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Military Operations

Most CEOs do not have armed forces at their disposal. You do! This page tells you who they are and how to manage them.

If you do not like fighting, you can let your advisors manage combat by selecting "Automatic Combat" in the Play Options. They will do their best to resolve any disagreements with your opponent without waiting for orders from you. You can also choose one of the several one-man-versus-nature scenarios.

 
Military Assets

Your military power is made of fighter robots, materials and special buildings. There are two types of military buildings - combat (N,J,Z) and weapons production (Q,W,X). This is what they do:

Last but not least, remember that economic strength is military strength. A crowd of garrisons and projectors will do any good if you do lack sufficient power and stocks of essential materials.

 
Waging War

Most game scenarios begin peacefully - your opponent will not attack you, and robots from different players commingle without kerfuffle when mining or doing other tasks at the same location. You cannot conduct military operations against an opponent while you are at peace. To declare war, simply open the Military Control Panel and click on the diplomatic status button of the targeted opponent. Confirm your decision, and get ready to swing!

Before you do that, it is a good idea to check your opponent strengths on the Military Control Panel. Once you start waging war, there is no going back to peaceful co-existence. Unless you are a brilliant tactician, attacking an opponent of comparable strength is likely to get both your economies stalled and end the game in a tie (or worse).

Military control panel, declaring war

Your opponents have different personalities, hinted on by the mix of letters they choose to build. Peaceful opponents are unlikely to attack you first, especially if you are weak. You can take your time to grow right and strike when ready. Aggressive opponents will attack first if they become stronger than you. Very aggressive opponents will not even wait for that. In Word War III, the best defense is a strong economy and a good offensive capability. A strong military is however a big drain on your economy. Only your strategic thinking can help your robots strike the right balance between economic and military power.

The goal of war is to eliminate all opponent buildings from your island. Crippling their economy into an unrecoverable stall (without having the same happen to you) is equivalent to a total victory. Either way, you need to destroy the opponent buildings and robots. You have three vectors of destruction available for accomplishing this:

You also need to take defensive measures against your opponent attacks. This is what you can do to defend yourself:

In fact, good maintenance, abundant resource stocks, and high voltages are as important for victory as having a strong military.

 
Garrison Operation

Garriso(N)s form the backbone of your military. Each (N) is home of an independent task force of up to 4 fighter robots, that you can dispatch on a variety of missions. Click on any (N) to bring up its control panel:

Garrison control panel, combat missions

Unlike other buildings, the (N) control panel has three tabs: recruitment, operations and tactical options. The operations control pane shows you how many fighters you have, and enables you to send them on a mission. There are four mission options, with the current one highlighted in red:

One of the most strategic decisions you make in combat is to select the mix of missions dispatched. In Word War III, there are no canned winning strategies. Depending on the number and location of garrisons and other letters, sometimes it may be best to go for all-out bombing runs. Sometimes it may be best to hold your forces in reserve to intercept enemy missions first. When in doubt, try a balanced mix of bomb runs/harassment/reserves and observe how well you do. Remember that the ultimate goal is to take down your enemy buildings. Therefore, make sure you have enough bombs and projectors before you initiate combat.

Garrison control panel, fighter recruitment

In fact, good maintenance, abundant resource stocks, and high voltages are as important for victory as having a strong military.They need to be powered and staffed with fighter robots to work.

 
Projector Operation

Projectors are great. They allow you to destroy opponent buildings from a safe distance away. However, they require a lot of electricity. As a rule of thumb, each projector needs a dedicated (G)enerator or 5 (S)olar panels to run. To fire a projector, you need first to turn it on. If there is enough power, the projector will take few moments to charge. This will be shown by the green LED bar on the projector control panel.

Once the projector is charged, click the AIM button to select your target. The cursor will change to a targeting frame and show you the expected probabilities of success and backlash. Once you choose your target, click on it to lock it. Finally, click the FIRE button to dispatch a fiery proton beam at the target. Once this is done, the projector power down, and will need few moments to cool off before it can be charged again. In a nutshell, the projector operation cycle is (a) charge (b) target (c) lock target (d) fire (e) cool down. You can cancel targeting mode by right-clicking anywhere.

