FSC 2019 - Dwarves, goblins and wizards
Posted on 11/18/19 @ 11:04 AM (updated 01/08/20
This is my entry to the 2019 Fantasy Scenario Competition
||The Conquerors 1.0c
|Required Modpack (if not included with the download):
||Role Playing Only
To be able to complete everything in time I neglected my family, but this is a detail because finally after so much work the map is over
The game style is adventure, with some secondary missions. I added a few hundred new units between buildings, plants, monsters and soldiers and this should recreate an atmosphere and a more enthralling style of play for the players
The scenario is in 255x255 format, so huge, but not all useful to complete the campaign. In this regard, I added scheme of the entire region, with the names of cities and areas, divided by colors: of interest or useless to the game. However, the map can all be visited and it is treated in detail
The scenario was tested for MEDIUM difficulty and FAST speed
Along with nearly 600 triggers there are also many sound effects and a soundtrack that will keep you company in your adventure
The story line is very simple and classic: a hero and his friends must save the princess in danger and free the whole kingdom from the evil forces and to do so they will have to fight against hordes of goblins, zombies, monsters and demons. Nothing special isn't it?
There is nothing else to say, come on go to save the princess!
-High accuracy percent attak
-Low accuracy percent
-Auras system improved
-Increased werewolf life of 20Hp
-Fixed bug in the church mission
-Fixed bug at caves entry
-Iron boar life lowered by 200Hp
-Fixed bug that attracted animals when you were casting magic against living skeletons
-Heroes icons changed
-More sound effects
-Werewolf life lowered by 20Hp
-Added 4 potions
-Aura system improved
-Kroas warrior moved
-Mission to recover the hunter, more clear
-Temple mission bug removed
The map should be bug-free and in my tests I never had problems, but if you meet them, write me and they will be solved as soon as possible
My other work
|Author||Reviews ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )|
There were parts of this map that I quite enjoyed. Others, the majority of it unfortunately, not so much. The gameplay consist primarily of long walks between scattered points of interest, with little to nothing happening in between. Occasionally you will find side quests (which are really compulsory to finish, if you want to have a chance at beating the ending), but these too require long walks. The world is buzzing with life in the form of moving units, varying landscapes, NPCs minding their own business and so forth – but there are very few things you can actually interact with. So while the world itself looks alive, the gameplay becomes very dull very quickly. Which is unfortunate, because it is clear that the author has put a lot of effort into this work.
The scenario starts off with a scene which I can generously describe as inspired by a similar scene in my campaign “The Relics of Athalën”, it even uses the same modded starlight graphic. No credit is given to the creators of the modded graphics which are used heavily throughout the scenario. I recognized buildings and units from a vast array of modders, even some of my own. While there’s nothing wrong in using graphics made by others, it goes without saying that you should give credit to the people who did the actual work with the graphics. As things stand, it comes across as you’re claiming to have made all of the graphics yourself, which is unfair to the actual creators. A simple list of the people whose work you borrowed and a short thanks would go a long way. Still, one could be generous and consider this an improvement over the author’s complete plagiarism of an older map for the 2012 ES Remake Competition...
A lot of the time I was quite confused about where to go next. Rather than giving clear instructions through dialogue, map revealers and so forth, the author usually refers the player to a map that comes with the scenario. While this is better than nothing, it is more of an annoyance to have to consult an out-of-game resource like this when the designer easily could have given better pointers. Instead you are often left to walk aimlessly and hope you get to the right place.
One thing that I enjoyed a lot, though, was the fact that all of the important characters were clearly marked by a star graphic under their feet. This was quite helpful in navigating the villages and cities, with tons of NPCs who usually had nothing to say.
The biggest letdown, however, was that the finale did not seem to work properly. I finished the scenario twice and beat the Demon king in the underworld, then Falkor revealed the green fire relic and I took it... and then absolutely nothing happened. Both times. I even went back into the goblin city, but nothing new happened, so I have no idea what the issue might be here. This, combined with the many minor issues, unfortunately brings down the score quite a bit.
Some of the fights were quite enjoyable and well-balanced. Others were unfortunately often hampered by the bad pathfinding caused by having too many trees or GAIA objects cluttering the scene of the battle. This leads some of them, like the fight against goblins by the big tree, to be more annoying than entertaining.
By far the hardest part is getting past the derelict temple surrounded by monsters. I only managed it by using up all of my potions, of which I ever only managed to find 3. These potions actually do affect the other heroes, despite the hints saying this won't be the case, so I may have actually beaten these monsters too easily… which makes me wonder if they are even beatable at all, if the game worked as precisely intended.
Then there were some “fights” that were no challenge at all, like the Iron Boar just before entering the goblin cave. If you just use Falkor to kill it, it will never even charge you.
Probably the strongest point of the map. The scenario is buzzing with life, there are a number of potion systems, RPG upgrades, enemy spawn points and so on that have clearly had a lot of thought put into them. The map is also filled with little design tricks, like villagers hammering the ground (repairing roads) or chopping trees that don’t fall. There are some weak points too, though. The story is just about as cliché as you can get, and the author is very open about this. The fights are usually very run of the mill, even the boss fight. The one major exception would be the goblin cave, which has a number of enemy spawners and well-placed enemies that force you to think about every move. Overall a strong point, but there’s room for improvement.
MAP DESIGN: 3
I like the grand scope of the map: a whole world of different locations all in one. Little things like scorpion bolts acting as wall decorations were quite nice little touches. The vast number of modded objects also helps in making each location unique, although the ones with clear white borders around them kind of detract from the whole experience.
