The basics for MP ?

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The basics for MP ?

Postby Chaosguy » Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:18 pm

I've been reading the endgame reports in the MP forum, and am surprised/impressed with the level of play there. Admittedly I've been fruitlessly trying to get into a MP match for a while now so I have no experience with how that goes, though a few things seem to stick out.

In my SP games, and even the few hotseat games I've had agaisnt myself, PoPs are key-- at least 50% of the win if not 75% comes from which fiend capitalizes on his position relative to valuable PoP's the best. That seems to not be the case in MP. I'd be curious what % of adding to victory the experienced MP players would give to PoPs.

Secondly, and I'd like to be wrong about this, but it seems in any MP game charisma is the absolute key. Forget cool & fancy builds, you have to bring max charisma to the game or expect to go home early. I'm reading about people putting planar locks on each other & buffing legions with the max wrath power, etc. and I'm thinking I generally start with charisma 2, sometimes 3, in the standard length game, and I've never raised an ability beyond level 5-- and even that was rare (usually only if I was trying to complete "envy"). A) the cost was always extravagant, B) even after upping myself to lvl 4 in an attribute, I found myself dirt poor afterward and needing 3-4 turns of peace to scrap up enough tribute to make use of it. As most of my games last on average about 50 turns-- losing 5 turns to up an ability is a big deal. I'm guessing in MP, people are starting in the 3-4 charisma range. I guess this makes sense, since with the income from high charisma you can always buff your other stats as needed.

Also, deliberate excomm seems a primary strat rather than something you turn to after you plans have failed. I've read more than one thread of people not only going for it, but going for it much earlier than I woudl have thought possible (within the first 20 turns). Since the conclave shuts down any possiblity of vendettas and thus the ability to cross borders once Pandemonium has been taken-- how is this countered? Generally only the guy right next to the Usurper can make a move on him, and if he's weak... well then it seems the game is decided. I suppose the rest of the fiends could rain down destruction rituals on the usurper, while the weak guy makes a move-- but really, does this happen?
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Re: The basics for MP ?

Postby Sord » Wed Aug 31, 2011 12:31 am

I personally have found charisma to be an important part of every build, and most often find myself starting with 2 (with the occasional 3). However, building charisma up to 4 or 5 is always one of my top priorities in the early game. Exceptions do exist though. Early game excommunication followed by stronghold attacks can work if you opponents don't start with a counter*. Or doing a Kingmaker/PBBT build doesn't necessarily require charisma (although I'd still probably build it as much as possible).

However, you need to pace yourself. The first tribute draw is better than the second, so a good rule of thumb (assuming the standard two order slots) is to always draw tribute and do something else (something else can be more tribute, but don't think you can then do two something else next turn). Also, be judicious in what you buy from the bazaar. If there is something good there now, it will likely be there next turn, or something even better will show up. If you buy it, it should be helping you now. Investing for the future rarely pays off. Plus, now that you've spent all your tribute, the item you really wanted will show up to replace it. Specific exceptions are if you have a specialized build that requires an item.

My standard build (which just means it never works out this way) is to level charisma to 4 without leveling anything else. Then level one of deceit/prophecy/destruction to 4 to get the 3rd order slot (or buy a relic if possible). Then level charisma to 5 and start using Demand of Supplication every other turn. Your games are 50 turns, but you don't spend turns, you spend order slots. If you stay at two slots the whole game, you'll have 100 orders. If you level up stats and have all 6 at turn 30, you'll have a minimum 150 orders (and really it will be more like 200+) AND the abilities to make use of them. And you will need many fewer order slots to get tribute to level them up at charisma 5 or 6, so more charisma = more order slots, not less.

As for Pandemonium, I don't think I've been in a game where someone captured Pandemonium and couldn't be attacked in some way. Remember that you can also kick them out by killing their stronghold. So between the two there is quite a large area. Also flying units are not unknown of, along with the ability to just outright steal the usurpers legions. It may also be that access to Pandemonium is a frequent objective of many players in the games I've played in, so the situation where one weak player has surrounded pandemonium, and a different player captures it, is unlikely to happen.

*do not try early deliberate excommunication if you are hosting the game. Should it fail, you are left hosting a game YOU DON'T GET TO PLAY.
si.battlespot.com - the wiki for Solium Infernum
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Re: The basics for MP ?

Postby Chaosguy » Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:16 pm

Judging from your posts Sord & the forum's reaction to them-- you're a guy who knows his SI stuff. That said, somehow I don't seem to prioritize upping charisma enough in my SP games, maybe because the AI doesn't really pressure one to.

