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  1. #1
    Lesser Hivemind Node Drinking with Skeletons's Avatar
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    Help with an Older Game (Medieval II: Total War)

    With Human Revolution out of the way there's nothing coming out that I'm particularly looking forward to until October (unless that Game of Thrones RTS turns out to be good). Looking through my backlog of games, one that I've never been able to really appreciate, despite the fact that a lot of people love the franchise, is Medieval II: Total War. I like the tactical combat and grasp it well enough, but I'm completely lost in the strategic portion. I burn through my money, don't know what buildings to prioritize, slowly grind my armies to nothing, and generally crash and burn in a few turns, quitting in disgust at not being able to understand what I'm doing wrong.

    I would like some tips. Not in-depth guides or FAQs. Just some pointers to help me not feel completely clueless. Some suggestions about which campaign to start with (I have the expansion), which faction/s is/are a good choice, how many generals I should try to manage in the field at once, and anything else that someone who's decent at the game thinks I need to know to get on my feet.

    Thanks in advance to anyone who offers some help.

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Grizzly's Avatar
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    Start with the Med2 vanilla campaign on 'Short', pick a random based on... well. How you fight your battles! I'd actually go for Venice or England, as they both have rather defensible positions (Venice: Mountains. England: Sea), but its all your choice there. As for the economy, This is a rather short getting started guide (I remember reading an even shorter one).

    Basically, build a lot of roads (they are vital to your nation! Both increasing trade and your defense significantly), then mines, farms, etc. Do not try and build up gigantic armies at first. Instead, rely on the fact that you can assemble a good army once hte need should arise (If one of your cities is besieged, you can then start training an army in the surrounding castles and towns. This takes one turn, you will have 6 to 8 units, for example. Then you can assemble them at a central location, and then proceed to relieve your town! This should take no more then three turns. Especially if you have proper roads!).

    As for generals in the field... THere is a limit on the amount of units you can control. I think it is 20. Other units will wait. So if you engage with multiple armies, if there's more then 20 of units, try and let the AI handle a portion. In the kingdom expansion, you can give these AI portions commands as well.

    If you want to start a kingdoms campaign, i'd recommend you start with Britannica: Its the most 'standard' of all campaigns, so it is not that hard to get into. (I tried the Americas campaign with the Apache, its completely different from what I am used to!).

    EDIT: The guide mentions that 'Management' no longer exists in M2:TW. This is false. "Piety" replaces Management. This might not make a lot of sense at first, but in the Medieval ages, the priests were the ones who did all the managing (as they could read and write), and being pious ensured the co-operativeness of the priests.
    Last edited by Grizzly; 07-09-2011 at 06:54 PM.

  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Drake Sigar's Avatar
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    You’ll have to forgive me if my tips are the equivalent of technical support saying “have you tried turning it off and on?”, but in this case I’m not quite sure exactly what the problem is.

    I recommend starting out in the rich fertile land of Europe. Take a gander in the settings and make sure the computer isn’t building things automatically for you, and hike taxes in stable areas. Be sure to glance at the income/loss list to see how much your army costs to maintain. You should be making enough profit to build something in all your provinces every turn, whether it be a road or tavern. Only train a big enough army to take whatever province you’ve got your eye on next, don’t just hire and hire until you’ve got enough soldiers to rival the Persian army, because the sheer costs will cause it to collapse in on itself.

  4. #4
    Lesser Hivemind Node Drinking with Skeletons's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drake Sigar View Post
    You’ll have to forgive me if my tips are the equivalent of technical support saying “have you tried turning it off and on?”, but in this case I’m not quite sure exactly what the problem is.
    It's just that it's not really the kind of game I'm used to. For example, the mini-guide which Grizzly linked (thanks, by the way!) and your comments have made it very clear that keeping excess units on hand is wasteful. Usually in strategy games I find that there's a benefit in keeping a big army around to deal with problems, but here it seems to be the swiftest route to bankruptcy. Using the time between when a siege is begun and when the computer can attack to build up a force in nearby settlements and then dismissing it when its no longer needed seems to be a better option (if I understand correctly).

    If this was something like Starcraft, I would only have to play a few games to start identifying my failures and self-correct. In Total War, the game is very slow and mistakes can take a while to really hobble me, and aren't always easy to identify without having the understanding of the game that would have let me avoid the mistakes in the first place. An outside perspective will (hopefully) give me enough basic information that I can succeed or at least fail less spectacularly.

  5. #5
    Obscure Node CaptainWaffles's Avatar
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    Been a while since I've had a go at M2, but I was pretty good at beating the AI players. The early stages of most of the Total War games are about finding the right balance between offense and economy until you establish a good momentum. Here's some general tips:

    * Right out of the gate evaluate what conquest opportunities you have, prioritize ones you can take with starting troops or with just a handfull of recruits, don't overdo it because you need to spend money on infrastructure

    * Know which of your neighbors has a big army within range, you can leave a a region undefended for a turn or two before the AI can recognize it as good pickings AND get enough troops ready to go. This can let you use more troops than might normally be prudent for a few early victories.

