Posted on 08/13/07 @ 08:28 AM (updated 08/23/07
~~ The Prophecy~~
This is my first and likely also last project in designing for AoC. I have enjoyed making it and this project has been a learning curve for me in which I discovered some of the many ways in which the editor can be used creatively. I have spent several months making and improving this scenario, so I hope that it will show throughout the campaign and provide several hours of good entertainment for the AoC community.
by Silver Serpent
~~The Prophecy~~ is a 1-scenario campaign depicting an ominous prophecy for the world. It is situated around the golden sands of the desert and in the merchant city, Kiugo. You take the role of a beggar named Orion and set out to become a prosperous merchant. But you soon find out that you are in for more than you bargained for. The time will soon come. A time to drop the coins, bear the bow and hope for the best.
Challenging Stealth gameplay
Current storyline displayed in Objectives section
Enthralling storyline with many twists and turns
Explanation of names and places in Scouts section
Large variety of gameplay
Optional Side Quests
Over 1600 triggers
Over 90 minutes of cutscenes
Two possible Endings
Unique upgrading/ training system
The gameplay mainly consists of RPG elements but is varied with a mix of Fixed Force and Defend the Spot elements.
For those not aware of how to install the files, there is a 'Readme' file included in the .zip for that will guide you through the 1-minute process.
Note: This campaign does not use the Rennaisance utility by Oliver
Did you encounter any bugs or wish to give suggestions regarding this campaign, feel free to post them in the Feedback Thread
Last updated on 23/08/07 in which all bugs mentioned in the Feedback Thread have been fixed.
I would also like to thank Julius999, RPGary, Shadow667 and Tanneur99 for helping to make this project a reality.
|Author||Reviews ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )|
To me, this campaign was very fun. The Arabian music and the nice scenery combined for a fun playing atmosphere. The author mixed the styles of play in his campaign so that I never got bored of playing the same type of style all the way through. I also really liked the cutscenes that helped to carry the story along.
The balance in this campaign was very good. Getting the supplies to become a merchant wasn't very hard, but it wasn't supposed to be. Assassinating Gavin was a tricky part if you didn't know what to do. The campaign reached it's hardest point when you have to defend the bloodguard camp. It was one of the hardest parts in any campaign and took many reloads. But having to reload a campaign many times is what I would consider good balance.
This campaign was super creative! Building the pyramid was really cool and especially making the moat to surround it. The mission to assassinate Gavin, had many cool and creative things. I liked that Orion (when he was an archer) suffered out in the heat unless he was by an oasis. It was cool that you didn't just run in and kill Gavin. There was stealth involved. You had to hide behind the trees and in the perfect spot or Gavin would run away and his guards would come after you. Defending the bloodguard camp was full of creative ideas. Having your men do marching practice to gain hitpoints, turning trade carts into scorpions, training Orion at the archery range and gathering stone for your tower to shoot are just some of the creative things in this one mission.
Map Design: 5
The city of Kiugo was really nice. There was something going on everywhere. There was an imam teaching Islam to its followers in one place, a graveyard in another spot, and a man being chased by dogs throughout the city. The desert was very nice because it looked real. It didn't have tons of gaudy eye-candy. There were a few too many trees but other than that it was very good. The bloodguard camp was really well done. It captured the feel of a military camp in the deserts of Arabia.
The story to this campaign was very good. It had an intriguing plot and a good storyline. Although the campaign seemed to start off without a plot this is for a reason. Orion is not supposed to know about what is going on until later. The plot did not just drop off at any point and leave you hanging like many other campaigns. Also the character was fully developed and wasn't just a unit who you moved around the map; he was an actual character who showed feelings and spoke.
This campaign is a must download. A lot of work must have gone into this campaign. Very good work Silver Serpent you have created a masterpiece.
The word ‘epic’ is over-used, but the Prophecy, for its sheer scale truly deserves it. We follow the story of a beggar by the name of Orion, as his life and many others are changed forever by an old man’s prophecy.
The single scenario campaign is entertaining and earns a high rating, however despite many well-designed aspects there are a large number of minor flaws that drag the overall quality down. Possibly the large size of the campaign counts against it, as there is a lot of waiting, tedious walking and long gaps with few triggered events. Time and again the player is sent across the map, fetching and carrying objects, filling out somewhat dull errands and acting as a go-between in conversations. This really interrupts the flow, as some areas are fast-paced and others are slow cut-scenes with lots of narrative, or just walking. The scenario also suffers from a lack of replayability, there is not one set ‘path’ as such, but you are never really given much choice about what you do, and with so many long drawn out sections, such as building the pyramid, it can be a real chore to play it through for a second time. The size counts against the scenario again in the form of bugs, fortunately none of these seem to be critical, but dialogue appearing out of place and a bug where I get defeated for not finding every last reinforcement in Kiugo do not create a good impression. Apart from that, some areas lack polish, but despite these issues the scenario is still entertaining enough to retain a 4 ranking on the whole.
