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AoW1 Scenario & Campaign Design
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Topic Subject: Historical Theme - World of Paradise by Skout77
posted 03-07-09 12:54 PM EDT (US)   
This is the Thread to Vote for World of Paradise, a map submitted under the Historical Theme for the Winter 2008 Mapmaking Competition. Read the discussion below by our judges and then post your score for the map and leave comments in the thread below. Score once for each map, 1-10 points. Voting Closes at the end of March.

Part of the judges discussion is below... the full text will be made available before the judging ends.


Enginerd: Well... shall we get started? Official like...
Disenchanted: yes I thought I could actually finish but it's really huge...and the AI keeps throwing surprises at me
Disenchanted: did anyone actually win the scenario?
Pawel: me not
Enginerd: I didn't finish it...
Enginerd: World of Paradise by Skout.... A map entered in the historical theme of the competition.... this one based on what I would call a really interesting history.
Disenchanted: I enjoyed the story
Enginerd: Let's start with the history, I too enjoyed it. More thoughts?
Pawel: the description is very long, I haven't read it all, can you give me a short summary?
Enginerd: Yeah... it's about AoW
Disenchanted: the keepers invaded toadstool vale and killed a lot of orcs or something like that, and there's a prophecy that the murdered people will return in 1000 years and their revenge will be terrible. I think that accounts for the Undead...not sure what the rest of the races are doing here
Pawel: thanks
Enginerd: I read it a few weeks ago and found it fascinating
Pawel: sorry for that, but reading long and complicated English texts is somewhat tiring for me
Disenchanted: correction - it's not the keepers it happened before the destruction of the elven court. So it's just Inioch's army
Pawel: nice that it corresponds with the AoW story
Enginerd: What else did you guys like about the historical setting.
Pawel: I like the form of the description - fragments of various texts
Disenchanted: it provides almost a continuous timeline of events, which explains the presence of the good races, the humans, drow and undead
Pawel: and shows the history from different points of view
Disenchanted: I'm not sure how the orcs and goblins got so strong though, if the story is that the elves killed them all
Enginerd: Maybe the elves only thought they killed them all....
Disenchanted: I think what Pawel is refering to is the individualized part at the end
Pawel: yes
Disenchanted: each race has its own message that tells you what's going on from your races' perspective and what your goals are
Pawel: can someone explain to me why it's titled "World of Paradise"?
Disenchanted: no idea
Enginerd: I can't
Enginerd: Well, any other thoughts on the rich historical aspects or shall we dive into the map itself?
Disenchanted: the story was great, the one problem for me is that it's so thorough that everything it leaves out seems like a big mystery. Like what have the orcs and goblins been up to all this time… same goes for the highmen...and it's not really clear where the azracs and lizards fit into this... (maybe the vague references to "traders" are meant to cover all the neutral races...)
Enginerd: As you said, some mysteries out there
Disenchanted: so I guess the moral is something like, if you're going to make a very ambitious and comprehensive story, it's tough to make all the pieces fit, I guess we should move on though
Disenchanted: very slowly
Enginerd: Cool, so, how does the map play?
Pawel: it's the type of map that I like, truly epic
Pawel: and it was very hard for me, the AI players are really strong
Enginerd: Yes, epic, there are 7 playable races, some good, evil and neutrals in the mix and the common goal is to capture the undead city.
Disenchanted: I was a bit unclear on why that was the goal...what was the significance of that city? It's not mentioned in the story
Enginerd: Not sure, I was trying to figure that out and if this was meant to be a co-op vs the AI or FFA/teams.
Pawel: "Allied Victory: ON. There are also no rules on picking alliances. They are to be made as the game progresses."
Pawel: (from the download description)
Disenchanted: oh never mind
Disenchanted: I think we should all have re-read the story...the city is mentioned in there somewhere
Enginerd: Too long to find it though.
Disenchanted: ”records of large masses of orcs being locked deep down below the surface of the earth. Elven runes present on the scrolls warn that there is evil to be found in these caverns. The documents also tell the story of an ancient orcish citadel by the name of Galava being founded by the outcast orcs. It is said that this city is the core of their existance and that if it was to be destroyed, the undead corruption would end”
Enginerd: So it is in the description.
