The all-important factor in Diplomacy is your faction's Power Score. Higher is better.
Your relations improve by trading as well as treaties. So if you do not want to pay gildar for a treaty, but don't want to start a war, simply trade with neutral/hostile factions.
Rulers don't like people trespassing on their land. Even if they don't warn you, your relationship will deteriorate if you have units on their lands.
The percent chance to hit with any given attack is
min(97, max((Attacker Accuracy) - (Defender Dodge), 3))
so a unit with 70 accuracy should successfully hit a 0-dodge target 7 out of 10 attacks, on average. However, it's a probabilistic function, so there's a slim chance that you could have a unit with zero dodge that dodges 100 attacks in succession, and you could have a unit with 100 dodge which never dodges anything. Note that there are certain items which increase dodge chances against ranged attacks only; these items increase the base dodge value by the amount listed in the item tooltip for hitchance calculations by ranged attacks. Note that spell resistance and spell mastery have the same type of interaction with one another as accuracy and dodge do.
Units with multiple attacks (which are most standard troops; their attack tooltip will list something like X-Y damage x # of figures in the unit during battle) appear to roll for hits until they fail, so with a 70 accuracy unit facing a 0 dodge target, you have a 70% chance of at least one hit, a 49% chance of at least two hits, a 34.3% chance of at least 3 hits, and so on. Please be aware that this portion could be incorrect; this is a feeling that I have on how the multiple attack system works, not anything that I can really back up right now. However, the other obvious alternative (3 independent attack rolls) is almost certainly incorrect, as at a 70% chance to hit that would result in an effective hit rate of 97.3% for at least X-Y damage, where X-Y is the damage range of the attacking unit.
Attack maximum damage is calculated as
(Defender Blunt Resistance as a decimal)*(Attacker Attack)*(Attacker Attack)/((Attacker Attack) + (Defender Defense)*(1 - Attacker Armor Penetration as a decimal))
for mundane attacks. The only units I can think of off the top of my head that have Blunt Resistance are the Banshee monsters and the Undead race female (Spirit) units. For magic damage (fire, lightning, cold, poison), the maximum damage is simply (attack value)*(100 - appropriate resistance)/100. In the absence of specific mechanics defining the minimum damage (e.g. a spell that does 5 to 15 damage), the minimum damage that an attack can deal is one-half of the maximum, and the actual damage dealt is a random number between the minimum and the maximum value.
Also be aware that there is a chance for any attack to score a 'blocked' or 'chink' hit. I don't the know causes of these or their chances of occurring, but 'blocked' hits deal no damage whatsoever, and 'chink' hits deal exactly one damage regardless of the nominal damage range. These hit types appear to be related to the defending unit's defense score (or, at any rate, I've never seen them occur on a unit with zero defense), but I cannot say much aside from that about them.
^ from joeball123
When using a special attack, such as Crushing Blow you will inflict more damage but the probability of success usually decreases. Furthermore, if you use it when the opponent is in Defensive Posture the damage is lower due to the increased Defense of the target. Consider waiting until the target is not in Defensive Posture before using it. A special attack never triggers a counterattack.
If a channeler summons a creature it will die when the channeler dies.
Beware of the Wilding Shaman. They have high Initiative and cast Coal Stones. There are often 3 of them in an army so you can easily get wiped out. Their armies like to hang around Wildlands.
