Is it just me, or is the BFME II demo really difficult?

I just can’t beat the AI when it’s set to anything but “easy.” It doesn’t matter if I’m playing dwarves or goblins, I get creamed in 20 minutes. Is there some great secret, or is it a serious lack of “micro” on my part?

I’ve noticed that too, even the easy AI will charge fast. Personally, I’ve found my favorite mode of playing is to put the AI on its hardest difficulty and just give it an 80% handicap. :-) It’s a lot of fun, because they swarm and expand and everything a ton, and attack a lot, but the handicap is applied to their damage/health, so your one unit is as powerful as five of them. It really does even out though, because the AI maximizes its economy really well, so they will build five units for every one of yours. :-)

One of the really cool things about BFME2 is that it doesn’t necessarily require a bunch of micro. You can certainly play it that way, and online, I imagine it’ll be required to do well in, say, tournament games. But otherwise, you can almost run it like Kohan, where you just get your units there and let them do their thing.

A handful of tips, Reeko:

  • The computer builds units very soon. It doesn’t seem to like booming. So have each of you builders start out making an economic building (mines for Dwarves, tunnels for Goblins), then have one of them build your basic barracks while the other keeps spreading out with economic buildings. When the barracks is done, get a unit out there to secure a forward position and keep sending reinforcements to him.

  • BFME2 is very much about map control. Push the other guy back and it will eventually hurt him and help you.

  • Unfortunately, there aren’t any hotkeys for barracks, so they’re easy to lose track of. So you should use control group keys your unit production buildings! I use the zero for my first barracks and then work backwards down the row of numbers.

  • Q is the panic button, for “(Q)uick, get me all my units!” It selects your entire army. I use it regularly with the formation feature (hold down both mouse buttons and drag out a formation to arrange your army) to keep my army organized.

  • Rtclick sets a rally point for a building, right? Well, shift-rtclick sets a rally point for ALL your buildings! It’s a great way to make sure reinforcements arrive where you want them.

  • The E key selects all units of a give type. Press it once to select all on screen, and twice to select all on the entire map. This is a handy way to pay for unit upgrades like banners, armor, and weapons (the Dwarves, especially benefit from unit upgrades).

  • D, F, and G set unit stance to aggressive, standard, and defensive, respectively. Check the tooltips for the differences among these. In conjunction with the E key, this is a great way to manage your army. For instance, a front line of Dwarven Guardians and Phalanxes set to G with a rear line of Axe Throwers ready to toggle to D is a great combo.

  • However, beware flanking! Facing matters greatly in BFME2, which is where cavalry has a huge advantage. Give the Dwarven Battlewagon a running start to hit a line of goblins from the side or rear.

  • Every time a builder is done, you’ll hear the confimation. Then tap the hotkeys for the builder (B) followed by the econ building (T for goblin tunnels and Dwarven mines) , drop it, and then get back to what you were doing.

  • The Dwaves and Goblin can actually have a set of dudes sitting in their tunnels, ready to pounce out when the enemy attacks your forward economic buildings. Use this! It’s especially helpful for those pokey Dwarves, who otherwise take forever crossing the map.

  • The goblins suck in that their units are weak. If you’re the Dwarves, grab a forward position and let the goblins bang their weak units against you. If you’re the goblins, use your crappy warriors and spiderlings to harry the slower Dwarves. And get Dragoth, your dragon hero, out as soon as you can reasonably afford it. Flying unit have an enormous effect on the balance of power when they arrive.

Hope that helps, Reeko.


What Tom Chick said. Mostly though it seems to be about foward building. Just build a lot of stuff on the front lines and push with towers and defensive enhancements (statue, fire). Once you get an advantage in numbers like that it’s pretty much over.

Goblins are a bit harder. Goblin units themselves tend to be fodder - spend your time and money making archery units. Use the ‘corruption’ ability whenever the outcome of a battle is in doubt. Goblin grunts tend to die like flies, so just keep them coming to support your archer units.

Facing matters? Hmm i’ll have to check that.

How nice of them not to mention facing matters in the tutorial. I like that a lot, but it would have been great for them to mention it…

I found 2 towers filled with goblin archers can pretty much hold their own in the beginning as long as there isn’t a hero attacking.

Huge thanks. My strategy couldn’t have been more wrong. I was really trying to turtle up with my dwarves. It seems like the cave trolls and mountain giants are way too powerful against walls. That, combined with the fact that spiders and goblins just climb over them at will, make dwarven walls pretty useless.

… against goblins, perhaps.

Which may very well indicate that the game requires different strategies against the innate personalities of each race (and player?). Pretty promising if you ask me.

Yep, Hiro’s right. Goblins are the only race with wall crawlers. Everyone else has to go through the walls.

Also, I have to say that I think BFME2’s hub building system for walls is the best I’ve seen in an RTS. Is there another RTS that made it this easy to build walls?


That’s allsome. I don’t play much RTS, but man if this demo hasn’t got me hooked. I was trying to figure out what I liked about it so much - and I think it boils down to the resources. Only gold, and you can get your gold wherever you want, without having to manage peons/peasants to get it.

