FFA Guide

Discussion in 'Warcraft Strategy Guides' started by Emperor Pan I, Jun 9, 2005.

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  1. Emperor Pan I

    Emperor Pan I Respected Member

    Aug 8, 2002
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    A FFA Is the longest type of gaming on BNet ladder. FFA can last anywhere from an hour to two and even then they can go longer or even shorter. Not everyone has the time and effort to put forth to make valuable games. The FFA is also the most complex game type, and requires the most strategy. Anyone looking to play some FFA should read through this.

    V1.0: Written guide.
    v1.1: -Expanded and reworked all sections.
    -Fixed spelling, punctuation and Grammar errors.
    -Added improved strategies for each race.
    v1.2 -few grammatical fixes
    -added new sections: Neutral heros, Items and Map strategies.

    A FFA is the longest type of gaming on BNet ladder. FFA can last anywhere from an hour to two and even then they can go longer or even shorter. Not everyone has the time and effort to put forth to make valuable games. The FFA is also the most complex game type, and requires the most strategy. Anyone looking to play some FFA should read through this.

    1. Basics
    2. Human players
    3. Your Strategy
    a) Human
    b) Undead
    c) Orc
    d) Night Elf
    4. Choosing heroes
    5. Early Game
    6. Mid Game
    6.5. Alliances
    7. Late game
    8. Wrap up
    9. Neutral Heros

    1. Basics:
    FFA games revolve around a few key elements. Unlike solo, there are nearly no minor skirmishes. You will need a few things to win:
    *Strong Defense
    *Several Expansions
    *Always tech
    *Strong heroes
    *Always get 3 heroes
    *Watch your food supply

    This may sound like a generic list, but these things are REQUIRED to win. A FFA is a drastically different game type than any other. Most solo games you win by controlling the map, rushing and frequently aggressive maneuvers. The FFA will have you changing your play style to be good.
    A strong defense is needed for your main, and all your expansions. It is very likely that during mid to late game you will be attacked. It is a lot easier to defend a heavily fortified base. Especially if your attacked at two places, defending one, while the other one holds out with it’s defensive towers. You should always defend your expansions, but be wary not to get yourself trapped, seeing how If you lose your army it will be very expensive to rebuild.
    On the subject of expansions, you’re going to need them. Forget solo, where you can end a game before you need to expand. A FFA will always have several expansion mines. Take this as an advantage. Always secure a quick expansion. The sooner your expansion, the more money you will make off of it. A game can see you clear out maybe 2 or 3 mines completely and still leave you with little cash. An expansion early will have you with two mines on low upkeep. The further into the game you go, the less cash you receive if you’re in high upkeep.
    The more expansions mean two things. You will receive more money to combat the loss in income due to high population, and several food slots. An expansion requires 5 workers, meaning each one will have 5 foods per expansion. With main and two expansion that is 15 food not counting cost of wood choppers in food. Be careful, don't over expand. At best, along with main you should only expand twice.
    The biggest strategy in FFA is to ALWAYS TECH. I'll tell you why. FFA games are fought at tier 3. No one does anything at tier 1 to 2 past creeping. You should be surprised to see footmen or ghouls in any large quantity. Everyone techs in a FFA, which gives you an opening to tech along side them. I have yet to see a person attack early and win. It happens though. If you are unlucky enough to be sandwiched between two people, your biggest priority is to take one out and defend against the second.
    With an expansion, your biggest priority is to set up your base army. Remember you’re in a game with four other people. Strategies can and will change. Be flexible. There is never a set strategy in a FFA, past a balanced army. When you are building your base, build at least two of every type of building you foresee as valuable. The basic strategy behind this will be explained later.
    FFA maps are big, and positioning comes into play. Your best positioning is away from everyone else. Your worst position is in between two other players. Starting position is merely chance.
    Heroes make a FFA game. It is the only game type where you can expect to get one or more level 10 heroes. Instead of choosing heroes on the early game spells, or harassing ability, you choose heroes based on the late game. Summonses are next to useless in a FFA past scouting and creeping. A heroes ultimate, and spells at level 3 are what you look for. You want to choose based on the level 3 coils, level 3 aura and Animate dead combo, you get a Dread lord to get level 3 aura and the Infernal. You get an Arch mage for that level 3 auras and mass Teleport. That is why you don’t get a KOTG in a FFA, because the KOTG ultimate sucks.
    Always get three heroes. Theoretically you can push a hero to level 10 almost instantly. The only problem with this is it will be harder to level up a second or third hero later while everyone else has three level 6 heroes. You would prefer three level 7’s to one level 10, so you get three quick, and level them evenly. This lets you get three level 10s almost at the same time. But don’t expect to get three level 10s, likely the game will end before that.
    Scouting is probably one of the largest elements of game play. If you don't know what is going on, you’re going to lose. Scouting is the most important thing out of everything in a FFA. Know who your strongest opponent is, and know who is the weakest. Know who is fighting who, and who to hit when. Attacking right after someone else will be a lot more effective than attacking someone random. Use logic.
    Also with scouting, you can change your strategy. Your base army should not lean too heavily on anything, allowing adjustments. If you notice a lot of air units, you get anti-air, while not compromising your other units. It all comes down to knowing your opponents. IF you can see an attack before it happens, prevent it by attacking first.
    Finally, watch the amount of units you have. More units mean less income. That is why it is smart to scout and expand. If you have the income, with low food you can amass a huge sum of money to build just about anything. This comes in handy if u has to switch a strategy suddenly to take on someone you hadn't expected to face immediately. Upkeep can be a bitch, but everyone suffers from it, so don't be a fool.

