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Downloads Home » Multi Player Maps » A Journey in to the Dark

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A Journey in to the Dark

Author File Description
File Details
Ruleset: TS Standard Rules
Map Size: X-Large
Playable Races: All
Surface Levels: 3
Difficulty: Normal
This is a tolkien inspired map,but beware,hardcore tolkien fans will be dissapointed,there are only names on heros and locations borrowed from the tolkien archives,nothing else.
All races are playable on the map
There are a lot of made up artifacts and heros on the map.

Map and story by Dix,some artifacts made by Bluecollarheaven
AuthorReviews   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
Roger the Rampant
Map Design4.0
A Journey Into The Dark 1.2

Firstly, this is a multiplayer map but I played it as a single player against the AI, so it is difficult for me to comment on balance.

There were a lot of things I liked about this map. There was intelligent use of teleporters, so as the game developed you could generally find a reasonably short route to many far-flung outposts. Combining the teleporters with springs of life, blood shrines and training arenas meant that you could arrive ready for battle. It also meant the enemy arrived in your territory at full strength, so defences were quite important. As you explored, more and more teleporters appeared. To be frank I did not manage to obtain access to all the teleporters, and I won the game before I discovered whether it was possible to enter the “grid” of rock-encased tunnels and teleporters near the bottom of the caverns map

This map fully used all three levels, with very few areas of bare earth underground, and many of the surface graphics also being utilised underground. This kept things interesting, and must have involved a great deal of effort by Dix. Each level was visually different, and by cleverly using a series of linked islands the edge of the map did not seem as stark and unnatural as it normally does. Putting guardians on many of the links between the islands tended to confuse the AI, but this map was designed as multiplayer so that is not a criticism.

There were a number of underground rock-enclosed enclaves that could only be accessed via teleporters, often guarded by substantial defenses, and more and more of these became visible as the game proceeded, giving the feeling of an unfolding story. If there was one criticism, it would be that virtually all lairs had hefty defenders, yet only a very tiny number actually yielded anything once the defenders had been defeated. This was a little demoralising.

Overall, I really enjoyed playing this map. I played Azracs, and my alliance with the Humans proved very effective. We ended up having defeated all races except Orcs, and I was a little surprised when my golden dragons came across the lvl 30 Orc hero wandering through the caverns with just a couple of flame throwers and a shaman by his side, when he still had plenty of cities available to hide in.
Map Design5.0
Very good map, except that the Undead have a advantage at the beginning.
Map Design3.0
A fun map if you like this sort of thing. I tried not to let it affect my rating, but I can't stand the inverted terrain on an XL-map. It makes the AI players take like 30-minute turns. This makes the map virtually unplayable in live multiplayer or singleplayer versions (unless player is masochistic). It is probably more suited for PBEM, but it seems to me that the enormous size of the map makes it a bit more difficult than other maps in this case, too...
Arctic Wolf
Map Design5.0
Don't be surprised that I gave this map a perfect score. IMHO this is the best map in the entire downloads section. Dix not only perfected the use of inverted terrain, he also pioneered the use of teleporters to make the Ai more intellegent. Note how every teleporter ends at a useful resource for the AI. Even though the map is balanced, the Ai even on a setting lower than Emperor is a real challenge. With Dix's permission I have utilized this map in a modified form for my mega campaign "The Orcs of the Southern Kingdom".
Map Design4.0
Another masterpiece by Dix! A must if you like large tough scenarios. I enjoyed digging hobbits out of dungeons but could not seem to find the last one.
Map Design5.0
Played as: Frostlings
AI - all emperor with DIX's default styles
Leaders On
Allied Victory On
Customize Leaders On
Play Mode : Classic
Turns taken: 56

Playability: 5
Tons of variety, and all 12 races present, means that it will take a while for this map to get old.

Balance: 4
I wanted to give this map a perfect 5.0 score, but I had to ding it on balance. It took me forever to locate the Undead and Orc leaders, and I never did find the Undead capital. And that is despite having control of 85% of the map's resources and towns. I found them in the map editor and have to say, if I ever play multiplayer on this map, I want one of those start positions. It's cool that they are in the middle of the map as opposed to a generic corner, but the entrances are elusive. I recommend always keeping the AI on these races, to increase the challenge.

Creativity: 5
No question for me on this one.

Map Design: 5
As others have said, genius work with the inverted terrain and teleporter utilization. I found that really increased the challenge for me because it's really hard to keep all the teleporters straight. I'll sheepishly admit that I got fed up and razed the circle of teleporters on the surface, just to slow my enemies down. That might have been a cheap trick.... The other great thing about teleporters is that it can be disorienting to a human player; you can lose track of where your pieces really are on the map.

Story/Instructions: 5
Major props to DIX for liberal use of signs. It took me a while, but I eventually was able to start associating names with their actual location on the map. Elaborate use of LotR names and terminology, and detailed background story is also appreciated.

Additional Comments:
A downside to having so much open space underground is that it takes forever to explore, unless you have units with night vision or vision II. I highly recommend taking 2 or more Air spheres to get Great Eagle. The author could also sprinkle in more items that have night vision.

Human AI leader regularly either dies on the first turn trying to take a builders guild, or is severely injured.

As the Frostlings, I only managed to have peace with the Lizards, Halfings, and Dwarves. Nobody else would play nice. And the Lizards and Frostlings could never come to terms on an alliance, so they were, regretfully, obliterated.

On the island of Marandor, there is a party with a nature elemental set to guard area. What happens, however, is they teleport out of there as soon as someone comes in range. I don't know if the author intended this behavior or not.

I don't recommend ever setting the AI style to scorcher. It causes it to do lots of dumb stuff, like blowing up mines right next to its own start position. I'm also not sure why you would use Expander instead of Aggressor. I've seen the AI expander have a wall-breaching stack right next to an empty 4-hex town, for multiple turns, and not take it.

Turn time is very long. 10-20 minutes, in classic style, between my turns.

Looking in the editor, I'm not sure why Victory Condition: Capture Locations was chosen, instead of just "none".

[Edited on 02/23/13 @ 03:47 PM]

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