|David Masters / Nightwolf
"The God of Thieves wants to help you set up a thriving trade empire - if you feel equal to the task."
7 episodes, moderate difficulty
'Dedication' series, #4 of 14
|Author||Reviews ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )|
I'm just going to be general on this one. I tried two different colony missions as the first; neither one was able to be completed as the adventure would be played by the average person. It seems to get through the colonial efforts, one must conquer a rival or two first; this therefore means building a full army in the parent city and getting allied help in a military attack. The gift of 20 Armor goes a long way to two and a half companies in Episode 2 (though speedy players will miss it), and if there IS something coming up seven or ten years into the colonies, it drags on to the point of boredom such that it's not worth hanging around. I enjoyed to an extent the humour in the storyline as far as I got, but the colony maps were very limited from what I saw. I just don't get this one. Sorry.
[Edited on 07/06/11 @ 08:40 PM]
I'm a fan of Nightwolf and his works. They are consistently good and enjoyable, in my humble opinion, are definitely the better ones in Zeus Heaven. Given the low ratings and that harsh one-liner, piqued my interest in this adventure, which have somehow evaded me over the years (probably due to the low ratings? haha). Better late than never I guess.
Is this adventure really bad? Granted, I noticed this was one of Nightwolf's earliest submission in Zeus Heaven and therefore with a pinch of doubt, I gave this a try in good faith and fair expectations.
My first full review of a Nightwolf adventure, it contain walkthrough and spoilers.
I played this on Hero difficulty, as suggested by the description. It took me around 4 hours to complete. Started off as dull, things get interesting gradually and yet a lot easier towards the end. Gameplay is overall smooth and there are no instances where the game is stuck or broken.
Episode 1 is pretty straightforward. In the parent city Kamsar, the south of the riverbend at the center is a good spot to start. Get plenty of Fish and Orange. Focus on tax and export to maintain a healthy coffer. Evolve the houses when the city is stable to move-on to next episode.
Episode 2 is where the challenge begins. As Kamsar grow steadily, overexpand the goods especially Fleece and the newly acquired Olive (Oil). From time-to-time, butter up your allies (and rivals too if you wish) with gifts. When the quest appears, make it a priority to build the elite houses (they won't need armor at first). Tax is our best friend here, and elite houses yield great taxes, but be wary of your popularity. Complete the quest and/or dispatch the lake pest, you'll get a surprise reward of armors. Depends on your relationship with Ugturk, requesting precious armors from them may work. Or just let the elites put on those shiny new armors, and raid for more armors. More armors = more raids. Ignore frigates for now. Rotate raids to balance each rival opinions. Stock up, then set aside the goods to move-on when ready.
Episode 3 is the first colony. Pick a source of Bronze, Orichalc, Marble or Black Marble. All colonies have similar goals: X goods for parent city, yearly production, yearly profit, and a shrine. In general, your choice may affect the difficulty of future episodes. From the world map, the lack of Marble (so far) would make it the best pick. While Bronze is a solid pick, Black Marble and Orichalc doesn't have much utility at this stage.
Pick the easy Marble colony Ad Dakhla and get cracking. Build a small housing area, 2 Hunter lodges and 4 Carding sheds. Stay clear of the southern part of meadow. Remember to accept every gifts coming to you. Gradually build at least 8 Masonry shops. Export excess Fleece and Marble, and grin as you watch your coffer brim. Now for the shrine. If you have been raiding Ugturk for quite a bit previously, the opinions of your other rivals (Aveiro, Zonguldak) are most likely favorable. Request (not demand) them for Orichalc and Bronze (for Sculpture). There is no need for Frigates, Armories or Sanctuary. When ready, set aside the Marble and move-on.
