Warning: The following report, which your treacherous browser has already begun downloading, contains a large number of beautiful pictures. Well, except for that first montage with the fuzzy separator, but I was making up this "image editing" thing as I went along. Readers with slow connections may hear a gagging or choking sound coming from their modem.
This game was played on the Westfall Battle.net server. For those who haven't kept up with Warcraft III news over the last few months (actually I think they used Westfall to test the expansion), Blizzard uses this server for beta testing patches before unleashing them into the full array of servers. They use it as an opportunity to test out a number of tweaks and radical changes to determine which are overkill and which actually work. Around the beginning of August, they released patch 1.17 beta 404, which, along with balance changes and bug fixes, debuted two new Neutral Heroes: the Goblin Alchemist, and the Firelord.
If there are any Warcraft III players reading this without The Frozen Throne expansion (gasp), a neutral hero can be hired from the special Tavern buildings located in most maps, in place of a race-specific hero. The general consensus seems to be that the Firelord is too strong, especially his summoned creatures, the Lava Spawn. After landing a certain number of attacks, a spawn splits into two children, each of can similarly split into two grandchildren for a maximum of four from a single casting. However, like all summoned units, they have a limited lifespan, and the summon costs a whopping 150 mana; it is the most expensive non-ultimate skill in the game. With the beta patch 405 released almost a month ago, they have already seen a stat change and an increase in the number of attacks necessary for them to split, and a further increase in attacks was made in 406. That's right, there's no point in posting the replay, since patch 405 is no longer available. And yeah, I've been working on this battle report off and on for so long that patch 1.17 has come out already.
It was just after the release of beta patch 405 that I happened to log onto Battle.net. I joined a few observer games, since the hosting of non-melee custom games on Westfall tends to be pretty sparse (and I certainly wasn't going to play, I suck at playing strategy games in melee; what can I say, I posted on the Strifeshadow Forums). I watched a few games, none of which were terribly interesting, although I found an interesting host in Dirtmonger, with his Aussie band of players and observers. I rejoined at least a couple of his games that night, the last of which was a humiliating FFA; all players were forced to play, none could enter the game as observers, though the host set the game to allow players to watch as observers if they lost; a few players left in the beginning and one clever Undead unsummoned his buildings to observe. The penultimate game, however, was this FFA, which was interesting enough to deserve a reporting. If you're wondering about some of the messages in the screenshots, the observers this game were actually set to referees, so they could chat to everyone or anyone.
The game was played on Garden of War. Dirtmonger chose the map because of its gold-rich center; the possibility of expanding there and claiming four mines at once is bound to make it a brutal point of contention in most games. The maze of twisty little forest paths, all different, offer some good ambush possibilities and amusing "whoops, wrong way" anecdotes.
Six combatants take up arms, hoping to lay claim to the entirety of the Garden. The colorful cast consists of: JerkyMcCoon, an Undead sitting pretty in the 2 o'clock spawn with no player on either side of him; nYw, with his Orcish hall in the 5:45 spot; GosuWosu the Night Elf, in close proximity to two players at his 6:15 location; FoolingAround, nurturing a Tree of Life at the 7:30 spot; track05, a third Night Elf, planted at 9:30; and finally soft, Undead and loving it in the 10:30 spawn.
They all start off with rather standard build orders. nYw doessomething a little out of the ordinary, though: he builds his altar, barracks, and some burrows at the entrance to his base. JerkyMcCoon and GosuWosu soon send an acolyte and a wisp, respectively, to their nearest tavern; those are the red and orange dots located away from their bases on the minimap. Showing utter originality, they each pick a Firelord as their first hero. Everyone else chooses a racial hero, and they all hit the first one or two creep camps near them.
4:10 At this point, track05, out creeping with his army, sees the blight from soft's base, and attacks the Undead returning-from-creeping army, which continues into the blight.
4:40 nYw sends a scout spirit wolf, and FoolingAround his Warden and a huntress, into GosuWosu's base; on making the fire elemental's acquaintance, the former is destroyed and the latter retreats.
5:10 track05's and soft's armies smack right into each other. soft's Death Knight takes a lot of damage so he retreats, with track05 close behind. The Elves are repulsed by the Undead's spirit towers, however, and during their own retreat, the Death Knight death coils a huntress to death as a parting gift.
6:00 FoolingAround reaches tier 2, begins growing two Ancients of Wind; soft reaches tier 2 and techs again, and begins constructing a slaughterhouse.
