Heir to the Throne Update (Current Focus: S1)

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Heir to the Throne Update (Current Focus: S1)

Post by Turuk » September 8th, 2015, 2:52 am

HttT has not undergone any significant change in 7+ years. I am currently reworking the scenarios one by one, updating some of the wording, dialogue, maps and general gameplay. At this time, the intent is not to change the story, add new characters, kill off old ones, or make any major plot change.

The current focus will be reflected in the title of the thread, and I will post scenario files and maps for feedback so that insight into the work is not restricted only to those who download and build from the repository. Ideally, this will aid in testing and design, and not to be subject to Parkinson's law.


Elves Besieged:
River widened to account for it actually reflecting a river and not a stream.
Semblance of a path in the middle implied with leaf litter/dried grass instead of a clear strip of bright green grass.
Orc camps have cleared the woods around them, and built campfires.
Signpost is 6 hexes to the right - Player can decide to run the gauntlet up the middle or push around west with Chantal's forces.
Map1.png
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Re: Heir to the Throne Update (Current Focus: S1)

Post by Turuk » September 8th, 2015, 9:12 pm

Updated S1 below.

Based on this feedback thread over the years, some changes were made to gameplay.

- Orcs now clear the forest as they advance towards the elves. They get less defense on flat, but increased movement, making the player have to think about unit placement as turns go on and they move more easily.
- Southern orc (blue) now recruits only fast moving units. Instead of being a "threat" to the south, he is now a credible force that will force the player to move quickly.
- Chantal (western elf) now has a ford north of her keep as well, a necessity of a more central path.


The folder can be found at this Dropbox link. Instead of asking you to place individual files, just remove your current HttT folder and place this in its place at Wesnoth 1.12\data\campaigns.

I have play-tested this a number of times trying a few different tactics, and it seems to be at an acceptable level of difficulty on Normal. I would appreciate feedback if anyone is interested as I continue to work on overhauling the rest of S1.
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Re: Heir to the Throne Update (Current Focus: S1)

Post by Whiskeyjack » September 8th, 2015, 10:17 pm

Hey,

I have just played the scenario a couple of times and have to say, I thought it a little too challenging on medium and way too challenging on easy. I didn´t even try hard. On both difficulties I needed a couple of tries which is a problem on easy, because this is the first scenario of the starter campaign and I am no beginner to Wesnoth. And recruitment of level 3 Trolls vs. no recall list whatsoever is just unfair (usually there aren´t even level 2 enemies except for leaders in the first campaign scenario).

At least it manages to catch the desperation of the situation very well. :D

The clearing of the forest and the AI behaviour are very cool, I like it!

I beat the scenario by two tactics. One only worked on easy (going north in the forest west of the road) because after one turn of wait the enemies split to confront both elves and suddenly my whole army was through (which was also lucky, because most times this did not work).
The second way was to move my units through Chantal´s base and circumnavigate the fightbound orcs. I still lost almost all my warriors on full recruitment and Konrad almost got killed at Knafa-Tan´s keep because the first Pillagers caught up to me.

All of this only gets worse because you have pretty much no possibility to avoid some fights at first night.

The skirting actually works even on hard (which I would not have expected), as can be seen in the last replay, but I guess there was some luck involved as well. But especially for beginners I think this is asking a little too much strategy.
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Re: Heir to the Throne Update (Current Focus: S1)

Post by Turuk » September 9th, 2015, 1:48 am

Thanks Whiskeyjack, the feedback is greatly appreciated. Based on your replay, hard might now be too hard, so I will have to look in to adjusting the settings for that. Normal should still be feasible I hope though, even for new players. I attached my replay of my last run through on normal.

:hmm: I know the priority of focus for the AI shifts significantly from normal to hard, and that might explain why they crushed right through to Konrad and Delfador. I will have to play around with those values, beef up the elves or nerf the orcs (recruit or gold) on hard in order to make it playable. EDIT: I looked through the sides in greater detail, and the orcs' gold is variable on difficulty but the elves' is not. This benefits they player in Easy I'm sure, but only hurts him on hard. I will play around with some numbers to find the balance between fun and challenge.

I agree with you, the first scenario should be challenging enough to be fun, but nothing too hard for new players.
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Re: Heir to the Throne Update (Current Focus: S1)

Post by Sire » September 9th, 2015, 2:44 am

Feedback Report: Scenario One - Normal Difficulty

First off I must make a disclaimer that I played this as I would normal Wesnoth - I will occasionally use and take advantage of save states to abuse the RNG*. In case for further testings you would not like me to reset, let me know so I can adjust my reports.

