Scenario Review: (UTBS) 8. Out of the Frying Pan...

Feedback for the mainline campaign Under the Burning Suns.

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Molean
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Re: Scenario Review: (UTBS) 8. Out of the Frying Pan...

Post by Molean » April 22nd, 2010, 7:34 am

1) What version and difficulty level did you play the scenario on?

1.8 medium difficulty level.

3) Was there any event that caused you to almost instantly loose, or made the scenario unplayable without reload?


Yes. When you encounter the humans in the tunnel, if the unit that triggers the the humans is at the point where the tunnel starts opening and is out of movement, and nothing else can reach into the cavern, the human units can pin down that unit making it impossible to bring in more units into the cavern, thus making the battle take too long, and your troops start drowning (you need time to work them through the tunnels too, even if you didn't recruit much)

Maybe make the human units not move or move very far their first turn?

4) Do you like the storyline and the dialog?


Yes, except the concept that all the towns population was being brought along with somehow didn't make any sense at all.

5) Do you think the scenario was fun?


Yes, the water coming up is a nice break from events that wait for you, a actual reason to rush other then a artificial timer.

The ghosts where you needed to kill the specific ghost trainer to get past them was clever and a fun mild puzzle.

The messenger was surprisingly easy to get, even with a hell of a head start. Especially since it was without escort and choose to cross the desert, rather then stick to the road. With enough notice, one could set up units up north to intercept, so perhaps there should be a road for that unit to take? Make it a bit more of a challenge?

For decoration, perhaps place a watery entrance somewhere in the cave wall around the desert human town. This would be the opening the lost humans used to get in. Surely they didn't get in the other way, it was booby trapped.

shadowblack
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Re: Scenario Review: (UTBS) 8. Out of the Frying Pan...

Post by shadowblack » August 27th, 2010, 9:47 pm

1) What version and difficulty level did you play the scenario on? Please do not submit feedback from pre 1.4.
1.8.4, Desert Sentinel (Challenging)

2) Do you think the difficulty is adequate to the level? If not describe the issue that made the scenario to easy/hard.
Well… See next point.

3) Was there any event that caused you to almost instantly loose, or made the scenario unplayable without reload?
YES! Sadly, this time there was something that made part of the scenario close to unplayable. And that thing is lack of gold. Explanation follows:
1. I started with min gold and recalled just 4 units – 2 Desert Stars and 2 Shydes (which later advanced to Stars)
2. I made it out of the caves around turn 30
3. As soon as I could I picked the gold in the chest. Before opening the chest I had -188 gold. After opening it I had -38 gold (since on Normal difficulty you find 150 gold)
End result: I had NO gold for recalling/recruiting units, so I had to handle the rest of the scenario with just 9 units: Kaleh, Nym, Zhul, Grog, The Golem, and the 4 Desert Stars (and initially one of them was still a Shyde). That made the rest of the scenario really hard and I had to replay turns a number of times to maximize damage inflicted and to minimize damage taken. Add to that the undead and having to stop the messenger, and the final part of the scenario became an exercise in frustration.

Whoever decided on the min starting gold and the gold in the chest obviously did not expect the player to recall level 4 units, or to take so long to reach the keep.

4) Do you like the storyline and the dialogues? If not what part/character lags behind or what would you like changed?
Very good – things are getting interesting…

5) Do you think the scenario was fun? Please write down some thoughts about gameplay, mood etc.
The FIRST part – getting out of the caves – was fun. The water that was slowly but surely approaching from all directions made this a different kind of fleeing scenario, since killing all enemies made very little difference. Having to carefully plan my moves in order to cause max damage to enemies, take min retaliation, heal as much as possible, AND cover as much ground as possible in a turn (yes, all four at once), provided a nice tactical challenge.

Once I made it out of the cave and had to fight the humans… see point 3 above.


6) Do you think the scenario's WML is clear and commented well enough? If not which part would you like to see improved?
Yes, well-documented.
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Desert_Shyde
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Re: Scenario Review: (UTBS) 8. Out of the Frying Pan...

