South Guard 6b. The Long March

Feedback for the mainline campaign The South Guard.

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Rhuvaen
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Re: South Guard 6b. The Long March

Post by Rhuvaen » March 27th, 2008, 11:03 pm

Just a quick announcement: a new, re-balanced version of this scenario is available in the next release, or for download here.

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Anym
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Re: South Guard 6b. The Long March

Post by Anym » April 4th, 2008, 8:35 pm

(1) Civilian (Beginner), 1.4, English [US]

(2) 10: Nigh on impossible, especially for beginners (like me). Maybe I didn't level up my troops enough, but I started the scenario with six experienced level 2s and one level 3, four of which must not die. On my first try (going west), Urza Afalas died on the first turn, on my second, he died on turn later. On my third try (going north), I lost Jarek on turn 3 and Magister Hylas (and thus the scenario) on turn 4. It seems impossible to me without either advance knowledge or constant reloading neither of which seemed much fun, so I probably would have had to reload the previous scenario and go with the elves instead or quit the campaign in disgust. Fortunately, zookeeper on #wesnoth pointed me to a rebalanced version, but I expect most players, especially new ones, won't have that luxury. After this, as a new player, I'm afraid I have to say that Wesnoth sure seems to try pretty hard to turn new players off, first by exposing them to bad writing in one campaign for beginners (AToTB) and then by including a ridiculously imbalanced and impossible to win scenario in the other (TSG). :-(

(3) Clear, but unattainable.

(4) The little that I got to see was good.

(5) Dying.

(6) n/a

(7) Replace it with the version from the forums.

Reading through this thread, something that a consciously avoided doing before having finished the scenario out of fear of spoiler, I see now that those issues are, of course, well known already and have already been addressed, making the first part of my post kind of redundant. In order to make this post not completely superfluous, here are now my thoughts on the new version of the scenario. Please tell me if I should have posted these in the thread linked about instead.

(1) Civilian (Beginner), Rhuvaen's, English [US]

(2) 8: Much more doable than the old version, but still a far cry from a cakewalk. A big leap upward in difficulty from the previous scenario and the campaign so far. Admittedly, it was too easy so far, but this may still be too much for the lowest difficulty level of beginner's campaign. I finished it, but not on the first try. I had to reload a couple of times due to Urza Alafas, Magister Hylas or Deoran dying and even in victory I lost many good troops, Jarek among them. I hope I wasn't supposed to do something silly like spending 10 turn doing nothing but recalling and recruiting or so.

(3) Clear.

(4) Very clear and interesting.

(5) Keeping Urza Alafas out of harm's way while having him at the front lines at the same time to uncover the path through the forest.

(6) 6: Very flavourful, but perhaps a bit too frustrating.

(7) This is a great improvement, but might still need a bit more balancing and testing, so that the new player's in the next release aren't similarly frustrated. Also, not everything seems to work as intended. I saw some undead on the green team which lead to the strange situation of undead fighting other undead. Also, the triggers when Urza Alafas reaches row 28 and when Deoran reaches row 27, causing Urza Alafas to sprint ahead uncontrollably, didn't work to well IMHO. The first time, I triggered it at exactly the same time as an ambush, however Urza Alafas gladly ignored the elves' ZoC and positioned himself far ahead of my troops and right next to an enemy so that I found it impossible to keep him alive. One thing that the original version of the scenario did better was that it didn't allow recruiting and recalling, which I found very interesting and very fitting considering the nature of the scenario. Of course, that's an added level of difficulty and even with the toned down ambushes in the new version it would probably end up way to hard. However, as I think the enemies need to be toned down a bit more, I think it would be cool if the keep was removed again and the scenario was properly balanced for not being able to recruit and recall.
I look just like Bobbin Threadbare.

Miäs
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Re: South Guard 6b. The Long March

Post by Miäs » April 16th, 2008, 4:44 pm

Seems like others have had problems with this one.

(1) What difficulty levels and game versions have you played the scenario on?

Civilian, 1.4.1.

(2) How difficult did you find the scenario? (1-10)

Pretty difficult, 7-9

(3) How clear did you find the scenario objectives?

Very vague. In the beginning I get some dialogue about whether to go west or north. I check the objectives and it simply states "go to north end of forest." What forest, what north end, who do I have to get there?

