Removing mainline campaign(s)

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Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by nemaara »

I've been thinking about the general state of our SP lore/campaigns for some time, and am thinking that, although unfortunate, some of our mainline campaigns should be removed to improve the quality of Wesnoth's singleplayer. I'll put my reasoning below; for now I'll state that I think we should consider removing An Orcish Incursion.

A discussion of why this might be necessary probably needs to start with the question - what do we expect from the singleplayer part of the game? For other games (Warcraft, Heroes of Might and Magic, etc.) the different campaigns are usually part of the same story arc (i.e. the very same plotline). Obviously this is not the case in Wesnoth, but in an ideal case, our set of campaigns would hopefully hint at a greater sense of direction or purpose as a whole, rather than being a set of disparate stories loosely connected by being in the same universe. This is a much larger task than what we can accomplish now, so let's focus on details about what I think we should look for in mainline campaigns.

I'll list the aspects that I think are the most important in order, although some of these might be interchangeable.
1. Polished and balanced gameplay. The first and most important thing for a game is to be fun. People are not going to play a game if it isn't fun, no matter how good the story is (really if the story is that good but the gameplay isn't, you might as well write a visual novel). Part of this includes balance, and part of this is designing fun and engaging scenarios. What I mean specifically here is scenarios can provide a particular tactical challenge with respect to army battles (e.g. multi directional flank, disadvantageous position such as having to cross a ford, requiring the player to attack the enemy's economy rather than their army, etc.), trying to avoid having several "defeat the enemy leader" scenarios in a row, and/or including RPG/puzzle elements.

2. Reasonably well written plot and dialogue. By this, I don't mean grammar. I mean that the storyline is reasonably engaging and one does not only use flat or stock characters (i.e. a character with a very narrow set of traits, such as only being heroic, or only being evil, or only being cowardly with no other traits involved). A reasonably engaging storyline means that each scenario should ideally serve a specific purpose in the plot, to add lore, (or in some cases, such as in UMC, to allow for open world exploration, but this is not present in mainline). If a scenario is not critical to the plotline or characterization, then it ought to be a comparatively unique gameplay scenario, otherwise it does not serve much of a purpose in the campaign.

3. Adding to Wesnoth's lore. This is pretty self explanatory. Anything that adds events or information to the overarching lore, such as details about in world races, large and important events in the timeline (i.e. destruction of the saurian empire, sacking of specific, large landmarks like weldyn, etc.).

4. Making use of mainline factions/races. As an example, we do not have a campaign that really focuses on Saurians, and none on Dunefolk. We'd obviously want to look into mainlining campaigns for such races/factions for stronger worldbuilding.

Based on these criteria, let's look at AOI.
1. First, just for fun, we can count the number of "defeat the enemy leader" scenarios in each of these campaigns. Of the 7 in AOI, all 7 have this as the objective. None of the 7 have more than rudimentary tactical diversity (e.g. playing with a few terrains, but no special map design for tactical purposes that I could really see). AOI also uses only standard Wesnoth units, so it does not include extra RPG elements from a unit perspective either. Based on this, I think that AOI does not meet the standard of having "polished gameplay".

2. AOI, in total has 110 message= strings. In comparison, scenarios like Descent into Darkness (the namesake of DiD) have 109 message= strings, and S3,5,8, and 9 from UtBS have over 110 message= strings in them. That is, we have mainline campaigns with several single scenarios with more (or comparable amounts of) dialogue than the entirety of AOI. Of that dialogue, most of it revolves around a very straightforward plot of "defeat the barbarian orc" and flat characterization with Erlornas being a stock "noble Elvish lord" character and enemies being stock "evil baddies" characters. The characters are not given personality. Thus, I don't think AOI is a well-written campaign.

3. AOI doesn't really add anything major to the lore. There aren't any major events contained within it, nothing that has overreaching effects on the course of Wesnoth's history, nor events that have effects on major Wesnoth landmarks like Weldyn or Wesmere.

4. We have plenty of campaigns that make heavy use of Elves (HttT, LoW, branches of NR and TSG, DM).

5. One might make the argument that AOI is a novice campaign and doesn't need to be complex, but we already have 2 novice campaigns, of which TSG specifically states it's meant for beginners. I don't think this is a good reason to keep AOI.

What I'd like to do: remove AOI for 1.16 and release it as an addon. The few art assets that it uses (3 portraits, 1 map, 1 story image) could be moved to core or other campaigns. Thoughts?

