How to Play - Intermediate
Sins of a Dark Age is a deep game and there are many ways that skilled players can gain an advantage. More advanced strategies for core elements of the game are described in detail below.
Not all heroes are created equal—many excel at different tasks. Attempting to play your hero in a way that does not complement their core competency can put you at a disadvantage. In particular, heroes are divided among the following broad gameplay roles:
To win, teams often try to ensure that each of the above roles is filled by at least one player. A well-balanced team will be able to face a broader variety of challenges. When selecting your hero, consider what role your team might be lacking. Note that many heroes fulfill multiple roles.
As with heroes, not all abilities are created equally. There are three main categories of abilities in Sins of a Dark Age.
Basic Abilities - All heroes have three basic abilities, which can be improved to a maximum of four ranks. These abilities are used routinely over the course of each match, to slay enemy units or to improve a hero’s own effectiveness in battle.
Innate Abilities – Innate abilities are abilities inherent to each hero that provide a passive gameplay bonus or function. They cannot be leveled up directly, though many improve as players gain experience over the course of each match.
Ultimate Abilities – Ultimate abilities are in a way a hero’s signature move. They are used less frequently than Basic Abilities, and are often reserved to secure a kill on an enemy hero. Unlike basic abilities, they are capped at three ranks.
Further complicating matters, basic, innate, and ultimate abilities can manifest in a variety of ways.
The Active aspects of an ability must be triggered by the player, selecting the ability then left-clicking a target (if applicable). Some abilities may be triggered multiple times before they count as fully being cast, and the secondary casts may have alternate effects.
The Passive aspects of an ability are not triggered by the player. Instead they either function at all times providing a unique bonus, or trigger automatically when specific criteria are met. Note that many abilities will have both an Active and Passive aspects.
There are a variety of control schemes that govern abilities, and determine not only how the ability is triggered but also whether it successfully hits.
Unit targeted abilities trigger upon selecting the ability, then left-clicking the target unit, an ally, an enemy, or the hero itself. As long as the target is clicked, the ability triggers successfully.
Self targeted abilities automatically apply an effect to the Hero casting the ability, usually strengthening them in some way. Increasing Armor, for example, or maybe Attack Speed
Skill shot abilities must be selected and then aimed by moving the mouse; they fire when the player left-clicks. Skill shots can travel in a straight line or even a curve depending on the template. Unlike unit targeted abilities, skill shot abilities depend on the player's aim and often miss.
Area of Effect abilities trigger in a specific template, usually a circle or a cone. After selecting the ability players can move this area with the mouse, then left click to cast. Alternatively, some area of effect abilities trigger automatically in a radius around the player.
Toggle abilities provide a constant effect that can be turned on or off with each activation of the ability.
Matches can be won or lost based on the distribution of heroes across the three lanes. Players looking for an advantage should keep the following details in mind.
· Each minion, monster, or enemy hero killed is worth a set amount of experience points. These experience points are divided equally among all heroes within range. As a result, the more heroes there are in a lane, the slower said heroes level up.
· Over the course of a match this can make a big difference. It might seem like outnumbering the enemy five-to-one in a lane is a good idea, but when that one enemy is five levels higher than the heroes trying to kill him…it won’t be pretty, let’s just leave it at that.
· This is part of what makes Junglers a viable strategy. By earning their own experience points in the jungle, they ensure that at least one of their teammates gains levels at an accelerated rate, increasing the likelihood that he will be able to earn a kill on an enemy hero. The trade-off is that this teammate can be overwhelmed if outnumbered, and is more vulnerable to ganks.
· Another subtle element of laning is last-hitting. While all minions and monsters award experience points upon death, players will only earn gold if they “last-hit” the enemy, or kill the enemy themselves with an ability or basic attack.
· The player who earns the last-hit is awarded a set bounty of gold. Allied heroes in the vicinity earn a fraction of the amount. The more allied heroes, the smaller the reward.
· While it may be tempting for Support players to try to earn gold through last-hits, Carries are called Carries for a reason. Given enough gold, they will become killing machines, strong enough to carry their teams to victory. Support players should only try to last-hit if there is no Carry in the vicinity, or if the Carry is unable to do so themselves.
· Along the same lines, placing two damage dealers (Carries, Assassins, Bruisers) in the same lane risks slowing down the item progression of both players. Be aware of this phenomenon and if you aren’t a Carry, consider ceding last hits to the other player, buying gold per second items or jungling for your gold instead.
Items provide powerful stat bonuses and in many cases what amounts to an extra ability with Active or Passive effects. But which item should you buy and when? Here are a few tips.
· Conscript items are meant to provide an early-game boost to a hero’s fighting power, improving a broad variety of stats. In the later stages of a game they are less useful, and you should consider selling your Conscript item back to the shop. This will provide a small boost in gold, and open up a slot for a more powerful item.
· If it looks like you won’t be earning many last-hits due to your role or the specifics of your lane, consider buying a gold/second item. These items increase the amount of gold you passively earn each second, and over time can prove a wise investment. The earlier you can buy one, the better.
· Look at your hero’s abilities, and the type of damage they deal/the stats they increase. More often than not, you should buy items that support the stats that your abilities draw from. Mages usually focus on Special Power, and Carries Attack Power, while Tanks can improve their effectiveness buying Armor, Health, or Magic Resistance.
· Look at the enemy team’s abilities. What kind of damage do they deal? If you are getting outclassed in the early game, it may be worth forgoing an early offensive item to buy a defensive item instead. With any luck this will increase your survivability, and you will be able to make it to the team-fight stage of the game without dying too frequently or feeding the enemy team.