(4) How clear and interesting did you find the dialog and storyline of the scenario?

I don't remember that well, only saw the starting once.

(5) What were your major challenges in meeting the objectives of the scenario?

Staying alive. And I haven't finished it yet.

The first tries I kept dying in the first turns for ambushes. Then I holed up in my fortress, grew an army and went exploring north. After a few tries I made it to the sea, the north end. Brought my commander there, nothing happened. At that point I came reading here what the hell I'm supposed to do and learnt I'm supposed to go west with the rogue dude.

Well on to it then. I recruited a small (at least 10+ units) army and set foot. When I got past the mountain at around halfway north on the east side, I had run out of disposable units. Then I got slaughtered.

Maybe my strategy is not the right one, but elves shooting 12 points of damage and undead hitting my units for 20 points seems pretty challenging. Especially since I'm supposed to play the campaign aimed for newcomers and even playing on the easiest difficulty. All the scenarios up to this one in the campaign have been very easy, so I find it strange this one suddenly coming up.

(6) How fun do you think the scenario is? (1-10)

Not very fun. Frustrating. When I learnt what I'm supposed to actually do, the scenario seemed like a fun one, but the fun soon faded trying to fend off elves on the other side and undead on the other side of my army.

(7) What, if any, are changes you would have made to the scenario to make it more fun?

Downgrade the enemies a bit maybe. The undead have pretty tough melee fighters. The elves are pretty good as they are.

RicardoGCE
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Re: South Guard 6b. The Long March

Post by RicardoGCE » May 4th, 2008, 8:05 pm

Having played the latest version of the map, I can say that this nearly-impossible scenario has become more manageable, but it still remains exponentially more difficult than all of the previous scenarios.

The addition of a keep from which to recall/recruit is very welcome indeed, but the ambushes remain far too frequent and punishing. I'm being regularly pummeled by 3-4 elf units that have, on average, 75% effectiveness against my own troops. This means a level 2 rider can be finished off within one turn, to say nothing of weaker units.

And the alliance between elves and undead is ludicrous. "We're going to punish you for turning Mabrin into a lich, and we're gonna do it by allying ourselves with the undead" is a terrible plot device, not to mention the fact that having separate elf-undead factions makes no sense. Certainly, elves and undead should fight each other as well as the player, but having two factions with the same composition and goals fighting each other seems contrived.

"The South Guard" has been my favorite campaign since I first discovered this game a year ago. But this scenerario, while full of potential, brings the whole thing to a crashing, and perplexing, halt.

G-$
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Everything the previous posters said is true

Post by G-$ » May 12th, 2008, 11:09 pm

1.4.2
This scenario is impossible

psvensson
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Re: South Guard 6b. The Long March

Post by psvensson » August 12th, 2008, 1:30 pm

(1) What difficulty levels and game versions have you played the scenario on?

The hardest ("normal?"), 1.4.3

(2) How difficult did you find the scenario? (1-10)

7.5 - took some restarts. I did it with a total force of about a dozen units, most of them lvl 3 by the end of the scenario, so my purse took a big hit.

(3) How clear did you find the scenario objectives?

The objective was reasonably clear, but the path there was not. At first, I concluded that heading north to tackle the undead was preferable to heading east into the arms of the undead, but that brought me sort into a dead end, to a jetty leading to deep water. I guess I could have tackled that by crossing the mountains, but a bug I'm detailing below prevented that.

(4) How clear and interesting did you find the dialog and storyline of the scenario?

The actions of Urza are puzzling, as detailed below.

(5) What were your major challenges in meeting the objectives of the scenario?

When I pushed north and reached the jetty, Urza suddenly warns of "bandits in these woods," even though my force was far from where the bandits appear. Then he teleports across the mountains, landing in the east, where he is ambushed and slain by elves.

I then replayed the scenario, heading first north, then east between the swamps, before heading north through the mountain valley where there a few settlements. Continuing north, Urza (who was wounded already) warns of the bandits, then runs off ahead to be killed by Nagas. Very annoying behavior that forced me to retrace three turns and took quite a few replays to get right.

(6) How fun do you think the scenario is? (1-10)

Despite the bugs, I thought it was fun. It reminded me of the harried, desperate feel of Xenophon's Anabasis.