Enginerd: So capture the city Galava, anyway you can either allied, ffa, co-op, sp
Pawel: yes, it's a type of map that is good for both SP and MP
Disenchanted: yes, except that it's not balanced
Pawel: you're right
Pawel: but I enjoy unbalanced maps in pbem too, the weaker players can team up against the stronger ones
Enginerd: Say more about the balance issues
Pawel: the fact that every playable race has different starting conditions is good for SP replay value
Disenchanted: yes, I was just thinking, there should be a niche for unbalanced maps...
Disenchanted: but (especially with evenly matched opponents) you have to choose your start posiition carefully
Pawel: symmetrical, perfectly balanced maps are good for tourneys, but for friendly pbem games I prefer maps like this one
Pawel: yes, it's a good idea to put stronger players on weaker starting positions
Enginerd: so which positions are weak/strong and why?
Disenchanted: well, I played Lizards and
Pawel: only Elves
Enginerd: I played dwarves and drow a bit
Pawel: so I can't tell you much about which ones are stronger/weaker, but when I look at the map I can see that the starting positions are different
Pawel: the Drak Elves seem to be quite strong
Enginerd: Yes, but they will have to choose quickly underground if they're going to play nice with the evil alliance and above ground they could get attacked by all the other races... so diplomacy could be key. Yes, they are strong at the start.
Enginerd: Dwarves have a fun position, lots of troops all over the place and they battle the goblins early.
Disenchanted: I thought the Elves were strong but that's probably just because the Lizards are the weakest, they are also quite boring in the beginning, take forever to get anywhere
Pawel: when I played as the Elves, I had problems with the Undead on the surface, when my main army left a city, it got captured quickly. The Elves became extinct at some moment
Disenchanted: didn't have that problem, I was slowly pushing back the Undead
Pawel: in the underground I had more luck fighting against the Goblins
Disenchanted: they would come back with huge numbers of troops and I would regroup
Pawel: I even managed to produce some Moles and Giants
Pawel: and I looted one of the Goblin cities and rebuilt it (got a builder in a nearby Dungeon), so the Elves returned
Disenchanted: they were coming from an area marked as the 4 sepulchers, which I captured several days later
Disenchanted: that gave me a fully upgraded 4H so that's when things started to take off
Pawel: I went to the east to capture some Human and Azrac cites, and then my Elven cities were gone
Pawel: seems your strategy was better
Disenchanted: I went east at the same time
Pawel: I didn't have enough army to go in 2 directions
Disenchanted: I sent my hero and unicorn east, I only needed archers to kill the undead
Pawel: I was trying to upgrade my cities to get better units, but it took too much time, I should have produced some archers first to fight the undead
Enginerd: With the asymmetrical start and the unbalances out there, how would you rank the starting positions of the other races? Which ones are strong, which ones are weak, in the middle?
Pawel: but I didn't expect them to attack so early
Enginerd: Did you see reapers on day 5?
Disenchanted: not sure it might have been closer to day 10 :P
Pawel: maybe not day 5, but something like 10
Disenchanted: they were producing reapers out of the 4H though
Enginerd: So how would you rank the other races starting positions?
Pawel: the Humans seem pretty weak
Enginerd: About as weak as the lizards
Pawel: yes
Disenchanted: I agree, they're both weak and they both start in the middle of nowhere. I think I mentioned I found that annoying, the first 8-10 days were very uneventful
Pawel: the Lizards have easy access to a 4-hex city though
Disenchanted: yes but still they have no income
Pawel: and maybe the AI doesn't attack them as much
Disenchanted: well not on their islands I assume
Disenchanted: but you can capture the whole archipelago and it still doesn't give you enough money to fied a decent army
Pawel: btw the good races have one big penalty compared to the others, it's called Death Mastery
Pawel: in my game it was cast on day 17
Pawel: (Fire Mastery day 14)
Disenchanted: that's weird I was wondering why they don't cast it...guess I got lucky, fire mastery does nothing...
Pawel: forests burn
Disenchanted: nothing important I mean
Pawel: yes
Pawel: but Death Mastery was a problem, most of my units had defense 1
Disenchanted: if you disjunct it I assume they will cast it again
Pawel: also the unexploring effect is highly annoying for me, but it's a problem with AoW, not with the map (in SM there is a similar spell)
Disenchanted: why is it a problem? The spell is supposed to be annoying I think
Pawel: I just don't like it
Disenchanted: you're not supposed to LIKE having death mastery cast on you!
Enginerd: lol
Pawel: I don't like the idae that explored terrain disappears from maps
