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Gates of Darasar v1.1

Submitted by Melth
This bundle is marked as approved. It works and satisfies the submission rules.
「Gates of Darasar v 1.1」

By Melth

Gameplay
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Fast-paced and hectic quasi-melee survival map for 1-6 players. Use tactics, careful resource management, and micro to hold out as long as you can, then spend your score to buy perks to do even better next round.

Screenshots
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Features
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4 Difficulty modes!
Challenge scales with # of players!
Elegant, semi-random wave generation system for great replayability!
Special waves keep players on their toes!
Straightforward, quasi-melee units and abilities makes it easy to learn to play.

Credits
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Melth

Changelog
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Map Description Generator 「By Vengeancekael」

Keywords:
Defense, Survival, Melee, Ladder, Fantasy, Wacraft, Micro, Tactics, Strategy, Co-Op, Team, Singleplayer[/tr][/tr][/tr][/tr][/tr]
Contents

Gates of Darasar v1.1 (Map)

Reviews
Moderator
07:16, 25 October 2015 SCN: Map approved. See my short explanation.
  1. 07:16, 25 October 2015
    SCN: Map approved. See my short explanation.
     
  2. Unofficial Review

    Visuals - Ambience and Aesthetics
    The terrain looks very warcraftish, you use no custom, imported resources as far as I noticed ( of course one does not have to). There are two different terrain parts, the outside of the city and the inside of the city.
    While the outside of the city is very orientated to default campaign and melee maps terrains, it look very simple. You use different trees, that's a good idea, but you could also use different scales and also some variations in the overall style of the outside.
    There is also a little water area, this is a variation I ma talking about. Be even more creative and dare to add maybe some rock parts, some little ponds and more vegetation.
    Additionally, the spawn places are not very nice to view at. Why is there a paved terrain where they spawn ? It seems misplaced and does not match the outside terrain at all.
    To emphasise that the waves are spawn there you could either grant visibility throughout the map ( I mean the little outside of the city can be easily seen from the walls, if transferred to real terrains) or you could add custom siege structures or summoning or whatsoever to emphasize that the waves are spawned there, if you want to indicate that they are spawn there.

    Now the inside of the city. I really like that you added fleeing citizens, it is a great idea to add atmosphere to the map.
    However, the city does not look very much like a city. Do you know a city that has buildings stacked like cobbles ?
    No city is build this way, a little fire would cause devastating damage, as you can imagine.
    I suggest you to completely re-work the inside of the city and add different doodad areas. A market place here, a garden there, maybe a palace or a cathedral, some decorations. Give it a more city-like feeling, less like a town refugee camp.

    Gameplay

    The gameplay was a bit tricky. I had to restart as I started buying items from the shops instead of hiring units. Big mistake..
    The first thing I noticed was: There is no custom content. Some maps are interesting to play although they only use default content, maybe modified, but no imported resources.
    However, Gates of Darasar is not one of these. Players have the option between default Blizzard heroes, I think they are not even modified in any way. This is never a good idea. Do I want to play as default heroes I can also play in melee maps or the campaign ? No, I don't think so.
    The items were not better. Mostly pots and scrolls, hardly any equipment to improve the stats of the hero.
    I suggest you to think about your hero choice and maybe modify them or add custom ones. A initial class ability or custom hero abilities can greatly improve the map. Also, you could add custom items and equipment to the stores, especially items that improve the hero stats. Additionally, crafting is also an interesting idea to add, isn't it ?

    The waves themselves are hard to beat. The first two ones are average, but the following are insane on Singleplayer. It is a good idea that players can buy different units from many races, but there is one thing that you should re-work. There is hardly any tanking unit. Especially in survival and defence games you need a unit that can withstand some damage, in melee maps like the knight or the abomination. Except the raider and the goblin shredder there is no tanking unit that can withstand some damage. You could try to balance the units and work on melee tank, ranged damage and magic support.
    Another thing, it is nice that players can build tower, but.. they cannot. The towers cannot be placed on the town tiles and it is restricted to build outside for some reason I don't understand. So towers are useless as they cannot be build. You should fix that.
    Also, the towers of the city seem rather useless, I don't get their use. The players cannot upgrade them and they only have magic sight.
    The fountains are a bit unfair. As each fountain is surrounded by different shops, there is a struggle for players. Go to the item shops or refresh mana ? You could give the fountains the ability to refresh HP and MP to solve this issue.

    Something I had in mind the whole time, why should I defend a city that will fall anyways, as you say in the description ? Saying the player 'You will lose, no matter what you will do' is not a good idea, in my opinion.

    Result
    Gates of Darasar is an average wave survival game that reminds one of default melee games as it features no custom or strongly modified content.
    It is nothing special and hardly differs from other wave survivals that exist in tons around the custom game section. Most of them are even stronger modified than this one.
    It is hard to tell how much effort was put in this map, but I dare to say it is rather a small amount.

