I've played MC:ToS some time ago. Version 1.0 once and version 1.11 once. Both times in WoW, since the campaign wasn't designed for Equilibris. Here are some comments:
my subjective scores, in no particular order (the scales start at 0):
balance: 1/2 (carryover heroes' strength gets out of hand at times)
robustness: 2/2 (no way to get stuck or totally break the game, intentionally or not)
character introductions: 1/1 (always 1-3 characters introduced simultaneously)
characters: 1/1 (interesting characters)
story: 1/1 (never gets boring)
special gameplay effects: 1/1 (Megom's special skill)
special artistic effects: 1/1 (synergy between landscape and story)
Synergy between interesting story and beautiful landscape, diverse map design, stylish intros are definitely high points of the campaign. But the best element is Megom's special ability and the ways it's activated and deactivated. I don't think I've seen something like that in any other map or campaign.
Balance gets a little out of hand at some points if the carryover heroes are well developed. However, most of the time the heroes are presented with adequate challenges.
All in all, the game was enjoyable. I find that the low point was the chess puzzle in map 7. Because of Megom's strength, there was simply no need to avoid fighting.
Also, AI in the last map was quite passive in my second playthrough (I only got attacked once), but that's somewhat understandable, since on that try, I was trying break the game in every map. Still, the fact that it attacked at all means that despite my tries, I didn't manage to totally break the campaign. Good job, Duzeom_.
Below, I comment mainly on gameplay.
Opening story and starting area work very well together. I also liked the in-battle mana regeneration very much.
I actually played this map 3 times: Champion 1.0, Champion 1.11 and... Novice 1.11. Why would I play on Novice? I'll talk about that later.
In every try, when Shana got to the point where I get control of Megom, she was out of movement points, so Megom always released himself without her help (despite what story says). That was funny.
In 1st playthrough, I followed a structure that kind of looked like a road. I knew that it wasn't a road, but it suggested a direction to go. After getting to the Volcano and not finding any enemies, I decided to look for them south of my first town (to avoid getting backstabbed later). In the end, It took me over a month to find the first enemy. Later, I got my whole army destroyed at least once in a town assault and sometimes relied on Immortality Potions on main heroes and castle tower bonuses to keep advancing. Also caught AI off guard a few times and managed to snatch a poorly defended town here and there. One time, AI almost did that to me, but it missed a few steps and a my newly hired Barbarian with a small army (<1 week), some basic equipment and many Immo Potions managed to hold off the invading high level heroes with a comparatively large army. By the end of month 3 all enemies have been eliminated and I could focus on hitting the level cap and taking the bonus skills in right order.
In 2nd playthrough, I already knew where the enemies were, so they were all dead by the end of month 2, but most of them were eliminated in month 1. This time, I had some fun with hit&run Archery squads (some Immo Potions improved their potential).
Now, the Novice playthrough. I noticed that on Novice, I don't have to go north after 'rescuing' Megom. Instead, I turned back south, defeating everything in sight with Megom (his Armageddon was still active). He soon became strong enough to break through the Thunderbirds. He then proceeded to Armageddonize all the coloured opponents, which he finished on 2-1-1. At that point, I quit the Novice playthrough. The opponents did offer some resistance, especially the ones that Megom met last (because they had the most time to prepare).
On Novice, Megom did lose some Golems while fighting the Nature creatures, while on Champion he won with all Golems intact. Strange AI behavior.
At first, I was a little concerned with the time limit, but turned out the limit was very generous. In 1st playthrough, AI was destroyed in 2 weeks. In 2nd, it only took 6 days. After that, I could leisurely pick skills in correct order and never felt pressed by time.
In 2nd playthrough, I also trained Paladins named Corona and Halard, but later on discovered that the correct characters were transferred to the later maps anyway. That means I failed to break the campaign here.
Early on, I had to hurry to secure some skill altars before AI picks them, which is good.
Shana was primarily a Pathfinder, so she wasn't much of a threat in combat when AI controlled her in later maps.
The Ice Demons were an easy early source of experience, which allowed Halard to get GM Necromancy quite early. In 2nd playthrough, he actually got it on day 3 or 4 or something like that. Vampire armies grew fast. However, some neutrals were really nasty, so I had to be very careful not to lose Vampires. I was very surprised when I later learned that most of the neutrals were totally random. Because it means that most of the map had essentially random difficulty.
