Storm of 1089 is a good old-fashioned siege map. on normal difficulty, per the author's recommended setting, I had a pretty tough time fending off the invasions (the map appears to be played as a defender only, given the story). The map is basic in theory, as is the case with a number of siege maps, yet this turned out to be a really good quality effort. The AI worked extremely well here, and I faced a number of decent sized skirmishes. The key to this map is defending the gatehouses, for once inside the attacking AI will head straight for the keep. Thoroughly enjoyable map, and highly addictive.
I thought that playing this on normal difficulty is about right, and even then it's fairly tricky. After one or two losses I finally managed to figure out the rather simple premise of defending the gatehouses (okay, so i'm not the sharpest knife in the block!)
The AI forces mixes a good combination of heavy-armoured units such as swordsmen, pikemen and macemen, as well as a healthy number of crossbowmen that can cause some real damage to your defenders in the towers. Your main defence here is pitch ditches and hot oil engineers. The stockpile holds a decent, but not excessive supply of pitch and there are some six or seven (IIRC) engineers at your disposal. It proved quite a task to keep these engineers moving, and as a result the map should have plenty for you to do. It's certainly not a sit-back-and-wait situation. Top marks for balance, a tough but not impossible siege map, with lots to do and so easy to die an embarrassing death if approached the wrong way.
In general, the creativity element of the map is okay. It's a siege, which is basic in design and gameplay anyway. What I did like is the essential use of hot oil, as mentioned above. It's not excessively used but it is key to the progress in the map. Whilst there is nothing here which is groundbreaking, the map is done very well and credit is noted for a quality siege map.
Map Design: 3/5
Some good elements here. I liked the layout of the castle, which formed an irregular, almost cliff-hugging shape and looks quite realistic from above. Having the river flowing through the castle is unusual but pleasant to look at. The terrain is quite well modelled too, with a rugged appearance next to the sea. The map would benefit from a little more smoothing around the edges, or for a truly rugged effect, a good mixture of the various rock and stone types to show a weathered effect.
The story is good in length and is accessible via the screen prior to launching the game. Shame there's little to entice the downloader in the description page within the forums though, as the story is good, with a strong theme to it and a clear attempt at an idea. With the story in the description page, the author may have received more downloads than it has ;)
'Storm of 1089' is a sadly overlooked siege map IMO. I rate this quite highly as a genuine effort that really does work well. It has all the right elements and is not dependent on using troops alone to defend the castle. Definitely worth a download. Great work, Lord Pierce!