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Downloads Home » Best Files » Storm on the Steppe

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Storm on the Steppe

Author File Description
HockeySam18
File Details
Version: The Conquerors
Required Modpack (if not included with the download): UserPatch v1.4
Style: Mix


The wind howled across the open steppe, sending a sharp chill down Aldrin's spine. He opened his eyes in surprise, only to be greeted by the ordinary, if unwelcome, sight of the sun creeping over the crest of the nearest hill, signaling the fast approach of dawn. Splashing his face with water, Aldrin fastened his tunic and gazed around, noting that each of his loyal watchmen stood at attention, vigilant for any unwelcome visitors. The Gerothian Steppe was crawling with brutal hordes of Valonian cavalrymen, and the ruthless horselords of Fuldin tirelessly pursued Aldrin's company from the north, eager for the glory that they might derive from the slaying of a rival king. Looking off into the direction from whence he and his men arrived, Aldrin was overcome with an inundation of memories. He recalled with a grim feeling the horrors of the past several weeks, and briefly relived the events that had brought himself and his men to this desperate pass...


Winner of the 2016 Classic Design Contest

A StormWind Studios Production

Requires the latest version of the UserPatch




Background:

Those of you who are familiar with Galderton Hill RP, my previous multiplayer project, particularly if you read the companion document that shipped with the download, will have briefly experienced the world in which Storm of the Steppe is set. This scenario, however, takes place roughly five and a half centuries before the events of Galderton Hill RP, and in an entirely different setting. Hundreds of leagues north of the land of Verstonia lies the Gerothian Steppe, a barren, windswept, and sloping plain whose namesake was a particularly infamous confederation of horselords that dominated much of the region. The inhospitable climate is the least of your worries.

In this scenario, you will guide the distant ancestors of the Aldrian Empire of Galderton Hill RP, who were still known by a different name at that point in time. Driven from their idyllic homeland in a lush valley to the far north of the steppe, Aldrin's followers, who would eventually take the name "Aldrians" in homage to his charismatic leadership, fled to the south in search of a suitable place of refuge. Their success - or failure - is entirely in your hands. Will your guidance bring them to a new homeland and eternal glory, or will they tragically vanish from the pages of history?



Features:

For all of you B&D lovers out there, this scenario should be right up your alley. This scenario is in many ways an experiment, as I have embraced a design style far different than my usual repertoire, and am currently toying with pushing the boundaries of B&D gameplay. Here are a few things that you can expect from this approach:

  • An extremely open and spacious map (4-player size) and, by extension, a largely minimalistic design style. The setting is a nearly boundless steppe, after all! Mobile horsemen rule these plains, and attacks can be unexpected and deadly. Smart AIs utilizing effective troop combinations and attacking on several fronts will allow the player to test their mettle. The goal here is to consistently present the possibility of setbacks or outright defeats while keeping things fair.
  • Limited fortifications. We all know the time-proven flaw of most B&D scenarios: the ability of the player to hide behind a sea of fortifications and boom with impunity until finally launching an unstoppable attack with a death ball of 100 paladins. Rest assured, you will acquire a few fortifications at the start of the B&D, but you will be unable to construct any more. The player will be unable to build archery units, either, so there will be no abusing of the AI with unstoppable masses of archers.
  • Sparse resources! This isn't your standard map - concentrations of resources are few and far between on the open steppe, and you will be forced to battle viciously for each deposit, particularly gold. Due to this concern, troops cannot be indiscriminately spammed at the enemy, but instead must be used frugally and strategically. The lack of fortifications will require the player to defend their economy through the strength of arms rather than with infinite castles.
  • Difficulty dynamism. This normally goes without saying, but the difference in difficulty levels in this scenario will be quite steep and is designed to accommodate all types of players. If you're relatively new to B&D gameplay and/or desire an experience devoid of the more challenging features of this scenario, standard difficulty is there for you. If you're an expert B&D player and/or want to scratch and claw for every inch of ground, then hard difficulty is for you! If you want something right in the middle, moderate difficulty is tailored exactly to your needs. My goal here is to make the gameplay accessible to everyone.
  • Extensive usage of UserPatch features. From design tricks largely possible due to the improvements that the UserPatch has to offer, to the new UserPatch trigger functionality, to various UserPatch AI features, this scenario has and will benefit greatly from the commendable efforts of the UserPatch team in building a brighter future for AoE2.
  • Racing the clock! Time is against you, as the same enemies that drove your people from your original homeland are in hot pursuit. Take too long to complete the scenario, and they will strike, with potentially deadly results.