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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by doofus-01 »

nemaara wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 4:01 am
What I'd like to do: remove AOI for 1.16 and release it as an addon. The few art assets that it uses (3 portraits, 1 map, 1 story image) could be moved to core or other campaigns. Thoughts?
Hi nemaara,

I agree in general that the state of mainline campaigns has sometimes been sub-par. I haven't played AOI, but if we're reviewing it now, I could try to get with the program. Most of your points sound reasonable, but there is still something to be said for a simple, low maintenance, beginner campaign. Let's have a formal review period, before deciding anything one way or another?
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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by octalot »

I think TSG's campaign description should drop the bit about being for new players, as the recommendation is to play the tutorial and AToTB before TSG.

I'd like to keep AOI. Agreed that it has almost no story and no additions to lore, and that's bad. However, for a rookie campaign, I'd say the scenarios do "provide a particular tactical challenge with respect to army battles", even though those challenges wouldn't be new to non-rookie players.

S1 is a tutorial about using good terrain, and if the player already understands that then it's a very quick level.

S2 is likely the first time that the player has to handle poison as a major damage source. They may have met a ghoul or two in AToTB, but that's different to having the level designed around marksmen with poison. S2 is also an illustration of handling enemies with good defense stats by luring them on to bad terrain.

Nothing to note about S3.

S4 forces elves to fight trolls in mountains, the player needs to get the right timing and formation for rushing the leaders.

S5 introduces an expendable leader with a different recruit list, and as she's a silver mage S6 gives a demonstration of why the lower-stats advancement of the red mage line can be a good choice.

S6 completely different terrain and enemies, I find it fun.

S7, however, is a disappointing finale. It's meant to introduce the ambush ability, but a simple frontal assault is all that's needed. The simple option would likely be needed even when ambushing, to get the troops away from the leader. It also doesn't provide any lore or details about the orc leader.

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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by Tad_Carlucci »

The discussion should occur on two levels.

First: the story arc. To me, there is a jump which makes me wonder if there were not at least two camps. Those who wanted to follow the classic swords and sorcery hero's journey and those who wanted a post-apocaliptic survival story. To me, there is no warning for this jump and it's upsetting, when playing in sequence to have everything swept away and need to start over again on a new story. So, either we need more campaigns to tie the two arcs together into some coherent whole, or we should eliminate one or the other.

Second: chapter-by-chapter. Does each campaign advance the main story arc? Does it expose something about the world we've created? And, as the story progresses, does the difficulty increase as well? All to often, the answer to all these is "No!"

To my mind, the earliest chapters should be the easiest. HttT may have been one of the first written but it is certainly not the easiest to play. We've probably lost a lot of new players over the years because they play the first-listed: HttT.

Many of the chapter (AOI and TSG are probably the best examples) are too uneven.

What I would suggest is a long discussion blocking out the full time-line of Wesnoth from pre-history to the apocalypse. Make a coherent whole. Then discus each chapter and where it fits in that history. If if really does not fit, then either re-write so it does or eliminate it. This would also serve to guide UMC authors by showing them where there are gaps to be filled in, encouraging many of them to write to fill in the missing pieces.

One of the goals, then, would be to write new introductory tutorials which fill the earliest chapters. They can teach how the game works, introduce the main players (unit types and races), and set up for the journey through the time-line.
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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by Pentarctagon »

octalot wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 1:03 pm
I think TSG's campaign description should drop the bit about being for new players, as the recommendation is to play the tutorial and AToTB before TSG.

I'd like to keep AOI. Agreed that it has almost no story and no additions to lore, and that's bad. However, for a rookie campaign, I'd say the scenarios do "provide a particular tactical challenge with respect to army battles", even though those challenges wouldn't be new to non-rookie players.

S1 is a tutorial about using good terrain, and if the player already understands that then it's a very quick level.

S2 is likely the first time that the player has to handle poison as a major damage source. They may have met a ghoul or two in AToTB, but that's different to having the level designed around marksmen with poison. S2 is also an illustration of handling enemies with good defense stats by luring them on to bad terrain.

Nothing to note about S3.

S4 forces elves to fight trolls in mountains, the player needs to get the right timing and formation for rushing the leaders.

S5 introduces an expendable leader with a different recruit list, and as she's a silver mage S6 gives a demonstration of why the lower-stats advancement of the red mage line can be a good choice.