    2. Human Players:
    You should always remember the game is structured for 5 players to go at it. You are playing with humans, with emotions and a desire to win. You can feed on that. Through out the game it is smart to not get anybody in the game mad at you. This means never do the following:
    * Trust anyone
    * Publicly tell everyone what one player is doing.
    * Make fun of anyone, calling anyone a nub or other insults.
    * Attack anyone without a valid reason.
    * Make alliances then turn on someone.
    * Pretty much most talking publicly.
    Doing any of the following may piss someone off. This can easily result in hostilities toward you or teaming against you. It is likely your safest bet to keep quiet in most of your game. Never show yourself as a strong player, or a dominant force. Keep people in the dark to your playing style as much as possible. If you keep people out of “the know†they have a harder time countering you.
    In any given FFA there is usually dominant force. This is your opening to turn people against one person. People may be bastards and do something like the above to you. Never let it get to you. If two people hit you, remind everyone else in the game there is a team. Everyone else can take on those two. Do not invite hostilities toward you in any part of the game. A strong part of the game is not to be fazed by any sort of distraction and playing people off each other.
    It is very common for players that have been beaten to cry out in shame and tell everyone your strategy. Be not afraid, if you followed the above, you will know that it doesn’t matter if people know what you have as long as you have scouted you’ll be fine. Besides, a balanced army isn’t much to give away.

    3. Your Strategy:
    FFA games have too many strategies and variations and variables to post one or any strategy specifically for FFA. IT would be just useless. Instead you should know what race you’re playing as, and who you are against. There is however some basics for ground work.

    a) Human: Humans have the most well balanced army in the game. With FFA games, you can exploit your entire tech tree. This means throwing a huge combonation together. Likely it is smart to get the following as base work Knights, Breakers, Sorceress, Priests, and tanks with an AM, MK, and Paladin. A 100/100 army of the following will level most players. Knights will ruin ground with caster support, tanks will be anti-air support along with some great base destroyers, breakers should deal with most casters and that hero combo will make a very tough fight easier.
    When you have that, you substitute units for variables. To counter more casters throw in some extra Breakers, and tone down tanks. To counter mass air, tone down on Knights and more tanks plus maybe some Dragon hawks. Heavy Melee means more gryphons and casters to support your knights. A lot of anti-casters means you should get good amount of knights. It is all about your units and countering.
    For scouting, I have trouble with humans. The average scouting techniques suck. The way I prefer to do it is to make a Knight invisible and send him around to see what is what. It is almost never detectable and invisibility lasts along time, giving a knight the ability to scout a map and return home.

    b) Undead: Undead is tricky in FFA. Like everything else, reliance on Heroes is huge. Ghouls are useless as a ground force, because of a lot of tier 3 melee and heavy air being used. Abominations aren’t much better, but gargoyles and frostys make a formidable force. Your base army for undead should be Fiends, Abominations, Statues, Destroyers, Gargoyles and frosties with a Dread lord, Lich, Death Knight. You may substitute any of the following with the Crypt lord, being they are all good heroes.
    One strategy I like is the necro-wagon, especially since you have low food, for a large army. And with a FFA necro-wagon will have large financial backing allowing for major shifts in strategy to change to a better counter. However, very late the Necro-wagon becomes hard to utilize, so you will need to be able to counter other units.
    USE THE SHADE. The Shade is a 1 food unit that only cost 75 gold is nearly priceless. No FFA game should ever be played with out scouting, and the shade is the number one scouting unit. It doesn’t put a strain on your food, and doesn’t dent your gold.

