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Frenzied Frenzy
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Date: 07/06/04 03:07
Game Type: Warcraft 3
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Report Rating: 9.0, # of Ratings: 5, Max: 10, Min: 8
Lifetime Rating for ~CattleBruiser~: 9.3900

There are three worthwhile reasons for me to write a new battle report.

  1. A new UMS, Footmen Frenzy, has hit the scene, promising to be much more fun than any standard Warcraft III game ever was.
  2. I now have the distinction of being the only reporter with battle reports on page 1 and page 4275 of the site. My ass cheeks are like two bookends in the anals of history.
  3. If I don't write one battle report per calendar year, my hall-of-famer status will expire and I will no longer get two cents per quarter from the Google ads.

With that said, this report is a "mnr mnr hrt hrt" production. For the uninitiated, "mnr mnr hrt hrt" = quick and painless, "halp halp" = long enough for #2, and "CattleBattle" = the next patch will be out before you're done reading. Ratings are stupid and don't really matter anymore, so everyone should simply dole out 10s to OrcDork, ZerG~LinG, and myself. With a few extra 10s they can get a spot in the Hall of Fame, and I can get another spot (which will double my Google profits!)

Map Overview

If you are new to Footmen Frenzy and haven't read the two other Frenzy reports here, you should start with this article which I wrote for the official Frenzy site. In a nutshell, you and a team of two other players duke it out against three other teams in a small arena. The winning team is the one that effectively uses their heroes, items, creeps, and armies to destroy everyone else's bases. I will presume that you know the basics of Frenzy and spare you any babystepping during the report, but I will be sure to highlight any strategies or common knowledge tactics that might not be immediately obvious.

Footmen Frenzy is the red-headed stepchild of Fox^1 a.k.a. HatoUP, the administrator of this site, third in power only to Johnny_Vegas and Mark4. He was the original chieftain of Clan Halpmeh until he destroyed the clan through inactivity by getting his account banned for researching map hacks. HatoUP is good at destroying things -- last year he accidentally deleted and a forum or two.

I, ~CattleBruiser~, am a member of the inner cabal of Friendzy's. Ravage's job is to do lots of playtesting and report back any imbalances. Edge's job is to complain about everything that isn't imbalanced so we know not to fix it. Jaood's job is to be the butt of any racially-tinged jokes (for which he gets a hero that most people think is imbalanced). Falcon's job is to find and exploit all the bugs so HatoUP has more of an incentive to fix the map and release new versions. Avalanche is the big furry team mascot. It's my job to maintain the list of suggestions and imbalances for HatoUP to fix, to write all the triggers and code running behind the scenes in Frenzy, and to fix all the tooltips and hotkeys.

The current version of Frenzy is 2.11. Version 2.2 should be out in a matter of days, and the latest version can always be downloaded from the Clan NoHunters site (link at the end of the report). Without further hesitation, let's get on with the report!

The Opponents

The northwest quadrant is occupied by CattleBruiser, kristen_0330, and viciousSOB. I am the only familar face in this report, having thrown caution to the wind and hosted a public game, where the winners exploit bugs and the losers cry imbalance.

The northeast quadrant is controlled by akremon and LiveFatDieYoung. Their teammate, shadow_demon, droppped out just as the game started. This seems to be a requirement in public games -- at least one player must lag out before the game begins because they are playing Frenzy on an AT 286.

The southeast team is made up of Puma, EGT, and CaNaDiAn_DrUgIe, who apparently is so high that he cannot spell DrUgGiE.

Finally we have the team of INeedACatScan, Clapper, and goodfello159 in the southwest corner. Though they seem ominous at first glance, their power is reduced when goodfello159 lags out, scant minutes into the game.

In the beginning...

As Ravage said in his Frenzy report, I like to fill other peoples' holes. That is, I evaluate the area that my team is weakest in and do my best to close the gap. Because this was a public game, my polite question was greeted with nary a response. Soon after, my blue teammate teched to riflemen rather than buying a hero, so it looked like I was on hero-duty. My teal partner hadn't said anything or spent any money, so I presumed he was going to get a custom hero. To make our team well-rounded, I decided to go Random Normal, and ended up with a Paladin.

The Paladin is hated by everyone because he is so good late-game and so boring early-game. He has the same skills as he does in the standard game, so he isn't much more than a supporter for the first eight or nine levels of his existence. As he levels up, his Resurrection and Holy Light skills become stronger, and eventually dominate the board. However, the owner of the Paladin has little more to do than run around with Divine Shield on, healing other units and staying alive. Level 3 Resurrection, which brings back 24 units and has a fairly low cooldown, can be a game winner if you're using beefy units like taurens, but to get there, you're pretty much relegated to the sideline while your teammates get all the glory.