Excellent, with varying difficulty levels and descriptions for each it is easy to find the level that suits. The only slight problem is that some objectives are too easy and dull in comparison to others on the same difficulty, but this is not enough to deduct a point when I take into account how close the map design was to a full rating.
By far the strongest part of the scenario, inventive little details abound, and although I won’t spoil the surprise here, suffice to say that no one will complete the scenario without seeing something new, or something used in a novel way. Everything from the map design to the objectives Silver Serpent has applied his own touch, even giving the frankly rather unoriginal story line a new lease of life.
Map Design: 4+
The map has been designed pain-stakingly, with no area neglected. It is a shame perhaps that only about half the map is actually used, but the reason this category does not receive a full rating is more to do with the unrealistic and slightly messy elements involved. The desert is sprinkled with an abundance of trees, the city of Kiugo feels distinctly artificial, the map during the Battle of Turon seemed rushed and unpolished and the area with the pyramids felt very incongruous with its surroundings. But these small gripes are not enough to seriously damage this map’s rating, with its vast array of details and consistently decent design it is far superior to a random map.
Story and Instructions: 5-
A single glance at the title and it is no mystery the story is nothing new, yet Silver Serpent’s telling introduces some original elements. The instructions are clear at almost all times (the comment on acquiring stone is a little ambiguous). Some of the dialogue is more than a little contrived (the sequence with the Elohim Apprentice springs to mind) and didn’t feel much like a real conversation which spoilt it slightly, but the character’s motives and thoughts were for the most part clear (except why the Elohim prophet found it necessary to speak in riddles and rhymes and why Tuvor doesn’t appear to mind that an enemy commander eaves-dropped on a vital prophecy he has given his life to hear, and quite a few other, minor, things I won’t mention here) and by the end of the story their fate was of more interest than in many scenarios. Unfortunately I found the ending a little bit lame, and very much embedded in fantasy clichés, which was a bit of a disappointment. The reviewing guideline dictates that a story is worth a 4 at least, and I feel the calibre of this story, albeit unoriginal, warrants the full rating.
- Spend more time on the dialogue. Damon ‘knowing the desert’ and then being hopelessly vague about where oases are and saying unhelpful things like ‘for some reason I believe one is more hazardous’ does not impress me.
- Less flowers and other embellishments, to make design more realistic, and easy on the eyes.
- Even if you have a really creative objective, if the player is bored playing it, consider cutting it out.
- The use of chat for dialogue was confusing and sometimes messed up.
- The plot seemed to weaken towards the end, try having a rough story idea beforehand, with a strong conclusion.
- Extremely creative ideas
- Long and involved story
- Good difficulty in battles and the like
- The cities are designed nicely, if illogically
- Unusual and unique aspects, such as making money through business
- Varied gameplay, from making money via peaceful business to training slaves into battle ready troops to trekking through a desert.
[Edited on 10/15/07 @ 10:44 AM]
Wow. After almost 4 hours of playtime, I'm quite frankly amazed.
Being by far the best Age of Kings RPG Scenario, The Prophecy just left me wanting more. Despite one hiccup I had during The Tide of Blood, I remained detemined to finish this epic scenario, and I did!
While most the campaign is based around small battles, or acquiring resources, the defence of Fort Irony is very well balanced. It took me a few times to complete, but with the right tactics (ie. leaving the Knight reinforcements outside the fort), it can be done eventually. Also, the 3 difficultly levels present a challenge for even the most experienced player.
Silver Serpent has obviously spent alot of time on this scenario, and has really made it spectacular. The streets of Kiugo really feel alive, with the odd passerby; such as a kebab seller and a tax collector. The construction of the Pyramid is a great feature, and really adds to the spectacular story.
Map Design: 5
Although half of the map is unexplorable (used for cutscenes), and much of the other half is only barren desert, Silver Serpent has still done excellent at the Map Design. Scenario designers tend to go OTT with Map Design, and cannot simply just have a barren desert with a few elevations and palm trees. But you know what? It works. As I've already said, Kiugo is awesome, and the ambient streets really feel like something out of a proper RPG, (such as Oblivion, which by the music, I can tell Silver Serpent is a fan of!).
One word: Epic. From a lowly beggar, to an army officer, the story of Orion is simply amazing. Not once did I lose interest in the plot, and I read each line of dialogue to be sure I didn't miss a thing. The plot contains many twists, which you definately will not see coming. The instructions are also very good, despite being vague at some points.
The end of the scenario is just begging for a sequel. And so am I. This epic story is a must download, and is up there with the greats of the last 7 years.
