The Umayyad Caliphate is a historical fiction scenario set in medieval europe. The starting locations are based in historical empires, and the fiction title is due to the timeline differences and the outcome of the scenario being different as well.
The game plays like a random map game that had reached the imperial age already with a standing force. I personally dont find this particularly interesting. Because the gameplay is so little different to a normal B&D i believe the baseline score of a 2 applies. Down in the creativity section i mentioned that the scenario managed to differentiate sufficiently from a random map to avoid a minimum rating;however this doesnt mean the Playability goes up by 1 as a consequence. What that means is the AI starts with a different position than it would normally reach on a random map, yet the gameplay mechanics from both positions are identical. Any player who has played a B&D with 8 players of an average quality, has essentially already played this scenario.
The game indicates you get infinite resources with an eye to perpetual gameplay, i suppose. In a multiplayer scenario this would be a potential positive;playing against the AI, you should either aim for having the player win, albeit a difficult and hard fought victory with interesting complications along the way.
The mission to kill Alfonso isnt particularly well implemented because he charges out and got himself killed while i was simply watching what events transpired without imputing commands. The game offers no response when the mission critical hero is slain in battle, and you can still achieve victory after his death. Most scenarios i would flag with an automatic 1 point reduction because of this;when objectives dont work because of trigger fails, the game is partially broken. In this case it doesnt really matter as it has no consequences;the objectives are the same as the games standard conquest mode anyway.
There is no lag whatsoever from my experience which was good.
This is a measure of the games difficulty and challenge, or sometimes how brokenly easy a game is. This map earns the same balance score a random map would. You start out on par with the AI and arguably strong than any one AI. You have an ally, so its a 2v2v2v1v1 situation. The player can be expected to chew threw this setup with ease because most humans can defeat any one AI 1v1, and you wont face worse than those odds during this scenario. This map wont offer a challenge to anyone beyond a beginner, with an easy and very safe starting position its a simple enough matter to setup and begin methodically grinding down enemy after enemy.
You dont need to pioneer a single new map design process, trigger trick, gameplay style, or otherwise generate something new before seen, in order to achieve a 5\5 creativity. This is the measure of how the player combined existing gameplay mechanics and ideas in order to reintroduce them with an eye to freshening up the gameplay. You dont need a single trigger to get a high score, but it would be more challenging to do so without them, and a complicated trigger based gameplay is one way to achieve a differing gameplay from the base AoKTC game;your already using triggers to adjust the gameplay but they are used at a fairly basic level seen in nearly any scenario that can be considered average. Implenting some system of multiple choices is one way to go to add replayability value and give the player something to think about;there are no multiple choices whatsoever in the base AoKTC gameplay design. Theres much more but i would just recommend playing highly rated scenarios and thinking about how to combine and mix their ideas with your own to create a new whole being.
In this case the map plays and feels like a build and destroy scenario. The game entirely relies on the basic AI to provide difficulty, and thats the same experience any B&D or random map offers. Most people think the basic AI isnt tough(or interesting) enough to merit fighting on equal ground and want a new, different challenge. There isnt enough to differentiate itself from any other scenario in the same type of category. It doesnt need to be unique, just something different to spice it up. Because the map manages to differentiate itself from a random map sufficiently to merit a 2 thats the rating that seems appropriate here.
Suggestion: you made the scenario in AoFE and are not even using AoFE civs. This simplest change would atleast differentiate the map from the same scenario made in AoKTC. This choice of modpack is offering the player some amazing new tools that raise the glass ceiling on creativity, and many scenario designers from the 2001 era would commit MURDER to possesses this opportunity back in the day, so its all the more imperative to make use of the new options the Forgotten Empires affords you to stand out from the pack. Because of the extra scope for creativity, maps using FE or HD edition, in my eyes, will be held to a higher creativity standard than even 1.0c, in a similar way for many years people made allowances for the old AoK scenario makes who couldnt profit from the TC xpack. The game has new tricks now, and humans are not old dogs. We need to learn new tricks now, too.
Map Design 2
The map earns a rating of 2 because it closely mirrors what a random map offers. There is only a small amount of terrain detail and eyecandy, and only in a small handful of areas. There are roads, but these are monotone white cobblestone. The many bases and fortifications resemble a basic build and destroy map or even a multiplayer setup made by humans during a competitive game, so they dont do anything to increase the rating. The oceans are very well done, the clear highlight of the map, but the vast numbers of sea fish are something that you would expect in a multiplayer europe scenario for gameplay reasons, and dont look visually appealing stacked up like that. The coast of the ocean is random map quality and not enhanced from that.
Your objectives are clear and understandable, there is no confusion whatsoever as to what to do. The hints are good and comprehensive enough. The scouts page is fairly meaty and gives a nice overview of the world situation. However it is marred by frequent grammar and spelling errors, this doesn't deduct a point from the rating, but it is unfortunate to see. The hints are not particularly helpful, as your advising players on how to play what is essentially a late game from a random map, and most people who are not beginners know full well how to play AoC by themselves.
It wont be possible to increase the score for Story\Objectives in my eyes without adding in a actual story, characters, etc and to bump up to a 3 would require a basic spread along those lines. What is provided here is essentially on the level of what you would expect from a multiplayer scenario covering the europe map. The player isnt going to be especially invested into the game because of the story. The player has a hero unit to preserve but there wasnt even a reaction from the game when i tried killing him. You should weave a story around a key character and make the player emotionally invested if your aiming for a high story score, or atleast its one way to go about it.
Final thoughts:Its an unremarkable B&D scenario with nothing exceptional to recommend it, but no major issues which would merit a markdown to a minimum score in any category. Ive done my best to offer constructive criticism so that the author can understand the score reasoning, and if he so desires, improve the scenario or create a new scenario with the aim of addressing the points raised.