Posted on 12/13/06 @ 11:53 PM (updated 06/12/07
||Role Playing Strategy
|Number of players:
War has begun. The nations of Igria and a Raeb are having a dispute over the melt in between their two snow-ridden countries. They both have brought their best soldiers into war, with 3 heroes leading them. Both sides have also brought 3 Accursed Towers. These towers hold the energies which let the nations of Igria and Raeb fight. While even one still stands, the men will fight to the death for their country.
Igria and Raeb -- Two Nations at War
Nations at War is divided into two teams. Players 1, 3, 5, and 7 against players 2, 4, 6, and 8. Players 1-6 command one hero, which they choose at the beginning. They upgrade this hero through kills, and help their ally base player (P7/P8) to kill all enemy accursed towers (refer to mapshot). Before the accursed towers are destroyed, however, it is advised to destroy the enemy's 3 castles, since they supply about 20 units every 80 seconds each, up to 150 units.
Players 1 through 6 choose between an archer hero, an infantry hero, and a cavalry hero. Once they choose, they spawn beside the accursed tower in the middle of their ally P7/P8's base. Each hero on a team gets 3 gold per 2 team kills. The heroes use gold to upgrade either AP or HP, the prices varying depending on the hero. If a player's hero dies, he gets 2/3rds of his gold back.
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Nations at War is another masterpiece made by Megaidiot, or as he now calls himself, Impeached. In Nations at War you can play one of four roles per team. You can either play as the army of the nation¨in which you spawn enourmous armies to defeat your enemy and raze their Accursed towers, or you can play as one of three heroes that get stronger for each kill. For each kill you earn gold and with the gold you can buy your hero more HP or attack.
Nations at War may not be the game for everyone. But if you're looking for something new and exciting, Nations at War is a great option. It's like an RPG multiplayer map, but different. Instead of a walk-around-the-map-and-kill RPG you take part in a great battle with both allies and enemies, making the battle more exciting since the enemy actually thinks strategically. No ai in the world can replace a human player.
When you have chosen your hero you go out with him to fight. Below the fort and walls of your nation, there is a large valley that forms as the battlefield. The armies of the two countries, and the heroes from each country, go there to fight and its a great, bloody battle.
By gaining AP or HP your hero advances and can become a living killing machine in less than 20 minutes. When your hero is upgraded enough, he can easily just walk in and raze one tower after another, bringing an easy victory for one team, whether the number of enemies chasing him he can still manage to win quickly.
The scenario is in balance most of the game. The three heroes have high AP and HP but they fight alone. The armies do have a chance of killing them, even if its very hard to achieve. The three heroes combined is a great source of power. Together they can kill whole armies of the enemy and the more they kill, the stronger they get.
If you play a hero then you must adjust the hero's HP and AP by yourself. Only upgrading the hero with AP will making him extremely strong, but he'll die much quicker than one with very high HP. That hero, on the other hand, will be weak in attack but almost invincible. A balanced rising of both sides is the best, but that's up to the player him/herself, but the scenario gives all possibilities.
But as I said before, the end of the game can be very unbalanced. If you have concentrated your upgrade on attack points, you can easily run into the enemy's base and raze towers. The enemy's forces will kill you off pretty quick however, but your "mission" still succeeded. One accursed tower gone, or more. If you instead wait and adjust your hero's HP and AP to a balanced level, he can run into the base, raze a tower and then run off to next tower before he loses a few hundred HP's. If you manage to do this, victory is close at hand.
Therefore I think the towers should have more attack so that if a super-hero comes to raze the tower, the towers AP forces him to balance the hero and makes it even more challenging to win.
Apart from the balance problem, playing Nations at War is a great pleasure and the design is pure eyecandy, its beautiful. The best design a multiplayer map has ever had!
The problem above however doesn't change the score of Balance for the game, as the Review Guidelines sais that, quote; "For Balance in Multiplayer you rate nothing but the starting position, which should be equal for all players to achieve the highest rating" end quote. Therefor I cannot lower the score here by anything since all players has the same chanses of winning in the beginning, the heroes are balanced and all heroes have same chanse to get stronger and the nations are just as strong as each other in the beginning.
Apart from this, even if it doesnt take part in the scoring of the balanc cathegory, the balance of this scenario is great.