    c) Orc: Orc has some great units for FFA. Pretty much a nice base force of Taurens, Shamans, Docs, Bats and Wyverns can take on most forces. Bats will destroy light air and damage heavy air so wyverns can pick them off. Taurens are the best melee unit, and with shaman lust, and docs wards things should be fine. I don’t usually include Spirit walkers, but heavy casters, including necro-Wagon will see this unit as essential. Hero choice should be Farseer, Tauren Chieften and Shadow Hunter. Farseer is priceless in the FFA, with farsight you remove need for most other forms of scouting, Tauren Chieftenprovides a much needed Aura increasing attack speed and movement speed along with such boost through lust. The SH is great for healing, and hex is great for an annoying hero, or units. The Blade master I do not advise, he is more of a solo hero but it is all preference.
    Alternative is to go heavily on pure wyverns and bats, to rely on Shaman and heroes to keep ground AA from hurting wyverns and keeping bats for AA. This works often, especially with strong level 10 heroes as back up. Farseer removes the need for docs scouting.

    d) Night Elf: Night elf has two good FFA strategies. Dryads and bears for all purpose strategy and Chippo, which is chimera and Hippogrphys. The second one is rather effective; however immune ground units will have a fun time taking out the chims, especially a fleet of Dryads. This is why you need to use your head. The most expensive unit always has its drawbacks. Hero choice should always be the three agility heroes. Demon Hunter, Warden and POTM are a good suggestion. Either the Demon hunter or warden is good to creep early and get high levels. Their skills are good hero killers, and their speed and agility make them hard to kill. Basically POTM is a NEEDED hero. Mana burn is great for crippling strength heros, and hurting intelligence heroes. Shadow strike is good for taking that hero you just want dead, and their respective ultimate are always good. The POTM should Always be added however. The owl scout is beyond useful, it removes the need for Huntress scouting. Star fall has lost it’s uberness, but is still by all means a good base and units killer.

    4. Choosing heroes: You should tailor your heroes to your army, based on compatibility, usefulness and the ultimate.
    For the Undead, you want to base your heroes on your units you plan on getting. For the Necro wagon you want a Death knight or a Dark Ranger. The base strat I provided works well with the Dread lord, but if you go heavily on gargoyles, frosties and fiends, a Dread lord’s aura becomes a waste. The DK is a smart choice for most UD needs, but his ultimate sucks relying heavily on the Coil. Lich is good for only one thing, and that is nova, remember that when choosing heros. A TC will speed up your units and almost never die but a BM can do insane damage on heroes and units with wind walk and his selective spells.
    While humans have great 4 heroes, usually best starting with AM to get a nice level 3 brilliance making dominate force in casters. You can add a blood mage if you plan to go with more grphons and casters for flame strike and Banish.

    5. Early Game: Early game is where you pick your hero and strategy. Know what you’re going for, have a plan. FFA allows flexibility in you can change in mid game with minimal loss. You should know what races your opponents are by the loading screen. Analyze the map, and the likely hood someone is on either side, or on both. Find a suitable expansion and grab it quick. Also, build up. Build two of each production building to build up quickly.

    Don't ever:
    *Tower anybody
    *Hero Harass
    Doing any of these will screw you in the mid to late game.
    Towering not only leaves you main base exposed, there is a chance of failure, and not only can someone else rape you, but the person you are towering can and might beat you down. Tower rushes also take forever to finish off anyone that is good, and that is precious time you don't have to waste.
    Hero harassing does one thing. If you’re random it exposes your race early, it also tells what the person has to look out for, and who is likely going to be attacked first. Hero harassing someone leads to one thing, retaliation. I have said to always stay low key, so no one knows who you are. The less anyone knows of you, the better you are. Let them finish each other off then go in for the kill. Rushing is the same reason as above, except you will likely cripple yourself along with the above.
  2. Emperor Pan I

    Emperor Pan I Respected Member

    Aug 8, 2002
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    6. Mid Game
    Mid game you should have most of your units out while staying in no to low upkeep, and most upgrades you want. You should be tier 2.5-3 and creeping. Creeping is important. Items play large roll, and the faster you level your heroes the better. Plus less creeps for the enemy means less exp and items for them to get. Also you should secure at best 2 expansions, and have at least 2-3 heroes.
    In mid game it is likely there have been some people who have fought each other. Stay out of these battles because you can only invite problems on you. If you see an opportunity to completely wipe out somebody, take it. If you’re only going to piss someone off, but not take them out of the game there is no point. If you see no chance to beat someone, or cripple them it is not worth it. Instead or irritating someone, go creep a red spot and get a frost orb or some rare artifact that is important.
    Use the double production building to your advantage. With a nice tech, and an expansion with lots of money holding back until you need your units is smart. In the mid to late game, you’re going to need to make a choice. Only begin to build your army up after you have picked who you want to attack and have made the essential modifications. If you feel pressured earlier, building your army may be needed, but holding up a bit is much smarter.

