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Random Map is a game feature that allows the computer to generate a map based on the given settings. The Random Map can be made directly in-game as well as on the Map Editor.
How Random Maps are formed
- There are several rules that Random Maps always follow, these include, but are not limited to the following.
- Player owned towns will often spawn on their native terrain. The only exception is Necropolis (often starts underground on Subterranean if the map is 2 layers) and Dungeon (often starts on dirt).
- The players starting towns start with a tavern, a village hall, the level 1 dwelling, sometimes the level 2 dwelling and almost always a Fort. Players can occasionally spawn with two towns each, but most commonly one town. Neutral towns start with the same as the player towns, but with no tavern and sometimes no Fort.
- A sawmill and an ore pit will always spawn within close proximity to all player-owned starting towns. However, due to the naturally generated obstacles around the towns, the walking distances to these resource generators sometimes becomes very long, especially on larger maps.
- Creating a random map before selecting the players' starting heroes will result in some heroes being unavailable as starting heroes because they will be placed in the prisons scattered across the Adventure Map.
- The players' starting heroes will usually start at level 1, but sometimes on higher levels. This can only occur if the player's hero was chosen by the player before the random map was created. Should this happen, it will cause one of the prisons on the map to be empty, because the player's starting hero were meant to be locked in there. The highest level a hero can start in is 20. This is likely a bug, and has been removed in the Horn of the Abyss expansion.
- All Random Maps are filled with resources, mines and almost everything that can be found in the adventure map category. There are however some structures that never appear on the world map, such as Border Guards, Border gates, Quest Guards, Keymaster's Tents, Freelancer's Guilds and Taverns.
- Spell Scrolls are very common and will spawn both with and without guards. The guarded spell scrolls will contain level 2-5 spells, while those that are not guarded contains level 1 spells. The level 2-5 spell scrolls are often poorly guarded even when the monster strength is set to "strong" (an Implosion scroll can spawn with as few guardians as 24 serpent flies)
- The Map will often contain prisons, where heroes with 0, 5000, 10000, 15000 or 20000 experience are located.
- There are roads on all Random Maps, connecting most portals, Subterranean Gates and towns.
- The world map is divided into regions, where each region has a certain terrain and oftem accommodate a certain faction that is native to that terrain. For example, a region with Grass terrain might contain one or more Castle towns and Castle Creature Dwellings, and all creature rewards from Pandora's Boxes and Seers' Huts in that region will contain Castle creatures. Neutral troops can be guarding the roads between regions depending on what the Random Map's monster strength is set to.
- Wandering Monsters on random maps are set with the aggressiveness level "Hostile", meaning that they will almost never join a hero unless the hero has Diplomacy. This happens regardless of the monster strength that the creator of the map has declared. Creatures spawned by Special months are the only exception; these creatures are more likely to join heroes, and can do so without the use of Diplomacy.
- Guarded Pandora's Boxes frequently spawn across the map containing:
- 5.000, 10.000, 15.000 or 20.000 Experience or gold (the box gives experience 40% of the time, and gold 20% of the time)
- All Spells of either a certain level, or belonging to a certain school (the box gives spells 20% of the time).
- A number of creatures, ranging from 250 (Peasants) to 3 (High level creatures) (the box gives creatures 20% of the time).
- The rewards are proportional to the strength of its guardians (the stronger guardians, the greater reward).
- Note that the box may sometimes appear to be empty when opened, and thereby disappear without giving any reward. If this happens, it means that the Box contained spells that your hero either were unable to learn (due to the lack of a Spell Book or a sufficient level in Wisdom) or already knew.
- Seers' Huts spawn with no guardians, searching for a random artifact usually somewhere on the map. In return for the artifact they, they give rewards from a reward pool similar to that of the Pandora's Boxes (with the exception of spells, which they don't give at all). Creatures are given approximately 50% of the time, while Experience and Gold are, respectively, given approximately 25% of the time.
- Unlike the Pandora's Boxes', the Seers' Huts' rewards are not proportional to the artifact they look for (it is for example possible that they give 3 Archangels for a Centaur's Axe, but merely 30 Harpy Hags for the Mystic Orb of Mana). Instead, the rewards are proportional to the guardians of the artifact. For example, a Seer's Hut can give as many as 5 Devils for the nearly worthless artifact Cards of Prophecy if it was found on the map being guarded a strong group of monsters (such as several hydras). As such, if you find a common inexpensive artifact with powerful guardians on a Random Map, you can expect that a Seer will look for this artifact and give a significant reward in return for it.
- If a seer is looking for a particular artifact, that artifact will almost always be present somewhere on the Random Map, but never more than 1 artifact of the same type will spawn in this case. Note that Seers always will accept the type of artifact they are looking for, even if it was not found on the adventure map. This makes the Artifact Merchants structure in the Dungeon, Conflux and Tower town extra valuable on some Random Maps.
- The rewards can include the following:
- Creatures: The creature rewards range from small rewards such as 80 Troglodytes, 50 Wolf Riders or 35 Obsidian Gargoyles, to larger rewards such as 15 Mighty Gorgons, 10 Champions, 5 Devils or 1 Rust Dragon. Measured in AI value, these rewards range between about 5000-25000 in total.
- Gold: 5000, 10000, 15000 or 20000
- Experience: 5000, 10000, 15000 or 20000.
Customizing Random Maps
Before creating a Random Map, the player can specify how it will look.
- The player may choose between Small (36x36), Medium (72x72), Large (108x108) and Extra Large (144x144) map size.
- The player may choose between one or two levels on the map. The underground layer will never contain water, only Subterranean and occasionally Lava (if an Inferno town is located there, as they will spawn on lava terrain). The overworld can contain anything except Subterranean terrain.
- Human/Computer Players
- The player may choose how many human players can be avalible on the map. Up to eight players may be in the game (humans and computers included).
- Computer Players
- The player may choose the amount of computer players that is on the map. These players can only be played by the computer AI.
- Human/Computer Teams
- Between 1 and 8 human or computer teams can be choosen by the player.
- Monster Strength
- The player may choose the neutral monsters to be weak, medium or strong. Choosing weak will cause most mines, dwellings and artifacts to have no guardians, while choosing strong will cause all mines (except sawmills and ore mines), all artifacts (except Spell Scrolls) and all primary skill increasing structures (like Mercenary Camps) to be guarded.
- Water content
- The player may choose between no water at all, some water, or islands. Choosing islands will cause the majority (75%) of the map to be covered with water, leaving each player with an own island. All islands will have a Shipyard and very commonly portals connecting the islands to each other.
- The Random Map will sometimes spawn with water even though "no water" was not selected.
- Sometimes a player will spawn completely surrounded by obstacles, making it impossible to reach him/her unless fly, Dimension Door or Angel Wings is avalible.
- This bug is very rare on smaller maps, but occurs occasionally on larger maps.
- Resources, artifacts and Pandora's Boxes will sometimes spawn with insufficient obstacles around them, making it possible to take them without defeating their guardians. This can easily be game-ending if, for example, a player manages to find an unguarded Pandora's Box containing 20,000 gold.
- Valuable resources, mines or Pandora's Boxes will sometimes spawn with no guards at all.