What mainline campaigns are high quality?

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What mainline campaigns are high quality?

Poll ended at March 27th, 2020, 5:07 pm

A Tale of Two Brothers
The South Guard
An Orcish Incursion
Heir to the Throne
The Eastern Invasion
Descent into Darkness
The Hammer of Thursagan
Dead Water
Delfador's Memoirs
The Rise of Wesnoth
The Sceptre of Fire
Legend of Wesmere
Secrets of the Ancients
Son of the Black-Eye
Under the Burning Suns
Northern Rebirth
Total votes: 249

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Re: What mainline campaigns are high quality?

Post by lifaen »

Version 1.12.6, played all campaigns except TRoW, SotA, UtBS and NR (therefore did not vote for any of these).

I voted for : TSG, HttT, Liberty, DiD, DW, THoT, EI.
My initial selection was actually based on what my overall favorite campaigns are, and it included DM and LoW while leaving out TSG and DiD, but then I realized this was about campaigns have room for improvement and adjusted my vote.

Notes on the campaigns:
  • A Tale of Two Brothers: Too short to really level up units, which I found a bit disappointing, since the beginnings of campaigns with only level-1 units are rarely my favorite part. Also, just too much text for my taste with all the diary entries.
  • The South Guard: Not one of my personal inner-circle favorites, but it fulfils its purpose of providing a more real introduction to the game after the tutorial extremely well.
  • An Orcish Incursion: Feels like an extended version of the tutorial.
  • Heir to the Throne: One of my favorites, I really like the variety of different units that can be recruited, and I think the storyline is pretty good.
  • Liberty: A well-designed campaign with a great variety of objectives that all have to be met with a limited set of units to choose from. Also, getting to play outlaw units as the main characters.
  • The Eastern Invasion: It's been a while since I played this, and while I don't remember everything in detail, I know it was one of my favorites.
  • Descent into Darkness: I'm not really a fan of playing undead, but this one has quite a few interesting scenarios,
  • The Hammer of Thursagan: The dwarves' weaknesses (slow movement and low defence outside of mountains and hills, no reliable ranged attacks) can really go on your nerves in this one, especially since you don't have any non-dwarvish units to compensate for that.
  • Dead Water: A well-designed campaign with a good storyline. Similarly to Liberty, I also like this one for being able to play with unit types that normally only fill supporting cast roles.
  • Delfador's Memoirs: One of my personal favorites.
    Does anybody else think that this feels somewhat similar to the Star Wars prequels if you play it right after HttT? :D
  • The Rise of Wesnoth: Haven't played it, but looking forward to it after seeing this poll :)
  • The Sceptre of Fire: I'm not a huge fan of dwarf-only scenarios (just not enough variety for my taste), and while the storyline is kind of cool (even though the main characters are hilariously dumb at times), it lacks a real highlight like the final scenario of THoT.
  • Legend of Wesmere: Another one of my favorites, similar to DM, as these two tell the stories of probably the two most important characters in Wesnoth. But while the storyline is good, there were just a few too many "kill standard orc and troll leaders" and "run across the map to reach a signpost" scenarios, as I remember it.
  • Secrets of the Ancients: Not included in the mainline campaigns in my version of the game.
  • Son of the Black-Eye: Currently playing and nearing the end; this is the only one of the mainline campaigns that I have played so far that I have genuinely not enjoyed. A large part of the campaign is spent fighting loyalists in melee (kind of a recipe for disaster) for lack of a really good ranged attack. Also, I never seem to have enough gold even on the medium difficulty level, meaning my army is never quite the size I'd like it to be. Add that to the fact that orcs and trolls are pretty unreliable with their low number of strikes (which makes that larger army even more necessary to have backups for cases of bad RNG) and it feels to me like there is a significant amount of luck involved in winning a few of the scenarios. If anything, this has helped me understand why orcs keep losing in all the other campaigns.
  • Under the Burning Suns: Haven't played it so far.
  • Northern Rebirth: Haven't played it so far.
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Re: What mainline campaigns are high quality?

Post by The_Gnat »

lifaen wrote: February 18th, 2020, 10:32 am My initial selection was actually based on what my overall favorite campaigns are, and it included DM and LoW while leaving out TSG and DiD, but then I realized this was about campaigns have room for improvement and adjusted my vote.
Hi lifaen, totally agree with all your comments! You definitely have to try TRoW and NR two of my all time favorites! And UTBS gets a lot of praise as well because it is really unique.

In particular, I like your assessment of DM and LoW that is largely how I feel about them as well. :)
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Re: What mainline campaigns are high quality?

Post by BTIsaac »

My choices are:
- Liberty
- The Rise of Wesnoth
- Descent into darkness
- Dead Water
- UtBS
- The Hammer of Thursagan (although some of the maps could use polishing)
- Secrets of the Ancients

Since we're on the subject of improving i feel obligated to mention the campaigns i did not like
- Eastern invasion: flat characters, generic plot, poorly motivated journey, frustrating gameplay, especially towards the end. Badly needs a rework.
- Scepter of Fire: terrible writing, last half involes nothing but running away from an infinite number of enemies.
- Delfador's Memoirs: lacks direction. This is three separate campaigns, poorly stitched together.
- Legend of Wesmere: has a good start and middle, but the fight against the orcs is set up as the central conflict, which leaves the ending to drag out after the climax.

