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Caravel Forum : DROD Boards : Holds : Witherwood Castle (Each level themed around a particular monster or idea.)
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7.6/10 (42 votes)
σ 2.30
Author Name:Roger
Submitted By:calamarain
Hold Name:Witherwood Castle
Theme:Each level themed around a particular monster or idea.
Author's Difficulty:
Number of Levels:15
Number of Rooms:213
Number of Monsters:5410
Version:DROD: Journey to Rooted Hold
High Scores:View High Scores
Hold Karma:9 (+9 / -0)
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File: Witherwood Castle.hold (5.5 MB)
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This is the first hold I've created. I didn't want to do a little "This is my first hold" project, so I tried to make it as full as possible. There's fifteen full levels (one of them is secret), increasing in difficulty as you go through. The first few are themed around a particular monster or idea, the final ones are mixed bag. Similar in style to JtRH and KDD. Each level is graphically themed as far as can be done in JtRH.

The hold has a storyline, individual characters and voice acting for them. It is reasonably straightforward, though quite difficult in some places. It does not contain either the Slayer or Halph, just Beethro and a metric buttload of monsters, puzzles and other things.

Many thanks to those who did voice acting, and beta testing.
06-19-2007 at 10:28 PM
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Stephen4Louise
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Since I seem to have discovered a little problem with the hold upload system let's use this thread to discuss the hold and pretend this never happened -_-

Anyway.....

We are on a roll these days, this is another excellent debut hold and I am looking forward to seeing what calamarain comes up with next.

Keep up the good work.

Steve.

[Last edited by Stephen4Louise at 06-19-2007 10:49 PM]
06-19-2007 at 10:48 PM
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calamarain
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First person to complete the entire hold (and PM me about it) gets modpoints as a reward :) Sorry, but beta-testers have to be excluded from this for obvious reasons.

Also, what exactly happened with the upload system? :) Request to board admins - can all but this topic please be deleted? Thanks.

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[Last edited by calamarain at 06-19-2007 11:12 PM]
06-19-2007 at 11:10 PM
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tokyokid
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This is an extremely excellent "first" hold. Very enjoyable rooms, all the way down to the end. The voice acting adds a lot to the hold also. Especially the guy who rhymes!

I definitely had fun playing this hold and can't wait for your second hold! Great work!

But what I'd like to know is: where are the highscores?

[Last edited by tokyokid at 06-19-2007 11:40 PM]
06-19-2007 at 11:39 PM
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Oneiromancer
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quote:
calamarain wrote:
Also, what exactly happened with the upload system? :) Request to board admins - can all but this topic please be deleted? Thanks.

I don't want to delete all the extra holds until Schik has a chance to see why the bug happened and fix it. So the evidence will stay only until he gets home tonight, hopefully.

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06-19-2007 at 11:53 PM
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Chaco
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Ah, this is that hold I've been hearing so much about. And it has voice acting! I'll start right away.

I highly recommend that people play this if they've got the time.

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06-19-2007 at 11:57 PM
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Tahnan
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It's a testament to his presence on the boards that, even though it's his first hold, I saw who built it and said, "Oooh, calamarain, cool!" Downloading now, playing soon...
06-20-2007 at 12:12 AM
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calamarain
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quote:
Tahnan wrote:
It's a testament to his presence on the boards that, even though it's his first hold, I saw who built it and said, "Oooh, calamarain, cool!" Downloading now, playing soon...


Yay fame! Or infamy, at least.

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06-20-2007 at 12:15 AM
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Bobpie
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nice hold.

[Last edited by Bobpie at 06-20-2007 03:01 PM]
06-20-2007 at 01:26 AM
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NiroZ
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quote:
Bobpie wrote:
anyone see like 11 of these on the hold fourm?
btw, nice hold.
Yeah, it's all a publicity stunt ;)

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06-20-2007 at 01:28 AM
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gamer_extreme_101
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This hold is amazing. I'm on the Laboratory right now, and I'm loving every minute of it.

My only comment so far: Wraithwings are a natural inhabitant of the Eighth as opposed to a Imperially created creature. However, that's such a minor annoyance I can barely hold it to you.

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06-20-2007 at 03:35 AM
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jbluestein
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A very good showing, particularly for a first-time hold.

Rooms are well-crafted. No unpredictable scripting. Scripting appears to all work correctly. Puzzles are both fun and visually appealing.

I give this hold an 8 and 4.5 brains.

Josh

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06-20-2007 at 11:21 AM
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Jason
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Haven't nearly completed the hold yet, but it's quite fun so far. I might change my vote later, but for now I give it 4 brains and 8 fun. Very good first hold, calamarain!

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[Last edited by Jason at 06-20-2007 06:27 PM]
06-20-2007 at 06:14 PM
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Chaco
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After devoting much time and effort, I have finally conquered (not mastered) this hold. 213 rooms is a lot of rooms, people.

More specific comments a bit later.

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06-22-2007 at 11:16 AM
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Yellow_Mage
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quote:
calamarain wrote:
Yay fame! Or infamy, at least.