(7) What, if any, are changes you would have made to the scenario to make it more fun?

I think Urza's teleportation/sudden dashes should be removed. They complicated the scenario tremendously. I also agree with some of the above posters that the scenario is too difficult, or at least, that beating it is costly. However, I completed the campaign fairly easily despite depleting my money.

lsummer28
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Re: South Guard 6b. The Long March

Post by lsummer28 » November 8th, 2008, 4:33 pm

(1) What difficulty levels and game versions have you played the scenario on?
Recruit 1.4.2

(2) How difficult did you find the scenario? (1-10)
10 for a beginner campaign. It seemed out of place.

(3) How clear did you find the scenario objectives?
Ambiguous, which was part of the difficulty. If you're okay with the player having to restart because he chooses the wrong path, it's okay.

(4) How clear and interesting did you find the dialog and storyline of the scenario?
Ambiguous and interesting.

(5) What were your major challenges in meeting the objectives of the scenario?
What WASN'T? I went west first, and blundered into elves, got Urza slaughtered, restarted several times due to elves slaughtering Urza or just enough units that life didn't seem worth living any more. Got almost to the end and ran out of time. Went north the next time, found it was easier, discovered there was no way across. Shadows and wraiths flying in out of nowhere, and only ranged units can deal with them...it was rough. Unfortunately I only got through by learning where trigger points for elf massacre gangs were and avoiding triggering them until I had overwhelming force assembled. For example, I waited to trigger the second gang until I had sent a five or six unit flanking force south across and around the swamp so I could bring pretty much my whole darn army to bear on three units. Having played the whole campaign through, I think I was way too conservative in my opinion of what forces I needed to survive the later levels (since none are needed for the next map and the last map was pretty easy), and I could probably have gotten by with one restart for Urza blundering into an ambush and getting waxed by egregiously overpowered elves, then another restart for running out of time at the end.

(6) How fun do you think the scenario is? (1-10)
I'd give it a 7, actually, but again, I don't know that it belongs in a beginner campaign. I've played this type of game for 15 years (Master of Monsters on Genesis, sophomore year of high school, also Shining Force, Fantasy General).

(7) What, if any, are changes you would have made to the scenario to make it more fun?
I'd tone down how nasty the elf ambushes are and tone down how many flying "oh my gosh, where did that come from, now my longbowman is dead" shadows and wraiths there are. The NUMBER of ambushes is good, but there need to be none with all 2nd level elves; they are just literally murder in the woods. If you'd had rogue units for two or three maps and had a pool of upgraded ones, it wouldn't be so bad, but human units are just toast.

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TheJM
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Re: South Guard 6b. The Long March

Post by TheJM » January 10th, 2009, 5:35 pm

I take it that this one has been rebalanced by now, as I didn't have many problems..

(1) What difficulty levels and game versions have you played the scenario on?
Easy on 1.5.7

(2) How difficult did you find the scenario? (1-10)
6ish.. Wasn't too bad, the ambushes were a little tricky because you're fighting against elves that are all in the forest while half your troups are sitting on a road with 40% defense or worse..

(3) How clear did you find the scenario objectives?
No problems understanding.

(4) How clear and interesting did you find the dialog and storyline of the scenario?
Ummm, I don't know? I don't remember what there was for dialog and it's didn't add that much to the story, other tham the fact that elves are annoying and should be avoided.. :lol2:

(5) What were your major challenges in meeting the objectives of the scenario?
Killing the elves fast enough to stay ahead of the undead. They almost had caught up to me (stupid slow mages..) when Deoran crossed the river. And lol at the naga sitting there. It came up on shore and got slaughtered. xD

(6) How fun do you think the scenario is? (1-10)
5, sorta interesting..

(7) What, if any, are changes you would have made to the scenario to make it more fun?
Can't think of any right now..

