(updated 07/27/04) Stronghold Heaven :: Scourge of Darkness Ch I ( Updated )
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Downloads Home » Stronghold: Invasions » Scourge of Darkness Ch I ( Updated )

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Scourge of Darkness Ch I ( Updated )

Author File Description
WarLord_Designs
File Details
Map Size: 400x400 (Large)
Difficulty: Hard
Scourge of Darkness Chapter I
Leaving Lordaeron


Arendia, a realm of beauty and tranquillity, but it was not always so, there was a time when darkness and evil consumed these lands choking it of its very life.
Long had elves and men fought side by side to defend what we so dearly loved, foes who sort to destroy these lands grew more powerful with each rising of the sun and over time much had been lost, the land fell into a darkness unseen before and I lord Lelldorin of the elfish council along with the rest of life in Arendia felt a fear like no other. The land slipped into chaos.

Much of Arendia had been consumed by this darkness and its evil gripped the land like a flood of death this new foe swept through taking much of Arendia under its control and it would be in the mountains of Azeroth that this new enemy would reside and leave a permanent scar to us and the land itself, this would be the sparking point for the greatest battle this realm would ever see.
But it was here in Lordaeron that the first spear was cast at our new foes, and the battle for Arendia would begin. Let me tell you of the scourge of darkness . . . . . .

This is our first chapter of our new campaign.
This story is based in a realm of fantasy and epic battles,it took quite a while to make but it was well worth our effort and we hope you will think so to.

We would like to give a big thanks to Bismuth and his son for playtesting our map and giving us some very generous feedback on our new creation.


Enjoy!
WarLord_Designs.


AuthorComments & Reviews   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
Sparrow Since this map has been updated to version 3 and improvements made I have completely rewritten and simplified this review, and upped my original scoring. I must apologize for this update being so late.

Playability: 3. Plays pretty well, although it is at heart a very simple scenario. There is very little to build or control. The main objective is to meet the economic goals while fending off constant harassment and before a final crushing invasion (should you fail to meet the goals in time).

The authors impose a rather rigid play structure which, while helping to preserve the eye candy, decreased the fun for me. You are given a certain amount of archers and spearmen which can be added to, but it's advisable to meet the weapons goals first. You are intended to defend in a very predetermined way, almost removing you from the defense equation and discouraging much in the way of strategic or tactical creativity. You're not given much to work with and not much can be done to bolster your defense. Defenses are fixed and the enemy must follow a single rigid path to your only village entry point.

You must achieve the economic goals before the final crushing invasion, something that is referenced in the update notes but not in the original story/instructions. Use of a win timer might have been better in this case to steer you in the direction of the designer's intent and give you a better idea of how this game should be played.

I also felt the economy was a bit boring. You have eco goals of gold, meat, ale, bows and spears yet there's just not much to do. Production is already established and there's very little you can add to it or change. Basically all you can do is manage it and deploy troops already supplied. Two thirds of the weapon requirements are already met. Most things are restricted by not being available or not having room to expand. Only dairy farms can be built and there's almost no room for expansion of those. No production of iron, stone, pitch, hops, wheat, apples or meat. No inns, good or bad things (other than those provided), or increase of weapons production. Woodcutters are basically the only thing that can be expanded. Wheat, meat and hops have to be bought from a small starting treasury and meager taxes, and with nothing producible to sell except some wood. Food is a problem since most of it must be bought (wheat or meat). One tip, I stopped using good things a long, long time ago, they seriously hamper production. In the long run they usually lose you gold and eventually the war. But this is one scenario where you might want to consider keeping the ones you're given since gold is one of the biggest bottlenecks. Gold is one of the few things you have a little control over, so their retention should be considered.

Now there's nothing necessarily wrong with tough food production, fixed defenses, and all the rest of it outlined above, unless it impacts the fun and playability factor, which in this case, at least for me, I think it does. There are no scripted events to spice things up, just invasion after invasion. This, coupled with lack of much to do on the economy side, left a fairly unexciting scenario for me. Others may well differ on the playability aspect of this map. I encourage you to try it and decide for yourself.

Balance: 4. Balance is much better in the updated version. Provides a decent challenge. A minor point: meat must be purchased to satisfy its goal, therefore is actually a gold requirement and maybe a bit superfluous.

Creativity: 4. Absolutely outstanding creativity in map design and eye candy with good story line. I do feel it falls a bit short in scripting and the player's involvement in preparation and options for defense and battle strategy.

Map Design: 5. Outstanding detail work and terrain modeling, well planned out and marvelously executed. A little heavy on the stone trimming perhaps, but a marvelous small village feel. I have viewed well over 500 maps (mostly invasions) and have never seen one that so captured the look of a small seaside village port. You really get the feel of narrow streets running through the town and its proximity to what genuinely feels like a charming harbor with docks and waiting ships plus a small castle off on a hill. It is one of the few maps you would like to transport yourself into to walk around and enjoy its surroundings. Whether you choose to play this map or not, you must download and at least feast your eyes upon it.