I did pick up on the first tribute run being better than the second, but in playing the "prestige game" I generally spend the 2nd order of each turn in SP games moving my legion. I guess the critical mass is that sometime late in the 1st ten turns, I buy a second legion & generally the best I can afford at that time, usually for denial purposes or to capture more of a buffer around my citadel. This tends to woefully drain my resources. It sometimes takes until turn 20 to once again get enough resources, depending on what minions bring, to up charisma to the next level. Assuming on average 50 turn games, we're almost halway done at that point, so getting an attrtibute up to where I can planar lock someone isn't on the table. I'm guessing that in MP games the 2nd legion isn't as critical early game?
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Re: The basics for MP ?

Postby Fuu » Thu Sep 01, 2011 6:49 am

Although Sord seems to favour starting with charisma 2 over 3, I feel like 3 is far superior, and well worth spending the 8 avatar creation points on (in all but some fringe cases where you could get away with less charisma for some other bonus instead ... however starting with charisma 4 is generally not worth it, since the jump from 3 to 4 is comparatively small for its cost compared to 2 to 3).

Generally I would not try and infer too much from how the AI plays the game. I have also observed that they buy early legions. Unless you have a specific purpose for one, it is probably not powerful enough to do much without spending additional resources and order slots on strengthening it, let alone moving it around the place - these are resources that might be better spent elsewhere. You're generally better off in the early game saving up to: boost your charisma for better resource-gathering; increase your attributes for an extra order slot (just getting to three order slots gives you a 50% boost over the meagre two you start with); or buy a relic which helps out with those (e.g. there are two which give an extra order slot, and several others with direct charisma-related bonuses - all of these are very worthy purchases). If you have resources to spare or anticipate using it, you might also secure for yourself some powerful or game-changing item (e.g. the Puzzle Cube, for teleporting your legions around, which can make a huge difference in vendettas and excommunication situations).

You might find in multiplayer that players sometimes spend the early game mostly demanding resources rather than rushing to grab lots of PoPs. With a better foundation of charisma and order slots you can generally catch up to someone who spent their early game buying legions, and capturing far away PoPs.

Given all this though, there is still room in the game for unconventional avatars, and there are many factors going on such that it doesn't often just come down to who has the highest charisma.
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Re: The basics for MP ?

Postby Marble Mouth » Thu Sep 08, 2011 3:34 am

Heya Chaosguy. I wish you the utmost respect from your minions and the Tyrant's attention diverted from your woeful visage :twisted:

I think charisma is a good place to start any avatar build. A big fat perk or third order slot is equally valid. Some strategies just won't need rank at all, but if you're playing the prestige game, then rank is essential. I really like starting with charisma 3. I put as little as 6 Fiend points into charisma if I want to invest in other things, but I do it by taking CHA 3 with obscure. If I want to invest more in starting tribute gathering, the next 8 points get rid of obscure, and the next 8 buy Infernal Cardinal. I always take Gluttony or Lust for the points, and I like Gluttony a lot more for multiplayer games. I think the best "weird" avatars have some other reliable source of tribute, like looting the vaults paying for itself or gaining tribute overall if everyone else is playing charisma. A high rank and skilled diplomacy can do the same with demands.
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Re: The basics for MP ?

Postby Tiavals » Thu Oct 06, 2011 4:51 pm

Personally, I put 3 to charisma about 80% of the time, and 2 about 20%.

I rarely play a tribute-game, however. I don't think I've increased my charisma above 3 in a single MP game I've played. Yet I have fared quite well. I understand the benefits of grinding a high amount of charisma, because it means you get plenty of tribute, which means you get plenty of everything later on. The problem is, on a long term it's rather cost-ineffective. The earlier you capture POPs, the more you will eventually get from them. The importance of the POPs is their passive ability to give prestige. If there's 50 turns in the game, and you capture and hold a place from the second turn, it means 50 prestige. The investment isn't that big in the beginning. It's true that you will probably get a smaller charisma or less stats at 4 and thus less orders, which hampers you later on quite a bit, but you don't have to work as much in late game to gain the prestige needed. Depending on the players, the metagame might be different too. They may regard you as less threatening, if you make obvious moves without gaining subtle power, those who have little prestige are usually assumed to have gathered a lot of charisma and other stats. Of course, having a high prestige may also make you a good target, which is quite bad.

You need to have a balance between activity in the beginning and gathering resources, but most importantly, you must be flexible. You must adapt to the map and situation as it goes. SI is a game where everything changes often and fast. You cannot really have a single strategy throughout the game and trust it will work. At least in my opinion.

Personally I think it's really a shame that the game relies so much on Charisma. You can't really have a viable avatar if your charisma is less than 2, which makes it somewhat redundant to even have it as an option. Same thing with the vices. Maybe 5% of players choose something else than Lust or Gluttony, because the points are just that good. And that makes it fairly boring.
Most strategy games are decided on the field of economy instead of any other field, and that is always a shame in my book.
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