Just downloaded it. I almost fell for the trap near the beginning, very Vexian thing to do. Although maybe there could have been proximity bombs that are designed to scare the heck out of the player, but not kill them. I mean, it is a "Rough Start" right?
There's all of the free supplies at the beginning. I like how I don't have to grind for anything, but I'd prefer having to cut through a few monsters first. There could've been some skeleton spawners to knock the player off the path, for example, and if they are too difficult give the player knockback-resistant armor. Although I like the philosophy of starting easy since you can always make it harder. Maybe the descent was intended to give the player some trouble, but I had no trouble with it at all.
Pretty good aesthetics, I must say. Nothing to complain about on that front.
Now that I've gotten more into the game, I feel like there simply isn't enough mob spawning to really threaten me. I'm only at the Yellow dungeon so Idk if it gets harder. Next time you make a map, be sure to set the delay on spawners to 40 ticks so that I won't be able to just run to a spawner and torch it before anything spawns.
Immediately upon spawning in, you’re given some supplies, and made to walk down a spiral while collecting wood and reading some signs. It’s a very simple start, but not a bad one. Some maps can have a simple, peaceful start and then slowly walk up a difficulty curve, while others can have starts that try to show you more of what the map is all about. This start, if anything, tried to show that the mapmaker was “nice”, by having a cobwebs-dropping-into-lava trap, except the cobwebs had a chest with enderpearls close enough to grab, potentially allowing you to save yourself if you’re fast. It’s the exact sort of trap I like; the type designed to be escaped and make the player feel good about themselves. This map sets off on the right foot, more or less.
Rating – 7/10
Intersection 1: A nice little base, and the intersection looks really nice and is safe. It’s everything I like about intersections.
Rating – 7/10
The Grove(White clay):
This area was very short and simple. It looks fairly nice, a well-decorated stonebrick cave. There’s a few spawners scattered around and natural spawns but nothing is particularly threatening. It doesn’t have anything special, but it’s an okay short, simple starting area. There isn’t anything wrong with it, but nothing great about it either.
I should take this time to talk about the map’s loot distribution. So far, we’ve been given protection leather armor, and a sharp 3 Unbreaking 5 stone sword as our best loot, with plenty of more basic loot to back us up and wood to make more tools with (no cobble, however). We’ve also been given exceedingly generous portions of food (remember though, 1.8 map). This area contained entirely regular monsters in small numbers, making it easy to cut through them. The loot we’ve been given far exceeds the threat level of the monsters in this area. It’s okay to be fairly easy since this map isn’t exactly giving off “mega hard” vibes and this is without a doubt the earlygame. As we move along, however, we’ll see that the map frontloaded a lot of its loot, and supplies start to get a lot scarcer as we move forward – hold onto the stuff you get early on!
Rating – 5/10
NOTE: This map uses colored hardened clay instead of wool!
Swamp of Souls(Orange clay):
This area was again, fairly simple and easy. It’s primary gameplay consisted of approaching islands while swimming up to them and then taking out the spawners before they could spawn anything. I say “before they can spawn anything”, because these spawners aren’t primed – “Primed” means they immediately drop enemies upon moving into range. Done poorly, un-primed spawners means the areas will be devoid of enemies to fight. Done well, un-primed spawners can add an element of strategy, forcing you to try to destroy the spawners before they spawn in a tight situation, or trying to decide which ones are the most important to destroy before the spawners can get their enemies out. Here, it’s done… okay. Since the spawners are on small islands, which you can approach by slowly swimming up to them, they will SOMETIMES have enough time to spawn things. But most of the time, I was able to destroy them before they could fire off even one handful of enemies. This area is still very easy – but we’re still at the beginning of the map, so it’s okay. We also see our first custom enemies – zombies that drop instant damage potions when they die and have leather armor. Sadly, though, they’ll only very rarely get the chance to spawn, because you can generally destroy their spawners before they activate. I had to wait for some to spawn just so I could see them. If anything, this area could have been a little bit harder, by having something to make the approach to the islands more difficult/time consuming – lift them out of the water another block or two, and then the spawners might get a few more seconds to pop out enemies. This area is almost too easy in its current form.