So Paladin for me isn't the end of the world, because I should be able to do pretty good late game, as long as teal gets a good hero and blue maximizes her teching capabilities. However, even the worst-laid plans can go horribly wrong. In this case, my teal teammate sent 1600 gold to blue, rather than buying a hero. Blue, instead of quickly upgrading to Tier Two, spent it all on upgrades for her riflemen.

It was a public game after all, and I'd gotten what I asked for! Grinning and bearing it, I sent my worthless Paladin and footmen out into the fray, supported by neither of my teammates.

Keeping up with the Joneses

Team Northeast had teched to grunts, backed by footmen and a chosen Keeper of the Grove. Seriously, who chooses the Keeper of the Grove? At the least, I knew I'd get plenty of gold if that fellow were gullible enough to use his Forces of Nature spell near me.

The southeast team had teched to rifles, backed by a chosen Demon Hunter and a random Priestess of the Moon. Random heroes are generally better than chosen heroes, because they get two bonus items which add life, speed, and mana. This was the only other team with three players, so I had my eye on them.

The two man team in the lower left upgraded immediately to rifles, while the other teammate saved up his money until custom heroes were available. He then upgraded to grunts. This might have fooled a lot of people into thinking he'd choose a custom hero, but no one scouted him. As a result of this gamble, he lost a few minutes of precious upgrading time for weapons and armor.

The southeast team was the first team to enter the neutral zone in the center, feeling brash with their full three-man complement. They were soon joined by the northeast team led by LiveFatDieYoung's treants (hooray!) who engaged them head on. I took the opportunity to slip in from the west and surrounded a few footmen for some quick gold. Many people forget that micro is just as important in Footmen Frenzy as in real games, and focus firing units can be more effective than just attack-moving into a flank.

Seventy-six experience points later, my teammates finally aroused from their stupor and joined me in the center for some wild footmen bashing. Our unbeatable teamwork was first revealed when blue's riflemen completely sealed off any escape routes for my paladin, making him an easy target for the Keeper of the Grove and his minions. The Paladin got down to 166 hit points before beating a hasty retreat -- having gone Devotion Aura first instead of Divine Shield.

When you've got the Paladin, early game is slow going. He gains experience by surrounding enemy footmen one at a time and beating the snot out of them. In earlier versions he would have leveled like crazy, being the only hero on the team. In this version, some nutjob wrote a bunch of triggers that caps experience for one-hero teams so that is no longer a game-winning strategy. I realized that the only way my Paladin would be useful involved having lots of Tier Four units to resurrect, like knights, taurens, and abominations. With this in mind, I fed every bit of gold to my blue ally so she could get to knights as quickly as possible.

Expect the Expected

In the current version of Footmen Frenzy, there are two strategies that aren't quite kosher, but make winning the game a piece of cake. Headhunters are supposed to do Piercing damage, but actually do Normal damage, so with a few auras and upgrades, you've got ranged units with Berserk doing at least 100 damage apiece. The other strategy involves buying a Granite Golem very early in the game and decimating everything in your path with it (Granite Golems have so much armor that they're essentially unstoppable unless you can counter with Tier Four).

Knowing this, I expected to see one or both of these strategies in this pubbie game. I was not disappointed. Purple upgraded to headhunters as soon as it was affordable, and light blue was not far behind.

The first few minutes of the game consisted of blue and teal sending their rifles and footmen out to get slaughted from either side by upgraded headhunters from two other teams. My Paladin reached level 6 fairly quickly, and started resurrecting footmen and rifles at every opportunity. Public Headhunter Abusers #1 was throwing waves of headhunters into the center, using treants as a meat shield while having the Keeper cast Tranquility over the battlefield. The SW team had rifles and headhunters and finally bought an Archmage about ten minutes into the game. You really don't see many Archmages anymore because they generally get beat down by hero killers. In this particular game, there wasn't a hero killer for eighty miles, so it seemed likely that he would abuse his Blizzard to the utmost.

Earlier, I mentioned the Keeper's Forces of Nature spell. The reason I love playing against enemy Keepers is the treants. By hiring a troll priest, I got the Dispel Magic spell. This spell is notable because it has a fairly wide radius and kills treants in a single shot. You collect about 30 gold per treant and also gain experience for your easy kills. Late game this is especially effectively, because a Level 6 Forces of Nature summons twenty-five treants all in a tight circle. Two Dispels will net you 750 gold! As soon as I saw treants out in force, I bought a troll priest and took advantage at every opportunity.