The game computes weapon damage as follows:
damage_dealt = rand(0.5, 1)*maximum_damage
maximum_damage = (1 - damage_resist)*Attacker_attack*Attacker_attack / (Defender_defense*(1 - Attacker_penetration) + Attacker_attack)
Most units have no resistance to physical damage, so for nonmagical weapons that term is usually 1. The main exceptions to this rule are Banshees and female Undead race units. No unit has a nonzero defense value for an elemental damage type, so elemental damage reduces to the attack score multiplied by the resistance. The end result of this is that the theoretical maximum damage of a purely physical attack against a target whose defense score is equal to the attacker's attack score is only half the attacker's attack score. In other words, end-game weapons against mid-game armor are unable to deal more than about 10 damage per figure. When you realize that the only targets that your staff units lose damage against are those with an appropriate elemental resistance and therefore can deal up to 6 damage per figure against most units (which reduces to up to 4.5 damage per figure against units with one of the 25% resistance cloaks, or up to 3 damage per figure against units equipped with one of the 50% resistance cloaks, if the cloak on that particular unit resists the correct element, and increases to up to 9 damage for ice staves against Quendar who aren't equipped with the +50% cold resistance cloak), the staves don't really look that bad (these figures do not include sources of additional elemental damage, though those stack with staves), especially when you consider that they're a ranged weapon available on an extremely early tech and yet are still capable of dealing damage against mid-game armor similar to the damage that end-game melee weapons would deal against the same target. Note also that the additional elemental damage you can add to units via trinkets and spells reduces the single-hit damage disparty between staves and mundane melee weapons, as it more or less adds a fixed amount of damage to both units.
^ from joeball123
The game does call missing "dodge." However, "Dodge" will only show up if all members of the attacking unit fail to hit. Otherwise, you'll see some amount of damage that falls in the range min-max/2*min-2*max/ ... /X*min-X*max, where X is the number of figures currently shown as being in the unit.
As a side note, the rolls for individual figures to hit do not appear to be independent, but rather sequential until failure. That is, a three figure unit will make up to three rolls to hit, but will stop at the first roll which produces a miss. Thus, with a 3-figure unit that has a 70% chance to hit a target, you have a 70% chance of doing at least X damage, a ~50% chance of doing at least X+Y damage, and a ~34% chance of doing X+Y+Z damage, where X, Y, and Z are random numbers between the minimum and maximum damages that your unit can deal .
Please note that the above is an assumption about the hit mechanics which appears to fit the observed hit rates, rather than a fact about the manner in which the game determines hits. Regardless, it is almost certain that the game does not use independent rolls for hits with multi-figure units, as a 3-figure unit with a 70% success chance on each roll would then have a 97.3% chance of dealing at least X damage, where X is a random number between the minimum and maximum damage. It is nevertheless possible that the game uses independent hit roles, if the per-attack hit chance is calculated to result in the hit chance listed in the tool-tip (in which case a 70% hit chance for the unit gives about a 33% hit chance per attack); however, since sequential rolls dependent upon the success of the preceding roll is a simpler system, sequential rolls is the system that I would guess that the game uses.
^ from joeball123
Special Weapons and Items
The Sword of the Glacier is one of the most powerful swords since it allows the wielder to cast the Blizzard spell (see below). It is obtained by defeating Vetrar, the boss of the icy wildland (Northern Waste?).
Marakata Ring allows the bearer to cast Shockwave, which is a spell in the Earth Mage repertoire. It damages all enemy units adjacent to the caster. Higher Spell Damage increases the damage inflicted so it should be equipped by a Mage.
The Blizzard spell is a Water spell. You can also buy Blizzard scrolls from your Conclave if you select Scroll Scribe when reaching level 3. Blizzard inflicts cold damage on all tiles in a 5 by 5 area. Selecting an area that contains the enemy archers and mages is usually the best strategy. Maximum damage is obtained when cast by a Mage with high Spell Damage. Often it can destroy a whole army. It has less effect on a target having Cold Resistance or is Immune to Magic. When cast as a spell from Water book, it has a delay of two turns.
The Lightning Bolt spell is part of the mage Aeromancy trait. It inflicts lightning damage onto 5 tiles in a straight line but does not affect your own units. Max damage is inflicted by a mage with high Spell Damage. Useful when attacking dragons.
The Sunder spell is part of the mage Geomancy trait. It inflicts heavy damage to Elementals and is very effective in attacking wildland bosses.
Rush is a skill of Men. Gives the unit an extra movement and then allows an action. Unit skips its' next turn. Useful to quickly engage enemy units especially when equipped with a horse.
Shield Bash knocks the victim back one tile while doing a normal attack. Useful in forcing the victim into a new position where extra damage can be inflicted by an axe or spear. Also prevents a counterattack even if the victim is not forced back due to lack of an empty tile. Hergons have this skill all the time, which can be inconvenient.