Enginerd: So what else caught your eye with the playability?
Pawel: seems the Humans had some problems with unit upkeep in my game
Enginerd: That's probably why he gave them one extra mine in the depths
Pawel: I saw an independent Lizard raiding party enchanted by Thomas
Enginerd: neat
Pawel: (it destroyed my Builders Guild )
Enginerd: hehehehehe
Enginerd: OK, what else on the playability of the map?
Pawel: generally it's very hard
Pawel: I wouldn't recommend it to novice players, the AI will eat you alive
Disenchanted: I don't know if this is under "playability" or "fun", but this is the one map that really makes me want to keep playing, and I'm disappointed I didn't finish
Disenchanted: enginerd's map also had that effect to some extent, but by day 20 I felt I had basically won
Enginerd: Great comments.
Pawel: I agree, it's addictive
Pawel: it's not a map that you can win fast, it's challenging for a long time
Disenchanted: one concern I had was that there's an experience factory on the route to the Undead your heros will be level 30 long before you get there. that might make it too easy
Disenchanted: but I haven't been able to find out whether that's really ture because it's taking me so long to get there
Pawel: what do you mean by experience factory?
Disenchanted: it has like 100 shadows and some other stuff
Disenchanted: worth like 600 XP, which any uberhero can easily kill
Pawel: yes, I guess your heroes will be level 30 at the end
Pawel: but uberheroes is a problem of AoW in general
Disenchanted: yes, I'm just saying that the 100+ shadows seemed a little gratuitous
Disenchanted: and it's well before the end, so it makes the remaining obstacles between you and the undead not very challenging
Disenchanted: (I assume)
Pawel: so you'd prefer 100 Reapers instead of 100 Shadows?
Disenchanted: no I'd prefer 30 reapers
Disenchanted: maybe 20
Pawel: great numbers of enemies are inevitable on such map, the problem is which unit types are used (and you can't force the AI to build a specific unit)
Disenchanted: yes the problem with the shadows is they are no more challenge than a lvl 1 unit to an uberhero
Disenchanted: the shadows are all independent
Disenchanted: and they are worth 3 XP each
Pawel: so you mean he ones placed on the map, not build by the AI
Disenchanted: yes
Pawel: you're right, there are other units that can be used here
Enginerd: What else?
Pawel: but there aren't only Shadows, I can also see Black Dragons, Kharaghs, Repaers, Warlords etc.
Disenchanted: that's true but there are still *too many shadows* :P (it's actually more like 200)
Disenchanted: let's move on
Enginerd: What else? Map design? Feel? Aesthetics?
Pawel: isn't it possible to get to that city faster by using Warp Party?
Enginerd: Warp Party is random... so you may not end up where you think you will.
Disenchanted: yes...using warp party in caverns could be dangerous
Pawel: you can cast it repeatedly until you get where you want
Disenchanted: if you mean reloading the turn, most people would consider that cheating
Pawel: no, I mean casting it many times without reloading
Enginerd: (yeah, it would be) but even if you just cast it a bunch of times you will likely just waste mana and slow down your progress. It could be done but it's not very efficient and it takes a lot of the fun out of things.
Pawel: yes, it may take more time than using the normal way
Disenchanted: yes I don't know how efficient or safe that would be
Enginerd: AW did use it once on me in a 1v1 game.... and it helped him win the game... and he'll admit it was quite a lucky warp too. But I digress...
Enginerd: So, what else?
Disenchanted: and that would be a problem with any map where you're trying to capture a location
Enginerd: True
Pawel: aesthetics - the map looks very nice, as other Skout's maps
Pawel: especially the elven forests look very good (but they become less beautiful after some Reapers move through them)
Enginerd: (it's always those reapers)
Disenchanted: it's a beautiful map, and almost every terrain feature is well designed
Disenchanted: the only criticism I can think of is that he tends to leave some areas too empty
Pawel: maybe the desert is a bit boring, but it's normal for deserts
Disenchanted: I'm thinking of the Azrac and Human lands
Enginerd: Lots of hills, trees, sand, etc but few structures?
Disenchanted: even in the desert and plains...I think a mapmaker of his skill could make better use of hills/dunes, vegetation, rocks and other objects
Pawel: the underground snow area is somewhat 'empty' too
Disenchanted: well, this may be more of a gameplay comment, but if we're talking about structures, one of the main things that annoyed me is that everything is too far apart
Pawel: maybe not empty, but it looks the same in all places
Disenchanted: it makes the pace of the game a bit slow for me
Pawel: so you would like to see more cities? There is already a lot of them
Disenchanted: yes definitely more cities, nodes, etc.
