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Several Horde captains have been taken prisoner in Dovesong Gorge. Don't be fooled by its beauty--the sound of bowstrings is heard there as often as singing birds. Invade the gorge, rescue the captains and crush the Alliance!
This scenario's focus is on exploration. The gorge has a forest and many winding rock tunnels with a variety of things to find. Several peons are placed to die among the main Red force (1) so the player is immediately aware of the strongest threat.
The player begins in the southern end of the gorge (2) with a few units and a base capable of producing peons, grunts and axe-throwers. This frees the player up for early scouting.
The Red AI does not build or attack. Several Red units have been placed in scattered groups to give the player the feeling that the enemy can be anywhere without providing too much of a threat.
The main Red force is arrayed at a chokepoint across the gorge. It is designed to be stronger facing into the gorge. If the player finds the tunnel that leads into the back of Red's base (3), they will be rewarded with the Horde captains as rescue-passive Yellow units and an opportunity to strike from behind.
Scouts have reported a well-fortified Alliance camp on the peninsula. Exploit the Humans' lack of a naval presence to slip troops and warships up to their unprotected shore. Then spill Alliance blood for the glory of the Horde!
The primary goal of this scenario is to encourage the player to achieve victory with an elegant strategy even when a brute method can be successful.
Between the player and the Blue Alliance AI on land is a series of passages that are defended with hefty static defenses (1). Specifically, the Orange Alliance has staggered guard and cannon towers as well as trapped ballista, archers and mages. The mages can be harrowing by throwing fireballs from long range.
The player would need a very advanced land attack to effectively overcome the Orange static defenses. The Blue Alliance (2) will eventually grow into a formidable force behind the screen while the player is dealing with Orange.
By taking a circuitous route the player can bring naval units to the wide-open beach with direct access to the Blue Alliance gold mine (3). While not necessary for victory, the use of transports or a naval bombardment on this vulnerable shore can make a dramatic dent in the opponent with active AI, also saving the static opponent for later.
If the player waits too long, the Blue peasants will eventually cut down the trees that effectively trap Orange and the units will be able to move freely.
The player begins with an upgraded keep and a harbor to facilitate an early navy (4). There is also a lumber camp (5) located just far enough from the main base to be uncomfortable. The Blue AI's initial attacks usually probe through the trees and find the camp before the main base. This arrangement makes for an interesting battle front with a forward outpost.
The Grim A'tol Bridge is a key element of the current Alliance campaign. Gain a foothold in this theater and capture the bridge. Eliminate Horde armies in the area to secure it for future Alliance activities.
The player begins with a small army, peasants, and transports to move them from the starting area (1). The nearest land is along a rock wall that ends next to the defenses of the Grim A'tol Bridge (2). This will expose the player to the main objective early, and if they assault it immediately they will fail. The Blue Horde is a passive AI that guards the bridge and some of the main continent to hinder the player's movement (3).
The player will find that the shore of the other end of the bridge is occupied by the White Horde (4). This base can be defeated with the starting army. The barracks has been placed in an out-of-the-way location to evade the player's initial attention.
Shortly after erecting primary buildings the player will get a visit from the land-attack Red Horde AI (5). To keep the Red AI at a manageable play-curve they have only one peasant and no town hall.
There is one gold mine that is open for expansion (6). It is exposed to a variety of attacks so the player may find it too difficult to utilize. At the very least the Red AI should be prevented from mining it.
The Red AI is the most threatening and represents the main challenge of this scenario. Once Red is defeated the Orange AI should have secured the southwestern sea (7). It will be up to the player whether he or she battles Orange on the water or works through the bridge defenses to have an easy time taking Orange by land.
Captain, I'm afraid the Horde mountain fortress is in complete disarray. Gul'dan and several of the fortress's regular guard have been trapped in the battlements by a rockslide. This news comes suspiciously with reports that the Alliance is erecting a new capital city near the fortress.
As my most trusted captain I am sending you to the mountain fortress with a sizeable war chest. Spend anything necessary to secure the fortress and investigate Alliance activities.
In this scenario the player faces some unique resource challenges. Instead of carefully managing gold and lumber--the player has large stores of both--he must carefully manage his space and time. The fortress itself does not have very much room to build (1) and, more importantly, the Alliance opponents are indeed erecting a capital city from scratch in the nearby forest (2). This capital city has the potential to become an unstoppable military power. Incidentally, I wasn't sure that this giant, four-player city would emerge but the AI's do a good job of working out how to build together in tight proximity. It's fun just to see how they lay out their buildings.
This scenario poses some interesting problems that are somewhat outside normal game play. With all the gold and lumber in the world, what should the player build? Should they spend time working the other mines (3) or training sappers to free Gul'dan and the other useful units that are trapped in the fortress' walls? (4)
Since the money is in the bank, upgrades are just a matter of having the buildings to research them. And for that matter, if two barracks are effective, why not have four? The player will find that simply having enough peons to support the build effort is an important dimension of raising an army for the inevitable moment when Alliance peons cut a hole in the tree barrier.
The map is confined and the final engagement looms early so the player can feel comfortable trying wild strategies. If things go awry, the prospect of restarting is not daunting.
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