The ten minute bell rang and everyone took stock of their opponents. The SW team was still upgrading headhunter and rifle attacks, guaranteed to get lots of money by the newly-hired Archmage. The SE team easily had the biggest army, but they'd been scared to leave their base for most of the game, so I didn't see them much. Their heroes weren't as advanced, although grey had managed to make enough money to reach militia. It looked like the other two were going to mass range archers backed by the Priestess' Trueshot Aura.

The NE team was also upgrading headhunters, but their job for this game was mainly to feed me money with treants. That leaves us with the home team . What were we doing?

A Waste of Money

Teal had been busy upgrading his footmen (for the uninformed, upgrade footmen still suck). I think he was on the phone with the President for most of the game, because he'd let his footmen pile up and then sporadically send some out to be killed. Meanwhile, blue had taken all the money I'd given her and spent it on upgrades. Once upon a time, this might have been a great strategy because riflemen used to have Feedback. Now though, Human Tier One is like New Jersey -- a place to stop and pee on your way to New York but not somewhere you'd want to live. Figuring that my partner was an old 2.0 player, I gave her some more money and offered some constructive criticism:

It seemed that blue had blown over two thousand gold on upgrading rifles, simply because she didn't know that upgrades carry over to the next Tier! I hastily assured her that weapons and armor passed from one Tier to the next. She responded by upgrading her rifles again. Teal helped things by sitting at his base and not moving.

Now that I had complete confidence in our abilities as a team, I led another charge into the center. By its nature, the center in a Frenzy game is very fluid, with no one team dominating for very long. The Archmage was mopping up with his Blizzard, and ranged units were the word of the day. With effective blizzard placement and stupid rifles that didn't flee, the Archmage was actual able to outlevel the Priestess by two levels, and came close to being equal with the Paladin and Keeper.

Below is a snapshot of a recent vacation we took into the middle of the map. As you can see, we love being in the center of attention. Those are blue's riflemen mugging for the camera in the middle, surrounded on all sides by everyone else. Those skeletons on the ground are my footmen. Teal's footmen stayed home to beat the traffic.

It Can Only Go Down

Unable to win a frontal fight with any of the headhunters, I focused on cashing in my treant welfare check and bringing units back to life as often as possible. We were doing a good job of holding our own, but we'd be toast if anyone actually decided to charge our base. Generally, base charges don't happen until late game, because other teams will take advantage of back dooring the attacker. Blue continued to upgrade her rifles, apparently in more ways than one.

If your short-term memory is of any use at all, you'll remember that I mentioned two abusive strategies earlier on. Brown, not content with his Archmage, decided to purchase a Granite Golem which made quick work of an enemy Priestess (who was so proud of her new level 6 that she was Starfalling unprotected). Granite Golems are going to be weakened in the next version, but the essential strategy for countering them in this version is to ignore them. There's really no good way to kill them until late game, especially since they benefit from all healing spells and healing wards.

Around the twenty minute mark, my teal ally suddenly woke up and gave me 900 gold. With such a bounty, I upgraded to grunts, planning ahead to resurrect taurens when my Paladin was a beefy level 18. Of course, this gift wasn't just simple generosity -- teal had decided to leave the game. I'm not sure if he knew how to chat in games because his exit was silent but deadly.

Teal's departure was followed quickly by a player on the SE team. Whether it was dinner time, or he was just into peer pressure, we'll never know. However, the game was now an even 2v2v2v2, and there was just a slight chance in hell that we could still win.

Twenty Minutes Later...

As you can see from this status check, the brown Archmage has leapt to the forefront of the heroes with his Blizzarding mixed with Mr. Granite Golem. My Paladin and the Keeper are neck and neck, and the weenie Demon Hunter who never leaves home is trailing by five levels. My grunts are behind in upgrades, but my partner has some of the most buff peashooters on this side of the Mississippi. Their armor was at 22 normally, and with my Devotion it bumped up to about 40. This means that they could survive a whole wave of headhunters before dying to a single Blizzard.

The northeast team continued to abuse headhunters. They were content to play mostly around their base, though the Keeper persisted in summoning treants for my troll priest to dispel.

The southeast team was busy playing SimFrenzy. Grey had spellbreakers now, though I don't recall seeing him leave his base in the first twenty minutes of the game.

