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scenarios a la carte

April 16, 2009

It’s been months since I reviewed T1 and T2 scenarios. In fact, that was one of the first posts on our blog! My how we’ve come along. Or, you know, not so much… It’s finally time though: T3 scenario reviews. That’s right, tier 3, land of Lava Golf. Like my other reviews the scores here are not cumulative, but the individual scores do have weight. Here’s an overview of the scoring system:

Strategy: This is the amount of coordination is required. A 0 means the scenario requires no strategy outside of PVP talent. A 10 means that heavy group micromanagement must be performed across the map and coordinated well to see success.

Fun: This is simply how enjoyable I find the scenario. How often do you look up at the time remaining, or score and sigh. How often do you find yourself, or your team waiting around. This is a simple 0-10, with 0 being a dentist visit without Novocaine and a 10 being a swimming pool full of chocolate and marshmallows with life guards from Baywatch.

Time: This score is the relation between the time the scenario takes and the rewards it yields. Scenarios that rarely finish before the fifteen minute time-up get much lower scores because the victory condition reward is rarely gained. Very fast scenarios score much higher. This score is very dependent on the timer which is forced on scenarios — something I find much too short for most maps, many of which would be better suited to half-hour timers.

First a quick update on T1 and T2 reviews post-1.2:

Tier 1-
Nordenwatch (unchanged)
Strategy- 6
Fun- 7
Time- 7
Overall: 8 ½

Gates of Ekrund
Strategy- 0 (was 1)
Fun- 5 (was 7)
Time- 10 (was 8 )
Overall: 6 (was 7 ½ – introduction of Slayer and Choppa has brought this down a peg due to AOE spam.)

Khaine’s Embrace (unchanged)
Strategy- 9
Fun- 6
Time- 1
Overall- 4

Tier 2-

Stonetroll Crossing (unchanged)
Strategy- 4
Fun- 3
Time- 2
Overall- 3

Phoenix Gate (unchanged)
Strategy- 8
Fun- 8
Time- 3
Overall- 5

Mourkain Temple
Strategy- 0
Fun- 6 (was 9)
Time- 10
Overall- 5 (was 9 – AOE spam has ruined the fun here despite speeding up the games even more)

Now on to T3! There was much blood lost and/or burned on both sides to bring you these reviews. Lots of blood.

Tier 3-

Black Fire Basin

Black Fire Basin is a capture-the-flag scenario. The map’s center is a large frozen lake, which is cropped by two valleys. This gives three routes for players to take when attacking the opponents flag spawn, or running the flag back. The center is very wide and open, but the flag spawns and side valleys are cramped. Each base is also guarded by a gate with a wall that defenders can stand on. Most matches consist of turtling due to the massive size and reliable defenses. Like Phoenix Gate before it the scoring system is heavily lacking, which makes the scenario difficult to win.

Strategy- 7
Fun- 3
Time – 1

Overall: I want to love Black Fire Basin, but it has too many faults. The scoring system is abysmal and the map layout spreads out combat much too far for 12v12 to handle. This scenario should be 18v18, or greatly reduced in size. Long matches with low renown turn this diamond in the rough into a jagged and worthless rock. I give Black Fire Basin a painful four out of ten.

Doomfist Crater

Doomfist Crater is a combination murder ball and king-of-the-hill scenario. Combat takes place primarily on tight platforms that force players into one another. Games are fast and bloody and the small size can lead to camping, but smart teams will break the mold using the multiple attack directions to get back into the game. Sadly because of the many line-of-sight issues and the cramped quarters this scenario is dominated by AOE, much like Mourkain Temple before it. This map is also symmetrical, offering no advantage to either side.

Strategy- 5
Fun- 7
Time- 9

Overall: Doomfist Crater is an acquired taste – if you have a lot of AOE, you acquire it. Everyone else will find this scenario painful, but quick. When I gave Mourkain a nine out of ten AOE was not as out of hand as it is now, a score it would not warrant post-1.2. Were this not the case, Doomfist would also gain a nine. However, as we live in a post-1.2 world, Doomfist Crater is AOE’d down to a six out of ten.

High Pass Cemetery

High Pass Cemetery uses a double king-of-the-hill mechanic, but unlike Khaine’s Embrace there is no fiery death explosion. The map is small and open, but presents a lot of angles to hide behind. Unlike previous failures Mythic has stepped up here and most matches do end before time-up. Much of this is due to the simple map lay out facilitating a deathmatch style of game play. This is another symmetrical map.

Strategy- 7
Fun- 8
Time- 7

Overall: High Pass Cemetery does have some time-up games, but they aren’t frequent. The map encourages PVP and both sides have equal opportunity at each capture point leading to fewer turtle games than in many other scenarios. It may not be perfect, but High Pass Cemetery gets a solid eight out of ten.

