Similar but different.
In the previous game there were 2 large zones, each with a hierarchy of sorts, and you moved your way through the various captains to take over the top. Now there are 6 zones, and each Warlord controls a massive keep, with 3-4 chiefs.
I’ve cleared enough of zones for most of the sandbox to be present. I still have a few skills unlocked by quests, but nothing that I can’t live without. Shadow Dominate would be nice though…
Each map has a similar structure. 3 sub-areas that are controlled by specific Captains. You run a small quest (poison 5 grogs, kill 10 archers) and he shows up. Rarely alone. Take him out and the sub-area is no longer controlled, saving some extra alarms and enemies. There are more Nemesis quests (5-6) on the map at any time, putting one Captain against another. The goal in all of this is to either kill or dominate the Captains. The ones that are dominated can either assist you in a siege, be a bodyguard, or infiltrate the War Chiefs.
War Chiefs only come into play for the final siege mission. They show up with their posse of Captains and make a right mess of things if you are not prepared. The ones that have infiltrated can betray their chiefs, making combat a lot easier. You can also draw out the War Chiefs in order to disable a specific defense (like strong walls, archers, defenders). It is hard to dominate a War Chief since they are usually a few levels above you. Taking them out does reduce the overall level of the siege, which is the really good part.
The most recent run was in Seregost. I had dominated about 12 Captains, 5 of which infiltrated their chiefs. I took the 4 call out missions to take out the chiefs and there was a lot of backstabbing going on. I finally ran the siege and things went rather smoothly, all told. The final Warlord was in a room of eternally spawning Caragors and Orcs. He was enraged by almost anything too, so 2 hits and I was ready to kick the bucket. I did manage to take him out with some strategic arrows and explosions, but it was a 10 minute battle.
Kill vs Dominate
Killing a captain gives you loot, dominating converts them to your side. There’s a point where your loot gains have little overall benefit to the playstyle. 5 more hit points on 400 isn’t much. In particular if you consider the secondary stats on some gear, such as elf-shots when you crit, or increased poison damage.
Dominating makes future battles easier, for two reasons. First is that they can assist you in battle and betray their chiefs. Super useful. Second, if they are not dead, then they are not replaced with new Captains.
Plus, you’re going to end up killing a few Captains anyways along the way. Either forced, or by accident.
Once you have the ability to dominate Captains, that’s what you should be aiming to do.
In 90% of the cases, it is best to have an in-out attack strategy. Dominate a few archers, stealth attack the Captain, retreat, repeat. There are some cases where it is not possible to stealth attack, or use arrows. That requires some hefty fighting skills.
For those battles, you need:
- Double-jump – frozen attack. Lets you jump over enemies and freeze them.
- Counter – kill grunts. Press counter at the right time to single shot a low level enemy.
- Elven light – fire attack. Grunts are not immune to fire and this will take the large majority out
- Consume – chain attack. Lets you dominate 3-4 orcs in a go.
- Shadow Strike. Let’s you teleport to another grunt. Great for quick escapes. Uses 2 arrows.
I find the best route is to freeze/stun the Captain, then take out the grunts with some area attacks.
For fights with multiple Captains (most I’ve had so far was 4 at a time), you want to use the environment. Poison some grog barrels, bait some traps, and Detonate some firepits.
Finally, as a general rule, you want to avoid an enraged Captain. They attack twice as hard and twice as fast.