Heroes II map: "Burnt Bridges" (Conscript Lake II)

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UndeadHalfOrc
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Heroes II map: "Burnt Bridges" (Conscript Lake II)

Postby UndeadHalfOrc » Jun 5 2008, 2:23

Map Name: Conscript Lake v1.07
Date: December 8th, 2008
Mapmaker: UndeadHalfOrc
Size: Medium (72 x 72)
Version: Heroes of Might & Magic II: Succession Wars



Description:
A multi-front war around the lake forces each faction
to impose a conscription of the nearest neutral village
for recruits & ship construction.

This is an ultra-balanced (I hope!), symmetric, multiplayer free-for-all map.
Can be easily modified in a team "Good vs Evil" map.

Random notes:
3 total rare resource mines of each type;
Each factions gets 2 rare resource mines in their territory
and some loose resources of the other 2 types.

Each of the teleport gates warps to the opposite side of the map
but they are guarded by the top units of each faction.

Each of the four "stat boosters" on tiny islands is roughly situated furthest from the heroe(es) that needs them the least.

Wizards live in the snow area, but I've given them many roads
to compensate for their lack of Pathfinding.

The center island's random village is heavily guarded but has many starting buildings and will allow a castle to be built. The idea is to stick
a hero there to eventually defend the nearby gold mine from enemy heroes.

This is my first real medium size map (I've only ever made small maps).
Enjoy and don't hesitate to report any comments/problems to me.
(email me or PM me on the http://www.celestialheavens.com forums)

Doubtless, I expect many updates and corrections in the future. :)

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Heroes 3 version
Last edited by UndeadHalfOrc on Jan 20 2019, 18:03, edited 9 times in total.

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Re: New Heroes II medium sized map: "Conscript Lake&quo

Postby Darmani » Jun 5 2008, 5:59

UndeadHalfOrc wrote:Each of the four "stat boosters" on tiny islands is situated directly
across the faction that needs them the least.


...except the wizard and the Power Ring (or Druid Circle, or whatever it's called).

Haven't played it yet. Those tier 4 stacks guarding the border should help ward off rushes, but there's one exception. The Sorceress is the faction most dependent on ranged troops in the early/mid game. The Warlock is the most capable of countering ranged troops in the early/mid game. A Warlock army might be able to effectively blitz the druids on Week 2 Day 1, and then quickly take out the Sorceress behind.

Switching the placement of troops relative to their castles from clockwise to counter-clockwise might remedy this problem. :)

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Re: New Heroes II medium sized map: "Conscript Lake&

Postby UndeadHalfOrc » Jun 5 2008, 14:06

Darmani wrote:
UndeadHalfOrc wrote:Each of the four "stat boosters" on tiny islands is situated directly
across the faction that needs them the least.


...except the wizard and the Power Ring (or Druid Circle, or whatever it's called).


I'll explain better. The Wizard and Knight heroes needs everything but defense hence why the defense giving structure is furthest to Knight and Wizard. Druid Circle is furthest to Warlock and Necro (nothing can be perfect). Druid Circle and Witch Doctor hut benefit Knight and Barb the most so they are closest to them. Sorceress needs attack hence she's closest to the mercenary camp, and furthest to Witch Doctor hut. Best I can do with 6 factions but 4 locations. I hope my logic makes sense :)


Darmani wrote:Haven't played it yet. Those tier 4 stacks guarding the border should help ward off rushes, but there's one exception. The Sorceress is the faction most dependent on ranged troops in the early/mid game. The Warlock is the most capable of countering ranged troops in the early/mid game. A Warlock army might be able to effectively blitz the druids on Week 2 Day 1, and then quickly take out the Sorceress behind.

Switching the placement of troops relative to their castles from clockwise to counter-clockwise might remedy this problem. :)


Great idea. Fixed, and uploaded. If rushing is still a problem I will input a number on those level 4 troops. Suggestions?
On an early version I had two stacks of level 4 units on each frontier but then all the CPU players just ignored them for the entire game and went for the village and built ships instead (which is intended, but I don't want the CPU to think there's only ONE option to attack)

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Postby UndeadHalfOrc » Jun 5 2008, 16:17

Fixed a problem with rocks not blocking the path to Magellan's maps as they should. You now really need to defeat those water elementals. (Couldn't use Reefs without making this an expansion map).