Every now and then, just as I’m wearying of AoK and wondering if at long last it has finally lost its sparkle, I discover a design which is so good that it refreshes and reinvigorates my jaded palate, and makes me ‘lose’ several hours of my life. How fun it is to be lost though. The Prophecy is the latest such discovery.
I enjoyed playing this immensely. It’s a real master class in design with so much to admire and do and absorb that I was never bored. All the more surprising because there were several aspects to this scenario which I don’t normally go for. First, at the beginning there is quite a lot of talking and watching rather than doing, but I found the commentary and dialogue quite gripping. Second, there is rather a lot of walking across the map on errands, but again I was untroubled as I was happy to go with the flow and move the story forward. Every scene looks as if it has been choreographed perfectly. The ending is perhaps a slight let-down but then again I’m not sure; in any case, as with so much of this design, it’s not run of the mill.
Really finely balanced. There are some great challenges here which took me several attempts, but it was always clear that they could be overcome. However, I have a few niggles: at least one of the time-limited objectives (recruiting in the town) seemed so tight that the smallest, random glitch over which one has no control, such as an AI unit getting in the way, could result in defeat. Also, moving units out of Fort Irony is very difficult with the entrance congested by enemy troops. In both of these examples, I feel that luck plays too much of a part.
Where does one start? There is more creativity here than one can shake a stick at. There are great visual tricks, then there is the remarkable story with a neat twist, the unusual objectives, and the preparation for battle (not to mention the battle itself). There is also excellent use of music, with the main theme, although looped, never becoming annoying or intrusive; instead it creates atmosphere. I don’t want to say too much and give things away. One visual trick which sticks in my mind is the use of a series of castles to form a great wall, which seems, with hindsight, so obvious that surely it must have been done before (?!) – but if it has I haven’t seen it.
MAP DESIGN (5)
The map design is not centre-stage, it plays a supporting role but there is nothing wrong with it; in fact its features, whilst not necessarily spectacular, often play an important part in the story and are usually there for a reason. Most of the map is desert which is by definition not the most interesting landscape but desert can be done badly which isn’t the case here.
I loved the story, not usually something which unduly concerns me. There was something about the story which drew me into events, and the rich dialogue fleshed out the characters. The style is like no other design I’ve played. Orion’s manner in particular is very interesting… There is excellent use of language (“a hatred so powerful that it could burn the sun itself”, “you are a smitten kitten!”). I found no spelling or grammatical mistakes. Added to this, there is a fine bitmap, objectives, hints and scouts.
In summary, this should be a compulsory download for all AoK-players.
[Edited on 11/26/07 @ 06:49 AM]
Overall, this is a solid game that is worth playing if you have some patience mainly because of the story. However, the gameplay was a really nice idea but could have been a whole lot better.
Some parts of this game were made very well. The cutscenes presented the story fine, and some of the quests and battles were interesting. Also, I liked seeing the story to completion despite one of the endings resulting in no victory or loss message.
On the other hand, much of the game involves completing chores, tasks, and errands. That wouldn't be a drawback if they all were fun and exciting, but most of it is just walking around lacking elements which would make it interesting such as strategy, action, adventure, or advancement of the story. Also, I wasted a lot of time just waiting for something to be done. It was really linear since most of the tedious tasks were required.
I also had an unreasonably frustrating amount of difficulty near the end. (See balance.)
This scenario mostly had good difficulty except for the big battle near the end. I think this is the only part of the game significantly affected by the difficulty selection, and it's a shame you won't realize whether you chose the right one until 3 hours into the game. The hints mention "fast units" and a post mentions "knights" but I had none of these and found it impossible to reach 3 of the 4 transport boats. The battle was grossly imbalanced and relied more on luck that strategy, especially since I had no fast units.
Also, without the forum I would not have figured out that finding a stone merchant means buying it from the market. This should also be in the hints section.
There are very few projects like this available. Some gameplay elements are creative and original, but I found the story to retain freshness despite its similarities to a certain video game.
Map Design: 4
The artistic aspect of the map design was good overall. Deserts in AoK don't get much different. It didn't really affect the game much.
The problem with map design was the location of things. I ended up walking long distances too much.
This game features a great story that is presented well. This is the reason why you should play this game and bear through the frustrating or tiresome parts. Finding out what happens is satisfying.
The few spelling errors were not a major detractor.
Coincidentally, I beat [i]The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion[/i] the day before playing this game. [i]The Prophecy[/i] borrows much from that wonderful video game including gameplay, story, and music, but adds its own twist. Maybe it's the timing, but it seemed to me like an attempt to bring [i]Oblivion[/i] to AoK. That's not a bad thing at all, but the feat is difficult to achieve, and this campaign fell very short of what can be done with AoK. It would have been better if you borrowed more of the gameplay that made [i]Oblivion[/i] great, such as tedious quests being optional and journeying through the land being interesting instead of tiresome. This parallel between the two games has nothing to do with the scoring, but addresses the similarity which I found all too obvious.
