Fight for Light (Shadow Magic)_v2.6
Posted on 11/23/03 @ 10:42 AM (updated 10/18/04
(part of story)
||AoW: SM - TS Standard Rules
|Co-Op vs. AI?:
|# of Wizards:
|# of players:
...the ShadowGod has returned and his powers are greater than ever before. Rumors have it he can spawn the Demons from their prison back to the surface.. Time weakened the Archon forces and the other four races have had little contact. Aberon, the city of Light stands pale between the free lands and the gathering darkness..
Dark clouds gather over the world as the first death knights ride out of the black gate of Dor Valach...
Shadow Magic allowed me to make the map more like I intended it in the first place, and I’ve been working on this map for an extra 3 months! I've never stopped revising since, so a lot of feedback from games is now incorperated in v2.5! Rorschach made some additional events and areas that made the map even more fun and competetive!
Most changes involved handicaps for the ShadowGod. Experience learned that it was very hard to win the scenario if the ShadowGod is a good player! The new changes (listed at bottom) should give the allience a little more time and possibilities to get their armies together!
******************** !!! NEW RULES, READ ALL !!! *******************
In order to fully enjoy the map and play it like I ‘balanced’, or meant it, use these rules (some are already preset):
- Enable Allied victory (not preset).
- HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: Play with surrender OFF (this to get your heroes more developped and give the ShadowGod something to do as well..). Couldn't preset in the editor so dont forget to enable the option when setting up the game!
- IMPORTANT!! -> NO TRADING of SPELLS!! Mana and Gold etc, are allowed, but plz agree to NOT trade spells with the AI, fellow players or whatever. This can make the alliance too strong (since multiple spheres are now active in this version) and it also limits the ‘abuse’ of multiple Holy woods..
You may enchant your allies with YOUR unit spells, for example, but not trade that Stone Skin to everybody! Again, trading gold and mana is ok!
- The ShadowGod may use all he can think of to get his demons out sooner but must agree to NOT use the disband-animate Hero spell trick!
- No use of buildable teleporters! (preset).
- Latest v1.3 patch MUST be installed (this in terms of balance and a terrain bug with Reapers).
- Because of the city limits and this being a large map that takes time before confrontations, the option to build outposts is disabled (rebuilding is possible, of course)
- Make sure ALL playes are aware of these rules before starting.
******************** !!! NEW RULES, READ ALL !!! ********************
Like stated above, the map is designed as a Co-op map. This means you can play with four friends (to be) against a single challenge! Working and coordinating attacks together is crucial for survival and give the ShadowGod a challenge. On your own or against the others, would make it very hard to defeat the shadowGod (impossible)!
Most fun would be to let a reliable human player play the ShadowGod (doesn't have to be a very good player, perhaps those with the roleplaying skills..).
The map was a lot of work. I learned a lot from my River Arne map and other people and I can say that it has become very pretty and turned out as I hoped it would!
I used a lot of 'map tricks', some of which I've not encountered before (check the Jungle, Goblin capitol and the path of bones, for example). Most of my fun and energy making this map went into the terrain. It has a natural look and I payed a lot of attention to detail and variety. I hope you like it!
I left the story quite simple. So you, as players will have to use your imagination (and I could spare some of my own :p)! The story-events that ARE in place are quite crucial, so pay good attention to them. Also, for those that need a push in the imagination area, I’ve sapped every creative bit left out of my brain into the hero descriptions!
There are no 'free' heroes. Each player will start with a fixed number of heroes and more to gain along the way. The Call Hero spell is useless. TIP: be careful with your heroes! Seriously, do NOT stack ‘m all together because if you lose that battle, the chance you’ll be heroless for the rest of the game is big and no fun! Spread that risk and your armies! Some heroes can be obtained by completing certain quests or finding places, though..
These are the available races/wizards:
Very, very strong starting position. Mostly undead but able to migrate to any evil race due to the.. well you'll see. If played by the computer, set to CPU Emperor. It is ‘set’ to a human player, so you may want to strenghten the ShadowGod if you let him be played by the CPU-Emperor (I suggest getting rid of all the city limits in the ShadowArea and add some spiderqueens).
Expect your turns to last quite a long time, enjoy superior forces and other players fleeing for ye! ;)
Preset to CPU Emperor as a mediating factor. To take advantage of, or to hopelessly underestimate... Sort of a buffer for the ShadowGod (and to get the needed experience from). Plays Dark Elves and Goblins. She can become pretty strong and if not taken serious can take out a risky player easily! Don’t let her grow too much by focussing on the Darkness spreading from the northeast..