The southwest team was easily in the lead right now. With the golem and Archmage backed by decent rifles and Tier Three raiders, they were the easy favourite to win this match.

Most Games Last Forty Minutes

To open the next segment of the game, I dispelled my hundredth treant and started saving up for Tier Two. My blue ally donated 1000 gold to the cause, content with the level of her rifle upgrades. With headhunters in the making, the pair of us attacked the northeast team while Mr. Granite Golem and his sidekick Archmage tackled the scaredy cats in the southeast.

Like a square dance, but cooler, the combatants switched it up, so the Granite Golem was kicking our asses in the middle of a raging blizzard. SE's scared spellbreakers tried to surround the Archmage, but a Shield of the Gods and Mass Teleport prevented them from doing any damage.

Pink took the opportunity to send 1/1 archers into the middle where they were promptly demolished by grunts and headhunters from the northeast team. The Level 7 Demon Hunter was entangled and destroyed (in Metamorphosis form) by the Level 14 Keeper, and the remainder of the archers were wiped out by a well-placed Blizzard and Golem Shockwave.

The home team kept out of the fray for the most part. I sent my Paladin around resurrecting my new headhunters, and blue managed to kill the Archmage once before falling to the dreaded "Granite Golem with Healing Ward". Actually blue didn't kill the Archmage so much as she got the Archmage down far enough so that someone else could sweep in and steal the bounty.

Sometime during this David and Goliath battle, the southeast team was completely demolished. Their impact on the game in death, as in life, was minimal, and I didn't even noticed they were missing for quite some time.

Impulse Buyer's Syndrome

My blue ally was sitting pretty with 16/13 riflemen and evidently had some money to spare. She hired a peasant and built two towers in our base. She then nullified their effectiveness by building them in the back right corner where they wouldn't hit anything, and left one of them as a scout tower. The scout tower strategy is rarely used in Footmen Frenzy, because scout towers have no attack and very little armor. So, for 1800 gold, my ally now had the same defensive power she would have had for 500 gold (if she had just upgraded one of the two other towers where she'd made new ones). The sole reason I didn't tell her to get to the next Tier was because I hate when random pubbies try to order me around when they don't know what they're talking about.

It was right about then that the southwest team tried a subterfugic strategy which involved sending raiders to surround my base in a kamikaze attack. My partner thought it best not to say anything because it might upset me, so the attack caught me with my pants down. I quickly hired a blinking peasant and upgraded one scout tower to arcane, managing to beat back the attack with only 25% of my base health lost.

Time passed and Brown upgraded to spellbreakers while singlehandedly fighting everyone with just an Archmage, Granite Golem, and several Healing Wards. All three teams were in the center, fighting by the eerie glow of a healing ward. Life was an endless game of running into the center, dispelling some treants, and resurrecting twenty-four headhunters for the next round of battle with an undefeatable Granite Golem.

Realizing that we were getting nowhere with fighting the snow golem, we turned our attention to the northeast team. Unfortunately, he had more headhunters than I did, and better upgrades as well. We also took a look in Golem-boy's base, but his reliance on the Golem had allowed him to multiply his spellbreakers like horny rabbits and would have made for a very destructive frontal assault.

Dispel, resurrect, die, repeat. Blue finally upgraded to militia. Dispel, resurrect, rinse, repeat. Brown staged two sieges on our base, but was repelled both times by the twenty-four headhunters I could resurrect on the wings of a moment. Dispel, resurrect, die, repeat. There was only one thing to do to break the monotony of this game.

A New Face

With the profits from my latest ethnic raider cleansing, I hired a Priestess of the Moon from the Hero Taverns. Purchased solely for Trueshot Aura, I hoped to get my headhunters doing enough damage to pay for an eventual upgrade to raiders and then taurens. I hate winning with exploited units, and was hoping to have a real victory rather than a headhunter victory.

Yellow's Keeper had recently gotten Forces of Nature to level 6, and I was having so much fun dispelling twenty-five treants at a time that I let my Paladin wander into traffic and die to a Blizzard.

Once he was revived, I took another trip out to the middle, hoping to incite the other teams and earn some experience for my Priestess. The southwest team had switched to skeleton mages and bought a Beastmaster, unbeknownst to me. They threw another massive wave of units at our base, and slowly whittled away at the headhunters. Blue finally upgraded to spellbreakers, but they didn't do too well against Blizzard since Magic Defense wasn't turned on. My stalwart ally finally turned Magic Defense on once the Archmage had teleported away. Better late than never, except when you end up fighting hordes of skeleton mages and your attack rating is reduced by 75%.