In addition, I have not played the original Heir to the Throne, so I can not provide feedback on any differences. As for my skill level, I have beaten several vanilla campaigns on Normal** and think of myself as a veteran regarding turn based strategy games***.

* From memory and looking back at the replay, I do this two times this playthrough. The first is to set up a kill on a troublesome Troll Warrior while the second is to set up a kill on the Green Leader. It was mere chance that my allies set up another perfect kill for me.
** Tale of Two Brothers, An Orcish Incursion, The South Guard (both paths), Liberty, Descent into Darkness, Delfador's Memoirs, Under the Burning Suns
*** Advance Wars, Fire Emblem, XCOM: UFO Defense, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, etc.

* * * * *

Like Whiskeyjack stated, I do agree that for a "beginner level" campaign, this scenario does lean toward the difficult side*. I did manage to clear the scenario "first time through" by taking the aggressive approach and traveling the main road. While I did lose half of my forces (one was used as a sacrifice to slow down pursuers), I managed to promote Konrad and my Elvish Fighter. My surviving Archer and Shaman got some nice exp as well.

I loved the mechanic of the orcs cutting down the trees and it can be seen as both a blessing and a curse. A blessing in that Konrad and Delfador can move easier through the cleared space (provided there are no orcs nearby), and a curse in that your elves do lose precious terrain advantage.

Overall though, the scenario was fun. Around turn six I was thinking I made a mistake in taking the main road, but everything seemed to work out in the end. I look forward to seeing where this goes.

* Looking at the gold counts...
Player & Allies = 100 + 170 + 170 = 440 (Mostly Level 1 Units, Has Delfador, Map Control, Initial Terrain Advantage)
Orcs = 300 + 300 + 400 = 1000 (Mostly Level 2 Units, meant to be overwhelming, Cuts Down Forests)

This scenario also expects players to take full advantage of terrain, Zone of Control, and time of day. Otherwise, this scenario will no doubt be difficult if the player attempts to attack when they first reach the orcs, which will be during the night.
Of course, it is possible to re-categorize Heir to the Throne as a more difficult campaign and keep the difficulty as it is, fine tuning it as needed. It may lose its status as the classic starter campaign, but may gain a new reputation as being an awesome campaign that delivers on the threat of Asheviere.
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Re: Heir to the Throne Update (Current Focus: S1)

Post by Turuk » September 9th, 2015, 11:43 am

Sire wrote:First off I must make a disclaimer that I played this as I would normal Wesnoth - I will occasionally use and take advantage of save states to abuse the RNG*. In case for further testings you would not like me to reset, let me know so I can adjust my reports.
Noted, and not a huge deal because I believe a fair amount of players will do so as well when playing through it, so I always take feedback with a grain of salt. ;) But thank you for being up front about it.
Sire wrote:I did manage to clear the scenario "first time through" by taking the aggressive approach and traveling the main road. While I did lose half of my forces (one was used as a sacrifice to slow down pursuers), I managed to promote Konrad and my Elvish Fighter. My surviving Archer and Shaman got some nice exp as well.
The dialogue alteration/update will put a bit more emphasis on this. Konrad is supposed to be escaping with Delfador, and anyone else managing to get away is lucky to survive.
Sire wrote:I loved the mechanic of the orcs cutting down the trees and it can be seen as both a blessing and a curse. A blessing in that Konrad and Delfador can move easier through the cleared space (provided there are no orcs nearby), and a curse in that your elves do lose precious terrain advantage.
That is great to hear. I was not sure how this would go over as it favors the orcs, but it is a tactical advantage if the player can wisely use it. I claim absolutely 0 credit for the idea/WML, I borrowed it from nemaara.
Sire wrote:Overall though, the scenario was fun. Around turn six I was thinking I made a mistake in taking the main road, but everything seemed to work out in the end. I look forward to seeing where this goes.
That was the intent - you can take the main road and potentially make it work, though the orc to the east might hammer you if you do not wait for the elves to screen or you can go a bit to the west and try to move through the forest/cleared space.
Sire wrote:* Looking at the gold counts...
Player & Allies = 100 + 170 + 170 = 440 (Mostly Level 1 Units, Has Delfador, Map Control, Initial Terrain Advantage)
Orcs = 300 + 300 + 400 = 1000 (Mostly Level 2 Units, meant to be overwhelming, Cuts Down Forests)
Yes, after Whiskeyjack's comment I actually looked at the variations between the difficulty levels, and the elves don't scale at all. I'm toying around with more gold for the elves and a couple of ideas to help the player.
1 - Starting castle has "guards" which are level 2 units provided to the player, but it might skew later scenarios (maybe just provided on easy)
2 - The orcs are reported to the castle through level 2 units who were out scouting - on easy, they tell the player they will stay with him to help him escape, on medium/hard they indicate they will work to distract the orcs to help Konrad escape, and they reappear in the northeast corner, harassing the purple orcs to relieve pressure.
Sire wrote:This scenario also expects players to take full advantage of terrain, Zone of Control, and time of day. Otherwise, this scenario will no doubt be difficult if the player attempts to attack when they first reach the orcs, which will be during the night.
Of course, it is possible to re-categorize Heir to the Throne as a more difficult campaign and keep the difficulty as it is, fine tuning it as needed. It may lose its status as the classic starter campaign, but may gain a new reputation as being an awesome campaign that delivers on the threat of Asheviere.
Agreed, it does require players at least have some knowledge of those features, but hopefully they will have played the tutorial to grasp those principles. You summed it up succinctly in that it should still be a starter campaign, but it needs new life and an improved challenge for veteran players.