Rating – 5/10
(I forgot to take a picture here, just imagine a big stonebrick maze and you'll have the area)
Arcane Dormitories(Magenta clay):
This is a maze area! Despite having a fairly interesting premise (not just dormitories, but MAGIC dormitories), it ends up coming off as a fairly uninteresting place. It’s a stonebrick maze consisting of nothing but 3x3x3 hallways, some side-rooms with a few chests, and plenty of cobwebs and cave spiders. It’s at its best when it tries to vary things, such as having one of the hallways be blocked off almost entirely by cobwebs with cave spiders inside. But for the majority of it, it’s roughly the same thing, just trying to fight your way through a fairly unthreatening maze. This area gets boring fast, and it’s by far the longest area we’ve had so far. It definitely needs to have more interesting things happen as you proceed through the maze. Add a few bigger rooms with more enemies, or more hallways that have something special about them! As it is, it’s just a very simple maze area that isn’t fun to play through.
Rating – 4/10
Wizard’s Tower(Light blue clay):
This area was connected to the previous magenta clay maze area, with no easy way back. Luckily, it was short enough to be easily pushed through so you could make it to the second intersection. The first thing you notice upon entering the area is the wizard tower (pictured), and… it looks weird. Really weird. Like, look at this:
I’m not entirely sure what to make of it. Once you get inside of it, you have to advance upwards while destroying spawners on each floor. It’s a simple but solid concept for an area, and it works fairly well here – at least, there was generally enough enemies for me to fight as I moved upwards. There’s also a lot of holes in each floor’s floor, presumably to have you dealing with enemies dropping from above as you dealt with whatever was happening on the floor you were on – the only problem is, there aren’t really enough enemies for this to really work. It does at least make the environment a little more interesting. Once you make it to the top and get the clay, you need to build up with blocks yourself to get on the ceiling of the tower in order to find the next intersection. It isn’t exactly a hidden intersection, but it would’ve been great if there had been a sign telling you this, since I can see newer players totally missing it. This area again could have used a little more variation as you progressed, but it was short enough to not get boring. It did at least use two types of “wizard” enemies, one weaker version and a stronger version. That’s a step in the right direction.
Rating – 6/10
Intersection 2: It’s a simple little place, and it even has my favorite thing: A teleporter to Intersection 1! Wonderful! And a base-type place, too!
Rating – 7/10
Peaceful Valley(Yellow clay):
This area looked nice! It’s a giant plain that is more-or-less a straight shot to the wool. There’s some side-caverns with spawners and iron ore, but those are optional. The main enemies populating the plain are killer bunny spawners, in singular spawners lying out in the open. This valley is again, rather boring. Even with the “lush, green valley” setup, there’s a lot that could be done to make this area more interesting. Have a river with a bridge over it, except the bridge has plenty of killer bunner spawners, and the river is full of guardians. Have a big tower in the middle, with loot and enemies. As it is, the only things really making this area pop out are some trees here and there and the optional side-caverns – of which you only really need to harvest one. The end is the best part, with you having to scale a steep cliff face with monster spawners on it to reach the wool. But the whole area should be full of interesting challenges, rather than just having a big, boring, ceiling-less tunnel with one challenge at the end.
Rating – 4/10
The Pyramid(Lime clay):
Deaths: 1 (Blaze attack)
What a steep upwards slope! This area has an interesting concept: You’re climbing this huge pyramid, but you can’t just jump up the sides, because you’ll occasionally be stopped by barriers. So you’ll need to use enemy-filled tunnels that go into the pyramid to switch sides on the pyramid, so you can progress further. It’s a neat concept, and the tunnels are fairly interesting to play through, again using un-primed spawners well by having lots of them that you have to break before they start spawning. It even varies its challenge towards the end by using blazes and charged creepers. The main problems with it are that A: The area is entirely devoid of loot and B: The area is incredibly easy to cheese your way through – all you have to do is dig under the barrier blocks. Other than that, it’s a fine area.
