Scenario Review: (UTBS) 4. Descending into Darkness

Feedback for the mainline campaign Under the Burning Suns.

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podbelski
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Re: Scenario Review: (UTBS) 4. Descending into Darkness

Post by podbelski » July 17th, 2011, 8:50 am

1) What version and difficulty level did you play the scenario on?
1.9.6, top difficulty, 200gp, could not pass w/o reloads :(
made several attempts, but every time there was a spot when I made a bad attack/placement and lost. On this final attempt, I placed Nym on the hills next to purple Orc leader's keep, and he killed her in three hits... So it's still very close to "no reloads" challenge, I don't use save-load cheating for favorable combat outcome.

2) Do you think the difficulty is adequate to the level?
8/10 to finish w/o losing valuable veterans, adequate.

The biggest challenge is to deal with main wave of green/purple, finishing off the blue at the same time and taking his keep. A cave entrance can also become a tough spot, unless you sneak in quickly and secure some ground while it's not blocked by enemies.

Finished in turn 31/46.
Lost 3, killed 62

5) Do you think the scenario was fun?
10/10
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podbelski
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Re: Scenario Review: (UTBS) 4. Descending into Darkness

Post by podbelski » July 17th, 2011, 10:43 am

...and btw, again my replays glitch, which makes me sure this campaign is bugged (can't imagine in which way).

This time the replay shows starting gold 180, and not 200 as it actually was. B/c of it, it shows "not enough gold" error every time I recruit a unit for my last money.
Last edited by podbelski on July 17th, 2011, 10:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

podbelski
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Re: Scenario Review: (UTBS) 4. Descending into Darkness

Post by podbelski » July 17th, 2011, 10:50 am

... and another thing, the map looks like it should be roughly the same challenge to choose left or right path (from the beginning), but I have a strong feeling the right one is superior.

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Maiklas3000
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Re: Scenario Review: (UTBS) 4. Descending into Darkness

Post by Maiklas3000 » July 22nd, 2011, 8:01 pm

1) Version and difficulty? 1.9.7, nightmare

2) Appropriately difficult? A real nightmare, so I guess that makes it about right. I never got the impression that it was impossible, but I did have to learn where to be extra cautious. If you want to make it a tad easier, I might suggest reducing the wolf leader's gold by 40 and limiting the recruitment of Orcish Crossbowmen in each cave stronghold to 1 per turn. The first boss is hard, and then your instinct is to rush into the caves, not having used Elves much in caves before, and then you find out what a pair of Orcish Crossbowmen can do to you in 30% terrain in permanent darkness, and then their boss dashes out for the coup de grace. It took me several attempts to win, but I won basically twice - though the first time I lost on the last turn after I misjudged by one hex where the victory hex was, and so I overextended my troops to get XP, only to lose everything.

3) Reloads? There was a crash, twice, on different plays. Both crashes occured at the same spot. I had taken over the wolf leader's keep, and then I did something like control-v, recruit, cancel, recall, and then poof, before the recall list came up, the game crashed. [Edit: This was in planning mode, which I'm pretty sure is related to the problem.] It comes up with a window saying something about a WML error, that there should have been a check for list children, but there wasn't, and then after I hit "ok" the program exits. I recovered from an autosave and was able to recall then. And I also had the many losses from getting nailed by enemy leaders, restarting from start each time.

4) Storyline and dialog? I don't like the prompt by the mage that she would be useful against orcs in the caves. It's too heavy-handed, almost breaking the third wall (i.e., it's like the character talks to the game player, not to another character.) I suggest something like, "I can fry those cave orcs. Let me at 'em." As for the map in the previous scenario, right now it does nothing, so why don't you make it get rid of the shroud? Start this scenario with shroud (before any movement), then have them consult the map, and poof, no shroud. Just make sure it doesn't reveal the inside of the cave.

5) Fun, gameplay, mood? It's an excellent scenario, and rather epic, like two scenarios in one. I like both parts of the battle, and the cave really surprised me in its complexity. However, you did hit one of my pet peeves again. In general, I don't like hex-triggered spawning of enemies close to your units. I'd much prefer the Naga and Slayer to be spawned far away, where you could not have moved, and for them to move in naturally. If they spawn in the still shrouded area, you could have some dialog about ominous splashing sounds.

The early finish bonus is 2 gold less per turn than the amount for having all the villages, so I was unfairly penalized for my early finish.

6) WML? Excellent.

