What is Rat DOTA?

DOTA can be an exciting game, where two teams clash against each other in order to take down the opponent’s Ancient Structure. Often at times, one team works exceptionally well in team fights – perhaps their combinations are better timed, or their heroes have synergies … or they are simply the better players. In which case, they keep winning team fights. This is where Rat DOTA comes into play.

The Concept

Rat DOTA is about consciously staying away from team fights and instead focusing on split pushing other lanes. Since the goal of the game is to tear down the opponents’ structures, Rat DOTA is about focusing on that final goal and stay away from all engagements.

Huh, so we do not get Kills?

Yes, that’s pretty much it in a nutshell. If the opposing team is crazy overpowered, or well fed due to your earlier mistakes, then Rat DOTA is the way to go. Stop feeding the opponent and start farming. This is the way you can catch up with their levels and then force them into making mistakes.

Err … so no team fights?

Well, you tried that already and that did not work out so well, did it? This is where the maturity of the team comes into play. It’s more of a mind game and you are testing your powerful opponents if they are going to go out of their way to engage in team fights.

So how does this work?

The thing about team fights, is that if all the team travels together, then that leaves the other lanes empty and ideal for split pushing. That’s what you do! You strap on Boots of Travel on your Carry, and get another hero who can quickly travel around the map. Then using these two heroes, you keep attacking structures in undefended lanes.

By the time the opponent team rushes to defend these lanes, you have done the damage and are away in another lane attacking another structure. Imagine the kind of frustration the opponent will feel, the anxiety of anticipating where you are going to strike next, versus holding the urge to rush you alone and getting ganked in the process.

Which Heroes does this work well with?

Furion, Meepo are classic heroes to use this tactic. Crystal Maiden can be a good support for this strategy as well.

Does this approach work?

You bet it does! It is even done on the professional circuits, where the level of game play is far higher than pub matches. Here is a video of a top tier team showcasing their Rat DOTA skills.

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The Rise of Nations Extended Edition Tournament

After the game Rise of Nations was launched on Steam, we have seen a couple of small updates for the game. These fixes were mostly for gamers who do a lot of multi-player gaming. Some common bugs were also fixed.

The reddit community of Rise of Nations is really active and the development team is listening in on the issues that the users are facing.

It’s great to have a community slowly building up after the game died some time back. Last week, I saw one of the enthusiasts announcing a Tournament on Steam for Rise of Nations players. It’s a start to reviving this game!

Within minutes the number of people who signed up for this tourney went from 0 to 20 .. and now we have over 40 players. For those interested in participating, please register by the 28th of June and answer on this Reddit thread.

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Banished

 

On February 18th, an Indie game was launched on Steam. Interestingly enough there already was a Reddit community for it, and the game developer had done an AMA on it. I chanced on this gem of a game last week and decided to give it a try. The game is selling on Steam for 20 USD, and it’s a good purchase to go for if you like building cities. If you have tried Dwarf Fortress, or Sim Cities … then this is one game you have to try out!

A bit of History

As a child, I had always loved playing strategy games such as Age of Empires … and then came city building administration games such as Caesar III, Pharaoh and Cleopatra … followed by Zeus and Poseidon (these are still my favourite). However, post those games there were no follow-ups … there was a Caesar IV, but that really did not do so well. There was a huge gap of city building games and only the likes of Sim City (which is meh these days) seemed to fulfil it.

There were good games in the meanwhile such as the Anno series which had you going and more on this later.

Banished is addressing that need

This year, one look at the game and I started liking it to no end. It has a series of tutorials which quickly gets you up to speed in the basics of building a town. Post which you start the game on varying levels of difficulty.

The game is a sandbox city building game, with some force majeure thrown in to make your life difficult. The whole idea of the game is to think of yourself as a mayor of the town and keep building the town to address the requirements of the citizens and keep flourishing your town.

Get food, wood, shelter and clothing for your citizens. Help them build more things, trade to get access to commodities not available to you. Flourish as a city.