Post by Desert_Shyde » January 28th, 2011, 11:56 pm

I played the "Desert Sentinel" level on version 1.9.3.
In "Talking with the Fishes," Esanoo said that the merfolk did not know where their master was and that three of them (including Esanoo) have to work together to find out. That doesn't fit with Esanoo saying in this scenario that he was the only one of his group who did not know her location.
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Pewskeepski
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Re: Scenario Review: (UTBS) 8. Out of the Frying Pan...

Post by Pewskeepski » April 2nd, 2011, 5:45 pm

(1) Difficulty, version? Challenging, 1.9.5 (430 gold)
(2) How difficult? (1-10) 9: Geez, just when I thought it was over BAM! I had to fight a whole bunch of humans :augh:
(3) How clear? Crystal
(4) Dialog? Excellent, but the humans say trolls are green when they're not. The graphics have changed, but the dialog describing them hasn't ;) (I believe TRoW also has this probem)
(5) Challenges? Water, Skeletons, Ghosts, Humans, and Messengers :|
(6) How fun? (1-10) 8: It was pretty fun, but also long so I took breaks via saving my progress manually.
(7) Changes? I think the random teleporting that occurs during the dialog with Eloh should be changed.
(8) Reloads or restarts? Yes, a bunch. Especially at the beginning.
(9) WML? Looooooooooooong and well commented.
(10) Replay? Attached. I unfortunately missed the labatory thing and I don't want to play the scenario again. I also lost a bunch of units here, but I'm not to worried because I didn't lose any in the water section, and Kaleh says that there were a bunch of loses, so I assume it's expected.
(11) Map? Big and well made.
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Maiklas3000
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Re: Scenario Review: (UTBS) 8. Out of the Frying Pan...

Post by Maiklas3000 » July 25th, 2011, 3:52 pm

1) Version and difficulty? 1.9.7, nightmare

2) Appropriately difficult? Yes, but see next point.

3) Reloads? Yes. (No save-reloads, but restarts from start.) Like someone else above, I spent all my gold at the start, then I had way negative gold by the time I reached the treasure chest, and so I still had negative gold after opening the chest. After that, you go into a massive battle and I had only one surviving recruit and my main units, so it was a near certain defeat. I then decided to try recruiting just two recruits at the start, to playtest my idea that you could start players with a gift of two units and no keep. The gold is still heavily sapped and you need a little more to win the battle. To fix this, the scenario designer has three main options. One is to remove the initial keep. The player should be able to get through the cave with just his core units. (I did it with the core units plus Dust Devil.) The second option is to break the outside battle into a separate scenario, so that you get min gold. The third option is to make the chest work like the gold for a new scenario, i.e., if your gold is negative, then it sets your gold to the bonus, otherwise it adds the bonus to your existing gold. I favor the third option, because the scenario is way fun with raw recruits getting drowned. (Or you could have a variant on the third option, where a debt consolidator steps in and wipes away the debt when Kaleh arrives at the underground village, possibly at some future cost.)

4) Storyline and the dialogues? There are a few problems with the dialog.

There are three most likely individuals to enter the ant room first. The most likely individual to first enter the ant room is Grog. He then remarks about "more ants", but he wasn't around to see the ants in "A Subterranean Struggle." Another possible first one in is Zhul (who is faster, but usually held up by healing duties.) She then has a conversation with herself. The third is Dust Devil. He does not trigger the ants at all, which is kind of weird. The ants are running from the flood, not very interested in fighting, so shouldn't they be there even if Dust Devil enters first? They could probably break ZOC if Dust Devil enters and then someone else does, triggering the ants.

The Cloaked Figure dialog was confusing and unconvincing. I think it doesn't make sense. He's talking about the undead torturing live humans plus human souls, and the Cloaked Figure went psycho over that, or did the undead also torture elf souls? Why would the undead make him watch? It doesn't work for me. I would suggest having him say a Necromancer is holding a woman he loves hostage, promising to release her if he kills Kaleh. (It reminds me of Dr. Yueh, whose imperial conditioning was broken in this way, so he turned traitor on the House of Atriedes in Dune.)

