Adopting Stellaris systems to create the best AOW 4

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Nerdfish

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Having played both AOW and Stellaris extensively I have realized both game are about exploring the unknown and the next AOW can benefit from adopting some systems from Stellaris. Here are a couple ideas, have fun.


Exploring an age of wonders: Events

In stellaris, surveys can trigger various events, from precursor races to something hidden in a blackhole. This paint a picture of a living universe where you can encounter various form of unknown. AOW4 can use this, where exploration events can fire from picking up items or clearing site. For instance, A scout picking up gold could be ambushed by bandits that left the gold out as bait, kicking off a quest chain. Alternatively, An adventuring party clearing a site realizing that the site is on top of an older ruin, transforming it into n cavern entrance of an isolated pockets filled with multiple ruined cities. The possibilities are endless.

Create an empire in your own image: Class as Ethics

Anyone who played stellaris must be familiar with the ethics wheel. In AOW, a hero leads an empire, therefore, ethics of the empire would reflect the hero’s specialization, and vise versa. This incidentally provides an excellent system for multi-classing. Each “class” would be divided into 3 ranks, adapt, expert and master. And some classes are opposed to each other. Each rank cost one point. A hero can have max of 5 points from any combination of classes, but never have points in opposing classes.
For example:

Industrial policy: Dreadnought(industrialization) vs Archdruid (conservatism)
Religious policy: Theocratic (orthodoxy) vs necromancer(heresy)

Some previous class could be changed to fit this system

Diplomatic policy: Torchbearers(cooperation) vs rogue(manipulation)

Military policy: Warlord(offensive) vs Grey guard(defensive)

Magical policy: Wizard(Tradition) vs Sorcerer(Innovation)
Note: If AOW 2 style wizards are too strong, this axis could be Sorcerer(Spells) vs Artificer(Items)

So for instance, a hero can be a dreadnought a warlord, and rogue at the same time, but not a dreadnought and an archdruid.

To clarify, the adapt rank represent T2 units and basic spells, expert unlocks T3 units and mid-game spells, and master unlocks everything for that class.

Not only this system means randomizing NPC empire becomes a matter of randomizing leader heroes, it also can create interesting politics. If a governor system exist, heroes of opposing alignment could be installed as governor of a city to produce units normally not available to the ruler. However this may lead to low morale, or even an event where the city defects or rebels. Assimilating cities conquered cities from rulers with opposing class is slow and difficult. Alliance can gradually form between rulers of the same class. A enforce ideology casus belli could force another ruler to adopt your class. The fun never ends.

Make way for a new age: District and Buildings

Practically every stellaris player had the experience of stuffing 10 labs onto a single planet. Planets could be built with various specializations in Stellaris. Unfortunately cities in AOW series are basically the same, because each building can only be built once there is really no choice in development. Planetfall introduced districts, which made things a little better but it’s still best to build district that had the highest yield on each sector.
AOW4 could allow multiple copies of a single building to exist in a city, in addition allowing buildings to be build inside districts. However the total number of buildings in a district is limited, and there may be additional restrictions for certain buildings. For example, there could be a military district with 5 building spaces. I could put 5 barracks in that district and train 5 swordsman at the same time, alternatively, I could but 3 barrack and 2 arenas and train 3 rank three swordsman at the same time. I could also put one barrack in an agricultural district and train swordsman with extra HP, but agricultural district may have a military building cap of 1, so I want a hall of champion there. Since maps are randomly generated and district layout depends on terrain, there is now a lot more room to optimize economic strategy.

… To rule the next age of wonders: Mega-structures

It is named age of wonders, so it’s not a stretch to allow players to build actual wonders. Like landmarks wonders should take up an entire sector so a district can’t build there. In additional, they are built in multiple stages. These are small drawback because wonders are extremely powerful like Stellari’s megastructures. They could also be found dotting the map in various state of decay, or even be found as quest or archaeology reward. Construction of certain wonders may be linked to classes. Here are a few examples in mind.

Wizard tower (Wizard): Extend vision and casting domain by 10/20/30/40 hexes in all directions. When competed at stage 4, extend a force-field over the city where it’s located and render the city and all armies in the city’s domain invulnerable to strategic spells.

Airship drydocks (Dreadnought): Build unique T4 flying warships. Can construct an additional unit simultaneously at each stage. +1 rank to all airships when completed.

Great Shadow Gate (Restoration only): Summon a random free T3 Shadow demon each turn per each stage of completion. When fully completed summon a free T4 demon lord every 4 turns. These units are not maintenance free and will become hostile if player is bankrupt.

These are just a taste of what wonders can do. There can again be a endless variations of them that provides resources, unique and/or free units, items, or even have unconventional functions like casting random spells at enemies and friendly armies in range.