Blade Rush is a trait of Warriors. Teleport up to 4 tiles in a straight line inflicting damage to all enemies.
Break is a trait of Assassins. Normal attack that also removes defense of the victim for 3 actions. Very useful when fighting dragons or other high defense creatures.
Rain of Arrows is a trait of Assassins. Splatters arrows over a 3 by 3 area of tiles. Assassin must be equipped with a bow.
There are a host of options for how to go about executing a play through of FE. That being said, the number of truly dominant strategies is much smaller.
For instance, you can research any available tech at any available moment. You can even research every available tech until it is one turn away from completion and then start researching another tech before finishing the first one until all your available techs are 1 turn away from finishing. While that is a possible strategy, nobody would defend it as a dominant strategy. Doing this would dramatically increase the game's difficulty even on the easiest levels and make it practically impossible to win on the highest difficulty settings.
Once you come to understand that every strategy is not as good as every other strategy, then you can weed out the less dominant strategies and focus on the ones that work. One of the most basic choices you have to make as a player is researching strategy. There are a few that can work decently well, but arguably only two main contenders: Breadth and Depth. In the Breadth strategy, you are going to be researching as many techs as possible and trying to cover all your bases to be ready to respond to anything. In the Depth strategy, you are going to be picking up absolute necessities and focus primarily on getting a key game winning technology as quickly as possible.
It takes a few game sessions to get a feel for how these two play out when pitted against each other, but once you get a feel for that you should ideally be deciding which of these paths you want to use in your next game before you even pick your race. A race choice, among other things, is a means to an end. It doesn't make sense to pick the method of completing the goal before you even pick the goal itself. The number and types of towns is another choice in the same space. Towns (city type) in particular are more valuable to some strategies than others.
Other times your choices are crystal clear, such as whether or not to set building placement to manual. Choosing manual is so strategically better that setting it to auto is only useful if you want to handicap yourself. If you absolutely want to have the greatest chance to win in FE, you must place buildings manually and you must learn how to do that most effectively. Manual building placement allows you many advantages including but not limited to: 1) take advantage of choke points and force opponents to go through your city rather than around it, 2) allows the city defenses to protect distant resources, 3) allows you to make maximum use of map zones of control, and 4) get from one end of your empire to the other in the shortest possible time. Every one of those can win or lose a game by itself and manually placing buildings has all the advantages and none of the disadvantages compared to automatic placement.
Another item of basic strategy that is important to consider, ideally before starting play is your basic army makeup including how your hero interacts with your main army. Some people are the sort to want their hero to be the star of the show and the army is mostly useful to prevent the hero from being swarmed. Such players might want to make their units heaver on defense and use them to block the enemies from killing their heroes before the heroes can unleash fiery (and/or frosty) doom on the opponent. People of this sort will pretty much always want to choose the Mage path for their heroes when given the choice. The Warrior path and the Assassin path are both designed to work along these lines, but they are much less played because they are just hugely worse than Mages.
Other people are the sort to want their hero to increase the effectiveness of their trained units who will do the majority of the work on the field of battle. People of this sort will be more interested in choosing the Commander or Defender paths for their heroes. The commander option just makes everything slightly better at what it already does, increasing experience, initiative, and accuracy of units a great deal. Defender is more about stalling certain enemies while killing others quickly. Thus the defender creates a lot of tactical complexity that can work to the player's benefit, moreso because the AI is not really good at dealing with this complexity.
All these choices and more should ideally be made by advanced players before they even begin playing.
Beginner players, on the other hand, should at least be aware that these sorts of choices are going to be forthcoming and try to make choices during play that lead in those general directions. It isn't important to choose the best possible sovereign for the victory path you desire to follow, but the more you are aware of your choices the more you can make those choices intelligently.