I will be working on it again tonight around balance/gold/dialogue, and throw an updated S1 out there soon.
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Re: Heir to the Throne Update (Current Focus: S1)

Post by Sire » September 9th, 2015, 3:51 pm

Turuk wrote:The dialogue alteration/update will put a bit more emphasis on this. Konrad is supposed to be escaping with Delfador, and anyone else managing to get away is lucky to survive.
I understood the situation of the scenario, but the emphasis may prove to be useful for other players.
Turuk wrote: Yes, after Whiskeyjack's comment I actually looked at the variations between the difficulty levels, and the elves don't scale at all. I'm toying around with more gold for the elves and a couple of ideas to help the player.
1 - Starting castle has "guards" which are level 2 units provided to the player, but it might skew later scenarios (maybe just provided on easy)
2 - The orcs are reported to the castle through level 2 units who were out scouting - on easy, they tell the player they will stay with him to help him escape, on medium/hard they indicate they will work to distract the orcs to help Konrad escape, and they reappear in the northeast corner, harassing the purple orcs to relieve pressure.
Regarding the ideas...

Gold: Gold makes a huge difference. Just remember to also account for gold values of starting units and not just pure starting gold!

1: On Easy difficulty, perhaps have the level two units be on the side of the player. However, at the end of the scenario, they stay behind to help fight off the orcs. (Have a note in the scenario objectives for this.)
2: On Normal and Hard difficulties, perhaps there is a level two unit that warns the player and starts off near the player's castle, but remains under AI control. Alternatively, instead of (presumably) holding off the pursuers, they can attack the purple camp instead.
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Re: Heir to the Throne Update (Current Focus: S1)

Post by Turuk » September 9th, 2015, 4:05 pm

Sire wrote:
Turuk wrote:The dialogue alteration/update will put a bit more emphasis on this. Konrad is supposed to be escaping with Delfador, and anyone else managing to get away is lucky to survive.
I understood the situation of the scenario, but the emphasis may prove to be useful for other players.
Of course, it was not to imply that you did not understand it but for me to clarify my intention was still the same for the scenario. One of those emphasis lost in text moments, but apologies if you thought I was disparaging you.
Sire wrote:1: On Easy difficulty, perhaps have the level two units be on the side of the player. However, at the end of the scenario, they stay behind to help fight off the orcs. (Have a note in the scenario objectives for this.)
2: On Normal and Hard difficulties, perhaps there is a level two unit that warns the player and starts off near the player's castle, but remains under AI control. Alternatively, instead of (presumably) holding off the pursuers, they can attack the purple camp instead.
Definitely prefer your refinements, I will try these both instead of my original thought. For your #2, I could also have him hold the bridge against blue, and maybe move blue up a bit. :hmm:
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Re: Heir to the Throne Update (Current Focus: S1)

Post by Turuk » September 12th, 2015, 10:00 pm

Sire wrote:Regarding the ideas...