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Postby UndeadHalfOrc » Jun 6 2008, 15:02

Started a game yesterday with Darmani. I'm pleased with the map so far but I had to make a change: Removed all the shipwreck survivors from the lake. Those are basically free unguarded artifacts and give too much of an advantage to the player who his wets his feet first. :)

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Postby Kristo » Jun 6 2008, 18:46

Why did you do that? I thought the whole point of having the first "navy" was to claim the spoils. As long as they're evenly distributed it should be fine.
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Postby UndeadHalfOrc » Jun 6 2008, 19:10

It's not that they were unevenly distributed, it's just that the lake & islands are already rich in spoils (and chests who can give artifacts too), and the first player on the sea had access to all of that, plus 6 potential, guaranteed unguarded artifacts if he conquered his shipyard town early enough. Yesterday in my game, my sea scout only explored close to my area and got the power axe of dominon and endless pouch of gems (from sea chest). That was with CPU opponents, who are slow :)

Anyway, have you tried the map Kristo? In any case nothing prevents you from changing it back :)

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Postby ByteBandit » Jun 7 2008, 13:42

Once I finish the campaign up, I'll give it a go. I liked what you did in helping with the H2 map of the campaign, so I'm sure it will be fun.

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Postby Kristo » Jun 9 2008, 1:47

I'm partway through the map right now on Hard difficulty. So far, it's pretty fun. I rolled a die to decide which town to play and got a 2 so I went with the Green Wizard. Conquered the town on day 8 with minimal losses and sent my secondary hero onto the lake. My goal was to steal as many of the spoils as possible from the other players. Yellow tried to get on the seas but was stomped on the shore by Red. I've seen a lot of Blue; he managed to steal my shore town (I'll take it back soon enough) and catch my secondary hero at the center island.

At this point, Red is down to one town (Yellow's shore town). Yellow was vanquished by Purple I think because he was the owner of the Warlock castle when I took it. Orange has been vanquished as well, presumably by Purple. I have Red and Yellow's home castles and Red's shore town. I've got the Cloud Castle built at home and I'm saving resources to upgrade it. I figure my main hero will run out of steam at about the same time I start producing Titans (only 2 per week, mind you - it's the only mod I've applied).

Purple is probably my biggest threat with likely two castles and two towns. I've been attacking mostly by sea, leaving the border guards intact to try to deter a land-based counterattack. If I can hang on to the Warlock castle long enough I should be able to mass enough troops to start on Purple when I start throwing Titans at Blue. I'll let you know how that goes.
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Postby UndeadHalfOrc » Jun 9 2008, 2:08

Kristo wrote: Titans (only 2 per week, mind you - it's the only mod I've applied).


Sensible enough. :) Warlock dragons too I presume?

Kristo wrote:Purple is probably my biggest threat with likely two castles and two towns. I've been attacking mostly by sea, leaving the border guards intact to try to deter a land-based counterattack. If I can hang on to the Warlock castle long enough I should be able to mass enough troops to start on Purple when I start throwing Titans at Blue. I'll let you know how that goes.


Very interesting.

My experience has been similar to yours: Purple Barb CPU always performs superbly and Orange CPU is downright miserable. He seems to suicide his heroes into targets he cannot conquer.

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Postby Kristo » Jun 9 2008, 4:02

UndeadHalfOrc wrote:
Kristo wrote: Titans (only 2 per week, mind you - it's the only mod I've applied).


Sensible enough. :) Warlock dragons too I presume?

Yes.

UndeadHalfOrc wrote:My experience has been similar to yours: Purple Barb CPU always performs superbly and Orange CPU is downright miserable. He seems to suicide his heroes into targets he cannot conquer.

Well I finally managed to win. I agree that the Purple player did quite well. I have no idea why him and nobody else. I made quite a few mistakes on defense and the game degenerated into Musical Castles with Purple. He was kind enough to build Black Dragons for me in Yellow's home castle. My main hero (a Knight) final army was 8 Titans (split 4-4) and 4 Black Dragons. I had another hero with 4 Titans and a large-ish Barbarian force wandering around for cleanup. One of Purple's last heroes managed to get Armageddon and kill himself. Interestingly, I finished off Purple on his home turf. I felt like half of the castles on the map must have traded hands three or four times.

