(updated 12/19/02) Age of Wonders II Heaven :: Coming of Age Campaign Map 3
Age of Wonders II Heaven Julia with Gameplay background
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Coming of Age Campaign Map 3

Author File Description
orionshaolin
File Details
Ruleset: AoW2: TWT - TS Standard Rules
Map Size: L
Levels: 2
Single Player?: Yes
Co-Op vs. AI?: No
PBEM/Hotseat?: No
Multiplayer Online?: No
# of Wizards: 5
# of players: 1
Skill Level: Advanced
Password Protected: No
UPDATE AS OF 12-19: version 1.1, but still needs tweaking, so please mail me your comments to the addy in the readme . Thanks ;)

...

The third installment, and since it was a bugger to test, it might still have a flaw or two.
Its just big, and somewhat hard.

But I think also very enjoyable, since I took a great deal of time getting it all together. I hope you like!
Good luck :)
AuthorComments & Reviews   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
PetrusOctavianus
This map looks very promising, but it's very hard.
My Wizard was wiped out when a stack of Draconians ("assassins")appeared right next to my HQ.
My poor Wizard and a lone Knight had no chance against a bunch of Fliers, Crushers and Slithers.

Make sure you defend your HQ well if you're gonna play this map.
PetrusOctavianus
Rating
4.4
Breakdown
Playability5.0
Balance4.0
Creativity5.0
Map Design4.0
Story/Instructions4.0
Playability: 5
My first impression of this map was not very good, since my Wizard was killed by an enemy stack that appeared out of nowhere.
So I tried again and this time left some extra defenders at HQ, and the more I played this map, the more I liked it.
Playing the for me interesting user-made maps chronologically, this one is clearly my favourite so far.
You start with most of the unit-enhancing spells and nodes are very scarse, which make mana-management important, which is a big plus for me.

Balance: 4
Apart from the assassins appearing out of nowhere, the balance is good. Oberius, who's the main enemy, is a bit too easy to kill (and keeps gloating from the afterlife), especially if a stack of strong independents go after him instead of the player.

Creativity: 5
All wizards, heroes, items and town are custom.
Many quests.

Map Design: 4
Pretty and varied map, with lots of room for strategy. Very much has been crammed into a medium map without it feeling cramped.
Some parts of the underground feel quite contrived, though, especially the caves of Chaos can be a bit frustrating, but that's a minor niggle, since they are parts of various quests.

Story/Instructions: 4
Excellent story, with many interesting quests. It can be a bit confusing to decide in which order to do things, though.
One quest involves doing a favour for the Dwarf King, who will in turn tell the location of an artifact. But there's a sign near the artifact which tells that the artfact is guarded by Basilisks? This reveals the location of the artifact long before the player is supposed to find it.
Some quests can only be done by the Wizard himself, which makes for interesting choices, when you are effectively reduced to using your ally's small domain for spell casting.

Additional Comments:
Highly recommended for those who like good SP maps with both epic battles, quests and a good story.
It's a big shame the map-maker didn't continue this series, since his maps were excellent and kept getting better.

[Edited on 12/19/06 @ 04:07 AM]

PetrusOctavianus
An updated version for SM 1.4 can be found here:

http://aow2.heavengames.com/downloads/showfile.php?fileid=773
Marilith77 I am just playing this map. Will review it later.

All 3 maps are _very_ beautiful and well worth an effort. But they have problems, mainly because they were done for TWT, not SM:

Map 1 - okay, no problems.
Map 2 - all the quests work, but somehow it becomes very annoying, because of the partially scripted Ice Storm attacks. If you do not know the map layout, it does take a very long time, and there is not much else to do. Knowing the map will allow beating it in half the time or less.
Map 3 - just playing - obviously the author did not know, that you can join the 3 maps, or this was not possible with TWT? I joined them, worked well - but now I have one hero twice...

A deadly sin with Map 2 and Map 3: There are Shrines of Nature built in the starting city. This makes you sort of a forced worshiper. The result are 'destroy this mine, that watermill, this node', and so on, endlessly every 5th or 6th turn. Annoying!!! And senseless, since the quests repeat endlessly, all in 'Easy' or 'Average', not one in Hard, and hence only worthless rewards.

The author has limited the Wizard (fits the storyline) by making him Cosmos, but giving him NO books at all. The result are shi**y spells. Should be changed a bit, because the Wizard essentially serves as a healer only. And the Spirit of Nature is endlessly annoying with sometimes near impossible quests (a mine built into mountains, so only units with 'Mountaineering' can even reach it - this with Humans and Tigrans. So you have to have flyers, or you have to decline. Just now I was sent to destroy a mine, which in the next turn my ally captured, and so on. (Not the fault of the map designer).