The attached replay will come up with a corruption error. This is due to the aforementioned crash and auto-save recovery. (It's probably the same thing with podbelski's complaint above, meaning he save-reloaded, but anyway it's a general Wesnoth problem, not a problem with this campaign.) However, you can watch the whole replay; when the warning comes up, select "ignore all" and "no" to saving the game. The only problem is a descrepancy in the amount of gold.

In this winning play, I failed to assassinate the wolf leader at the first opportunity. I should have used the Dust Devil to pin him against my Shyde, but I got distracted by a pair of Wolf Riders that were trying to flank and village grab. But it worked out fine. The wounded wolf leader escaped back to his keep and then went running off to heal, and so my leader walked in and started recruiting. It was tense and there was at least one near disaster, but eventually the battle was won. The Naga split up, which I was baiting them to do, and so they were easily killed as well. I then split my forces into two teams for the two cave entrances. I thought I had split them roughly equally, but the problem was that the east force had too many critical units, not enough cannon fodder, and too tough a battle ahead. They prevailed, but it was costly.
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podbelski
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Re: Scenario Review: (UTBS) 4. Descending into Darkness

Post by podbelski » July 22nd, 2011, 10:18 pm

Maiklas3000 wrote:...

4) Storyline and dialog? ...As for the map in the previous scenario, right now it does nothing, so why don't you make it get rid of the shroud? Start this scenario with shroud (before any movement), then have them consult the map, and poof, no shroud. Just make sure it doesn't reveal the inside of the cave.
At first I didn't understand what was the map's purpose as well, I expected it gives some benefits. It actually seems the map allows your party to travel from sands to this before-the-caves scenario undetected by orcs patrols, that's it. Though I like your suggestion about the shroud :)
The attached replay will come up with a corruption error. This is due to the aforementioned crash and auto-save recovery. (It's probably the same thing with podbelski's complaint above, meaning he save-reloaded, but anyway it's a general Wesnoth problem, not a problem with this campaign.)
yep, and sometimes I have to use save-load even if I play "w/o reloads", just b/c have no time to finish the scenario in one non-interrupted attempt. But haven't seen so many corruption errors previously, which makes me think something in this campaign makes things worse.

Jabie
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Re: Scenario Review: (UTBS) 4. Descending into Darkness

Post by Jabie » April 1st, 2012, 10:38 am

1) Version and difficulty? Easiest

2) Appropriately difficult?

This is the first level I had real difficulty with. the main problem was trying to capture the keep in the hills whilst being assaulted by three different tribes of goblinoids. One tribe would have been a fair fight, three was a struggle. Lots of save-reload from hereon in. It might be good to prevent the cave orcs from venturing out until you've captured the central keep.






3) Reloads?

Yes. A lot. Too many orcs who all seemed to know where I was whilst I didn't know eher they were. One or two sand banks besides the river in the caves might have been nice. Kelah's Camoflague upgrade was a complete waste of an upgrade for most of the campaign.

4) Storyline and dialog? I agree with the "I can fry those cave orcs. Let me at 'em." comment and the deshroud the outside comment.

5) Fun, gameplay, mood?

Loved the level 0 goblins in the foothills. Didn't enjoy the 3 against 1 fight one bit.

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SFault
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Re: Scenario Review: (UTBS) 4. Descending into Darkness

Post by SFault » July 1st, 2012, 7:46 am

1) What version and difficulty level did you play the scenario on? Please do not submit feedback from pre 1.4.
Desert Hunter (Normal) 1.10

2) Do you think the difficulty is adequate to the level? If not describe the issue that made the scenario to easy/hard.
In general the difficulty was just fine.

3) Was there any event that caused you to almost instantly loose, or made the scenario unplayable without reload?
Umm yeah.
Spoiler:
4) Do you like the storyline and the dialogues? If not what part/character lags behind or what would you like changed?
They are quite fine.

5) Do you think the scenario was fun? Please write down some thoughts about gameplay, mood etc.
Not really.
Spoiler:
6) Do you think the scenario's WML is clear and commented well enough? If not which part would you like to see improved?
There is one thing.
Spoiler:
segmentation fault
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flammstrudel
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Re: Scenario Review: (UTBS) 4. Descending into Darkness

Post by flammstrudel » April 13th, 2013, 9:20 pm

1) What version and difficulty level did you play the scenario on? Please do not submit feedback from pre 1.4.
1.10.2 - medium

2) Do you think the difficulty is adequate to the level? If not describe the issue that made the scenario to easy/hard.
7/10 It's good how the bar get's slowly raised. This time neither side has the terrain advantage and you can't outrun them anymore. The wide open map with the not so easily conquerable central island created tactical depth. There is no need to hurry and you can temporarily retreat and seek favourable engagements. The hardest part was probably the invasion of the cave. The level 3 orc boss and level 2 archers, eternal night and 30% defense for your units - this is downright terrible. The north-eastern camp could be located a little bit deeper in the dungeon and not so close to a chokepoint. It's frutstrating to have a loyal and/or important unit slayen by someone you could't really scout out. Yeah, once to got fooled the first time you know how to deal with it. But its's still somwhat luck dependent. If 20-3 papa orc decides to charge you it's not all that unlikely that he can one hit even the sturdiest unit you might have at that point. Just unnecessarily frustrating so close near the end.

