The theme is pulled off very well and massive in scale, and stuff like the bit where you climb across to the tower was pretty epic, the feeling of non-linearity was nice too along with the foreshadowing-both subtle and otherwise-throughout.
There needs to be more ammo and health (an armour or two would help as well, since you only seem to get some at the end); I had to do most of the second half of the map at half health or below, which is pretty ridiculous even for unreal difficulty. More specifically for ammo I think Razorjack ammo should be cut back (maybe even remove it altogether) and then have more ammo provided for the other weapons, which I think would balance out. The DP only fight at the start was okay (and sneaking in another DP for a quick recharge if you were aggressive was a good idea) but chipping away at brutes got laborious fast, an Automag is apparently going to be provided earlier, but that won't help if there's no ammo for it.
It's apparently being worked on with effects (which I was going to suggest) but there needs to be some more story details or similar to warn about the Nali being evil; when I got the Stinger I thought the Skaarj appearing out of nowhere (also, I was able to just run away from that after and not be chased, which was what I had to do since I didn't know the flow of Skaarj could be stopped there) was some sort of design bug, until much later on when I realised how things are. Also I think spawning should be much slower; as it is you pretty much die until you find out where the Nali is and kill it before it starts, if Skaarj spawned slower and were only one or two at a time it would be a fairer element where you have to work out where they are while under periodic attack (maybe put them a little out-the-way to compensate). I liked the twist other than that, and chopping some Nali heads was cathartic (one thing I would miss if the Razorjack was gone)
There's also a trial and error element; if you fall down that pit in the house after first entering the village it's extremely hard without also having the ASMD from going out the window beforehand (or was that missing window an oversight?), I already mentioned the nature of the new foes above, and the last battle has already been said about in this thread. I liked the build up to it though; the fight with all the Skaarj in the cave was pretty fun as long as you saved up your sniper ammo for the snipers.
I think the story needs to give more guidance too; as it is I pretty much stumbled around the level and things worked out eventually, both Scrag and Waff's maps were pretty linear so I felt I was getting somewhere even if I wasn't sure where that was, since this level is more non-linear the lack of guidance for the player sticks out, especially as there's backtracking needed for one or two parts.
The various BSP issues and stuck spots around the level have already been brought up. I was amused by the "shortcut" near the start though
I liked it outside of the more unfair elements, and the theme and scale is really cool but it's hard to rank because, while I said Waff's map felt a little beta-like, it was still fully finishable and had enough polish to flow well when you knew where to go, conversely this map literally is a beta in its current form, as it's unfinishable without cheats as well as having some major gameplay balance and flow issues. I get the feeling this is the level my opinion will change most on with the finished release vs this original one.
salsaSkaarj wrote:IIRC Stakhanov (CMIIAW) has a history on USP.org.