Blight of the Immortals is a game made from pure awesome. Unstoppable hordes of zombies have to be - well ok, have to be stopped, by a bunch of players who aren't quite sure whether they want to be on the same side. It's got famous last stands, crazy last-ditch defences, cool assaults, and buckets of dead zombies. Big BIG buckets.
Anyway, lots of folk are a bit lost, but the game really isn't that complicated. So I wrote a guide! Hooray! It was too big to email in-game, and I'm too lazy to start a proper wiki, so I've made a dodgy blog instead.
I'm also too lazy to put screenshots in right now - will do it next time I'm avoiding work. It's still in beta anyway, so there's not a whole lot of point getting too fancy just yet.
Smelly's Terrible Blight Guide(aka: Holy Crap, What Do I Do?)
Blight is all about the Zombies. Ok, eventually you can worry about beating and even fighting other players, but to begin with you're just concerned with surviving the zombie onslaught, building up, and then systematically eradicating them.
So, a quick overview of what you've got to start with, then on to what you can do with it.
First, units. These have two things you care about: first, strength. It's the number on your unit icon. That shows how much damage a unit can do,and how much damage it can survive. Basically (details later), you'll beat a zombie force if you have more strength, and lose if you have less.
The second part of a unit is its abilities. Most have two: a passive ability that's always working, without you needing to do anything, and an active ability, that only works when you activate it. You can read each unit's ability by clicking on the unit, then click on the yellow ability next to skill, down in the unit panel at the bottom.
I'll also go into detail, unit by unit, in part 2 of this guide.
Right, so that's the units. The second type of thing you've got is towns.
Towns produce money, can build defences, and can create and reinforce units. On the map you can see a little pile of coins at each settlement - that shows the level of the market there. Markets go from level 0 (no income at all) up to level 4 (7-9 coins per day). Notice, too, that the coins have a colour. More about that a bit later.
The defences of a town are shown by the lines surrounding them. Just like markets, these go from level 0 (no defence) up to level 4 (+40 defence). The defence bonus adds to a unit's strength - so a strength 20 unit in a level 2 defence will effectively be a strength 40 unit as long as it's there. The defence bonus is shown on the unit icon as a +20 (or whatever) under the unit strength.
Towns also buy and reinforce units. This is, obviously, a pretty big deal. Errr, it probably needs a section. Here we go.
Buying and Reinforcing Units
Right, each town has a specific unit type that it can build. You can't change it. If you click on a town, you'll see which unit it can build shown down in the town panel at the bottom of the screen. Click on the yellow unit name to get details. Seriously, do that now, since I'm going to be talking about that detail bit now.
Notice in the unit detail that each unit has a New Army Strength, a New Army Cost, and a Reinforcement Cost. A Company of Men, for example, has a Strength of 8, a New Army Cost of 16, and a Reinforcement Cost of 8. The Strength, obviously, shows how big a unit of Men will be when you build them - but it also hows how many reinforcements you'll get. So it costs half as much to get strength by reinforcements than by building new armies. In other words, if I have 32 coins, I could build 2 Companies of Men with 8 strength each (2 x 16), or I could make one unit with 24 strength (1 x 16, and 2 x 8).
Fewer big armies are more efficient, is what I'm saying.
You can tell pretty well if a unit is meant for front-line duties by the costs. Cyclopses, for example, get a whopping 15 reinforcements for 8 coins. Those are your shock troops. Wizards get 2 strength for 9 coins. Those guys, well, you don't fight with them if you can help it.
Again, unit-by-unit details will be in part 2.
It's important to note that you can reinforce ANY unit of the same type on the map - the reinforcements just take a while to arrive. So you don't need to bring your armies back to town to reinforce. Just click on the reinforcement button, and target any unit you like. You can also reinforce other players' units in this way, or even independent forces. Not zombies though. Duh.
Any time you reinforce or recruit a unit, the town will need to recharge the ability to do it again. You can basically make or reinforce one unit per town, per day.