Overall, I enjoyed it. I think I'd like to try it with the Shipwreck Survivors so there's more of a reward for winning the race to the lake. I never used the islands except for the Lighthouse in the center (which I owned, uncontested, for the entire game). I couldn't spare the time to get off the boat and get back on. The islands served to grab the AI's attention and made it easier to chase down his heroes. I also never used the teleporters but the AI apparently tried to (the defenders were missing on the western middle one). I would have if I didn't have mad sea movement from Advanced Navigation, the Sailor's Astrolabe, and the Lighthouse.

Final stats: 80 days, score 156, Cavalry rating.
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Postby UndeadHalfOrc » Jun 9 2008, 4:43

You might still want to get my latest version. I fixed some small movement issues (it was possible to land inside the volcanoes, or knights forests, and a few other similar path related issues) and add back the shipwreck survivors if you like.

Still on my allied game with Darmani. The map was modified to have blue and green vs everybody else (who are allied, too) He played Green, I played Blue. Hard difficulty. Initially Darmani did great and stormed red while I mostly sat in my domain, repelling attacks from purple and orange. Lately though, yellow and orange took everything back from him and his sorceress conquests, and pushed him to his main castle while I on my side have been conquering Purple's territory and now have a sizable barbarian army, I had to help him fend off heroes who invaded him by sea.

Congrats on your score.

I think maybe the island village is way too heavily guarded. Nobody, human or CPU, ever bothers to take that town. Opinions?

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Postby Kristo » Jun 9 2008, 12:15

Well, when the AI plays against me, he's always going to have an undefended town or castle to attract his attention. :-D I can see why he doesn't bother with the center town. But yes, I agree that it's far too heavily defended. You could probably get away with standard defenders. I personally ignored the center isle because there are already six gold mines on the map. What's one more? I'd rather grab someone else's gold mine than take another one for myself. As far as I was concerned, the only things of value on the islands were the Lighthouse and Trading Post (and that was only valuable until I got more than a few Marketplaces).

If all of the gold mines were in the center, then I could see the islands playing a bigger part. Also, if you were allowed to make a castle out of that town it would be a lot more feasible to post a hero there to defend it.
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Postby UndeadHalfOrc » Jun 9 2008, 20:10

Version 1.3 (same location) is now uploaded. The center town is upgradeable to a castle, has much fewer creatures guarding it, and the nearby gold mine has a weaker stack.

As ByteBandit pointed out in his campaign topic, it takes the input of many people and much testing to make a perfect map!

edit: Also added a missing treasure chest in the Wizard area.

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Postby Kristo » Jun 10 2008, 3:05

UndeadHalfOrc wrote:edit: Also added a missing treasure chest in the Wizard area.

Oh sure, now you give it to me. I was wondering where my bonus was for being in snow. :D

Have you played with the reveal map cheat on? I'm curious as to why Purple seems to consistently do well. I wonder if it comes down to the random artifacts. I had the "Purple has found the most artifacts" Tavern rumor for several weeks. The ones in my area were horrid: Telescope, Elemental Ring, and Snake Ring. I grabbed the Snake Ring during week 2 just to have something to do - I really just wanted the experience out of the Dwarves that were guarding it.

Oh, that reminds me of another comment I had. My first impression of the map was that there wasn't a whole lot to do in terms of adventure map stuff in your starting area. In practice that turned out to be a good thing. It forces you to get moving - get on the lake and start attacking or else you'll fall behind the power curve. Nicely done.
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Postby UndeadHalfOrc » Jun 10 2008, 4:17

Darmani thinks that Barbarian and Knight do well because the map is resource sparse. Maybe I should place more rare resources on the ground for everybody?

Kristo wrote:Have you played with the reveal map cheat on?

Constantly.


Kristo wrote:
Oh, that reminds me of another comment I had. My first impression of the map was that there wasn't a whole lot to do in terms of adventure map stuff in your starting area.