You might find some of these interesting, though many of them are rather old:
Top 10 things a new player should do/know: http://forums.elementalgame.com/445229
What type of heroes work best overall: http://forums.elementalgame.com/444783
Some stuff about combat: http://forums.elementalgame.com/448225
Some stuff about melee champions: http://forums.elementalgame.com/448214
Comparison of Assassin/Warrior/Defender: http://forums.elementalgame.com/445788
Mage Unit Design tips: http://forums.elementalgame.com/445308
Some stuff about map setup: http://forums.elementalgame.com/447478
Use of Non-Mage Heroes: http://forums.elementalgame.com/446606
Some stuff about Assassins: http://forums.elementalgame.com/448862
Champion-Champion and Champion-Henchman experience interaction: http://forums.elementalgame.com/442186
Spell Mastery vs Spell Resistance: http://forums.elementalgame.com/446514
Clever Tricks: http://forums.elementalgame.com/448924
Resoln Overview: http://forums.elementalgame.com/445825
Champion Archers: http://forums.elementalgame.com/452464/page/1/#3449352
Getting Champions to high levels: http://forums.elementalgame.com/452493/page/1/#3452554
Sovereign Path: http://forums.elementalgame.com/452251/page/1/#3450881
Fighting Dragons: http://forums.elementalgame.com/450677/page/1/#3425226
Custom Character and Faction creation: http://forums.elementalgame.com/449299/page/1/#3408504
A bit about Capitar: http://forums.elementalgame.com/448826/page/1/#3407756
A 'noob' help thread: http://forums.elementalgame.com/448133/page/1/#3394498
"How to handle your cities": http://forums.elementalgame.com/447952/page/1/#3394037
Food and growth: http://forums.elementalgame.com/448091/page/1/#3394334
Appearance of fertile areas: http://forums.elementalgame.com/448111/page/1/#3394625
Some stuff about settlement rules: http://forums.elementalgame.com/447385/page/1/#3387291
Another 'noob' questions thread: http://forums.elementalgame.com/446543/page/1/#3380447
Value of essence: http://forums.elementalgame.com/446148/page/1/#3377187
Another 'noob' help thread: http://forums.elementalgame.com/445263/page/1/#3370789
List of city level-up improvements: http://forums.elementalgame.com/445642/page/1/#3370577
Using magic: http://forums.elementalgame.com/445631/page/1/#3370289
Healing heroes: http://forums.elementalgame.com/445191/page/1/#3365484
Of those, the ones I would concentrate on most are the top two links; the others you can read if you think you're interested. Please be aware that some (many) of these threads are rather old and not necessarily up to date.
To more directly answer your questions - I prefer to start off researching the entire first tier of the Civilization tree, just like Crathsor. I prefer to stay in the Civilization tree for a while; depending on difficulty and how comfortable I am with the situation, I might stay until I have Economics and Craftsmanship. I prefer not to start climbing the Magic tree until I have a reason to; without shards and with little poor sources of crystal, the Magic tree doesn't really do you any good. The Warfare tree, however, gives you some equipment (both weapons and armor) which is free from all global resource requirements, and moreover metal production can be improved using the same research path that improves your city production.
As far as troops go, I prefer to keep early armies small, using just the starter units for my sovereign, and training two or three militia to accompany the first or second champion. I would not recommend more than three such armies; there's just not enough exploring that needs to be done to gain much benefit from having much more than that, and it'll cut into your gold reserves. Please note that this is a relatively high risk strategy, as you'll be using small armies of weak units, which could adversely impact your ability to expand. I simply prefer building up my cities over having large armies; AIs will be more aggressive towards you as a result of your low power rating, and monsters will be a relatively greater threat to your armies, but it's good practice for preserving your units and getting the most out of them that you can.
I also tend to prefer to start off with a Conclave as my capitol city, and want at least three essence wherever I decide to place my primary training fortress. Some other people prefer to start with a Fortress, as it builds things faster and gives them somewhat better units than I'd get. Conclave first is more of a boom strategy and is therefore 'better' on a safer start, Fortress first is more of a rush or turtle strategy and thus is 'better' on a relatively dangerous start. Try both for a couple of games and see which way you like to play better. Town first is more of a wonder-grab move than a boom/turtle/rush strategy, as improved gold economy isn't actually worth that much compared to early research enhancement or better early troops and production. Plus, above the challenging or hard difficulty, it becomes increasingly unlikely that you'll even be in the race for the wonders, let alone actually grab one, unless you happen to really focus research on one of the less commonly-built wonders (Ereog's Tower in a game without New Pariden and Resoln would be the main example I can think of, but that's not a research path I could recommend in good conscience except under special circumstances).