'The Prophecy' entails the life of a beggar named Orion who soon finds himself entangled within the motioning wheel of fate with assassins, an enemy invasion force and an age-long prophecy. The file is a single-scenario that will allow the player a few hours gameplay and is primarily a RPG, containing mixed elements of FF and RPS.
PLAYABILITY: For all its flaws and shortcomings, 'the Prophecy' was for many an undoubted masterpiece the moment it was uploaded to the Blacksmith. The gameplay is so complete with so many things to do, objectives set within chapters and plenty of action and movement that for those who don't mind a bit of walking and a fairly slow start, this will grip from the moment go. However, because there were at times so much to do and the time it took to do them, some instances may have been too slow for the player, where it seemed, a few objectives less would have been a little more beneficial. Still, the scenario's creativity will intrigue any designer or general player of Age of Kings. While not necessarily awash with major trigger tricks and unseen devices, the file still manages its way around its fair share of impressive novelties and more. The in-game story is in particular very well conveyed, sparing hardly any detail from its audience and constantly moving the story forward with varying scenery, plot and twists. The music was nicely tranquil, and the sounds very fitting. There were however many bugs, more than anticipated, which did not limit my enjoyment of the scenario but did nonetheless prevent a perfect score in this category. Things like constant intervals of freezing an hour or so into the gameplay, which I believe may have been caused by looping shore fish was quite annoying and at best distracting. Units disappeared in front of my eyes from buggy cloaks situated among the desert, forcing unnecessary reloads, and among other things, an objective or two firing randomly when they shouldn't have. One such instance being when a siege workshop appeared after the victory over the enemy army, causing a constant spawning of scorpions affecting the duel towards the end of the scenario. In addition, a few unnecessarily confusing moments where I was forced to spend a while trying to figure out what to do because the author had not properly covered it in the objectives. To conclude, this is a very enjoyable, well designed, yet flawed-masterpiece. It seems too rough in some areas during gameplay. I earnestly hope the author goes back over the scenario to further polish it. 4.0+
BALANCE: Almost perfect. I played on moderate, and for the most part, the scenario was about setting up a business, making your way in the world, and becoming a successful and profitable merchant. Things went wrong with bandit attacks on caravan routes, desert assassins tangling themselves with your work and rumours of an enemy invasion overseas. The difficulty of the scenario did not at all fluctuate but was consistent as I suffered reloads, deaths and needed quick micromanagement, hit and run tactics and strategy, especially in the attack on the fortress hideout, to overcome the enemy. There were a few parts that were more or less annoyingly hard, such as when objectives required me to charge outside the fort and find reinforcements to aid in crushing the enemy transport ships. This was made futile, regardless of my more than numerous attempts as the enemy swarmed the causeway, causing a reload from an earlier save point to pre arrange the battle so that I could win. Besides this, the duel toward the end of the scenario was a let down in terms of difficulty, but considering the author's intent does not necessarily affect the overall rating of this category. 5.0-
CREATIVITY: Honestly impressive. This is the map editor manipulated to show some of its best and most absorbing with fountains, caravans escorted by armed guards, gladiatorial fights, accumulating money through deeds and quests, patrolling units giving the impression of walking, an astrology tower, a new design of walls, pumpkin fields and plentiful sounds and music which all affirm an intriguing atmosphere. I felt the warmth of a desert and shared in the enjoyable experience of a business going wrong and an enemy force besieging a fort. Although not original, the story of a poor villager dreaming to one day become a prosperous merchant is looked at in a new and creative way. Far above average, and deservedly stands out among the best. 5.0
MAP DESIGN: The map design was sufficient enough that it not only looks nice but melds into the background without being too overly exertive with terrain mixing and eye candy. The design primarily covers a desert landscape, which in most circumstances can turn out being dull or overdone, but the designer has managed to keep it realistic and interesting enough to an excellent standard, though admittedly there were some places that seemed a little untidy and not the part with the rest of the map. The town of Kiugo is well detailed and designed and forms the centrepiece of the scenario, featuring taverns, minarets, a great mosque, merchant quarters, an arena, slums, military quarters, a graveyard and even a palace. There is always something to look at and keep the scenario exciting. 5.0
STORY/INSTRUCTIONS: The story was excellent, a joy to be a part of and although unoriginal, looked at in a new way. Together with a great bitmap, abundant, user-easy hints and even a little something in scout this category earns full marks. 5.0
CONCLUDING: 'The Prophecy' is a surprisingly impressive scenario. Although flawed and containing perhaps more than its fair share of bugs, it's very enjoyable to play and the map design is a delight to observe. This has something for everyone. I highly recommend this download.
In a sentence - A flawed masterpiece.
In closing - A must download.
[Edited on 09/30/16 @ 08:10 AM]