It was here that Yellow quit the game, tired of being everyone's whipping boy.

Forty-Five Minutes Down: Status Check

Speaking from a theorycraft perspective (which battle reporters love to do), we weren't doing to badly at this point in the game. However, this chart doesn't take into account the Granite Golem which was still running around the board killing everything. I managed to kill it at one point by surrounding it with Trueshot headhunters and constantly resurrecting them. Brown, of course, countered by buying another Golem.

Brown's Archmage was loaded up with three Shields of the Gods and six healing wards, and his Beastmaster was on target to get Stampede in the nex ten minutes of game time. I wasn't too worried about the solo player in the upper right.

It All Comes Down to This

Supported by Starfall and Resurrection, I sent my headhunters to the southwest base, figuring I could at least make some money. Three waves of resurrection later, I hadn't made any forward progress. The Priestess and Beastmaster had both died at least once and the Paladin was still being an obnoxious little bastard with his Divine Shield activated.

I abandoned my fight down south and turned my attention to the purple player left at the top. Of course, my ally decided to join the fray and attack the lower left right about then, quickly losing a force of spellbreakers. My attack on purple was aborted when I saw that he'd bought his own Priestess of the Moon. Though the Priestess was only level 3, his headhunters had twice as many attack upgrades as mine, and it would not have been a pretty fight. Meanwhile, light blue had gotten bored with skeleton mages and switched back to raiders.

Team Granite staged another assault on our base, but we met him in the middle for another battle royale with cheese. This time, my troops were softened up with liberal Stampeding while my Priestess did her thing with Starfall. Brown had the unlucky misconception that armor reduced the damage done by Starfall so he kept his spellbreakers out front with Magic Defense turned off. Needless to say, I made more money in that one attack than I would have with fifty treants. I was winning the battle quite handily before facing a major setback:

This was the part where my teammate left. It never fails in public games. Blue graciously gave me all her gold and even shared unit control (what the heck good will that do?), then promptly quit.

Oh Shyt

I knew at this point that my headhunter army just wouldn't cut it. I quickly upgraded to raiders, just 1000 gold short of getting taurens. Now it was time to observe another commmon public behaviour -- trashtalking about your allies.

Despite the effective baiting, I decided to remain in my base. Attacking a two-player team while getting flanked by a solo player is preferred to attacking a solo player and getting ganged up on by two. Sitting in your base and letting everyone else attack each other is preferred to either of the above.

Brown was eager to get this game ended, so he gathered his Golem-supported spellbreakers in the center, ready to attack me. Our forces collided with ultimates flailing in the wind. Though I lost all of my headhunters, I earned enough money to upgrade to taurens. The southwest team was repelled, because purple flanked their army just as expected.

Finally, one hour into the game, I launched my final assault on the southwestern base. I knew it wouldn't be good enough to just stand out front earning money. This time, I had to get all the way up to a base and tear it down with my upgraded taurens.

The first wave was easily repelled, but I continued to send reinforcements from my base while resurrecting twenty-four taurens at a time every couple minutes. Almost ten minutes later, I had finally pushed to brown's Arcane Sanctum. I surrounded the base with my taurens and raced to destroy it, realizing that killing the base would kill all the units of that player.

Brown, meanwhile, had another trick up his sleeve. He had accumulated over twenty thousand gold and sent an Altar of the Gods into the fray.

Now normally, the Altar is a game-breaker. You kill all the enemy's units and gain gold from their dead bodies. But this was no normal game. This was a game with a pansy Paladin fleeing under the protection of Divine Shield!

Once the Altar had worn off, my Paladin simply slipped back into the base and brought back to life all the taurens whose deaths had lowered the terror level to Code Green. The Arcane Sanctum was pulverized and Clapper, the valiant brown player was no more!

Clean Up On Aisle Five

After mopping up the remains of INeedACatScan, brown's light blue partner, I sent my tauren army to the upper right corner for a showdown with purple. Purple had been stockpiling headhunters since his partner left and now had a full complement doing a minimum of 120 damage each.

Now taurens are tough, but they're not especially thin. The best I could do was to camp them at the front door and create an infinite wall of damage against the front line of headhunters. With the aid of Resurrection I could keep them from getting out, but I couldn't make any forward progress.

As an endgame gambit, I kept expending my taurens and then recycling them until I'd earned 10,000 gold. After taxes, that's the amount I needed to get an Altar of my own...


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