Hunters of the East

Discussion and development of scenarios and campaigns for the game.

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skeptical_troll
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Re: Hunters of the East

Post by skeptical_troll »

taptap wrote: Swethorvast: Huntsman for precision, Ranger for movement range or Master Bowman for raw damage?
Well, I do not expect the player to foresee what is coming next, so any of them should work, with slight variations on the game play. However, if you want the author's opinion:
Spoiler:
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Re: Hunters of the East

Post by taptap »

I played 50 turns into scenario 3 (starting with 210 gold after paying the guides), advanced far on the northern route (having pushed back magenta monsters), a few enemies finished each other (apparently). All looking good, but I was stretched somewhat thin - a few archers and others fighting magenta monsters, main force advanced much further past the two center keeps, rearguard near original keep. I saw earlier name switching of White, but around turn 40 they suddenly changed to Elves and allied with the Elves (no mutual attacks anymore both going for me), which made the elves too powerful, since center factions were dead and suddenly they allied with their remaining enemy. Wonder if this is intentional, it completely broke my plan (not kill factions and trying to keep forest ecology balanced) and my rearguard, who had no trouble before, was completely overwhelmed by a two-faction assault even with all L2 by then. If I play it again anytime soon, I will go south and crush all opposition there, trying to leave the north alone, but the map is so large, the game really crawls here (turn end takes a few minutes).

(I would reserve such an amulet for a loyalist master bowman. Not that I saw it. And thinking about it, I am tempted to play from start as I have to replay scenario 3 anyway.)
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Re: Hunters of the East

Post by skeptical_troll »

The goblins change team every time somebody attacks their leader (they cowardly join the side of the attacker). This is suggested by a dialogue triggered the first time they join you, where the guide also suggests to 'keep en eye on him' (the goblin leader). It would be probably a good thing if after that I write this dynamic explicitly in the objectives notes.

I admit that at the moment the northern route is much harder and less rewarding (and fun) than the southern one, despite of the elvish presence in the South. I'm thinking of ways of making it a bit easier without changing too much.

wait, does the turn end really last minutes? :hmm: Even with shroud+fog? Was this from the beginning or once you had units in many places of the map?
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Re: Hunters of the East

Post by taptap »

Ah, so it was intentional. I saw the name changes, but they never aligned with elves before or they were reset by other factions then still around. The whole idea of letting them fight elves for me falls flat then. I read the normal text, but thought it refers to them "abandoning" the initial recruiting keep and staying further east and rarely sending troops to me. Never saw the other text of them joining me, since I tried to avoid taking out factions (to not upset the ecology as I was explicitly warned). Elf clubbing time it is then.

I unveiled a large portion of the map with footpads almost complete northwestern part, looking for random villages or things, but turn end is painfully slow even at start (I do not have a very powerful computer, but it never had problems with Wesnoth before). I use a macmine and have some other issues with 1.12.5 (have to push turn end twice etc.). I really like the mountain peak mechanic, and that easter egg goblin.

---

As I have to replay scenario 3 anyway, I restarted: This time I finished scenario 1 with 4 loyals alive (the two L1, the loyal friend who went lower right at start, and even dad, who is painfully slow at 3 mp) and 8 other survivors. Dragged all of them through scenario 2 as well. Played as earlier, somewhat sloppy and with more spare peasants for the recall list.
Attachments
HotE-Evacuation_replay.gz
Evacuating dad.
(53.15 KiB) Downloaded 202 times
HotE-The_night_falls_replay.gz
With map knowledge: plenty of survivors.
(26.34 KiB) Downloaded 195 times
Last edited by taptap on February 25th, 2016, 3:26 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Hunters of the East

Post by skeptical_troll »

Good to know that it is not that clear, I'd better modify the dialogue with Den Lohy then, as it is quite a crucial thing. If you attack the goblin leader than they become your allies and the scenario flows much easier (and probably quicker), as they help you with elves and trolls. The changes in name you saw were surely caused by other factions attacking the goblin leader. Also, I didn't mean to suggest not to attack any faction, rather to discourage the player to aim at destroying all opponents as in a 'standard' scenario. I should maybe change the guide's suggestion a bit.

If you go center-south you'll find more 'easter eggs', and I'm glad that you like the peak mechanic!

