Warlords: Battlecry II is the sixth game in Warlords series (second in Battlecry series), made by Australian developer Strategic Studies Group (SSG) and released on 12 March 2002 with Ubisoft as the game's publisher. The sequel maintained its predecessor's graphic engine as well as gameplay strengths: solid hero advancement system; large amount of playable races; intricate base management; and a vast, non-linear campaign set in Etheria.
There are 12 playable races in Warlords: Battlecry II (WBC2). Each race has its own strengths, weaknesses, relations with other races and (more or less) different playstyles regarding hero development and base management.
Most of game units are accessible to one particular race. However, Dark Elves, for example, can summon demons by sacrificing their own lesser troops. An alternative example could be a hero specializing in necromancy and being able to summon a variety of undead or demonic beings to aid his armies in the battlefield.
The playable Warlords: Battlecry II races are:
- Humans - the most versatile race in game. Human heroes have little limitations in choosing profession and speciality. Their economy is heavily dependant on gold and their military capacity is limited by vulnerability to aerial attacks. Their military strength lies in an impressive array of cavalry and flexible set of recruitable spellcasters. Human titan is Sirian.
- Dwarves - slow, short and sound. Dwarven heroes are limited to Warrior, Rogue and Priest professions. Although economically dependant on gold and metal, their mining proficiency can quickly solve any lack of resources. Their military strength is siege warfare. Most of their non-siege troops are able to consume alchochol to gain significant combat boost. Dwarven titan is King Khalid.
- Fey - the agile, intelligent and charismatic fairyfolk of Etheria. Fey heroes are limited to Rogue, Wizard and Priest specialities. Economy and military production depends on crystals. Most of fey troops are flyers; other strengths include unit speed, fast production and prodigious amount of upgrades, making them a dangerous opponent in late game. Fey titan is the Forest Master.
- High Elves - agile intelligent and noble faction of Etherian elves. High elven nobility is (in a way) expressed with the restriction of Rogue profession choice. Economy and military production relies on crystals, a problem that can be solved by combining wisps (the builders of elven races) into Ancient Wisps. Their military strength lies in archers, cavalry that can attack air units (Dragon Knights) and plenty of healing abilities. High Elven titan is King Lunarion.
- Wood Elves - dexterous and illusive inhabitants of Etheria's forests. Wood Elf heroes can choose any profession. The economy of Wood Elves is more or less balanced (although preference in gold and crystals is felt); most resource problems can be solved with Trading Posts and Ancient Wisps. Military strength lies in Gladewardens (Wood Elven archers), who, combined with their racial vision upgrades, make up for serious lack of flexible and meaty melee units. High Elven titan is Ironbark.
- Dark Elves - dexterous, intelligent and relentless side of Elven lineage. Dark Elf heroes can choose any profession. Dark elven military and economy is well balanced resource-wise (but may require slightly more micromanagement). Military strengths include poisons (archers, spiders), a recruitable unit with assasination ability (chance to kill ANYTHING in one hit), spellcasters beneficial both in and outside combat and (realitively) sacrifice ability. Dark Elven titan is Kargoth.
- Undead - intelligent and ancient iniquity of northern Etheria. Undead heroes are limited to Warrior and Wizard professions. Undead military is a force to be reckoned with, however, its development requires tremendous amounts of gold, crystal, metal AND a certain level of micromanagement. Due to their unique unit production system (recruited skeletons are upgradable to higher tier undead units), summoning heroes are one of the most viable choices. Undead titan is Lord Bane.
- Daemons - characterized by monstrous strength and nightmarish appearance. Daemon heroes can be Warriors, Wizards and Rogues. Daemon economy could be defined as 'balanced with strong preference to crystals (notably due to expensive builders). Similarly as Undead, they need to gain some economic momentum, but have different means to achieve it (most notably income upgrades, although a Daemon summoner hero is also a viable choice). Most of their units cause negative psychological effects to nearby enemy units (giving an overt preeminence in battlefield) and can be summoned for free in late-game. Daemon titan is Balora.