Here are just a few things AOW4 could learn from Stellaris. Since the teams have same company it’s a golden opportunity for the developers to collaborate on some level.
 
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Nerdfish

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On the ethic as class idea, if AOW2 style wizards are too powerful, Sorcerers can be opposed to artificers,
which would be a new class that focus on creating hero items and reducing cost of Modules.
Dwellings can be wonders, which each stage unlocking more units.

A few additional ideas
For Your people, for all peoples: Racial governance as Traditions
AOW3 already have a system similar to tradition in Stellaris, that is Racial Governance levels.
Any pop with happiness level above zero should produce racial governance experience.
At 5 threshold it unlocks a governance level, and a player could choose from one of three bonus.
Besides the economic and military option that previous existed in AOW3,
I'd like to suggest a third "wildcard" bonus for each race and level.
These may be economic or military, but they are extremely different for each race.

for instance Human Champion Would have:
Military Choice: Cavalry +2 physical (same as before)
Economic Choice: Builders require 60% less gold to build structures (same as before)
New wildcard choice: Unlock Tactical Spell Heroism, Heroism restores all movement point to a Non-hero human unit and change the unit type to Hero for the battle.
(So it would not receive bonus against infantry, cavalry, machine or monster, and take only bonus damage against heroes)
High elf Deity would have:
Military Choice: Archers and Support unit ignore line of sight (same as before)
Economic choice: Great temple +5 mana (same as before)
Wildcard: forest spread from Elf cities like transforming spells (ice age, wetland, etc)
Achieving deity for any race unlocks an ascension point, which lead to ...

Restore the Age of wonders: Ascension and Ascension victory
When a ruler receive their first ascension points, they get to choose from 4 different Ascension paths.
Each ascension path has 3 stages, each requires an ascension point. unlocking a stage of ascension triggers a quest,
completing the final ascension quest win the game. There could be a 200 CP late game spell that changes ascension track.

Immortal Warrior Ascension path (Spirit of War)
This path is for ruler wishing to become a one-man army, or just stuck in endless war.
Each stage add +2 to attack, defense, ranged attack, resistance to all heroes and ruler
rulers gain +1 to attack and ranged attack for each hero they kill (accumulative)
Stage quest reward Units
Stage 1 quest: Destroy total 25,000 military power worth of enemy units.
Stage 2 quest: Visit 4 Shrine of war with a stack containing the ruler and complete challenge battles.
Challenge battles are like exploration site, where only one army is teleported to an extra-dimensional pocket to fight a randomized army.
Stage 3 quest: Challenge the Spirit of war to a duel to assume the mantle of new spirit of war.
Gain a spell to teleport the ruler (and only the ruler) to an extra-dimensional pocket to fight a 1-v-1 battle against the Spirit of War.
Winning this battle wins the game immediately, losing this battle will also lose the game immediately.

The Sacred Spell Ascension Path(Spirit of Magic)
This path is for rulers wishing to unleash one massive game-winning spell.
Each stage add +5 casting points to all heroes and +10 for the ruler
Gain "Fractured sacred spell" strategic spell that is similar to Pandemonium but its strength increases by ascension stage
(gets one additional roll per target per stage)
Stage quest reward mana and mana capacity
Stage 1 quest: Complete 6 sacred seal archeology site around the map to collect fragments of the sacred spell.
They are only visible to rulers on this ascension path. More then 6 can spawn depending on map size.
Stage 2 quest: Complete the research to reassemble the sacred spell, it's a tier 10 tech that cost 2000 knowledge
Stage 3 quest: Channel and cast the Sacred spell and become the spirit of Magic.
The base casting cost is 1000, but at this point the spell has only a 50 percent chance of working.
for each 100 casting point and mana spent the chance is increased by 5 percent.
If the spell succeed the ruler wins immediately, if the spell fails the ruler loses immediately, presumably by causing a Reality-Breaking Paradox.

The Celestial Ruler Ascension Path(Spirit of Law)
This path is for rulers building the ultimate sim-city.
Unit and building upkeep reduced by 10 percent per ascension level.
Wonders build 10 percent faster per ascension level.
Stage quest reward gold
Stage 1 quest: Build or fully Restore 3 Wonders (see previous post about wonders.)
Stage 2 quest: Construct the Unifier Beacon wonder.
Stage 3 quest: Light the Beacon and defend it for 20 turns, For the spirit of law to confer its mantle on the ruler.
The Beacon summons attackers when lit. Unlike War and Magic Ascension, failing to defend the beacon does not cause instant defeat, It's possible to try it again.
The drawback is that it's slow and cannot be rushed.

I am still thinking on the Spirit of Nature ascension path, but can't yet think of another play style. Hopefully an inspiration will come later.
 
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Nerdfish

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on the matter of ascension: It can have more or less stages depending on how long the dev intend a game to last.
As for the topic of this post ...