Gold: Gold makes a huge difference. Just remember to also account for gold values of starting units and not just pure starting gold!

1: On Easy difficulty, perhaps have the level two units be on the side of the player. However, at the end of the scenario, they stay behind to help fight off the orcs. (Have a note in the scenario objectives for this.)
2: On Normal and Hard difficulties, perhaps there is a level two unit that warns the player and starts off near the player's castle, but remains under AI control. Alternatively, instead of (presumably) holding off the pursuers, they can attack the purple camp instead.
A few changes in the attached iteration below.

- Blue has decided to pack up his things and move a bit further west. If the orcs are coming from the north and he is encircling, it made more sense for him to come from a flank than due south. He is also now a bit higher, so the pressure is on. That being said, his gold is lower so you don't watch 20 wolves move around the map.
- Blue is also no longer an Orcish Warlord in charge of wolves, but a Direwolf in charge of wolves. They get along much nicer now.
- River is wider to make it more evident
- Added water lilies to give the river some class
- Ford now runs north and south of Chantal, making the run west a viable option if you want to race blue
- Orc keeps are no longer symmetrical
- Elf gold was adjusted, not quite perfect yet
- NW orc adjusted to only have lvl 1 recruits on Easy

The current state of S1 can be found at this Dropbox link. Instead of asking you to place individual files, just remove your current HttT folder and place this in its place at Wesnoth 1.12\data\campaigns.
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Re: Heir to the Throne Update (Current Focus: S1)

Post by Whiskeyjack » September 13th, 2015, 1:19 am

Is it intentional that the player can´t recruit Elvish Fighters anymore?

I think the difficulty level for easy is good the way it is now (it does not require too much tactics).

I managed to beat it on medium and hard on first try (with restarting of a couple turns to position my units differently (no save scumming involved, all about the positioning to find the best hexes)).

I do not like the new path the wolf riders take (they now run through Chantal´s fort, strangely ignoring her). Theme-wise I liked it better while they rushed the players base and actually posed a threat to catch up to the player. (And it was in my earlier playthroughs never revealed that they ignore Chantal, instead of being blatantly obvious.)

How about repositioning the scenario to north-eastern Aethenwood and having the wolfriders come from the right side of the map? (but on the other hand, the black elf already gets steamrolled)

Hard replay attached. (I´d also like to point out, that I managed this with intelligent on almost every unit and only one with resilient - even less of a meat shield than usual)
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Re: Heir to the Throne Update (Current Focus: S1)

Post by Inky » September 13th, 2015, 1:49 am

Hello,
HttT is one of my favorite campaigns- I'm very interested in how this new version will turn out.

Comments on Scenario 1: (although it's a bit redundant with the previous post)
-Konrad's Elvish fighter recruits are missing

-This version is significantly easier than the previous one (the one linked to in the second post). I actually tried that version and gave up after several failed attempts (on hard). In this version I won easily on my first attempt, moving all my units northwest through the forest with almost no resistance. (I think the difficulty is now similar to that of the original version of this scenario, where it was also pretty trivial to reach the signpost, even on hard. The main challenge wasn't reaching the signpost, but getting experience for units).

-The moving of the wolves further up actually slows them down significantly because they must move through forest terrain, and are delayed by Chantal's units (previously, they just ran up the middle path, avoiding Chantal's units).
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Re: Heir to the Throne Update (Current Focus: S1)

Post by Turuk » September 13th, 2015, 2:09 am

Thanks to you both for your comments.
Whiskeyjack wrote:Is it intentional that the player can´t recruit Elvish Fighters anymore?
Inky wrote:Comments on Scenario 1: (although it's a bit redundant with the previous post)
-Konrad's Elvish fighter recruits are missing
No it is not, I was playing around with Chantal's recruitment list and I accidentally took them out of Konrad's as well. This has been fixed.
Whiskeyjack wrote:I do not like the new path the wolf riders take (they now run through Chantal´s fort, strangely ignoring her). Theme-wise I liked it better while they rushed the players base and actually posed a threat to catch up to the player. (And it was in my earlier playthroughs never revealed that they ignore Chantal, instead of being blatantly obvious.)
Inky wrote:-The moving of the wolves further up actually slows them down significantly because they must move through forest terrain, and are delayed by Chantal's units (previously, they just ran up the middle path, avoiding Chantal's units).
Yes, that logic has always existed but the player generally didn't pay attention to it since blue was always a nonentity to the south. Based on your comment and the note from Inky, I am going to try them on the other side of the path, but closer to it. That will put more pressure on the player to run away while letting them speed up a bit.
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Re: Heir to the Throne Update (Current Focus: S1)

