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Hopping peons across water
Early on in Warcraft 2's life, players discovered that they could safely build their foundries up rivers on High Seas Combat, where they would be safe from enemy ships. Once in awhile, the peons would end up on the opposite shore, after the building was completed. This was incredible. You could get peons to another island, without ever building a transport. With some experimentation, it was soon realized that peons follow the same popping order that units do. You could place your foundry in a specific spot, in order to get your peon across the river. It was also discovered that you didn't even need to let your building finish. You could just cancel it as soon as it was started to cause your peon to 'hop' across the river.

Now in the modern days of playing this game, hopping has become a major part of the game. If you don't know how to hop on High Seas Combat, you will not compete with the best players. It has also evolved to a whole new level. No longer is hopping just used across narrow rivers, it is used on all sorts of maps (water and land), across large areas.

Across narrow rivers
Understanding how hopping works depends completely on your knowledge of how unit's popping order. If you are unfamiliar with that, I strongly suggest you read that page first.

Hopping a narrow river is very simple. On a map like High Seas Combat (not the BNE version), you can hop almost any river with just 1 peon. The following pictures shows the 3 steps in hopping across a river.

Peon gets read to build the yard The yard is started Success, the peon is across

Notice in the second picture that I've place x's in the order of where the peon would appear, if those spots were not blocked by the river. Because each spot is blocked in that order, the first available spot for the peon, is where the yellow 'o' is. The third picture proves it true. The peon hops across the river and ends up on a completely new island.

Hopping a narrow river - 2 peons required
Unfortunately, it can get a little more complicated, even on High Seas Combat. When you are trying to hop towards the top of the screen, it can become more difficult because of the order that peons come out of the cancelled or completed building. It becomes even harder when you try to hop a peon directly to the top right of where he is.

The 2nd peon is required to do this one Peon is hopped to the 14th position

Similar to the first example, but a little more complicated. You can see why it becomes a little tougher when hopping towards the top right. Many spots around the shipyard must be blocked for the peon to be forced out on the other side. Here, you can see I was able to accomplish this with just one extra peon. That peon blocks position number 5, and the river blocks the rest. Each consecutive position is blocked until the peon finally gets an opening at spot number 14, on the other side of the river. These pictures are taken from bottom right on High Seas Combat. Two peons are absolutely necessary to hop up, from this position.

Hopping large rivers
The building that you use to hop across a river doesn't even have to be touching the other shore. If it doesn't touch the shore, it just means it will require more peons to block spots, from where you are hopping from. The following is the well known hop from the right side on X Marks the Spot. Don't be confused by the first picture. I will explain it below.

Five peons required here Made it! Quite the hop.
If you haven't read the hopping introduction, I suggest you do now. If you have, you understand that when a building gets completely surrounded by units, or other buildings, it now acts like a bigger-sized building. The same thing applies here. The first square in the first picture, is the highlighted shipyard (size 3x3). By sticking that peon next to the shipyard, it causes no square to be available, immediately surrounding the shipyard. When this happens, you can pretend that there is an imaginary line around the shipyard 1 square wide (making it a '5x5 building'). The 3 peons found in 3rd square, block all the available spaces for the peon to pop out in that next block of available spaces. Now that everything position is occupied for 2 squares around the shipyard, you can imagine another square. This is the third square in the picture I have drawn for you. This is the square that represents how the building now acts (7x7!). The red 'x's show you the spaces where the peon will attempt to appear when you cancel the shipyard. Everything is blocked by the water until you reach the yellow 'o'. Therefore the peon will pop out there. If that position was blocked as well, do you know what would happen? Because the shipyard acts like a 7x7 building right now, the peon would not find an available space along the outside square until it appeared to the bottom right of the 4 peons.

I hope you understood all that. After playing this game for many years, can I finally recognize hops across large areas without having to test them out. In an in-game situation, imagining squares is a quick way to see if a hop will work.

Some famous examples
The red circles in all of these examples, represent where the peon will hop to once the building is cancelled.
Click to enlarge (51k) Click to enlarge (48k)
HSC top right
High Seas Combat - Top Right
HSCbne mid right
High Seas Combat BNE - Mid Right
Click to enlarge (37k) Click to enlarge (55k)
Cte bottom left
Continent to Explore - Bottom Left
Dark Peninsula top left
Dark Peninsula - Top Left

There are many others! Check out some maps for yourself. You can hop from almost every position on High Seas Combat BNE with 6 peons or less.

Which building should you use?
Remember that each building you cancel, costs you 1/4 of the resources, that it originally cost to start that building. If you don't have a shipyard already, the only option you have is to use a shipyard (mill permitting). If you have a shipyard completed anywhere else on the map, then you have a choice. Cancelling a shipyard will cost you 200 gold and 113 wood. Cancelling a foundry will set you back 175 gold, 100 wood, and 100 oil. The refinery costs you 200 gold, 88 wood, and 50 oil.

If you have the luxury of this option, then it is probably best to go with a refinery. The wood is more important because it takes that much longer to get. Use the shipyard if it is your only option, or if the 50 oil for cancelling the refinery will put you under the amount of oil you need for something important (like a fortress upgrade).

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