In this map, there is going to be some sailing, so you should probably level up Wysloth in navigation. Also, this is the kind of frustrating map where enemies roam around and steal your towns and forts if you're not careful. You may have to go back and forth a bit. If you manage to get their strongest armies in combat against your strongest army, the job gets a bit easier. Having the town portal building is useful; you can jump back to town when there's an enemy approaching. You should hire some extra heroes to do some of the exploring and resource gathering, as well as patrolling the map with a real, physical presence. You should try to get them all decent armies too, so that you can move around and physically control your area. I eventually had 5 heroes, all with small-medium sized armies. Wysloth had the main army, and I gave Danan a pretty large one too and managed to get her lots of experience by fighting neutrals.The main thing is not to get defeated, and keep expanding your territory slowly.
The main quest is to find a way out of this archipelago, and in short, there are two ways of doing it. Sneaking through all those orc patrols, or fighting through them. The sneaking approach involves seraching for and finding all the obelisks; that will give you the clue to where to go. The fighting approach involves taking all the orc towns. Honestly, the orcs seem to be everywhere (due to several Whirlpool shortcuts), so I found it far more straight-forward to just fight for control of the whole map.
The map starts with a bang: as part of the story, you and your (now very small) army are boarded at sea. You should win quite easily, even if you lose a few troops. Next, you're on an island, surrounded by some neutral creatures; attack the guardians first, and visit the Armoursmith for a permanent defensive bonus before going for the other neutrals. Visit the obelisk north of you to set off a quest, and then take (and rebuild) the fort east of you. Just to the southwest is a Training Grounds building, where you can upgrade your hunters. To the west is a Gold Mine and a core dwelling, just what you need.
When you have cleared the island and got a bit of an army up and running, head back out to sea. Take Wysloth north to the Lighthouse and flag it, along with the other stuff you find there. Make sure you head north after flagging the Ore Pit; the island is bigger than it looks at first glance. Most importantly, there's a town. Get it and have Danan come over as soon as you can (there's a shipyard by the fort; use it to build her a ship). South of your starting island is a stack of sea elf pirates who will join you for free. Get them; they're part of your story. I used Danan to pick them up on her way to the town.
Visiting the Whirlpool between your two islands, you get a bit of story development. Keep exploring and be on the lookout for those obelisks.
North of your town is a small island with some nice resources, including a ring that gives you the «summon elementals» spell in combat – great for avoiding casualties. There's also an Elemental Conflux building, which is good, but requires resources.
South of your starting island are some other islands, one has another fort and Gold Mine on it. You should try to control this area as soon as possible, but beware that taking a fort will cause the enemy to come for you. Here is where having multiple heroes really helps. On the southern island is also an obelisk.
Once you have control of the western part of the map, go to the centre. In the middle of the map there is a Sylvan town (Faillan); the other towns are Stronghold, so you should prioritize taking the middle one first. To get there, first sail east from your town, to find an obelisk.
Just south of that is a Crystal Cavern, which is really useful. Clear out that island and then sail southeast towards the Sylvan town. Once you have that, start building it so that your creature growth doubles. This can be built to capitol, so you also get lots more money. After this, go south, rebuild the bridge and flag the champion dwelling. Due north of your new town (on a neighbouring island) is a Bloodforge, which provides an important resource. Grab it, and you can explore that island too.
North of this island is a Stronghold town. It's time to kick some roaming enemy butts. Taking that town (Mwanya) gives you control of all the surrounding mines and also should put a dent in the enemy's recruiting capabilities. East of Mwanya is another town (Mchanga) that you can also take. Why give the enemy time to rebuild and regroup? Now that you have them on the run, go for it. With a total of four towns under your control, gold wil flow in and you can build several large armies, strong enough to fight your enemies on several fronts. There's a fort south of Mchanga – take that too.
Southwest of your capitol is another obelisk. Further southeast is another Stronghold town, called Mweusi. It's the last one, and if you take it, the «blockade» quest ends and you will be deemed to control the whole area. There is another fort and an obelisk to the east, though.
Once you have taken all the towns or found all the obelisks (or both), you are told to go to a special Whirlpool. It's between the two northern Stronghold towns. Heading into it ends the map.
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