    I vote for 2/5 Needs Fix

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 1, 2015
  3. Melth

    Melth

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    To be honest, I think you were missing the point of the map then. Gameplay-wise that aspect is meant to be kind of reminiscent of a lot of old arcade games. You can't win at Missile Command or the like either- and in fact you'll probably lose early. And everyone in your cities will die. It's about lasting as long as you can and scoring as many points as you can. And in this case, then trying to do better next round with the perk system.

    Story-wise it's a desperate last stand to save as many people as possible. If there was actually a chance at victory, that would be a lot less poignant. The choice of music (like WC3's rather good "Tragic Confrontation" as a somber main theme or the upbeat "Heroic Victory" after you've been wiped out defending the city as long as you could) as well as things like the fleeing peasants that you did mention and even the choice to have it be raining were all meant to play into that.


    I think your terrain criticism is a better point; the terrain IS pretty simple. Though I do think it's worth pointing out that a lot of medieval cities really did have buildings crowded and packed in haphazardly with almost no space (and consequently fire was indeed a very dangerous and often devastating thing).

    Getting vision of the whole map is actually a valuable Perk you can buy since that lets you prepare for what's coming and react more easily. Particularly helpful for knowing how many troops to leave behind when dealing with an infiltration wave.

    But there are way gates out there which the enemy are spawning through and those are guarded by defensive siege machines.


    I originally tried it that way, but the result is far less interesting. No powerful melee units are available to encourage more interesting tactics. The enemy will come at you with elite units like Knights or Tauren and eventually with Doom Guards and Frost Wyrms and Elder Voidwalkers if you can last long enough, and you can't counter with any of your own. So you have to get creative. Spellcasters are a good method if you use them well. That's kind of the idea, to encourage the smart use of spells and abilities rather than reliance on brute force.

    Similarly, letting heroes power up massively would make it far too easy to rely on them more than on micro and tactics with the rest of your army. Items that boost hero power are available - and in quantity eventually- but mainly as drops from the boss waves. Like in melee, your hero is meant to be powerful mainly because of their spells, rather than because their stats and items make them immediately a one-man army.


    Yes they can. As one of the tips (and other places in game) points out, you can destroy the city's scout towers and replace them with your own functional ones. Towers can only be built on those specific spots as a deliberate design choice to prevent overreliance on them.

    The default city towers play a handy role anyway, which is to soak up some damage and give you time to react. When you get hit by an air wave, you'll be glad there are towers up there on the wall they'll go through before striking your barracks directly. And even ground waves can be stalled for a little bit at the towers in the gate area to give you time to run back from errands in the city.


    Anyway, all in all I think you have a legitimate point that the terrain could be better (though I think it serves its purpose), but some of your other criticism is just factually wrong and some of it seems to miss the point.
     
  4. Shadow Fury

    Shadow Fury

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    This is unacceptable. The reason is that you didn't make anything custom, you just took the common units without any modification and mixed them all in one map. All heroes are default ones. All units I hire are default. All units I fight are also default. All items are default. What's custom then? What should make this map original and unique? That's your core problem, especially the heroes. It is absolutely necessary to have custom heroes with brand new skills for a successful map. The concept of the map itself is intriguing for me since it is like fighting against certain death, spicing up the gameplay, but you really need more enjoyable units to play and fight.

    Your terrain is actually pretty simple but the aesthetics also matter in any map so just don't ignore this part; an attractive scenery is always required. In addition, you should keep in mind that terrains in reality are very different from the ones in Warcraft.

    For now, you must focus mostly on gameplay. You need more custom stuff (that doesn't mean you should import custom stuff) which prove that you are not simply copying Blizzard.
     
  5. Melth

    Melth

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    So be it. Using strictly melee units was a careful design choice which I think is fundamental to the map's strengths and which I am therefore unwilling to change.
    By making the units familiar ones, I aimed to make the map accessible and easy to pick up or introduce friends to for casual play- perfect for a minigame like this where a round takes minutes. Further, I believe I drew attention to neglected types of melee units and encouraged interesting uses and combinations of them by excluding the go-to staples such as tier 3 melee.
     
  6. Shadow Fury

    Shadow Fury

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    A professional map-maker is able to create a game with lots of custom stuff and to successfully introduce new players to all of this. Maps that are completely customized aren't necessarily inaccessible, hard to pick up or difficult to introduce to friends. Additionally, anyone can just get the old melee units and put them in a map with a good concept, that's why what you've done is not approvable otherwise too many people would do the same thing you did and we moderators would be compelled to approve these kind of maps.
     
  7. StoPCampinGn00b

    StoPCampinGn00b

    Community Manager

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    Requested check over. SF, I know we are both moderators but at the time you weren't an official moderator so that gives me the permission to look over it myself.

    Hello Melth. I've tested the map three times, once solo on easy mode and two times on battle.net in various difficulties.

