Siblings of the Dark (continuation)
///PLEASE READ THE WHOLE///
||AoW: SM - Unofficial Patch 1.4
|Co-Op vs. AI?:
|# of Wizards:
|# of players:
Campaign/Map Name: Siblings of the Dark IV
E-Mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Game Type: Single-Player Campaign
Map Size: L /w Undergrnd. and Shadow World (in my campaign simply called as "Deeper Underground")
Map Level of Difficulty: Expert
Map Version: 1.0
File Size: ~62,7 MB
The continuation of a single-player campaign "Siblings of the Dark" and the last fourth part. Playing as Arachna sided with many allies, you are going to participate in big events that will shape the fate of Blessed Continent and finish the second era of Age of Wonders.
The campaign events are my intepretation of events that happened during intermission of Shadow Magic events' and Age of Wonders III's story, so it's uncanonical.
Complete this difficult scenario and then enjoy that little cool outro I prepared for you!
At the end of this readme it is STRONGLY recommended that you read "Tips&Tricks". Thank you and enjoy!
To start the the campaign, simply run AoW: SM, select "Campaign"->"User Campaign"->"Siblings of the Dark (continuation)"->[SELECT]. That's it.
No of playable sides: 1
Races included in the map: Humans, Frostlings, Elves, Dwarves, Dark Elves, Undead, Shadow Demons (few), Nomads (one city)
Winning conditions: decimate all foes OR take over Lich Wife's deep underground city.
Important Events or Special Notes: Immerse yourself in deep and rich story and you-shall-know the rest. Much of the story is told via "Event Window", so please pay attention to this thing too. The story gets more complicated as you play and expect different story twists and god's caprices. Sometimes it is worth doing against their will. On the other hand, sometimes it is better to hear your own than your friends' common sense. Few choices would lead to dramatic changes. Deception, betrayal and punishment - all of those might happen.
Other files required:
First of all, I made TWO versions of scenarios.
[+]First version included in folder "PART IV" is a normal one. Just copy all files to game's main folder. One file would be asked whether to be overwritten. Answer "yes" even if you had it from the first part of this campaign. This is a newer one:
- Resource\EVENTIMG.PFS - my file is 100% compatible with AoW: SM unofficial patched version 1.4, it merely adds entry of a new portraits library necessary to work with this campaign set.
That's all. All other files are brand new and won't cause overwriting.
[++]The second version located at "#STANDALONE SCENARIOS#" are, like the name indicates - all campaign scenarios UNLINKED. They can be played like a normal campaign selected from "User campaign" menu, but you don't have to start from the beginning. Sometimes it is better like that, because some heroes shouldn't be inherited to the next scenario of the campaign. Additionaly, in case of "linked" scenarios, even when you are playing as Merlin, the computer still tends to call you "Arachna". It is game's bug. Additionaly, when you lose, obviously you won't have the opportunity to "magically" play another scenario. The game shall end as usual and you'll have to start again. Although by doing so the sense of campaign continuity is shattered, but, oh well, game bugs dude...
Remember that you still need to copy all other files (except scenario file) from the folder "PART IV" - I didn't duplicate them for file size saving.
Anyway, choose only ONE version or be confused later, especially when looking for saves :)
- I tried to make an in-game cutscene (I know it sounds devious considered this is a turn-based game). The "cutscene" or just events are going to happen during first 2 turns, but first turn you'll spend by watching intro (after that press NEW TURN button). Then the in-game "cutscene" shall happen, but the condition is that you're NOT ALLOWED to move any units
on the surface! You can develop your city underground, watch what happens above, read heroes' or wizards' description's etc., but don't you let them move. This is all because they are going to safely return to their domains at the beginning of TURN 3 only if their locations doesn't change. When watching the intro in the first turn do not be alarmed when you hear computer units are walking, fear not, no enemy unit can go near wizard's gathering as it is shielded by AI blocks. I've tested it 1000x times. Trust me. Besides, you'll be reminded by tutorial messages and "system messages" by a magical entity named "Mr. Computer" ;)
- The most precarious are first 40 turns. Merlin and Valsharess are waging a large-scale war, having many units it takes time to wait for your turn to go. Computer is also a stupid thing as he just can't stop, but to divide it's units and move every unit until it runs out of movement points. Maximum efficiency and maximum stupidty at the same time. Sometimes it looks like if an unit have nothing to do, it goes forward and the goes back from where it came. LOL, what a bull... Survive those 40 turns and later it is only going to be better.
- Arachna gathered only a skeleton army, so she's relatively poor. Capture Dark Elven village in southern caves as soon as possible, but don't forget to prepare STRONG defense from the north!
- It is advisable to keep all your original heroes alive, as, even though the story goes by itself without them, but given their presence, it would be enriched and more interesting. Some events will occur only if particular hero is alive. Anyway, 8 heroes per player are available. When he/she dies, immediately use Resurrect Hero spell.
- This is a very difficult and time-consuming scenario, even as long as 450-500 turns. Be sure you have plenty of time ahead :) Computer is relentless and I suspect that the newest unofficial patch 1.4 tinkered something with Dread Reapers' health points. Some new creatures like: Dire Penguin, Doom Bats or Basilisk are the creation of a sick mind, bringing a new level of game imbalance. Please DO NOT make any new patch. Ever. Thank you. (that was more like a personal rant than a trick)
- Every scenario is followed by a short intro movie, but the nature of problem was that the game started to play music, thus interfering with video. To overcome this, I prepared special "muted songs" for the time intros are being played. But to get this to work you are ADVISED to TURN OFF "Custom playlist" in sound options before playing this campaign. By doing so, the game will utilise scenario's own supplied playlist.
