Panther Lord (EoFM campaign)

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Velensk
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Re: Panther Lord (EoFM campaign)

Post by Velensk » September 12th, 2016, 5:36 pm

That's not actually a bug, the imperialists are supposed to use the lower defense in forests.

For what it's worth, Panther Lord on normal difficulty is at just slightly above the difficulty I find comfortable to play at. Enough that it's occasionally frustrating but not so much that it can't be overcome with some concerted effort. On hard it should be a difficulty appropriate for when I want to work.

EDIT: As a note, you are correct in guessing that the center castle is a trap. It is however a trap that can make the scenario finish quicker.
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Aldarisvet
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Re: Panther Lord (EoFM campaign)

Post by Aldarisvet » September 12th, 2016, 6:44 pm

Velensk wrote:That's not actually a bug, the imperialists are supposed to use the lower defense in forests.

For what it's worth, Panther Lord on normal difficulty is at just slightly above the difficulty I find comfortable to play at. Enough that it's occasionally frustrating but not so much that it can't be overcome with some concerted effort. On hard it should be a difficulty appropriate for when I want to work.

EDIT: As a note, you are correct in guessing that the center castle is a trap. It is however a trap that can make the scenario finish quicker.
Well, actually in the first my attempt to pass that scenario I recruited one full round of units in the beginning camp and then immediately moved the leader to the center to recruit directly there. That saved me money because my leader has 7 turns and in fact it is faster to recruit there. But I was attacked there from every destination (despite I really tried to avoid that putting my strongest units over the perimeter) so I see no sense at all to stay there. Another possible solution is to progress further south, attacking bottom-right leader to weaken the southern alliance, but still I see no sense in it, he has quite a lot of units. Way better just to sit and wait they killing each other.

And hey, I would appreciate more comments on the way I passing your campaign. About what I did wrong or what I did right, as you designed. Or you really want to keep in secret the ways you campaign should be passed, and this after 5 years your campaign existing? Actually I am afraid that only few people in the whole world can appreciate your campaign because it is really hard and demand skills (and tenacity close to masochism :lol: ) so better you would help people and write some instructions.

And about imperialists, that annoying things have 50% defence at the plain. They indeed need some help of witch doctors to become softer.
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Re: Panther Lord (EoFM campaign)

Post by Velensk » September 12th, 2016, 7:05 pm

To be honest, I'm not sure what to tell you in terms of 'doing things right'. However you find to solve the challenge is good as far as I'm concerned.

Now if you're having a lot of trouble and want help, I can tell you how I did it and I might be able to identify mistakes that might be tempting to make but I'm rarely sold on the idea of how something 'should' be done.

And again, some of the advice I give might be difficult for you to implement, if for instance you choose different mercenaries than I did.
"There are two kinds of old men in the world. The kind who didn't go to war and who say that they should have lived fast died young and left a handsome corpse and the old men who did go to war and who say that there is no such thing as a handsome corpse."

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Re: Panther Lord (EoFM campaign)

Post by Aldarisvet » September 12th, 2016, 9:33 pm

Well, I simply spend quite a lot of efforts and time playing your campaign that I want to speak about it to share impressions :D
But ok, I will write more when I will finish it completely.
At the moment I can say that units I found most original in your era are Vipers/Serpents. It is really unusual combination of elusive_foot (good defence) and poison and the same time a very low attack. Additional slowing at lvl2 is ok. Also I really like panthers. I've read that people in this thread posted that panthers are useless in this campaign but I have an opposite opinion, in jungle they rocks and they can be used under leadership also. And they invaluable against elephants.

From the other side I agree with the opinion that the campaign can end in so way that you would concentrate on Malices only. Well, they are universal units, really, both slowing, leeching and with magical attacks. I am afraid that the campaign will end up the same way as Secret of the Ancients, were you have Liches as universal unit so all several last scenarios are about only leeching. In general I think that there must be no universal units with so much abilities in any faction. Mainline factions are quite monotonous in this way. Elvish shydes have both heal, slow, magic attacks and they can even fly so no surprise many people like shaman-only strategies (I am speaking about what happens in later stages of campaigns, lvl1 shamans of course not so great). White mages have healing and huge magic attacks so masses of them are unstoppable in later stages of campaign, idea with berserkers to stop mages is a bit overused already (actually I had an idea to pass Rise of Wesnoth with White Mages only strategy, no time for this unfortunately). Only dwarves do not have universal unit, but they also quite a boring faction that do not have units special abilities at all (except berserkers). Ah, I forget about drakes, they do not have healers at all, but they do not have interesting special abilities at all too (however in MP faction they have saurian healers, healers with magic attacks again). All mainline factions are quite monotone because they are made on the principle of copying same unit types to just another race. One creates a race and start to reproduce the same things - a fighter of this race, a healer of this race, a skirmisher of this race and so on, very bad. Your Era is quite different from that point of view, that is great.