    My first impression of the game on single player was good. The map aesthetically is nothing special but not lacking. On easy mode I managed to survive for a few minutes and the gameplay was entertaining. Your map does say recommended players are 1-6 and I don't see how one player could manage to survive for long due to the amount of units around the map. I suggest you either tone down easy or make recommended players not one. No bugs so far. The concept of the game isn't revolutionary but there are very few games like this so the originality factor is there. No one had a problem with default units and I personally agree with your choice of them as I haven't encountered any strategy defense with them, ever. The items we're useful and of appropriate prices so no problemo there. Quests we're very informative.

    So I went to makemehost and it was nice to see the map there. I hosted it and it filled extremely quickly. I started it with six players but two left. One because of a drop unrelated to the map and one because he didn't pick the hero quick enough. This feature is neutral, but I suppose having a notice somewhere warning players about the kick would be much more convenient.

    Anyway, it was on normal mode and the first three minutes we're difficult for four players. There simply was too much range picking us off. We we're using teamwork and intense micro frequently to survive which could be fun, but others expressed there frustration with the enemy units being to numerous and powerful. And when the enemies attacked other than the top, that was it. The pathways are extremely small every in the map. Villagers blocking the way do not help. The top entrance started to get painfully clogged causing melee units stuck in the back and heroes get picked off by the mass range. Top notch teamwork could have solved the clog issue, but that's not common.

    We tried it again on easy and the result was the same surviving only five or so minutes longer. The amount of air units attacking the buildings are ridiculously high and many raged quit because of it. Still no bugs besides the tool-tips giving false information that things that can be upgraded which shouldn't be a problem for anyone.

    Overall, the map is very simple and CAN attract the demographic that loves those but the difficulty is simply too hard. The strategic play is there, everywhere from traditional blizzard micro, army placement throughout the map, unit composition, and more, but the restricted space to traverse in the map ruins it. The map stays rejected because of it being unplayable with all that I have played with.

    Anyway, that was my review. Here are my suggestions:

    - Tone down all the enemies. Everything. I find the randoms I've played with a decent representation on the skill level of most Warcraft 3 custom map players. Over half complained about the difficulty, and those we're the one who stated it out loud. I don't suggest you add those tier three melee units as that will take some of the strategic play away. Just tone down the enemies, the units to choose from are fine in my opinion.
    - Allow more space to move. Chokepoints are a cool place to fight, there's strategy in it yes. But having it everywhere in the map makes everything congested. This is usually not fun for people. Simply remove a fourth of the houses and half the villagers and that may do. Maybe even expand the map and add more pathways.
    - Make the unit production buildings invulnerable. Bold suggestion that'll change the gameplay? Perhaps. I'm not fond of radical suggestions. Doing so would stress defending the city, not just the tiny strip of land at the top of the city. If you choose not to, you could move the structures closer to the center of the city.
    - I think the spots to build the towers are acceptable, but adding maybe four around the whole of the map would be much more forgiving to the surprise attacks.

    Good luck! Feel free to reply to my review and such!
     
  8. Melth

    Melth

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    First, thanks a lot for giving the map a look, I really appreciate that.

    I think you have something of a point about the difficulty, but that it's not actually quite so hard as you might think. My brother and I playing together can actually go more or less forever on easy mode and I can usually go upwards of half an hour solo on hard mode. And that's without any perks. Subsequent rounds are usually easier.

    I haven't played in months and my micro is crud at the best of times, but I made a replay a few minutes ago to demonstrate and attached it. I played fairly poorly with the Tauren Chieftain in the 2nd and 3rd rounds, but I did pretty well with my Death Knight run on hard mode.

    As you can see, it's quite viable to play singleplayer. In fact, I'd say 1-3 players is easiest. The number of enemies is scaled to the number of players so the difficulty is roughly the same on paper, but coordination can become tricky when you have 6 people or something. On the other hand, there can be some MAJOR synergies when you have many players (like stacking up auras, good spell combos, being able to specialize your perks more, etc.).
     

    Attached Files:

  9. StoPCampinGn00b

    StoPCampinGn00b

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    Gates of Darasar v1.1 is a "barebones" strategy defense map players must defend a city with their own few units and hero. Team work is important! It's a great example of a map that's easy to learn but challenging to master. I would assume most people would know and even appreciate why the map isn't radically customized at all, so I leave it at that.

    The downside of the map is the claustrophobic feel it has with those thin pathways used for many units. Some do love hectic battles in tighter-than-usual spaces, though. Should you open them up a bit more, I doubt anyone would complain about that change. You can do that to decrease clogs, or have units spawn less over time, but stronger in stats of course.

    No bugs were found, but I think some players would like to know beforehand that mechanical units can get possessed by the enemy!

    The terrain was average at most. Ain't nothing wrong with it, but there is little good about it.

    Map approved, 3/5.