TROOP ENTRY ONTO THE BOARD: This brings me to a design flaw which will probably not affect play on normal difficulty, therefore I'm not marking off for it on this map. It occurs infrequently but I think it's important enough that it should be mentioned. Players who gain experience and start playing on harder difficulties may run into this and not understand why this happens. Authors should be aware of it and take steps to avoid it.

Troops do not magically appear on a map at the signpost. They march in from the board edge and form up at the signpost for their attack on your keep. To appear, they require access from the board edge to the signpost and normally enter at a point closest to the signpost. If the AI determines there is not enough accessible edge near the signpost to accommodate the number of troops it will force some troops to enter at other accessible points, even other edges and possibly inside your castle, as in this case. In the few games I've played where this happened, overflow troops tended to just stand around wherever they entered, allowing me to pick them off at will.

This map suffers from not having enough entry room for invading troops near the signpost at the edge of the board. On normal I'm sure there is enough accessible edge, but at least on very hard setting, where enemy troop counts are doubled, there isn't enough and they spill over and enter the board from other areas, notably inside your castle! When playing on very hard setting I had two groups appear on the last invasion, one on the north edge west of the river, and the other on the western edge where land touches the map edge. Both groups were inside the castle. In this case some macemen roamed about the castle and had to be dealt with. The balance of them stayed put and I picked them off with archers. I haven't tried it, but it may happen on hard setting, too. More accessible edge area should be made around the signpost on this map.

Story/Instructions: 4. Story was good. Also has nice supporting material which I don't count in my reviews. The instructions should have made clear that you must achieve the economic requirements before the final invasion designed to completely crush you. It was mentioned in the update notes but this might be missed by an inattentive player. The authors should have been aware of the troop entry problem on the board and provided a warning to those who might wish to try playing on hard or very hard setting. It would have been nice to have it fixed but I see no problem to leave it as is as long as cautions are provided. Modifications to play testing might be in order. It would always be wise to have at least one person test on very hard setting. Most scenarios can be completed on very hard by a good and determined player (there may be more players of this caliber out there than you think).

*****

All in all a marvelous effort.
WarLord_Designs
File Author
Octavius Maximus
Bismuth The word "eye-candy" seems hardly sufficient to use in describing The Scourge of Darkness; "Feast your eyes" would be more appropriate. I don't recall ever seeing such a cleverly designed, realistic and bustling village as the one that greeted me when I opened this map.

No doubt I had an economy to run and an enemy to prepare for but, the first time I played, I just ignored all that and wandered slowly over the screen admiring all the detail that Warlord_Designs had put into it: the port with it's entrance guarded by twin towers, the collection of shops and hovels around the dock area, the circuitous roads lined by stone walls, multiple stockpiles and granaries around the village, - I could go on and on. All the "manmade" features were very realistically scattered about the village.

The natural features of this map are also nicely rendered. Especially the shorelines and rocky islands. Also the well textured hillsides, cliffs and rock outcrops. Map Design - 5, Creativity – 4.5

After admiring the map till my lord had been killed, it was time to restart and get serious about playing it. On my first few attempts I was not very successful at keeping the bad guys out of the city. I ended up ineffectively chasing the macemen (orcs) through the streets with my spearmen while they destroyed building after building. Eventually my defense improved as I sorted out the best ways to position the troops and use the materials I had to work with. Still I was loosing the game as the final massive attacks arrived before I had met the economic goals.

I then hit upon a new strategy which focused more on manipulating the economy rather drastically to achieve the goals. I gained victory in July 875 after a little more than 7 game years. (NORMAL)

The download pack includes a file called “Walkthroughs”. But as it seemed to contain hints or suggested strategies I did not read it through until after I had beaten the game. I noted only that the designers asked the players to refrain from building additional fletchers or poleturners. (see note below)

This game is quite playable and enjoyable on NORMAL setting. The previous reviewer has pointed out some problems which occur on VERY HARD but I did not test this. The designers request that players refrain from building or doing certain things though the game itself allows it (such as building additional fletchers). It would be far better if these features were simply disabled in the map editor and the player were left free to use every option available during the game. Still this is a small strike against an enjoyable and challenging game. Balance – 4.5, Playability – 4.

An excellent and creative story, supplemented by hand drawn images. I would like to see at least one of those maps on the description page along with the mini-map. Story - 5

Regarding Game Hints: I suspect there are many players like me who don’t want to see the hints unless they are really stuck. It would be better to put these in their own file, separate from any other information.

This is a map that everyone should download. In the design and layout of the port and village especially it sets a standard that will be hard to beat.
WarLord_Designs
File Author
Really when it comes down to it we don't care how you play our map as long as you enjoy it. Thanks for all your help Bismuth and your very detailed review. If you ever need a map playtested we'd be happy to help you out.
WarLord Arthus
NAT
Rating
4.6
Breakdown
Playability4.0
Balance4.0
Creativity5.0
Map Design5.0
Story/Instructions5.0
Stunning map! I couldn't believe it when I first saw the minimap and I was certainly not disappointed when I bega to play the map. As Bismuth said you can "feast your eyes" for hours at this fabulous design work!