What exactly I mean with universal unit is that you should not put too much abilities to one unit. Healers should not have magic attacks, at least not so huge magic attacks! But moreover we have healers with ranged magic attacks in 4 factions in mainline, is not this too much of clishe??? Khalifate healers is example of not overpowered healers.
Moreover I can say that mainline factions are tuned for the multiplayer but not for campaigns and AI which creates quite an unequal gameplay when you can kill kinda 100 AI's units losing only 5. AI simply cannot use that magic healers in proper way so they would heal together.

How about exploring some unusual combinations of abilities that AI really can use effectively? I have an idea of level1 skirmisher unit with kinda 8 MP and relatively high HP (kinda 40) but with relatively low (swarm) attacks, 4-4 for example. Have you ever seen retreating AI? I never seen AI retreated in somewhat large scale number not speaking it does in organized way. I saw AI trying to retreat for healing but often the player can overrun AI units and kill them fast before they retreat (the same time a player always use retreat&heal tactics for his wounded units, so unfair!!!). Obviously injured unit of decribed type would tend to retreat for healing because the effectiveness of his attacks would be significally lowered after the first attack because of swarm. So if the player would given relatively slow units without healers he would really struggle to fight that stab&retreat tactics of AI. That would open a new horizons of gameplay with AI. Oh, I see that in you Era there is Camel Rider unit with close stats, exactly 8 MP and 40 HP with 5-3 for 17 gold. Now we add him elusive_foot and skirmishing (this is plus) and the swarm (this is minus) we get still not so overpowered attacking&retreating unit that AI can use. At the same time AI should be given also some defensive units with steadfast and self-heal to cover retreating mobile attackers. That is the idea of a scenario I want to test.
Last edited by Aldarisvet on September 13th, 2016, 6:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Panther Lord (EoFM campaign)

Post by Velensk » September 12th, 2016, 10:12 pm

Perhaps I should wait for you to go back and edit that post a little but since you are requesting a response I'll respond to what I think you are trying to say.
From the other side I agree with the opinion that the campaign can end in so way that you would concentrate on Malices only.
What I believe you are trying to say is that at the end of the campaign you'll mostly want a large force of leveled malices and that the malice is too flexible. I think these are fair points. The strengths the malice has are the kind that although not ridiculous at level one, but get increasingly more powerful the more it levels. They do have a consistent weakness in the lack of melee and hit points department but are easily the strongest value engine in your army. I don't see this as too big an issue, and it's also one that's somewhat inevitable given the design of the unit. You will still need to support and protect them (especially in the final mission where your enemy has many, many, charge units) but the only way to avoid this would to simply not have the unit be available which would be a shame given their role in the culture and multiplayer faction.
Your Era is quite different from that point of view, that is great.
Thank you but I'm not seeing the connection here to the rest of what you said.
What exactly I mean with universal unit is that you should not put too much abilities to one unit. Healers should not have magic attacks, at least not so huge magic attacks!
I don't think it's so much the number of abilities as the overall effect. The reason liches are so fearsome is because they are both resistant to enemy attacks (given the most common types of enemies) and incredibly effective at destroying enemies no matter what type they are or what terrain they are standing on (and at a certain point, even regardless of ToD). This can make a lot of problems one dimensional once you have a lot of them. Shyde IMO are less of an issue as their power is focused on the ranged and against enemies posing a large number of heavy melee threats (more than can be slowed) they should go down, however I think a lot of campaigns fail to provide that specific counter. In the case of malices, once they're at high level they can neutralize one enemy per turn (either killing or slowing) and generate a lot of health for themselves while being essentially impossible to attack at range. As long as they can tank the damage without dying, they can recover much quicker than a high level unit normally would. This is a very powerful effect and thus I try to create a campaign sufficiently difficult that you need to exploit it but further that it's not easy to exploit it in all situations.
How about exploring some unusual combination of abilities that AI really can use effectively? I have an idea of level1 skirmisher unit with kinda 8 MP and relatively high HP (kinda 40) but with relatively low (swarm) attacks, 4-4 for example.
I'm really not interested in trying to make things so that they're interesting for the AI. I'd rather build for multiplayer and then balance the single player through other effects. That said, I do create a few things for campaigns to create a specific effect for specific scenarios (like those tree spirits) but I consider this a better way to go about designing an era in general.

