So, you’re thinking of getting into multiplayer part of the game? Well, good for you. Sure, you lose out the strategic aspect of the game, but if you give it a chance, I believe you will find that it is how the game was meant to be played. Simply put, using your wits and tactical prowess to defeat another human is immensely more satisfying than winning against AI.
Since CA started Everchosen tournaments, I’ve seen a lot of new faces joining discords dedicated to multiplayer and I’ve noticed an increase in new and inexperienced players in QB. Now multiplayer is quite a bit harder, and army building is considerably different from SP. On top of that, there is no matchmaking system, so you’re just as likely to encounter a veteran as you are to encounter a beginner.
Not much we can do about that, but it is fair to assume that as multiplayer grows in popularity, CA will devote more and more resources and continue making it more enjoyable experience for everyone. They have been trying to do more in the last 6-9 months and it shows.
So, before we go on about helping you get into multiplayer, let’s talk about etiquette for a moment.
1) It is considered polite to say ‘gl hf’ (good luck and have fun) before a game and ‘gg wp’ (good game and well played), especially if you lost. Now, it is not required to do either, but people playing MP are usually friendly and welcoming. I do not know if that is because the community is smaller than super popular MP games out there have, or because this game is a little more cerebral and attracts a slightly more mature audience. I like to think it is the latter.
2) Do NOT ‘corner camp’. Corner camping is usually using map borders to limit flanking opportunities. Of course maps can not be infinite, so this is a meta limitation that should not be abused. Using map features to limit flanking and/or protect your rear is perfectly acceptable (hills, mountains, lakes, ridges… that is all fair game).
3) Do not draw kite. Draw kiting refers to using your fast (often also unbreakable or hidden) units to run away from enemy until the timer runs out and the game ends in a draw.
4) Consider that both players are attackers. Do not take a super defensive position and refuse to move. Now, there’s nothing wrong with trying to fight in a favourable terrain for you, but if you want to do that, have ways to force the enemy to fight there, by using skirmishers or artillery. Of course, this doesn't mean you need to blindly rush forward. It is a strategy game after all. Take all the time you need to scout, maneuver, reposition... As long as you do it with intent of attacking, it's all good.
Now, most players on the ladder will be using these rules. I’m sure you’ve read about ‘toxic’ styles, and while it is indeed true that it happens, it happens a lot less often than people might think. It is hard to put a number, but let’s say that at least 8/10 players you meet will be friendly, welcoming and fighting fair.
So, what to do in actual battles? Well, like with all things in life – practice. MP is very different from SP and beginners I meet tend to lose horribly because they build armies like they do in SP (which is why I wrote this guide). Some general tips:
1) Do not overinvest in back line – back line refers to your support troops, like ranged units, arty and such. Human opponents are much better at shutting down your back line troops, with units, summons, monsters or magic… Until you get a bit more experienced, as a rule of thumb, I’d recommend no more than 3-4 such units all together.
2) Do not overinvest in cavalry. Cavalry, especially shock cav, can be tricky to micro properly if you’re just starting. A good charge can delete an enemy unit, while a botched charge can mean that it gets destroyed while doing very little damage. Don’t bring more than you can effectively control, because such cavalry is usually a very high investment.
3) Bring some high mass units – high mass units help block cavalry and monsters. Especially strong and fast monsters like Kholek can run into your halberds, push them away, do some damage and run away suffering little or even no damage in return. If you have a high mass units, you can block him, pin him in place longer and do some damage. So, Kholek could easily run through you Asrai Spears Wardancers and bully them when they’re on their own. If you have Speardancers and Treekin, it becomes much harder for him to pull it off. High mass units are usually monsters, monstrous infantry and cavalry.
4) ALWAYS bring a mage. It is never worth it to not bring a mage. Even if you’re going for a ‘rush army’. At the same time, do not overinvest in spells, they can be quite pricey. Pick 1-3 spells that you’re most likely to be using and use them. If you’re unfamiliar with magic, lores of Life, Death, Shadow, Fire, Beasts are probably easiest to use.
5) Take map into account. Yes, you can’t always tell from the minimap preview you see, but most of the time you can get a general idea. If there are a lot of hills, ranged units that need a direct line of sight might struggle (like gunners and cannons). If there’s a lot of forest, all ranged units will suffer. Think and pick your faction (and army) accordingly.
6) Take enemy faction into account, obviously. What are their strengths compared to your faction and what can hurt you the most. If you’re playing against Dwarfs, expect a lot of armoured infantry and a lot of guns.
People often ask ‘what is the best faction for a beginner’? Well, I’d say the best faction is the one you feel most comfortable with and you find most fun to play. But, if pressed for an actual answer, I would say Warriors of Chaos.
Chaos has the most cost effective heavy infantry in the game. Chaos Warriors, both regular and GW variant, will do well against most types of enemy infantry, from low tier to elites. Of course, you can’t expect them to beat Swordmasters in 1v1, but they will do some damage even to them. Secondly, there is no backline to defend, which lessens the burden on your micro. Chaos has very cost effective missile cavalry, with all 3 variants being very good at harassing enemy and taking out priority targets. Thirdly, Chaos has very good monsters that will beat most other monsters and cavalry in 1v1. Kholek/Shaggoths are very strong. Kholek and a Death Sorcerer is a very potent combo and hard to go wrong with. If you’re expecting a lot of missiles, Sarthoriel is also an excellent choice, and Archaon, while a bit expensive can lay a whooping on most enemy lords and heroes.
There are other factions to recommend. Factions with access to lore of Life can be more forgiving of mistakes, and there’s definitely an argument to be made there, but they are often a bit more micro intensive, or a LOT more micro intensive, in the case of Wood Elves, for instance.
Be patient, expect you will lose a lot in the beginning, and try to learn something from each defeat and adapt your army and tactics accordingly.
For last, you can use youtube videos of MP games to get some ideas for builds and how to approach some match ups.
The best one is probably Party Elite’s and his subsections of ‘Total Breakdowns’ where takes high level matches and analyzes them. https://youtube.com/channel/UCg3BiSs8eBE9hA9EWYTgtAg
There are a few discord servers dedicated to MP. This one is mostly about tournaments, but it is one of the largest and there’s a lot of great players willing to help beginners out. You can also find players of all skill levels, who are open to fun and practice matches. https://discord.gg/qCbkbAF
Feel free to ask anything I might have forgotten to say.
Disclaimer: Yes, I know this is a 'general discussion'. But based on my and other people's experiences, lately a lot of SP players are wanting to try MP but are not sure where to start. I purposefully posted this here for them. People already playing multiplayer know most of this stuff.