I don't really have anything to say about the other campaigns except that Tale of Two Brothers, An Orcish Incursion and Northern Rebirth are okay, and only require minor polishing.
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Re: What mainline campaigns are high quality?

Post by Aldarisvet »

I voted
HtTT, Liberty, DiD, TRoW, SotA
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Re: What mainline campaigns are high quality?

Post by shevegen »

It's been quite some time since I played the mainline campaign.

I think the key-one is the one with delf-something (the mage) and ... Karl (damn ... what was
the name of the main actor ... who took the sceptre of fire ... Konrad? See it all flies by my
head so quickly. Comes with old age.)

I think from the ones listed above, I'd pick Under the Burning Suns. This one is still my
favourite from these listed. Liberty I forgot ... it's with outlaws right? Don't quite like
outlaws, but I love the sand/dune/heat faction, or "arabian nights" as I call them even
if they are not called that way.

One add-on was with that troll grog or so - that one should be integrated into the mainline.
To be honest: many add-ons these days are so much better than the mainline campaigns.
I understand that this is also due to time and people with good add-ons often being more
motivated, but still.

From a "strategical" point of view, I would look to polish these two:

- The Rise of Wesnoth
- The Sceptre of Fire

Mostly to keep the main storyline going, and serve as an introduction for genuinely new
player. But from my favourite in the above, that would indeed be under the burning suns.

Looking at the poll, I don't seem to be the only one with that opinion. :)

Some of the other campaigns are a bit short ... this is also something that could be
improved, e. g. try to aim for a consistent minimum number of scenarios. For example,
I think 6 is way too few scenarios; and even 8 seems too little for me (playable ones).
I'd go for at the last 10 minimum.

I also understand that you don't want to go into the epic +100 scenario range as a few
add-on creators do. ;) But I think some storylines are way too short if there are only
few scenarios. But anyway, my recommendation is to focus on perhaps 2-4, work
on them to make them quality-wise stand out, and well .. the rest, not sure. And keep
on making Under the Burning Suns even better!

I should also say that I think the add-ons actually offer a better play-experience in
the long run. I don't recommend to do away with the main campaigns, since they
still serve a useful purpose (getting people into wesnoth), but if someone has to
ask me, the add-ons is where the real fun is (as far as non-player "interaction"
is concerned).

> A Tale of Two Brothers and An Orcish Incursion.
> They are short and not much story driven. They feel more like filler and
> to help new players get used to the game. So they are one of those that I
> don't want to replay.

Yeah this is a general problem with short campaigns and no variation to the
storylines. That is one reason why I think more scenarios may be good, and
ideally if the storyline is not totally linear but has a few "choice" effects.
These do not have to be huge, but could involve special units to recruit
for one scenario and that can then be used lateron, or freeing some units
that may help. Things where the player can influence stuff for lateron. This
may be even interesting during a replay.

I think variation may help to make some of the mainline campaigns more
interesting - not to make them significantly more difficult, but simply
more interesting. Also perhaps some simpler way to create a storyline
and dialogue - seems quite a lot of work for people trying to get things
in a campaign. (Admittedly I only ever only play the english versions
even though english is obviously not my native language.)
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Re: What mainline campaigns are high quality?

Post by shevegen »

Oh that reminds me, about undead: My favourite units by far are the ghosts. I think they
beat all the other undead units by far, in particular at a higher level. This is not related to
the topic here per se, but since at the least one campaign uses it, I feel that their
usefulness often overshadows the other units. For 60 gold I can get 3 ghosts or I think
4 skeleton archers and have a bit money left. I'd always pick the 3 ghosts since being
able to heal on attack is sooo much better than causing more damage ranged (while
being not as mobile, aka the archers, so ghosts are REALLY so much better for their
worth here).
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Re: What mainline campaigns are high quality?

Post by beetlenaut »

TRoW is fantastic. Liberty is not my favorite, but it's very well done. HttT probably needs to have a better first and last scenario, but it's a lot of fun. LoW is just about as hard as possible while still being playable, which is a neat trick. The rest of this post is going to sound negative, but I didn't mean it that way. I just only wrote long comments for the campaigns that I think have significant issues.

AToTB: Good start, but the last scenario is a let-down. It seems tacked on story wise, and is way too easy.

THoT: There is a scenario in a forest that's OK, but the rest of the scenarios are repetitive and forgettable. Except for the dungeon crawl! It doesn't fit the rest of the campaign, and is about as long as the whole thing was up to that point. It should be broken off and made into its own single-scenario campaign for those who like such things. (I think we should have a folder or selectable campaign of single scenarios. Forward They Cried is another one that could go in there.) If the rest of THoT went away, I wouldn't shed a tear.

