The Blizzard is Zetnus' entry to the 2017 Pretty Town Contest.
Aesthetic: The author presented us with an admirable effort at a barren, bleak countryside set in the middle of a ferocious blizzard. Atmospherically, the entry is bound to have a memorable impression, as the conjunction of UserPatch snow effects and chilling sound effects ensures that the player can nearly feel the cold themselves as they drive their cart through the storm into town. However, the map design, while successful on the front of creating a bleak and barren setting, could use a little improvement in the way it struck a balance between utility and aesthetic, leaning a bit too much towards the latter. Outlying establishments were interesting to look at, but the town itself left a little to be desired in the way the buildings were arranged.
Creativity: Taking on a wintry blizzard setting in AoK is a bold endeavor, and one that has seldom been tried due to its difficulty. While the scenario presented little out of the ordinary here, it was generally solid and was enhanced by the use of the UP1.5 weather effects and a fairly novel take on a PTC theme. The accommodation that the author made with regard to the ability to increase the speed of the scouting unit did not go unnoticed, either.
Layout: From a broader point of view, the map was laid out quite well and believably. Each portion of the map has a distinct character, from the walled town and marketplace to the west to an inn, a shipyard, a mine, a mountain range, and the player's own dwelling. This made the entry quite navigable and gave the impression of being rather well planned out.
Attention to detail: While the author's effort in this category was generally solid, there were a few issues that prevented a perfect score here. Change name effects were mistakenly applied to entire complexes instead of individual objects or object groups, and a handful of spelling errors made an appearance. The building combinations in the town and outlying settlements, while not a poor effort by any means, could have seen some improvement.
While far from perfect, The Blizzard is an admirable effort at portraying a winter landscape, which does not come easily to AoK, and an excellent showcase of some of the new UserPatch weather effects.
[Edited on 08/29/17 @ 11:03 AM]