Improved The Wilderlands

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Improved The Wilderlands

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This is an update to the multiplayer scenario The Wilderlands aimed at replacing the existing mainline version for the BfW 1.18 release.

Featuring:
  • Many New Monsters by doofus-01
  • Monster Respawning
  • Monster vs Monster Conflicts
  • Rare Tameable Monsters
  • New Objective - Retrieve and Escape with The Magic Relic
It is a challenging Quest scenario for 1-4 players. Chance plays a bigger role so that each time you play is a different experience.
wilderlands.png
Current Phase: Beta

The latest version is now available on the 1.16 add-ons server.
Older Versions
Improved_The_Wilderlands Alpha-4.zip
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Improved_The_Wilderlands Alpha-3.zip
(7.71 KiB) Downloaded 30 times
Improved_The_Wilderlands Alpha-2.zip
(7.37 KiB) Downloaded 33 times
Improved_The_Wilderlands Alpha-1.zip
(7.08 KiB) Downloaded 36 times
Improved_The_Wilderlands Alpha.zip
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Last edited by name on February 9th, 2023, 8:03 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Improved The Wilderlands

Post by Lord-Knightmare »

First Impressions:
  • Player base start gold, 100 is too low.
  • Sudden level 2 monster unit spawn at a randomised spot seems to be thwarting any attempts to advance. I lost my injured leader really fast thanks to level 2 wolf coming out of nowhere to finish her off when she was resting at a village.
  • Spawning annoying units such as the water serpent and cuttlefish right next to the player keep comes off as very unpleasant.
  • Knalgan Alliance with their defensive play-style seems to be very advantageous here. KA leader outlasted everyone else.
  • Factions with a squishy units such as Quenoth/Aragwaithi/Rebels seem to get pummeled to the ground.
  • Scenario doesn't end when all the enemy leaders except for one have been killed off by monsters. This might be a bug. Scenario should end if there is just one player side leader standing.
  • Player 3 on AI died prematurely...not sure if Yeti or Bear or Icemonax victim.
Suggestions:
  • base start gold to 200
  • Add more level 1 unit spawns rather than level 2. Like a 3:1 ratio. Level 2 monster units are strong and hard to take down and a cluster of them spells doom for any player.
  • Maybe try to "localise" enemy spawns?
  • Add Caribe
  • Add Horses
  • Please make the Cave Bear either a level 3 unit or...nerf to be actually a level 2 which it says it is...it's stronger than the level 3 direwolf...which makes little sense :lol:
  • Stop the cuttlefish from moving inland where units can blitz it easily.
  • Stop the sea serpent from moving on flat where it has poor defence
  • Add Wild Wyvern nest
  • Add Wyrms.
  • XP modifier to 50/60 to allow survival.
You gave me an idea...making a Wilderlands version with undead-infested spawns only and calling "Deathlands"....or maybe something else more evil...
4p — The Wilderlands Improved-Auto-Save22.gz
requires _War of Legends_ and Faction Flag mods. Player faction was Quenoth Elves.
(123.26 KiB) Downloaded 38 times
I will have another go as Deep Elves and see what's up.
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Re: Improved The Wilderlands

Post by Lord-Knightmare »

One more thing: it should be a criminal offense to spawn a Yeti... next to one of the player's starting keeps at start...

A yeti and 2 great icemonaces next to side 3 keep...I see why the side 3 leader dies so fast now. Messed up on so many levels
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Re: Improved The Wilderlands

Post by Lord-Knightmare »

4p — The Wilderlands Improved replay 20220902-160938.gz
Aragwaithi FTW.
(132.93 KiB) Downloaded 42 times
There, finally won...
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Re: Improved The Wilderlands

Post by Atreides »

I gave this a try too. It looks like fun but I did also run into pretty much the same difficulties as LK did. I started NE and had to deal with a Yeti and a cave bear. There is a Yeti in the original SE but it is met much later as it roams the mountains mostly not seeing anyone unless bothered. Anyways the Yeti was half dead from my Avian archers and alchemists ranged attacking it but it also claimed several one hit kills so that was not going super. : ) The killer though was when I spotted a tameable scorpion (didn't expect they'd be allied, tried to kill it until I realized) and attempted to get my leader there. Dumb since I had to run the gauntlet of a cave bear plus a boar and got surrounded. My leader was a fragile flamethrowing Avian and all his fireballs missed and well that was that.