A 8 mp skirmisher with high hp (or even without high hp) is a nightmare for multiplayer balance regardless of how weak its attack is. Even without any attack at all, a 40 hp, smallfoot unit with 8 mp and skirmisher would be decently valuable.
Have you ever seen retreating AI?
Actually, I have, however even when it retreats the AI tends not to be smart about it. The AI is programmed to retreat under certain conditions but it doesn't know why it retreats or even how to do it effectively so the result is not really usable. In campaigns in particular the instinct is nearly never used as the AI can almost always either accurately evaluate that it's forces are overwhelming, locked in combat, or insignificant, all of which are cases where it doesn't try to retreat.
That is the idea of a scenario I want to test.
Go ahead and test it. Just don't expect to find it in the campaign you're currently playing. In general, if you can get the AI to behave in an even vaguely intelligent way it's a pretty cool thing but it's more difficult than you might think, and I don't expect the unit you describe to be one the AI can use well. Swarm is an ability the AI has a hard time accounting for- it's not smart enough to figure out that it needs to heal to get its attack back, it'll simply work on the assumption that it always does as much damage as it currently does.
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Re: Panther Lord (EoFM campaign)

Post by Aldarisvet » September 13th, 2016, 8:19 am

Velensk wrote: What I believe you are trying to say is that at the end of the campaign you'll mostly want a large force of leveled malices and that the malice is too flexible.
Yes.
Velensk wrote: I think these are fair points. The strengths the malice has are the kind that although not ridiculous at level one, but get increasingly more powerful the more it levels. They do have a consistent weakness in the lack of melee and hit points department but are easily the strongest value engine in your army. I don't see this as too big an issue, and it's also one that's somewhat inevitable given the design of the unit. You will still need to support and protect them (especially in the final mission where your enemy has many, many, charge units) but the only way to avoid this would to simply not have the unit be available which would be a shame given their role in the culture and multiplayer faction.
So you find it ok then. It is much easier to play with leveled malices, so once I got the opportunity to get them enough I concentrated on using them mostly. I was afraid it is going to be a bit monotone. But actually not so much scenarios left so it looks ok, at least I will get some relax. Charge units can be interesting challenge but I think that putting cheap vipers as a protective meat would be enough. Actually already at Deepwood I found that the best strategy is to use vipers+malices.
Velensk wrote:
Your Era is quite different from that point of view, that is great.
Thank you but I'm not seeing the connection here to the rest of what you said.
Well, I expressed several thoughts in one post, jumping from one to another, but them are connected somehow, also in that way that your campaign lead me to some new thoughts. The common idea that there must be a diversity. Diversity in factions, diversity in the style you play against AI. The problem of mainline campaigns that you play almost all of them using the same front/rotate/heal scheme. That does not matter whether you play it humans or elves or mermens or even dwarves (because you are given healers on THoT too). I wrote that many times already in this forum. Another problem is that most of UMC creators reproduce mainline gameplay because they think that mainline is a some sort of a benchmark. What I understand lately is that the main problem is that mainline units are simply not suitable to AI at all. I am going to explore theme of units that are more suitable to AI. I know how AI works, I read it in wiki.
A 8 mp skirmisher with high hp (or even without high hp) is a nightmare for multiplayer balance regardless of how weak its attack is. Even without any attack at all, a 40 hp, smallfoot unit with 8 mp and skirmisher would be decently valuable.
Well, I do not want to create a generally overpowered unit. If you think so, some things could be tweaked. Skirmisher is a must, so AI would be able to reatreat. But it may not be elusive_foot, it can be dwarvish_foot and the scenario can take place in hills/mountains so number of turns can be reduced to 6 given that the player's main units would be slowered in hills.
Go ahead and test it.
I am sure it will work with some tweaks in AI agression and caution. Moreover, I can use different AI with different parameters so one would be used as a front holder, another one would use that attack&retreating unit I described. Possibly I should give that unit a charge also? That would be a funny combination, both swarm and charge, he-he.
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Re: Panther Lord (EoFM campaign)

Post by taptap » September 13th, 2016, 9:26 am

@aldarisvet: Imo you are generally biased toward some admittedly very good (draining spell-caster types) units and rely almost exclusively on them and then complain that the campaign is written for that particular unit. (I read your comments on Secret of the Ancients.) In Panther Lord I mainly relied on tribesmen and a very resilient line of imperialist mercenaries backed by the standard in the gaps. The number of levelled malices increased towards the end in my playthrough and you are very close to the end by now, but the staple was the lowly, cost effective tribesmen (I finished with over 140 of my own units killed in action throughout the campaign).
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Re: Panther Lord (EoFM campaign)