In 1st playthrough, I was gathering Vampires much slower than on 2nd and noticed the second AI town quite late. Still, neutrals were generally a bigger threat than AI. Both heroes failed to hit the level cap.
On 2nd playthrough, I knew what would Halard face in his next map, so I prepared him as well as I could for that. Halard even hit the level cap, but I didn't focus as much on leveling Anna.
Also made Anna a Crusader. Just because I like doing that to Vampires. (In 1st playthrough, she happened to turn into an Illusionist)
My starting heroes were quite strong, but so were the neutrals. In 1st playthrough, I didn't bother hiring sidekicks and was much less aggressive. Still, the moving coloured enemies were less of a threat than neutrals/Thunderbirds.
Imo, AI lacked some way of effectively backstabbing me. Such as for example hidden one-way portals opening when I cross the boarder.
On 1st try, I haven't noticed that there is a hidden way to the 3 Trees, so my heroes failed to hit the level cap.
Due to extremely high stats, Megom was already strong enough to beat anything alone. I have very few saves from the 1st playthrough, but I did notice that at the begining of this map, Megom somehow still had no Melee or Archery and at the end he still had no Melee. In fact, he never got any Melee in the 1st playthrough of the campaign.
In 2nd playthrough, I decided to let Inuaz with Dragon Golems take out some enemies, too. (to speed things up a little and check how would the Dragon Golems do) He took 2 Order towns and destroyed a significant part of the enemy Order army without losing a single Dragon Golem. Still, I think that preserving them was noticeably harder than preserving Titans would've been. I also noticed a loophole: the +mana events can be triggered by any hero named Megom. So, naturally, almost all of my secondary heroes were named Megom.
On 1st try, Halard was no match for Xeon in the initial battle. After that, GM Necromancy worked well, but in the end, Xeon and his army still put up a good fight. He also made upgrading my heroes harder, because the 1st encounter after the initial battle had to end the map one way or another and Xeon fairly fast gathered enough army to give him confidence.
On 2nd try, I dismissed Anna and won the initial battle, although it wasn't easy. I've also tried to dismiss Halard and win, but in the end failed to do that.
In 1st try, at one point I thought I was stuck (Megom had no healing and no Melee), but then I gave Megom some single Dwarfs to shield him and split the enemy Waspsworts and Mantises into more stacks. Boosted Inferno's and Armageddon's effectiveness was enough to turn the tide and progress further.
On 2nd try, Megom was much stronger and the enemies weren't. Still, mana every other day was a nice touch.
In a way, I think the 'chess puzzle' was a failure. My 'solution' was to go in a straight line, destroying everything that got in the way. The problem was, that since Megom was so strong, I could see no reason to avoid fights. After rescuing Hexa, I actually found some of the 'attacked' tiles to be a good source of experience for her.
AI had a bad habit of getting stuck in a boat under the bridges' edge. That happened to Shana and a part of her army on my first playthrough. It also happened to Shana, Megom and virtually all of their army on my second try, but then I decided not to bother them on their ship. Other than that, the enemies were challenging. Another hard part was trying to get to the permanent bonuses before my ally.
On 2nd try, I dismissed Root and Trunk right before ending the map.
On 1st try, I explored the map and AI did send some large armies, so I had something to fight. I never felt the need to hire any creatures, except for logistic purposes.
On 2nd try, I had a Sprite gather enough resources to build up the first town a little, but never bothered leaving it until the very end and never bothered building any creature dwells or Blacksmith. I got attacked a total of 1 time and that was the only time an enemy came within my sight. Maybe because of the 6 enemy starting heroes 3 had been dismissed earlier and 2 were only level 20?
I think the attacker was some secondary hero with a fairly large army and level 20+. He put up a good fight, but surrendered in the end.
So, in my 2nd playthrough of this map, my 5 heroes fought a total of 4 battles (Titans, Druids, Town, 1 invader) over 4.5 month. Must be some kind of record. Make that 5 battles if we count the final text
I also kind of started MC:MC. Checked what Wands I can get in map 1, how to get them and checked in map 2 which Wand do I want to get and why. Also verified that it's impossible to get 2 Wands (:thumbs up:) and that Grail and Breeze don't carry over. Also noticed that in map 2 there are 4 characters introduced at once. Imo, that's too many characters introduced at once, especially for such an early map.