Definitely fame. *repeatedly clicks fingers*

It's a very good hold that has a decent play time, with voice acting. Very satisfying playing.

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06-22-2007 at 06:31 PM
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iamyum
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It's a fun enough hold that I've devoted so much time at, until I got a headache playing the lower dungeon level and realize there are still three more levels to go.

Phew, fun, good job~
06-25-2007 at 04:26 AM
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calamarain
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quote:
iamyum wrote:
It's a fun enough hold that I've devoted so much time at, until I got a headache playing the lower dungeon level and realize there are still three more levels to go.

Phew, fun, good job~


Well, sort of. The last level is secret :P You have to master all the secret rooms to get there.

Any particular room you're stuck on?

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06-25-2007 at 06:29 PM
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iamyum
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Phew....... finally conquered (not yet mastered)!!!!! When I meant headache I usually mean it figuratively. Last night I was at the point of almost throwing up, so I knew it was time to stop~ :D None of the rooms are overly devilish, yet with my last day of CaravelNet before expiry, I've managed to steal many 1st place before [almost immediately] taken away by Tahnan, jennman, and fatropea (and others). Nevertheless, fun, amazing major undertaking, and I should write more specific reviews later. (head slightly hurts now~)
06-26-2007 at 07:50 AM
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Chaco
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I have post-mastered the hold.

Overall, I'm very glad that calamarain has joined the architectural community. The contribution of this hold is quite an accomplishment.

However, I was also rather disappointed while playing through. Yes, there were some puzzles that I liked. Yes, the story kept me going. And yes, uncommonly-used elements such as seep got entire levels of attention.

The one thing I'd have to say about this hold that really grates upon me is that it's depressing. There are rooms full of trapdoors and arrows. There are long bomb mazes. There are tunnel mazes. There are rooms with lots of trapdoors and gates and confusion. There are rooms with the tiring slog of an extremely long hack-and-slash, with no puzzle whatsoever. There is "here, have a whole bunch of serpents." And there is orb puzzle. These rooms all fall under the category of "the player knows what to do but really really does not enjoy the process of doing it because it takes too long".

The Armoury level is awesome. There are guards, and obviously there have to be a few rooms where you have to fight a lot of them, but there are also rooms with lynchpins and interesting uses of their movement pattern.

The Cold Storage level is not awesome. There are really long horde management rooms, a long bomb maze, a few rooms that are probably longer than they should be (Once North Once West definitely loses all of the challenge after the first part of the room) a few rooms that just don't bring anything new to the table, and a secret room that has no tarstuff at all.

I'm not saying that I don't enjoy bomb mazes and hack and slash. But I'm saying that I want to see them in a form where I have to actually consider things instead of blindly maneuver for five hundred moves or so.

Overall, I'm pleased, but I think that calamarain needs to be kinder to the player.

Finally, I don't think there's anything for me to say about the Labyrinth, except that I have a map if anyone needs it. I, personally, do not enjoy labyrinths.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go blow up Ledric repeatedly.

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[Last edited by Chaco at 06-26-2007 08:33 PM]
06-26-2007 at 08:31 PM
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calamarain
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quote:
Chaco wrote:
I have post-mastered the hold.

Other stuff about hold, snipped for length



Thanks :P *feels his ego growing and arrogance rising*. FOOLS! I'LL CRUSH THEM ALL!. Ahem... sorry about that. Mad scientist moment.

Those are all very fair points. Firstly, allow me to raise the standard excuse (and yes, I know it's an excuse not a reason ;) ) that it's my first hold.

You're quite right about the tar level. It was quite unimaginative, I believe I made a lot of the rooms on it on too little sleep. I wasn't really thinking up cool puzzles, just churning out rooms. My bad. I'll spend more time on the tar/mud/gel stuff in future, making it interesting.

Regarding the orb puzzles, I did try to be kind-ish to the player. All of the pure orb puzzles were solvable from any configuration you could put them in... but I do admit that the secret room in the Abandoned Chapel might have been the teensiest bit sadistic... O:- The bomb/orb/door mazes were a little evil, I admit. The trapdoor puzzles... that's a personal preference. I happen to really enjoy arrow/trapdoor puzzles, but I know I'm in the minority in that one.

I'm surprised you liked the Armoury, I thought it was a bit on the repetitive side myself - many many puzzles around manipulating guards rather than fighting them. Then again, if such a puzzle isn't common in DROD holds, I can understand why you liked it.

Regarding the Labyrinth... I have no sympathy for you :P The game warned you repeatedly not to go down there and that it was pure evil. *giggle*. Blow up Ledric all you like, I spent some time getting the death-scream just right ;-)

All valid criticisms - I was a bit harsh on the player. I'll do my best to improve for my next hold. If I break 8 on the voting, I might even try to make a Smitemaster's Selection... Try being the operant term ;-) I suspect I'll need at least another full hold's practice first.

Or, to moderate the evil side, I might try and do a dual project with someone else.