Projector control panel, firing operations

The chance of successful projector depends on several factors - target type, target repair level, target distance, and voltage gap. Strategic buildings such as garrisons and weapons factories are heavily shielded and relatively immune to projector beams. You will have to take these down the hard way (with bomb runs).

Targets in extreme disrepair tend to be much softer and offer less chance of backlash as well. A large positive voltage gap (difference in voltage between you and your opponent) decreases the chance of backlash and increases the chance of success significantly. Target distance does not have a strong impact, although far-distant targets are a bit harder to destroy, and closer targets have a bit larger chance of backlash. There is no canned recipe on how to best use your projectors. You need to integrate the above features within the overall military and economic context to devise an effective strategy combining projectors and garrisons.

Be mindful of projector backlash. The proton beam drills an ionized hole through the atmosphere, and sometimes charged particles can rush back to melt your projector down. The risk is particularly high if you fire at hardened military targets. You can reduce the risk of backlash by keeping your projectors in good repair and maintaining high voltage, but you cannot eliminate it altogether. Keep you eye on the probabilities shown in your targeting frame to make sure its worth it.

Projectors can be used to demolish your own buildings. You might want to do this if you are in desperate need of materials, or want to re-arrange your letter mix badly enough. The percentage of materials recovered from destroyed buildings depends on the number of active rec(Y)clers in your settlement (two Y are enough to get most of your stuff back). When targeting your buildings, the cursor will show in red, and a "footshoot" warning will be displayed. Footshots are always successful and have no risk of backlash.

 
Military Surveys

You now know how to build and use military assets. However, once combat starts, there may be a dozen or more different things going on. You must be able to see a coherent picture of what is going on in the battlefield, and of its impact on your settlement. There are three tools on the Word War 3 GUI that are most suited for this purpose:

The Tactical Filter view gives you an eagle's eye view of the military assets in the world and their current activity. Military letters that are in a state of readiness are highlighted, and teams of fighter robots that are out on a mission are marked with a little token. Your tokens have a letter code (H=harass, B=bomb, I=intercept, R=return to garrison) and an arrow to their target. Opponent tokens show the size of the fighter team out there and whether it carries bombs.

Interface view filter, tactical mode

The Tactical Filter view is designed to show you the overall combat picture at a glance, so that you can decide what action to take. You can pause or slow down the game and zoom around to refine this picture. You also use the Tactical Filter to select new Intercept mission targets.

The Tactics tab of the Military Control Panel gives you a detailed inventory of your garrisons and fighters. You can see the charge of each team and their mission status. When you click on each garrison line, you will be taken to that building control pane, where you can issue mission commands to each team such as the recall of an exhausted team before it gets mangled.

Military control pane, armed forces summary

The Report panel shows a variety of stats on combat strength and performance. Some of them, such as the number of garrisons or fighters for each player are of obvious import. Keep an eye at these, because if your opponent gets a significant advance on you, they may decide to attack first. Other stats are more indirect, but no less important:

 
Combat Options

There are two types of options to control combat. Global options are set using the game Options Control Pane:

Game options setting

Local options are specific to each garriso(N), and are set on the Tactics Tab of each garrison control panel:

Garrison summary
  • Automatic intercept (by default, on): When set, your garrisoned fighters will automatically sortie to intercept nearby enemy teams, especially those carrying bombs. You can set your forward garrisons to automatically intercept incoming enemies, and manage garrisons in the back manually. Where you place your garrisons determines how well you will balance offensive and defensive goals.

  • Number of bombs per bomb run (by default, 2): The more bombs you have per run, the higher the odds you will destroy your target. Some targets take more than one bomb to take down. On the other hand, you will have less fighter escorts, and the cost of each mission is higher. Experiment to find the right setting for each target, or read the strategy hints.

It is said that knowledge is the ultimate weapon. At this point, you should have enough of it to reclaim your island!