Unfortunately the scenario often suffers from GAIA object spamming. Tons of eye candy is added which might look cool as individual objects, but make the bigger picture very cluttered. One particular gripe was the grass fields, where you could see very clearly where a thick square of plants had been map copied over and over. Overall I like the concept, but the execution leaves much to be desired.
The different locations also seem very much like separate chunks that don’t always flow into one another, which takes away from the feeling of one holistic world. Probably the most obvious case would be the goblin kingdom being like 3 blocks away from the red city of Oblomov. I get that it's meant to be underground, but it is just not very convincing when you see city streets and NPCs walking around right next to the epic boss fight area.
STORY & INSTRUCTIONS: 2
The story is predictably cliché, just as the author opens with. This may not have been too much of a problem if the characters were fleshed out, and the world felt real and lived in… but neither have received much care. The world certainly looks alive, but there is virtually nothing in terms of backstory to the different locations, and the characters can be described with a single sentence: a main character who is definitely not Bilbo, but Birbo; his girlfriend who has two lines and gets kidnapped; some wise scholar who gives you a mission; some magician and some dwarf who help you find your girlfriend; and tons and tons of goblins. That about covers both the characters and the plot.
Neither the story nor the world building are very engaging, which is a shame, because the map is certainly ripe with opportunity for a detailed fantasy story. Perhaps if the author had had more time, he would have been able to realize his full vision.
Various other issues:
* There are lots of Italian words everywhere which have not been translated: in object names, dialogue and even the names of the players.
* You cannot cross the bridge into Rosemary despite it not being blocked. I’m guessing it has to do with the customs check here, but there's no one actively stopping me, just an invisible wall.
* The water drop sound in the cave extremely loud for some reason.
* Villager Birbo is still standing by the tree from the first cut-scene when you go back there.[*]It's possible to get the dwarf hero too early if you use marco polo.
* The side quests don’t show up as objectives so it's quite easy to forget who you are supposed to return to with the objects, and where you're supposed to go in the first place.
* None of the NPC dialogue in Nim has been translated from Italian.
* There are at least two random invisible tiles where you can accidently walk in: one in Rosemary to the south, and one next to Falkor.
* There is no hero survival mission, and no hint that Falkor and Nurin need to survive.
[Edited on 01/10/20 @ 04:12 PM]
Music has been used to good effect. The sounds play properly and enhance the atmosphere.
Care has been given to ensure the composition of the piece is pleasant and engaging.
Sometimes the music for different areas overlapped when I travelled in a straight line.
It's an RPG. You spend a lot of time walking from place to place, and relatively little time in combat.
Unfortunately Age of Empires just wasn't built for random encounters, and static enemy units are easy to place, and require effort to improve on.
At times, there is no direction about where to go. You are given a map at the start, but within the game there is no reference besides signposts about where to go.
A scouts section with a list of the major cities and their locations would improve this a lot.
Once you assemble your team of heroes, it really starts to feel satisfying. Drawing strong influences from the Final Fantasy series, you have to manage the different classes of character in order to overcome the enemies on the map.
Balancing range and melee characters is crucial. The pacing of the opening section does drag a little. It might have been improved with a cutscene, instead of a 45 minute trek around the map.
More combat would be appreciated, and especially a way of healing out of combat.
I believe there is a broken sidequest in the northern corner, which is frustrating. Also, towards the very end of the scenario, my units kept getting stuck on rocks and mountains.
There is challenge in the combat from the beginning. Elevation is used excellently and carefully, to modify the difficulty of the scenario.
The difficulty revolves around carefully using the map to fight statically placed enemies. Once you can beat something, that's it beaten.
Going back to safe areas can help, especially early on.
The line of sight is used carefully to control the difficulty. But unfortunately, that means that knowing what to expect removes some of the challenge.
Or so I thought.
Then I reached the ancient temple, after passing through the dryad woods. The monsters there are too powerful to kill with the heroes, without cheating in lots of HP through the potion system.
It's unfortunate, but I feel I have to mark down the scenario heavily in this category. I might be missing a method to kill them, but I don't feel I've been given the right instruction to find a way.
Modded graphics - a skybox, new buildings, new units - add visual flair to the map.
Some units are visible in the fog of war! Used to make a dramatic effect in the introductory cutscene
Graphical modification of the object outlines indicates quests with a gold star - a very cool idea!
Potions are used to give the player an edge in tricky situations.
Map Design: 3
Eyecandy used excessively to represent grass. A good effort, but executed poorly.
Ugly "path" objects placed into the fog of war and map boundaries. White outlines visible around stone mines and berry bushes.
But some modded graphics are used with the fog of war to produce a fantastic effect. The grass eyecandy looks much better when you're not there!
Terrain mixing has been used in part, but there is little thought given to contrast between greens and browns. Mostly just a mix of grass terrains. A little colour theory goes a long way!
The later areas use a limited palette and modded objects to bring underground caverns to life.
Some graphical errors were present, such as cliffs broken by elevation and water. Strange unnatural shadows were seen under some modded objects.
Dialogue grammar isn't great. A little wooden, but it gets the point across. You're rescuing your kidnapped girlfriend, who it is hinted is of a higher social class than you.
Some of the place-names are in Italian.
It knows exactly what it is. It's not serious, and it doesn't take itself seriously.
I genuinely did laugh when you're directed in a quest to kill a named NPC, and when you walk up to that NPC they reply "Kill me? Ha, I'll join your quest!"
And that's it. You get them as a companion.
The fantasy elements develop late on. Unfortunately, the story is mostly introduced as it unfolds, with little in the way of setup or conclusion. You see things unfolding as your characters beat up enemies.
It's nice to get a call back to defend the world. But "The Hobbit" it unfortunately is not, and the ending feels a little bit rushed.