Thursday, 18 February 2016

Age of Mythology - Oranos' Rage

My playthrough of Age of Mythology as Oranos of the Atlanteans did not end well.

My last, desperate gamble to take down the Norse wonder before they claimed victory ended with barely a quarter of its health taken off, and my armies (two of 'em!) smashed by the Norse Titan. I lost.

But... what if I'd saved just beforehand?

Let's win this.

So, I have just under four minutes to take down the Norse wonder. The first step in that? Pause the game.

In Age of Mythology, you can issue commands while paused - and right now, I need every second to make my plan go smoothly. I set my fortress to building siege engines - their cleansing fire is the only hope of victory.

My barracks goes straight onto archers. This is a suicide mission, but if their ranged attacks can take out a couple of soldiers, or even make them waste their time killing the archers instead of my siege, it'll be worth the expense.

My temple builds Caladrias. In order to pull this off, I absolutely have to get a flying scout in right next to the wonder, so I can vortex to it. The fact that my 'scouts' are healers who can potentially prolong the battle is just a bonus

And my Citizens? They get drafted into building another fortress. The one I have isn't going to get enough siege engines built: this one won't have much time, but Atlantis has an anti-building infantry unit that builds from fortresses. If I can churn a few of those out, they could make all the difference.

Okay. Everything's set up. Time to hit play.

My Caladrias infiltrate Norse territory. Helpfully, they can heal each other, meaning they're able to fly past Norse towers without coming out critically injured. They wait in an open area south-east of the wonder until my armies are ready. Then...

Vortex time!

You can see the Norse are already there, looming over my landing site. Their fire giant is attacking my scout-healers. But none of that matters.

Isn't it beautiful? Brings tears to my eyes.

The wonder falls in seconds, cleansed from the lands by the avenging fire of Oranos. Victory is... uh, at least not Loki's!

My army falls in seconds, of course; did you see what they were up against? But they did their job.

Unfortunately, the Norse started work on a new wonder right away. Y'know, I'm getting tired of wonder-loving AIs. My usual approach at this point is to rush my own wonder... but this time I'm too angry.

All shall fall before the rage of Oranos.

... what? Rage costs money!

Since we're on an island map (sigh...), we will need a navy to take the fight to the enemy. I've never been too good with navies - they tend to get attritted away from me - but it's essential. I figure overwhelming numbers should suffice, right?

The Atlanteans build flamethrower ships. Oranos is pleased. >:D

This is the corner of the Norse island - the same corner that our Caladrias snuck in through. Can you guess what I'm building here?

My navy, meanwhile, is over here. The Nidhogg is summoned by a Norse god power, and it is probably the most powerful non-Titan unit in the game. But it suffers from AI blindness: here, we see it murdering my transport and fireships while letting the archers fill it with arrows. It falls from the sky not long after, and the navy sets to work on the east coast.

But what about the Titan?

We have a plan to deal with him. These hero-archers are part of it, but not the largest part. Do you remember that building I started on the corner of the Norse island? What did you think I was putting up?

If you guessed it was a Sky Passage, you were... partly right. I do have one of those (it's where my archers are coming from). But I also have something else - one of my favourite buildings in the game, but one I never get to use.

Worshippers of Helios in the Mythic Age get a few benefits. They get the Vortex god power, allowing them to fling units around the map. They get stone-throwing trolls and giant electric jellyfish. And they get something very rare: a Mythic Building, one of only a handful in the game. You've already been introduced to the Sky Passage and (under Thor) the Dwarven Foundry.

Now meet the Mirror Tower.

These things are glorious. Checking the data, they actually don't do much more damage than normal towers - but they have a higher range, more hitpoints, and, well, just look at them! If you have a chance to destroy your enemies with the concentrated rays of the sun, why would you turn it down?

Answer: I wouldn't.

I also deployed flamethrowing siege weapons against the Titan. Vengeance is sweet.

Vengeance is very sweet.

But the rage of Oranos is not going to stop with the Norse. The Egyptians stood by and laughed while Loki built his wonder: the Atlantean flame will purge their lands as well.

Like so.

Every human unit you see here has been upgraded to hero status, giving it a bonus against myth units (such as Titans). The Stymphalian Birds are able to strike at the Titan without fear of its fists. And all those construction sites? Just guess what they might be

We storm the Egyptian centre with our army, razing buildings left and right. Sure enough, the Titan comes out to play - and stomps its way through our siege engines.

Oh no! Only a handful of archers left, and they're all injured! What are we going to do?!

Also, unrelatedly, what is that neat blue line on the minimap, down in the south-eastern corner of Egypt?

Why hello there.

I can't adequately describe how satisfying this is. Titans are the ultimate weapon: there is no way a conventional army can take one down. My archers there are just getting in its way. But I have harnessed the power of the sun. Nothing, and no one - not the Norse, and certainly not the Egyptians - can stand in my way.


And no-one.

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