|Increases town's enemy detection range to 3 tiles and has many ramifications on siege combat at this town: It protects friendly units, and obstructs enemy Walking units.|
- This article is about the Town Building called "City Walls". For a Nature spell that artificially creates this wall, see Wall of Stone.
City Walls are a type of Town Building. The City Walls may be built by any race, in any town. A town must already contain a Builders' Hall in order to construct City Walls. The City Walls' base construction cost is 150.
City Walls have no effect on a turn-by-turn basis like most other Town Buildings do, but it has a profound effect on any combat taking place at this town. The area around the town's buildings as represented on the battlefield is enclosed by a stone wall, which is impassable to all Walking units. The only entryway is through a small gate, which can be blocked physically by the defending units. Furthermore, units within the walls receive a bonus to their defense, and are thus harder to kill from the outside. In fact, several units have a special ability whose only purpose is to allow them to breach the wall, opening more entryways and reducing cover for the defenders.
City Walls unlock no new units or new town buildings for construction. This is a developmental "dead-end".
Aside from building City Walls in the normal way, it's also possible to create City Walls using the Nature spell called Wall of Stone. Both methods have the same end result: erecting permanent walls around the city.
City Walls require an Upkeep Cost of 2 per turn for their maintenance. City Walls are the only building whose sell-back value is only 1/6 of its construction cost instead of 1/3 (amounting to 25 instead of 50). Supposedly this was done intentionally by the developers in order to prevent exploitation of the Wall of Stone spell, whose Casting Cost is 50.
The concept of City Walls is almost as old as civilization itself. A population center surrounds itself with a physical barrier made mostly or entirely of stones piled on top of each other. The wall is high enough that it would be impractical for an attacker to climb it, while thick enough that it would be impossible or at least very difficult to breach. Over the millennia, this simple concept continued to evolve, with additional defenses built directly into the wall. However the original ideal stayed the same: physically keeping the enemy on the outer side of the wall, and providing defense for those inside.
In the game, City Walls are seen at their medieval developmental phase: thick, tall, with battlements for defenders to hide behind and massive towers from which to spot and shoot the enemy. A single wooden gate protects the entrance to the town itself.
Construction and Costs Edit
City Walls are unique in that they are the only Town Building that can be built in two completely different ways: as a normal construction project (built by the town's citizens using Production and/or Gold), and created completely by magic with the Wall of Stone spell. The result with both methods is entirely identical - only the methods themselves are different.
Normal Construction Edit
All Races may build City Walls, as this is the most basic and straightforward manner in which to defend a town.
In order to initiate such a large masonry project however, the town requires a Builders' Hall to already be present. If the Builders' Hall is missing, City Walls cannot be built. In fact, if the Builders' Hall is lost or sold off while City Walls are still in construction, the project will be canceled prematurely and cannot be restarted until these required buildings are rebuilt.
Construction of City Walls costs 150. This is rather cheap, but is not required in each and every town - only towns that are under threat of being attacked in the near future. This refers especially to border towns and any town close to an Encounter zone or Neutral town. Towns in safe locations, such as deep within your empire, probably do not require this structure at all.
Magical Construction Edit
- Main article: Wall of Stone
The Nature Realm possesses an interesting spell called Wall of Stone, which performs the entire construction process instantaneously and with no requirements. It costs only 50 to cast this spell.
Wall of Stone may be cast at any friendly town that does not already have City Walls. Upon casting, the spell immediately creates City Walls in the targeted town. If the wizard had enough Mana and remaining Spell Skill for this turn, the spell is immediately completed and there is no waiting period - not even a single turn.
The resulting City Walls are identical in every way to the ones built by the town's citizens in the normal way. They have an Upkeep Cost of 2 per turn, just like normal City Walls, and behave exactly the same in combat. The spell itself has no additional costs beyond the 50 paid for casting it. The new walls are not magical in nature, and cannot be dispelled. Again, they are identical to the normal City Walls in every way.