S6 completely different terrain and enemies, I find it fun.

S7, however, is a disappointing finale. It's meant to introduce the ambush ability, but a simple frontal assault is all that's needed. The simple option would likely be needed even when ambushing, to get the troops away from the leader. It also doesn't provide any lore or details about the orc leader.
It sounds like many of those would be better suited to being part of the actual tutorial, really.
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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by nemaara »

doofus-01 wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 5:13 am
Hi nemaara,

I agree in general that the state of mainline campaigns has sometimes been sub-par. I haven't played AOI, but if we're reviewing it now, I could try to get with the program. Most of your points sound reasonable, but there is still something to be said for a simple, low maintenance, beginner campaign. Let's have a formal review period, before deciding anything one way or another?
Would definitely be nice to have you reviewing it too. As I already said, we already have 2 other beginner campaigns and the tutorial. I truly see no reason to have a third "let's help the player learn how to play the game" campaign. I'm not sure I understand what you mean by a formal review period, could you explain that please? :hmm:
octalot wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 1:03 pm
I think TSG's campaign description should drop the bit about being for new players, as the recommendation is to play the tutorial and AToTB before TSG.

I'd like to keep AOI. Agreed that it has almost no story and no additions to lore, and that's bad. However, for a rookie campaign, I'd say the scenarios do "provide a particular tactical challenge with respect to army battles", even though those challenges wouldn't be new to non-rookie players.
Yes, we could drop the tidbit and add it to AToTB (maybe a digression, also just a small thing so we could discuss that elsewhere).

My argument is that because it has almost no story and no additions to lore, one might as well just make it part of the tutorial, as Pentarctagon said. It does not belong as a campaign. Again, we have two other novice level campaigns that have actual story arcs and at least some amount of characterization, so it's not like we're lacking in SP things designed for new players. You had some PRs on github for extending tutorial earlier; I'm thinking since we wanted to put it in the campaign menu, would it make sense to take some AOI scenarios and use them as inspiration for "advanced tutorial" scenarios? :hmm:
Tad_Carlucci wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 1:48 pm
The discussion should occur on two levels.

First: the story arc. To me, there is a jump which makes me wonder if there were not at least two camps. Those who wanted to follow the classic swords and sorcery hero's journey and those who wanted a post-apocaliptic survival story. To me, there is no warning for this jump and it's upsetting, when playing in sequence to have everything swept away and need to start over again on a new story. So, either we need more campaigns to tie the two arcs together into some coherent whole, or we should eliminate one or the other.

Second: chapter-by-chapter. Does each campaign advance the main story arc? Does it expose something about the world we've created? And, as the story progresses, does the difficulty increase as well? All to often, the answer to all these is "No!"

To my mind, the earliest chapters should be the easiest. HttT may have been one of the first written but it is certainly not the easiest to play. We've probably lost a lot of new players over the years because they play the first-listed: HttT.

Many of the chapter (AOI and TSG are probably the best examples) are too uneven.

What I would suggest is a long discussion blocking out the full time-line of Wesnoth from pre-history to the apocalypse. Make a coherent whole. Then discus each chapter and where it fits in that history. If if really does not fit, then either re-write so it does or eliminate it. This would also serve to guide UMC authors by showing them where there are gaps to be filled in, encouraging many of them to write to fill in the missing pieces.

One of the goals, then, would be to write new introductory tutorials which fill the earliest chapters. They can teach how the game works, introduce the main players (unit types and races), and set up for the journey through the time-line.
Well, yes. In an ideal world, I'd agree wholeheartedly. Right now, though, I'm not sure if having "more campaigns to tie the two arcs into some coherent whole" or eliminating more campaigns is feasible. I feel that a long discussion with a full timeline is exactly what a project like haldric is equipped to do, but may be more challenging for 1.x because I don't believe that axing things from mainline is something we should take lightly. I'm not sure how others feel though, so maybe it is the time to have such a discussion. I can open another thread for it if desired.

As for writing new introductory tutorials, it looks like this suggestion could easily tie into octalot's previous PRs which aimed to extend the tutorial. If we merge AOI into the tutorial, add extra scenarios like the mirror match of orcs vs. elves, and offer more advanced tactics to the players who need it, that alleviates the burden on
a) having mainline campaigns be too hard for newer players (looking at HttT as well)
b) requiring the presence of novice campaigns with weak storylines/characterization to ease players into harder campaigns
c) having special faction campaigns (looking at say, WoV for drakes or SotBE for orcs) start a bit slower so the player can get used to playing the faction

Would it make sense to try this?

