AoMH SD Adventure contest 2020: phdorogers4
phdorogers4's entry to the 2020 contest. The scenario is titled "Made in fire" and is for AoM:EE.
||AoM:Tale of the Dragon
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Watch out I'm about to review a map over here!
Wrong player, load in editor and playtest as player 1.
The Orthugu guys were too strong, I only made it because Rainolf is not prioritized by enemy units, probably because he is half civilian.
Creativity in a map like this should be how well you use space, so unless you know crazy triggers that's just back-tracking. There was a tiny bit of that, but usually you don't return after you complete an area so the everything is over pretty quickly.
Map Design: 4
There were a few things off in the chats but overall I understood what was going on. Story was meh.
+ I like all the little things you can find everywhere, the choice dialogs and the little shops, the changed names and the decent monster encounters. The details are the good stuff here. When you open up a dictionary and search phdorogers4, first thing it'll say is above average worldbuilding.
- Everything is basic aom combat, which in this day and age is not easy to make entertaining. It's either large scale or do something interesting. There was one barely medium scale battle towards the end and even less in the something interesting box. I didn't dislike anything specifically, I just would have wanted too see more story and features.
The game is a cut down mini adventure RPG and a tiny sized map. Here you will interact with characters and do mini quests and do minor rewards.
The character interactions are intuitive and mainly involve chats with other characters. Occasionally you make decisions via choice dialogs. There is also a shop to purchase items - its functional but I was barely was able to buy anything having spent most my gold on a boat.
Combat is standard campaign hero style combat. I liked the taunts and messages characters give as I attacked them which I felt added some character. It would be nice to have more difference between the two melee characters, perhaps some abilities. May also have been worthwhile to play battle music for some of the big fights, especially the last one.
The game is too difficult and has a couple of design issues regarding healing:
(1)You have a healer which can heal the other characters - that's fine.
(2)There is nothing to heal the healer. This is unfortunate as you either have to keep healer out the fight, or wait for regen
(3)The base regen rate is far too slow leading to sitting around for ages for the characters to heal.
If either the base regen is drastically increased or there is a healing point this would be mostly resolved.
Although mechanically there is nothing special going on, I felt there was a lot of creativity in the scenery and the way a lot of content was packed into such a small space and yet retained the immersive gameplay. It was fun to explore around the map and find secrets or little details.
Map Design: 5
This is where the map shines. There is so much scenery and detail packed into a small space and it was well used and looks very nice. One minor gripe was it would have been nice to see a proper force field when you encounter the magic barrier.
The story is sufficient to fit the map and for the most part I didn't get lost. I got a little confused with the chat referring to a chest behind the house but I was not able to find one but otherwise followed ok.
Some of the dialog - especially when meeting a character for the first time might have been worthwhile to make into a mini cinematic to draw you in a little more.
As mentioned in the main review the map is a bit difficult regarding health - I admit in the end I ended up cheating a little and gave myself some restorations to save waiting for the regen. Would be nice to see that addressed.
This unofficial review was written for the Mini Adventure competition.
I feel like this is a very safe submission where you went for a more traditional RPG scenario that everyone is familiar with. But I’ll give you credit for delivering a high quality implementation of the RPG formula.
The idea of hunting down a powerful dragon and its master added a nice adventurous touch to the scenario. And when I had seen all the destruction it had caused and all the reinforcements you were finding that wanted to aid you in that final confrontation, this was all giving me a nice “thrill of the hunt” vibe and it made me feel excited for the final epic showdown that is to come. So when you’re playing the scenario and are slowly building up to that moment, it is really important to get that final fight right to get a nice satisfying and rewarding ending. But ultimately I felt like that fight was underwhelming (more on that later).
Immersive storyline and experience (5/10)
As I said, I really like the direction you took with the story. I can always get behind hunting down a dragon. There were many conversations you could have with different people, which is a great way to find out more about the world you’re in. But I think it was a mistake to enact those conversations through chat messages rather than brief cinematics with dialogs, portraits and cinematic animations and models. That would have felt much more immersive.
I also think you missed a great opportunity to use the extra reserved map space for a more in-depth intro cinematic to introduce the story and set the scene. For instance, if you had created some dramatic scenes where you showed the devastation and terror the dragon and its master had been causing, that would have given the player much more context and understanding why they must be stopped and as a result the player would feel more immersed.
I like the dark tone you set for this scenario which also fits perfectly with the storyline you were going for. The choices of lighting and embellishments were excellent. And although the AoM music is classy, that music just does not have enough of a dramatic tone that this scenario could have really used.
Some custom dramatic music could also have really enhanced the final confrontation with the dragon. Powerful music can do a lot to make fights feel much more epic and rewarding.
There were fights that were a lot tougher than other fights, but at the end of the day you could never really lose any of the fights. The problem here lies with the campaign heroes that can infinitely revive each other no matter how overwhelmed by enemies you get. I think it would have been a lot better to make the player lose the scenario whenever they would lose any of the main characters to prevent the cheap little revive dance.
This is also the main reason why the final confrontation felt underwhelming. You just could not lose that fight. The boss could have been made much more powerful judging by how large and powerful your army could get (mainly the heroes and the ballista siege unit). I think it would have been a cool addition if the fight happened on a much grander scale, like across the map rather than on top of a small mountain.
Map design (7/10)
I really liked the overall design of your scenario. Everything really flowed well together.
And despite the tiny world size you even managed to add in some nice optional content such as the inclusion of clever hidden spots for the treasures and cut-off areas you could explore. It was also a clever decision to split up the merchants that you want to revisit from time to time, which makes you travel slightly longer distances to make the world seem a little bit bigger.
And like I said earlier, I think this scenario could have really used the extra reserved map space for the cinematics.
I also really like the amount of details you put into this scenario. You’ve added tons of embellishments to make every inch of the scenario look pretty. But I felt like the amount of eyecandy was a little bit overdone in the first area. Overall, a really good job.
The scenario contains a few traditional RPG gameplay features such as shops and treasures. I liked the fact that careful exploration rewards you with treasury. And the shops do add a nice sense of character progression. But I had hoped to find some exciting new experimental features that could have been made with the latest patch 2.8 trigger commands, or just some new features that we’ve rarely seen before. And I’d hoped to see some more powerful, diverse boss mechanics for the final boss encounters.
Final score: 40/70
[Edited on 08/14/20 @ 04:58 PM]
Thank you for your thoughts everyone! Looking forward to playing everyone's scenarios!
Overall, there wasn't anything gamebreaking aside from the scenario being saved as Gaia. However, my main complaint comes from the fact that it's difficult to find and discover things that can be interacted with. When the Jason asked for a repair kit, I thought I would be looking for a relic or some weapons object, but instead it was sold by an NPC in some random corner, and if I didn't know about that and spent all my gold, I would have no way of progressing the scenario.
The start of the scenario provides quite the challenge, but once the user finds the armor merchant, they can just buy infinite armor until all their units become invulnerable, which makes the rest of the scenario a breeze, at least until the final boss which calls down SPC meteors everywhere. As you saw in my playthrough, he even killed himself with the meteors, which was quite hilarious.
You've crammed a ton of content into this small map, and it was quite enjoyable. The dialogs were a nice touch, although I feel that more could be done to enrich the combat experience.
Map Design: 4
The environments are very nicely done. They set the mood very well, although, as stated previously, it was hard to differentiate between interact-able objects and eyecandy.
There was quite a bit of nice banter and character dialog throughout the scenario, although the storyline really didn't feel very prevalent.
For a 100x100 map, it's surprising just how much you've managed to fit inside. I think I would love to play a larger map from you with this same density of quality content.