HOMM 3 : "Age of Legends" User-Map Review

Matthew Charlap, the Qurqirish Dragon, proudly presents journal entry
#341, as recorded by the cleric Aylyra:
The land of the "Age of Legends" originally discovered by Lord
Basilisk
Date of land exploration: 26-September-2009

DESCRIPTION: medium, two-layer map of Normal difficulty
Restoration of Erathia map.
Win condition: standard
Loss condition: standard

# OF PLAYERS: 4HC (Castle, Tower, Necropolis, Rampart). Played as 1H
Rampart

COMMENTS: It has been a while since I played a Heroes 3 map, and what
a difference there is! This map is a straight-forward four-way battle.
Arguably the rampart position is the hardest, as it starts in the
middle of all the players, so is likely to be approached on three
front fairly early. In fact, since this is the only position for which
your hero is chosen for you (although not advanced in any way), I
believe that the original intention might have been to be either a
single-player map, or have this position be computer-only. In any
event, a resource boost on day 1 makes developing your town a bit
easier than you would normally expect. If you are normally reluctant
to play on a higher difficulty due to the lack of resources, then you
may want to try doing so on this one. You don’t get an immense amount,
but enough to make it easier to get started. Even though it is only a
medium sized map, there is plenty to do in each of the areas, making
it a pleasurable map overall. The only real negative I found while
playing was a large, plain section in the underground area. Comparing
to the rest of the map makes me wonder if the designer simply got
tired of it, and so didn’t quite finish the map before submitting it.

SOME TIPS: Build your base dwellings quickly- don’t bother with
upgrades (except, possibly, master gremlins if you play Tower)

BUGS AND PROBLEMS: Other than the above mentioned lackluster
underground, no problems were encountered.

SCORE: On my first try at hard difficulty, I won on day 132 (month 5,
week 3, day 6) for 272 points and minotaur rating

PROS: Nice, quick map with a mostly well-designed appearance.

CONS: The keymaster tents are mostly useless, as you are likely to be
just about done by the time you get all of them, making their hidden
treasure, though great, superfluous.

THE BOTTOM LINE: The main problem with usage of space is again in the
sparse underground section. 6/10 for utilization, to earn *** on
description. 8/10 on appearance, 6/10 on Story (which amounts to a few
placed events), 7/10 on Flavor, to earn ***1/2 on entertainment. 17/20
for balance (losing a few for the unbalanced starting geography), and
12/20 for placement, to earn ***1/2 on design, for an overall rating
of ***1/2 (56 out of 80).
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Disclaimer: All opinions expressed are my own. Any criticism is of the
map, not the designer (so if you are offended for some reason don’t
complain to me! :-) Comments and questions on the review are welcome,
simply reply to this message.
This map is available for download at Celestial Heavens: 
www.celestialheavens.com