Welcome to the first of what we hope to make a regular series of blog posts about strategy and gameplay in City Conquest.
Understanding the Offensive Game
City Conquest is a surprisingly deep game, and it takes a while to learn all of the concepts you need to succeed. You may not realize just from the first few missions how many strategic options are available. This blog post is intended to go into detail on the concepts behind offensive gameplay.
At first playthrough, you might think there's little depth to the offensive strategies. You just pump out a lot of units and throw them at the enemy, right?
Nothing could be further from the truth! Quantity is important, of course, but there's much more to the offensive game than this, and we hope that after reading this article, you'll have a much deeper appreciation of the gameplay concepts involved.
Warning: spoilers! If you're the kind of person who enjoys figuring things out on your own, you may want to skip this.
Here are the five core concepts behind offensive gameplay:
Balancing upgrades with quantity
Upgrading your units is essential to victory. Each upgrade level DOUBLES a unit's hit points, increases its movement speed by 9%, and also increases its damage, rate of fire, and/or special abilities (such as its shielding or healing). At the same time, upgrading can be very expensive, and if you have too few units, your enemy's turrets will end up focusing all of their fire on them.
The level of upgrades your units require depends on your enemy's defenses -- you will likely find that more heavily upgraded enemy cities require more upgraded units of your own. Low-level ground units are also very vulnerable to area-effect damage from Ground Slammers and Grenade Tossers, while upgraded units will be much more resistant to this kind of damage.
Balancing air with ground units
Air and ground units each require different kinds of defenses. Some City Conquest players find that massed air units (Gunships) are the best way to attack an enemy Capitol, the truth is that this is very easy to defend against -- Lightning Towers are extremely effective against air units, and they do very well when combined with Missile Launchers and Gun Turrets. In general, creating a "wedge" made of these three defensive tower types in front of your Capitol facing toward the enemy is the best way to take down enemy Gunships quickly.
At the same time, a city with a lot of Lasers, Chiller Units, Ground Slammers, and/or Grenade Tossers will find that it's likely to be quite effective against ground but very vulnerable to air units. The best approach is to combine both types of offensive units to prevent your enemy from using any single strategy against them, and to buy yourself the option of going heavily toward either ground or air near the endgame if you decide to do so.
Ground units are dramatically more effective when you can get them to enter the enemy base in a tight cluster rather than a long string. Grouping units more tightly will ensure that you minimize the opportunities for enemy towers to attack them.
- Slow speed: CosmoKnights and Tanks. Try placing these units near the front of your city so that they come out the earliest.
- Medium Speed: Hover Artillery and Crusaders. Try placing these units near the middle of your city so they come out after the "slow" units.
- Fast Speed: Rollers: Try placing these units near the rear of your base, so that they emerge after your "medium" speed units.
There is also a "fourth speed": helper units. Commandos, Shield Generators, and Guardians. These units will track the speed of the nearest slow or medium-speed unit (they CANNOT follow Rollers), so it's best to place the Dropship Pads for these units right next to these other units so they immediately begin tracking their speed.
Also, be aware of the fact that upgrading increases the speed of these units by 9% per upgrade level. It's a good idea to upgrade the units farthest from the enemy base (i.e. the ones with the longest paths) first, as this will help ensure that they enter the enemy city in sync with the other units.
Also, don't forget that you have the "Swap" ability! On any multiplayer game or in any Challenge mission or any Campaign mission after "Alexander's Dilemma," you can select two Dropship Pads and swap them. If you find that one unit is consistently getting ahead of another and its Dropship Pad is closer to the enemy base, try swapping the two Dropship Pads and see what happens.
Combined Arms Tactics!
The three helper units -- Commandos, Shield Generators, and Guardians -- contribute a great deal to the survivability of a squad. You're likely to find that the combination of all three of these unit types with several upgraded combat units is vastly more effective than their numbers, as they are able to heal, shield, and repair one another in the field.
Here are some hints for each unit type:
- Commandos: Commandos tend to be most useful for helping you dodge entire parts of an enemy's base. If your opponent makes the mistake of giving you an entrance route that's not covered with Disruptors, try using a Commando or two to cloak your units and get past as many towers as possible. In some cases, you'll find that you can simply avoid a lot of incoming damage this way, giving your units better survivability and helping them damage the enemy Capitol more.
- Shield Generators: Shield Generators are extremely useful for reducing incoming damage to all friendly units nearby. However, keep in mind that only on Shield Generator's shield will apply to any unit at any given moment, so there is no point in putting too many Shield Generators in the same spot. It's best to intermingle your Shield Generators with your "slow" and "medium" units, but spread them out a bit so they cover your entire army as much as possible and apply their damage mitigation to as many units as possible.
- Guardians. Guardians' repair ability will go a very long way toward repairing your units in the field. As much as possible, you should stack them with the units that have the highest survivability, such as the most heavily-upgraded units, and with the units that have the most stamina in the first place, such as Crusaders and Hover Artillery.
Also, don't forget to upgrade your helper units! The Shield Generators and Guardian abilities in particular become significantly more powerful with each upgrade level.
Mothership Effects and Effect Timing
Finally, in multiplayer and in the later Campaign and Challenge missions, it's essential to understand how to use the Mothership effects to your advantage while attacking. Although the Bombardment ability is purely offensive, the other three Mothership effects can provide enormous benefits when you use them to augment your attacks in the right way.
Here are three of our favorite ways of using these Mothership effects:
- Radar Sweep: this effect is very useful for cloaking units that don't already have a Commando nearby to cloak them. It's best to find an entry point near the outer edge of your enemy's base that isn't already covered by a Disruptor. Then wait until just before a large number of your units pass through this area, and drop Radar Sweep just as your units begin to enter. Try to drop the effect in a place where as many units as possible will walk through the circle. This can help a lot of your units bypass damage completely.
- Heal. Heal can go a very long way toward enhancing the survivability of your units. It's usually best to try to drop this on as many friendly units as possible -- ideally, soon after they reach the enemy Capitol in large numbers and begin pounding a way. Also, make sure you cast this at just the right time -- usually when your units have taken moderate damage (~50%). If you cast it too early, before your units have been damaged, you'll be wasting the potential for healing, while if you cast it too late, you run the risk of your units dying before you can heal them. Also, be sure to focus on the units with the most stamina (upgraded units with a focus on Crusaders and Hover Artillery), as these units are the most likely to be able to survive enough damage to reap the benefits of your healing.
- Stun. Stun is best used on the largest possible number of enemy towers. Focus on the most expensive towers (Lightning Towers and Grenade Tossers) and the ones that have been upgraded the most. It's usually best to cast this when your units first reach the enemy Capitol -- grab a Stun and try to get as many enemy towers as possible inside the circle. If you do it right, you may also give yourself enough time to cast a Heal spell and increase the lifetime of your units even further.
That's it for today, but stay tuned -- we'll be posting an introductory guide to multiplayer soon! Also, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter so you can stay informed about the next blog post.