    6.5 -Alliances: Mid game you should see who the hot shots are. Those are the people who instigate fights with people, likely have 2 expansions and higher level heros due to picking on people. That is the moment to form a temporary alliance with people to take him out. This means you in game team. It is not a necessary tactic, but it works. It is not cheap or cheating, unless you have pre-arranged it. Also, With you being low key, there is no reason for them to do it to you unless you are seen as to strong after you take the one guy out. If you remove the dominant player, and become the dominant player you put yourself in a bad position. The best way to get out of that is to remove the original dominant player then turn on one of your former allies. Always have a plan ready to counter your allies along with your enemies. Of course you could also play one person off the other, but that can be tricky to do. Some people aren’t stupid.

    7. Late game: Late game goes all out. When you are ready go full out. Max out your food supply, and grab orbs for all your heroes (unless they already have a modifier spell) several TP, potions, scrolls of protect, scrolls of healing and such. Any artifacts are a great asset, especially the frost orb. Items like Infernal stone are a smart choice. Items that are unneeded are rod of necromancy, or lightning wand because in late game their minor effects are worthless. Boots of speed for slow heroes, and anything extending heroes health/mana or armor is also a nice addition.
    Always go after you biggest threat. If you can take them out, you can clean up anyone else. You should have extensive defense at your expansions, and TP to get out if a battle is going bad or your being attacked. The worst thing to happen is you attack and at the same time you’re attacked. This is where scouting comes in handy. Know where everyone is, and if you are in a direct line of attack, be there to intercept.
    You don't even need to take out someone's army to win, just buildings. If you can avoid a conflict and take out a base better for you. I have won without even engaging the enemy. Most people at the ending of the game have gone through a lot, and usually are low on cash. Preventing more expansions is crucial. You should have a firm hold on the map by now, something you should only achieve when you know you can win.
    If you are running low on cash, sell your items. You can get a nice price for the Ankh of Resurrection and good items. Save Artifacts, some items are just not needed, and could be better spent on reviving a dead hero, or building a required unit. They are no use to you if you have no army with your hero, or that important expansion you can't afford. Most items won't win you a game either, so don't be afraid to sell items. Items I would sell for dough immediately are any level 1-4 item, and an ankh of resurrection. The reasoning for this is an invisibility potion is a lot cheaper and a lot smarter to save a hero than that. Especially since you should never use a item as a crutch to allow a hero to die.
    Avoid confrontations you can't win and if you have to hit and run repeatedly. this is easy with fast heros and the AM with teleport. One of the best things about humans is the mobility of the AM. It is also incredibly frustrating to hit and run.

    By late you should have at least one or more level 9 or 10 hero. Use them to your advantage. NEVER let a hero at such a high level die, the cost and time to get them back is irreplaceable and could cost you the game especially since money gets tight at the end.

    8. Wrap up: finally, it comes down to people either leaving or the building hunt. Do the entire Bnet community a favor. Win with grace. Calling anyone a "noob" is just disrespectful even if they are not near your skill. Not everyone can spend their time to get good; some people just like to play for fun. If you get to the point where you have won and looking for hidden buildings, don't be an ass. You just get into flaming blame wars. No one likes that.
    If you get in the losing position, and you know your not going to win, then just leave. There is no point in staying. If someone pissed you off by backstabbing you, whatever man let it go. It all comes full circle. Just know it is a game.

    9. Neutral Heros:
    Neutral heroes can be integrated with many strategies to strengthen your army. You should understand Neutral heroes strengths/weaknesses before attempting to use them. Depend on how well they fare late game. There are a few heroes that will assist you late game, but will still need to be taken care of.

    Alchemist: Although kind of awkward, his Acid bomb ability drops a group of units armor by -5 at level 3, and deals damage. This can prove a tide turner, especially if you add farie fire, to lower armor further, or bloodlust to attack the weakened units faster. Remember, if a unit’s armor dips below zero, attacks do extra damage than normal (ie. -2 armor will have attacks increase by 111%). Chemical rage is a self inducing bloodlust, however the Alchemist may also be lusted, adding an incredible attack speed and movement speed. Chemical rage can increase attack for the alchemist by 125%, and movement by 50% alone. Transmute makes this hero useful in late game. Similar to “Charmâ€, it can help to remove a powerful enemy unit, and get gold in return.

