This is a very accurate map I have put a lot of time into. It's a map of the world to play on. I took a lot of time into making every river,mountain,lake, and climate very accurate. I really hope you like it! Please tell me if you do. It means a lot. Thanks!
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||AoM: The Titans
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Unfortunately, we have to start out with the bad: Playability/Balance. The map, honestly, is not even close to playable with 8 players, and a lot could have been done to do that better.
The first is the lag. I guess nobody learned from how CheezyMonkey's V3X is almost unplayable on anything except nitrogen-cooled supercomputers. I understand the desire for a big map, but these games take 1-2 hours in game time due to the fact that people get maxed out resources, upgrades, and armies before they can even find each other. If it lags a lot, the game can easily take 4 hours real time. And online, if there are 8 people and just ONE person has a slow comp, the game slows down to a crawl for EVERYONE. I played this with 4 people, and it took 4-5 minutes each to upload the file and nearly 2 minutes to load once we started. And then when we got there, the game slowed down pretty drastically after a while. By the 20 minute mark of game-time, nobody was eliminated and it had taken over a half hour to play. I imagine with more people, the drag would be even worse.
The map is much bigger than it needs to be. For one, what's with the endless ocean up at the top of the screen? Think about it: that takes up rendering space, increases the lag on every comp, increases the load time, etc. You could have easily rotated the map 45 degrees and produced an identical map without all the wasted space.
Another big problem is the wasted time at the start. I loaded my guy into The Roc and went to the New York area. By the time I constructed my town center, 4 minutes of game time had passed. In a normal multiplayer game, people are generally in the Classical age about then and at the very least getting ready for some military conflict. In this game, I hadn't even started construction on my second Villager.
That's pretty easy to fix, too, if you'd bothered. You could make the first TC construct instantly. You could make the first Roc increase it's speed (much to my chagrin, about halfway through my transcontinental voyage, my Roc ran out of gas and slowed down dramatically, I have no idea why).
This could have been improved a lot as well. Some starting locations are just better than others. For instance, Australia has a lot of gold mines right there (you don't have to move your guys, although it does cost you ), and there are even some TCs that don't have nearby gold at all. It’s obvious that there will be some differences, but I really feel like you can get a big advantage by just pouring over the map to find out which can give you secure second/third expos and gold.
I think the best is Africa, though. Lots of every resource, plentiful hunt…. Southern Africa is better than Northern Africa (plus you get there the fastest so you get a big head start on someone flying up to Northern Africa), and there are tons of relics right there for the picking. Obviously some spots are going to be better than others, but if nobody else has played, they have no way of knowing. The near spots should be worse than the far spots, and special attention should be paid to relics, because in the endgame, Relics are far more important to a slightly greater gold mine count or something.
Also, Oranos obviously has a big edge because he sees all the TCs. To balance that out, all the civs should get LoS of each TC. I made everyone pick Oranos the first play, but some people aren’t as comfortable with Atlantean.
There are better ways to start out than Vindlandsaga-style. Players could start up with a random TC, or even a controlled-random start where you get some choice and/or you’re never put exactly next to a person. It takes a fair bit of coding, but it’s a lot quicker/more fair to all the players, who have to sit through at least 10 minutes at the start of every game before any conflicts arise.
One last problem is that it’s just impossible to win this game. There are too many resources and it’s too easy to replenish your army. You can build dozens of what would amount to a huge base all around the map. It’s also very difficult to eliminate a player. As soon as a player is being overrun, he can just run away and grab a TC somewhere in a corner. It’s in nobody’s best interest to actually eliminate him because you get a scant benefit. With Oranos, it’s obviously easier because a network of sky towers quickly develops.
There could be many ways to balance this out. One might be to put a hard cap on the number of villagers each player can have, around 40 or 13 atlantean villagers (disable Hero atlantean villager, and then you may or may not have to do something about that one GP). That way players gather resources at a markedly slower rate (so each resource is precious) AND players have more room for large standing armies, making the game more fun.
You could also increase the population fill of villagers. Fishing Ships/Llamas/Villagers = 2 pop each would prevent players from getting infinite resources without sacrificing almost their entire standing army.
It’s just like after 20 minutes, everyone just has infinite resources and dozens or hundreds of production facilities all on loop-queues.
All the points you are getting are for the very careful attention to detail (including great ways to implement rivers/mountain ranges that look good both on the minimap, big minimap, and the overhead). The point you're losing is mainly for the start/continued problems with balance. It really hurts how this map plays, and with some creativity, you could have fixed all those problems.
Map Design: 5
The map is gorgeous! It looks better than V3X. I really feel that you could have done a lot more to make this map better/more playable, however the map just looks excellent. Obviously some parts are going to be slightly out of proportion for balance purposes, but animals are in the right places, all the continents are more or less correct, and even major rivers/mountain ranges are added. Very cool!
I wish there were a way to N/A this category. It really doesn't apply at all as this is essentially just a Settlers map and any extra instructions would just slow down the gameplay/be annoying. I'm giving it a 4 so that it doesn't affect the rating so much.
It's a carbon copy of CheezyMonkey's V3X from a long time ago (even down to the starting mechanism, map size, and map angle), and you didn’t really improve on any of the serious problems of that map. I feel like if you’re going to remake it, you should change a lot to fix the problems and not just improve a bit of eyecandy.
The map is extremely fun to look at, but really with just a bit of trigger work and maybe some better planning, it would have been extremely fun to play, too.
[Edited on 11/12/09 @ 09:35 PM]