Rating The Scenarios: Tier 1October 10, 2008
Being in Tier 3 sometimes makes you look back and long for the simplistic, carefree days of Tier 1, where flowers and candy were often handed out by the enemy, and hearty handshakes of “good game!” ended every match. My memory may be fuzzy on the details, but this still is my favorite tier (so far) in terms of scenarios.
“Everyone’s at the ‘Watch” is a saying that nobody uses, but really should since Nordenwatch is reportedly the most popular T1 scenario — and for a good reason! This small island is home to a lighthouse, barracks and “fortress” (two walls and a flag does not a fortress make, Order!) and tells a simple but clear story for those entering into it for the first time: Destruction boats have landed at the beach and are looking to take over the place, and Order is rushing down to protect their interests.
It’s an elegant map with varying degrees of elevation and multiple paths between the three capturable points. Most PUGs find it difficult to hold more than one capture point reliably (guild groups are better at this), and sneaking behind enemy lines to take “their” point is always a rush. A bulk of the fight usually ends up around the Fortress, which is difficult to hold but not impossible — ranged classes learn early to use the walls and parapits to their advantage.
Rating: A It’s a good, solid scenario that’s well-balanced, but it almost contains too much terrain to have to run over again and again to get back in the fight.
Lots of people bag on Khaine’s Embrace, and it does seem as if it’s the black sheep of the T1 scenarios, but I have a severe soft spot in my heart for it (I should probably get that checked out). It’s an ugly-looking place, to be sure, but the dual capture points offer a twist of a surprise (at least the first time) — when a side controls both points, Khaine is pleased or something and unleashes twin atomic bombs on the flags, wiping out anyone not smart enough to run away. It’s a novel way to clear the flag points, at least temporarily.
I also like the two paths across the battlefield: there’s the overland route, which involves a hill and rocky terrain, and then there’s the caves, which give you the sneaky option to rush behind the enemy and pop out before they know you’re there.
Rating: B+ It’s a dark horse candidate for favoritism, but huge things going kablooey can’t be wrong. Can they?
Gates of Ekrund
As a Dwarf, I felt my duty lay at the Gates of Ekrund more than anywhere else. This involves a cramped fort with multiple levels and ramps and a wide-open middle section, where players compete over three capture points. Interestingly enough, none of the points are automatically assumed to be “Order” or “Destruction”, since players can bypass the closer point to their spawn zone to go for the far-away one and surprise the enemy who assumes that they’ll get the first flag without a fight.
Close-quarters fighting is the name of this game, and as a result ranged DPSers are at a bit of a disadvantage, often being forced to confront melee juggernauts without any room to back up and fire from. It’s not all bad for the ranged guys, however, as there are plenty of sniping posts. Healers do very well from the high platforms, too, being able to scout the middle section and heal with impunity.
I like this scenario quite a lot, although I would get killed in here just as often as killing others. It’s hard to see on the map where the bulk of your side is, particularly if they’re in the left or right section on one of the multiple levels.
Rating: A- Too cramped for comfort, but a ton of fun and easy to get in the action without any wait.