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Downloads Home » Single Player Scenarios » Doorstep to Valhalla (Update)

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Doorstep to Valhalla (Update)

Author File Description
File Details
Version: Age of Empires II: DE
Style: Build and Destroy
Defend the viking settlement against nightly attacks from the Skraelingr and raid their villages during daytime.
Utilize a completely custom viking techtree and the benefits of worshipping the various Norse deities.
AuthorComments & Reviews   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
Mighty Myrmidon
Map Design4.0
Playability: 4
This was fun to play! The Norse settlers are faced with a seemingly impossible task: Survive night after night of furious Skraelings! I was initially confused about militia spawning randomly and it took a little while to realize that they were being spawned upon the deaths of Iroquois warriors. I am still a little puzzled as to why, and I feel like this mechanic could have been signposted and explained a little better. There are some interesting changes to the mechanics at play here. with an entirely unique tech tree and unit roster to play with (several in fact, depending on which god you choose). These all worked as intended and made for a very unique feel for this scenario. No bugs that I encountered but there were some spots where enemy units got stuck and amassed in large numbers but never reached the player.

Balance: 3:
The scenario is initially difficult and although the numbers of attackers keeps on increasing, it does get a little easier once you're able to bring the more powerful units to bear. The difficulty is solely due to the large numbers of invading enemies and once you survive the first few waves, there are no surprises or changes in tactics for the rest of the game. It felt perhaps a little unfair that destroying Skraeling camps doesn't stop them from spawning there. I don't know that I would take points off for it, but it turns out that Fimbulwolves are INSANELY good at taking down buildings. A pack of seven or so can destroy those largest towers in just a couple of seconds. It might take a couple of tries to succeed, but the mission is definitely beatable. One thing I found frustrating was the late game hunt for those last buildings hidden in the corners. Some of them were hidden in places that were difficult to find, and it's hard to get excited about a "destroy every last hovel" win condition.

Creativity: 5 The pre-game introduction did a great job of setting the scene but it would have helped if there was a little dialogue in the beginning of the scenario. As it was, it felt a little sudden and rushed to me. There was a lot of creativity in the mechanics of the game itself.

Map Design: 4: The map looks very good, with the player taking a defensive position in a craggy mountain pass and then sallying out into the woodlands to raid the Skraelings. Alkhalim makes great use of cliffs, elevation, swamps and rocks to make a bleak mound for the Northmen to defend.

Story: 3: The concept is simple, but done well. I would have liked a little more dialogue to set the tone, especially in the beginning. The instructions help familiarize the player with the unique aspects of the scenario including the simplified economy, the unique technologies and units. The introduction was copied (with attribution) from, which struck me as a bit of a lazy way out.
Official Reviewer
Map Design3.0
Playability: 3

Doorstep to Valhalla sets players in the shoes of the Norsemen in Vinland (North America), whose settlement is under constant pressure at the hands of Skraelingjar. The goal is simple: eliminate all Skraeling encampments while defending at least one of the shrines within the encampment. The player is given access to a fully modified tech tree with a variety of Norse units and must balance defense and attack forces while being wary of an ever-oscillating day/night mechanic: during nighttime the natives grow stronger and their attacks increase in ferocity. While the essence of the concept is quite nice and several creative uses of AoE2DE features enhance the gameplay (more on that below), the gameplay of the scenario is quite slow, as one spends hours grinding away at endless enemy hordes while building forces that will be sacrificed, one after the other, to achieve a series of small gains between the exceedingly low time windows to operate beyond one’s base.

Balance: 4

The scenario was balanced in that the balance of power between the player and the enemy forces always felt close, but the constraints placed on the player combined with this culminated in a situation conducive to extremely low tempo in gameplay. While a wealth of options were available to the player, only a handful had true viability and most played a mainly novelty and cosmetic role. The modified gameplay also led to an immense amount of multitasking, with the need to constantly attack to earn gold and divine favor while training and allocating troops to defend and the much-dreaded feature of training livestock as one’s only source of food. While the scenario was balanced to account for all of this, the result had a negative impact on other aspects of the playing experience.

Creativity: 4

This was the strongest aspect of the scenario. The author has made adept usage of the AoE2DE scenario editor to create a fully modified tech tree with various unit options and the ability to worship one of three Norse deities, each granting separate unit and tech options. In a way, this scenario is almost its own game, and the creativity in the map design bolsters that impression. As an exhibit in this category it is firmly impressive; however, as hinted in the other sections, the impact on other spheres of the experience is questionable, and the slew of new game mechanics and modifications is not introduced effectively, leading to considerable confusion on the player’s part as they endeavor to learn a new game at a torrid pace. Overall, it must be questioned how much this impressive amount of effort actually enhances the gameplay, which still boils down to a repetitive, grinding slog. In this I’m reminded of a comparison made by a judge in the prior DtS contest to a microwave powered by a miniature nuclear fusion reactor: functionally it is beyond impressive, but it still only heats your leftovers.

Map Design: 3

The author took the approach of creating a cold and bleak, rocky landscape (to match the bleakness of the historical setting, perhaps). The player’s settlement on a rocky promontory was surrounded by forbidding forests and cold bodies of water, and the overall feel was a mysterious setting that was creative-looking and enjoyable to explore. Overall, the aesthetic quality of the map design was firmly average, but the positive impact that the overall layout--with its careful balance of open areas and strategic choke points--had on the gameplay improves the score here.

Story/Instructions: 2

The introduction of the scenario is quite promising, consisting of a brief overview of the Norse settlement in Vinland as relayed by the Icelandic sagas. However, this sphere all but disappears during the scenario itself, and while the author has made an admirable effort to incorporate Old Norse culture and mythology into the mission, it is largely unexplained and the garbled Old Norse terms, though recognizable thanks to my knowledge of this ancient language, are, I imagine, incomprehensibly confusing to most.

Additional Comments:

Sure to provide enjoyment, Doorstep to Valhalla is especially worth viewing as a showcase of much of the new functionality available in the Definitive Edition.

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Map Design3.5
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Size:7.85 MB