I am sorry about the slowness of the turn end, I'm wondering if there is something in my WML which is causing a delay, like some event with hidden slow loops. Did you experience something similar in other scenarios with lot of factions (e.g. in NR 'pursuit')?
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Re: Hunters of the East

Post by skeptical_troll »

Wow, you managed to save dad, this never happened to me! I should add some special bonus for that (and also polish some dialogues later on for consistency, as I didn't consider this possibility :roll: ) !!
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Re: Hunters of the East

Post by taptap »

skeptical_troll wrote:Wow, you managed to save dad, this never happened to me! I should add some special bonus for that (and also polish some dialogues later on for consistency, as I didn't consider this possibility :roll: ) !!
I didn't expect to, but a bat triggered him early, so he managed to move on the hills, sheer luck. Wouldn't rewrite dialog for that, he probably lost other family members in the flight, a single line to dad, when he survives would be nice. When he levels he throws away his crutches and becomes a normal speed loyal loyalist unit, i.e. the only loyal spearman-line unit you can field. This is quite the bonus already.

Scenario 3: Much easier on the southern line. And as soon as you move in to finish the goblin it becomes self-explanatory. I was thinking about how to kill the elf leader, when the event for slaying the troll king triggered (by AI) and suddenly we were friends. There were two dire moments later on, one when my main column was attacked, while several units were poisoned already. Situation stabilised once I reunited them with the units tied down in animal liberation activity. The second was a short defection of the goblins that left my rearguard somewhat isolated. They were strong enough to move in after a few turns of shuffling. Once I reconverted the goblins, goblins and elves conquered the rest of the map (like they did in my first playthrough but against me), even yeti leader had lost most hp when it ended and other forces were fighting against the saurians in the far east.

Only got my two main units to L1 so far, but I had so many important units to protect and level from L0. 4 loyals from Drybridge are now Longbowman with amulet, Spearman, Trapper, Footpad. Apart from the loyal, I have two more longbowmen and they were by far my biggest damage dealers in previous scenario. I did not expect the recruiting offers to be limited to scenario 3, I tried to use them carefully playing with plenty of L0 to have some recruitment options later.

I missed half the events, even those where I could have walked up easily deep in friendly territory. (Got grey paw and the amulet at least.)

Scenario 4: 100 gold leaves no room for vanity units, random spawning wolves discourage village taking anyway, so I went with dad, 2 longbows (1 loyal, 1 quick), 3 poachers and stayed in a tight group most of the time. Left Swethorvast exposed to a 18% kill chance by mistake (if 3+/4 grunt attacks had hit him on 60%). Master Bowmen are really good. Finished the last turn. When there is no carryover to the next scenario, maybe not announce the carryover and amend objectives accordingly.
Attachments
HotE-Among_the_wolves_replay.gz
Swethorvast nearly dead. The power of the longbow.
(56.34 KiB) Downloaded 202 times
HotE-The_great_forest_replay.gz
Dad throws away his crutches and a new home.
(275.36 KiB) Downloaded 218 times
Last edited by taptap on February 26th, 2016, 2:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hunters of the East

Post by skeptical_troll »

Yeah, you unleashed daddy! :D

Thanks for the replay, it's particularly valuable in this scenario as it's by far the most complex to set up of the whole campaign.
taptap wrote: I was thinking about how to kill the elf leader, when the event for slaying the troll king triggered (by AI) and suddenly we were friends
Ok, this was not intentional and does not make much sense, I'll require that it is the player to kill the troll. Otherwise it is too much luck-dependent and it makes the level less interesting, I feel.
I also think that now there are too many scorpions, they are a real hassle and they are no match for the poor trolls, which only have impact weapons. Next version will be slightly rebalanced in favour of trolls against scorpions.
taptap wrote: I did not expect the recruiting offers to be limited to scenario 3
Sorry about that, I will add in a note that the recruitment of thugs, footpads and thieves is limited to the scenario.

When you say there is no gold carryover, do you refer to scenario 3 or 4? In the former case, I was sure I wrote it explicitly in the objectives, if it is scenario 4 then there is a bug.
Anyway, scenario 4 looks too tight on hard now, one will need some gold for the next one. I'm gonna upload a slightly facilitated version
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Re: Hunters of the East

Post by taptap »

Scenario 3: If you require players to kill the troll, he should only be rarely killed by others. Otherwise you might work up your way to the troll - expecting to peacefully pass through elven land afterwards - just to lose out when the troll king is slain by some random enemy unit.
skeptical_troll wrote:When you say there is no gold carryover, do you refer to scenario 3 or 4? In the former case, I was sure I wrote it explicitly in the objectives, if it is scenario 4 then there is a bug.
Anyway, scenario 4 looks too tight on hard now, one will need some gold for the next one. I'm gonna upload a slightly facilitated version
Scenario 4 is quite possible with 100 gold, it probably is way too easy on the other difficulties. Is it even worth fighting orcs when you have almost 1:1 or better than 1:1 gold and they spread over the whole map and have to hunt down wolves? Recalls are worth more than 20, tight enough to not allow vanity units to roam around (would have recalled grey paw otherwise), but enough to beat 200 gold of orcs. The "missing carryover" is from scenario 4 to scenario 5. It announces a carryover, but starts scenario 5 with 100 gold, but on second thought you use old carryover logic, right? So I have 80% carryover or minimum gold, not 40% top up carryover.