Looks promising though and I'll have to give it a few more tries.

One thing I really liked was that it runs much faster than the original. The original scenario is the only Wesnoth scenario that actually slows down my PC (when run with the alt/exp AI per default IIRC).

An extra 50 gp at start would probably be fair as one has to deal with L2/3's from the very beginning. Or alternately maybe the first 4-5 villages "liberated" could yield some neat allies? Could have some fun with that.
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Re: Improved The Wilderlands

Post by Lord-Knightmare »

Seems having a defensive style faction has a high win-chance.
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4p — The Wilderlands Improved replay 20220903-004135.gz
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Uncle!

Post by Atreides »

Screenshot of me crying uncle! At this point I'd already dispatched 1 Icemonax. Looks like his entire family came to avenge his death... ; )
Umm, was it something I said?
Umm, was it something I said?
p.s. started with 150 gp. A drop in the bucket...
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Re: Improved The Wilderlands

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Thanks very much for the replays and feedback. :)

Based on your experiences, what do you both think about these possible changes for the next version:
  • Increase friendly vs hostile monster ratio from 1:9 to 15:85
  • Halve initial levels 2 and 3 monster population
  • Remove starting Yeti
Also it may be time to think about how to handle difficulty modes. Player gold and income are adjustable, and setting the default gold higher may be enough. A further option may be to offer the same difficulty mode selector that campaigns use (assuming it works for single scenario MP) to adjust the monster spawn rates.

In any case, definitely feel free to experiment with the starting gold, and let me know what amount works best.
Lord-Knightmare wrote: September 2nd, 2022, 4:43 pm Scenario doesn't end when all the enemy leaders except for one have been killed off by monsters. This might be a bug.
That is so you can complete the quest playing alone or as one team against the game world. Essentially the same as a regular survival scenario.
Lord-Knightmare wrote: September 2nd, 2022, 4:43 pm Add more level 1 unit spawns rather than level 2. Like a 3:1 ratio. Level 2 monster units are strong and hard to take down and a cluster of them spells doom for any player.
I have to be careful here because the quantity of monsters (regardless of level) is what slows down AI turns on some machines. Stronger but fewer monsters keeps your CPU frosty. But the level 1 monsters do respawn faster and I can reduce the starting amount of level 2 monsters.
Lord-Knightmare wrote: September 2nd, 2022, 4:43 pm Maybe try to "localise" enemy spawns?
Currently they are localized by terrain to form different "ecosystems" but I can also localize them to the edges and/or center of the map. I have thought about doing edge of map spawning for an "Improved Forest of Fear" (though its spawn rate(s) would be tremendously lower).
Lord-Knightmare wrote: September 2nd, 2022, 4:43 pm Please make the Cave Bear either a level 3 unit
Add Wyrms.
Honestly, the Cave Bear and Ice Monax sprites are big enough to be level 3s. But since this is aiming for mainline multiplayer, I have to wait until core changes are in and then readjust the balance as needed. Definitely looking forward to a core Wyrm though.
Atreides wrote: September 2nd, 2022, 3:38 pm Or alternately maybe the first 4-5 villages "liberated" could yield some neat allies? Could have some fun with that.
I have thought a lot about doing that, If the pokemon catching mechanic does not work out somehow, I might have to give it a shot. Or maybe have chests of gold for players to collect?
Atreides wrote: September 2nd, 2022, 5:52 pm Screenshot of me crying uncle! At this point I'd already dispatched 1 Icemonax. Looks like his entire family came to avenge his death... ; )
Yeah, I went overboard on that castle you were using there - Player 3 (Green) starting castle. Because it is closer to the big quest artifact, I made the local monsters worse to compensate, and ended up overcompensating, apparently.
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Re: Improved The Wilderlands

Post by Lord-Knightmare »

Can a new objective be introduced? Like a scoring system? Highest monster kill score wins?
level 0/1/2/3/4/5 give 1/2/3/4/5/6 points respectively. I think this scenario can accommodate the invasion game mode due to the size and layout.
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Re: Improved The Wilderlands

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Sure that could be done. Do you mean as a replacement objective or an additional objective?
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Re: Improved The Wilderlands

