The map uses hexagonal grid, but the contours are twisted enough that it doesn’t look artificial. Here is one game map in the post-victory replay, I was the little green on the bottom:
This is the standard game screen, after clicking “keep playing” after the victory (click):
But the specifics of the game are not the topic of the post today, but “story mode”. This is playing a series of handmade maps, connected by cinematics. I hate it. Why? Because it forces me to play one way. I’m locked to one clan (each can s different, go goats!) and one way of winning. The map is scripted and I must find the one way to win. It’s a fixed puzzle to solve. I quit on the 4th map and would have probably abandoned the game if my introduction to the game wasn’t my brother playing random map.
There are various ways to win (see tomorrow) and the map is machine generated. Sure, there are basic designs, like mountains creating protected backyards and the starting zone is relatively safe (you don’t get undead next door who kills you in the 5th minute). However every map is different and you must adapt. I like that much better.
This is one thing that always bothered me in MMOs, RTS-es, MOBA-s and FPS-es: fixed maps that you can learn. I hated to restart the story map after a defeat, just to win by knowing what will happen and preparing before I could know it in-game. I hate fixed build orders and lanes and everything. I want to adapt. I want to improvise.
It really feels like every decision in Northgard is a meaningful choice. I lose most games I start, because it’s hard. And it keeps it interesting. I have 38 hours already and I’m not going to stop.
I really think that games should use more randomized content. However I also think that the morons and slackers would hate if they couldn’t just watch a youtube video and repeat its steps to win.