Gameplay

My Banished City

The game is fairly simple, and allows you to do multiple things (such as work or blog!) while you are busy building a city. When the game begins you get a small amount of villagers .. now these people are what you may call (go ahead, objectify them!!) as a resource. You ask people to do things and they will do it (haha! in real life I wish it were that simple), but in the world of Banished, they have to listen to you if they want to survive.

So you quickly allocate the jobs for each of them, so I have half of my villagers on gathering food, fishing and farming.

The game is also about striking a balance with mother nature … the only way you get access to tools and stuff is by using natural resources. Go to fast and you would deplete your world … so when you cut a tree, be sure that your foresters will plant more.

Roti, Kapda aur Makaan

Finally, to get started its all about getting the basic hygiene factors for your town. It’s about surviving against what Nature throws at you and flourishing as a community.

This is a good game to while away the Sundays and the beautiful imagery just makes it a pleasure to play the game.

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Rise of Nations: Raiding

So I was talking to King Ameya (who often comments on my Rise of Nations posts). He was mentioning that the previous post on Heavy Cavalry was actually a lesson on raiding.

For those who are new to the game, raiding is a concept where you use a small armed force to take down the economy of the opposing nation by attacking commercial resources (merchants, caravans, timber mill, mines, etc). That way, you generate resources whereas your opponent is struggling to get off a good start.

At the advanced levels, rushing is considered to be an amateur tactic and a pro can easily fend off a rush. What works instead is constant raiding and an expert can actually bring down opponents by doing this the entire game.

The best way to showcase this is by giving you a recording of a game that I played with King Ameya. He was Iroquois and I was Bantu. It was pre-decided that he is going to raid and I thought that let’s boom for a change and see how much could a raid impact my economy.

See for yourself!

At the end of the game, I had four cities, but virtually zero resources and no barracks to fend myself. Two of those cities fell at the same time and I had to give in. Raiding can be lethal if carried out properly.

Some points to note -

  1. Scout early and scout often; by the 3rd minute Ameya had the entire map scoured and almost all the ruins were consumed for resources
  2. Small attacks, first aimed at merchants and caravans, then at villagers and resources
  3. Raiding gives you resources, having a Despot increases your gains
  4. You do not need a massive force to deal the final blow

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Rise of Nations: Use of Heavy Cavalry

image A major part of all Alexander the Great’s battle strategy included cavalry. The light cavalry for quick raids (which I shall cover in a separate post) and the heavy cavalry (or his Companions as the vanguard unit). In fact the fall of Alexander was largely attributed due to a mutiny amongst his vanguard troops.

Learn from history.

A liberal use of heavy cavalry units right from the start of the game can really make a difference between a well fought battle and a whooping victory. Here’s how –

When I was playing a random map, I was given Mongols (but I mistook them for Lakota!! mea culpa!!). Fortunately, my strategy was unaffected by misinterpretation, I still was going to make Stables, and raid early with cavalry, and then focus on an army of heavy cavalry. The map style was Himalayas, so that helped!

  1. Start booming and race to Age II. Have a barracks ready and some defense troops.
  2. After Age II, go Mil2 and Sci2
  3. Build a Stable, and get a Despot
  4. Have 2 Heavy Cavs, and 2 Horse archers ready. This alongwith the Despot is your flash army.
  5. The flash army can move fast (doubly so if used forced march), ambush and patrol the enemy territory for taking out merchants, caravans and resource buildings
  6. It can also hold a sizeable army until you build defenses and/or send reinforcements
  7. Start building your main army slowly and steadily using the resources from raiding while your flash army keeps the enemy engaged. I prefer to build a separate artillery force (3 trebuchets and a supply wagon) and make an attack on one of the outposts
  8. A small bit of micro-management and you should get one of the computer’s cities
  9. The cool part about focusing on Heavy cavalry on a map like Himalayas is that wood and iron is abundant, so siege weapons come easily.
  10. Even if you fail at doing well early on the game, keep your heavy cavs alive and they turn into formidable tanks!