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[Last edited by calamarain at 06-27-2007 12:35 AM]
06-27-2007 at 12:28 AM
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Chaco
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Actually, labyrinth - not so bad. I spent way more time fumbling around with that huge room with the trapdoors, arrows, and spiders. You know the one.

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[Last edited by Chaco at 06-27-2007 01:30 AM]
06-27-2007 at 01:29 AM
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calamarain
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Chaco wrote:
Actually, labyrinth - not so bad. I spent way more time fumbling around with that huge room with the trapdoors, arrows, and spiders. You know the one.

Click here to view the secret text



There's a reason for that
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06-27-2007 at 02:03 AM
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CuriousShyRabbit
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I finally arrived at the Gift Shoppe...
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As would be expected for the castle of a wealthy and eccentric lord, the presentation of this hold is impeccable. I'm impressed with the author's attention to detail - a story, voice acting, a crazy butler who speaks in rhyme, beautifully color coordinated rooms, and themed levels. The player feels very welcome into this environment.

However, I sympathize with Chaco's feeling about many of the puzzles. I feel good at the moment when I've figured out how to solve a puzzle; the execution of the solution is secondary to me. With the exception of a few rooms, I spent more than 90% of my time in this hold carrying out relatively straightforward plans. A less experienced player would probably enjoy the puzzles more.

Two of the rooms that stand out for me:
The Armory 1N (and its relatives Calscioman's Vault 1N2W and 2N) - playing this series of rooms noticeably improved my guard manipulation skills. Thanks for the lesson!
Calscioman's Vault 1N1W - When I first saw this room, I hated it!!! Changed my mind after solving it, though.
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A very fine job, calamarain! Looking forward to your next project. :)
06-27-2007 at 08:55 AM
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Tahnan
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quote:
Chaco wrote:
These rooms all fall under the category of "the player knows what to do but really really does not enjoy the process of doing it because it takes too long".
Still playing--OK, replaying, having lost all my progress in an unintended 3.0.2r2 upgrade that rassrfrassrfrickingrumble anyway. But a quick note:

My main problem with the hold isn't anything along these lines, but rather that much of it looks quite familiar. The long doomed snake wrapped around monsters for timed releases; the queens on the far end of walking up and down through wrong-way force arrows; the trek across a field of small walls selectively blocking inward-facing eyes who mustn't be awakened; the simultaneous manipulation of multiple mimics on separate islands of trapdoors... These are fairly specific room types, and with these (and many others) I had a serious sense of having played the room before in some other hold.

That said: this isn't an unforgiveable sin. I am enjoying the hold, admittedly in part from the optimizer's perspective, but enjoying all the same. The writing has been excellent, and the layout attractive, both of which have gone a long way to making up for the occasional lack of innovation, and even the familiar room types have been well-executed.

More as I (re-)progress.

EDIT: Upside to replaying eight or nine levels: occasionally I can look at a room and say, "While I'm here, I wonder if I can beat my previous score." I've been able to do that for around ten rooms in the first six levels, and that's for a hold that I thought I was optimizing the first time through.

Downside: looking at a room, deciding it's just not worth the effort to optimize, playing through without any particular care for how long I'm taking, and thereby beating my previous score anyway. Most recently, beating second place by about forty moves, though of course I have no idea what my score was previously. It doesn't speak especially well of my careful optimizing planning...

[Last edited by Tahnan at 06-27-2007 03:10 PM]
06-27-2007 at 02:47 PM
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calamarain
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*nods* So my story and presentation/polish were good, but the main problem with the hold is that some (ok, more than some ;) ) of the rooms are straightforward and can get a bit boring.

OK. Next hold, I'll make sure that it's a lot more original, even if it's a lot shorter as a result.

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06-27-2007 at 03:12 PM
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Rheb
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quote:
calamarain wrote:
OK. Next hold, I'll make sure that it's a lot more original, even if it's a lot shorter as a result.


I haven't played through this hold (yet). But I wanted to say that I often like to play through long holds. OK, there’s a lot of badly donned long holds, and it's just boring to go through them. But good long holds, like Simons Dungeon, or Phil’s Dungeon often satisfy me more than short holds I think is really great, like the SSSlitherin holds.

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06-27-2007 at 03:42 PM
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Dex Stewart
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In Laboratory 2N2E, a queen is missing a force arrow (: .

You see, I already told him about it during beta... (:
06-29-2007 at 02:11 PM
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Dex Stewart
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Calamarain just won points big time in my eyes. This hold gave me my first(not tied) 1st place ever :) .
06-29-2007 at 03:50 PM
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Jason
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Good Job! Sorry to spoil the fun, but it's gone! It wasn't me.

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06-29-2007 at 04:41 PM
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calamarain
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quote:
Dex Stewart wrote:
In Laboratory 2N2E, a queen is missing a force arrow (: .

You see, I already told him about it during beta... (:


I remember :P But I decided it wasn't critical, so I left it.

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06-29-2007 at 04:43 PM
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