Rage upon the earth with the same force that created her: End-Game crisis.

Stellaris introduced Crisis as the ultimate check on player power. AOW planetfall adopted this as Voidbringer invasions.
It would be straightforward to implement this as a shadow demon invasion in AOW4 with relatively few changes.
However I'd like to expand on this matter and propose end-game crisis of a Non-military nature. Behold the Cataclysm.

Magical Cataclysm Crisis
The Crisis has zero chance of occurring before turn 100, and the chance increases by 1 percent per turn afterwards.
between 10 to 20 turns before the crisis, an event fires stating that scholars are observing unusual phenomenons in the Mana nodes.
shortly afterwards all Mana Nodes on the map explodes and transforms into void rifts.
for next 5 turns void zones form around void rifts, as a hexagonal domain centered on the void rift.
Each turn void zones expand by 1 tile in all directions. pulling the land and everything on it into the rift, converting adjacent tile into void zones.
when a tile is converted onto void, all sites, district, cities on both overground and underground layer of that tile are destroyed.
All land units in stacks without air transports, except for chaos spawn and chaos lords, are destroyed. Naval units are likewise destroyed instantly.
Chaos spawns and Chaos lords (basically huge crayfish) are native to the void, and therefore remain unaffected.
After 5 turns, the expansion of void zone slows down. for each void rift, a dice is rolled.
if the roll is below 5 divided by the current size of void rift, the void zone expands by one hex
(the chance is 100% at size 5, 50% at size 10, and 25% at size 20) otherwise it stays at its current size.
A quest is also issued to all players to prevent chaos zones from consuming 75 percent of the world.
If this happens the world collapses and everyone loses.

Fighting the Cataclysm
When the Cataclysm happens everyone receives an option to research the cataclysm, the cost is only 100knowlege and should only take a turn or two.
A event fires when this research completes, explaining that excessive usage of magic has thrown the world out of balance.
This preliminary research also unlocks two technologies, void stabilization and void barrier.

Void stabilization a tier X technology with 500 research cost, This technology unlocks the Stabilize Void Rift strategic spell.
The spell has 200 casting cost and 20 upkeep cost, and prevents a rift from expanding.
However, because it's a strategic spell, it require the rift to be within a player's casting domain, which is easier said then done.

Void barriers is another tier X technology with 500 research cost, Completing the technology unlocks void barrier towers in all district and cities.
Void barriers cost 250 gold and 50 Mana. Building a barrier in a city or district prevents any tile in the city's domain from being converted into void zones.
To clarify, the barrier does not prevent other district, or the city center, from being consumed. each tower only protect one district.
They have build limit of one per district but do not count towards district/city building limit.
The barrier does not change the size of the void rift, if it's razed, the protected area is lost.

Implications of the Cataclysm
The Cataclysm does not prevent a player from winning through normal means. However it upends the balance of power by basically erasing entire armies and cites.
To start the Cataclysm forces big empires from forming alliances with weaker neighbors, because a weak lord have little chance of researching and enacting countermeasures of their own, they have to rely on gift of technology and resource to survive. Empires in winning positions must convince those in losing position to help them win. For weak empires in losing positions, the Cataclysm gives them the choice to sabotage global effort and make everyone lose, if they just wish to see the world burn. This could be especially interesting in multi-player, if someone is losing anyway, do they still want to help someone else win, or do they want to screw up everybody. The design is of course inspired by the global warming system in Civ 6. Hopefully you found it interesting.
 

coodav

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You obviously have a passion for the game, that is clear to see, but it would appear that you are bogged down in the mechanics of this, like most who post on the subject. What I would suggest in regard to this discussion, is not to focus on the specific spells, or mechanics of the game, because those are basically impossible, but to talk about the concepts that they are using, and explain how they went right/wrong.

For instance, the district system in the game went right in a way, in that it simplified how cities were run, but allowed some agency. The game is always a balance between civilization games, which are WAAAAYYYYY too complicated, and just a node or resource system, which is too simplified. The balance was that you have up to a maximum of 4 nodes (6 if you include housing), which allows you to play civ out a little, while keeping the real focus on the fighting, which is where the game shines.

The big problem I have with this game, and it basically applies to everything, is that they left the thing half-done. Regarding cities, it seems easy enough for Paradox to add a governor that allows this to be automated, and fix the production que so that you don't have to make so many manual changes. Having to baby-sit a city every single turn, sometimes several times a turn, COMPLETELY DEFEATS the point of this simplified mechanic. I have been complaining about this since the game came out, and it was never fixed. That said, if they allowed a governor and better management of a district system, that would dramatically improve the game, just that.