The scenario is very creative and it takes Multiplayer RPG'ing to another level. Instead of walking around some map upgrading your unit, you take him to a battlefield and fight a man-to-man game in a battle with loads of soldiers. Its realistic, since all battles are in reality fought man-to-man, even if the armies are massive and works as one unit some of the time. I've actually thought of making a map like this for a long time, though for Single Player, but I never evolved the idea further. You just did. The whole concept is new and "refreshing" and its living proof of "Quality > Quantity". With only a few hundred triggers you have managed to make a multiplayer RPG that beats almost every other multiplayer scenario in the blacksmith! Compare that to Pool Blood with almost 3000 triggers, or your own Eternal Blood with same ammount, or more!
Thanks to the great map design the story goes more epic and real than the traditional blood games.
Now THAT is what I call good creativity!
Map Design: 5
Splendid! Outstanding! What more can I say? Nations at War features the most realistic and one of the most detailed maps a multiplayer map has ever seen. With elevations, snowy mixed terrain, eye-candy and flowers and the dark atmosphere, Nations at War present a feeling rarely seen in multiplayer maps: the "WOW" feeling you can feel when playing dark maps such as Ulio or The Second Krethàrn War.
The quality of the map is more like a single player scenario than the average multiplayer scenario, except for the open lands that are really made perfectly for a great battle, and of course the charming standard multiplayer design with old stone heads and things in the edges of the scenario.
Many kudos to newIdea for helping to make the design as great as it is, making the whole scenario even better and more unique!
Many multiplayer maps comes only with instructions and no story. Nations at War is a little different. Even if it doesn't include an enourmous story in the history section or something, it still has a background story, even though its very short.
The instructions however are simple to understand and its easy to get started. When you get a hang of the game you'll find it easy to get things together and you'll have all time to concentrate on the battle and the killing.
I therefor, after this short explanation, gives it a 5 in S/I, but a small - sign after it as I think the story could easily be evolved to the longer and better. It was not bad, but it could been longer.
[Edited on 01/17/07 @ 08:34 AM]
Nations at War is an old Gem by Impeached, AKA MeGaIdIoT. It is a variant upon team blood and RPG style maps, where symmetric teams of 4 players battle over no-man's land.
The symmetric-teams asymmetric-player format is a novel take on multiplayer design, something which I have endeavoured to replicate in my own work. Players 1-6 have the choice between Infantry, Archer and Cavalry classes, while players 7 and 8 control large armies and a fortress. While this adds a notable dynamic to the game, it can make the gameplay frustrating, since player skill is most important for the fortress/army players, as they have to carry the team during the initial phases in order to support the heroes as they increase the stats of their character. The gameplay for the heroes is repetitive, a cycle of grinding kills from the opposing army in order to by HP and AP, then searching for enemy heroes in order to kill them. The game takes a very long time to complete, and could do with an update to make it faster paced.
Both teams are perfectly symmetrical with no differences other than civilisation and player skill. The players 1-6 are less powerful than the armies until the endgame, since they only possess one unit and can die after a single mistake. Players 7 & 8 do not have this problem, and are able to do much more at once. It is more fun to play as the citadels, so the map cannot be considered to be perfectly balanced. Of note is a bug with the Archer, who is able to buy HP for 1 gold instead of 4 as stated.
Nations at War is an ambitious and exceptional scenario. The quality underlying the work is plain to see, as the map is a diverse array of excellent triggers and systems. With AI players for the fortresses, one can use the AI to effectively order their ally around. AI heroes are automatically booted from the game. It clearly demonstrates Impeached's masterful craft with the editor and represents an excellent creative work.
Map Design: 4
An unfortunate drawback for the scenario is the quality of the map. Like so many other files of its time, it has not aged well and no longer represents the cutting-edge of map design. The map is flat, for the most part, which does create a fair playing field, but detracts from the visual enjoyment of the map. With the hero players receiving large stat upgrades, the imbalance provided by even unfair elevation would not have a great effect upon the game. There is ample evidence of terrain mixing and other such considerations towards the aesthetic of the map, but in places the map looks rushed and unpleasant. The citadels are very square, with wide open spaces which accommodates good gameplay, but is not easy on the eye. The use of the snow tileset is perhaps a mistake, as the few terrain types employed limit the visual quality.
The map plays simply and the instructions reflect this. They are brief, but adequate. The story is similarly brief, but one does not have time to read a novella in-game. I would have expected a breakdown of each of the playable heroes, so that I could make an informed choice about which one to pick. This would be a good addition.
Like an article of jewellery which has lost some of its lustre, Nations at War has an underlying charm which is masked by some obvious flaws. It is a very enjoyable scenario, offering good value for replayability, but is perhaps a little too tedious to be played regularly. I recommend multiplayer hosts consider this map, as it offers a uniquely novel experience.