- Dark Dwarves - ingenious (and evil) evil builders. Dark Dwarven heroes are able to choose Warrior, Rogue and Priest professions. Their economy can be balanced with upgrades, Trading Posts and innate mining proficiency. Dark Dwarves take Dwarven technology (machinery and Dark Mithril upgrade) to the next level, allowing them to raze even the most fortified strongholds to the ground and then pick up the pieces for resources (Bronze Golem ability). Their main force of destructive machinery is well complemented by Wraiths, summoned at Temples and Wyverns from Eerie Peaks. Dark Dwarven titan is Grond.
- Orcs - strong, dexterous and violent. Orcish heroes can be Warriors, Rogues and Priests. Economically, Orcs seriously depend on stone resource, but can solve this dependency with Basilisks (each unit killed by Basilisk grants 100 Stone). This, combined with lack of armor upgrades (besides missile neutralizing upgrades), forces Orcs to rush into battle and expand. Defending can be risky as Orcs are unable to repairing their buildings. Orcish titan is Gornak Elfeater.
- Minotaurs - extremely strong and versatile fighters. Minotaur heroes can be Warriors, Rogues and Priests. The economy of this proud race is well balanced and can be further boosted with Basilisks. Their troops are strong, fast and versatile via many useful military and utility abilities/upgrades. The sheer power of Minotaur Kings make them (probalby) the strongest racial general. The only prominent weaknesses are lack of effective aerial defense in early game and, in some sense, lack of unit variety. Minotaur titan is Skull of Sartek.
- Barbarians - possess dexterity, strength and numbers that easily compenstate for any lack intelligence. Barbarian heroes can be Warriors and Priests. Economy is balanced (except for early dependency on stone) and further boosted through income upgrades. This enables a steadily increasing stream of fast, cost-effective units (namely Barbarian ranged infantry that can hit multiple targets in line) whose growing numbers, combined with the impressive array of Barbarian upgrades, can overpower many races. However, races extremely proficient in ranged (Wood Elves, High Elves) or melee (Daemons, Undead in late game) combat can be devastating to Barbarians. Barbarian titan is Tempest.
There are 4 basic professions: Wizard, Warrior, Rogue and Priest. The choice of profession adds appropriate stat boost (Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence or Charisma) and, in most cases, grants the access to the spellbook. Following either profession choice, a hero can further choose one of 20 specialties.
The set of available professions and specialties is determined by race of the hero. Different races are better at certain professions and, consequently, different specialties (for example, Dark Elves have skill set most suitable for Assassin specialty, Daemons have strength and skill set fit for a perfect Death Knight, Barbarians have stats and skills well suited for, uh, Barbarian specialty).
The choice of profession, speciality and race influences what skills the hero can learn. Abilities have effect on the hero's melee combat capabilities, spell strength and casting success rate, base management (improved build times, resource income, army morale, etc.).
In addition to 3 racial skills, heroes can learn speciality skills:
Necromancer: Vampirism, Gates of Hell, Death Mastery, Death Grandmastery.
Illusionist: Shadowcall, Magic Voice, Illusion Mastery, Illusion Grandmastery.
Pyromancer: Flamewalk, Firestarter, Fire Mastery, Fire Grandmastery.
Alchemist: Herbalism, Healing Potion, Alchemy Mastery, Alchemy Grandmastery.
Summoner: Fires of Hades, Daemonlord, Summoning Mastery, Summoning Grandmastery.
Ice Mage: Shards, Ice Armor, Ice Mastery, Ice Grandmastery.
Fighter: Weaponmaster, Arms Lore, Weapons Lore, General.
Barbarian: Scouting, Riding, Running, Shaman.
Ranger: Herbalism, Forest Lord, Taming, Nature Mastery.
Thief: Banditry, Haggling, Disquise and Backstab.
Assassin: Assassinate, Poison, Killing Blow and Garrotting.
Bard: Song of Heroes, Song of Battle, Song of Charming, Song of Stone.
Merchant: Master Merchant, Trading, Wealth and Presence.
Paladin: Conversion, Meditation, Grand Paladin and Spell Mastery.
Druid: Animal Training, Treemaster, Nature Mastery, Nature Grandmastery.
Healer: Elcor's Aura, Touch of Purity, Healing Mastery, Healing Grandmastery.
Runemaster: Artifice, Book of Wisdom, Rune Mastery, Rune Grandmastery.
Death Knight: Secrets, Frozen Lord, Inhuman Strength, Chaos Mastery.