I myself am not that big into cavalry, but today while mistakenly taking the Mongols for Lakota, I realized just about how awesome they can be. I had roughly 4-5 HI, 2 bowmen, 6-7 Heavy cavs, a despot, 4 cannons and a supply wagon with some heavy archers to spare (Mongols, get them free for each stable, so did not keep a count, although I had 3 stables). Almost all of my food came from raiding and sacks.

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Rise of Nations: Japan infantry

Note: The post was ill-timed, when I wrote it I was completely unaware of the Japan crisis. I realized my folly when a friend informed me of the same. My apologies, this was not meant to be a stunt to get more attention. The post was neither tweeted nor posted on Facebook.

 

jap_vertI love the Japanese civilization in Rise of Nations. It is by far one of the strongest infantry civilizations in the game. There are of course the Mayans and the Aztecs who can give the Japanese a run for their money, but with Japanese barracks churning out units faster than any other barracks and with each unity being stronger than the normal unit, you can’t go wrong.

The civilization benefits are also geared in such a manner that it ensures that as ages advances, the Japanese will keep on becoming a stronger force to reckon with. The civilization benefits are as follows –

  • Farms 50% cheaper, Farms and Fishermen produce +25% resources
  • Build aircraft carriers 33% faster and ships are 10% cheaper
  • Barrack Units do 5% extra damage vs buildings for each Age plus Military research
  • Barrack Units built 10% faster, 7% cheaper,for each Age plus Military research

What this means is that the Japanese player can kick off a good boom at the start itself. Cheaper farms and +25% more food means more villagers to collect wood with. More resources at the start translates into ideal boom conditions.

Typically what I do is –

  • Start with 5 farms at the start of the game (you have enough wood to do this)
  • Then science 1 and civ 1
  • Then a town to expand your territory
  • Then commerce 1 and build an additional farm
  • Then a woodmill and more farms
  • Then a trade center and a temple
  • Then science 2 and mil 1
  • Tower for your frontier town and a barracks between your towns
  • Complete the farms and get the rare resources
  • Age. As you are aging start building heavy infantry
  • Get the senate built and a despot (cheaper infantry and war resources)
  • Get 5 HI, 1 archer, patriot and go mil 2
  • Start towards your enemy town and start raiding (rare resources, merchants) but avoid frontal assault (you benefit later in the game)
  • Get a siege workshop and have some siege engines built (2-3)
  • Now go for the first town

Its downhill from then on. The key is to know that you are going to be stronger and stronger with your infantry (atleast till age VII, then you have stronger units). Take towns, and hold your lines. During those times build more units (infantry, light cavalry to take down archers and siege + supply wagons if needed). Use villagers to repair towns and build your barracks closer to the front lines.

Rare Resources:

Rare resources that you need to go after – Cotton and Whales

The Cotton will reduce unit production times by 25%, and Whales will give you the resources required to generate more Heavy Infantry.

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Rise of Nations: The Forbidden Capital

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This tip is not more of a tip, but rather an interesting experiment which players can try to confound the attacking horde. For you to successfully pull this off, it is strongly suggested that you have a defensive army and are an experienced player.

One of my clan members gave me this idea, and I decided to try it out. The idea is simple and I feel like a fool that why could not I have thought this. You go for Forbidden City wonder, and build a Senate for that city … making it the Mega-Capital. Know that Forbidden City has a higher border push and being a wonder has oodles of hit points. You do this right, and put your capital wonder city right on the border of your kingdom and you suddenly have a veritable fortress city.

(Contribution from Ameya Mane) This will only work before the Industrial age, from then onwards normal cities have higher HPs!! Nevertheless, it could be a good military tactic to reduce capital timers.

There are a few drawbacks of this idea, first Forbidden City comes for a minimum of 250 Food, 250 Wood. Thus it cannot be your second city, also by this time you will have built a Senate. So while building your wonder, you will have to simultaneously raze your own Senate. If your Patriot dies during that time, then you will have to wait for the entire process to finish to get him back.

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