6:50 soft tries to attack track05 again, but the Warden and huntresses have been slaughtering helpless little stags off to the side of the Undead base, and come back in time to cut off the incursion. Neither player loses a unit.
7:30 FoolingAround loses two archers and a huntress to a single orange creep camp; he had attacked with his Level 3 Warden, two archers, and two huntresses.
8:15 nYw sends a peon to expand at the 4:30 gold mine, which he had previously cleared.
8:30 It's huntress vs. fiend time again! This time, soft has brought a Lich and statues along to play. Novas explode in the huntress's ranks, killing one; another huntress is lost due to track05's single-minded focus on the Death Knight, and possibly also due to the fact that piercing > unarmored. Still, the DK's hit points are glaived down into the double digits before he manages to escape.
9:20 JerkyMcCoon's heroes have had several close calls fighting a granite golem and its Troll goons, and just before it is destroyed the golem throws one last rock, taking out his Firelord.
9:50 Those two are at it again. track05 has added two Druids of the Claw to his Warden and two huntress force, with a third Druid on the way. The druids keep regeneration on the Warden, but a huntress dies from a single fiend's spawn swarm after catching a frost nova; the mate (as in the second of the pair, not its significant other (probably)) and a Druid suffer a chilling death in another nova. The other Druid, which has been focus fired upon all this time, attempts to flee, but there is no escape from the skittering crypt scarabs of doom. Again, not a single unit of soft's has been re-killed.
|track05||He has a still-level-1 Warden, he is about to reach tier three, and his tech buildings consist of two Ancients of Lore and an Ancient of Wind.|
|soft||His Death Knight is level 2.5, and his Lich just reached level 2 thanks to the Druid kill; of note in his base are a line of towers in front, two slaughterhouses (one building another statue -- gee, I wonder what tech he's headed for), and a sacrificial pit.|
|JerkyMcCoon||The Crypt Lord is about to reach level 3 in an orange creep camp near the center (which, incidently, proves too much and he is forced to retreat); his level 3 Firelord is still unrevived as he spends cash on two more fiends, web, and burrow research.|
|nYw||The Orc has a level 4 Farseer, thanks to taking out a couple gold mines' guards (see, children, murder and looting pays!) and a level 2.5 Tauren Chieftain. He is 75% to tier 3 but has raised no high-tech structures, only two barracks and a war mill.|
|GosuWosu||Remember him? He has a level 2.6 Firelord, is 66% of the way to tier 3, and has two Ancients of Lore.|
|FoolingAround||A fresh new Priestess of the Moon has been recruited alongside the level 3.2 Warden; already at tier 3, a wisp is currently constructing... a Chimera Roost.|
Back to the battle, soft's Death Knight is hot on the heels of track05's Warden and Druid (which recieves a regeneration from a waiting druid at his base entrance); trailing behind the DK are a fiend, a fiend, a lich, a statue, a statue, a statue, and a fiend. Of course, upon seeing the Night Elves' formidable Warden and two DotC defense, they run back to their base, where they witness the miraculous birth of a destroyer.
Oh yeah, nYw has taken the center.
JerkyMcCoon sends a couple of spare bugs to scout nYw, one each for his main and his bottom expansion. They burrow nearby, although the expansion beetle never actually skitters close enough to see that the mine has already been taken (and in fact is vulnerable).
11:40 soft was fighting the creeps in the camp right past his door -- until he saw track05's Warden and four DotCs heading his way. He retreats a bit and kills a creep or two, then the forces converge and fight over the head Gnoll (or Gnoll head) prize. The Warden gets the kill, the next level (finally), and the +1 Intelligence tome. soft brings three destroyers to bear on the Elves, who regenerate each other and turn to bears to bear on the Undead. They pick off one fiend before backing off. One succumbs to the destroyers right outside the Night Elf base, the moonwells in the entrance just out of reach. It is these moonwells that the destroyers turn their attention to, as does the Undead army proper. In retaliation, bears kill two fiends before losing one of their own, and two dryads move to join in the defense.
13:00 Another fiend is traded for a bear. Two destroys absorb from two backup sttues (which morph themselves), and they kill another bear. The dryads are picked off one by one, then finally the Warden. It's not looking good for track05, though he never stops pumping druids and dryads, and he even has a hippogryph training.