Pawel: I disagree, the number of cities is ok for me
Disenchanted: there are a lot of them that are just so out of the way and so well-defended they're not even worth capturing
Disenchanted: it's the number of usable cities I have a problem with
Pawel: maybe there should me more of some other structures, like mines and nodes, when you have the uberheroes, you can capture even the well-defended ones
Pawel: I like that there are still some independent cities even in late game, so not everything is in AI's hands
Disenchanted: the thing is that they're all over the place and it would take my army so long to get to all the ridiculously defended cities that I wouldn't even bother... well I thought maybe some of them are like that just so it takes the AI a long time to capture them
Pawel: if they weren't well-defended, you'd see all cities belonging to the AI and migrated to evil races
Enginerd: even when you disagree you think alike
Disenchanted: but in that case I think my main point stands...there aren't a huge number of cities you can use, it seems like if you're just playing Elves you explore like 20-30% of the map
Pawel: I think it's nothing wrong that you won't capture some cities even until the end of the game, it adds 'flavor' and more strategic options
Enginerd: And replayability factor
Pawel: it's ok that you won't explore all the map, you can do it when playing another race
Enginerd: What else (you guys have been doing a great job of making comments about this one... we're almost done)?
Pawel: it's an objective-oriented map, so you don't have to capture all cities if they are out of your way or too well-defended
Disenchanted: maybe...they didn't look llike they would ever be worth capturing to me, which would mean a large portion of the map only exists as a playground for the AI, but I could be wrong
Pawel: so you'd prefer to conquer the entire map? for me it would be boring
Disenchanted: no, I think we may not be understanding each other here
Disenchanted: I said 2 things: in spite of the map appearing huge, there aren't very many usable cities, and only a small fraction of it is worth exploring. I would prefer the cities to be somewhat denser so there would be more action, and I would have more options for unit production, and I would like if it were more productive to explore beyond my little corner of the map...
Enginerd: Once again back to playability in how you approach the map. Great comments.
Disenchanted: ...the main reason I didn't see that as productive was that you have to walk huge distances to get to anything, and the cities are so well-defended you have to take a large army instead of going in many directions at once
Pawel: I think it depends on your playing style, I think I'd conquer quite a large portion of the map if I played it to the end
Pawel: you're right that the resources are a problem, I had problems with upkeeping my army at some stage
Enginerd: So, we've covered history, balance, aesthetics, playability, fun.... is there anything else you want to cover?
Pawel: but I actually liked it that the world appeared 'harsh', and it wasn't easy to survive and build a huge army
Pawel: btw I think the 'conquer locations' objective may be removed when playing this map in pbem, so it becomes a 'normal' map that you have to conquer (but with allied victory you don't have to do it alone)
Disenchanted: wait...I was just about to agree with your first statemen
Enginerd: you guys crack me up.... you'll make a great team in the doubles tourney
Disenchanted: but I'm not sure I want to conquer the whole world...didn't you say that would be boring a little while ago?
Disenchanted: do you mean conquer the map in co-op mode or 2 teams?
Pawel: it can be just an "open diplomacy" game with allied victory enabled
Disenchanted: you'd never hunt down every last undead...but it might work
Enginerd: So... any final comments before we give it a score?
Pawel: the Orc hero in the Wizard Towers area is unreachable
Disenchanted: maybe you could just play until your human enemies are dead...still, it's questionable whether you'd even be able to attack them with the AI being so strong
Disenchanted: just before you suggested that, I was going to say it would be interesting to see how the game would be played in MP
Disenchanted: first because it's so hard just to survive against the AI, second because you're racing to capture a location. Would we fight each other at all, or would we all be fighting the AI up until the end?
Pawel: maybe I'll start a PBEM game on this map
Disenchanted: yes only one way to find out
Pawel: btw I can't really see those "uninteresting" areas that you mentioned, most of the areas of the map have the same "quality" for me
Disenchanted: for me the northeast and southwest are less interesting, at least...not sure it's important to discuss that further
Pawel: ok, let's give the score
Enginerd: Drum roll......
Enginerd: (the drum roll is now over)