Episode 4, back to Kamsar. As the story goes, you may now build sanctuaries to honor Fire or Water. A steady source of Bronze (aside from raids) is much welcomed. An impending threat will get you to build the Forge first anyway. Build it near or surround it with your Armories and Sculptors. Stock your armors, be fast to deal with the uninvited. Sell Sculpture for handsome profits. Laugh-in-the-face (bribe) of any Surt's attack. Build your city towards southeast with more elites. Build some frigates if you have many unemployed plebs. Then march on to conquer Surt. More profits. As usual stock up, set aside goods to move-on when ready.
Episode 5 is the next and final colony. Which colony is up to you. I picked the bronze Erewhon (Funfact: wordplay on Nowhere). More Bronze doesn't hurt, unless you smack their faces with it. Build a similar startup as Ad Dakhla on the elevated land. Build at least 8 foundry to mass Bronze. Build 2 or 3 Sculptors. Sell excess Sculpture for easy yearly profit. Remember to accept/trade gifts, especially Marble. Request Zonguldak for Orichalc, give them Wood if required. Don't dally, set aside the Bronze to move-on when ready.
Episode 6 is a waiting game. At this stage, Kamsar should have had enough elites and at least one sanctuary, which both ticked the goals. While waiting for the quest, resources are aplenty, it's a good time to build more sanctuaries and some pyramids. If we read the list of opponent gods, it's fairly obvious to predict which threat is next. Lord Hermes and Lady Athena are the worship priority. Build more houses for the priests and frigates. Expand your city towards northeast. Keep your city stocked. When ready, summon the hero and complete the quest to move-on.
Episode 7 is the flawed finale. Sanctuary goals are redundant or overlapped, possibly design error or bug. Especially since it still force us to worship of the lonesome Poseidon. The only good deed the Sea-God will contribute at this stage, is to lay-the-smacketh-down to invading gods. Just place his temple further northeast, with a patrol route towards the entrance. The hero Perseus is a quick summon at this point. Once he's done with his stuffs, send him along with your troops to convince your rivals to join you. Finish up any remaining pyramids. And that's the wrap to this adventure!
Till this point I've written a long-s essay, so I'll try to keep it short onwards.
Balance of the adventure is OK, and most importantly there is no game-breaking issues. Overall difficulty however could be more balanced. Starting episodes are definitely more challenging than latter episodes. Colony episodes are speedthroughs, probably as intended. The later episodes are made easier especially when some goals/events can be preempted or built beforehand.
This adventure is probably not intended for higher difficulty. As other review may suggest, it is doable at Titan/Olympian but likely to be tedious and dragging on too long. This is however the opposite for Hero and lower, which at times felt like a walk-in-the-park. Reckon that beginner players may struggle a little bit, whereas experienced players have the advantage of know-how and what-not, making the whole gameplay a lot easier.
Also noted by other review, the aforementioned Poseidon sanctuary issue wasn't game-breaking but definitely weird. A point minus here.
Pretty standard like a vanilla. Goals are reasonable. Events throughout the adventure are well-placed and timed reasonably. The most important event is definitely the gift of armor after a feat in episode 2, which I thought is the turning point of the otherwise difficult episode. The multiple choice of colonies also require players to think and plan ahead, which added some variety and replay value.
Map Design: 5
Best part of the adventure. Parent map looks nice on preview. Ample of spaces, with strategic meadow and food sources. Total freedom and able to support a large city to your liking. Monsters and invasion points are also not too devastating. Colony maps are small and bland, typical for a quick in-and-out. Though each colony have a nasty surprise. A commendable touch nonetheless.
A rare instance where Hermes takes the center stage, in truth he wasn't really involved till near the end. A well-thought storyline that is simple yet engaging, it stays revelant to the entire gameplay and episode goals. Instructions and tips are low to non-existent, but not that they are really needed.
Not too tough and not too shabby, this is pretty enjoyable and good as expected. It has flaws but definitely not the worse around here. A pity that Nightwolf took a break from here, but a big thanks to him for this and all his other quality adventures!
[Edited on 02/16/20 @ 01:47 AM]