By Espark on Mon 31 Jan, 2022.
Jan 30th, 2022
“The only literate tribe deserves the best in information and entertainment.”
After being in development since 2019, a new tech called Diplomacy was released as part of a public beta test on January 27th. The new tech comes after shields, which was renamed to strategy. Strategy now allows peace treaties between players. Diplomacy permits embassies which can be built in another player's capital and two new units - cloaks and daggers. Several balance changes were also included in the beta update including forges giving income, not population, and windmills giving twice the population. See below for infographics explaining the beta update.
Fan reactions were mostly positive. After waiting so long, most players were glad to finally see the new tech come to beta.
Here are some fan reactions:
“I love how the update makes the mid and late game so much more interesting. Instead of just spamming units, hoping your army is the biggest, you try to make treaties, sneak cloaks into your opponents' territory, and watch out for cloaks in your own territory.” - Scorpion56o
“Cloaks are so much fun. I love them” - Yakmilk
“I am looooving the new update. It’s great (although a little buggy)”- Bob The Builder
As of publication, over 60 bugs were reported, including major issues with getting multiplayer to work. From past beta updates, most players expect the game changes to be in beta for 2-4 weeks before being fully released to the app. The community manager confirmed the beta would last about a month.
On January 11th, PolyMain appointed tribe leader roles to 27 members, including three from Ai-Mo. Espark, Nox, and Tintin are current Ai-Mo tribe leaders. They are also priors in the Ai-Moya tribe server. To kick off this resurgence of tribe pride, leaders hosted a map making contest. Two maps were submitted.
Plans for another contest and possible more fun events are in the works for February and the Ai-Mo tribe moon.
From what I have seen so far after spending several games dedicated to figuring Cloak and Daggers out, I have come to some early conclusions and methods of using them. Since @Almytox has mentioned a number of countermeasures and Cloaks are simply controllable Scouts until they attack, I will be more on the usage of Daggers. Currently, I have put together three ways to use them with acceptable effectiveness so far, all work better in greater numbers appearing at once, which is also harder to achieve since massing them on enemy territory takes both time and empathy to have high success rate yet only function most impactful with the right timing of application so game sense is also highly vital:
Best used if you have any terrain or intel advantage (defense bonus, vision on their production,...) to exploit on enemy territory, go for the cities directly behind the enemy frontline (usually through any temporary defense gaps quickly) as a distraction to have them waste attack orders from their frontline on dealing with the pincer attacks for that turn or risk having their backline shanked without dishing out the regular retaliation. This will disrupt their momentum and halt an advance of a slightly superior army or break the equilibrium for you to go on the offense with sufficient military power from your side. Works well for its purpose of pure interruption if the enemy uses Archers or Catapults - ranged units that'd have to choose between contributing to the frontline or dealing with the immediate threat in close proximity. Note that your purpose is to force the enemy to make a tough decision so if they have just trained units from distant cities that can back-up your target, be patient and wait for them to either come closer to the frontline or out of their effective range.
With sufficient economy, go for coastal cities (usually with Cloaks in Boats), preferably ones with many available Water and Ocean tiles to spawn as many Boats as possible and convert them into Battleships for a surprise naval ambush that isn't taxing on your population limit. Works extremely well as a pressure tool to provide a sudden strike force of significant power and mobility right at their naval doorstep to potentially open up a new front when amassed. Specific usage varies from situations depending on how far away these rebels are from your main unit, the relative distance to enemy counterforce, how far into the enemy territory can they reach, and many other factors. A fleet of enemy Battleships running ham amongst their border has many potent usage such as flanking, shock-troop assault, diverting enemy forces, softening their reinforcements, being reinforcements themselves, denying naval production, threatening key city captures,... but you have to decide for yourself what their roles will be (before you send in the Cloaks as well as when adapting to the circumstances). Do note that these Battleships only have 10 HP so they aren't exactly glass cannon with that 3 Defense but neither is it a good idea for them to tank either, and beware especially of Mind Benders for this application.
As Cloaks are completely invisible until detected or successful (with small signs and indications for special incidents), there exists an option of targeting distant and defenseless cities that can neither produce more units (preferably fully exploited to prevent a Super push) nor receive any immediate assistance (from nearby readily available forces). Playing the player and not the game, decadent opponents will not be utilizing every single one of their cities to its maximum capacity which nullifies the penalty of Daggers' 1-turn wait since "safe" cities are usually fully exploited and unwalled for economy so 4 Daggers are sufficient to defeat a Defender with or without bonus, whereas optimization solely for the frontline will leave their susceptible cities even more exposed without the ability to produce any units for stalling and thus, can be taken over fairly quickly without timely resistance, especially since a Knight cannot kill a Dagger with defense bonus. Placing a guardian (Swordsman are best) at every city or even forming a unit ring to defend them heavily affects efficiency and combat performance of the frontline unless they are too ahead for even 3-6 Daggers per city and a disturbed supply line to significantly matter. Additionally, trying to detect an enemy that can strike from 3 tiles away for each of your faraway city every turn as they can attack at moments least expected is such a cumbersome hassle that few are patient enough to go through while leaving every single city open for a Super push limits their military might unless once again, they have already snowballed to the point of seeing such slights and drawbacks as mere annoyances. Worst case scenario, the mass rebellion you incited fails but its impact is definitely noticeable on their general performance for at least that turn.
Overall, Cloak and Daggers have a lot more nuances and caveats to be even remotely useful compared to other more straightforward units like Knights and Catapults. They lean more toward espionage, disruption, and punishing predictable behaviors than anything so while not very effective combatants, their value lies in the ability to surprise your enemies outside predetermined warzones and elevate the battlefield to more than just numbers and efficiency. The element of surprise can be quite conditional on a lot of factors so its performance is dependent not only on the unit's stats and skills but also the users and their recipients, which makes identifying the right opportunity for their usage even more integral to actualizing the units' potential. A dynamic equilibrium will eventually be reached between players being overconfident with their back open and overly cautious while turtling were Cloak and Daggers to ever prove themselves detrimental enough once pulled off successfully for players to adapt more drastically to whether or not they may be present. Once again, this is simply my opinion after combing through the unit in this still early phase of beta and therefore, both the game and my thoughts are subjected to change so feel free to voice your concerns and discuss, this channel is here for just that after all.
Thanks to all our contributors, Tmas, THomez, and Espark and readers. A big thanks to Artemis for setting up the website for the newspaper.
If you want to submit a piece to the newspaper—art, news article, opinion piece, puzzle, etc.—let us know in #article-suggestions. Keep up, Ai-Mo!