Post by Lord-Knightmare »

name wrote: September 3rd, 2022, 2:53 am Sure that could be done. Do you mean as a replacement objective or an additional objective?
That is up to you. I think it's be a nice new scenario type to introduce.
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Re: Improved The Wilderlands

Post by Lord-Knightmare »

I think the cuttle fish and serpents moving in-land should be disallowed...it's rather silly and contradictory. Anyways, another one.
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4p — The Wilderlands Improved replay 20220903-222825.gz
WoL - Vampires / Side 4
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Re: Improved The Wilderlands

Post by Atreides »

My impression (after only 2 tries so grain of salt) is that the levels do need to be reduced. It's really hard to start a game with level 1 recruits and right away have to try and mob kill big level 2 or even 3 enemies. I did mention that the masses of level 0/1 monsters in the original even slowed my PC but the original Wilderlands starts with a lot. I don't think we need fear replacing most of the level 2/3's with 1's. The original also had dreadful large monsters at start. That SE position as I mentioned has a yeti to deal with. The NE a giant spider. The SW a skeletal dragon! NW is different, they have to deal with an equally terrible swarm of zombies. The thing that makes the original WL work is that it is just 1 mega monster in almost each corner. Perhaps approximating that more would be good? Also the original had one Sea Serpent as the monster leader near the centre.

Addendum: 3rd time's the charm. ; ) OK I did use 400 gp this time and it was just enough. Once you get deeper into it it's quite a wild fight. Monsters spawning anywhere unexpectedly creates a atmosphere of just fight, don't think. Hehe. The trick is as LK says surviving (like with a tough faction or in this case with enough gold to get one past the initial massacres) so you can get established. Naturally with all the L2/3's you can level up fast but you need to burn through a LOT of L1 recruits for that to work. That takes mega cash or mega tough units.

I'll include the replay although like LK I used a custom era (Lonely in my case) and some mods I usually have on. Not totally sure if the replay is viewable without them (I think probably it is, I've managed to view replays for which I didn't have the addons it was made with) so don't bother if it's too much trouble.
4p — The Wilderlands Improved Aufzeichnung abspielen 20220903-174512.gz
400 gp. Lonely Era. Allied Villages, Cancel Goto if Attacked & Road Move Bonus mods.
(121.47 KiB) Downloaded 38 times
Oh and if anyone does view it, yeah a teleporting leader does shorten this scenario appreciably... : )

Played another and it was a epic and harrowing victory. 300 gp, Everfell Era, had the misfortune to start in the SE which really does seem to have excessive Icemonax spawns (2-3 at a time!) but gritted my teeth and fought my way through the ugliness. At some rough stretches I actually closed my eyes and waited until the enemy turn was done so I wouldn't agonize over the massacres... and it paid off eventually. Had a bodyguard of level 3's and trekked centrewards to pick up the armor.
Now I presume the AI has no clue how to win so of course I could afford to take 62 turns thanks to the SE corner start. The problem in that start is you're stuck defending the castle and can't pick up villages like I could in the NW. After 62 turns I built no more units than I did in the prior game which lasted I think 15-20!
4p — The Wilderlands Improved Aufzeichnung abspielen 20220904-015931.gz
300 gp. Everfell+Lonely Era. Same mods as other.
(225.54 KiB) Downloaded 37 times
Anyways I think it's pretty great as is... IF one starts with more gold. The only changes that might be needed are toning down the SE and making the spawns not all appear on turns 1,6,11,16... (I think that's what I noticed) but spread out.

Try #5 was a loss using 225 gp and Age of Trials (may not be balanced era?)
Try #6 250 gp and Era of Chaos. Started SE but tried a weird strategy that actually worked. I... ran away. As a life long hard core wargamer there is no concept in my mind of "running away". Units on the front line fight until relieved or destroyed. Running away = routing = defeat. But this is not a hardcore wargame and more like a RPG. Of course the victory conditions here are different too so it needs a new approach.
4p — The Wilderlands Improved Aufzeichnung abspielen 20220904-125253.gz
250 gp. Era of Chaos. Same mods.
(76.21 KiB) Downloaded 37 times
Anyways I still find the every 5 turn spawn annoying. Not to mention you can exploit it... (I didn't but I note the possibility)
This is definitely an improvement on the old wilderlands BTW!
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Re: Improved The Wilderlands

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Sorry for taking a while to get back to this. I have updated the first post with a new version (Alpha-1) based on your detailed and thoughtful feedback.