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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by LordBob »

Pentarctagon wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 1:54 pm
It sounds like many of those would be better suited to being part of the actual tutorial, really.
I second that. If some of those scenarios have relevant gameplay but no notable storytelling, they could either :
- become part of an extended set of tutorials (i.e several small scenarios each focusing on a specific aspect of the gameplay, as opposed to a single cluttered tuto - easier to play through, easier to maintain). Maybe the current tutorial is exactly that though, I haven't played it in a number of years.
- or, if the gameplay is interesting enough, be made into a set of specific "challenges" : scenarios that would be made independant from the main story yet would still let players explore and push the game mechanics. Can ultimately be integrated into a campaign to unlock specific bonuses, new skills or what-I-know
nemaara wrote:Stuff
I wholeheartedly agree on the notion that mainline campaigns as a whole need a thorough clean-up. I haven't played enough lately to know if this specific campaign is the one that needs to go first or whether others should follow, but it is a very good effort to set in motion regardless.

Also +1 to working on a clear timeline in Haldric :geek:
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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by Celtic_Minstrel »

I'm pretty loathe to remove something outright, but nemaara does make good points - AOI is very low on plot, but has some interesting things for beginners that could be used as a more advanced tutorial. I'll also add that when I played AOI back in 1.10, I did like the final scenario with the ambush ability. Perhaps it's poorly-executed, but as a concept I think it's not a bad thing to have.

I also like the expendable leader thing in S5. It might not have actually been there when I played it? I can't remember. But I like it as an idea, at least.
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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by SigurdFireDragon »

I'm in favor of keeping AOI. Of the 3 rookie campaigns, it's the one I've played & liked the most.
nemaara wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 4:01 am
Of that dialogue, most of it revolves around a very straightforward plot of "defeat the barbarian orc" and flat characterization with Erlornas being a stock "noble Elvish lord" character and enemies being stock "evil baddies" characters. The characters are not given personality. Thus, I don't think AOI is a well-written campaign.
"The noble Elvish lord and evil baddies are part of what I like about the campaign. Elves in Wesnoth have noble lords. so why not get to play as one? and the orcs way of life is in conflict with the elves, so the elves are going to see them as bad guys. Could they be better written? Probably. Could the orcs motivation to migrate to the great continent to deal with the population pressures on the green isle be part of their motivation? sure, but it doesn't change the basics. Also, I don't think the characterization is as flat as your statement implies.
nemaara wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 4:01 am
What I'd like to do: remove AOI for 1.16 and release it as an addon. The few art assets that it uses (3 portraits, 1 map, 1 story image) could be moved to core or other campaigns. Thoughts?
I don't really see what good this accomplishes.

doofus-01 wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 5:13 am
Let's have a formal review period, before deciding anything one way or another?
nemaara wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 4:40 pm
I'm not sure I understand what you mean by a formal review period, could you explain that please?
I'm guessing a defined period of time before action is taken. I'm in favor of it being at least 4 weeks out from today.

nemaara wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 4:40 pm
If we merge AOI into the tutorial, add extra scenarios like the mirror match of orcs vs. elves, and offer more advanced tactics to the players who need it, that alleviates the burden on
To some degree, it seems like the 3 rookie campaigns are a sort of unofficial extended tutorial.

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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by doofus-01 »

SigurdFireDragon wrote:
November 16th, 2019, 4:38 am
nemaara wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 4:01 am
What I'd like to do: remove AOI for 1.16 and release it as an addon. The few art assets that it uses (3 portraits, 1 map, 1 story image) could be moved to core or other campaigns. Thoughts?
I don't really see what good this accomplishes.
Moving the assets to core makes them available for lightweight UMC, even if they aren't used anywhere in mainline anymore.
SigurdFireDragon wrote:
November 16th, 2019, 4:38 am
doofus-01 wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 5:13 am
Let's have a formal review period, before deciding anything one way or another?
nemaara wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 4:40 pm
I'm not sure I understand what you mean by a formal review period, could you explain that please?
I'm guessing a defined period of time before action is taken. I'm in favor of it being at least 4 weeks out from today.
Yes, sorry I was unclear. There could be something like a deprecation message, so enough people know what's happening and there is time for a defense. If there is a formal process, that would also shield any decisions from being labelled "arbitrary". 4 weeks seems reasonable, but depending on how many more development releases there are, maybe it could be "deprecated" in the next release and removed (or not) in the following.
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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by Elvish_Hunter »

