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Rome: Total War Discussion
Moderated by Terikel Grayhair, General Sajaru, Awesome Eagle

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Total War Heaven » Forums » Rome: Total War Discussion » Recent polls!?
Topic Subject:Recent polls!?
posted 17 August 2012 15:33 EDT (US)         
Hi, new here.
Anyway, would any one like to explain why they think diplomats have a higher utility than spies!?
I've played RTW, on and off, for nearly three years now and almost never recruit new diplomats. Anything important they do besides diplomating (yes, that's not a word) costs money (i.e. bribery). Spies gather intelligence (make you smarter) and spread plague; Come on guys, plague! Besides spreading the fourth horseman across your enemy's land they make blitzing fun and easy. Just fill a town with spies and boom, battering rams are obsolete. I hire assassins more than I hire diplomats (mainly because they die faster) because I never need any more men than it takes to extort the nations with alliances and maps.
So, please, somebody tell me what I'm missing.
General Sajaru
Tribunus Laticlavius
posted 20 August 2012 01:09 EDT (US)     1 / 4       
Welcome to the forums, SOB .

Personally, I don't find much use for diplomats (other than to use other factions' diplomats as practice for my assassins). However, I know some players like to use them to bribe bandits and other factions' armies. Obviously, that takes money, but some consider it cheaper than fighting those armies. Also, particularly in the early game, you can use diplomats to secure alliances that keep your faction alive until you're strong enough to take them out. Diplomats can have their uses, but I would tend to agree with you that spies and assassins are more useful.

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Terikel Grayhair
(id: Terikel706)
posted 20 August 2012 02:03 EDT (US)     2 / 4       
^^ What he said.

Slovenly spies and Slayers of the Knife and Club are definitely more widely used, but the Speaker of Words does have a certain quality about him that none other has- he can speak.

He can use his golden tongue (and bags of your silver) to get foreign princes to join your house- and bring their armies with them. He can talk a dying faction into becoming your slave vassal, as well as asking some annoying faction to become an ally instead of making those pesky raids. Any party that ceases to make war upon you, he can acquire the trading rights and other treaties that will repay some of the money he has used.

I make sure I always have a Speaker of Words on the frontlines somewhere. When all else fails, the Man with the Golden Tongue can range far and wide as a limited-vision spy or mobile watchtower...

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posted 20 August 2012 02:41 EDT (US)     3 / 4       
The main use I find for diplomats is bribing rebel armies. It's cheaper and more time efficient than keeping armies roaming around on nearly meaningless extermination missions in your home territories away from the real battle. After the early game and there's money to spare, they can be useful bribing the AI's big stacks of armies wandering around without a general, but rarely will a general come over to your cause without spending far more than he is worth.

They're also good for trade rights, but alliances are worth only as much as you sell them for. It seems to me that allies have the habit of stabbing you in the back as soon as possible. I have better luck maintaining a peaceful boarder with neutral nations.

That said, I think that the poll still reflects some of the failings of the other types; Spies have to be used in mass to open up enough gates, otherwise you're better off building seige engines. Their only weapon, spreading the plague, depends entirely on the whim of the computer (you can't predict where you'll get a plague, or how long it will last, or even that your spy won't die of it before he gets anywhere).

Assassins, meanwhile, are great at picking off people in your home area, but you generally don't have many serious threats in your home area. They have to be partnered with a spy/army to have any offensive kick to them in enemy territory, as their limited line of sight and inability to conduct their own espionage to identify buildings within cities severly hampers their effectiveness.

So, it's not that diplomats are all that great, but if I could only pick one to play a campaign with, the diplomat can do more things alone.
posted 20 August 2012 04:24 EDT (US)     4 / 4       
I find them quite useful, I've never been much into assassins as they die easily and I prefer to kill my enemies honourably and with many swords rather than sneakily with one. Unless I'm doing a defensive campaign, they're extremely useful then.

But what of diplomats? Well I use them for trade rights and map information of course, but I also like forming alliances with people if I have enough money. They're not really worth the paper that they're written on, yet I enjoy the novelty of taking part in a battle as a third party in someone elses war. It also serves a political purpose of mine to have a mutual enemy constantly tied up fighting someone else with a little bit of aid from me. If I didn't do this that faction would fall, and not only would my enemy be stronger for it but they would be a lot closer to me. So I play this game to keep them in stalemate. I even capture strategic cities and gift them to my allies.

One thing I do use diplomats for an awful lot is bribing family members (identified by my spies as being worthy men) to be on my side. If a rebel army appears that I can't get to quickly, or it's a bit powerful and I don't want to get to it, I'll just bribe them to disappear. So I always have a diplomat wandering about in conjunction with spies beyond my borders, within a few turns walking distance of anything I might be interested in bribing.
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