The king of the Humans will face a hard time, this is by far the most difficult position to start (and keep), especially if the ShadowGod is a smart human player. Also, it is probably the first to go down or the first to grow powerful of the 'good' races. Let's hope the power won't corrupt this player if things might go too well, though... Don’t let inexperienced players take this side and provide help for his forces!
Anyway, be bold and expect some action soon. In all the games I’ve seen so far his capitol got razed..
The Elven player has a relatively safe starting position. The forest holds some dangers so be sure to scout ahead and use it to your advantage, defensively and offensively.. Become powerful in the practise of Life Magic and scouting; a big support to the allience! Later, the stronger elven troops could be the ones to turn the tides..
The most safe starting position but very needed to give support to those that need it. I would suggest the least experienced/skilled player to take on this position playing Halflings. They are the safety.. the last line of defense to battle the ShadowGod.
A lot of choices to expand to (digging, surface, caves etc) and dangers to overcome. Once these slow but strong dwarves are on the move, the ShadowGod will face a hard time stopping them. By the use of their fire magic they can play an important role for the allience. Don't get too spread up. In the games I've played and seen, this player has the most risk of dying frst because of underestimating the roaming independents.
The map can be played in different ways, here are some suggestions:
I originally designed the map in a way that if one good player plays the evil ShadowGod, the other four good players should have a hard time beating the God. THIS is how the map is primarily designed.. so get 5 players!
For a single player experience, I would advise choosing one of the good races for a nice challenge. I’d advise every race but Humans.. (could be easy if ShadowGod is AI).
Playing the shadowGod is way too easy, even if you put all the others on emperor. Only if you are a very bad player! :p
Possible, but set the timer to 5 minutes to allow the ShadowGod time to make his moves..
If you really want a challenge with four good players against two weaker players, you can weaken Dalviana's forces (set to human player) and her Dark Elf starting capitol and several defense forces somewhat and play 2 vs 4. Play at own risk!!
Oh, one teleporter and no haste berry trees!
Last, but not least I wanna thank Jamie and Magog for the especially detailled feedback! Sarah and Jamie for a Hero description and for the rest everyone else supportive with remarks on the maps progress and play!
v2.5: ..and Rorschach for all the additional events!
Feel free to email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org
V2.6: major changes
- Sarah made more strong
- Some small aesthetic changes
- Allience gets disjunction at start
- Made circus near Halflings more harder to take.
- Increased defenders demon underground (with thanks to Chascal)
- Direct casting in Dragon caves now impossible (with thanks to Chascal, again... ;))
V2.5: major changes.
- Tookburg able to make Great Garden
- Adapted Archon Sanctuary defenders and placed more powerful item.
- AI block near elven cave!!
- More (new) items and especially when taking the big cities!
- Removed starting spells, ShadowGod
- Defenders orc harbour village stronger
- Starting army Meriadoc increased
- Fixed names on all villages!
- Made SG starting position weaker in terms of gold and mana resources.
- Goblin town added 'near' SG underground. Also reduced amount of angles guarding underground bridge.
- Few new heroes.
- Mists at swanlake
- SG capitol, lvl4 upgrade incomplete (have to build sanctuary and Mastery guild!).
- SG starting mana and bonusses removed!
- Several new (sphere/strategy improving) events added by Rorschach!
- Pirate cave (by Rorschach)
V2.4: major changes.
- Changed some city limits (DE village)
- King R -> conqueror as skill
- Defenders incarnate dungeon heavier
- Some new items
- 4 new heroes
V2.3: major changes.
- corrected Aberon defenders.
- No more Brains at start resource-units, ShadowGod now really needs these heroes!
- Removed Bone_Dragon as start-spell-SG (something extra to research, as well).
- Put some orc defenders on guard near stronghold.
- Extrastrong guards near 'incarnate' dungeon.
|Author||Comments & Reviews ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )|
|A Former Lurker
Very, very good. I just got the SM version as i saw a post about it in the forums. I have not played it to the detail I would like but I immediatly noticed the improvements.
I found the halflings a bit underpowered here, perhaps its just me. Still very balanced and rewarding.
The new hero descriptions were very good and the map fit everything very well.
Map Design: 5
I noticed some improvements and what I thought may be redone sections. The first was very good as well, in fact this is where the scenario really shines. The terrain is all very beautiful and blends really well.