13:00 also marks the first contact between FoolingAround and nYw; the Orc winds his group with five grunts, two headhunters, and the heroes around to the center area's northwest entrance. The leading Warden casts a Fan of Knives too early or too late, and misses pretty much everything. FoolingAround's Deadly Hippo Assassination Squad stalks them from above, and manages to take down a grunt and an HH before they reach the safety that a dozen watch towers provide. On seeing this, the Night Elf resumes creepage.
In other news, GosuWosu finally does something besides sit in his base: creep.
15:00 JerkyMcCoon's Spirit Hawk from his new(ish) Beastmaster locates soft; he later sends a hawk to scout track05's and FoolingAround's bases.
15:45 GosuWosu has amassed a rather alternative army: a horde of dryads, a Shadow Priest, and his Firelord, and he heads off towards FoolingAround. Unfortunately for him, that Night Elf's army had returned to its base to enjoy some R&R. He kills a wisp near the eastern intersection, circles around a copse of trees, and kills another wisp at the north entrance. FoolingAround heads out to punish the raiders for wispicide -- just after GosuWosu has decided to run away.
16:30 Meanwhile, JerkyMcCoon has wandered across the map to find track05's base besieged by soft.
Meanwhile, GosuWosu comes to an intersection above his base and fights back, though with little micro, not even focused fire. He loses the Troll priest, and FoolingAround hatches a red drake.
Meanwhile, soft runs from the (new) invading army deep into the Night Elven base, to enjoy the experience of having his units whacked by trees while he portals out.
Meanwhile, JerkyMcCoon's army has been scratching the paint off of a few of track05's buildings, but backs off when the Night Elf's Warden and a Druid retaliate.
Meanwhile, GosuWosu retreats after losing a few dryads, but gets cornered in his base; nearly all the dryads die but they take out a few air units. FoolingAround then runs from the might of three Ancient Protectors staggered behind four moonwells. Actually, APs get homing projectiles in 1.17, and 40-50 piercing damage with splash isn't bad; their high price is easy to write off in an FFA.
18:30 A certain drake, still with nearly half its summoning timer remaining, starts to harass GosuWosu's lumber wisps.
19:00 soft hits the last creep camp on the map, between his and track05's base. Yeah, that's right, their names appear at least every other paragraph. What can I say, two of the better players in this game had the misfortune of spawning right next to each other.
Anyway, JerkyMcCoon brings his nomadic force to stomp on GosuWosu not 15 seconds after the latter's Protectors deflated the drake. The fiends mop up the remaining dryads, the near-dead Beastmaster uses an invulnerability potion, (those APs sure paid for themselves this game), and the Night Elf's Firelord is forced into a corner.
||His Firelord and Crypt Lord are each level 4.5, and his Beastmaster level 3; additions to his base are two boneyards.|
||The gold baron has a level 4.2 Farseer, a level 3.5 Tauren Chieftain, and is training a Shadow Hunter. He kills off his grunts and is in high upkeep, but upkeep hardly matters because HE IS MINING FROM SIX GOLD MINES AT ONCE.|
||The Warden is level 4.5 and the Priestess of the Moon is 3.6; aside from an Ancient of Lore secreted beside the river south of his base, training a mountain giant, there's no difference in his strategy.|
||The Death Knight has reached level 4.5, and the Lich 4.2; aside from expanding to 12:00 he has no new buildings. I should note that this guy really loves his shades. He has a shade in a number of bases, one following JerkyMcCoon's troupe, and another following FoolingAround's Warden.|
||This Nelf is almost dead, but he's still managed to keep his level 4.2 Firelord alive.|
||With a level 3.3 Warden, four hippogryphs, two DotCs, and two training Chimera Roosts, he's starting to get back on his feet...|
FoolingAround sneaks a wisp to spy on nYw's southern central gold mine, and then initiates track05's shutdown sequence. Six mounted hippogryphs, two unmounted, three chimerae, and two heroes face five unmounted hippogryphs, two chimerae, and one hero. Archers dismount, hippogryphs cannibalize, and terrible property damage ensues.
20:45 JerkyMcCoon sends a fiend couple to scout the central area. Guess what they find?
21:00 He weathered the attacks admirably, but JerkyMcCoon's Beastmaster proved to be no match for the comically elongated fingers of GosuWosu's Tree of Eternity.
And the other shoe drops on track05, an ugly rotting shoe of death, soft's shoe. There is a brief argument over his flight of destroyers, something about an ordinance against carrying pairs of big electrified drumsticks, some hippogryphs die, the tree dies, and FoolingAround exits, stage portal.