5) Fun, gameplay, mood, etc? It was way, way fun the first time, with raw recruits getting traffic jammed and drowned one by one (or two by two.) I went through the secret tunnel bypass, and three recruits didn't get through in time. Two drowned in the little room there, and the other had no choice but to head back to face the red room alone. He died a quick death, and then the undead headed for my remaining units, though only one made it ahead of the flood. It was less fun later when I did not recruit (except to recall the Dust Devil), but if you want to win, you can't recruit initially.

The ending would have been anticlimatic if it weren't for the darn messenger and his escorts appearing yet again. That turned the ending from a cakewalk into a challenge not to lose any critical units and to kill the commander in time.

In addition to the Dust Devil not triggering ants, he doesn't trigger the outdoor dialog as well. I suspect he could run around grabbing villages, unopposed, as long as no one else goes outside.

Another weird triggering thing was that Zhul flew right threw the red room without triggering anything, whereas when she flew through the secret laboratory, she got wounded and poisoned! I thought I had learned from the first case that flying units don't trigger the traps. The Dust Devil does not trigger any of them. (The Dust Devil also does not find secret doors; that's fine, just pointing it out.)

I sent a Ranger into the other cave entrance from the outside. Then I remembered from my previous play what was going to happen, but it was too late to run. He got tied up in deep water, 0% defense, but did not die. He was stuck there for the rest of the scenario. (You can see it in the attached replay.) Maybe that's okay, because someone might send Zhul or some other critical unit into that tunnel. But it would be better if the water were all shallow, up to the point where the cave-mountain-wall broke, and then it can be deep after that.

I don't like the way Nightgaunts (or whatever they were) sneak up on you in broad daylight, by popping out of the mountain. I don't know how to fix that. Maybe the undead could be slowed down by a stream along the bottom of the "cliff" (i.e., along the edge of the boy black void).

* * *

Replay attached. I almost got Kaleh killed by sticking him on 30% defense in front of a Death Blade. I forgot he was so wimpy. Close to a 17% chance of death there. Gotta be more careful. Because I had lost twice in the outside battle, this time I recalled a formidable force and played conservatively. I sent three horse units and a Shyde north for messenger interception, while I blocked the cave entrance and waited for the enemy to come. The enemy was more cagey than I had hoped, but I got to pick off two cavalry that approached my line, plus another one that went too close to my horse detachment. Then more enemy approached, and my advance became pretty much a steamroller. This is an advantage of concentrating force, rather than spreading thin over a longer line. I finished on the very last turn, 60/60. On this winning play, I think I lost only one unit the whole time, a just-leveled Marshall who had been given "corner duty" (3 hexes exposed to attack.)
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podbelski
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Re: Scenario Review: (UTBS) 8. Out of the Frying Pan...

Post by podbelski » August 3rd, 2011, 7:16 pm

1) What version and difficulty level did you play the scenario on?
1.9.6, top difficulty, insane reloading in the end due to misunderstanding of the concept, or maybe flaws in scenario design

2) Do you think the difficulty is adequate to the level?
First part is 6/10 (if you recall good units), enjoyed it a lot. It's just strange that elven people somehow were not drowned, but whatever. Also, impassable underground peaks look weird, I'd replaced them either with standard walls or fissures (in the end water running into fissures will make more sense).

2nd part was like 10/10, short but extremely tough and frustrating (thanks to the chest, I still was able to recall 4 units, in addition to a couple of recalls at the start of the scenario):
- no cannon fodder
- 3 of your units are not allowed to die
- at least 2 units have to go after messengers
leaving you with very few units to confront a mass of humans and wraiths/shadows. So this part instantly annoyed me, b/c it ruined the feel of a journey, replacing it with a feel of a hopeless battle. I end up reloading a lot. Also, shadows' backstabs using humans as allies looked particularly ridiculous, and frustrating.

5) Do you think the scenario was fun?
7/10, could be better, basically the desert battle made a big spoil.