Post by Aldarisvet » September 13th, 2016, 10:58 am

taptap wrote:@aldarisvet: Imo you are generally biased toward some admittedly very good (draining spell-caster types) units and rely almost exclusively on them and then complain that the campaign is written for that particular unit. (I read your comments on Secret of the Ancients.)
Not exactly that. In case of Secret of the Ancients I was not able to guess in time that I would need liches in the end of the campaign and was complaining about that fact. I had no idea about lvl4 liches are possible and had not started to grow adepts in time. I had spectres instead but they were way weaker.
In this campaign, opposite, from the very beginning I had that wonderful loyal priest (so I was informed about the whole affair!) and, naturally, I dreamed to have an army of such priests. It is natural for the player to like the ways to ease the campaign. So I tried to level up malices as soon as possible, I tried to recruit them in every scenario after I got them! But I found that they are expensive and not effective enough (even at Ferry where I had Merchant Lord already I coudnt afford recruiting them and I was leveling Merchant Lord exactly for Malices, I was so impressed with experience of mages+leadership in THoT). Only at Deepwod they were worth their money, quite lately. That is bad for me and good for the campaign :D
As you can understand there are differences between desire to finish campaign asap and overall view on the campaign. Of course it is not good when in several scenarios you have to use only the same tactics (particulary exclusevely leeching). Thats why I suggested to beetlenaut an idea to make intermediate late scenarios where liches would be absoultely helpless having to face mass units with arcane attacks. So the player would need to grow a bunch of leveled Ghouls also who have arcane resistance (this must be done somehow with informing the player in time). Would I play Secret of the Ancients again, I would get Death Knight with leadership asap and then use it together with adepts, they would tear apart everything and then I will get liches. Plain story.
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Re: Panther Lord (EoFM campaign)

Post by Velensk » September 13th, 2016, 1:52 pm

I feel this reflects a bit why it's not always worth laying out a specific path.

I rather suspect the reason that taptaptap would have more difficulty with the establishing a claim scenario is that he would rely a lot on tribesmen while that is a scenario that naturally favors a malice/viper style (sans the bersekers but those can be dealt with). In the meanwhile scenarios fought a lot more on open ground were likely much easier for him. I mentioned that the center castle on that one map is a trap but in my own play through I actually claimed it (though I waited for day) as my force with both regiments and imperils mercenaries with doctors and malice supporting them could clear the field very quickly (though I did let them fight each other a little first) and this led me to a very swift victory that allowed me to move on with a lot of gold (don't remember exact numbers but for the 270ish you report I think I had 400+ish).

It is a hard campaign but I don't feel that it's quite hard enough to force only one path.
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Re: Panther Lord (EoFM campaign)

Post by Aldarisvet » November 19th, 2016, 11:15 am

Before I totally forget about this, I upload these two replays I played several weeks ago. Was not hard for me at all, especially the Raid scenario.
The last scenario, howerver, disappointed me. Classical mainline-type scenario on a big map (somehow it close to the last scenario of Secret of the Ancients) with loads of units. After the first attempt I got how to win it easely. You have to kill the closest southern leader and block southern ford passage asap and also to hold the eastern passage. So you can defend in some kind of an isle and easely can kill those who will try to cross the river from the jungle/river border. With that really enormous amount of gold I got at the start of the scenario it would be no challenge. But it will require really much of time and energy for the concentration without providing adequate fun so I decided not to finish this last scenario.

In general - I like tactical challenges of this campaign and I like how the Era made, I learned from it, it is a breakthrough compared to mainline. But the storyline is a bit plain for me and the graphics (the quality of sprites) are far behind mainline. May be 5 years ago it was ok, but sometimes I hold the desire to stop playing because I really do not like some sprites, especially of Imperialists and partly of Sea States. Darklanders and Highlanders looks better though.
The campaign can advance from adding more heroes/loyal units. Stone golems were invaluable tool, but you meet them in the beginning and you recieve nothing special later. Almost nothing really unexpected happens during the all campaign, the whole storyline is about the struggle for the homeworld jungle. It is always about raids or about being raided or about inner darklander conflicts. The only exception is that Deepwood scenario but I have the feeling that the Idea is not developed fully. You killed these spirits - and nothing interesting happens, you just killed them and thats all. Most scenarios are islolated one from other from the plotline view so you even can swap them, nothing would change except tactical issues. There is fun reading about how these tribes are eager to fight each other more than to fight the real enemy but this follows to nothing too. There is no great characters in the campaign, even the theme of the leader that united all tribes was not developed, it was only marked.
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Re: Panther Lord (EoFM campaign)

Post by Velensk » November 19th, 2016, 12:32 pm

Thanks for playing all the way through.