SigurdFireDragon wrote:
November 16th, 2019, 4:38 am
I'm in favor of keeping AOI.
I'm in favor as well, the first reason being that I don't really like having content removed from mainline. But that's my preference.
nemaara wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 4:01 am
What I'd like to do: remove AOI for 1.16 and release it as an addon.
I fear that it might end up unmaintained with this solution. Unless the development team keeps maintaining it as a sort of "mainline add-on"?
Pentarctagon wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 1:54 pm
It sounds like many of those would be better suited to being part of the actual tutorial, really.
How do we plan to merge AOI with the tutorial? Tutorials, IMO, should be quick and short. If players end up getting one with nine scenarios, nobody's going to play it. As a separate campaign, AOI can keep doing its job as a tutorial, but at least players will feel like they're playing their first (or second) real campaign.

By the way, I think that we should also consider why AOI was mainlined and what other campaigns were removed in past, before making a decision.
I tried searching some kind of discussion about why AOI was mainlined in the 1.3 dev cycle, but the following things happened:
  • looking on the forums didn't give any useful result;
  • if the discussion happened on the mailing list, the archive went lost when Gna closed;
  • the mainlining happened before our first available IRC log, so even these are useless.
In fact, so far I haven't found the discussion that led to it being mainlined. Does anyone have it archived somewhere?
About removing campaigns, AFAIK it happened only three times:
  • The Dark Hordes was removed after 1.0 because it was, and still is, incomplete;
  • Son of the Black Eye was removed after 1.0 and added again for 1.4 after it was completed;
  • Under the Burning Suns was removed for just 24 hours (!), before being added back.
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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by octalot »

doofus-01 wrote:
November 16th, 2019, 12:53 pm
4 weeks seems reasonable, but depending on how many more development releases there are, maybe it could be "deprecated" in the next release and removed (or not) in the following.
The next release should be in mid-December, and is meant to be the start of the string-freeze for 1.16.0. Any changes that move scenarios between AOI and the tutorial should happen before string-freeze ...

The translation stats seem another argument in favor of keeping it, as it's 100% translated in 13 languages (+3 with a trivial fuzzy) and within about 2 paragraphs of being translated into every language that's available without using --all-translations.

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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by Pentarctagon »

Elvish_Hunter wrote:
November 16th, 2019, 2:58 pm
nemaara wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 4:01 am
What I'd like to do: remove AOI for 1.16 and release it as an addon.
I fear that it might end up unmaintained with this solution. Unless the development team keeps maintaining it as a sort of "mainline add-on"?
If no one is interested in maintaining it, that would be a point in favor of removing it, would it not?
Elvish_Hunter wrote:
November 16th, 2019, 2:58 pm
Pentarctagon wrote:
November 11th, 2019, 1:54 pm
It sounds like many of those would be better suited to being part of the actual tutorial, really.
How do we plan to merge AOI with the tutorial? Tutorials, IMO, should be quick and short. If players end up getting one with nine scenarios, nobody's going to play it. As a separate campaign, AOI can keep doing its job as a tutorial, but at least players will feel like they're playing their first (or second) real campaign.
I think that at a minimum tutorials should be labelled as such. Otherwise there's no particular way for players to know there are valuable gameplay lessons in it - it's just one more campaign among many.

If we think it's getting to the point that the tutorial is too long, then I'd say there are three not mutually exclusive options:
  1. Have a Basic Tutorial and an Advanced Tutorial.
  2. Have options during the tutorial of which lessons the player would like to try, rather than having to do them all in sequence.
  3. Take a harder look at what really should be included in a tutorial - a tutorial is meant to teach the basics, not get into the weeds of particular formations or strategies.
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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by Tad_Carlucci »

On point 3: I don't see a problem with tutorials on specific approaches or strategies. In fact, these could be quite handy. But they need to be clearly marked as such, and either require or strongly recommend prior completion of more basic tuturials.