IMO the desert part should be easier and more player-friendly:
- delay the undead appearance, it's too much as is for a fair fight. Good timing is after the first messenger is sent
- undead must not be allied with humans. If you want to make it tougher there are better ways for sure (e.g. more undead, and/or more humans)
- humans should take a defensive stance. They know their numbers are limited, so they wait for reinforcements, so they should not charge into battle like crazy. E.g. use [protect_area] or [avoid] tags, decrease aggression, increase cautiousness... My vision is the player have to attack their strong defences, while being pressured by a (delayed) undead appearance and having to catch messengers.
- why the escort leaves messengers alone?! It looks simply [censored] - a solid escort chasing anyone in the south letting a player kill messengers as easily as it can be. The escort should be like two Cavalrymen and stick to their messenger tight, heading north as fast as they can. Give them a "quick" trait. Give the blue humans more gold to compensate the reduced escort strength.
- minor one: I killed Durstag, but despite the talks about "humans run away" a messenger remained on the map.

The replay is attached, though it is good only to illustrate how hopeless my out-of-the-caves situation was (this was my 1st attempt). I missed the Flesh Golem this time as well. I end up modifying scenario to test the things I proposed above, but won't put a replay of it.

PS I second Maiklas' proposal about doing something regarding the negative gold issue. Maybe it was my mistake to recruit at turn 1, thus I end up in negative and could not afford enough troops to fight humans. But then remove starting keep, so the player has no option to recruit. Even in case you somehow avoid negative gold, I still think the desert battle requires the above corrections.
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podbelski
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Re: Scenario Review: (UTBS) 8. Out of the Frying Pan...

Post by podbelski » August 4th, 2011, 7:48 pm

... looks like WML does not give a lot of options regarding the escort of a messenger :-( Clearly, "protect_unit" does not work the best way. Since 1.9, there is a "move_unit" macro, probably it could be utilized to force the escort follow their messenger

podbelski
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Re: Scenario Review: (UTBS) 8. Out of the Frying Pan...

Post by podbelski » September 23rd, 2011, 6:57 pm

Been playin Delfador's Memoirs campaign, and found this code in the "Clash at the Manor" scenario:

Code: Select all

    # next code lifted from Silent Siege in Unstoppable Legion (not
    # tested); the idea is to make the riders head for the signposts
    [event]
        name=recruit
        first_time_only=no
        [filter]
            type=Cavalryman,Dragoon
        [/filter]
        [set_variable]
            name=sentry
            random=1..4
        [/set_variable]

        [if]
            [variable]
                name=sentry
                equals=1
            [/variable]
            [then]
                {MODIFY_UNIT (x,y=$x1,$y1) (goto_x) (1)  }
                {MODIFY_UNIT (x,y=$x1,$y1) (goto_y) (19) }
            [/then]
        [/if]
        [if]
            [variable]
                name=sentry
                equals=2
            [/variable]
            [then]
                {MODIFY_UNIT (x,y=$x1,$y1) (goto_x) (18) }
                {MODIFY_UNIT (x,y=$x1,$y1) (goto_y) (33) }
            [/then]
        [/if]
    [/event]
I think adopting this is the best way to force messengers run north. The comment says "not tested" but it looks like the thing works.

Jabie
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Re: Scenario Review: (UTBS) 8. Out of the Frying Pan...

Post by Jabie » April 1st, 2012, 11:48 am

(1) Difficulty, version? Easiest level

(2) How difficult? (1-10) 7. A vast improvement on the last two levels.

(3) How clear? Run like hell.

(5) Challenges? Rising water. I'd drop the level of the humans in the cave and the fleeing dwarves to level 1. If I were a little less lucky I'd have drowned for sure.

(6) How fun? (1-10) 9. Great scenario, though I'm grateful for the walkthrough.

(7) Changes? The business about the messengers were unclear. I sent several units to intercept the initial horseman only to later learn that the messenger was a completely different unit.

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Elfarion
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Re: Scenario Review: (UTBS) 8. Out of the Frying Pan...

Post by Elfarion » February 7th, 2013, 4:45 pm

1) 1.10, easy
2) 6-7
3) Very clear
4) I had two major problems about the dialogue and story:
First the kysterious assassin: he's a cool figure as Kaleh's Nemesis, but his motivation didn't become clear to me.
The other problem is about the dialogue with "Eloh": She had advised Kaleh to kill the "infidels" under the surface and is asking him, why he didn't obey her. So far so good. But when Kaleh says, that the Dwarves (or Trolls) have hepled them she forgives him. Then the humans show up, IIRC, and Eloh says he shall kill all of them, because she is'nt the kind of goddess that forgives. That's totally contradictory to the sentence before. I really liked the development about Kaleh worshipping a goddess an becoming chosen by her, only to realise that he's betrayed. However, this dialogue takes a lot of tension out of this process.