I liked the intro and the new hero descriptions. A few more text events would help to really flush things out.
Additional Comments: All in all this is one of the better maps, I'm sorry for taking so long to review it.
Very challenging map. I've played it three times co-op pbm and had a great time.
Humans start too close to Dalvianna and have a large disadvantage
The underground tunneling was nice, and I really liked the settings on the cities making high end units hard to get.
Map Design: 5
Very precise instructions
I would highly recommend this map for a co-op match.
A good map that even now I can play again as the same or different race and have a different strategy each time. Never seen a co-op map that was designed better than this and only a few single-player ones.
From a co-op perspective, the balance is almost perfect. The only variability is the Dark Elven game and nobody has much control over it, given the AI's whimsical choices.
Really not much to complain about here, but since I've played it multiple times, I may have this reaction.
Map Design: 5
Just beautiful. The underground is a well-thought out warren of earth and that jungle is just too good. Same goes with the ShadowGod's realm. Giving a player multiple choices to expand is another aspect that really helps playability.
It has a story...and being a co-op map, not many instructions are needed.
Great work, Swolte. Looking forward to that new map!!
Map Design: 5
I have been playing AOW for years now. Its the one game that I can play over and over again without tiring of.
Of all the maps I have played, literally hundreds, this is hands down the best. If you have all slots filled with human players the forces of evil seem to have an advantage, but I think good could win. I've played this map seven times and enjoyed it every time.
It is VERY exciting to play as any side. (if you get all human players that is). Each has it's unique way of developing.
I can't say it's perfectly balanced, but I think perfect balance is imossible for such kind of map. Well before this map I thought that any balance is imopssible in such scenario! I proved wrong and I'm happy with it.
Actualy it strongly depends on skills of participating players.
Well, the amount of hidden areas that can never be discovered, the many ways to interact between allies of light, the very idea of the map - everything is perfect.
Map Design: 5
Most areas are done incredibly well. Others are done even better.
While overall story is not very original, the many small side-stories, hero descriptions, messages and sign are very interesting.
Perfect map, the best of it's kind (it may be challenged with new Swolte's map soon :) )
This is one of the best custom maps I've played so far, so I will higly recommend this. As for my ratings:
(Playbility is really good since you can replay the map over and over with new (strategically very different) wizards. I like that a lot.
(If you find the game to easy or to hard - you can allways pick another wizard, but overall its a hard map - which appeals to me)
(Nothing wrong here :) I especially liked the Tigran jungle and the Goblin City)
Map Design: 5
(Overall good story)
Easily the best map I've played so far and one of the few to keep me hooked to the very end.
I played the three "good" positions against the Shadowgod.
Always hard to judge, but playing as SP I felt it had the right degree of difficulty, with no items or heroes that are too über.
Of the positions I played the Dwarves became the most powerful and if you'll play only one position that would be my choice, since this position is also the one with most things to discover.
There is also lots of tunneling possible in the underground, something which the AI will not take advantage of. And the Dwarven capitol is the one closest to the Shadowgod Heroes spawning point. The Halfling and Elf positions are more straight forward, but of course if AI controlled they won't get the nice Heroes from recruit sites.
The underground feels a bit too large (as in time it takes to explore) compared to the overland. It takes just too long time to reach the imprisoned Heroes of the Shadwogod; it's easier to just head for the Shadowgod himself.
Every hero, wizard and item are custom made and all heroes and wizards have nice background stories.
Map Design: 5
Very beautiful, detailed and varied with good use of elevation. Good use of mountains and rivers to make it strategic. Lots to explore in the underground, maybe too much since I was not finished by the time I (using the Elven position) defeated the Shadowgod.
I really like the fact that there are few locations, they are all different regarding which structures can be built and very few of them can grow to city size. That really helps keeping down the tedium of logistics.
Few nodes also means mana management is important.
Lots of background story, but not much story as the game progresses.
This is a perfect map and the only flaws I could find were very minor indeed.
The only flaw is the one real flaw of Age of Wonders - the poor AI.
The Dark Elves never invaded the Halflings, for example, and the one good stack they sent against the Dwarves (led by the cute Goblin girl) came, saw and fled. And the one stack they sent against the Elves (Hero, two Warlords and a Glutton) was not much of a threat.
The Shadowgod never expanded to the southern half of the map, except for the Hero stacks that spawned.
The SP experience would probably be better without the large independent Archon city that prevents the Shadowgod from expanding.
[Edited on 11/21/07 @ 02:23 PM]