Zaphod
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Re: South Guard 6b. The Long March

Post by Zaphod » January 11th, 2009, 1:34 pm

Huzzah for the rebalancing! Because up til then, this scenario would be rated like…
(1) EASY on 1.4.3
(2) On a scale of 1-10, maybe 11? See #5
(3) I thought I just had to get urza up north, not Deoran. Maybe I'm just thick that way.
(4) It really has been a while… The dialogue did make me wonder why elves are described as *not* being warlike by nature.
(5) I seem to recall finishing on the last turn, with Deoran having 3hp, urza running around doing nothing while my *slightly* reduced army was bogged down in that valley on the west, fighting off hordes of specters, revenants, nightgaunts (gah!), and elves. Lots and lots of elves. I restarted twice just to avoid some of the trigger points.
(6) Possibly a 6, I enjoyed the challenge of trying to get through. However, it was, I don't know, challenging!?
(7) It's already been changed, so no comment.
Three cheers for rebalancing! :mrgreen:
I shall take this potato chip... and eat it!!

Rapturous
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Re: South Guard 6b. The Long March

Post by Rapturous » January 14th, 2009, 1:26 am

(1) What difficulty levels and game versions have you played the scenario on?

Normal, 1.4.7

(2) How difficult did you find the scenario? (1-10)

8

(3) How clear did you find the scenario objectives?

Perfectly clear.

(4) How clear and interesting did you find the dialog and storyline of the scenario?

I liked the urgency in Urza's dialogue, but this mission seemed to be less about story, and more about getting the f out. That's fine, though--not every mission can be novel.

(5) What were your major challenges in meeting the objectives of the scenario?

As I'll state later in further detail, being sandwiched between two strong forces. I never tried to just run through, but with so many elves and trees about, that seemed unlikely to me. Though, like I said, I never tried it.

(6) How fun do you think the scenario is? (1-10)

I love every scenario, which would put every scenario at a default of 8 or higher (if especially good), but assuming 5 is average by Battle for Wesnoth standards, this mission would get a 7.

(7) What, if any, are changes you would have made to the scenario to make it more fun?

Read below for further detail and comments.

---

First, there's a typo in the intro dialogue on the map, where someone says "punnishment," when it should be "punishment." One n.

Second, I found this to be an extraordinarily difficult scenario. I found myself having to restart this mission quite a few times, which has been unusual for me to do anywhere (I'm in the middle of Heir to the Throne campaign). I don't like to reload my save from the last turn, as it's kinda cheap to me, so I make "checkpoints" for myself, to be fair. Let me tell you, I had a hard time with this mission. After initially falling to a surprise ambush along the main road, I exclusively went the western route, following Urza. So, maybe the main road was easier in the long-term, but it didn't appear that way after I got trounced by the surprise the first time.

So, the next question is--was it so difficult that it wasn't fun? No. I'm quite enamored with Battle for Wesnoth, and I'm pretty sure a scenario would have to be mind-bogglingly difficult for me to not enjoy any of the scenarios (I can't stop playing). This may be viewed as bias. If I were to try to take the perspective of someone who is still on the fence about the game--this may turn them off, depending on how they feel. Do they hate challenging games? They will stop playing. Do they love to be challenged? They will fall in love with this game. It's that kind of mission.

Could it stand to be toned down a bit? Sure, but not necessarily. It helps that the undead fight the elves, as well, but it doesn't help that you get sandwiched between the two factions, making you both of their likely targets. One could attempt to attract both teams, and then have them butt heads as you retreat, but it's difficult enough to move with the zone of control, and the enemies coming from the mountains. Perhaps the AI could be altered so that they are more prone to attacking each other. Like, have the elves bring up a dialogue box once they're in a certain proximity, where the elf will say, "Vile undead! It's enough these wretched humans are defiling our forests, but the constant grief you've damned us with has gone too far!" This signals that the elves will still attack you, but are more likely to strike the undead if within reasonable proximity. This way, the elves are still a threat, but you won't be the sole victim of each forces' units.
Spoiler:

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jaimeastorga2000
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Re: South Guard 6b. The Long March

Post by jaimeastorga2000 » August 1st, 2009, 5:25 am

(1) What difficulty levels and game versions have you played the scenario on?
(2) How difficult did you find the scenario? (1-10)
(3) How clear did you find the scenario objectives?
(4) How clear and interesting did you find the dialog and storyline of the scenario?
(5) What were your major challenges in meeting the objectives of the scenario?
(6) How fun do you think the scenario is? (1-10)
(7) What, if any, are changes you would have made to the scenario to make it more fun?