But all the maps are still worth playing. It would help to rework some details for SM.
Marilith77
Rating
4.0
Breakdown
Playability4.0
Balance4.0
Creativity5.0
Map Design5.0
Story/Instructions2.0
Playability: 4
The map is not only very nice to look at, it also plays well. There is one thing I found annoying: The 'hidden' objects! There are a lot of objects hidden behind mountains, and especially cave entrances to descend into the caves below are often only found by seeing the AI going down. This is a bad idea, IMHO. It is frustrating to click around everywhere. Should not be done, at least not with nearly every of these objects. Magic relays and mines are similar, but not that important.
The author also has special names in special characters (probably an Asian or Russian font), which are shown as senseless strings, if you do not have the fonts (I suspect, with the fonts they are shown correct, but cannot know it). (See also below for story comments).


Balance: 4
Balance is fine, the map becomes fairly easy, if you use it as a campaign, which the author was not able to do, since it was written for TWT. There is a problem I corrected, since one hero 'returns' on map 3, and the you have two hero versions with the same base ID, which leads to peculiar problems. So I created a new hero. The hero limit is broken, since you do not receive more heroes from game, if you are over the limit, but you can have a lot more. In map 2 I found 2 additional heroes, which I could hire. So if used as a campaign in a SM sense, it should be rebalanced. (Hero level limit on the first two maps).

Creativity: 5
Not much to say, the map looks very nice, natural, and believable. There are a lot of 'secrets', where you can find things. In my second play-through in map 2 I was thrilled to discover a hidden dwarf town and could have Dwarves on the map, where this race seemed not to be present.

Map Design: 5
Besides my already mentioned criticism the map is designed very well. The author elected to have only few Nodes, and reduced magic, which is fine and was consequently done. The ways are well thought out (especially in map 3), there are several things which are hard to reach, which seems to be intentional.

Story/Instructions: 2
Here I had real trouble in map 3, I gave up frustrated, not because I could not win (I already have bested one Wizard, the other two do not move much, I have around 12 cities, a lot of money and Mana.
But the staff quest (Staff of Oidan) failed, because of a very nasty trap: If you do the wrong thing, things seem to work, but after a lot of further turns you find out that the quest is lost. The problem: You are told to bring the staff (with your Wizard personally) to a certain location. Later on you are told (both by 'Ghostly voices') to bring the staff (personally to a Tower of (thingy, don't remember). The location for the first message is quite clear, the second location is completely unclear, there are no signs. If you do the first option, you are teleported with the staff (if the unit is the Wizard and if he has the staff) into a cave with a grave. There are no exits, and the only way to return is by leaving the staff-object. So you lose it, but are teleported 5 hexes near the enemies city. But as I did this, the city was already mine! So I thought all is well...
But the correct way is obviously to bring (again with your Wizard) the staff to another location, the Tower of (???). I did only find out with the editor, where this is. I cannot tell, if it works, because I already had lost the staff, it is irretrievable because there are no entries, it is solid rock. So the quest is failed, but nothing tells you so. The entire action is seemingly senseless.

Generally you receive always hints in form of rumors. But often names are mentioned, which are unclear, so you do not know where you can look for things. The peculiar strings (which are names, I suspect) do not help.

This is really a pity, because the author invested a lot of work and love into these quests. So the quests in itself are fine, but the descriptions lack. The other option is to look a bit on the map in the editor, but this spoils the exploration. But without map hints you have no idea what you missed. The quests are well thought out, but it is kind of hard to give good explanations, this is the fault of the game, not the author.

Additional Comments:
The maps are an example for really well done TWT maps. Despite all the limitations of TWT in comparison to SM the maps are very well done, only map 3 is a challenge if you want to do all quests.

As a personal nitpick I did not like the prebuilt Spirit Shrines and deleted them in the editor before playing. Spirit quests are always quite senseless and disrupt carefully planned steps. The Spirit of Order is the only Spirit I play with usually. Spirit of Nature is a reason to toss the map, for me at least. Every 5 turns 'destroy this mine, that node,...' is not very funny. And since nodes/mines/what else also come in 'Easy' or 'Average' difficulties the rewards are senseless. Maybe it is only me, but I do not like Spirit quests - Spirit of Order is best, since you can control it a bit by not building shrines for a while. Nature is a PITA, since every 5th or 6th turn without fail you must go raze something. But deleting the prebuilt shrines is not a problem and who likes can easily build them anew.

Quest-wise it would help to add several signs to help with the location names. Also the senseless strings (with foreign fonts I suspect) should be deleted, they make several texts nearly unreadable.
With a bit of work this old TWT design could become a rally good SM campaign, something the author would have earned with all his work - 15 years in the past!

[Edited on 09/10/17 @ 01:57 PM]


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Rating
4.2
Breakdown
Playability4.5
Balance4.0
Creativity5.0
Map Design4.5
Story/Instructions3.0
Statistics
Downloads:1,400
Favorites: [Who?]0
Size:127.83 KB
Added:11/24/02
Updated:12/19/02
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