Rating – 6/10
Dead Space(Pink clay):
This area had a neat central idea – at the start, you’re given a chest full of 16-minute long level 15 jump boost potions (that could easily be used in other areas; it’s generally better to use command blocks for this purpose), and made to complete a parkour-type area where you have to ascend by jumping from cloud to cloud. But that’s just the setup; doing parkour to travel upwards. In general, you want to have some more meat in the area and enemies to fight. And, this area, well… it had none. There are custom mob spawners, but none of them got a chance to spawn anything. When I stopped and waited for some to spawn so I could see them, the spawner spun up, then did its particle flame poof and slowed down again… but didn’t actually spawn anything. All the spawners in this area were either broken or didn’t get enough time to spawn (I didn’t test them all). For that reason, this area is nothing but parkour… and it gets boring quite quickly!
Rating – 2/10 for being bugged
This is a quiet little place, that actually breaks the standard somewhat by having a little challenge at the bottom, with some enemies guarding some gold ore piles. However, it doesn’t come with any teleport to Intersection 2. After the second intersection had a perfectly good teleport to the first, it’s jarring NOT to see one here, especially since the previous area was a huge parkour zone needing jump boost potions to traverse. You’re in for a lot of annoyance if you don’t want to leave your old loot behind.
Rating – 7/10 Lack of teleporter, but the gold ore challenge was a good idea
The monument! It’s perfectly serviceable, and comes with a little base to store our stuff and even some loot. Tons of food, lots of Protection II iron armor, and some good weapons. It doesn’t do anything special, again, but it’s a perfectly good monument.
Rating – 7/10
The Hallway(Gray clay):
This area was a simple, troll-type area. I won’t spoil the trap, but it’s a fairly interesting idea. Short areas with one central trap like this are good in small numbers to mix things up in the map.
Rating – 7/10
All Charged Up(Light gray clay):
This area began very slowly, with un-primed creeper spawners on platforms above lava that were easy to destroy. But as you moved down a level, the spawners down below had time to spin up while you worked on the top ones, meaning it got a little more intense. Once you made it inside to the “second” part, you were descending down several repetitive rooms, with the exact same design each time. It initially seemed boring and lazy, but once the supercharged creepers started spawning, the entire environment just got DESTROYED, and you just had to try and survive all the explosions! The second part of this area was probably the most fun I’ve had with the map, despite the lackluster starting portion of the area.
Rating – 7/10
Intersection 4: Another quiet, unremarkable little spot. But… it doesn’t have any teleporter back! Come on!
Rating – 5/10
Shurima’s Desert(Cyan clay):
This area’s start was just a giant, huge, empty desert. Gold ore was scattered about everywhere, but there was nothing guarding it. It was just a giant, empty field of nothing. At night, you could fight natural spawns, but that was it. Sure, there was the occasional lava trap, but the sand falling down would disable most of them. Having huge, giant, pointless swaths of land in a CTM map is almost always terrible. It was bad when Pantheon did it and it’s bad here. There’s no point to adding long, pointless, boring walks to get to your destination. None.
Once you made it to the “end” – a fortress consisting of two branching spawner-filled hallways, again devoid of anything interesting (or any loot), just much more filled with enemies – things got a little more exciting. At the end, you actually had a boss fight against a fairly unique boss. The only problem was that they were very tanky, and had Thorns on their armor, meaning that if you tried to fight more than one, you could die even if the boss never hit you just by thorns damage. I’ll go on a rant about Thorns and how broken it is some other time. But for now, it makes this boss much less fun than it could have been.
The boss fight was interesting, but most of this area was boring nothingness. There’s little to do except go straight to the boss, beat it, and leave. There isn’t even one loot chest in this entire area, at least that I saw! Just like Peaceful Valley, it definitely needs more going on to spice it up and make it more exciting.
Rating – 3/10
The Black Castle(Purple Clay):
The outside of this area was fairly simple. Some spawners scattered around, but nothing too threatening. The loot chests you see are the first ones we’ve seen in a fair while, and they’re the only ones in the area. Once you make it inside, it’s a giant obsidian maze consisting of many interconnected rooms filled with spawners. It isn’t terrible, but it quickly gets repetitive, especially with no loot around. Having to protect loot chests from the creepers would have singlehandedly made this area far more interesting and engaging. Things are finally mixed up towards the end, with a brief barrier maze. This area could definitely be better by having the interconnected obsidian rooms having more to differentiate themselves from each other. As it is, it gets boring fast. It was at least fairly short.