---------- come back next week for the judges scores

Disenchanted: it's going to be 8.5 or 9
Enginerd: I can flip a coin....
Pawel: 18 snails from me
Enginerd: hehehe you did that last time too...
Disenchanted: 5 sheep and 7 snails from me
Disenchanted: that's 9 and 8.5 for those of you jsut joining us...
Enginerd: Most impressive!!! (and well deserved)
Disenchanted: and we have a winner
Enginerd: That's an 8.75 average
Disenchanted: in the historical category...
Disenchanted: well that's just the judges scores
Pawel: I wonder who will win the winter category...
Enginerd: lol
Disenchanted: yes skout looks well-positioned to win both
Enginerd: He's good.
Enginerd: Great, so that wraps things up today.


[This message has been edited by Enginerd (edited 03-23-2009 @ 07:15 PM).]

posted 03-15-09 12:20 PM EDT (US)     1 / 6  
Voting is now Open. Good Luck Skout.
posted 03-15-09 10:22 PM EDT (US)     2 / 6  
Header updated.... added the judges comments... except for the judges scores.... that will be next week.

Vote Now!
posted 03-16-09 10:47 AM EDT (US)     3 / 6  
This feedback idea is great, gave me so many ideas on how to improve the map.

I feel like I owe an explination about what's going on with this map. At the time it was finished, I was in a big hurry and didn't get a chance to set up the description properly.

The map was intended to be hard and challenging and to include both Player vs AI and Player vs Player battles. In order to make the map more challenging and, most importantly, to support the idea of Player vs Player wars, even though the AI is quite strong, the spaces between cities, mines, structures is wider. Therefore, in order to build stronger armies you will need to capture more territories, territories which may belong to another player.

I have no explination for the seemingly misplaced title 'World of Paradise' other than that the map itself is a tribute to Age of Wonders and that my initial intention was to combine ideas from all of the original scenarios and make a really huge one. (somewhat gave up on that idea later on). In order for this to function, I also wanted to keep the map as non-symetrical and unbalanced as possible. Every player has a chance to win, everyone can play a key role in the winning of the map. It all comes down to the skill of the player, his tactics and how good a diplomat he is.