    That's not all for features, but I don't want to give everything away now, do I?!



    Screenshots:

    Your starting troops | The windswept steppe | A lakeside tomb | A hidden shrine | An abandoned village | Dare you enter? | Precious gold | Restless horsemen | A fearsome enemy | Cascading waters | An ancient bridge



    As always, many thanks to my comrades at StormWind Studios for consistent and helpful inspiration, feedback, and above all for being wonderful teammates.




    This scenario requires the 1.0c patch of The Conquerors as well as the latest version of the UserPatch. It is not compatible with the HD Edition.


    Enjoy! Comments are welcome here or in the project discussion thread on the forum, and a review in particular would be much appreciated.
  • Pages: [1] 2 » Last »
    AuthorComments   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
    HockeySam18
    Staff
    Official Reviewer
    File Author
    Thank you for the wonderful review, DelCrosB! I'm quite glad that you enjoyed the scenario so much. It's particularly relieving to see that some of the unconventional (at times, even experimental!) design aspects were found to be enjoyable.
    AIII Storm on the Steppe is one of the best scenarios I have ever played. However it ended a little too quickly. I will recommend it to anyone whose into B&D games.
    Its good to see that AoK is still alive and has such excellent people who work hard for the game's survival in this new era.
    HockeySam18
    Staff
    Official Reviewer
    File Author
    Thank you for the kind words, AIII. I am glad that you found the scenario so enjoyable!

    Out of curiosity, what did you find too brief about the playing experience, and what difficulty did you play on? When designing the scenario I tried to assure that Standard difficulty would provide gameplay that was briefer and far less challenging than the other difficulty levels. That said, the higher difficulty levels are far more demanding and may keep you playing for a bit longer :)
    AIII Now that you mention it, I do remember plating it on standard difficulty. Another factor might be that I played it on the forgotten empires mod. The forgotten empire mod has a little balance problems and long lasting resources so these factors might have contributed to the less duration of the game.
    I will try on the conquerors at hard difficulty to play the scenario as it was intended.
    D4Ra4Aracks111 I tried hard is Imposible Sam. and how I win this on hard with only 110 pop limit would you raise it to 150 ?
    HockeySam18
    Staff
    Official Reviewer
    File Author
    I assure you it's possible, just rather difficult. I had to have a setting that would challenge the more experienced players, after all!

    If you are finding it too difficult on Hard you may want to try Moderate. I suspect that Hard will be quite difficult for anyone without a decent amount of experience playing against higher-end RM AIs or other humans in multiplayer matches.
    HockeySam18
    Staff
    Official Reviewer
    File Author
    Thank you for the kind review, krmyth9. I'm glad that you enjoyed the choices I made to shake up B&D gameplay a bit :)
    HockeySam18
    Staff
    Official Reviewer
    File Author
    Thank you very much for the detailed and insightful review, Cataphract887. I'm particularly impressed by the speed with which you were capable of completing the scenario on the harder difficulties! I was beginning to worry that nobody other than myself would be capable of "beating the clock," as it were.