Post by Turuk » September 14th, 2015, 7:14 pm

Round 3:

- Balancing tweaks, and this will hopefully have made things more reasonable for all three difficulty levels. I balance based on my skill level, and then scale back accordingly. This does not just mean altering values, I actually play all three difficulty levels, but this also means I have the ability to get too good at one scenario. So I need feedback from all of you wonderful playtesters. As a reference, I managed easy without any recruits, Normal needs recruits but terrain/TOD is only semi-important, and Hard requires you to use all of the skills one would expect a seasoned Wesnoth player to utilize.
- Konrad has Elvish Fighters back (unionization was accepted)
- Blue wolf rider is now on the east side of the path and closer to it. Close enough to keep players moving north in a hurry but without too much pressure

The current state of S1 can be found at this Dropbox link. Instead of asking you to place individual files, just remove your current HttT folder and place this in its place at Wesnoth 1.12\data\campaigns.
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Re: Heir to the Throne Update (Current Focus: S1)

Post by Sire » September 15th, 2015, 3:34 am

Feedback Report: Scenario One - Normal Difficulty - Round 3

Disclaimer: Per usual, I played this as I would normal Wesnoth. This means save states were occasionally used to abuse the RNG.

* * * * *

Based off my previous experience, this scenario is easier than before (which seemed to be the goal for a beginner level campaign). However, I am now biased and know how the scenario works, so that must also be taken into account as well.

This time, I decided to hang back for a while to soak up EXP instead of rushing Konrad to the escape point. I also did not lose anyone* and managed to defeat a lot of enemy forces**. I even managed to kill both Warlords as well, but I did have to end the map on the last possible turn (Turn 14 on Normal).

I guess Normal difficulty is appropriate for a beginner level campaign, but a part of me would like to see the pursuers (wolf rider force) a little stronger on Normal. If the pursuers are so easily defeated, then one can question why Konrad and company leave instead of trying to defend the woods (unless one pulls the classic "This is just a scout force, more enemies are on the way!"). As for the other two Orcish forces, I think they are good as is. They are a threat to the player, but as they are slowly beaten down and the player gets some Tier 2 units, they are quickly taken care of.

Overall, I think this scenario may almost be finished. The only thing I can suggest is maybe make the wolf riders a little stronger, but otherwise, it seems to be in a good place.

* If I did not abuse the save state, I would have lost my "decoy elf" to the south. I wanted to keep him alive as he was Level 2.
** I ended up with a leveled Fighter, Archer, two Shamans, and Konrad by the end.
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Re: Heir to the Throne Update (Current Focus: S1)

Post by Turuk » September 15th, 2015, 1:25 pm

Thanks for the feedback!
Sire wrote:Based off my previous experience, this scenario is easier than before (which seemed to be the goal for a beginner level campaign). However, I am now biased and know how the scenario works, so that must also be taken into account as well.
In watching your replay, I can see this creeping into your playstyle, the same way I know it's creeping in to mine. You know that the enemy will engage with the elves/the elves will protect Konrad, so you duck into the forest a turn earlier than a new/normal player might. This lets the bulk of the forces pass you by without conflict, and then you are able to engage a few of them at a time, kill the leader, and then move back to mop up the rest. It's still good to know though.
Sire wrote:I guess Normal difficulty is appropriate for a beginner level campaign, but a part of me would like to see the pursuers (wolf rider force) a little stronger on Normal. If the pursuers are so easily defeated, then one can question why Konrad and company leave instead of trying to defend the woods (unless one pulls the classic "This is just a scout force, more enemies are on the way!"). As for the other two Orcish forces, I think they are good as is. They are a threat to the player, but as they are slowly beaten down and the player gets some Tier 2 units, they are quickly taken care of.
I could make the wolves have the logic given to all enemy sides on Hard. It basically paints a target on Konrad and Delfador, so the player is under more pressure to keep them safe and keep moving. I have thought about making the enemy forces only level 2 on normal, but trickling some gold to at least the northeast leader so there are a steady stream of units pushing the player to flee. :hmm:

What about the allies? Should they be stronger? Weaker? Less units but higher level, or a bunch of low level units fighting desperately to stem the tide of enemies?
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