Posted on 12/19/05 @ 08:34 PM
King Alaric has ordered me and my men to travel to Uisneach and protect it, because he expects Roman attacks. He has told me that the Romans have recently adopted a new faith, Christianity. This religion sees our way of life as heathen and particularly dislikes our worship of holy trees like Uisneach, which it views as idolatry. I myself can hardly believe any of this, the Romans surely know that the wrath of their old Gods will be terrible! Still, I am just a warlord and Alaric is King. He also told me that if we arrive too late to save the tree or nearby village, we are to slaughter every Roman and priest. If we find anything that has been build in the name of this new religion it is to be destroyed. It may not spread.
Read more of the story in the readme file, the map itself contains a kind of summary.
If you are a(very) experienced player I recommend playing this map at hard difficulty.
I hope you'll have fun, Lord_Ako.
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Playabilty and Balance: 9/10
Posted on 12/28/05 @ 07:14 PM
This unorthodox and superby designed map gives you vastly different challenges than in a normal stronghold game. You have many restrictions, in my opion a few too many but this forces you too play outside your comfort zone which is fun for a change. Building a fortress is almost impossible, you have to concentrate on building as many men as quickly as you can. It is so hard to balance the economic long term goals such as producing the bows and ale while also building up an army with which to defend your settlement. You have to be diligent and plan everything from the very start of the map, it is tough to say the least but still possible. An excelent game to play!
Creativity and Map Design: 10/10
Fantastic idea and brilliantly implemented, great work from Lord Ako. The central trunk in the middle looks magnificent and the whole idea is very inovative. The surrounding countryside has a good rugged feel as well, I especially like the evidence of tree roots left over from the 'Ancient Oak'. What amazing idea will be next?
Very good idea for a storyline and a well written as well. A joy to read, top marks again.
Additional Comments: Another amazing map from Lord Ako! Where do you get all yoru ideas from?
Ancient Oak by Lord Ako
Posted on 01/20/06 @ 09:06 AM
Map Design 5
Lord Ako has produced a diamond of a map here with his interesting and creative Ancient Oak. It’s no surprise then this delightful offering is nothing short than a great map, be it by such a well respected and revered map maker, but even after a year away from the Stronghold scene can he come back with what is arguably one of the best maps of 2005? The answer to this question is a resounding ‘yes’.
From the moment I started Ancient Oak I knew I was in for a challenge. You begin by leading a band of Goth men to the heart of Uisneach where it’s been ordered by King Alaric to protect the sacred lands from the Christian Romans amidst foreseen attacks. Or in the case the Romans are settled already to rid the land of Christian occupation by killing every last one. As leader you cast your eyes out far and wide searching for guidance from the great tree of worship, a huge garden of life hanging in the sky, but it suddenly dawns on everybody that they are indeed in the heart of Uisneach and the tree is no more. Grown men start to cry, seeing the holy tree reduced to wooden planks; what true damage has been done here on these lands? You see the Romans in the distance - the burning hatred is too much!
This is where your quest begins, with a group of mace men you're ready to follow out orders from King Alaric and take back what is yours!
Ancient Oak is a very playable map from start to finish, it’s creative, well balanced and is deeply infused with a style that is a trade mark of Lord Ako. This map delivers an impeccable experience into the world of Stronghold, and as you may have read already offers a slightly unusual game play that will only make you wonder why this map has taken so long to reach Stronghold Heaven. In fact, 3-4 years ago maps that were perceived as ‘great ones’ were getting downloaded in their thousands! It makes me sad that this map would have enchanted so many if it was created back then. But then again where there’s no substitute for experience just the thought of such quality wouldn’t have crossed the mind 3 years ago. Which is all quite apt really as it seems the more Lord Ako designs the better he produces…..….So was it worth the wait?....I think so.
The initial cede is tough and requires some thoughtful strategy. It’s essential to follow out orders which are woven into the story or you may find yourself confused and frustrated. Once past the ‘cede’ you must begin to salvage the holy wood by making bows and Goth ale for the King. As you expect the Romans fight back with their invasions but they are superbly in tune with what’s going on in the game. Bears and wolves will play their part, only you might find them a nuisance like I did :) It must be stressed that i found this map pretty tough going, but despite this Ancient Oak is still very fun to play. It looks great and plays very well, and when you may feel it’s too hard, rest assured it’ll only make victory sweeter.
Secrets, what secrets! To be honest I didn’t think there were any left after playing Stronghold for over 3 years but i’d be wrong. Mace men reinforcements? You heard right! This was a lovely piece of intelligent scenario scripting. Very clever that will no doubt be copied by designers. Lord Ako does it best with map design and he doesn’t disappoint here, the whole map oozes a class that is head and shoulders, the sawn tree trunk and indeed under-ground roots make map design look unbelievably realistic and a league apart.
To sum up Ancient Oak is a tremendous map – Well done Lord Ako.
[Edited on 01/20/06 @ 09:25 AM]