On an island far away in an era long forgotten, the people were ruled over by a wise lord called Duc Henry de Puce. His subjects loved and respected their ruler in equal measure and the island prospered under his rule. But, as the years passed, the old Duc fell sick and was dying. As his life hung by a thread lamented that his life had been sinful and begged forgiveness from God. He decided to write a document giving part of his land and wealth to be equally distributed among his subjects. He also ordered for his wealth to be equally divided between his two sons, William and Steven de Puce. But, Steven was greedy and spiteful and wanted all the lands and gold to himself. He planned to poison his brothers personal supply of wine he kept in his cellar. A few hours later William and his loyal steward raised their goblets to drink a toast to his father's recovery. His steward drained his goblet of the poisoned wine. As William raised his goblet he noticed his steward start convulsing and thrashing. He threw the wine away and escaped the castle, going into exile for 10 years.
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Steven became king and the land suffered under his reign. Steven taxed his peasants so heavily they were forced into poverty. Over time, he became mad with power, and begun locking himself away in his castle. His subjects gave him the nickname, the king of the rats, and was soon known as the Rat. After 10 years of wandering and training in the art of warfare, William returns from exile to lead a rebellion. You must build a prosperous settlement to withstand the Rat's attacks and raise an army to liberate the island.
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There was plenty of stuff to do in this map, thanks to the economic objectives. The wolves were occasionally problematic, and in one instance actually prompted restart. There were clearly several viable options for keep placement, and picking one adds to this score. The invasions kept things lively. However, the objectives did not trigger until the end of the scenario. I'm not sure why it was necessary to hold off on the win trigger until 1 month before the loss timer ended.
I completed this map on Very Hard on the third attempt. It is somewhat challenging, but the only real hurdle was preparing for the first attack in time. After that, the map isn't too hard. None of the attacks afterwards were much of a problem, I had approximately 60 archers and 15 crossbowmen. The siege engineers were separated from the bulk of the invasion force both times they appeared, so destroying them was easy. If the catapults had been able to attack the walls, life would've been more difficult. After completing the objectives, there was a lot of leftover time.
The creativity in this level comes from the varied keep positions, the map's premise (fitting stories incorporating one of the AI's by name seem rare), and the wide variety of objectives.
Map Design: 4.5
The map design here is very good. The designer clearly paid attention to all parts of the map, and the roads (or streambeds?) are nicely done. I would ask whether or not the placement of the scattered areas of iron were intentionally left too small to place iron mines on, although this score didn't suffer from it.
The designer wrote a story that fits well with the selected character, which I appreciate. Also the story exists and it suits the map.
Play this map for a decent economic challenge paired with some fair-sized invasions, but be prepared to wait for a bit after you've completed them. Do not be dismayed by the fact that your check-boxes aren't checked on the briefing screen despite having completed them, you will win immediately before the loss timer runs out.
Looking great, will try it now, really long time havent played Strongholds.
Edit: Ohh, a custom map art style, good, good.
[Edited on 08/06/13 @ 02:01 AM]
Starting the biggest dissapointment is the Win condition. You have to wait all game long to achieve the victory even if you got the resources and met the requirements half hour ago.. So that gone with a lot time spending AFK with max speed thinking what to eat..
In better note game played decent enough, wolfs that seem may kill your lord if on higher difficulty at the start of the placement of the keep. Maybe its still same note.. But that for me it adds more flavor too less blank map.
Maybe lack of invasions or more action, events could be added, debatable.
Those dying trees...
The biggest problem now is the win condition.
Played on Normal difficulty that seemed great to play but sure I needed to chooce highest one as it was ezzzzzzzzi.
Well this section of review is hard to think what to say.
Map Design: 4
Decent map. Landscape distribution of hills, rivers, trees i quite nice. Resources like Iron could use some more love as some where it really would be nice to be able to place the mine since there is a trail already of it. River edges could used some more attention with some more careful rocks placement, smaller ones added, when camera rotated it looks quite dull.
Story is great written even included with Art map in doc file of the story location.
Some tips or brief text is missing what to expect when starting the map, what you cant build, the enemy encounters timings, map surroundings. Would hurt some throw some thoughts there to set up the mood for the start of the game.
Great map, Story, Decent gameplay. Looking forward for the upcoming story mission 2!