- At some point in the game you'll discover you need a Dwarven Mole Rats to dig "soft" cavern walls up (the entrance to that cave is quite concealed though). Protect them at all costs as you can only buy TWO of them in the whole game OR take over Dwarven City.
- Don't dig up that caves to early though... or face relentless deluge of Valsharess' hordes and even Merlin won't be able to stop them. I recommend doing that around 150th turn.
Thanks for downloading and playing.
Credits to all concerned subjects: especialy mp3's, movie fragments and custom portraits. All these are freely available on the internet, but I only want to point out that these are not my work. I've merely incorporated them to work with Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic.
All others, like: scenarios, story, dialogues etc. are the work of W4rb1rd.
You are NOT allowed to modify/edit/rework/copy my scenarios or use them in any other, whether analog or digital form. You are allowed to view them in Editor. Other than that, before attempting anything, please contact me first ---> email@example.com.
PLEASE DON'T FORGET TO GIVE ME MUCH NEEDED FEEDBACK BY WRITING COMMENTS AND/OR SENDING E-MAILS. THIS IS MY FIRST ATTEMPT AT MAP MAKING IN THIS GAME.
WHERE ARE ALL THOSE "PESKY" GERMANS FLOPPING OUT AND COMMENTING ON EVERY NEW FILE, HUH?
THIS COMMUNITY IS DEAD AS IT LOOKS AND I SUSPECT GIVEN IT'S PRESENT STATE, THE SALES OF AOW III GONNA BE LOW AND GAME WOULD QUICKLY DISAPPEAR.
I ONLY CAN PERSONALY THANK TO: Rich (SENT E-MAIL WITH FEEDBACK), Mack_Schreck, Barryky AND ranzabock (COMMENTS POSTED ON WEBSITE). ALL OTHER ARE UNWORTHY SLACKERS :)
WITHOUT FEEDBACK (NOT TO MENTION ANY REVIEW) THE AUTHOR IS UNAWARE IF HE/SHE IS GOING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION!
|Author||Reviews ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )|
I did not run into any issues with the game. It was a fun play with a couple nice twists.
Not as hard as advertised. I may have gotten lucky by getting the Greater Demon pretty early on a scouting run. However, still it felt like a threat was always just about to happen.
Interesting opening moves idea, probably not really necessary, but it did add some atmosphere to the game.
Map Design: 5
A strong point of this one. It all felt just about perfect. Nicely decorated but not so over the top that it caused any playability issues.
Lots of story not so much on the instructions. I think I lucked into the key entry into the dark elf center at just the right time.
Your maps deserve a review. This was the best of the 4. I could not get part 3 to finish on the campaign.
Overall, I definitely enjoyed playing this one and I would recommend giving it a try.
Having designed a map myself, some of my comments below may be more for the mapmaker than for the player, and hopefully will be considered constructive criticism.
Sorry, there are some spoilers.
Again, enjoyed it. I only played PART IV.
I played it in Simultaneous mode, making it slightly easier, but more importantly faster. Not much to be done about it, but AI takes way too long on Classic mode.
I encountered a fatal bug in Simultaneous that I have never seen in another map: reading some messages cause the center message area to freeze and the cursor leaves trails. No other messages can be read after that. This happened at different points throughout the entire game, suggesting a corrupted resource or something. I saved often and simply learned not to read the offending message, making the game playable to the end.
The other bugs I found are, unfortunately, I think part of the game. The quest feature is buggy. The Second Wave, Stirring the Water and Explore Lich Wife's City, all reached zero but did not remove themselves. I expected that by not completing Stirring the Water, the alliance would crumble, but nothing happened.
This is the area most in need of work. For the first 20 turns or so, it seems like the game is going to be hard, with strong pressure from the Lich Wife, but if you are moderately aggressive in southern expansion and more or less ignore the north, you quickly settle into a longish easy middle game. Your allies are too powerful. It seemed to me they could have won the game without my help. By around turn 60, we had the surface entirely cleared.
The only other challenge came towards the end when I found the underground opponents. With no way to the surface, they were built up down there with more stacks than the cities could hold. So that took some time to fight through. I finished on turn 114.
I appreciated a game where Teleportation Gates and Item Forges were allowed, but they both make it too easy. Also, if you are going to allow them, there were some cities that seemed unable to build the Teleportation Gates for no good reason.
On the subject of things that make it easy, there are a few other things that stand out. First, as usual, unit enchantments are a huge advantage. Second, there are a very large number of Recruitment Sites. Third, race relations are stellar so no never had morale issues.
The other main balance issue is that the Second Wave is nothing but a droplet and comes too late. If I had been more aggressive, I might have been able to win the game before the Second Wave even came. But I secretly wanted it to come because I assumed if it takes so long come, it's going to be scary. Instead, I think about six stacks limped in and were wiped out by Merlin in about 3 turns.
There is another way to look at all this. I rated it as such because the mapmaker, I think, is after an epic game, but if you are looking for a shorter game, there are several elements that make this possible. (As always, you could also force yourself not use all the advantages I mentioned for a harder game.)
The bulk of the creativity here lies in the story, which is fine. If you are looking for gameplay innovations, this will not fit the bill.
Map Design: 3
The map design is adequate to support the story.
To improve it I would more variation in elevation and give locations more personality. Serpent River, for example, does not look seem to resemble a serpent or have any serpents. Also, side quests and fewer already-explored structures would help.
Though I don't play maps for the story, I know many do. It has to be said that the mapmaker devoted tremendous energy here. Campaigns are a rarity and cutscenes rarer still in the world of AOW. The end video goes on forever!