Ashen Hearts [SP Drake Campaign for 1.12.6]

Discussion and development of scenarios and campaigns for the game.

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Re: Ashen Hearts [SP Drake Campaign for 1.12.6]

Post by Ravana » August 17th, 2016, 3:58 pm

I like the choice of side color.

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Re: Ashen Hearts [SP Drake Campaign for 1.12.6]

Post by Kwandulin » August 17th, 2016, 6:24 pm

WhereIsBaodur wrote:I realize what I just said could be problematic so here're my two cents. Forget the individual buffs in scenario 7. when you get all statues and the dragonheart is freed buff every drake unit (entity of the buff to be decided). you'll see why. I'll also spam the fire overlay, but it may be just me.
In the last scenario - old version at least - getting uluthur and then the dragonheart via teleport to menor 4 was virtually as difficult as winning the game, and it took almost the same time, so my suggestion is: make it one of the objectives, if not the main one. At that point extend the buff to menor and his troops. Why do I suggest this changes? Rekindling dragon hearts was the main point of the campaign, and this way it reflects in the gameplay correctly. At that point you can change the objective to "kil the dwarf king and his guard".
Small status update from my side: I applied the changes you proposed and they feel pretty good! Applying the buff to Herkarth's side first and later to Menors drakes is certainly the way to go here. The fire overlay however doesn't quite work with so many drakes, there's just too much flickering on the screen then. Instead, I made a smaller and barely visible "pumping heart" effect that does its job really good in my opinion. I also changed the buff: as the drakes already have a high damage output and a high amount of hitpoints it wasn't - in retrospect - a good idea to give them more damage and hitpoints. I changed it so, that the drakes get a +4 regeneration ability, which works good for the drake clashers as they can't move quickly to the villages. Also it would make sense story-wise, as its said that the inner fire is keeping them alive. I also increased the protector's resistance against fire, so a few drake thrashers are essential and I've added a hint when killing the first protector, Herkarth then mumbles something about getting more impactful things to break their runic shields.
WhereIsBaodur wrote: IF you really want to make the campaign nightmare level you could even require that the four drakes to activate the runes in level 7 must be max level - but that would require even more changes to allow a player that didn't get them before - like more enemies and more gold, and an advice at the beggining of the scenario. I'm really not sure about this. still...
I think that would be too much of a tomato surprise then, so I'll keep it the way it currently is. By the way, I already foreshadowed the units needed for the ritual in scenario 4, but apparently the connection is still too vague:

"You need to find your heart, Herkarth. Filled with the blood of a leader, with the blood of a warrior, protected by order, endangered in war. And engulfed by the flames of the Inferno. It lies in a temple of old times. The earth's smith."
- Khazran
WhereIsBaodur wrote:Personally, on the last 2 scenarios, the last in particular, I had more gold that I needed. I realize all I'm saying means more work for you, but you seem really motivated to improve your campaigns. kudos for that.
Right, I'll lower the starting gold a bit. I am glad that there's people out there that are also very enthusiastic about the campaign, so don't worry about proposing changes.
WhereIsBaodur wrote: What else? If you ever think of going mainline, it would be worthwhile to think of a sequel, since there's bound to be a reaction from the Nornthern Alliance, that gets hardly mentioned in the epilogue. You could play Drakes, or N.A. side, it could even result in peace, or a truce, who knows. sure It'd be nice to play those swell knalgans troops, and I'd love to see some backstory of the oaken's stone. All I know is this campaign left me wanting for more (in a good way), and if all this intrigues you, well, we can hope ;)
In fact, my fingers and frontal lobe are already itching to make a sister campaign to the Ashen Hearts. I once made a dwarf campaign (my very first campaign), but unfortunately I didn't really manage to end the plot. With all the additional WML-knowledge I have nowadays, a revision, both story and gameplay-wise, would indeed be nice. But first things first, Ashen Hearts and Oath of Allegiance have higher priority for me currently.
Paulomat4 wrote:When Balancing the dwarf Kings hp also keep in mind that now that khazran can fly, he get's an Illumination Bonus that potentially increases his damage. I thought the old number of hitpoints was fine.
Right, I forgot about the implication of a flying Khazran. I reverted the hitpoint change. Thanks for the note!
WhereIsBaodur wrote:You got me excited so ideas keep coming to me, if you want to hear them let me know.
Feel free to share your ideas! You already had really good ideas here, so keep them coming!

