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Downloads Home » Scenarios » Circus of Ravens

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Circus of Ravens

Author File Description
File Details
Ruleset: AoW: SM - Unofficial Patch 1.4
Map Size: XL
Levels: 2
Single Player?: Yes
Co-Op vs. AI?: No
PBEM/Hotseat?: Yes
Multiplayer Online?: Yes
# of Wizards: 6
# of players: 6
Skill Level: Average
Password Protected: No
Hi gang! I'm offering this scenario for the third anniversary of my first AOW2 scenario submission (it was for a site contest - let the record show it came in last!!)

On to the particulars. This is purely a bash & battle map. The wizards should all be fairly balanced, although if you're short of players I'd recommend filling in The Returner and Primordia last. Feel free to use custom wizards rather than the ones I've drawn up if you wish - you'll lose a little of the flavor but it shouldn't upset anything. Similarly you may change your start race if you feel strongly about it - undead may be at a bit of a disadvantage on this map though (overwhelmingly neutral towns.)

MOST IMPORTANTLY, I have tried to limit access to level 3&4 creatures by disabling most (though not all) of the champions guilds and racial structures. Of course you can easily work around this by founding outposts if you want to, but you'll be distorting the way the map plays - probably to your dissatisfaction. I didn't disable building outposts since novice or very casual players way wish to do this in SP. In a multi-player game you'll have to agree beforehand whether you're going to allow this or not (I recommend not!) Note that wandering monsters, area guards, etc. are geared toward there not being a bunch of knights and manticores plodding about though. I'm not altogether happy with how this worked and probably won't repeat this approach, but it is what it is.

Features? You want features? I've included some custom heros - all with descriptions in spectacularly bad verse (that I'm inordinately proud of.) There are also a very few custom items tossed in using the new 1.4 artwork.

Introduction? (Ugh, I hate story!) Oh well, if you must... ahem, "The generals of their spheres, known to each other from a hundred battlefields, the elemental wizards arm themselves for war. They descend upon this new land like a carrion flock drawn to a dying calf. Fate alone knows which raven will prevail over the carcass."
AuthorComments & Reviews   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
This is good stuff!!

First the negative:
- Some structures look a bit 'randomly placed', or out of place to me. For example, the big bridge at 170:88, the egyption tiles in the left underground, or some of the Magic Quest stones.
- Well, there isn't a real story (the general story is vague and the Wizard characters have a description), but then again, I think it'll make a finer multiplayer map!
- It's very random map-ish for a large part. What does your map do a lot better that we cannot do with the RMG (apart from the v1.4 content)?

The positive:
- I have learned a lot from how you paint your terrain. I love the roughness of it! I think you are also very observant (in geology, photography?) as you group trees and ferns together very naturally instead of one great blob of forest.
The area around 70:70 does that nicely, for example! It also is very interesting, from a strategic point of view as a player can make really good use of forestry and concealment, while units that do not have these traits aren't a lot disadvantaged on this map, as there are enough open spaces. Nice!!
- Some ideas are very creative. I like how you combined tiles to make areas more believable, for example, the smithy at 85:20 is great!

I hope your next map will have the following:
- You have some nice areas that stand out, but none are really tied together by a specific theme or story.
For example, you place that large impressive bridge 170:88, but there hardly is a road to it (from it) on both sides. So its a ruined bridge? If so, make a story around it that can make the map more alive (this bridge was heavily used in the times of Henry V. Legions of...) and of course, King Henry's grave would be found near with a powerful item (for example).
See what I mean? Give it a history! Especially in those XL maps.

Anyway, impressive map and please take the comments as constructive as I think you'll be able to make some masterpieces!
File Author
Thanks for the comments Swolte. Spot on as usual!

On your first point I have to plead guilty as charged. I'm afraid all the cool new structures in the 1.4 editor tempted me into throwing quite a bit of disconnected 'bits' around. In some places (such as the forge you pointed out) it worked well, in others it didn't. I will say, however, that I've tried to be careful in placing income and mana structures with an eye toward balance, if not visual appeal. I also wanted to put a lot of structures around to maintain play interest and as a way to introduce more 1.4 units.

The lack of story is quite intentional on my part. I dislike a lot of story as it distracts from game play. A bit is good as it lends background flavor to a map, more than that and your scenario becomes more like a library than a map with endless signs and pop-ups. (And who gets paid to stick up all those signs anyway? Gotta be the Archons - "The foreman says stick this sign here", "But it's leading to an evil shrine?!?" "THE FOREMAN SAYS STICK THIS SIGN HERE! - Don't make me get all 'Heretic' on your butt.") This is all a matter of taste of course. Two things that'll always be trademarks of my maps will be a significant lack of seriousness (see the aformentioned hero descriptions,) and minimal story. To each his own.

I'm also inclined to agree about your RMG comparison, however this doesn't really bother me. I actually think that for the most part the RMG does a better job than it gets credit for, (it certainly makes a better map than I could in under a minute!) I think my map (and most of the posted mp maps in general,) do two things better than the RMG:

- My map is prettier.
- The players starting positions are more balanced (this is the one significant shortcoming on many RMG maps.)

In fact this is my first SM map largely because the RMG made big MP maps somewhat redundant, or at least not worth all that effort. The 1.4 patch is so cool, however, that I decided we need some more maps with the new features and units in them, hopefully others will feel the same.

As far as terrain goes, I hike quite a bit and paint terrain as I see it in the wild. One thing I've noticed is some map makers neglect to include dead trees in their forests. About a third of the standing timber in a healthy forest is dead. Sometimes, since it's not evenly distributed and is rather stark, it can often have an even greater visual impact than the 1/3 value would suggest. Also, as you pointed out, sometimes you have to sacrifce aesthetics in the interest of game play. I love the way the new hill features can be used to impede movement without totally blocking it, even though I'm less keen on how they look.

As far as the big bridge at 170:88, here's what happened: When I first painted the map, there was a sign with an absolutely marvelous and detailed backstory here and the bridge linked a McDonalds on one bank to a Wal Mart on the other. Unfortunately the Spirit of Nature came along and tore it all down, she was muttering something about "...#@!*& globalizing, chauvinist, polluters! I'll @#%$ their stupid economic imperialist #@!*&...". Honestly, with all the property damage that woman does and instigates, I'm amazed the insurance companies don't get together and do something about her.

Anyway, thanks again for the input, as usual very well considered and detailed!
Chat Noir >>Unfortunately the Spirit of Nature came along and tore it all down,
>>she was muttering something about "...#@!*& globalizing, chauvinist, polluters!
>>I'll @#%$ their stupid economic imperialist #@!*&...". Honestly, with all the property
>>damage that woman does and instigates, I'm amazed the insurance
>>companies don't get together and do something about her.

I sense a new scenario coming up!
Map Design4.0
Playability: 5
No issues with how it plays. I liked the limits on upper level units as it provides for a different game play.

Balance: 4
Seems decently balanced to me playing it as a single player.

Creativity: 4
A few fun areas to visit, good signs, etc...

Map Design: 4
I liked the Ocean area in middle area of map, some tunnels, etc...

Story/Instructions: 3
Good background descriptions on wizards.

Additional Comments:
Violet Lev Needles, had you viewed my maps MagicLakes and Bewitched land?
p.s. I do not agree with some of Swolte had said.

My maps are full of roaming monsters etc also. And one of them also has champions guid disabled.

[Edited on 04/25/06 @ 09:38 AM]

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