I could have had space to cram more stuff in, but there was so much stuff that I just refused to place because there had to be an equivalent on each faction territory, and some adventure map locations you don't want SIX of them on a medium map.

Some stuff I refused to use:
hill fort and freeman's foundry - unfair for necro and warlock who don't get free upgrades at all.
Orc, archer, dwarf dwellings - where are the equivalent boar, garg and zombie dwelling?
Level 1 dwellings - Just no.

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Postby UndeadHalfOrc » Jun 14 2008, 4:53

By the way Kristo, I forgot to thank you earlier for trying out my map, so thanks :)

I made a small, but (according to my tests so far) significant change: I added one additional pile of small resources to each area (the most useful for each faction). It has now become easier for Necromancer and Warlock to get their Liches/Hydras on the first week if starting with 5/5/5/5

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Postby Kristo » Jun 14 2008, 13:27

No problem. :) I've been busy with Real Life (tm) this week so I haven't had a chance to play another game. I'll grab your updated version today. I also want to try putting the Shipwreck Survivors back, one per faction. The plan is to play Orange to see if I can improve on the AI's lousy performance.
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Postby UndeadHalfOrc » Jun 14 2008, 13:30

Orange played great (for once) when I briefly tried it out yesterday with map reveal cheat on. It could be just luck though, I doubt just 3-5 free extra sulfur can make much of a difference.

I considered putting back the shipwreck survivors, but only 3 of them, in a triangular pattern, closer to the center.

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Postby Kristo » Oct 27 2008, 15:19

Well, I finally got around to taking another crack at this one as Orange. Three cracks actually. One the first try I got owned by Yellow, who pushed aside the Vampire stack with seemingly no losses. On the second try I owned myself, losing to a pack of Cavalries guarding the gold mine.

The third try was a success. I focused my building on getting to Bone Dragons ASAP and kept my initial recruiting to a minimum. I got the town early in week 2 and won the race to the sea, grabbing most of the goodies there. The RNG wasn't kind enough to let me build the Lab in the 2nd week. Missed it by a day or two. Clearing the sea gave me some good intel - Purple was engaged away from home with a sizable army. I took that opportunity to claim his town and castle (I think one of the other players finished off his other hero). Naturally, Yellow took that opportunity to come knocking. He grabbed my town and upgraded it, so I had to get it back. I returned with some fresh troops at the start of week 4 and retook my town-turned-castle and continued into Yellow's area.

I learned from the first game way back when that you must play good defense, so I hired a hero to watch over Purple's old area and went to work building up my new castle. Yellow and Red were duking it out, so I took advantage and clobbered some heroes and grabbed both castles. On to Red. He had built Phoenixes but hadn't put them in any army. Lucky timing on my part. Two heroes came from the sea to try to reclaim Yellow and Red's seaside castles. I won one fight in a stellar siege defense :D and gave up the other for one day. Stationing my primary hero nearby caused the AI to decide to go for his boat after taking the castle. Oops. He lost both the castle and his hero on the next turn.

Blue had finished off Green somewhere in there; he was now the only opponent remaining. I did need to resupply my main hero once - linked up by boat in the middle of the sea. I was conscious of defending everything that I conquered to hopefully keep from attracting enemy heroes. Blue made a valiant effort to cause trouble by opening the E-W teleporters, but I had just built Black Dragons and he was no match for them. The rest of the game was a much more orderly cleanup than last time. In the end, Blue was just outproduced and had nowhere left to run. I played much better this time around, cutting 19 days off my time from the first go as Wizard.

So yes, it is possible to play well as Orange. My final Skeleton count was only 388 due to leaving Blue (the Knight) until last. I still never visited the four little islands. Blue and I fought over the Lighthouse (with him winning) for most of the game but nobody bothered with the town or the gold mine.

This map is still quite fun and would probably make an excellent free-for-all multiplayer game if the human players agree to space themselves evenly. My only other comment is that I'm not sure Normal is the correct map difficulty. There isn't a whole lot of room for error here since you can never fully close off any conquered territory. OTOH, most of the stock Hard or Expert maps have some sort of unbalanced/unusual starting conditions. What do you think?

Summary:
Orange Necromancer
Hard difficulty
61 days
Score 166 (Medusa)
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