[Edited on 08/06/15 @ 06:39 PM]
Nations at War, by Megaidiot/Impeached, could be considered an early example of how a MOBA game could easily work in AoK:TC.
This map is a 4v4 Blood/RPG hybrid. For players 1 - 6, the map is a simple RPG where they are the "Heroes", whose kills gain gold which is used to purchase either health or attack upgrades. For players 7 & 8, this is a symmetrical blood map where they control spawns and gain gold through kills with which they can purchase tech upgrades to their units. This map can essentially be played in 2 ways: You leave players 7 & 8 as AI controlled, leaving it up to the Heroes to control the AI through taunts, or you allow players 7 & 8 to be human controlled, enabling them to do such things as tech upgrades and generally providing a more difficult experience for the other players as well as issuing commands to the Heroes on what their tactics should be.
As the game progresses, however, it becomes more focused on the Heroes. The most critical part of the game is the early game, where the Heroes have the hardest time in getting kills and upgrades. Once they reach a certain point, however, they become able to withstand heavy punishment and deliver one-hit kills to player 7 & 8's armies. In the end, this means the two armies are at the mercy of the powered-up heroes, who can make-or-break their entire strategy. This could be seen as fun by some, but boring by others.
The game also gets quite repetitive. This comes mainly from the symmetrical play between the two armies and that there not being many tactical options available. The armies can train units, but it isn't long before they've capped their population through the unit spawns. Once they've lost their front line of castles, they no longer have the means to produce anything themselves - alongside their regular unit spawns stopping.
The game eventually turns into a cat-and-mouse chase between the higher powered Heroes and the opposing side's own. Players are limited to two lives, and upon death are given half of all the gold they've spent on their prior Hero. This can be easily exploited (at the very least by Player 2, through the bug explained in my Balance score).
The "end goal" is to destroy the opposing army player's main Accursed Tower(s). This task can take a long time when you're not playing with full players. (As AI does not make any hero choices, therefore cannot play aside from players 7 & 8, who have standard AI and only move when taunted to.)
At the beginning of the game, Players 1 - 6 make a choice of what hero they wish to play as. Their selections are Siegfried, Robin Hood and Roland - which I feel should be looked at from a more rock-paper-scissors point of view. Currently, nothing can counter a high-damage Robin Hood hero except for massed units from the opposing army player - and this is only viable in the earlier game.
For players 7 & 8, they have identical spawns up until one player loses their front line of castles. When this happens, their regular spawns of Cavaliers, Crossbowmen and Longswordsmen changes to Paladins and Longbowmen who spawn further back, protecting the "end goal" of the map.
A major point that causes unbalance on the map, is the issue I encountered as Player 2, controlling Robin Hood. For starters, the "HP" store was incorrect, and although I required to have the correct amount of gold - the store only took 1 gold away per purchase, meaning I could quickly amass a ton of hit-points, meaning I could solo the map and face no real difficulty, even from opposing Hero players.
This map is probably one of the earliest of its kind and quite a solid example of the emerging genre of MOBA games. Although there could be much more done in the way of progression, the concept is solid and the map definitely provides entertainment in the early, more tense stages. It's unique for its time, and even holds up nicely against the more modern standards of map design.
Map Design: 5
I see the map as being quite well detailed with the terrain and eye-candy used. The map is almost perfectly symmetrical with only minimal differences between the two sides, and it utilizes most of the space available on the map - unlike other blood maps where all the play is on a small section of a large map. The terrain has definitely had some though put into it, with the central area looking like trodden ground that frequently sees battle, and the "bases" at either side of the map being more untouched, and with good mixing of the limited snow terrains. The bases are symmetrical although quite sparse - only a few castles with some towers - but this works well for the map as there's usually a high amount of units travelling through the area.
There is little in the way of story, but there is a small amount of established "lore" on the two nations. This is held inside both the blacksmith release page and the in-game Hints, where there is enough to get a brief overview but without taking large amounts of time to fully read through. There are a brief set of instructions on how to upgrade the heroes and what the over-all objective is and it works well.
My only concern here is that there was no obvious indication as to how many lives the player begins with or what kind of stats they begin with (As when choosing their hero, this is done through the use of a King unit standing in-front of their choice. I feel that the heroes in this area should be given stats that represent their initial stats to give players a slightly more informed choice.)
A very well made and still very relevant and fun map overall - but I recommend anyone playing this to try and get as many players as possible, and give focus to players 7 & 8 being human, which could have a real impact on the game. A remake of this scenario using newer systems and furthering character progression with things given by something like the extra triggers in UserPatch 1.4 could easily make a 5 star review.