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gourmet scenarios

January 24, 2009

If only I could still speak french, I could make this sound up to par with a condescending restaurant review. I was inspired to write this up while working early this morning. I kept thinking about how low tier scenarios would rate and came to some pretty solid conclusions. Please note that the overall rating does take into account for the individual ratings, but is weighted so may be higher, or lower than the average score. Anyway, without further ado (no, not adieu), tier one and two scenarios in review:

Tier 1-

Gates of Ekrund

Gates of Ekrund is a very small king-of-the-hill map. So small, in fact, that it could be considered a death-match instead. The map is mostly symmetrical, taking place along a wide rectangular wall with two levels. The center is open, allowing sniping. One flag is in the center and one is on the upper level of each side. The center flag is exposed to the upper level, allowing sniping, but the gap is short enough that ranged can hit each other. However, it is not short enough that it can be captured from the upper level. At the same time there is a ramp up one side of each ledge allowing players to attack the ‘sniping’ area. The map is perfect for slaughters. The small size and bottlenecks force players to have conflicts.

Strategy- 1

Fun- 7

Time- 8

Overall: I would give Gates of Ekrund a seven and a half out of ten. The map calls for almost no strategy beyond knowledge of your class role, but it’s done in a purposeful way. It is king-of-the-hill, but the team who is destroying the other faster will win. The only flaw in my eyes is the flags should have been replaced by a murder-ball in the middle. This scenario almost never reaches the time limit before ending.

Khaine’s Embrace

Khaine’s Embrace is a modified king-of-the-hill where after capturing all points the map is cleared and essentially restarted. Players must avoid the large (and always fatal) explosion, then recapture the flags. Again this map is symetrical for the most part, but the terrain is much more open and mixed. There is an outdoor route, and the flags are in a large open area, but there is also a cramped tunnel with a medium sized open area in the center. Going through the center is faster, but the path can be blocked by tanks and become a killing zone. The main problem is that except in very mismatched games, it’s hard to score a capture. At the same time, due to server lag and some poor mechanics, Witch Hunters and Witch Elves can often claim flags without ever being seen. So games tend to drag on to the full fifteen minutes, and often the victor is decided by a single lucky stealth class.

Strategy- 9

Fun- 6

Time- 1

Overall: It’s hard to judge Khaine’s Embrace too harshly, because it does take a lot of skill to win and the map is setup nicely for varied types of skirmishing. The issue really comes down to the timer. These games are almost invariably fifteen minutes long and even then rarely go past halfway. This means you spend fifteen minutes, but don’t get a bonus for winning. This brings the score way down as the scenario becomes tedius to run. I give Khaine’s Embrace a four out of ten.


Nordenwatch is best known for being bugged for a long time, before finally having tier one queues fixed. The bug was pretty simple, Gates of Ekrund and Khaine’s Embrace almost never came up when running queue all. Perhaps ninety out of one hundred matches would be Nordenwatch. That left a very disapointing feeling in running it over and over. Luckily, that has been fixed, and Nordenwatch is no longer brings about huge sighs when it pops up. That’s good, because this capture-and-hold style king-of-the-hill map is actually very fun. The map is not symetrical and there are several ways to loop around the map to gain an upper hand. It does have a few bottlenecks, but for the most part you will be in store for a lot of open fighting.

Strategy- 6

Fun- 7

Time- 7

Overall: Nordenwatch is a solid eight and a half. In close matches it can go the distance, but it is fairly rare. Most close matches actually do end, a testiment to good design as probably eighty, to ninety percent of matches have the victory condition fulfilled. At the same time, slaughters do happen. The gameplay is varied and really, besides the initial bug of always playing it, there is very little to complain about.

Tier 2-

Stonetroll Crossing

Stonetroll Crossing is hard to describe. This too is king-of-the-hill, but to capture those map points you must first grab a ‘Troll Pacifier’ and the person with it may capture the points. So the game cycles between chaos after a capture is attempted, fighting over the Pacifier and attempting a capture. There is some strategy involved, but the winner is often determined by a sneaky player taking advantage of the chaos after the Pacifier is reset. In more one sided games an entire team simply makes repeated capturing runs and literally runs in circles for the entire game.

Strategy- 4

Fun- 3

Time- 2

Overall: I can only give Stonetroll Crossing a three out of ten. Matches are rarely less than fifteen minutes and like Khaine’s Embrace are very often still at a low score at the end of that time. It is a zerg that discourages death-matches. It is a king-of-the-hill which discourages organized defense. It doesn’t really know what it is.

Phoenix Gate

Phoenix Gate is purely capture-the-flag. This is one of my favorite game types, since I was a kid with a flashlight playing in the middle of the night with my friends. It was great in Quake, it’s a winning formula all around. As with most capture-the-flag games there are multiple ways to reach the flag and just as many escape routes. It is very large and open, with no true bottlenecks, so expect a feel very much like open RVR. The only problem with Phoenix Gate is the reward for capturing a flag being far, far too low.

Strategy- 8

Fun- 8

Time- 3

Overall: I love Phoenix Gate, but I can’t rate it as high as I would like. This is purely due to the mechanic of the game. You need five captures, or four captures and more than fifty kills to achieve victory. This happens in very few matches, many of which never go beyond three captures total for both sides. If there was no time limit, or captures were worth 175 points, I would give Phoenix Gate a nine out of ten. As it stands, I can’t give it more than a five.

Mourkain Temple

Channel your inner zergling. Prepare to set yourself up the bomb. Mourkain is nothing but a slaughterfest. The only map objective actively tries to kill its carrier, the map filters you into each other to die, welcome to Thunder Dome. This is the first person shooter of scenarios. Not only does the match almost never go the distance, but it’s very common for the team not holding the ball to win purely based on kills. The map is setup to bottleneck people over and over. Expect a lot of AOE and a lot of death.

Strategy- What?

Fun- 9

Time- 10

Overall: If you lose, you lose fast. If you win, you win fast. Things will explode, faces will melt and healers may actually break down in a fountain of bloody tears. Honestly, Mourkain deserves a nine out of ten. Like Ekrund, matches are fast and brutal, but there is no pretense of flags. Repetition and bad pugs aside, this is a great scenario and exactly what WAR is about.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. Frank permalink
    January 24, 2009 5:05 pm

    Nice post! I’m one of the folks that wandered over here following the post on Warhammer Alliance’s front page. I agree whole-heartedly with your reviews of these scenarios (I’m only Tier 2 myself, so they’re all I’ve seen.) I particularly love Phoenix Gate. As a Witch Hunter it allows me to wear many different hats (all of them looking wickedly cool of course). I look forward to reading more of your posts.


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