Edit: And, before I forget - if you want to add a ranged component to your army and you have at least one crystal source, I'd recommend going for the fire and ice staves from the magic tree rather than going for the bows and crossbows in the Warfare tree. Magic staffs are much more readily available than bows are, aren't concerned about armor, and let you kill banshees without expending mana or relying on finding that Burning Battle Axe and actually remembering to equip it on your hero before entering battle. Other than for the ranged component, I'd stay out of the magic tree as far as early-game combat technology goes. (If you want to see my fuller thoughts on the subject, look at the first noob help thread in my list of potentially useful threads, and find my first post within that thread.)
^ from joeball123
Unrest is expressed as a percentage of the reduction applied to Production and Research. So if Production = 100 and Unrest = 20%, the resultant Production will be 80. Obviously, you want Unrest to be 0%. Unrest will never be displayed a a negative value although it would be convenient for that to be the case.
Each city has its own Unrest value. It can easily be determined by hovering over its icon in the column at the left of the game window. It can also be determined by clicking on Details for the city and hovering over the Unrest label. This will also provide the items that cause Unrest and the items that mitigate it. Items causing Unrest have a positive value while mitigating items have a negative value.
Causes of Unrest
Each value for Taxes results in a faction wide contribution to Unrest. There is no simple formula for obtaining this value. It can be determined by hovering over the little window that shows Taxes. For example, when Taxes is 30% Unrest will be 21%. The higher the tax rate the higher Unrest will be.
The number of cities in your faction times 3% provides a faction wide contribution to Unrest. For example, having 5 cities will create a faction wide Unrest of 15%.
If a city is not connected to your capital by Zone of Control, the city will incur an Unrest penalty of 15%.
When you capture an enemy city it incurs an Occupation Penalty to Unrest of 50%. Each turn thereafter reduces this by 1%. Note that there will also be a faction wide increase of 3% which will be eliminated if you Raze the city.
Enemy spells causing Unrest are Antipathy (+10%) and Curse City (+25%). Clicking on Details for a city will reveal their presence in the same place that enhancement icons appear. These negative enchantments can be removed with the Dispel Enchantment spell.
When a Town reaches Level 3 if you select Slums for +3 Growth you get an Unrest penalty of +5% .
Black Market increases Unrest 5%
Mitigation to Unrest
Building Cleric in a city provides a reduction of 5%. But this building is only available when the city has at least one Essence. An additional 5% becomes available by building Shrine for a total of 10%.
Bell Tower reduces Unrest by 10% and then allows Town Hall to be built for an additional 10% for a total of 20%
Sacrificial Altar decreases Unrest 15%
The Enchantment Oppression decreases Unrest by 10%.
The Enchantment Bless City decreases Unrest by 25%.
An Apiary produces faction wide reduction of 3%.
When a Fortress reaches level 4 you have the option of selecting Gallows (Unrest does not affect Production) or Prison (-10% faction wide Unrest but a penalty of -1 Growth).
When a Fortress reaches level 5 you have the option of selecting Onyx Throne (-30% faction wide Unrest).
When a Town reaches level 4 you have the option of selecting Embassy which negates the Unrest penalty for the Town.
When a Conclave reaches level 4 you have the option of selecting Tenfall University which negates the Unrest penalty for Research in the Conclave.
A Sovereign stationed in a city reduces Unrest in the city by X%
A Champion stationed in a city reduces Unrest in the city by X%. But Henchmen do not provide this benefit. However a Henchman with Commander traits will still provide those benefits.
A Commander stationed in a city reduces Unrest by 15%. Having the Administrator I trait reduces by an additional 10% and Administrator II by additional 15%. So a stationed Commander with Administrator II provides a total of 40% reduction.
A Commander at level 8 can select the Administrator III trait that reduces Unrest by 5% faction wide.
Note: these items are not facts but are suggestions.