    * Trade with everyone you possibly can, and don't make any major enemies early unless you know you can cripple them early or that conflict is inevitable and you have an advantage

    * Expect to slow down after a few victories to allow your economy time to catch up and develop properly, ultimately getting a steady income under you is more important than conquest objectives at the start

    * Get really good at castle/city defense, if you can get the AI to attack reasonably defended settlements you can whittle down their armies much more effectively than in the field.

  6. #6
    Activated Node Pijama's Avatar
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    PROTIP

    Whenever playing *any* Creative Assembly game, pick the English. Seriously. If there are no English, pick the country most similar to them. xD

    (this is also applies to Paradox games, in which Sweden is always overpowered xD)

  7. #7
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    I actually have the complete opposite problem: I find that the Strategic portion interests me so much more than the actual fights that I end up skipping them fairly often and thus winning and losing for no really good reason, due to the autofight option being more than a little lacklustre.
    As for factions: in the vanilla game, go for the Turks. Janissaries are so overpowered it's not funny.
    Steam ID: Fiyenyaa.
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  8. #8
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    My top tip: don't build more units than you're actually going to use. Upkeep costs can be pretty steep and at certain points in the game your economy will collapse.

    My other top tip: don't play the long campaign. I always do, and always regret it. There doesn't seem to be any meaningful endgame, and you just get stuck with a hug slog trying to reach 50 regions. The early/mid game is far more interesting.

  9. #9
    My top tip: Wherever possible, use your general when you fight your battles
    • Especially at the start, they're massively powerful against most infantry in the open. Just don't charge them headlong into spears and you'll be fine.
    • When you capture a lot of enemy and are deciding what to do with captives: Executing raises your general's Dread, and gives you a global relationship penalty with everyone! OTOH, releasing captives raises Chivalry. Same goes with capturing settlements.
    • Generals with good Chivalry are required for building up the population of cities and more importantly, castles. (Alternatively, if you 'allow' an AI player to control a castle for a long while, its pop and upgrades will go up far far better than it would ever have done under your control, because they cheat)
    • If you're out in the field and expecting to be attacked, try and end your movement at the foot of mountains. This way if you are attacked, you'll actually start from high ground, and the enemy has to charge up at you.
    • Setting up ambushes is done by ending your move in a forest square. If an enemy tries to pass by your threatened squares, they can get ambushed, which usually can work in your favour.


    ...and loads more!

  10. #10
    Network Hub Joseph's Avatar
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    When learning to play Total War and Europa Universallis I found it much better to start out as a really small faction/country and then you don't have a large amount to keep an eye on while you learn how to play. Then when you reckon you've got everything down move onto bigger things.

  11. #11
    Lesser Hivemind Node Drinking with Skeletons's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lunarplasma View Post
    • When you capture a lot of enemy and are deciding what to do with captives: Executing raises your general's Dread, and gives you a global relationship penalty with everyone! OTOH, releasing captives raises Chivalry. Same goes with capturing settlements.

    I didn't realize there was any relationship penalty, let alone a global one!

  12. #12
    Quite a few more interesting bits in the TWCenter forums.
    http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showthread.php?t=406671

  13. #13
    Lesser Hivemind Node Drinking with Skeletons's Avatar
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    Thanks to everyone for the tips. I think I'm close to wrapping up a short English campaign, and I didn't suffer horrible money problems from beginning to end.

    That said: any tips for dealing with the Pope? I managed to get an English Cardinal elected as Pope, but for most of the campaign I was constantly on a leash. The French--who I have to eliminate as part of my victory conditions--were doing something to always be in the Pope's good books. Meanwhile, my large number of heresy-combating priests allowed me to dominate the Council of Cardinals, and building lots of cathedrals (and the first huge cathedral) was duly noted, but my rating with the Pope never rose above "average."

  14. #14
    Obscure Node CaptainWaffles's Avatar
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    Reroll Islam.

    More seriously though the Pope is a total pain. I usually try to put off attacking Pope-friendly nations as long as I have better targets available, but I can see how that might be a problem as England. Regardless there's just going to come a time when you have to man up and get yourself excommunicated. It's not the end of the world though, a good portion of the Catholic nations will be pretty cheesed at you (though I don't recall how likely they are to declare war) but they aren't all going to coordinate and curb-stomp you or anything.

    Do a little prep work by examining how much trade income you get from nations that are likely to cut ties, and if you haven't already done so make some inroads into the hearts and trade lanes of Orthodox, Islamic nations and anyone else already excommed. Also, sending a fleet full of soldiers to Rome never hurt anyone.

