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 Elves...you? 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 city...so 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.
Part of the judges discussion is below... the full text will be made available before the judging ends.
---------- come back next week for the judges scores