3) Was there any event that caused you to almost instantly loose, or made the scenario unplayable without reload?
I am not a huge fan of spawning ambushes very close near your units. I sent my dust devil pet to scout west and all of a sudden he was surrounded by an unfriendly mob and unable to retreat. It just forces you to restart the level, the first time you don't have a chance. Could be avoided by spawning them further away. It's even worse with the assassine: my hero was at 10 or so hitpoints and way behind the main lines (he was cleaning up straying wolfriders). I moved him in the cave, triggered the trap – game over. Not being in the mood to repeat the last 40ish turns because of a completely unforseeable event I jumped right to the last save.

4) Do you like the storyline and the dialogues? If not what part/character lags behind or what would you like changed?
There wasn't much going on this time.

5) Do you think the scenario was fun? Please write down some thoughts about gameplay, mood etc.
Yep, it was fun. 9/10. A nice and straightforward battle. The goblin pun was funny, the discovery of the ring was an unexpected godsend. The map was great. Well-done!

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Maiklas3000
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Re: Scenario Review: (UTBS) 4. Descending into Darkness

Post by Maiklas3000 » May 28th, 2014, 3:01 pm

1) Version, level, gold? 1.11.15, nightmare, 331 starting gold.
2) Adequately difficult? Yes, properly difficult, 9/10 to win without reloads.
3) Reloads? Yeah, I lost the loyal Mage. It was too long a scenario to restart from start.
4) Dialog? Good.
5) Fun? Yes, mood is good, but in general in this campaign, events seem triggered because they are triggered. I would prefer if it was like the enemy was doing his own thing until I stumble onto him. For example, instead of the goblins popping up everywhere after one of the player's units moves past a certain point, the goblins could all be placed further away at scenario start.

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nuorc
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Re: Scenario Review: (UTBS) 4. Descending into Darkness

Post by nuorc » March 1st, 2015, 4:01 pm

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

2) Do you think the difficulty is adequate to the level?
Yes.

3) Was there any event that caused you to almost instantly loose, or made the scenario unplayable without reload?
I went back a turn after I triggered the surprise...

4) Do you like the storyline and the dialogues? If not what part/character lags behind or what would you like changed?
Meh. At the beginning of the campaign we are so dramatically warned that it is aimed at experienced players, and yet I feel a lot of the tips put into dialog have the quality of "who hits more does more damage" or "stronger units are stronger". Like in this scenario about leaders and marksmen...

5) Do you think the scenario was fun? Please write down some thoughts about gameplay, mood etc.
Yes, it was a nice challenge. I guess surprise attacks are a matter of taste...
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nikita1996
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Re: Scenario Review: (UTBS) 4. Descending into Darkness

Post by nikita1996 » August 16th, 2015, 2:55 pm

1) v1.12.4 difficulty: Desert Sentinel (Challenging)
2) This scenario is not very hard. It's not as hard as the following scenarios in the caves. I think it's right because the player should get used to the cave war and the war in the narrow tunnel at first.
3) No.
4) Yes. From the dialoghe we can know the relationship between the enemy sides. It's clear.
5) I think it's fun. But there's little problem with the day-night cycle. The cycle shouldn't change in the entrance of the cave sharply. In this map, in the caves there's forever night and outside the caves it's normal UtBS cycle. I think when the units enter the caves, the night should become longer slowly, smoothly. Different hexes around the entrance can have different day-night cycle.
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shadow12
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Re: Scenario Review: (UTBS) 4. Descending into Darkness

Post by shadow12 » December 17th, 2015, 3:05 am

1) What version and difficulty level did you play the scenario on? Please do not submit feedback from pre 1.4.
Challenging. Ver 1.0.4 (iOS)

2) Do you think the difficulty is adequate to the level? If not describe the issue that made the scenario to easy/hard.
Yes. It was challenging enough. Starting gold was 201.

3) Was there any event that caused you to almost instantly loose, or made the scenario unplayable without reload?
No.