Better sprites and animations would be nice but I have to work with what I'm given. Drawing and animating an entire era is a massive project to ask somebody to do for free and I feel lucky to simply have unique base sprites for the entire era.

Everything else you describe suits my tastes. It's a war, it's based on a historic war in a fictional world, there's no real story other than the course of events. There was a great unifier but for the most part his warlords acted independently of him (it was mostly a guerrilla war, the unification was that they all stopped fighting each other), his reign put an end to the old religions (or at least to the form they were practiced in) and inadvertently destroyed many of the more destructive wild spirits that made the deeper parts of the jungle forbidden. Both sides killed each other, many spirits were destroyed, and despite the overwhelming strength of the aggressor in the end a new jungle empire was born that was quite distinct from the society that had previously existed. That is the whole story. I could insert more characters and loyal (though I think if you want that you could just grab more loyal mercenaries) but the story wouldn't be about them just as it isn't about any particular character.
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Re: Panther Lord (EoFM campaign)

Post by Sudipta » December 6th, 2016, 3:53 pm

I'm just adding that i absolutely loved the storyline here. There was no focus on indiviual characters but on a global event. IMO its a great campaign everything considered.
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Re: Panther Lord (EoFM campaign)

Post by lesasch » January 16th, 2017, 8:28 am

Hi Velensk,
I'm just playing your Panther Lord Campaign and enjoying it a lot. My first EoFM Campaign it's fun to explore all the different units. I like the general setup, the mercenary main character with his bloodthirsty sidekick is a quite another touch as in most of the campaigns I played till now. And "expert level" is definitely not boasted...
I found two minor bugs (in Version 1.03/Wesnoth 1.12) :
- in Guild Law Side 4 tries to recruit Compoiste Archers instead of Composite Archers. That's not much harm as they never cross the bridge anyway but the repeating Error-Messages spoil the screen ;)
-in 7AndAHalf_Ferry.cfg "sabotage" is spelled "sabatage".

It seems that the "Hex-Bug" still occurs, but I have to check that again.

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Re: Panther Lord (EoFM campaign)

Post by Konrad2 » October 29th, 2018, 9:12 pm

So, it's been some time since I've been here, but that also means I can (more or less) properly communicate in english now. :D
Today's topic for nitpicking: The gold received in the 'Cave of the Spirits'.
As the player receives it before the carryover gold is calculated, you leave 60% of whatever gold you get because of the Granite Spirits. Which is a lot. And it's kind of sad. :( Would you mind adding the gold offscreen between Sc2 and Sc3 or at the beginning of Sc3? That way noone has to wonder why they leave so much gold behind even though they went there to get gold.

EDIT: @Velensk
I've reread my old posts here and yeah... Thanks for having so much patience with me back then. And actually figuring out what went wrong from such sparse information.

EDIT 2:
Weird village possesions in 'Guild Law': 4,18 is behind the enemy lines, but it's in possesion of my ally. And 31,6 is within the town, but noone has claimed ownership.

EDIT 3: The 'loyal' Granite Spirits cost upkeep. (later edit: advancing the unit fixed that)

EDIT 4: 'Establishing a Claim.' has that weird period at the end. And the defeat condition 'Death of Tas' is below of 'Run out of Turns'.

EDIT 5: 'Refugees'
Initial 200 gold vs 1100 enemy gold is maybe a bit too harsh.
Actually what the heck, the 'easy' and 'normal' version of this scenario do not really differ in their difficulty from 'hard'. xD

Anyway. The hint in the scenario objectives starts with 'villages', when it should probably be 'Villages'.

EDIT 6: 'Break the Spear'
The first text (before the scenario starts) is missing a period to end the last sentence.
The Defeat conditions list 'Run out of Turns' even though there is no turn limit.

EDIT 7: 'Break the Spear'
While the running out of supplies of my enemies is a nice touch (and very appreciated), I'm not really happy with the way you made it work.
E.g. is that only the main leader has now negative gold, while his allies that are still there, are not affected.
My suggestion: Don't give him negative gold, instead remove the 'tent' villages around the base from red and white. So now they are not anymore supported by the supply train, but only by what the 'land has to offer', allowing for far less an amount of soldiers to be supported.

EDIT 8:
Somehow it gave me only a silver laurel even though I finished the campaign on hard. :/
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PL-Breaking the Spear replay.gz
Just leaving this here. It's not easy to win, but it's not exactly 'hard' either, instead it demands a high level of concentration for a long time without slipping up. (I'm really glad that Wesnoth it not a realtime game.)
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