1. Soldier (Normal) on Windows XP (game version 1.6.4)

2. Nine; had to restart quite a few times, lost every unit I recalled; only the four essential units survived until the end.

3. Except for one bit at the end (where I wasn't sure if moving Deoran to the other side of the bridge would end the scenario, or if there was a specific hexagon I had to move him to), the scenario was very clear.

4. It's okay. Not a very plot-based mission, but it makes sense in the storyline. The elves are somewhat plain; it would be best to only show one ambush text the first time it happens. I really liked the bandit as he spoke about only wanting to go home; that was a good bit of dialoge. At the beginning, when the healer dude mentions that he "senses" the undead after them, I would recommend changing that to a reasoned statement (e.g. "The undead are/must be right behind us") or for something to happen to actually give him that impression (e.g. "Do you hear that? In the woods behinds us? The undead catch up, we must hurry!"). I think these are better than something as vague as "senses." Also, I would change "secret path" to "path" only; the "secret" part is a bit tacky.

5. Like the "Vengeance" scenario in the elves' path, this mission requires one to play differently from before. Rather than camp to make a strong force, try to kill all the enemy units, and capture as many villages along the way, this is a mad race to stay ahead of the undead behind you while trying to smash through enemy defenders in front of you. The bandit is the only one who can see the path, so I sent him first, right? The other units were slow to catch up to him, but if he went alone too far he got ambushed (usually RIGHT before he entered a village he could defend in) and killed. Deoran also got killed a few times, since the elves are in the woods and can maneuver to easily hit virtually any units in the road. Had to sacrifice all my recalled units to hold off the insanely strong undead horde following from behind.

6. Eight point five. Different from before, challenging, and just overall fun. The feeling of being chased by an enemy one can mechanically defeat but is unlikely to due to sheer advantage, forcing retreat, is thrilling.

7. Lower elven resistance a little. The unstoppable undead army coming from behind is fine, but the elves make it a little too hard. As I said, I lost all the veteran units I had recalled and just barely managed to win the scenario. Also, those enemies at the end should be removed or changed to elves. They pretty much came out of nowhere.

DrPepper8
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Re: South Guard 6b. The Long March

Post by DrPepper8 » September 10th, 2009, 7:18 pm

1. 1.6.4, Normal
2. Hmm. I guess an 8, since I had to replay it a lot. I think the difficulty for me was that it required very different tactics from previous scenarios - once I'd figured out what worked, it was fine.
3. Very clear.
4. It was OK.
5. Mainly figuring out what tactics I should be using - at first I kept letting my rank and file soldiers get bogged down trying to take out elves while my leaders got too far ahead and then got ambushed and killed. The key thing for me was realising that it was often better to run away from elven ambushers rather than taking time to kill them.
6. 9. I liiked that it was a bit different from the previous missions, and it was a good concept.
7. Maybe make the enemies at the river elves rather than random monsters.

Benefuchs
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Re: South Guard 6b. The Long March

Post by Benefuchs » November 18th, 2009, 11:57 pm

(1) hardest (=normal), 1.6
(2) 6-7
(3) clear.
(4) nice dialogue, fits good in the storyline
(5) the ambushes were annoying, and the fast moving undead units (wraiths, shadows, bats) were a problem. Basically, I recalled my heroes, recruited footpads and thugs to fight and slow the undead and ran. The elves mostly fought the undead, keeping them away from my main army.
(6) 9, that idea of showing the path just in Urza Alfe's view was really cool and it was a well planned race from the undead.
(7) I guess, no further changes are necessary.

fluffy
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Re: South Guard 6b. The Long March

Post by fluffy » October 5th, 2010, 9:11 pm

Content Feedback wrote:(1) What difficulty levels and game versions have you played the scenario on?
(2) How difficult did you find the scenario? (1-10)
(3) How clear did you find the scenario objectives?
(4) How clear and interesting did you find the dialog and storyline of the scenario?
(5) What were your major challenges in meeting the objectives of the scenario?
(6) How fun do you think the scenario is? (1-10)
(7) What, if any, are changes you would have made to the scenario to make it more fun?
1) 1.8 (linux version) Hard.
2) Challenging. [8]
3) Very clear.. follow the badit, make a safe way to the other side of the river.
4) Fits perfectly in the storyline.
5) Leveling up a few units and keeping the undead safely out of my scope.
6) 10 because I managed to level up one footpad and a master bowman.
7) Nothing I can think of right now.