Scenario 5 went better than you expect with minimal gold. From the queens loyal escort only a then sharpshooter survived, + a druid and two more shamans from recruits. Carryover for multiple factions is bugged/unbalanced (Northern Rebirth is no exception). You get gold for all villages for all factions upon early end, while even if you control the whole map you get gold only for one faction otherwise.

Edit: Having more gold for Swethorvast probably won't do much in protecting loyal elves. I lost most of the loyals before they intervened in force. What I regret is how I lost the two remaining non-loyal archers so that I am limited to shaman line units apart from a single sharpshooter by now.

Scenario 6: The turn limit is rather arbitrary (50 turns), when you have to walk an elf through a cave and have to do some sightseeing afterwards as well. I finished fighting by then, but only touched the last rune on turn 51. I used debug to increase the turn limit to 60, of which I needed 58 to walk the rest of the way. (Giving me a large amount of undeserved bonus gold before the next scenario. No carryover information in the objectives is given.) I like the split scenario, the three challenges idea. Yet, the center room is weird. After I figured out the center room, I promptly lost on the fire path, because I didn't expect having to genuinely fight over there. I played passively with shamans on and around the keep until I started to level up, then I moved forward. The mud crawler challenge has bats moving before you enter (I believe) if you sit with a wolf a turn in the tunnel before triggering it, the bats are immediately on you, impeding your recruiting, mud crawler part is quite hard, at least I managed to lose it more than once to the initial L1 bat wave, when I couldn't protect my wolf and they decided to go for it. Big blob and limited access to wolf worked well.

The dialogue with the master doesn't make as much sense as I wish. Had my dear settlers not thrown away slings and clubs they found and busied themselves making a few new ones, there is no reason they wouldn't be able to beat unlimited amounts of bones. Even without that I have a number of bandits by now (levelled one from ruffian to high xp L2 in water area). Add the elvish spellcasters (3 druids, 2 sorceresses incl. Nirydia, 1 enchantress) and all my needs are covered. As a bonus I have wolves, living mud (impact damage) and fire guardians in case anyone doubts I can destroy undead. What do I need dwarves for?

Nirydia has no traits.

Edit: So far I played the version I downloaded 1.1.6b, you have updated twice since it appears. I will continue with the current version.
Attachments
HotE-Passage_in_the_Dark..._replay.gz
Used debug to increase turn limit, fighting finished within 50 turns, but walking an elf lady through a cave takes time.
(109.11 KiB) Downloaded 229 times
HotE-The_High_Plains_replay.gz
To the rescue...
(95.91 KiB) Downloaded 216 times
Last edited by taptap on February 27th, 2016, 3:10 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Hunters of the East

Post by skeptical_troll »

You've done a great job on scenario 5 with minimum gold! I'm also happy to see that you chose to use the wolves efficiently, I was afraid that people would find it easier just to recall other advanced units, although the map is thought for fast units.
Anyway, although you can beat the scenario with the minimum, people are gonna hate me if I do not give them a chance to save those precious loyal elves, so I'll give a bit more of time in scenario 4 and switch to the 40% system, which makes more sense in this case. I have been a bit sloppy with informing the player of the gold system, I fixed that as well. It might well be that switching to the new system will require some rebalancing, although I tried to match the expected gold .

EDIT on scenario 6: Which version are you playing? I recently revised the scenario, having more or less your same concerns. Now the turn limit is up to 57 on hard, and the fire enemies are triggered a bit later, so to avoid that nasty bottleneck out of your keep. It is true however that moving elves down there is painful, especially if you do not know the map in advance as I do when I test. I may consider giving Nirydia the 'quick' traits, maybe together with 'resilient'. In the 1.12 server there is the updated version of the campaign with the 40% system and more clear indication about it. Of course, in the case Nirydia starts the scenario as level 2 then it is a bit easier on the fire path, but I don't want that to be crucial.

I think for the moment I'm content with the water and air path, except maybe the way bats are triggered, to avoid the problem if you stop with the wolves. At the moment it is triggered as soon as the gallery beyond you closes.