AOI: How many absolute-beginner, teaching campaigns do we need? AOI is boring, but it could be a decent campaign if we removed the contrived attempt to teach the player tactics and made it several times harder--especially the final scenario.

DW: Needs to be rebalanced. At high difficulties, the fourth scenario is expert-level, but the rest is pretty easy. That one should stay as it is--at least on high difficulty levels--but the rest should be made consistent with it. The second scenario is also not as unwinnable as it is supposed to be. (I did write this thing, but I wasn't a very good player when I did, so I couldn't balance it well.) I also have to admit that the story is not very good.

NR: Could be OK if single turns didn't take an hour each for most of the campaign. I guess a few people like that sort of thing though, so maybe it should stay as it is. The description should say something about controlling massive armies though.

EI: A lot of the campaign is fine, but then parts of it seem to be frustrating on purpose.

SotBE: Several scenarios are made ridiculously difficult only by having too tight a turn limit. It's frustrating to have basically won, but to run out of turns on the way to the sign post or final leader. It's contrived and cheap, and it forces you to play badly! You have to take stupid chances. Also, in the siege scenario on Nightmare, if you get one turn of negative luck in the castle early on, you just have to restart.
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Re: What mainline campaigns are high quality?

Post by kumarip »

Thanks for the information.
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Re: What mainline campaigns are high quality?

Post by scio-nullus »

All the campaigns are great. I enjoy playing Dead Water and Liberty because they are solid and enjoyable campaigns, and they allow you to explore the advantages of units you might overlook even when you get to recruit them (HttT, TSG (there are mermen), NR). I also enjoy playing as undead and orcs in SotBE and Descent into Darkness as it gives me experience playing as them & helps me kill them more easily :lol: - did you know that orcish assassins have Marksman on their ranged attack? Aside from that, LoW and DM are very enjoyable, solid campaigns, and I like the convoluted storylines.
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Re: What mainline campaigns are high quality?

Post by otzenpunk »

Tough question, because it's kinda difficult to define what 'quality' is. IMO none of the mainline campaigns is really bad and lacks quality at all. They're often just serving different purposes.

Before getting into detail, I wanna point out that I personally favor short to medium-sized campaigns much rather than long ones, where you often end up with many more lvl3 units than you're able to recall, but spend scenario after scenario in levelling even more units into lvl3, which is often pretty dull, although there are mechanisms to mitigate that, of course, when creating campaigns.

A Tale of Two Brothers Short campaign mainly as a second tutorial and serves this purpose pretty well. New players can do this and see, if they like Wesnoth or not, and learn some basic game mechanisms, like time of day, that elves are pretty hard to hit in forests, or that piercing weapons are bad against skeletons. Not really great, but a good introduction.

The South Guard Good beginner campaign with a real story, special hero units, and when you're done, you can always try the alternate end.

An Orcish Incursion Also a beginner campaign, maybe even better to play before TSG, because limited number of different units is better to focus on learning gameplay. Some important lessons like getting a healer early, or you're screwed against lots of assassins or on map without villages. The end is pretty disappointing though. After reading the whole campaign about how mighty and strong this orc leader main enemy allegedly is, the last scenario is just way too easy, as if the campaign creator ran out of time and had to finish all of a sudden.

Heir to the Throne Really not a fan of this, mainly because it's too long for my personal taste. Elves and loyalists as units also don't add anything new, if you've already played the former campaigns. Storywise it's also pretty weird, how fast you as Konrad pact with Li'sar and 100% trust her within a very short timeframe. At least you should, because it's so much better to give Li'sar the sceptre, although there's nothing to justify this from a story point of view.

Liberty One of my favourites and surely one of the best campaigns. Exclusively playing outlaws is unique, the story is good.

The Eastern Invasion Haven't played for a long time. If there's any campaign, where overall quality is probably under par, it's this. At least on the higher difficulty levels, I'm either not good enough, or the campaign has some balancing issues. Even the first scenario is pretty hard, and hardly beatable without foreknowledge, when and where this mage does finally appear to open the trap door. 'Evacuation' is also exceptionally hard.

Descent into Darkness Good. Like playing undead (mainly because it's not loyalists and elves again), and the story is fine.

The Hammer of Thursagan I love playing dwarves, and this is a really good campaign. Haven't tried the new final scenario though.

Dead Water Really high quality. Very unusual faction to play, which makes the campaign so unique.

Delfador's Memoirs As I said, I'm not really a fan of long campaigns. The story is interesting in this case, though, and that you're forced to change armies multiple times helps to keep the campaign interesting. The last scenarios after the actual end battle, when you've defeated the uber-lich and then still have to do some minor tasks is a little bit weird, though. Providing historic context has obviously been regarded more important here than a compelling story.

The Rise of Wesnoth Also too long from my point of view, and I also don't like such long recruitment lists. I like the story though, and the heroes.

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