Lost Temple of Isha

Lost Temple of Isha is another king-of-the-hill/murder ball game. It’s almost Doomfist Crater in reverse. Instead of taking place on platforms, the main combat in Lost Temple is either in the open field in front of the capture point, or in the ancient walled temple. Again this allows heavy exploitation of AOE, but being more open it is not quite as punishing. This is yet another symmetrical map as well, almost always a good thing. The flag here is also highly defensible when compared to most king-of-the-hill objectives.

Strategy- 7
Fun- 7
Time- 7

Overall: Lost Temple of Isha is one step above Doomfist Crater, getting an acceptable seven out of ten. While it does have more time-up games, it is also less exploitable and offers more varied combat. One major concern is the distance from combat one must go to access the murder ball, meaning it rarely if ever comes into play, often killing its carrier before they reach combat.

Talabec Dam

Talabec Dam is a dual bombing run scenario. The map is primarily open field, with some bottlenecks. The goal is to destroy the dam (Order), or the windmill (Destruction) using a bomb found in the center of the map. Sadly this map is not symmetrical: Destruction side tends to turtle often here as the dam is very easy to defend, while Order has much more difficulty. The scoring system once again fails and even when a team is being farmed often the game will go the full fifteen minutes.

Strategy- 8
Fun- 3
Time- 3

Overall: Talabec Dam should be fun and compelling, but as with many maps it suffers from a poor scoring system. This leads to long matches with low rewards. Strategy is a fine point here, but the map is simply not fun to play on and the matches drag out for far too long. Talabec Dam gets a disappointing three out of ten.

Tor Anroc

Tor Anroc is a mini-game in WAR involving a golf game played by tanks. Who’s the ball? You! Just kidding (mostly). Tor Anroc is a murder ball game. The map is played within a volcano on the narrow passageways between the lava and the ball is located on a hill in the center. The problem is the game is played in a volcano on the narrow passageways between the lava and the ball is located on a hill in the center. Battles are cramped and environmental damage is obscene. Any played with some limited skill and a knockback can instantly kill other players. Rough.

Strategy- Lava Golf
Fun- 8
Time- 10

Overall: You’re going to get put in the lava. You’re going to burn and die horribly. The good news? Win or lose it’s over pretty fast. It’s close quarters and can be a great bloody time, but AOE and knockbacks spoil any sense of strategy. Order has a distinct advantage in having wide-area AOE knockbacks at this level as well. Still, it’s fun, people die a lot and the renown is good. Given the other options in T3, I have to give Tor Anroc a seven out of ten.

My overall impression of T3 scenarios is a bit mixed. Several are highly exploitable with AOE and… well, Lava Golf… On the other hand the general quality and mix of scenarios is very well done. It’s definitely a step above T1 and T2 in terms of map design and goal, but it must also be said that T3 characters themselves are much less balanced than in T2 which makes PVP a bit harder to swallow. While in T2 AOE spam was around, it wasn’t quite at this level yet. I can honestly recommend that anyone looking for a good PVP experience should look towards T2, or late T1 for a competitive environment. The time-to-kill is much less frustrating and players have a good stable mix of options. This is particularly true of T2, where EXP is slow enough that characters begin to be well geared. Definitely a big thumbs-up to balance in T2, though I will admit the scenarios in T3 are just plain better than in lower tiers.

So until next time.. and next tier… have fun pwnzoring nubs. Or… at least knocking them into pools of lava.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. Slice permalink
    April 16, 2009 4:41 pm

    I totally agree with your ratings for the scenarios now. The rampant AoE avaialble to some extent in t1 and t2, really have killed some of the fun factor in scenarios. Before 1.2 on my original sorc, scenarios were fun. Now lvling another sorc, t1 and t2 scenarios are not as enjoyable, especially Mourkain Temple. People are freakin chicken….why dont they run and fight…sigh. But I guess with slayers and choppas people are scared. I cannot wait for t3…hopefully Doomfist will be as fun as I remember it. Temple of Isha was a pain sometimes, when people decide to chase Order out of the temple and get picked off one by one.

  2. SarGara permalink
    April 17, 2009 5:52 am

    Oh how i miss Tor Anroc! That days before “Join All” where everyone would stand around in the Elf warcamp only doing TA and you would get pops in minutes. The fun i had on my Borc charging into the healers and punting them to their firey lava deaths. Those were the days!

  3. April 17, 2009 2:02 pm

    Tor Anroc has to be my favorite but I don’t call it lava golf. I call it “Stunty Golf.” I also tend to yell, “Oi! Git Face!” when I use repel on them… I guess it adds to the game. Lost Temple of Isha is fun because I like that we have to fight for one area. The rest are… “okay, I’ll do it because it came up.”

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