Concerning the dialogue with the master:
Spoiler:
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Re: Hunters of the East

Post by taptap »

Scenario 7: A lot of vanity recruiting wasting my undeserved riches, especially the fire guardians don't really seem to be worth their price. I am happy with the mud. Recalled elvish spellcasters, some wolves and what ended as experienced thug - footpad type units. Since we travel with royalty now, dad was promoted to Royal Guard. The random spawning of deathblades is like a third faction starting from unknown location, I reckon they spawn from the lake. I had trouble with the necromancer, the lich went down easily to highwayman, bandit and enchantress. - Finished with too little gold to manage the ambush (that I intensely dislike storywise as well).

Story: I take everything back, we need help (deathblade spam convinced me), but not like that. Some story proposals / conflicts, it was all good until we met Nirydia:

1) Rorth as the leader of Bantwood should lead the people (mostly survivors from Bantwood) in the forest as well, all the leaders abandoning the colony to go on personal quests without regard for the little settlement does not sit well with me. This gives an easy option to remove Rorth from the auto-recalls without killing him off unceremoniously. "You should go on your quest Swethorvast, but my concern is survival not revenge, my place is here with our people. Fare well!"
2) Spending 3000 gold on armour for a few makes no sense. Less when dwarves expect more later. Even less when you don't have the gold. Slings, clubs and faerie fire should be the weapons of choice and a great hero advising you otherwise is probably senile. Asking dwarves for an alliance, and maybe proper maces, a few swords would have been sensible, but more ... It is even worse because Nirydia, who has way more reason to trust the master, is the only one not willing to resort to banditry. (Good for her, but why does a desperate band of refugees choose the thug life to pay for some luxury item of dubious value.)
3) Making new enemies to pay for things you can not afford is bad enough, but it was expressly stated that trained warriors from Bantwood serve in the military of the duke. These are the escorts we are going to kill next. No one even complains about killing their own kin. Good plot until Nirydia, but this plot hole is staggering.

Scenario 8: Messes up gold carryover despite being story only. If you move normally you get 100+x gold and this is carried over to the next scenario, not the promised 120+x gold. However, it is also "bugged" as you can sit and wait some turns for more gold.

Scenario 9: Starting at dusk = fighting starts at dawn and lasts over daytime. Thieves are useless against armoured L3, footpads, thugs might work, but thieves? Impossible with minimal gold (I had 123). Liberty has a similar ambush, but there you have a suitable spot, suitable time of day and footpads. Only unit fast enough to hit them at night are wolves and leaders.

My recall list:

L3: 2 Master Bowmen, 2 Highwaymen, 1 Royal Guard
L2: 2 Trappers, 2 Bandits, 2 Outlaws, 2 Alpha wolves, 1 Longbowman
A few immortal L1 (1 xp from level up)
Attachments
HotE-Besieged_replay.gz
Second attempt. (Better, but probably still not enough gold to survive the ambush.)
(110.18 KiB) Downloaded 204 times
HotE-Besieged_replay.gz
Travelling with Her Majesty Nirydia. (Finished with too little gold.)
(103.41 KiB) Downloaded 204 times
Last edited by taptap on February 28th, 2016, 1:08 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Hunters of the East

Post by Inky »

Hey, just started the campaign (latest version, 1.1.8b), nice work so far!

I encountered a bug in S3 (The great forest) though - when I killed the elvish leader in the south, the scenario immediately ended in victory even though most of the other enemy leaders were still alive at that point.

And for scenario 3, maybe the dialogue when the goblin changes sides should only happen the first time? In my playthrough he changed to my side 3 times, with the same conversation each time about whether you should trust them. Not a big deal though, as you can just press Esc to skip the later dialogues. By the way, for me the scorpions killed the troll leader fairly early on. I didn't mind though as I found just killing the elven leader the easiest way to get through the elvish lands.

p.s. some typos/grammar stuff:
Spoiler:
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Re: Hunters of the East

Post by skeptical_troll »

@Inky: thanks, I fixed the bug in scenario 3, was a wrong conditional tag :/ I uploaded the corrected version (where dialogues with goblins only happen once). Now I will take some time to add in your grammar/spelling corrections, thanks for taking the time in doing that!

@Taptap: Right, when I switched to the 40% system I did not realize this problem with the story-only scenarios, well spotted and sorry about that! Now I set the gold for 'the ambush' already in this story-only scenario and then let the 100% carried to the next one. I hope this will give enough gold to beat 'the ambush' (which now starts at dawn). I am not sure what is the best way of avoiding the additional income coming from waiting turns in scenario 8. Will think about it soon.
taptap wrote:Since we travel with royalty now, dad was promoted to Royal Guard.
:D this 'dad' thing has turned quite hilarious.