    I'm particularly grateful for your critique on the playability section - it's great to get the perspective of a rather experienced player such as yourself. To a certain point, some of the features of the AI that are more conducive to frustration are necessary aspects of supplying a suitable challenge on hard difficulty (as well as supplying an experience different than that of the typical B&D where you abuse the AI by camping their woodline and gold deposits as they mindlessly suicide villagers there), but there are definitely aspects that could see improvement, and in the scenario I'm currently working on, I'm toying with a system where the player can cripple the enemy through cutting supply lines and raiding instead of being restricted to a direct push.

    I would tend to agree that on hard, at least, there is likely a sequence of actions that offer the proverbial path of least resistance (due mostly to the necessity of having a larger and more easily defensible economic base), although on moderate and standard all paths are more-or-less created equal.

    I might posit, however, that the fact that the player is required to employ a varied army composition is a positive point rather than a negative one, especially when compared to the vast majority of B&D scenarios that encourage single-unit armies of bowmen or heavy cavalry (though this is more reflective of an inherent flaw in the game itself than any scenario in particular) rather than requiring the player to make strategic decisions and utilize the entirety of their tech tree.

    As a final note, in the interest of improving my design for future scenarios, I'd appreciate it greatly if you could elaborate on the lack of outstanding excellence that you mentioned in the creativity section. What in particular brought the score down here, and what in particular were the positives?
    Cataphract887
    Official Reviewer
    "As a final note, in the interest of improving my design for future scenarios, I'd appreciate it greatly if you could elaborate on the lack of outstanding excellence that you mentioned in the creativity section. What in particular brought the score down here, and what in particular were the positives?"

    Im sorry, that was a weak point of my review and your scenario definitely merited a longer and more detail breakdown there. The way i review obviously good, even great scenarios is to start with a 4\5 and see how i can justify the highest rating from there. The phrase outstanding excellence is something i tend to say or think when considering boosting any score from a 4 to a 5.

    A significant part of creativity to me is gameplay variance. In many build and destroy classics, one of my favourites i could think of for an example is "Charlemagne, King and Emperor(CKE)" In this scenario, as far as gameplay variance alone is considered, is good on creativity to me as the player can choose between multiple starting bases, multiple win options, and side quests and the like;There are many ways to play and win in CKE. Now not every scenario can have that, so its obviously not a -1 creativity to lack it. I just felt like it was a little linear there with the ways to interact with the scenario. When i replayed the game on moderate for completionism sake, i played the game and won in the same way i had on hard;i dont see any way to deviate from the gameplan in a reasonably profitable way.

    The design on those monuments using off tile placement may well be creative, but i will admit struggling to appreciate things like off tile placement. I dont get what it adds to the scenario's gameplay. Indeed it was slightly annoying when i used these monuments for lumbercamps and my villagers pathfinding suffered.

    If this map had had that proposed system of yours with raiding and supply camps and cutting supply lines, i consider that type of thing to be quite creative. Im sure i would have given a 5 if that sort of thing was possible;just any way to interact with the enemy and mess them up. (but not for free, work\pay for it)

    Positives on creativity;for one thing, i looked at the contest limitations and see that making this scenario with those limitations is very good on creativity. The carefully crafted combat environment with regards to unit choices is a plus. The overall gameplay with side quests and discoverable monuments;its creative to put these side objectives in, and done fairly well. Although something more indepth like bringing your hero there and risking something, perhaps risking dying for the benefits could be interesting.

    [Edited on 02/19/17 @ 11:47 AM]

    HockeySam18
    Staff
    Official Reviewer
    File Author
    That makes sense. Thanks very much for the clarification, and again for the insightful and constructive review and analysis! In this age when reviews are hard to come by, it's great to see someone such as yourself taking the time to write reviews that are both detailed and helpful.
    Pages: [1] 2 » Last »

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    Rating
    5.0
    Breakdown
    Playability4.8
    Balance5.0
    Creativity5.0
    Map Design5.0
    Story/Instructions5.0
    Statistics
    Downloads:1,579
    Favorites: [Who?]4
    Size:8.14 MB
    Added:10/23/16