21:30 JerkyMcCoon expands, though he unfortunately selects the 12:30 site.
22:20 nYw scouts JerkyMcCoon's expansion with a wolf, as the orange Undead's force intentionally or otherwise enters the center and attacks it briefly.
23:00 Unable to stand the humiliation of having JerkyMcCoon's other three beetles plinking away at the remains of his base, GosuWosu quits.
nYw uses a scroll of protection and spirit link before he finally attacks JerkyMcCoon's main, and plants a healing ward later during the fight. But he has free reign for a time, as the traveling band is making their way back on foot for some reason.
24:00 track05 loses his last structure to soft. He kept building units to the end.
After portalling in to defend, the Undead loses many fiends and his Beastmaster before driving away the invaders. And then his expansion is attacked by soft. He apparently gives up, as his force follows nYw's, which happily kills his remaining heroes for him. He leaves as well.
26:00 soft runs over to JerkyMcCoon's main, only to run at the sight of nYw. The latter TPs after killing a few of the defeated player's fiends, and the former returns to pick of the last stragglers (and takes over the old expansion).
27:15 FoolingAround had taken the expansion just west of the center, and now adds four Protectors to the site as he moves his army to attack soft's main. The Undead player TPs back and kills a retreating Warden.
29:15 FoolingAround sees nYw heading his way; he meets the invaders outside his base, then runs back in. nYw uses his standard prep: protection scroll and spirit link. Then FoolingAround attacks; soft has a clear view of the whole thing with one of his shades. The Elves actually manage to get quite a few headhunters to follow units into the base, where they sit around attacking wisps and getting killed. The Orcs teleport out after losing a lot of units.
||The Orc's Farseer is level 5.5, Tauren Chieftain 4.9, and Shadow Hunter 3.5; he has built two spirit lodges and a tauren totem at his main, and has put quite a hole in the trees on the east side of the center area.|
||The Warden is level 5.5 and the Priestess of the Moon is 4.8. He has no new buildings but is sending 5 wisps from his collapsed gold mine to the forest path under track05's old area.|
||His Death Knight is level 5.2, the Lich is 4.8, and the Crypt Lord is level 1.5. He has two ziggurats and a necropolis at his second, farther expansion and three spirit towers at the first one.|
31:15 soft shadecrafts to nYw's just finished 3:00 expansion, assigns a ghoul quartet to attack it, then finally shadecrafts the center area. nYw responds by keeping his four peons headed to the expansion to be killed, then sending his whole army over.
soft takes this opportunity to attack a vision ward at the northwest entrance to the center, then finds and destroys FoolingAround's strangely located wisps. The Night Elf revenges them with his air force, of course; it manages to pick off an abomination (no, seriously) before the Undead responds.
FoolingAround's Chimerae are webbed as they move in first, followed by hippogryphs, which dismount and go for the jugulars on the destroyers. Considering that destroyers occupy some shadowy classification between the living dead and the elegant statuary, the necessity of their jugulars is up in the air. Still, soft's two fiends are not quite enough to combat an airborne force, and his destroyers are torn to shreds before he uses a town portal.
34:00 Unfortunately for the Night Elf, nYw struck at his town even before the end of that battle. After he returns his depleted army to defend it, his Warden dies, his units die, the Farseer ignites an earthquake tearing up his buildings, and he leaves.
37:00 soft runs right past nYw's army, as it sat in track05's old base. The Orc attacks both the front and the back of the Undead line at once. He hasn't had time to enchant his units, though he uses another protection scroll during the battle. By the end, nYw has lost half his army, but soft's has been cut down to only two fiends, two destroyers, and a single abomination before he portallically escapes.
||He has a Farseer at level 6.2, Tauren Chieftain at 6.1, and Shadow Hunter at level 5; right at the forty minute mark he has gathered a new army at 100/100 food (his usual berserker/spellcaster/tauren mix) to march on soft's main.|
||The Death Knight is level 6.1, the Lich 5.8, and the Crypt Lord 3.3. He builds a new temple of the damned, and has just started production of two more abominations to add to his army.|
soft sees him coming and takes his army off to the side of his base as he is still recovering from the last battle. nYw finishes his defensive rituals and attacks just after those two abominations are produced. soft engages with his full force, including some mana-charged destroyers, and the Orc runs, apparently expecting less of a fight. An impale and a quick surround even manage to net the Undead a Shadow Hunter kill.
