From 3/2001 issue of CGW (an outstanding issue!)
Dave Perry kicked our ass in Sacrifice, and he did it right at the beginning of the game. We asked him to teach us to do that. Here's his response:
Run for the nearest fountain, casting four mana whores on the way there. Then speed yourself up and zip around collecting souls. During travel keep making flying creatures; they'll keep up with you as you're zipping around.
Use the mini-map to steer the fastest course from soul to soul. Think of it as a land grab: get out fast, get everything, then teleport back to your altar and gently build up a big force (to make sure all your creatures make it back after a teleport, issue a retreat command).
When you have all your creatures around you, set the mana whores to group 9, and tell them to guard you in group formation. Set your flying creatures to group 1 and tell them to guard you in line formation. Set your long range creatures to group 2 and tell them to guard you in semi-circle formation. Set your melee creatures to group 3 and tell them to guard you in wedge formation. Now when you face your enemy the mana whores and long-range creatures will stay out of harm's way, the melee creatures will dive right in, and the flying creatures will all fire at once from their line.
When you see the enemy wizard, target everyone on it and fire every spell you've got. This usually will take it out, leaving its creatures at your mercy. Kill them and quickly convert their souls before it gets back.
Remember the best place to fight a battle is with your back to a manalith you own. Taunt the enemy and pull it to where you want the showdown to happen. Bind the spacebar to your basic attack spell so that during a battle, if you see a Sac Doctor carrying off one of your valuable souls, you can entercept it by just hitting the space bar and clicking on it.
Note: I have changed the word "hoar" to "whore" for my own amusement.
So let's summarize. The optimal strategy for sacrifice is .. essentially a tank rush, combined with "firing all your weapons at once at the enemy". Oh yeah, and your ranged units need to be behind your melee units.
That's pretty much what I got out of the game in my 2 hours of play, too.
The game is pure strategy GOLD. They really should use Sacrifice as a teaching tool at West Point.
By Gunga on Friday, March 16, 2001 - 12:44 pm:
Right. And hat's too bad because it's beautiful and really innovative (well the gameplay is not).
Oddly enough, at the same time it reminds me of this Mario game on the N64.
By Xaroc on Friday, March 16, 2001 - 03:21 pm:
Wumpus, try that tactic on me or anyone else who plays the game a lot and you will get your ass handed to you. Right off the bat if you go into any battle unshielded you are an idiot having a shield on will reduce damage significantly. Then there is healing, scarabs, etc. I will own you if we play.
Also, I am glad you can gleam an entire games tactics from an entire 2 hours of playing. I know I can master all games tactics within that time. ;) Hell I would wager most people can't master all of an FPSs weapons in 2 hours much less understand how the tactics in a game like Sacrifice works.
By TomChick on Friday, March 16, 2001 - 03:45 pm:
"Right off the bat if you go into any battle unshielded"
I'm constantly finding new nuances in Sacfice. One of the subtle strategies with shields is pulling back from an attacking wizard to let his shield run its course. Also, I'm pretty sure that the Gremlin's Web and the Seraph's Cage *work* even on shielded wizards!
Sacrifice is all about setting up the conditions so that you can win the battle and hold the field long enough to grab a few of the other guys' souls. In most RTSs, losing a battle tips the balance for the rest of the game. It's no big deal if you lose a battle in Sacrifice as long as you survive long enough to gather your souls back. In fact, if you lose, when you regroup, you can summon your army to specifically counter what creatures the other guy is using.
By wumpus on Friday, March 16, 2001 - 08:32 pm:
"Wumpus, try that tactic on me or anyone else who plays the game a lot and you will get your ass handed to you. Right off the bat if you go into any battle unshielded you are an idiot having a shield on will reduce damage significantly. Then there is healing, scarabs, etc. I will own you if we play."
Talk to David Perry, not me. I wager he's played more than you and Tom. Why don't you try his strategy and see what you think?
By Xaroc on Friday, March 16, 2001 - 09:47 pm:
That strategy is a nice newbie strategy to use against the AI or new players. I am sure Dave Perry has played more than Tom or I but I am also sure he can't distill the complete strategy for Sacrifice down into 5 paragraphs. The things he mentions are useful but just scratch the surface of the game.
It is like Kasperov explaining a couple of decent chess openings then people thinking oh that doesn't sound difficult. Of course people who have never played the game (or spent 2 hours with it) would be impressed by those few moves and they might even be useful moves. However when they are used against a seasoned player they don't work very well.
By Felderin (Felderin) on Saturday, March 17, 2001 - 03:19 pm:
I had a lot of difficulty in Sacrifice early on specifically because that type of strategy really doesn't work, particularly in many of the campaign missions.
The game seems pretty simple at first, but then you start to realize that there are a lot of subtleties that you need to master (the fixed resource of souls is the biggie). Try tank rush tactics in the game and see how far you get. Better yet, try them online.
By Xaroc on Sunday, March 18, 2001 - 02:21 am:
Felderin, I finished single player Sacrifice for the 2nd time today and found the final battle to be an incredible bitch. Worse than I had ever remembered from the first time around (about 3 months ago). Partially it was because I had high level lightning spells and Marduk was bringing Silverbacks with him on his raids. If you hit the Silverback with lighting it powers them up. Doh!
So I had to find a different way to win rather than using lightning against the Silverbacks. To make a long story short I killed his Silverbacks using my Hellmouths and eventually Marduk wouldn't bring the Silverbacks anymore so then I would use Fence and Cloudkill along with the occasional Tornado to keep them off balance and scoop up a few souls here or there. Damn it felt good to finish that level. :)
Sorry for the rambling but even in single player you have to think things through and do far more than what Dave Perry mentioned to be successful.
A great source for Sacrifice tactics and info is http://www.veforums.com/ check it out if you get a chance.