Priests are the greatest challenge, when played by the CPU


Heaven’s Reference Pages

Game Playing Tips By Sandyman, Ensemble Studios

Priests are the greatest challenge, when played by the CPU

I used to be terrified of priests when I started working here at Ensemble, but now they’re no big deal. I don’t usually even bother to build them myself, and when I do it’s often just for healing my own units. Priests cost a LOT of gold, and you don’t get them until late in the game, and they need a ton of upgrades to be really effective. Buying all the upgrades (except Jihad!) costs around 900 gold, about as much as a super-unit upgrade. Then the priests themselves cost 125(!) gold each AND after they successfully “attack” are rendered useless for an extended period. They’re slow, weak in combat, the list goes on…
Too often I’ve seen my priests mowed down two-three at a time by enemy catapults. Sure I captured one of their cats in the process (which was promptly destroyed), but I could have used the money elsewhere.
Think of it like this — wood and food are rarely a problem, right? So the most important resource for building units is gold. A priest costs as much gold as: 2 centurions, cataphracts, or horse archers; 1.5 elephants, catapults, or juggernaughts; or 8 legions or longbowmen. If you add the upgrades in, by the time you finish building your first priest + all upgrades you could have built 13(!) elephants in the same time. Elephants are notoriously vulnerable to priests, but I’ll put 13 of them vs. one priest any day of the week!
The big priest advantage is psychological — they’re terrifying. One of the main ways they’re used at Ensemble is to start woloing and distract your enemy. The usual reaction is to send a swarm of horse archers or chariots against the chanting bastards and while your foe is busy killing off your 1-2 priests plus their axemen escorts you can send your heavy cavalry unseen around the back and get into their town! I KNOW this works, because it happens to me all the time *sob* But the point is that the priest doesn’t do that much damage — I just get obsessed with him at the expense of the real danger.