I would like to thank Disenchanted and Pawel for having the patience of going through and reviewing such a large map.

Also, thanks Enginerd for hosting the tournament.
posted 03-23-09 07:16 PM EDT (US)     4 / 6  
Header updated to include the scores from the judges. Well done Skout!
posted 03-24-09 11:24 PM EDT (US)     5 / 6  
In order to make the map more challenging and, most importantly, to support the idea of Player vs Player wars, even though the AI is quite strong, the spaces between cities, mines, structures is wider.
I'm not sure I follow. If you just wanted to limit resources to the point where players had to attack each other, couldn't you just put exactly the same stuff in a smaller space? You'd still have the same (insufficient) income once you were done exploring your area, it would just happen faster. Or did I misunderstand you?

I wonder why I feel strongly about it. I do tend to get a little bit impatient if I'm not fighting constantly, but I suspect that if I were just playing the map for fun and not being required to play it by a specific deadline, it might not have been such a big deal - I might have found it easier to relax and enjoy the map while my units were on various cross-country treks.

Since I mentioned that the story was outstanding but I found it difficult to make all the connections, I'd like to ask a few basic questions:

1. If the good races displaced and/or killed the other races living here, how did the evil races return and become so incredibly powerful right under their noses?

2. Are the neutral races the "tradesmen" whose ancestors were also killed or driven out by the Elves? I'm not really sure how these guys figure into the story.

3. The Undead represent the Orcs, etc., who were killed 1,000 years ago, who vowed to return and wreak vengeance on their killers. So how did they get sealed in the cave?

These are just questions, not criticisms.
posted 03-25-09 06:50 AM EDT (US)     6 / 6  
Well yes, I could have done it in a much smaller place but, as I previously mentioned, the map itself was originally planned to be composed of a certain number of 'regions' such as Barondir Bay, Toadstool and the outskirts of Heartwood.

Also, I guess it's about the way I enjoy playing the game too. I am a dedicated fan of large, 'slug', difficult maps that I can spend more time on in both MP, but especially in SP. The units set on 'guard area' are meant to add flavor to the map, making it harder to expand. Also, there will be independent towns later on in the game and not everything will belong to the AI.

It's hard for the player, but for the AI as well. And yes, there are certain locations very far away from any starting point which do not seem necessary in taking; but i can guarantee that it would make it so much easier if they were claimed by the players. A strong alliance that would focus on conquering most of the surface and 1st level of underground locations would have it so much easier. But there are many ways in which the map can be played.

And now for the questions;

1. The idea was that Inioch's army crushed the armies of orcs and goblins (they killed the tradesmen too), slaughtering them and locking them into an ethereal realm from which they would later emerge to claim vengeance. The 2nd level of underground does not resemble a normal underground whatsoever... you have to go through several chambers (dungeons)haunted by the spirits of the dead, fight numerous perils to get to Galava. In 1000 years the dead had time to plot and plan their return to the surface and thus, they had grown in power.

2. The tradesmen were of unknown race to all scholars in the land, ancient writings do not reveal their origins. All that is told is that they were fortune seekers, adventurers and explorers set on discovering new means of income through trade. They are the ones that founded the very first large settlement in the land. Later on, after the fall of the Elven Court and the invasion of humans, the Azracs, close allies to the human kings had settled on the ruins of the tradesmen's old capital. (the tradesmen were previously slaughtered by Inioch's army) (Sometimes I wish I hadn't made the story so complicated)

3. I think I pretty much covered that in 1. :P The 2nd level of underground is not meant to be just a simple 'cave', it's more of a 'realm', a 'dungeon' for the dead.

That's the first real review I've had on any of my maps so far. Thanks and if you have any more questions, ask away!

Please excuse my english, I know it has severe flaws :S
Age of Wonders 2 Heaven » Forums » AoW1 Scenario & Campaign Design » Historical Theme - World of Paradise by Skout77
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