Rating – 5/10
The Void(Blue clay):
The area is as you see it before you. Catwalks and platforms, suspended above void connected by 1-block-wide pathways. It comes with all the standard issues of a void-based challenge area: That a single mistake, a single arrow, creeperblast, or even a finger slip, will send you careening into an infinite death that will irrevocably destroy your entire inventory. The difference between this void area and other, better versions of its type is that nothing is given to balance out this sudden upwards spike in difficulty, and downwards spike in forgiveness. Not a single loot chest is found throughout the area. Not one. No enderpearls, no feather falling boots, no water, no anything. This area, like Shurima’s Desert, like The Pyramid, like Peaceful Valley, like a LOT of the map, has not one chest containing a vital drop of precious, precious loot to be found. And here is where it is least acceptable.
Loot located in the areas you’re conquering is a vital part of any map. In most maps, particularly ones from the “super hard” mapmaking era, you’ll always see signs telling you to take the “fun path”. You have to take the fun path, take the fun path or you’re a bad map-player, etc., etc… And most players will take the fun path! If you asked them why, some players will puff out their chests, and spout on about honor and the importance of not ruining your own experience. However… those players are liars or fools! Any experienced CTM player knows the REAL reason.
Imagine an imaginary scenario. You have a fortress laid into a cliff. The fortress gives you a path full of ladders, stairs, and lots and LOTS of enemies that leads to the wool, placed on top of the cliff. Now… why would most people go through the castle, instead of simply digging through the cliff or building a bridge to bypass the whole thing? Sure, some mapmakers will put a bunch of ghast or blaze spawners in the roof. Unsightly, but it prods most players… or does it? The truth is, as you advance through maps, and especially as you start to reach their endgame, most players will generally be able to handle these spawners, even when they’re in midair. So why will most people choose to go into the castle? The truth is… most players know what’s in that castle. Chests. Chests containing good things which will help them in future areas! In other words: LOOT!
The loot is a crucial pact between the map’s maker and the map’s player. The player promises – unspoken, of course – not to break everything intentionally and then complain online about it being too hard/easy, and the mapmaker promises to provide them a positive feedback loop of new items for them to use or store away just in case.
But with no loot, the “fun path” turns into the “unrewarding path”. And one of the most major problems I’ve seen with the map thus far is that almost all of the loot is in safe zones everyone will encounter, clustered in large amounts – the intersections, the monument, a safe zone in front of the clay box – and very, very little is in the actual areas where you do all the fighting and effort. The last area with loot in it that I remember was All Charged Up, which had one platform full of chests guarded by a few creepers, and that was it. And to see a void area, of all areas, like this, utterly devoid of any rewards save progression for subjecting yourself to multiple inventory wipes… it hurts. At the very least, the 4-stack of skeletons and blazes you had to fight on tiny platforms at the end was interesting.
Rating – 3/10
The Pass(Brown Clay):
Located as a teleport right out of the previous void area, with no easy way back! Of course! Getting past that, the area itself is fairly simple. It’s a giant netherbrick cave, full of lava and spawners. It’s pretty much just a straight run to the wool and next intersection. Once again, no loot chests are in sight, leaving you no reason to do anything BUT sprint through it. The only really interesting part was the very end when you have to approach the wool box on a bridge, with the fleecy box guarded by 5 blaze spawners… but the spawners aren’t primed, giving you plenty of time to get in the fleecy box and break the spawners from underneath. There isn’t much remarkable about this area, and it mostly serves as a big transition between intersections 4 and 5. It could really do with some more interesting things that make you stop… like towers or side-rooms containing loot.
Rating – 4/10
The intersection begins by giving us a teleporter(yay) and giving us a book saying that this intersection is dedicated to great mapmakers of the past. Each of the map’s final areas draws inspiration from some mapmaker of the past – ColdfusionGaming, Amlup, and of course, Vechs for black clay. It’s okay to make areas as tribute, and thankfully, the areas themselves didn’t feel particularly copied. But you need to be careful not to lose your own creative spin and identity in giving tribute. The intersection itself is just boring bridges above lava, but at least it has a teleporter and base.