41:30 nYw is followed by the Scourge, as they are attempting to kill off the Farseer as well. However, he manages to reach the center, where the destroyers are peppered by towers for a short while before soft gives up the chase.
By now, nYw has built five beastiaries in the slighty defoliated area east of the center, pumping out batriders to replace his lost units.
43:00 Strangely enough, nYw's Tauren Cheiftain follows the exiting army out. soft surrounds the bipedal bovine before he can maneuver his way out (yeah right, those things are as big as Pit Lords) and kills him. The ultimate activates, reviving him -- back within the surrounding circle. He constantly stomps, drinks an invulnerability potion, even manages to bring the Death Knight into low health before finally succumbing. A viking death for the village idiot.
43:40 After that, the Lich defames the center Great Hall with his Death and Decay and takes damage from the nearest tower. The Tauren Chieftain, who was insta-revived at a tavern, teleports back and ends the Lich's putrid spree. Meanwhile, nYw's first expansion, the one in the 4:30 corner, has collapsed.
The Orc presses the Lich issue, nearly killing the hovering mannequin before the Undead army makes its way in front to protect him. In the ensuing battle, both the Death Knight and the Tauren Chieftain die; the bats kill two destroyers, though they bring three others very close to death. soft retreats again.
nYw follows again. His Trollipers pry open the Crypt Lord, feast on the rotting spiderflesh, and tail the Undead all the way to the base before turning back. And the Farseer tavern-revives the Chieftain, of course.
47:00 soft sends his force towards the center just as nYw heads for the undead's farthest expansion, who teleports to defend it. nYw teleports out himself after razing the Necropolis. However, his Tauren Chieftain, who had died during the battle, is respawned by his ultimate, surrounded, and killed again.
soft then marches on nYw's 3:00 expansion, and destroys it unchallenged. Not content with this, he uses a sacrificial skull to salt the land as well as the wound.
49:00 soft hits nYw's original expansion (located *where 4:30, founded *when 8:15) just as the Orc strikes the Undead's distant expansion again. Since the replacement Necropolis is not yet finished, his army on the other side of the map couldn't possibly reach the expansion in time, so he cancels it and unsummons the rest. He then turns his attention to the Orc's main base.
|Three Thousand Seconds|
||The Farseer is level 6.8, the Tauren Cheiftain is level 6.5, and the Shadow Hunter is level 5.6.|
||His Death Knight is level 6.9, Lich almost level 7, and Crypt Lord level 5.1.|
nYw teleports back to his main, as it is coming under fire by soft, zealous after razing the expansion. His bats go kablooey of course, taking out a destroyer, and the death toll runs high, but the Orcs soon relent, portalling to the center to recruit more into their ranks.
The Undead resume structure smashy at nYw's main. When nYw teleports back in, soft teleports back out, and all is right in the world.
53:00 soft tentatively moves his army from his main onto the path towards the center, then ducks into a side path before nYw, who has set out to do the opposite, can see him. On the way to the Undead base, the Orcs kill a newly trained and blindy-rallying fiend, just as the Undead swoop around from behind. soft has trained banshees during the downtime, and puts them to good use -- posessing a pair of taurens.
The bats go splash, and then five new destroyers are brought in -- just as the Shadow Hunter uses Big Bad Voodoo. Of course, using any "invulnerablize every unit but me" ability tends focus the enemy's attacks on the offending unit, so he dies just before the Orc's town portal fires.
55:30 soft serves up a nice, steaming second helping of Death and Decay on the center. Too soon for the Lich's taste, the newly-revived Shadow Hunter counterspells with Hex, and the Undead possesses one annoying Tauren that was pummeling his fleeing arctic mage. As soft retreats, he loses that helpless Tauren himself, only this is death due to purge and focus fire, and everyone knows death is worse than possession. This is also about the time when he re-re-reestablishes the expansion at that favorite spot of his.
57:30 soft, who has been hanging out at a far goblin shop, pulls off yet another surprise attack against nYw's forces...
...the Death Knight raises an abomination, two Tauren, a berserker, and a witch doctor...
...and nYw obliterates soft.
Yeah, unfortunately for those of you playing along at home, the game is pretty much over now. soft tries to retrain and rebuild, but even though nYw lost nearly all of his units as well, the Orc still had his heroes (except for the Shadow Hunter, who is tavern revived on the way to the Undead main). soft has a decent force when the Orcs arrive, but the three heroes are too much, his units didn't last long, and his towers are picked off.
1:02:00 The Black Citadel goes down.