  15. #15
    Network Hub Capt. Eduardo del Mango's Avatar
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    Hah! I missed this one, and it's exactly the thread I needed. Installed M2TW yesterday for the first time (I don't know why it's taken me so long to get around to it) and couldn't find much decent advice on the interwebs. Cheers guys.

    I just wish the camera, instead of just going from "Up-close action shot" to "Tilted Braveheart style panorama shot" also went to "Far enough away to tell what the fucking hell's going on" mode.

  16. #16
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Wolfenswan's Avatar
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    #1. Merchants tend to pay off when placed on good ressources. Don't waste high level merchants on the cheap stuff. Send one towards Byzantium and he can easily net you 600-1k+ per turn by trading silk.

    #2. If you are and want to stay on good turns with the pope, crusades can be a pain. But if you're lucky and the AI actually manages to make it to the target city, be sure to let ALL your armies enter the crusade one turn before the cities conquered. When the crusade is declared a success, all your units will gain free levels of experience. This of course is a bit cheaty.

    #3 training assassins early by killing easy targets will pay off later. even the pope is easily dispatched by a high level killer.


    If you grow bored of Vanilla and are looking for a mod that improves the core game check Stainless Steel.

    If you only want to improve the lackluster AI, check Darthmod.
    Last edited by Wolfenswan; 15-09-2011 at 06:23 PM.

  17. #17
    Lesser Hivemind Node Juan Carlo's Avatar
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    This is my favorite Total War game ever.

    The expansion is really fun too.

    I even beat them both on "long game" and the hardest difficulties if I remember correctly.

    My advice: invest ALL of your money in mounted cavalry and Flank/charge/divide every army. I spammed this same exact strategy for like every battle and nothing could stop me. I rarely bought infantry at all if I could help it as they suck (they are only good for defense of cities and castles, but even then if you have lots of cavalry you can usually ride out and attack the enemy before they know what hit them). Sure spear men can really damage your horsemen, but it usually doesn't pay to invest in infantry men as by mid game you will have enough money to offset the damages and you can usually mitigate the damage by micro control (i.e. if you flank spear men or get behind them they do less damage and your cavalry can decimate them in seconds).

    Sadly, this doesn't work as well in the newer TW games, which is maybe why I don't like them as much ("Empire" never really grabbed my attention at all, even though I gave it several tries to get into it. I hated the sea battles and didn't like having guns). I'm pretty ADD and have no patience, so if I can't spam charging horses I get bored pretty quickly. :D

    I also agree that Assassains are very good in this game. Assassinations are entirely random/stat based. So if you come up against an army you can't beat, you can have your assassin try to kill it's general. Even if the odds are against you and you have a lower level assassin, if you try, reload, try, reload, etc, over and over again usually you will eventually succeed--which can make insurmountable odds suddenly turn to your favor.
    Last edited by Juan Carlo; 15-09-2011 at 06:58 PM.

  18. #18
    Lesser Hivemind Node Drinking with Skeletons's Avatar
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    VICTORY! I feel like I have a better grasp of the game now. I tried out the Teutonic campaign--love the design of those helmets--and was surprised to find it significantly nastier out of the gate (this may have been the result of upping the campaign difficulty from 'easy' to 'medium;' oh, the hubris!). Any tips specific to the Kingdoms content?

  19. #19
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    I think the Teutonic Campaign is much harder by design. You don't have a good economy and Teutonic units are rather expensive. Not to mention being at war with Lithuania from the beginning. Don't underestimate the Lithuanians, the Teutonic units are better but the Lithuanian archers are a big problem (as I learned the hard way) . The Britannia campaign is much simpler if you find the Teutonic campaign difficult.
    As for the game, I think the cavalry 's power is reduced (I found myself having more ground troops this time) and archers and siege units are somewhat more accurate (which makes the aforementioned Lithuanians a problem)

  20. #20
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Grizzly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drinking with Skeletons View Post
    Thanks to everyone for the tips. I think I'm close to wrapping up a short English campaign, and I didn't suffer horrible money problems from beginning to end.

    That said: any tips for dealing with the Pope? I managed to get an English Cardinal elected as Pope, but for most of the campaign I was constantly on a leash. The French--who I have to eliminate as part of my victory conditions--were doing something to always be in the Pope's good books. Meanwhile, my large number of heresy-combating priests allowed me to dominate the Council of Cardinals, and building lots of cathedrals (and the first huge cathedral) was duly noted, but my rating with the Pope never rose above "average."
    Giving massive donations to the Papal states significantly helps your reputation with the pope. So does going uot on crusades, and conquering rome from the HRE (The pope will ask you to return rome to him, and if you do, he will be your best friend for the rest of his life).

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