Think twice about settling a city on a tile with 0 Essence since you will not be able to build a Cleric. Likewise you should Raze a captured city with 0 Essence. Building Cleric as soon as possible is a priority.
When possible build a Bell Tower before a Cleric since it mitigates more Unrest.
Consider Razing captured cities to avoid the multiple city penalty. And remember that it takes 50 turns to eliminate the Occupation Penalty.
Design a Henchman called Administrator to be used for reducing Unrest in your cities.
- Give it minimal capabilities so that it can be inexpensively trained.
- Give it the Veteran Trait
- Train Administrators in a Fortress with a Command Post
- When training is complete select Commander and then Administrator I and Administrator II
- You can also select Road Building if desired.
- Station in a city that needs 45% reduction of Unrest
- If you have Mounted Warfare you can include a horse when designing.
Build Outposts to connect your cities to your capital to eliminate the 15% penalty for not being connected.
Growing Fortresses to level 5 is a priority since you will gain the 30% faction wide Unrest reduction.
Produce Wealth might be something worthwhile to do in a city with the Temple of Forgetting, if there isn't anything else worth building there. I might also make use of it and the Guild Warehouse if I come across a location which is spectacularly good at money production (meaning multiple gold mines and a reasonable amount of essence for Propaganda, especially with high materials (including bonus from Arcane Forge) if I expect the game to last long enough to worry about a Mint of Ruvenna), but I rarely bother making such a city. I tend to find gold isn't valuable enough to delay settlement development for, and most of my settlements never stop building things before I finish the game.
Same goes for the Archivist and Produce Research - I don't see that the extra research is enough to be worth delaying the development of a Conclave for, and research structures are usually not a very high priority in my non-Conclave settlements so there isn't much incentive to boost research from those locations unless I simply have nothing better to do with them. I'd sooner take Scroll Scribes and Oracles over Archivists because at least those offer bonuses that don't require me to postpone the development of the Conclave.
I tend to feel that one issue that Archivists and Guild Warehouses have is that they come too early in the development of a settlement - unless a settlement grew very slowly or unless you've been very slow on improving food production, a level 3 city has too much more infrastructure that I'd like to have which still needs to be built for me to really want to switch over to 'produce research' or 'produce wealth' in almost every case that I can think of. It doesn't help that the Guild Grocer provides a benefit far more generally useful than the extra gold that a Guild Warehouse can theoretically provide, or that the benefits from Oracles are more flexible and that Scroll Scribes provide excellent consumables for champions, and that Scroll Scribes, Oracles, and Guild Grocers work no matter what the Conclave or Town is building whereas the Archivist and Guild Warehouse only work while using the appropriate 'Produce X' options.
Produce Growth is something I might use if I wanted to get a city to the next level quickly, or if I needed just a little bit more growth next turn to get a Pioneer. Otherwise I won't usually bother, since there's no real value to having a larger population except for when it gives you a new city level. I might occasionally go in for making a high-growth town just to play around with the various sacrifice spells, but that's about the only other thing I can think of that growth would be useful for.
^ from joeball123
There are many types of Elementals including wildland bosses, Crag Spawn, Shrills, etc. Check to see if the creature you are fighting is an Elemental.
Sunder (Mage trait) is the most effective means. One cast of Sunder can kill most minor Elementals. Killing a wildland boss will take more which will require high Spell Damage and Spell Mastery.
Wildland bosses occupy 9 tiles and cast Fear at battle initiation. This can make it tricky to attack them.
Abeix is constrained to the fissure. This prevents him from getting near your units if you move them back from the fissure. You can then attack him with ranged weapons and the Sunder spell.
This notable feature is created by one of the random events.
The units in the army are:
- 2 Hecatomb units
- 4 Forsaken Martyr units
- 2 Butcherman units each having 3 Butchermen
Amhah immediately casts Fear. All units have high Initiative so your army is immediately attacked and can be devastated without being able to retaliate.
The rewards for winning the battle are:
Sword of Wrath
- 50 attack
- +5 HP from kills
- +1 counterattack per round
- +30% cumulative damage with each successful attack
Head of Amhah
to be awarded to a city of your choice
Borderline Pandemonium: Guide for Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes