This map was inspired by the final battle in the Valley of Wonders. You may play as the Undead, the Keepers or the Cult of Storms. Archons and Humans are there, too, but are AI-controlled.
This is my very first map, and I think I will improve and update ist, since it's not perfect yet.
This is version 2.3 now. Improved the balance and did some other minor changes once more!
My review/rating is based on the 2.2 version of the map.
Base = 3, +1 constant action/activity for player. -1 too few exploration sites (magic vaults, quest stones and other non-item sites would be best, I think, for this map.) -1 inactive independents. +1 Good AI players. +1 Sufficiently playtested to eliminate game crashes and non-working features.
Base = 3,+1 pinwheel deployment (not too original but good for balance - especially with strong AI in middle.)+1 "player" AI wizards stayed alive vs "cpu-by-design" AI players - this can be hard to pull off! -1 AI has a hard time exploiting teleporters, especially when they are close to key cities.
Base = 3, -1 copy of an existing map. +1 good interpretation.
Map Design: 3
Base =3, +1 linear features are well executed for dividing areas w/o excessive channeling. -1 could use more exploration sites. +1 Teleporters are handy to speed movement on an XL map and accelerate game play. -1 The underground maze is well done (I'm a little at odds with Swolte here,) but it needs a better "payoff" to make exploring it worth while.
Base = 3, +1 No obtrusive and lengthy popup messages. +1 No distracting but essential-to-victory quests. +1 No forced linear gameplay from linked objectives. +1 Good hero and wizard descriptions. The only downside is I'd like a couple more signs to identify features - but this is extremely minor and not worth a -1.
This is just the kind of map I love! XL map without excessive RPG/story content! I had a great time playing this map.
I've included a detailed explanation (above) of how I reached each rating. All categories start with a 3 and receive pluses and minuses for characteristics I thought especially important or noticeable. Some features helped you in one area and hurt you in another - those are the choices you live with as a map maker.
Style wise, the map's a little sparse for my liking, but that's a matter of taste and shouldn't count against you in rating, (many folks prefer this look.) I burned you on sparse exploration sites twice - that may seem a little unfair, but I think most players really enjoy the "goody-huts". If you add more at some point I'd suggest sites that have a payoff other than magic items, due to the small allotment of hero's on the map.
I very much look forward to more maps like this from you in the future. Keep up the excellent work.