The next update probably takes a few days, as I want to playtest again and get the campaign back to a tough and rough difficulty level that gives a good beating to the player.

Edit: The playthrough took less time than I thought. Here's the update, this update will remain untouched for a longer time now (unless there's a gamebreaking bug that I didn't encounter yet)

Full changelog for 0.1.41
  • General
  • new portrait for Herkarth (special thanks to doofus-01)
  • added visual lava outbursts in S1 and S8
  • decreased protector's hitpoints by 10
  • increased protector's resistance to fire
  • protectors take more damage from impact
  • a pulsating heart overlay replaced the fire overlay
  • added the Bear Cavalry

    S3: Snowthorn Vale
  • trolls are now heavily protecting the area around their keep (trolls and dwarves will now properly fight each other)
  • troll whelps can and will attack
  • adjusted the area that is protected Kernlarn's drakes

    S5: Runic Gates
  • after killing the first protector, give a hint to get more impact damage
  • put lights in front of the walls
  • removed the guardians of the inner wall

    S7: Dragonheart
  • removed individual buffs; instead now all drakes get a buff when the dragonheart is freed
  • reduced starting gold by 40
  • increased enemy gold and income

    S8: Ilrandh
  • Objectives change. First: "Move Uluthur to Menor IV", after doing so: "Defeat Ilrandh"
  • Menor IV's drakes get empowered when Khazran arrives
  • increased Ilrandh's XP to 1000, so he won't ever level up
  • reset Ilrandh's hitpoints to 100
  • reduced starting gold by 40
  • Ilrandh is now protected by two Bear Cavalry

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Re: Ashen Hearts [SP Drake Campaign for 1.12.6]

Post by WhereIsBaodur » August 20th, 2016, 6:10 pm

Seems very nice. I'll make sure to try it again, the last 2 scenarios at the least.
I had thought about the buff, and I was thinking something on the line of "rekindled dragons can melt difficult terrain into flat terrain" like you did with the ice, but I agree, the regeneration ability is more thematic. Let's hope Menor's drakes will survive the advance with the dragonguards. When I played without them it was a close one. I didn't test it, but I guess if worst comes to pass, you could always increase his gold income, or make him recruit new drakes when you reach him. If you haven't already I'd also place a couple of dialagues when the objective changes, something like "damn you, drakes" and "now that our hearts burn again, let's show this pesky dwarves the price of their arrogance". Given the change of objective you could change khazran's dialogue at the end of scenario 7 from "let's get our revenge" to "I shall accompany you to rekindle your king's heart" or something.

At the moment I'm playing "the sojournings of grog" and I met some lava golems in an underground scenario (set under the Heart Mountains I think). I was already thinking that you could (even if there's no need for it) add something when the objective changes, like Ilrandh evoking some golems with his rune magic. If you like the idea they sound the right kind of enemy - and their immunity to fire can be a challenge.

My other ideas were mere speculations for a sequel, from units (griffon thunderguards) to plot - that I guess would be revolving around the oaken stone. If you decide to work on it, I'd be happy to help

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Re: Ashen Hearts [SP Drake Campaign for 1.12.6]

Post by Kwandulin » September 1st, 2016, 4:16 pm

I just uploaded v.1.5 to the BfW 1.12.6 servers. It features several great new micro AI by mattsc, an additional hidden sidequest, three new units (two hidden ones) and a translation for our german-speaking friendos.

Full changelog for 1.5
  • General
  • more than 500 lines of codes for unique custom micro AIs and other types of AI by mattsc, including a hit & run AI for gryphons, an AI that forces the shieldwalls in S2 to keep their formation, an AI that allows units in S8 to make clever use of the windrunes
  • added Gryphon Scout unit, a net-throwing fast-moving unit to catch fleeing drakes
  • added a hidden multi-scenario sidequest 'Elri' with a nice bonus if completing it
  • changed version number from 0.1.5 to 1.5 to match the standard version numbering scheme
  • german translation

    S3: Snowthorn Vale
  • slight map changes to make the western path passable
  • Cragdin is now a Bear Cavalry
  • Cragdin now starts with a pair of Gryphon Scouts and can recruit more of them

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Re: Ashen Hearts [SP Drake Campaign for 1.12.6]

Post by ForestDragon » September 1st, 2016, 4:30 pm

Kwandulin wrote:three new units (two hidden ones) and a translation for our german-speaking friendos.
you are just the best ^_^ more units for me to use, thanks! ^_^ ^_^ ^_^ gryphon scout will most likely be an optional advancement for gryphon rider
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Re: Ashen Hearts [SP Drake Campaign for 1.12.6]

Post by WhereIsBaodur » September 2nd, 2016, 11:28 am

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW!