5) Thanks to the walkthrough there were'nt any.

6) 8. It's really fun with lot of surprises.

7) Changes: see 4).
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naomi
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Re: Scenario Review: (UTBS) 8. Out of the Frying Pan...

Post by naomi » March 8th, 2013, 7:16 pm

1) Version and difficulty?
1.10, Medium

2) Do you think the difficulty is adequate?
Perfectly adequate; the second half (BOOM objective change) seems to have caught some people off guard, though. The human guys were an okay warning for me, and I started recalling my powerful units as soon as I hit the keep; maybe have a more blatant hint that there will be other enemies like those guys later on?

3) Was there any event that caused you to almost instantly loose, or made the scenario unplayable without reload?
It took me a few tries to figure out what kind of units to recall for the run-from-the-water bit, but I favor my quicker loyal units anyway, so after the first two tries or so, unit picking/maintaining income wasn't an issue.

4) Do you like the storyline and the dialogues? If not what part/character lags behind or what would you like changed?
This entire campaign has a fantastic storyline; the one thing that was just a bit weird for me was the Cloaked Assassin guy. I had no personal attachment to the character, so his terrible ordeal and subsequent death was sad, but not cripplingly so. I feel like having the assassin be a character we've come into contact with before would be a more painful blow, because right now, he just seems like a crazy jerk - understandably so, but still not endearingly. It's sad that the dead elves were reanimated horribly, but there's no reason for anyone to be angry at Kaleh for it; he's not the one who's cruelly reanimating his dead kinsmen. I feel like the lapse in logic would be excusable for a character I'm already attached to, but having never heard of Random Elf Son of That One Leader Guy before this point, I didn't care as much as I felt I should have been made to.

5) Do you think the scenario was fun? Please write down some thoughts about gameplay, mood etc.
The map. SO WONDERFUL. You get tons of options as to where to go, I loved being able to find the random Flesh Golem, and it was just generally one of the best scenarios I have ever played. Escaping the water lends a sense of urgency to everything, and having to juggle all the aspects makes things incredibly interesting. I don't think I could handle twenty such scenarios, but this one is a great break from all the other "kill them all" scenarios we run into.

6) Do you think the scenario's WML is clear and commented well enough? If not which part would you like to see improved?
Clear, long, and generally perfect. No complaints here.

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flammstrudel
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Re: Scenario Review: (UTBS) 8. Out of the Frying Pan...

Post by flammstrudel » April 20th, 2013, 2:55 pm

1) What version and difficulty level did you play the scenario on?
1.10.2 medium

2) Do you think the difficulty is adequate to the level? If not describe the issue that made the scenario to easy/hard.
Cave 4/10 ; Desert Battle 8/10

3) Was there any event that caused you to almost instantly loose, or made the scenario unplayable without reload?
Three ridiculously bad hit rolls resulted in a major traffic jam and caused several drowned elves.

4) Do you like the storyline and the dialogues? If not what part/character lags behind or what would you like changed?
The developing story was interesting, the dialogues were good. The masked assassin was utterly unconvincing though.

5) Do you think the scenario was fun? Please write down some thoughts about gameplay, mood etc.
10/10 Highly entertaining. It was the first dungeon crawl I really enjoyed. The map was beautiful and the idea with the rising water was brilliant. The part outside was great as well. It took me several attempts to figure it out, but I never felt frustrated.

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Maiklas3000
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Re: Scenario Review: (UTBS) 8. Out of the Frying Pan...