I suppose if pressed to make a choice, I'd lean toward a single campaign with a lot of options. That should make it easier to track progress and enforce prerequisites. Besides, it would keep the start-up menus cleaner. But the same could be acheived on the start-up menus with a bit of work, so it really doesn't matter that much.
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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by nemaara »

I've already said that I don't think AOI consisting of 7 basic "defeat the enemy leader" scenarios is defensible from my point of view. That alone would merit it being removed from mainline because I don't think this is a standard we should support. I'll repeat again that we have 2 other rookie campaigns that cover more tactics than AOI does, and we already have a tutorial to teach the player how to play the game. I don't believe AOI serves a niche gameplay role that is not fulfilled by other campaigns.

From a lore standpoint, I wanted to avoid a broader discussion of writing/media, but I see that that's no longer possible. So here goes.

In general, a lot of modern media (TV shows, manga, game campaign sets, and even some novels) can be considered to be "episodic narratives", that is, a set of self contained events (or short plots) that are connected more broadly by an overarching theme, recurring main characters, and sometimes a subtle long plot. One way to think about this (broadly) is these episodic narratives are connected mainly by:

1. A recurring main cast. The vast majority of media does this (at least within a single season for TV shows, and a single major arc for something like manga). This is pretty self explanatory, they just have the same characters at the focal point of each episode/chapter.

2. A overarching storyline. This means a set of episodes or even seasons are all part of the same plot. This is also common, but not universal.

3. An overarching theme. This is a little more subtle; one example I can think of is a show like Fargo. Each season is a separately contained storyline, but you can definitely say something about their themes being connected (one of the main cast being manipulated - willingly though - into using shady means to better their lives, and that catching up to them later).

Why do I bring this up? The reason is every episode within the broader narrative generally must fit within one of these three categories. I cannot think of even one example in any type of media that purposely goes against all three of these points.

By the way, the analogy to this in writing is treating episodes as "scenes". When writing a novel, a common goal is somewhere from 80000-120000 words, but a first draft may be quite a bit longer than that. Then, when revising, nonessential scenes are omitted to reach the desired novel length. Why is this done? To maintain a reasonable level of pacing throughout the novel and to avoid dragging out the storyline unnecessarily. Readers are not going to give you that much extra time to drag your plot out or make your point about your novel's theme; similarly, game players are not going to give you that much time to work out your campaigns' storyline, characterization, or thematic material.

Let's take a brief look at Wesnoth and AOI in particular.

1. We obviously do not have a recurring main cast. Each campaign has different main characters. There are some recurring characters, but no two campaigns have the same main characters (maaaaaybe Kalenz/Delfador is arguable, nevertheless, there are still 15 campaigns besides that). AOI notably has no characters in common with any other campaign.

2. There's a a related point here which is that the majority of games I can think of with multiple campaigns (Starcraft, Warcraft, HOMM games, Warhammer, various star wars games, etc.) have all campaigns as part of the same plotline. Wesnoth obviously does not, so this puts even more of an emphasis on points 1 and 3. But since we already do not satisfy point 1 (no recurring main cast), then that leaves us only with point 3. (Note that since no two Wesnoth campaigns have directly continuous plots, AOI also fails this point).

3. So this is the tricky one. Do we have an overarching theme as a whole in Wesnoth? I have a hard time seeing one as of right now, but supposing we do, I would argue that mainline singleplayer takes far too long to make its point about said theme. Furthermore, given that AOI has relatively flat characterization and a very rudimentary plot, it does not further any broad theme we might have to begin with.

So to tie it all together, let's consider Wesnoth as an "episodic narrative". Each campaign is an "episode" in our broad lore, so it should satisfy at least 1 of the 3 points above. Because AOI does not satisfy any of the 3, I do not believe it belongs in mainline on storyline basis (much like an extraneous scene in a novel is usually deleted). I'll repeat again that the reason these scenes are typically deleted is that readers/players will not give the writer that much time to make their point. We do not have much time to hold players' interest, so every extraneous scene/campaign (or even scenario!) is actively detrimental to the narrative (in this case, mainline singleplayer). By removing these nonessential scenes, it becomes more feasible to better tie together the more essential scenes/campaigns to create a more cohesive narrative (i.e. work more toward achieving points 1 and 3 - point 2 is probably not something we'll have in Wesnoth for the time being).

As to merging into the tutorial, I wanted to do that as a compromise to removing AOI outright, but I'm open to just releasing AOI as an addon (which was my original idea).

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