    Dark Ranger: The Dark Ranger is a valuable asset as well You should consider whether or not you need black arrow. If the Dark Ranger is being used as a first hero, the summons can be used to creep effectively, with little reliance on a number of units. However, as the game progresses, the summons become too weak and when you face things like Knights and Tauren, they will fall quite easily. Dark Ranger is especially useful for silence, to remove annoying casters from the battle, and to delay a hero from casting a spell. Charm is one of the most useful ultimate in the game. There is no stopping/blocking/dispelling, if a DR wants your unit, she will take your unit. Not only do you gain a unit, the enemy also loses that unit. Turning a Frost Wyrm or a chimera against your enemy is not only insulting; it can be a monumental shift in the battle

    Naga Sea Witch: this hero is known for one thing, frost arrows. Imitating a frost orb, this hero can stop any unit dead in it’s tracks. This is useful from beginning to end, as you can creep easier with it, knowkc of fleeing heros, or slow down a strong unit. Forked lightning does a fair amount of damage to units, something not to be taken lightly. The final normal spell is mana shield. Now most people would dismiss it, but I ask you can you really? At level 3, a naga sea witch can became one of the hardest heroes to kill. This is because the mana shield will take 1 mana for every two damage. Roughly the Naga sea witch can have the equivalent of 2350 hp. Tornado is a base wrecker. Honestly, this is one of my favorite ultimate. Unlike earthquake of D&D, this baby does more than expected. It does an AOE of 280 damage to buildings over 40 seconds. It also slows all targets down, and creates tornadoes to remove random units from battle. This is a very good spell for long FFA games, and big battles, as an entire army slowed down, is a dream come true.

    10. Items:
    Items play a key part in your FFA game. Items can make or break an army. However, the difference between solo and FFA, is items are more frequent, and there are usually incredibly powerful items put into play. The large incomes you can receive also help to boost your ability to purchase more items more frequently. Using a Town portal isn’t as wasteful in any situation as it can be in a solo match. There are two buildings that will be your best friends, The Goblin Merchant, and the Market place. The Goblin Observatory, and fountains will also make a wonderful addition to your strategy, it’s all about how you use it. Neutral buildings are going to be your greatest and only ally on the map.

    Goblin merchant: The Goblin merchant is incredibly useful both early game and late game. It contains three basic types of items, consumables, permanent, power-ups, and charged.
    Consumables: Scroll of healing, Scroll of protection, potion of Invisibility, and Potion of lesser invulnerability. These items can be used by a hero, and will be used to boost your chances of winning. The two scrolls are invaluable. Scroll of healing is mass healing of 150hp to all units in the vicinity. The scroll of Protection is also very powerful, as it adds +2 armor to all units in the area. Two armor adds 10.71% damage reduction, effectively adding a 12% hp increase to all your units.
    The town portal is the most important purchased item at the Merchant. IT is imperative at elast 2 of your three heros have a TP, and that you always have one when going into battle. It can save your hero, and your entire army. Games can be won/lost on the use of a Town Portal. Staff of Teleportation has little use in a FFA game, do with it what you wish.

    Permanent: The permanent items are the Circlet of Nobility, Boots of speed, Periapt of Vitality . The effects of the circlet of Nobility are minute, to other items may provide. However it can fetch a fair price to sell, and give a good boost in the early game. Boots of speed never loses it’s value. Periapt of Vitality gives 150 hp, and can be replaced by the item Khadgar's Gem of Health which adds 250.
    Charged: Dust of appearance is of little importance in most FFA games.

    If you find a marketplace on a map, abuse it to the furthest degree. Items at a market place range from level 1 to level 10 items. You can buy aura inducing items, creating an army with true shot, brilliance, endurance, vampuric, and unholy. Items like claws of attack +15, Medallion of Courage or the Pendant of Magic. All of these items will give a hero a huge boost, without needing to fight a tough creep. Though it is still suggested to fight creeps for exp, skipping that step for a powerful item is sometimes a wise move.

    The Goblin Observatory should be used to scout the map for only 50 gold, buy a goblin shredder, or a zeppelin. On island maps, a Zeppelin will be the most important tool for victory. More in maps section. The shredder will bring back 200 wood each trip. For only 4 food, you can eliminate the need for multiple peasants that will take up in excess many food units.

    Creep and Control fountains. They regenerate your army for free, and will make your life a lot easier. Block your opponents from settling here, especially after a long battle. Mae sure to defend your fountains, to gain an advantage. You can fight within range of the fountain, and your enemy out of range giving you a fair advantage. Use the map, use your advantage.
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