That is so awesome!
You should warn us if you are thinking of improving it even more, otherwise we'll end up playing this over and over and over. XD
I'm going to try it right now and I really hope I won't miss the new hidden content.
But seriously this sounds incredible.

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Re: Ashen Hearts [SP Drake Campaign for 1.12.6]

Post by ForestDragon » September 2nd, 2016, 2:34 pm

WhereIsBaodur wrote:WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW!

That is so awesome!
You should warn us if you are thinking of improving it even more, otherwise we'll end up playing this over and over and over. XD
I'm going to try it right now and I really hope I won't miss the new hidden content.
But seriously this sounds incredible.
Spoiler:
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Re: Ashen Hearts [SP Drake Campaign for 1.12.6]

Post by WhereIsBaodur » September 3rd, 2016, 8:30 am

ForestDragon wrote:
Spoiler:
Thanks. Both the 2 units and the scenario? wow, between this, the flaming sword and cragdin's crown (which I'm going to skip) this has became a hell of a scenario!!

Since I'm going to play again I'll ask. Is there any change to who can equip the various items? (ring, golden armour etc)
and is the content of the various gold chests the same? I remember trying to get all of them with uluthur

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Re: Ashen Hearts [SP Drake Campaign for 1.12.6]

Post by Kwandulin » September 3rd, 2016, 8:34 am

The ring can be worn by anyone, the flaming sword by the Drake Fighter and Drake Flare line, the winged circled by anyone, the golden armor by anyone.

The gold chests always contain 50 gold.

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Re: Ashen Hearts [SP Drake Campaign for 1.12.6]

Post by WhereIsBaodur » September 3rd, 2016, 11:06 am

and only one item per unit, right? I guess I'll give the ring to herkart like last time, 5 movements are really to few for my taste

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Re: Ashen Hearts [SP Drake Campaign for 1.12.6]

Post by Kwandulin » September 3rd, 2016, 11:13 am

Actually, it is possible to equip a unit with more than one item; this is due to engine limitations for 1.12.x and will get changed when hitting 1.14. The WML is already in the files, but it is currently inactive and won't work for 1.12

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Re: Ashen Hearts [SP Drake Campaign for 1.12.6]

Post by ForestDragon » September 5th, 2016, 12:27 pm

it's about a secret unit, so i put it in a spoiler
Spoiler:
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Re: Ashen Hearts [SP Drake Campaign for 1.12.6]

Post by WhereIsBaodur » September 9th, 2016, 10:42 pm

Hi! I didn't expect it, but I've got my first negative feedback.
I'm sorry to say that I find the 3rd scenario pretty broken. It was one of my favourites before, and I found it balanced, if the drakes difficult to fight. (which was fine since it was completely optional).
But now the griffon riders with the net and the hit and run tactics are simply too much. I fear the hit and run mechanics is too powerful anyway, but the problem is that they are too fast, and slow is too much of a disadvantage in this scenario. I couldn't even get past the trolls, and that's the first chance you'd get to lose them. I've spent a few hours on it, trying different strategies. Suffice it to say, I find it easier to kill cragdin and every dwarf AND then do the rest, than to play the map the way it's supposed to... (it takes me less turns, by the way)
The griffons and their tactic are really interesting, but they should have their own scenario, not overcomplicate one of the already tricky ones - if not the trickiest!
I'd really remove the griffon and let them see the light of day inside the temple (tears of the heartfang I think it was called). But be mindful that with their speed, decent damage and slow ability, they're pretty much one of the worst things you could fight.

If anything, I'd probably change the script, so Cragdin never recruits units, and follows you along with the other dwarves. This way one would be compelled to fight the dwarves only when they start losing units following your trail, and fighting them would make some sense storywise too (if you kill them they won't follow you "later"). You could hint at this when they've lost some units. Also, we'd get a chance to get his crown.