JoanRC
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Joined: January 31st, 2011, 8:22 am

Re: South Guard 6b. The Long March

Post by JoanRC » January 31st, 2011, 9:46 am

(1) What difficulty levels and game versions have you played the scenario on?
(2) How difficult did you find the scenario? (1-10)
(3) How clear did you find the scenario objectives?
(4) How clear and interesting did you find the dialog and storyline of the scenario?
(5) What were your major challenges in meeting the objectives of the scenario?
(6) How fun do you think the scenario is? (1-10)
(7) What, if any, are changes you would have made to the scenario to make it more fun?

1. Easy and normal. Version 1.8.4 on PCLinuxOs 2010.
2. As with all the other beginners who have posted here, I find it impossible to win. This is my first game of this type (I usually stay with point and click adventure games like Myst.) So, I did all the beginner campaigns on easy and then tried South Guard on normal. On easy, I gave up on this scenario entirely and went back to Choice in the Fog and sided with the elves. I thought it would be easier for me the second time around; because I have a better idea how to play the game. But I just get slaughtered in the ambushes. I carefully mapped out all the ambush points and plotted out a safe passage to the West side and then straight North, which successfully gets Deorian through to the Naga in time; but, my pedestrians are so slow in the forest that the bats catch them and slaughter them.
Edit: I didn't try this on normal. Unlike other campaigns, Normal in The South Guard is the hardest level. I did this on Easy and Beginner.
3. I don't know yet; because I haven't completed the scenario.
Edit: I have just completed the scenario. There were no surprise endings, no twists in the plot. The goal turned out to be exactly as stated in the beginning - get the kid to the north of the river, keep his bodyguard alive, kill anyone who gets in the way.
4. I'm 57 years old. I outgrew this type of story line when I was a very young girl. I only pay attention to the story line when I am having trouble with a scenario and think I may have missed a clue in the dialogue.
5. Trying to beat an enemy who out numbers and out guns me while trying to protect slow moving pedestrians who have no resistance is just suicidal. I even tried recalling some level 2 mermen that I wouldn't be needing in later scenarios; but, that didn't slow the undead for more than a turn or two. I even managed to level Minister Hylas up to level 3; and, he still got slaughtered by the bats.
6. Watching all your buddies get slaughtered is just no fun at all, even if they're just pixels on a computer monitor.
7. I wouldn't put this scenario in a beginner's campaign at all.

I'd like to see a replay of this that runs in 1.8.4. None of the replays I've tried work in this version. I've seen the suggestions that say I should outrun the elves instead of fighting. But, the pedestrians are too slow; so, I don't see how that can be done. I have seen one ambush point that triggers only one elf, a Druid, who can be defeated by my hero group in one turn; so, maybe there is a route past her that I should be trying. I really hate to cheat; but, I don't want to waste any more time on this scenario.

Edit:
Well, I finally beat this scenario. I had to modify my strategy somewhat. This time, I didn't take a detour to the West. I headed North and zig zagged around the ambush points. At the beginning of each turn, I sent one guy ahead to trigger the elves, then reloaded that turn and moved around the trigger points. This way, I was able to leave behind 6 ambushes for the southern horde to stumble into. By around turn 10, the horde began to catch up with me, and I realized I was going to have to take a stand and fight these clowns. I left behind 2 Expendable Crewmen and headed straight North. Fortunately, there were no further ambushes past this point. Deoran had been badly mauled by the bats and was in no shape to tackle the Naga; but, his bodyguard dispatched them and he made it to the North shore by turn 13. Most of my carefully built up army was dead; and I doubt I'll be able to finish the rest of the campaign with the remnant that survived.
Conclusion:
The obvious conclusion to be drawn is that I should have replayed some of the earlier scenarios in order to be able to enter this one with more leveled up troops and more gold, so as to be able to keep more of my army alive for succeeding scenarios. Unlike Into the Depths, which is also difficult, there is no secret to winning this one. Just fight smarter, earlier to build up your army.

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