Rating The Scenarios: Tier 1

October 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.



  1. Good overview, I really enjoyed all 3 as well. On a side note, there are actually three main paths in KB. The caves, the mountain, and evev further outward is a path around the west side of the mountain that is down low – a long route to the objectives but definitely less travelled.

  2. Very interesting. I never got into Khaine’s Embrace and I leveled almost exclusively in scenarios. I always queued up for either all scenarios or only Nordenwatch, but I ended up in Nordenwatch probably 95% of the time.

    I’m not complaining though, I really loved that map- especially as an Engineer. There were lots of places to take advantage of terrain and use my knock-back wisely. Good times!

  3. I loved Gates of Ekrund on my black orc. The winding halls and ramps, along with little cubbies to hide in allowed me to line of sight those nasty bright wizards and ambush squishies.

    The middle area is brutal to melee. Ranged toons hang out on those platforms and rain hell down on melee below who have to make their way up a ramp, staying exposed the entire time. It can be lethal for anyone who isn’t a tank.

    The balance is really neat.

    Still Kaine’s Embrace is my favorite.

  4. Can’t wait until you review Tor Anroc.

  5. I usulay don´t post on blogs, but yours and your bloody twenty just..well, you know?

    good entry btw, those 3 are sure awesome though i actualy love the T2 Darkelf scenario. Reapers for the win!

    i hope you never get bored of blogging 🙂

  6. I agree with those assessments. Although Order is overpowered in Tier 1. Nerf Order. 😛

  7. Don’t forget in the Gates of Ekrund you can use the catapults to launch yourself in to the fort, but you can also launch yourself into the wall as well.

    Kinda like the trailer.

  8. I liked Ekrund the best, followed by Nordenwatch, and Khaine’s is a fairly distant third.

  9. I miss the T1 scenarios. Khaine’s Embrace is still my favorite.

  10. I think if you pay another visit to Khaines Embrace and check out a couple little subtleties, it will have to be increased atleast to an A-.

    First as already mentioned, there is a third “down low” route that is popular for sneaking under when the fighting is thick at the caves, with just a quick eye to the overland route.

    Second, at the 3rd explosion point, the Altar on the cliff, when the capture points are taken, you will see a lvl 55 mob, I believe it’s an Avatar of Khaine. This is who brings the wrath. Just a nice subtle little easter egg.

  11. Having played FPS CTF maps for almost a decade now, and dabbled in making maps since DOOM (the first), I remain impressed with all 3 T1 scenarios. The maps are fun, fast, fair to both sides. Well laid out with multiple travel paths, and a variety of terrain that ensures everyone gets a portion that caters to their career. And the mechanic varies enough from map to map to keep them fresh and interesting.

    I can’t say this about the T2 scenarios, I can point out multiple flaws on each of those. And the one T3 scenario I’ve done to date, bleh. Black Fire Rise I think was the name, a CTF map that had the worst setup I’ve seen.

    The T1 scenarios are a great way (right now) to level up that alt…or this alt…or that other alt, the one lost in the back of the herd of alts.

  12. I enjoy KE just for the explosions. I can’t tell you the number of times I have snared an enemy player and then ran past while they slowly stumble away only to get killed by the blast.

  13. I have yet to have either Khaine’s Embrace or the Gates of Ekrund pop for any of my characters. Even once. Noone seems to play them on Any of the servers I run.

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