Coins and Colours
Coins come in colours. So do cities and units, effectively. Each city will make coins of a particular colour, and all the costs in that city - markets, defences and units - will be priced in that colour. Usually you'll have two colours that matter to you in the beginning, and you might want to stick to them as the game progresses. But you can capture cities with other colours too, and you'll need to build those economies up, since each colour is basically a completely separate kingdom from coin's point of view.
The colours are:
Red: Orcs, including Orc War Parties and Shaman Tribes.
Orange: Goblins, including Goblin Hordes, Hobgoblin Brigades, Trolls and Goblin Assassin Teams.
Yellow: Dwarves, including Dwarf Battalions and Cyclops Assemblies.
Green: Elves, including Elven Hunter Squads, Gnome Scouts, Treeman Thickets, and Centaurs.
Blue: Humans, including Companies of Men, Merchant Caravans, Circles of Wizards, and Enchantress Covens.
Purple: Fay, including Hosts of Fay and Nymph Circles.
If you do capture towns or coins of colours you don't want or can't use, you can trade them to other players for coins, towns or even units that you do want...
You will have started with a pile of different coins, most of which are of no use to you. Now is a good time to trade!
Check the inbox for offer of trade, or make one yourself. People will say what they've got for trade and what they want in return - generally you'll trade 1-for-1: so if they ask for Red, with Blue to trade, you can send them 20 Red and expect 20 Blue in return.
This will tremendously increase your stock of coins in your colours at the start, and your chances of survival against the horde.
Undeath and Taxes
DON'T TAX YET!
Yeah, too late, you probably already did. But it's important to note that, if you don't tax on any particular day, you'll save it for later. You can happily do 2 or more taxes at once, if you've saved them up - you get another tax option each day.
Why not do it straight away? Well taxes make money depending on the number and level of your markets: basically, 2 coins per market level in your kingdom, give or take a smallish random number. On your first day you've got almost no markets. What's more, you're about to capture a bunch of towns with markets in them, and you'll be building new markets in your existing towns. Not only that, but through trading you've probably got more coins than you can reasonably spend right now. Wait a day or two, until you've got more markets, and until you've got something you really need to build, but can't afford yet.
What to Buy, When
Very loosely: build as much economy as you can survive, and as little defence as you can survive. Spend the rest on units.
Judging what you can survive is the tricky part. Also, if you're trying to win, you'll want enough units to get a bit of a lead in the zombie-killing department - but you're still going to need enough economy to sustain you in the long term.
Often, especially in the beginning, the best option for fighting zombies is to take the initial attacks in your defences, wipe the slobber off your walls, then counter-attack. You'll need to plan ahead, though, because defences take a long time to build, but you can't take them with you when the zombies go somewhere else. Work out where you're likely to be doing some heavy fighting, and get defences down early.
Note that a level of markets adds an average of 2 coins per day. To get the last level, level 4, costs 10 coins. So that will take you 5 days just to make your money back. It's often more cost effective to add a level of reinforcements so you can capture that 2-market town down the road. Not that you should avoid getting the level 4 markets, just consider whether you have a better alternative. A good example is bribing Dwarf-towns...
You can very rapidly expand your kingdom early by bribing independent (grey) units to join you. The problem is that it'll cost 4 times as much as a reinforcement. So it costs 16 coins to make a Company of Men, and only 8 coins to reinforce one? Well it costs 32 coins to bribe one over to your side. For 32 Blue coins you could have built a unit, reinforced it twice (to 24 men) and stomped that puny unit.
But sometimes it's worth it. There might be strong defences, or a big market at the town. It might give you a unit you badly need, or give you access to a pile of undefended territory.