Note that the use of Wall of Stone does not require the town to have a Builders' Hall. In fact, it is even possible to cast this spell at a Settlement to protect it - and Settlements don't even have the option of building anything, let alone walls, on their own!
As a result, this method of constructing City Walls is often preferable, assuming the wizard has access to the spell and enough Mana to spend on it. The primary advantage is the instantaneous nature of this construction - allowing a player to immediately protect a town with walls in case an enemy suddenly appears on the horizon. In less-pressing circumstances, it might be better to conserve Mana and build the walls in the normal way - it's really based on the situation.
Unlike many other Town Buildings, the City Walls have almost no effect at all on the overland map, whether in a turn-by-turn basis or otherwise, with the minor exception of increasing the range at which approaching enemies will be shown on the map to 3 tiles. Their primary effect - and it's a very major one - is on combat taking place at a besieged town.
When combat starts in a town (any town), the battlefield includes a representation of the town itself, taking up a square area 4 tiles wide on the defender's side of the battlefield. This is called the "Town-Proper" area, and is not just there for looks: if the enemy moves into any of these tiles, it may cause severe damage to the town's population and its buildings. The defending army also appear within this section of the battlefield.
When City Walls are present at the besieged town, the rules of combat are altered: it is now more difficult for enemies to enter the town-proper area, and the defending units get strong defensive bonuses (as long as they stay inside the walls). These effects make it much harder for enemy attackers to win the battle, unless they came prepared to breach or move past the wall in one way or another.
Wall Segments Edit
Before explaining how City Walls work, it is important to note that, in game terms, the wall is actually made up of 12 different "segments" or "sections". They are shown in the image to the right.
These 12 segments are make up three different groups: 4 Towers, 7 Walls and a single Gate. The same layout is used in every battle - the segments will always be in the same place as shown in this schematic. Each group behaves differently in terms of blocking enemy units - as explained below.
An attacker can sometimes have the means to destroy wall segments, allowing easier entry to the town and reducing bonuses to the defensive army. Destruction of wall segments is done piece-by-piece, but most commonly it is not necessary to destroy the entire wall - a few segments will usually do.
The Physical Barrier Edit
City Walls form a physical barrier between the town-proper area and the rest of the battlefield. Each segment (see above) behaves in a different way in stopping enemy units from entering the town.
Wall Sections Edit
- The tall walls (marked blue in the schematic above) simply prevent Walking units (friendly or enemy) from moving through them. In other words, a Walking unit outside the walls cannot move into the town-proper area across a standing wall section. Flying, Teleporting and Non-Corporeal units are not blocked, and may pass over wall sections freely. However, if they attack from outside the wall, they are still hindered by the defense bonus.
- Note that illusionary creatures are not allowed to pass the wall. However, since Phantom Warriors and Phantom Beast are both Non-Corporeal they can pass through the wall after all.
Tower Sections Edit
- The square towers at the corners of the wall (marked red in the schematic above) block entry entirely. No unit, regardless of its movement or abilities, may move into the tile containing a tower.
Gate Section Edit
- Finally, there is one opening in the wall - the town's gate. It is always located in the second tile from the left at the front side of the wall (marked green in the schematic above). Walking units may pass through this gate freely - but only in a straight line from the tile right outside the gate to the tile immediately inside the gate (and vice-versa). Diagonal movement through the gate is not allowed. Again, Flying, Teleporting and Non-Corporeal units do not obey this rule, and may pass freely.
- If the tile immediately inside the gate contains any unit, movement through the gate is impossible for Walking units. This encourages the defenders to keep a unit in the tile behind this gate at all times, to prevent enemies from moving through. The same applies in reverse: if the tile outside the gate is blocked, Walking units may not move out through the gate.
Defense Bonus Edit
Whenever a unit outside the wall makes an attack against a unit inside the wall (and adjacent to it), the defender gets a certain bonus thanks to the cover this wall provides. This applies to both Melee Attacks and Ranged Attacks, but not to direct-damage spells.
Units that are standing in the middle of the city square still get a +1 Defense bonus, which is only applicable to ranged attacks. (Note: In the Insecticide patch this has been increased to +3.)