Rating – 7/10
The Azarian Mines(Green clay):
This area had 2 parts: A simple, boring stone cave with some trees and ponds was the first. The spawners consisted of random natural spawned enemies, buried in walls or exposed. It didn’t matter. There were a few chests around, but they only contained small portions of food, an item which the monument chests already gave in massive quantities. The second part was the titular Azarian mines, which contained lots of ore (finally, a reason to stop and clear the areas) and the clay. None of the mobs or gameplay was particularly interesting, since everything you fought were easily butchered regular monsters from spawners scattered everywhere you looked. There wasn’t much notable or unique about this area, aside from being your diamond supplier for endgame. Considering that this is one of the map’s lategame/endgame areas, it’s really too easy! It could do with some more intensity, and better loot in the chests!
Rating – 4/10
All Hypercharged Up(Red clay):
Deaths: 2 (Creeper explosions)
This area, at least, did something new! After the start you see in the picture, you entered a large bedrock tower. From there, you had to descend down multiple floors, while creepers of all types attacked you – just like Supercharged up! The difference is, while half the fun of Supercharged up was everything getting destroyed, here, we’re in a bedrock tower, so there’s none of that. Just a lot of you getting blown every which way. The first part is okay, but about a third of the way in, it introduced the new mob: Hypercharged creepers. These guys were EVIL. They had incredibly fast speed – enough that by the time you saw them, they were already right next to you. They also had no fuse timer – by the time you saw them, they were right next to you, AND they had already exploded. What’s more, they had insane damage. I had Prot 2 iron armor, and a point-blank shot could one-shot me. I could survive by blocking with my sword, but even then they would shred right through my health. All fought in the very uninteractive “bedrock hallway” environment.
My problem with these creepers is that there isn’t any good way to counter them. Their one weakness is that they have no health bar – one good hit, and they drop. But with no fuse and their extremely fast speed, the only good way of killing them is luck or stealth – and since the environment is entirely small bedrock hallways, you can’t really levy either of those options to your advantage. If the environments were bigger, or designed in ways that gave you a good way of approaching the creepers, then they would have been better off – as it is, there isn’t much to do but inevitably take them to your face and hope you survive!
The dungeon itself goes on for a really long time, and doesn’t change much – you’re in winding bedrock hallways, fighting the same 3 varieties of creepers, used in roughly the same ways. Things get monotonous, and I was ready for it to end a good while before it did. That said, these creepers were one of the few things I faced in the map that was actually a threat. Even if it wasn’t a very fair threat.
Rating – 3/10
Davion Fortress(Black Clay):
For the final area, we have a massive fortress, filled to the brim with tons and tons of spawners. There’s too many enemies to clear out all the spawners, so the area ends up being a desperate run through a fortress rapidly filling with uncountable numbers of foes. When played like that, it’s a fun enough area, though it doesn’t do much interesting. It works well enough for a final challenge. It was, at least, a challenge. I wish there was more to say about it, but there isn’t.
Rating – 6/10
And we’re done.
I saw nothing special about this map. It isn’t terrible, but it doesn’t do anything interesting either. Save for All Hypercharged Up and The Void, the difficulty is fairly low throughout, meaning it could be a good challenge for new players, at least. None of the areas felt really inspired, with most of them boiling down to one challenge done over and over… with the possible exception of Dead Space. As far as looks go, things felt interesting in the earlier parts, with valleys and big bright areas, but things felt more and more fatigued as time went on, with caves made of dark nether blocks and a reliance on bedrock and stone brick. Each area did play differently from the areas before it, but there was little variance within the areas themselves – you generally did the same thing and fought the same enemies over and over. And of course, the biggest problem with the map is that there’s little loot in the areas you’re fighting through, making everything feel less rewarding. Add more loot, and more going on in the areas in general, and something better could be made out of this map. But, altogether, this map is very average. It isn’t painful to play, but it isn’t very fun either. You could probably find other, better maps instead, and spend your limited free time playing them.
So far I have enjoyed this map. Its a great entry level CTM map which is easy enough to lure payers in that are new to the style as well as posing some challenges.
I have a video series on YouTube where me and a co-host play maps drunk. we release a video every Friday around 5PM EST, we have been playing this map the past few weeks and have made decent progress. If you would like to check it out I will post the link.
I love the aesthetic of the map! It's so neat and pretty!
My only concern (and I'm pretty sure it's not your fault) is that those enchanted books won't work in the anvils for some reason. I can't attack the Power 3/Punch 1 enchanted book to my regular bow.