One no-brainer is Dwarf Towns. They usually have a level 3 market and strong defences, and the small Dwarf Battalion is a cheap unit: only 20 coins to bribe. Remember how going from a level 3 market to a level 4 one costs 10 coins, and adds only 2 coins per day to your income? Well a 3-market dwarf towns costs 20 coins, adds 6 coins per day, and comes with a unit and defences that are probably worth close to the 20 coins you spent to get them. If I ever see you building level 4 markets in dwarf territory when there's a safe Dwarf Town to bribe, you'll get a smack upside the head.
Zombies have the same units that the players do - only, well, stinkier. Also, all zombies units get a different ability to their human counterparts, and they reinforce a little bit each hour while they're at a town that builds the right kind of unit. So really, they're not much like your units after all...
...anyway, a couple of things about zombie behaviour. First, they make units out of available numbers at a town, pretty much at random, and they move out in a random direction. That can sometimes make you happy when they go and eat your annoying neighbour's faces off, but is not so good when an apparently coordinated assault smashes through your defences in three different places.
Second, zombies don't use defences. They're just not that smart. If you can nab a zombie town with huge walls, you'll be able to repel the next wave. Hopefully.
Third, zombies occasionally have an outbreak. This makes the name of the zombie town go red, causes masses of zombies to get built there, and generates messages of sympathy from the other players to the poor doomed sucker standing next to one. If you can kill one of these fast, do it - but remember that they build so fast that, in the time it takes your army to get there, they might be able to beat almost anything you throw in there. Often it's better to get to your defences and ride it out - outbreaks will burn themselves out after a day or two.
Finally, zombies fall apart. If they're not getting reinforcements from a local town - and they have to be AT the town to get them, unlike you - the unit will slowly decay. Attacks along a long road will be well understrength by the time they arrive at the other end. You can help this process along by using unit abilities that slow them down.
Battles are pretty simple: the two sides mash their forces together, and the side with less strength dies horribly.
There are some complications, though. First, dice. As you win battles, your unit's hero gets more dice - most start with only 1. When a battle occurs, your units adds that dice roll to their strength, just for the battle. The same goes for the Zombie hero. That means an experienced unit can be a heap tougher than it looks: a 1-strength Orc hero with 20 dice is a sight to behold.
Then there's the damage to the winner - the loser is always wiped out, but the winner takes damage too. They'll lose strength equal to the strength of the opposing side (including that unit's dice and defence, if any) MINUS the winning army's dice roll and defence bonus. In other words, your own dice and defences protect you from damage. An example:
Defender: 20 point unit behind 20 point (that is, level 2) defences, they roll 1 die and get 4: total strength 44.
Attacker: 35 point unit with 2 dice, rolling 8: total strength 37.
The attacker is wiped out (since they lost).
The defender would take 37 damage, but their defences protect them from 20 points, and their dice roll lets them avoid another 4. So the total damage is only 13.
So you see that defences and dice make a big difference - but mostly to the winner, since the winner doesn't just use them to do damage, they also use them to avoid it. Big armies are important - they win more, and they end up with more dice.
On the other hand, all units in a defence can use the defence bonus, and that can favour lots of smaller units over fewer big units. So for example, if I've got an 70-point zombie army coming down the road, and a 30 point defence at the other end, I might have to choose between:
1. A single 24-man unit (assuming these are Men, that costs 32 coins: 16 to make them, 8 each time to reinforce them). With their defences that's a total of 54 points. Even with a dice roll on top of that, I'm toast. I'll kill a pile of zombies, though: 54, plus / minus dice on each side.
2. Two 8-man units (that costs the same as above: 32 coins). The first unit gets butchered: 38 points vs 70 = splat. But I'll do 38 points, plus / minus dice. The second unit then fight: 38 points again, but the enemy is down to 32. With a little luck on the dice, I'll win. What's more, my dice and walls will probably mean I take no damage.
In other words, if you need a desperate defence FAST, pile units in there. Even a 1-point unit can use the defensive bonus to kill a lot of zombies.
Ok, so that's Part 1.
Part 2 will be a run down on all the unit, player and zombie.
Part 3 will be a brief guide on the starting positions for the usual first map.