These bonuses apply to all types of units, regardless of whether they are Walking, Flying, Non-Corporeal, or Illusion. In particular these bonuses also apply when the attacker has armor piercing or an illusionary attack. Neither of these attacks pierces the city wall bonus.
This encourages the defender to keep the enemy outside the wall, and keep his own units inside.
Destroying Wall Sections Edit
The wall is made up of 12 sections. These include the 4 towers at the corners of the wall, the gate section, and 7 additional wall sections. Each of these can be destroyed separately, causing a breach.
Units with Wall Crusher can attack the wall itself (including towers). A Melee Attack against a wall section has a better chance of destroying it: 50%. If a Ranged Attack is used, it only has a 25% chance of destroying the targeted section. In order to destroy walls, Wall Crusher can actually target any standing wall section as though it was an enemy unit. The wall, of course, does not Counter Attack.
Attacking a Wall that has a Unit behind it Edit
- If an enemy unit is standing behind the targeted wall section, the attacking unit will target both the wall and the unit hiding behind it. In other words, the attacker makes an attack against this defending unit, and has a 50% chance of destroying the wall section during this attack.
- Note however that in case of a Melee Attack against a wall section with an enemy unit behind it, that enemy unit will Counter Attack as normal. Therefore, it is often safer to either use Ranged Attacks, or to target a wall section that does not have any unit hiding behind it (towers are always the safest bet for this).
- Wizards with access to the Chaos Magic spell "Disrupt" can use this spell to target any standing wall section, having a 100% chance of destroying that section. This is easily the most sure-fire way to breach City Walls, but the spell may cost a significant amount of Mana to cast (at least 15 in most situations).
Destroyed Wall Sections Edit
When a section of wall is destroyed (see above), it ceases to function as a physical barrier. Any unit can now freely move through the newly-formed hole. Destroyed towers are also passable to all units.
Note that destroying wall sections - even all of them - does not damage nor destroy the City Walls building. In fact once the battle is over the wall is completely repaired, and will be as good as new at the start of the next battle - even if the next battle occurs during the same overland turn!
Unlocked Town Buildings Edit
This is one of the contributing factors to City Walls being built only in specific towns for specific reasons (as explained below), and why experienced players will actually dismantle some City Walls as the game progresses.
City Walls retain the dubious honor of being the only Town Building that does not benefit each and every town in which it can be constructed. In other words, there is no real need to build and maintain City Walls in each town. Some towns have little or no use for City Walls - it depends greatly on the strategic situation of your empire.
That being said, any town that is likely to come under attack by an enemy force will benefit from City Walls. The defensive properties of the wall will protect both the town itself and the garrison units stationed there. In fact, some armies (especially in the early game) can be stopped cold if they encounter a walled town, and have to wait for reinforcements, move on to another target, or risk a costly assault.
Most commonly, towns along a border with an enemy empire have City Walls as their highest construction priority. The same goes for towns along a coastline, when war with a Lizardmen or Draconian empire is expected (or with any wizard who likes to summon or create other Flying units. Towns dangerously close to Encounter zones or Neutral towns may also wish to have walls erected, as such locations tend to release Rampaging Monsters and Raiders on a rather frequent basis.
On the other hand, a town deep inside your empire, with no immediate threat to its existence, has no need for such walls. City Walls provide no benefit other than protection during combat, and cost 2 per turn to maintain. Thus, towns that have no need for such walls should refrain from wasting resources on constructing them. If the strategic situation removes the threat to a town, it may be a good idea to actually sell the City Walls to get some Gold back and to stop paying its Upkeep Costs.
Wizards with access to the Wall of Stone spell have this even easier. They can erect City Walls at a moment's notice when an enemy army approaches. The wall can then be sold back afterwards if the threat was only temporary. The spell can be re-cast later if necessary, again at a moment's notice.
Overall, refrain from building too many City Walls, and try to keep track of which towns need to sell their walls at any given time. On the other hand, make sure to construct this building as early as possible for any town on the frontier or in a dangerous environment.