Post by Maiklas3000 » May 31st, 2014, 7:38 pm

1) Version, difficulty, gold? 1.11.15, Nightmare, 264 starting gold.
2) Adequately difficult? Plenty difficult. If you play without save-reloads, just the length of the scenario is an obstacle. It's also hard to stop the messenger, especially now that the escorts stick with him. Thanks for addressing the problem with the treasure chest leaving the player negative, but I still needed to avoid all recruitment in the initial keep (except recalling the Dust Devil), because 100 gold from the chest was insufficient to beat the desert battle.
3) Reloads? I tried to win without save-reloading, but after several defeats I finally gave in and did one save-reload, saving Nym from the Humans.
4) Dialog? The dialog is good, but I thought there was too much of it in spots, and the whole Masked Assassin thing needs to be reworked. When he disappeared (being carried) I was confused and thought he was just dead. When he reappeared, he spoke for several minutes (several paragraphs) and then suddenly died of his wounds. That is not realistic. I agree with a previous poster that it would be better if this was someone the player knew. Another thing that bothers me is that the elves don't have any units like this. There are no assassins, no poisoning units. Maybe you could make it a Champion or similar, maybe with extra HP (releveled several times), maybe with a special weapon, and give it to the player as a Hero in the first scenario, but then he will make an excuse to leave, and in the scene here he could say that he had a dream and Eloh told him to kill Kaleh.
5) Fun? It's an epic scenario, very impressive. The timing of the rising water is perfect. I'm not sure I would have ever found the secret laboratory on my own, because due to the time pressure I wasn't looking for secret tunnels.
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thebends43201
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Re: Scenario Review: (UTBS) 8. Out of the Frying Pan...

Post by thebends43201 » June 28th, 2015, 10:12 pm

1.12.2, hardest level/

Pretty much every previous criticism is valid. The only way I can see beating this scenario is by gaming the system: you have to know in advance where everything is, you have to know what to recruit at the beginning (if anything), trigger everything perfectly, and you have to save-load when the big battle at the end doesn't go your way. I hate save-loading, but this scenario is so ridiculous; the only good thing about it is that I thought the last one (Tunnels with Dwarves) was unbalanced, but this is beyond normal playability.

The first time I went through i knowing where everything was (meaning it was like my 4th time), I started by recruiting the dust devil and a shyde that became a star. I thought this would leave me with plenty of gold for the end, but that was wrong. Even willing to lose almost everyone to finish, I still couldn't do i without so many save-loads that I was embarassed and "restarted" from turn 36 or so, when I got to the outside. (I had lost a level 4 star, level 3 rider, level 2 captain, 1-2 other levelled units, couple level 1 sacrificial lambs, the golem...and like I said, that was with a save-load or two. And I still hadn't killed the sargeant yet, with the 2nd messenger bearing down on my roughed up "messenger-stopping squad"--started with 2 outriders, 2 stars, and Dustie, but one rider and star killed.)

For anyone having trouble with the final battle, the key is to recruit everything you can and edge everyone close to the desert without anyone seeing too far, making "Eloh" show up. You might have to go back once or twice, when a Star sees too far or something. Anyway, once everyone's recruited, you can trigger the final battle and set up normal defensive lines. in fact, when done this way, you can get the enemy to engage you on sand, where they only have 30% defense. When I did it that way, I only lost level 1 fodder, though I should have lost two level 3 prowlers and a level 2 captain, just got very lucky....

And in too many spots in this scenario, that's the problem. Luck will determine if you get through without saveloads, not strategy. Like in the caves vs 3 humans, I saveloaded twice, both times I had someone get hit 8 for 8 and that was that. (Bowman then swordsman.) And once with the ghouls and skeletons after you trigger the rune. That spot they can get 3 guys around one of yours, so if your bolas miss, you're toast.

nikita1996
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Re: Scenario Review: (UTBS) 8. Out of the Frying Pan...

Post by nikita1996 » August 16th, 2015, 3:46 pm

1) v1.12.4 difficulty: Desert Sentinel (Challenging)
2) Yes. This scenario is not as hard as the last one. After a very difficult scenario, the player need to relax and level the units. So the difficulty is adequate.
3) Yes. I reloaded only once when I was killing the human king. He has 70% defense and he is very strong. I had to kill him in one turn because otherwise lots of my units would be killed. So I reloaded and killed him by good luck and ended the scenario:)
4) The dialogue between Eloh and Kaleh is too long! Althrough this is very important to the whole story line, we should also make it readable to everyone. Too long dialogues make players annoyed and sometimes they just skip them.
5) Yes, very fun. Having a race with water feels great!
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