Then, I don't know if it's intended or not but Uluthur or Herkart won't trigger the event where you meet the new character. Given that to go there you'd probably have to know the scenario already, it's pretty cruel.
And, I have stopped playing, so I don't really know her story, but have you thought of making it related to Cragdin's crown? That item got my curiosity, and since I find it not that useful (at this point of the campaign, at least) I'd love to see some story linked to it. Maybe it belonged to someone close to her prey? (as I said I don't know her story yet)
Just thinking out loud, but if you liked my suggestions so far, you could change the pretty obscure trigger (unless I've missed something) to having the crown, and move it to the next scenario (or towards the end of this one). All that story in the middle of that damned chase, with the additional goal of taking the sword, it's too much for my tastes.

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Re: Ashen Hearts [SP Drake Campaign for 1.12.6]

Post by CannonFodder » October 13th, 2016, 3:00 pm

Huh, I finished this campaign, and I liked it very much!

I think it exploits well the characteristics of the drakes, many scenarios need thought and playing "the drake way" (with this I mostly mean things like not caring about defence ratings, they range from bad to abysmal anyway, rather the defence rating of the opponents, to catch helpless dwarves on the flats, fish on the ground, and elements like light patches in caves).

Those gryphon riders are wicked units! I think very characteristics to the scenario. I also liked how the drake gliders became quite useful against a certain dwarvish unit having bad defence against impact.

Probably the most difficult, and for that particularly interesting scenario for me was the third. I restarted several times trying various tactics, discovering stuff. I couldn't complete it in the recommended way since as far as I tried I found it impossible to get the dwarvish and the enemy drake forces meeting up, the drakes not wanting to move out while the dwarves only caring about my units no matter where they were, still I managed to nick that shiny sword there, slowly grinding down that army of clashers one by one using their terrain (slowing them down, separating them from one another) to my advantage. My winning tactic there was speed, mostly destroying the trolls before the gryphons reached me, letting them tangling up with remaining trolls while recruiting all I needed in the former troll castle, keeping moving down to separate the bear riders from the much slower thunderguards, so I could take out enemies one by one (and a few indeed took care of each other).

To the last scenario I ended up with an interesting situation: Herkarth, being a buffed up armageddon drake, had the same ranged damage like Kharzan, just not magical. I was tempted to finish the game with him, but the dwarvish leader got cornered on a mountainous terrain, so it ended the intended way, Kharzan destroying him. Just for fun I checked the scenario's luascript, and found nothing regarding the outcome I pondered about (was it even considered that this is a possibility - truly with any armageddon drake if he received that certain key item).

The easiest scenario for me was freeing Kharzan, by then I suspected what I needed to do and I had the appropriate drakes for that (a bit worried whether they would also petrify like one before), I found the dwarvish resistance there quite weak (there was a lot more pressure in the scenario before, both the time limit and the pesky gryphons). In the last scenario I was surprised to find that those dragonguards and bear riders follow their leader with such a zeal that they hardly even notice if there was a battle ongoing around them... Still, it was considerably more challenging due to the special tasks, I didn't even know Kharzan could also recruit, I helped him by sneaking a few additional sky drakes across, doing an useful service blocking passages until the main army caught up from behind.

Anyway, so while it possibly has a few problems (or maybe it should have a higher difficulty setting, it is certainly easier than a few other campaigns I played and failed, such as Gnrk the Mighty), I liked it much, in overall it is one of the most pleasant user made campaigns in my opinion with a good story fitting for the character of the drakes as the game's lore describes them.

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Re: Ashen Hearts [SP Drake Campaign for 1.12.6]

Post by Kwandulin » October 14th, 2016, 10:03 am

I'm glad that you like it!

It's also interesting to see that people apparently prefer the troll route at scenario 3, as I myself always went for the yeti route. Also congratulations on getting the sword there! Must've been a lot of work to get to it.

Regarding the death of Ilrandh: you're right that it isn't intended that Herkarth kills Ilrandh. In case you'd killed Ilrandh with Herkarth, the scenario would just handle it like Khazran had killed him.

I'm indeed trying to make the campaign as hard as possible - without being unfair. It's just that I am not a very talented player myself, thus the campaign might seem easier than intended. I somewhat rely on the feedback of the experienced players, and I'm glad that's exactly what I got here, thanks!

On a sidenote, Ashen Hearts is now also on the 1.13.x servers

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