern Dirax, I allied myself with the Barbarians, so I can lead them now if I want to. I also got another awesome artifact during the Desert Winds mission, called “The Winds of the Desert”. This thing gives my hero a 50% attack speed bonus, which is probably the greatest thing I can get for an assassination hero.

Twilight Woods

This was the Fey area. I had to protect them from the Dark Dwarves and the Swarm during several missions. This gave me the ability to train one of my Reaver generals to level 10 and gave me another artifact – The Dreamcrystal Shard. This artifact gives me a 25% bonus to mana regeneration, which is pretty much useless for me right now.

Warlords Battlecry 3 - Artifacts/Bonuses

This is the most artifacts I’ve ever gotten in this game.

In the final mission, I had to defeat some banshees in a trial and this got me an alliance with the Fey. I might actually use them in the future, since as a race, they might be even easier to play than the Ssrathi. Other than the alliance, I can now also trade gold for experience by talking to the Queen of the Fey and I can hire level 5 Unicorns at the Unicorn Grove.

Khazdul, Ragnar’s Pass and The Wastes

At Khazdul, I improved my relations with the Dark Dwarves after burying them into the ground during the Twilight Woods missions by helping them with an Orc slave rebellion.

In Ragnar’s Pass, I met a Frost Dragon who agreed to join me if I helped him clear the Orcs, Dark Dwarves and the Undead from his home. It took me two missions to do this and I still had to pay him 100 Crowns to get him to join. The best part? It costs a total of 26 army points to get him into the battle – NOT worth it.

Finally, at the Wastes, I went to search for Gorgon, the Fifth Horseman. This was a mission where my hero wasn’t supposed to die, so naturally, I decided to be an idiot, risk to much and have him killed. The worst part about it was that I lost my two high level generals – a Reaver and a Naga.

This was too much for me, so I decided to take a break for now. I’ll find Gorgon some other day.

Warlords Battlecry 3 - Cover

Another GOG.com sale

This weekend, GOG.com had another sale with a couple of great games in it. I promised myself not to succumb to the urge again, but my willpower is weak. I bought Warlords Battlecry 3.

I’ve owned the first two of the Warlords Battlecry games, both in German and greatly enjoyed both of them. I also played Warlords Battlecry 3, but only ever had a pirated copy. I remember greatly enjoying that one as well, especially since it was in English, but I also remember it being quite difficult. Warlords Battlecry is definitely not one of the best series I ever played, but it will always be one of my favorites. This is why, when I saw it on sale, nostalgia got me and I decided to spend the three bucks it cost.

What is Warlords Battlecry

Warlords Battlecry is an RTS with a twist. It plays sort of like the older Age of Empires games, but without as much economy. You take over mines, build buildings and train your military to destroy your enemies. The twist is that you also have a hero of your own making. He gains levels, learns spells, acquires items and transfers from game to game, including the Campaign, the skirmish battles and I believe even the multiplayer.

Warlords Battlecry 3 - Campaign Map

Large and content-rich, just like a good campaign map should be.

The campaign in Warlods Battlecry is something special to. There’s a large world map with locations you can travel to. Each location can have quests, battles, merchants, units to hire and many other things. Other than your hero, a bunch of other stuff also remains persistent in the campaign. You can find artifacts which provide a global effect to your team. You can gather retinue units, which can also gain levels, though not as complexly as your here. You can also somehow gain control of races other than your own, allowing you to take them to battle. Overall, Warlords Battlecry 3 has heaps of replayability thanks to initial hero and race selection, as well as the path you take on the campaign map.

It might not have been a great buy back in the day, but for 3 bucks, it’s well worth your time and money now. There are negatives, though. It’s an old game, using the old RTS control system. It can be clunky and annoying at times, since it doesn’t have the polish of modern control systems like the one in Starcraft II. It’s difficult to micromanage units, so a lot of the times, you just end up clashing your units against the enemy’s. In spite of those things, the game is great.

The Early Campaign

In the two days since I bought it, I played the game for a couple of hours. I decided not to go with any guides or anything like that. Instead, I’ll play how I like it and if it turns out being less than effective, I can always restart the game. I picked a High Elf Archmage as my hero.  I started out with investing points mostly into Alchemy, with a few into Summoning. During the early campaign levels, I got him to level 16.

Warlords Battlecry 3 - Hero Screen

I love menus with lots of numbers in them.

At first, I used the Create Item spell to quickly fill all of my slots with items. Now that I have more mana, I usually spend it on creating golems, for early rushes against enemy buildings. Other than that, I invested a bit into charisma for a bigger command radius, as well as a couple of points into strength, just so I can stay alive long enough to run away from battles.

High Elves are sort of a rounded race, with a moderate emphasis on spellcasting. They need a bit more crystal in the early game, as well as some extra iron in the later game to build their most powerful units. I worked a bit on expanding my retinue to, but most of the time, my retinue units die before getting strong enough. My most successful unit until now was a lich I got from a quest.

I also have to confess I failed miserably on my first two attempts of the first level of the game. I forgot how squishy a spellcaster hero can be, so I lost him to random enemy units a couple of times. He still gains some experience after the battle, though, so most of the time, you can still finish the level. The exception are the levels where one of the conditions is that your hero must not die, such as the first level of the game.

Warlords Battlecry 3 - First Level

It took three attempts to get through the first level. I got rusty.

My usual strategy is to turtle and build up my defenses until I can start training the tougher units. I also constantly create wisps (the High Elven worker unit) and merge them into ancient wisps who provide an extra income of crystals just by being in the game. During the turtling phase, I keep an eye out for straggling enemy heroes trying to convert mines. If I can, I ambush and kill them which severely cripples the AI.

Once I can build proper flying units and constantly train knights, I start gathering up larger groups of units and attacking the enemy bases, focusing on towers first and then on the other buildings. It usually takes a few assaults to completely destroy the enemy, but that’s just a matter of time. If I ever get to a point where my income is large enough to use my special healing ability (costs 400 crystals per use), then one solid assault is more than enough to clear the whole map.

More to Come

I’m not sure how often I’ll play this one, but I can promise I definitely will be playing more of Warlords Battlecry 3 very soon. It’s sad there aren’t any games like this one today. The closest thing to it is Starcraft II, but that one is designed in a way that almost completely removes the replayability of the campaign. Don’t get me wrong, it seems fun, but it just isn’t the same.