Since this your first map don’t get sad because of this rating. I will start by saying that this map is quite interesting but hard playable. As I understood the position on high plain is created for a human player, because of the four starting stockpiles. (Computer lords are very cranky about stockpiles and if you place them near their stone keeps they will probably won’t start building castles). The other position is playable for the AIs but the mountain was a problem for everyone. I played against wolf, later against Richard and finally – Saladin. As for the Wolf, well, he couldn’t build a couple of towers and the most important – barracks. Still he skimped a lot of gold and used it to train mercenaries. Richard and Saladin finished their castles and played really well. As for the others I tried all the AIs: Caliph, Emir and Nizar didn’t place a second stockpile and that was a crucial thing in their playbility. (They stopped building the castle). All the other played fine, although a lot of them couldn’t complete the castles due to the mountain. Sadly but the bridge wasn’t effective. People couldn’t pass it. I used it when I was attacking the enemy. The only path to the other side of the map was the narrow fiord situated in the West part of the map. All I had to do was built few square towers near the fiord and my defense was indestructible. Still the map is quite interesting.
You have balanced the map quite well. I liked where you placed the oases and the resources. The space for building was quite even for both players. Although one of them had a height advantage and it was very important in this type of a map. The player on lowland had more farmland though. I like that you didn’t place lots of iron and boulders.
This map had an interesting idea. I liked the high and mid plain mixing, the little sword. The idea of the bridge and the narrow fiord was nice but sadly it didn’t work. I would advice you not to build bridges in the skirmish maps in the future.
Map Design: 2
Although it may seem that the design is poor I found some things that I liked. Firstly you created the oases using all sorts of scrub, and it looked quite realistic. The river had rocks, waterfalls; you placed a lot shrub, animals. But still you need to improve your design. You should curve you river, make it narrow or wider in places. A little oasis grass near the river should do the trick. If the river is wide, a small island (or a couple) would make the design more attractive. The high and mid plains are very angular. Try to round them a bit. The trees should grow on grass, not on empty land. The resources look good when they are mixed with rocks, shrub and mountains. The oasis could have little shrub, too. All in all, non realistic maps can be interesting as well as the realistic ones, but I think that you can create a good gritty map.
You have put some recommendations in the map story, and wrote a little in the internet. But still you should create even a short story that would fit to the map.
I must say that your first map is good. Don’t get disappointed by this review, look at other maps which are said to be the first, yours is quite nice. Try to find out your style of mapmaking. I think you will soon create interesting maps. Thanks for sharing your work with us. Good luck!