Thanks for your insightful comment on the story line, here are my thoughts:
Spoiler:
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Hunters of the East (Story, Scenario 9, updated)

Post by taptap »

@armour: I am aware that story changes are only possible cosmetically in an already finished campaign as the progression of scenarios is already in place. I have to admit that I fear the campaign will later on be impenetrable superheroes marching through hordes of undead. It is simply not the kind of gameplay I enjoy. And on high difficulty I will probably be forced to do so by tight gold. What I would kill for is a mace as alternate weapon for Swethorvast and footpad / thug recruitment options (recalling L1 for 20 that cost 13/14 gold is a waste), but this is hardly something that would merit a price requiring banditry, so armour makes the most sense indeed. Even the numbers are good, if you consider maintenance cost of ordinary soldiers (6 gold per day for maintenance) and the time required to make such a master piece.

@duke: In Bantwood the town looked more like a promising refuge to me and the only reason the villagers did not go to the town was because they can not hope to reach it marching through the plain hunted by ghosts and bats. I reckon the payments are paid to avoid raids on unprotectable countryside (however reproachable tribute payments are), and it is hardly fair to blame the duke for not protecting villages from a surprise undead assault.

Scenario 9 (failed attempt, I reloaded the last turn, forced a win in debug to produce a replay then deleted the save and replay before I uploaded it here :( ): The new time of day makes it much more enjoyable and possible to play. I can not imagine how anyone did play it honestly on hard before. I recruited only for the amount I was entitled to (120+34). Almost managed to finish, returning to base a turn earlier and recruiting a few poachers to cover the retreat would have saved me. That the caravans are magically moving sprites and not units affected by ZoC came as a surprise.

After several tries a semi-legitimate playthrough of scenario 9 (note the decisively positive luck), using only 154 of the gold (since this is the amount I am supposed to have). Benny one kill from level up was important, all my playing around with loyalist units makes for much worse gameplay for this scenario, instead of master bowmen I could have had fugitives and experienced thieves. (I am good with thug-line units though.) A ruffian killing an iron mauler was the highlight of the playthrough.
At the beginning Swethorvast or Den Lohy will talk about the elite guard of the Duke, but Swethorvast will also say that some of the other soldiers are people from the villages like them and should not be killed if not strictly necessary (at the end the objective is to pick the gold).
I believe this would be good both for immersion and as a guide how to play the scenario, it is impossible to stand and fight even for a single turn after seizing the caravan anyway. Do not really need a unit from Bantwood switching sides. I am good with archers and a player eager to do so can level up other units from remaining Bantwood peasants. Had I spent less time on loyalist units, I would have had a much easier time in this scenario.
Attachments
HotE-The_Ambush_replay.gz
A successful attempt. Almost legitimate.
(89.59 KiB) Downloaded 230 times
Last edited by taptap on February 28th, 2016, 3:44 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Hunters of the East

Post by skeptical_troll »

taptap wrote:I have to admit that I fear the campaign will later on be impenetrable superheroes marching through hordes of undead
do not worry about that, the armors themselves are more important for the story than for the fight, that's why I'm open to modifications on that, and you will get them only in the last scenarios. I'm having now the impression of being too harsh on 'hard' level, with tight times and gold. loosing them a bit would probably leave more freedom to the players in choosing strategies and make it more fun, so I am inclined to do so.

Concerning the duke: in my mind the tribute were mostly to protect himself, which is the same reason why he demands soldiers from villages to stay in the town instead at their place. Anyway your objection suggested me this possible modification to the ambush scenario
Spoiler:
Allowing recruit of Footpads and Thugs is something I purposely avoid, as it would make the strategical choices a bit too obvious.

EDIT
taptap wrote:Had I spent less time on loyalist units, I would have had a much easier time in this scenario.
Yeah, footpads and advancements makes this scenario much easier, they are quick and have high defense in the woods. You are a bit penalized by the misunderstanding in the forest where you did not recruit all 5 footpads. Also my recent modifications of the gold system were not of help, as I think stretched your already thin resources. I reckon one should have at least 150-160 gold to safely beat this scenario, even with fugitives.
As for the caravans: they are not affected by ZOC because they are neutral, i.e. allied both with you and the enemies. This is probably a bit unrealistic, but if I leave them with the enemies they behave too weirdly, trying to chase you even if they do not have any attack. This was the easiest way to let the AI move them towards the orcs as quick as possible, and also prevents an evil player to attack and damage them (my precious caravans!). I think this is not a big deal, but I may warn the player explicitly from the beginning, as using ZOC to slow them down is a natural tactic to think of.

EDIT2: I just realized that I messed up with the gold of side 3 in scenario 11 (setting it to unreasonably high level on hard, but that was literally a digit typo!). update or it will likely be unbeatable.
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