Available speciality choices in Warlords: Battlecry II
Specialities for Priest profession
Priests follow the path of Druids, Rune Masters, Healers, Paladins or Shamans.
Specialities for Wizard profession
Wizards can progress further as Archmages, Necromancers, Illusionists, Ice Mages, Pyromancers, Summoners or Alchemists. Specialities for Warrior profession
Warriors can transcend into Fighters, Barbarians, Death Knights or Rangers; Specialities for Rogue profession
Rogues distinguish themselves as Thieves, Assassins, Bards or Merchants;
Spellcasting in Warlords: Battlecry II
A hero with a specialty can master various combinations of magic spheres (for example, Assassins are able to cast Summoning and Alchemy spells, Archmages gain access to all the magic spheres, etc.). Each sphere has roughly 10 spells with the exception of Common sphere that consists of 3 utility spells accessible to a bigger variety of heroes.
The Spheres of Magic in Warlords: Battlecry II are:
- The Common sphere contains only 3 spells: Shield spell that boosts resistance to elemental and physical attacks; Silver Arrow spell that grants ranged attack for a short period of time; and Heroism, a spell that increases command radius.
- Pyromancy includes Hand of Flame, Soul Flame, Cauterize, Resist Fire, Ring of Fire, Firebreath, Berserker, Pillar of Fire, Fire Elemental and Armageddon spells.
- Ice includes Hand of Ice, Storm, Ice Armor, Calm, Ring of Ice, Freeze, Wall of Ice, Ice Floe, Freeze Magic and Ice Storm spells.
- Chaos includes Morph Combat, Morph Speed, Morph Health, Morph Damage, Morph Tower, Drain Mana, Morph Resource, Learn Spell, Wildfire and Chaos Plague spells.
- Necromancy includes Raise Skeleton, Raise Zombie, Poison Cloud, Black Portal, Raise Wight, Vampirism, Darkstorm, Call of the Dead, Ring of Ice and Raise Champion spells.
- Summoning includes Summon Quasit, Circle of Power, Phantom Steed, Blink, Summon Imp, Eye of Oros, Home Portal, Soulharvest, Banish and Daemongate spells.
- Rune include Stoneskin, Gem of Wisdom, Dig, Earthpower, Resist Magic, Doomstones, Summon Guardian, Resist Missiles, Rune Item and Stonecall spells.
- Alchemy includes Lesser Item, Transmute, Charm, Stone Golem, Minor Item, Acquire, Summon Guardian, Major Item, Bronze Golem and Create Artifact spells.
- Illusion includes Shadowform, Scare, Light/Darkness, Awe, Spectral Horde, Dragon Fear, Invisibility, Call Shadow, Mutate and Transform spells.
- Nature includes Summon Sprite, Gemberry, Entangle, Shillelagh, Summon Unicorn, Wall of Thorns, Call Lightning, Summon Treant, Change Weather and Elementalism spells.
- Healing includes Heal Self, Cure, Blessing, White Ward, Heal Group, Invigorate, Sunshine, Major Healing, Life Ward and Resurrection spells.
Heroes can find (in this case 'finding' also includes looting a corpse of an enemy hero), purchase (via an event occurring in campaign screen), create (using Alchemy sphere of magic) or get artifacts
as a quest reward (some quests require the player to simply 'purchase' the item for resources).
There are four kinds of resources in WBC2: Gold, Iron, Stone and Crystal. Races are dependent on different resources during different stages of the game.
Heroes can convert neutral and enemy buildings (mines and military/economy structures).
Heroes, in addition to race's regular builders, can construct most economy and military structures (except towers and walls).
Before a battle begins, the player can choose units (available unit choices depend on the race the player had chosen to lead and which units were selected to the roster from previous battles; the size of roster depends on hero's Charisma) he wishes to start with.
The objective of campaign is to conquer all 67 regions of Etheria. The player starts with 1 region that holds his hero's native stronghold. Most of the conquered regions reward the player with a fixed amount, as well as a certain income, of Crowns and provides various bonuses (improved mana regeneration, unlockable units and so on). Both, Crowns and acquired bonuses (with the exception of unlockable units) are exclusive to the campaign mode of the game and are abolished in skirmish mode. Another prominent feature of campaign is random events (invasions, duel challenges, uprisings and so forth), however, these are relatively rare.