The plays quite well but I was not sure really what I would have to do to achieve victory. I was floundering around on NORMAL, so I went to the hints! (Now in their own document) That helped quite a lot and victory was ever so close. I recruited less men at the beginning and tried my hardest to maximise archr firing time. I am afraid that I am not the gratest player of stronghold to say the least and I couldn't quite get victory. Well done to Bismuth though! I will let you know Warlord Designs if I complete it after writing this review. I knew about not building more poleturners and fletchers as it would ruin balance but it would make more sense to have them disabled and then make it a priority to defend them. Maybe fork out a few more spearmen to do the job! Also stone gatehouses were enabled and stone provided which confused me - I COULD have ruined the balance by placing one at the main entrance. I realsied they must be enabled so that you can re-build destoryed gatehouses but this is not necessary. Disable it! This is an entertaining and challenging map but I feel that playability and balance have been sacrificed a little for map design and creativity.

Ok, the map design is just superb. No other word for it - I would happily give it 6s for both categories. This is some of the best eye candy I have ever seen! Never have I imagined so much and such great use of palistone walls! The port really does feel like a proper, realsitic town adn it gave the map an amzing atmosphere. I don't know how many people have ever tried but making a coastal map is very hard to do - gettign the shape of the coastline right to make it good on the minimap and in the map itself is a skillful thing to do and the authors here have passed with flying colours! My favourite bit of design arte the two towers on their own little island overlooking the road. They are just great! I could go into more detail about the amazing and intrictae design and creativity of the map biut I would be merely quoting Bismuth, lol. So I will leave it with the word - Outstanding!

Alexus before he joined with Arthus to become warlord designs how he would ever get a 5 from me in storyline and instructions and this is exaclty what I wanted. Very nice description page (with minimap), a full and interesting storyline and then with wonderful little sketches and another document with helpful tips. A perfect 5!

Overall this is a highly enjoyable map to play although I prefer just to gaze at the design work, lol! Such careful and detalied design work cannot recieve enough praise. This is map everybody should play - Donwload it now!

ps - I rather think this map should be re-released as a free build, a few changes in the storyline and a bit of extra building space... Just an idea but I am sure it would go down extremely well!
WarLord_Designs
File Author
Scourge of Darkness CH I has been updated.

Updates include the following:
-Disabled buildings(Fletchers, Poleturners and stone gatehouses).
-Removal of unavaliable troops in barracks.
-edited Walkthrough(no longer needed to be read at the start of the game if people do not wish to and is now a help page rather than a rule page.
-increases invasion to insure you are defeated if you take too long to achieve victory.

have fun.
djpolarbear World of Warcraft?

Minimap looks great and the story is excellent, I'm sure going to download this one!

Cheers,
djpolarbear
Adam the First
Rating
5.0
Breakdown
Playability5.0
Balance5.0
Creativity5.0
Map Design5.0
Story/Instructions5.0
Playability/Balance: 5
Playing this awesome map was a pleasure for me. Looking at the beautiful city, while gathering the goods and fighting against the macemen and crossbowmen was just pleasing.
The player has very limited building and troop availabilities, which makes the map hard and forces the player to think a lot. Only archers and spearmen can be trained, so very good positioning of troops is needed, as the enemy attacks with macemen and crossbowmen, and if they enter the town, they can easily destroy the economy. And in addition, their number increases with every waves, so the player really has no time to waste. Managing the economy is very tricky. There are no events that harm it, however it is easily possible to run out from all food, which occures people the leave the castle and it ia also a win createria. And thanks to the ale requirement, it is hard to gather popualrity from the inns; a lot of money is needed too, so limiting the money spending is a must. I just loved the way of figuring out how to win. A very challenging, but winnable scenario with a little thinking and good management of the army and economy. Brilliant job with the balance!
This scneario is one of the best fantasy maps I have ever played! :)

Creativity/Map design: 5
This is the best fantasy map on Stronghold Heaven. The area, the style of the buildings, the port, the keep, looked fantastic.
The city fits well with the terrain. The road bordered by stones looks very good too, like the whole map. I can say just one thing: Absolutely Stunning design.

Story/Instructions: 5
An very long, and very detailed story. I like the style it was written with. An outstanding fantasy story, which reall catches the attention of the player. The drawings in the word document look very good too and helps to improve the feeling of the story. Also, a detailed walkthrough is included too, so I can't give here any other score, but a big 5. Awesome job, WL_D! :)

Additional Comments:
Currently I'm playing Ch II, which also looks awesome, if I get through it I will probably rate that.
It's sad that you abandoned work on this campaign. :(

[Edited on 04/25/11 @ 01:12 PM]

mark1998 This is awesome! I can't find the 3rd one though.
:(

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Rating
4.8
Breakdown
Playability4.5
Balance4.5
Creativity5.0
Map Design5.0
Story/Instructions5.0
Statistics
Downloads:1,835
Favorites: [Who?]2
Size:2.02 MB
Added:07/18/04
Updated:07/27/04
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