Hey there forum people,
Couple of things I wanted to share after playing 46 turns on ME with Von Carsteins (VH/H):
- Had the misfortune not to get any blood kisses after defeating faction leaders: After defeating Mannfred and Templehof's Zelig-whats-his-face couple of times noticed that I haven't generated any blood kisses. Zilch. Opening the Blood kiss panel also showed me that I can't awaken a bloodline, so it's not just a graphical bug, I had gained zero indeed. Not sure if someone else encountered this bug? Or have I missed something in the patch notes?
- Decided to carry on with the campaign a bit either way, wanted to fight Drycha couple of times, see how tough she was to beat as VC, and boy, was she a pain xD Vlad + Isa, 2 stacks of skelespam, the 2 initial vampires and 6 Vargheists did the trick, but you must either separate, or better yet, ambush her, if you even dream for a second your armies can beat her 1-on-1, you're in for a rude awakening. The 2 initial units of Crypt ghouls you get as Isa also might helped a bit with their poison debuff, but got very little value in terms of kills.
It seems the best strategy still remains to attack Mannfred, sack his last settlement until you get the 100% upkeep reduction tech for your choice of chaff, try to get the bonus relations with all surrounding Dawi high enough at least for a NAP (as you need to secure at least one of your borders), then wipe out Templehof. By that time Drycha comes to say hello and you need to have 2 full stacks and a healthy amount of Vargheists (or as much as your economy can support). After you defend her initial aggression it's business as usual, push through the Empire, kill Drycha, murder some Elector counts and start preparing for waves of Greatswords/Demi's and Artillery. Stopped playing at that point as the missing Blood kisses feature was annoying me beyond reason.
Some thoughts and conclusions: Vampire counts can make use of a low-tier AP unit that's not complete garbage in terms of stats (would help against Drycha and Dawi), or a slight buff to their early economy. Or a diplomacy rework, kek.
Also, while their garrisons are utter garbage, if you keep a defending army in ambush stance close by the vulnerable city, you can use this to your advantage. Very cheesy, I know, but the odds are a bit stacked against you until you get the economy rolling, which happens fairly late for VC.