In Stronghold 2, it is very hard to use siege engines against ground units either because of their firerate or bad area coverage. However, they can be made behave so much differently, if you use some tricks. This article covers two particular siege engines.
Catapults have a great firerate, but if they find mass missile units well in range and no protecting cats are nearby, they are done for. Many players just select all their catapults in one group then have them fire at a large circle. That's good enough, but if the enemy manages to set up a huge concave, catapults take more shots much quicker and their numbers will quickly diminish. You can use two tricks:
- Control groups: divide your catapults into many small groups (6-8 in a group will do) and have them fire on separate parts of the enemy army. Catapults in groups have a wider spread and they can cover long arcs this way. It is useful with single catapults too.
- "Machinegun" attack: this method is useful for attacking. Have all your catapults move in one big (control) group and repeatedly click on the target units. The catapults will only stop if they can reach them, so eventually all your engines will continually stop and fire.
Fire ballistae are rendered as useless by many players. In v1.4 they lost their autofire ability and therefore they need to be managed to fire at units. Some people try to use them, as they can be used to snipe exposed catapults and mounted units from long range, but they all end up firing 4 arrows simultaneously on the same target, thus wasting a huge part of their firepower.
Multiple fire ballistae can rapid-fire however with a trick. Assign a single ballista for each control group. Try to quickly move single ballistae by pressing their number then move them to their desired location. You can stack up all ballistae on the same place if you want. Then, quickly make each ballista to fire on different men. It takes some time to master, but it can turn out to be very deadly on enemies. Practice this method on a line of enemy soldiers (i.e. archers or spearmen) and see the results :)