Changes:
More scattering for Fire Dragon, Yeti, Cave Bear, Ice Monax and Fire Ant
Reduce all monster population caps from 3 to 2
Lower starting Yeti and Fire Dragon populations from 1 to 0
Lower all other starting monster populations from 2 to 1
Raise monster friend-to-foe ratio from 1:9 to 1:4
Respawn monsters gradually
Fix loyal (friend) monsters being counted towards population caps

The overall difficulty should be lowered significantly, with fewer high level monsters (particularly early on) and some smoother spawning of replacement monsters. In fact, there was a major bug causing each monster species to respawn all at once (up to its population cap) instead of one specimen at a time. This caused too many monsters to suddenly appear on certain turns.

Also ended up significantly raising the number of friendly (tameable) monsters while lowering the amount of hostile ones. This should make taming monsters (and learning how best to use them) a big part of the strategy.
Lord-Knightmare wrote: September 3rd, 2022, 2:57 am I think it's be a nice new scenario type to introduce.
I agree, though I do want to reward players for moving around and exploring the map, rather than waiting in one spot for the monsters to come to them. Maybe there could be various magical artifacts scattered around and capturing them would add to the score, along with the kills?
Lord-Knightmare wrote: September 3rd, 2022, 2:30 pm I think the cuttle fish and serpents moving in-land should be disallowed...it's rather silly and contradictory. Anyways, another one.
That is something those units are designed to do though, similar to how octopodes and water snakes move on to land quite often. It also makes them more threatening in some cases and allows movement between separate water bodies.
Atreides wrote: September 3rd, 2022, 6:25 pm Oh and if anyone does view it, yeah a teleporting leader does shorten this scenario appreciably... : )
Yeah, that occurred to me right after coding the quest mechanic. :) It may be a point in favor of switching to Knightmare's kill score idea instead of the grail quest. Maybe it would help even things out if picking up the quest item gave your leader the `teleports` ability?
Atreides wrote: September 3rd, 2022, 6:25 pm Started SE but tried a weird strategy that actually worked. I... ran away. As a life long hard core wargamer there is no concept in my mind of "running away". Units on the front line fight until relieved or destroyed. Running away = routing = defeat. But this is not a hardcore wargame and more like a RPG. Of course the victory conditions here are different too so it needs a new approach.
That is very true. Most other scenario types fatally punish running away from your castle, but here it is a totally legitimate strategy, and ultimately necessary to complete the objective. This old map's size and abundance of castles seems to make a perfect setting for such a "tactical RPG" style.
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Re: Improved The Wilderlands Dragon tamer!

Post by Atreides »

At first I tried 3 times to play with 100 gp but it didn't work for me (as a medium player). With 200 gp I got a win after a hard fight.

I tamed a dragon! :- ) Later into the game I was able to tame a bunch of monsters (2 on one turn even) which was fun. It did seem that maybe there were a smidgeon too many tameables.

As for difficulty I didn't get the impression that it was much easier. Seems that for the few L2/3 now there are hordes of L1 and it may have evened out.

The spawning in general seems much more natural now.

Did notice a graphical oddity which I'm wondering whether it's just a weird interaction with one of my mods or not. Is there some sort of overlay given to the leader when he gets the armour? A white dot in the upper left perhaps?

Also had a couple of ideas:
1) Perhaps a optional victory condition whereby the leader can not escape off the 1/4 map edge near where he starts? Force them to pass through one of the other 3 sides to win.
2) In a related vein any plans to allow the AI to win this? I was ruminating that perhaps the AI only needs to reach the AI to win and that some AI directives could be used to have them trek to the armor. I recall reading about them so I think they already are built in.
3) Perhaps fewer tameables but some way for the leader to "deputize" units (for some cost) to be able to tame also?
Attachments
4p — The Wilderlands Improved Aufzeichnung abspielen 20220907-170255.gz
200 gp. Lonely Era, Ally Ville, Advanced Order Cancel, Road Move mods.
(160.26 KiB) Downloaded 33 times
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