4) Do you like the storyline and the dialogues? If not what part/character lags behind or what would you like changed?
The storyline is interesting and fun, how it takes place eons into the future. Kind of a Mad Max feel to it.
The dialog is interesting but too long.

I found I got more gold by staying until the last turn, compared to taking the early finish bonus. I was done on turn 38, so just kept hitting "end turn" for 10 turns. This would depend on how many units you have and the upkeep I suppose. I didn't notice if it affected the cost for new rectuits later, maybe it did. That is one thing I wish were added to the dialog or objectives, how the cost for new recruits in the future depends on what you do now.
I was glad I had some extra for the next scenario. I ended with 416 carry over.

5) Do you think the scenario was fun? Please write down some thoughts about gameplay, mood
It was very fun. I spent the prior scenarios leveling up units, it was fun to kill a Goblin Knight King who came rushing out on the first turn.

I sent a team of 8 units out west and a second team of 5 units up north. They eventually met up inside the caves.
The hardest part was getting past the bad guys outside the caves. Once inside, it got easier.

I had a few Shydes but I forgot that they can level to a 4, a Desert Star. So I have to try the next scenario, and I think the next scenario is much harder.

Ended with all 13 units, all level 3 - except Kaleh is still Level 1. No loses.

Who is this "Cloaked Figure" coming after Kaleh? He is like a creepy stalker who needs a restraining order. :?
Sometimes life unexpectedly throws a Troll or a nasty Queen Naga in your path.

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Inky
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Re: Scenario Review: (UTBS) 4. Descending into Darkness

Post by Inky » February 26th, 2016, 4:39 am

1) Level, version, gold? 1.12.5 nightmare, 225 starting gold
2) Adequately difficult? 9/10. Yes, in part due to "surprises" like the western ambush and the Direwolf with tons of movement who will attack you out of nowhere. The hardest part was fighting the high level orcs in the cave at the end though.
3) Reloads? 2 from start; restarted after losing a veteran to the western ambush (I should know better than to send units scouting on their own in this campaign). Another restart after the northern orc leader got full hits and killed Zhul (it was very painful to watch).
4) Dialog? I disliked the gameplay advice given when you enter the caves advising you to use sharpshooters and marshals, it feels weird to have a character speak so directly about gameplay.
5) Fun? The western ambush was very annoying, it basically automatically kills whichever unit you sent west. I would 1) spawn them further west, or 2) spawn them at the beginning of the player's turn so they can at least do something about it.
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UnwiseOwl
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Re: Scenario Review: (UTBS) 4. Descending into Darkness

Post by UnwiseOwl » April 6th, 2017, 11:35 am

1) Version? 1.13.7, Challenging (new elves)

2) Adequately difficult? Started with 408 gold. Think 200 gold is about right for the two keeps of units that I recruited, but admit that I felt like I easily overran the enemy on this one. I'm thinking if you stick with 200 gold here then the orcs and particularly the goblins should be buffed a little, but that could just be because their leader suicided before recruiting many troops. Maybe his caution could just be turned up a little.

3) Reloads? One since I foolishly put Nym somewhere where some lucky Nagae could pick her off, but nothing to write home about.

4) Dialog? I got the message about the Panok the goblin being fast on a turn in which he didn't move, since he'd already moved to attack the previous turn. Maybe this dialogue should be chnged to the movement before his first attack.

5) Fun? Yeah, it works well. The Dawarf is terrifying.
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Thrash
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Re: Scenario Review: (UTBS) 4. Descending into Darkness

Post by Thrash » March 17th, 2018, 3:51 pm

1) What version and difficulty level did you play the scenario on? Please do not submit feedback from pre 1.4.

1.12.6, Challenging (medium)

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

Yes, it's tough. A dual assault on both entrances is called for. I recruited in two stages (initial and in the wolf's camp). How hard the caves are is tough to anticipate.

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

Took me two attempts to beat it. The first time I lost a couple L2 units to the Naga/Assassin ambush, then didn't realize how tough the caves were going to be and got chewed up and spit out.

4) Do you like the storyline and the dialogues? If not what part/character lags behind or what would you like changed?

Very good.

5) Do you think the scenario was fun? Please write down some thoughts about gameplay, mood etc.

I'm really liking this campaign so far. Touch challenges, but not just due to overwhelming numbers or power of opponents.

I did some exploring of the waterway but didn't fully explore it and didn't find abut the blade and chest, which I discovered reading the wiki. I think if you really want the player to have a reasonable chance to find those a clue is needed. There is just too much going on to start sending units down all the different tunnels. I'm not going to replay to get the blade (the gold seems trivial), we'll see if I regret that.
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