One question, are the siege engines as powerful for the other races as the giants are for the goblins?

Not that I’ve seen either. I was a bit worried that it’d end up slowing the game down or being a pain to build, but it’s really nicely done. They’re actually fun to use.

And walls aren’t useless even against Goblins. Only the warriors and archers can climb over them, and that’s not enough typically.

Custom heroes can climb walls too, if that was a chosen ability.

If the original game is any indication (and I think it is a good indication, at least for the original races), no. The trolls/giants seem like fairly good multi-purpose units, with the achilles’ heel of dying quickly by strong archers. I think the trolls/giants are better siege units than most have.

In the original game, when playing as mordor/isengard in the campaign, I had to rely exclusively on battering rams to knock down walls, and those are slow dedicated seige units that are very easy to kill. I guess in skirmish they had access to trolls too, and they also had those ladder things which never fit particularly well into my strategies, at least.

Can someone elaborate on these custom heroes? I haven’t found any information on this feature other then it being alluded to vaguely in an ad.

It’s pretty cool, you get to build your own heroes then incorporate them into the campaign setting for your race. You get one of the races to choose from, male or female, lots of appearance/color options, then you pick X number of skills in Y levels - it’s basically like saying you get 10 points to spend on Jedi power upgrades in KOTOR right at the beginning. You also distribute points among (4 or 6, I forget off the top of my head) various attributes. And of course you get to name 'em.

— Alan

IGN has a good video about it:

The difference between trolls/giants as siege engines, and the actual siege engines of the Dwarves and Men, is that trolls/giants are also good in a hand-to-hand fight. Likewise for the Ents the elves use.

Cavalry coming in after your mountain giant? No problem. Just tap the C key to switch from ranged to close combat. Suddenly he’s a bad-ass bruisers with lots of hit points. In fact, trolls are a direct counter to cavalry. Those poor horses!

You have no such luxury when you’re using the Men of the West’s trebuchets or a Dwarven catapult. They’re slow and vulnerable. If something gets up next to them, they’re dead.

Also, the cool thing about custom heroes is that they get a new power every time they go up a level. This is different from the pre-built heroes whose powers gradually fold in over the course of their ten levels of advancement. Arwen, for example, is pretty useless early on. She can heal herself, but it’s not until 8th level that she get her river horse spell. A custom hero, on the other hand, gets one of his new powers – according to how you’ve build him on his little Diablo style spell tree – every time he levels up.


Yay, I just got my collector’s edition… which isn’t even much of a CE (the poster is more like a postcard!)… but who cares? The game looks awesome and FUN! I’m making me some heroes!


I guess I’m the BfME 2 apostate here. I really don’t get it, and I don’t know that I’ve ever disagreed with Tom about an RTS before, so it must be me.

Aside from the graphics, which must be the result of my comp’s inability to render the models in a sightly manner, I just don’t see what the fuss is all about. Obviously, you all do, which makes me nervous. So nervous that I re-installed the demo to re-play it. Granted, when playing Goblins in Skirmish, I’m really not quite sure what I’m doing, but to mirror Tom’s first post about AoE3, I have some questions:

How in hell do you make walls? What are the percent numbers above tunnels when you place them? What do the hilighted areas around tunnels signify?Why would you place your tunnels across the map when they’re also your resource buildings? Why do towers have a Fire Arrows upgrade (per tower, unfortunately), but the archers can get Fire Arrows through the “armory?” Is all I have to do to increase resource production and army size limits is spam tunnels everywhere? How are lumber camps different from tunnels where production is concerned? Why does everything seem so small, even giants? Even Heroes…I sent Shelob into a battle thinking she was a spider-rider. That didn’t work out so well. Why don’t enemy battalions stop when you engage them in melee? I swear, I’ve attacked dwarves–dwarves!–with three melee units and a unit of archers, and they still trundle on to destroy my lumber camp. I’ve never seen that in an RTS before. And how do you wrest map control from, say, dwarves, when you are placing your resource buildings in exposed positions and you have to make four units for his one?

It really seems like I clicked on the wrong demo. “Oh, this is the BfME 1 demo!!!” But after a number of plays–and a tutorial level I couldn’t finish (having archers burn down the goblin camp)–I am distinctly unimpressed and really wondering what’s new here. We’ve all played AoK/DoW/WB2, right?

However, if anyone can help me with the above questions, I’d really appreciate it, because I do want to give the game a fair shake, and you all are obviously seeing something I’m not.


Problem with the new building format, is that it’s really hard to expand once your in the mid or late game. The highlighted area is the area that the tunnel is getting resources from. The little number above the tunnel shows the % of resources it’s gathering, you want it to be in the upper 90s for the best effect.

No idea about why you need to spam tunnels, didn’t like that as well. Goblins don’t build walls I think, only dwarves in the demo. Lumber camps will give you a discount on building cost depending on the number you have.

How did you get to the forest to burn it down if you didn’t already build the walls…

Hm, didn’t seem that tricky to me, select rangers, arrow volley in to the forest.