Past all that the effect of the nodes should have stronger long-term consequences. Take for example food sectors. If you invest in growth, you should assume that you will eventually outproduce your opponents, though you are weaker up-front. So basically, you are investing in a stronger late-game by foregoing production now. Good theory, but that is DEFINITELY not how that works. If you invest in food for sector 1, you get your first useable population at 8, and second at 12. That means you are probably around turn 25+ when the population puts you ahead. Maybe. Most games, particularly PVP are already decided by that time. That is so far too late, that investing in food is probably the stupidest thing you can probably do in a game. It is simply not viable.

Also, just to briefly hit on the final endgame technologies and strategies, these also need to follow a pattern. Endgame technologies need to be part of the same ethos as city management, in that those who cope with being more vulnerable early-game need to be fastest to get the lategame technologies first. Basically, good management, and good unit management, allows you to more quickly build into the higher tier units.

The problem with these units here is that there are way too few of them, many are way too similar, and the relative utility of some of the lategame units are WAAYYYYY too high. There are a few lategame units that are just hopelessly busted, and the first person to get them out basically wins. This is a bit of a problem. Hopefully next time, there is a way of balancing units with a bit more vigor than was done this time. Obviously, they have a real problem. They need to balance the power of the unit with the possible flexibility of mods. This makes things 10,000 times harder, as it is very possible to make a unit OP with a few mods. So not only do they have to balance the unit, they have to balance the mods. Good luck with that, they have their work cut out for them.

Finally, they have some work to do on both the PVP and PVE scenes. I use the game to relax mostly, so me v. the computer is how I usually have it. But they way that they produced Empire Mode is sorely lacking:


Simultaneously, PVP has always been an issue. I am not going to post links, but there is a real meta-game, and it has not been terribly well conceived since launch. Many of the most egregious abuses are handled, but it is still a decent distance from balanced. Upgrading these experiences should be a major priority. I am not sure if you can achieve this through a simple list of game mechanics. This is a direct manpower commitment to the game I have not seen here in a long time.

That said, the game did a lot right, and I hope that they can advance those things further. I think the simplification of the city system is a big deal. I don't really want to spend all day micro-managing cities and picking the perfect adjacencies to min/max a city over a 1,000 hour game. That seems excessive. I think they were onto something with the balance they had, though it was sorely incomplete in its current state. If they just finished the job, that would be huge.

And the combat is getting there. I think a greater interaction with the environment would help, and more effects from the terrain would be obvious. Maybe you could capture a weapon in some nodes, or have some more diverse defensive structures / items. There are many things that I think they should consider next spin around the dial, because they got pretty close.

Thoughts?
 

Nerdfish

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You obviously have a passion for the game, that is clear to see, but it would appear that you are bogged down in the mechanics of this, like most who post on the subject. What I would suggest in regard to this discussion, is not to focus on the specific spells, or mechanics of the game, because those are basically impossible, but to talk about the concepts that they are using, and explain how they went right/wrong.

For instance, the district system in the game went right in a way, in that it simplified how cities were run, but allowed some agency. The game is always a balance between civilization games, which are WAAAAYYYYY too complicated, and just a node or resource system, which is too simplified. The balance was that you have up to a maximum of 4 nodes (6 if you include housing), which allows you to play civ out a little, while keeping the real focus on the fighting, which is where the game shines.

The big problem I have with this game, and it basically applies to everything, is that they left the thing half-done. Regarding cities, it seems easy enough for Paradox to add a governor that allows this to be automated, and fix the production que so that you don't have to make so many manual changes. Having to baby-sit a city every single turn, sometimes several times a turn, COMPLETELY DEFEATS the point of this simplified mechanic. I have been complaining about this since the game came out, and it was never fixed. That said, if they allowed a governor and better management of a district system, that would dramatically improve the game, just that.


Past all that the effect of the nodes should have stronger long-term consequences. Take for example food sectors. If you invest in growth, you should assume that you will eventually outproduce your opponents, though you are weaker up-front. So basically, you are investing in a stronger late-game by foregoing production now. Good theory, but that is DEFINITELY not how that works. If you invest in food for sector 1, you get your first useable population at 8, and second at 12. That means you are probably around turn 25+ when the population puts you ahead. Maybe. Most games, particularly PVP are already decided by that time. That is so far too late, that investing in food is probably the stupidest thing you can probably do in a game. It is simply not viable.

Also, just to briefly hit on the final endgame technologies and strategies, these also need to follow a pattern. Endgame technologies need to be part of the same ethos as city management, in that those who cope with being more vulnerable early-game need to be fastest to get the lategame technologies first. Basically, good management, and good unit management, allows you to more quickly build into the higher tier units.

The problem with these units here is that there are way too few of them, many are way too similar, and the relative utility of some of the lategame units are WAAYYYYY too high. There are a few lategame units that are just hopelessly busted, and the first person to get them out basically wins. This is a bit of a problem. Hopefully next time, there is a way of balancing units with a bit more vigor than was done this time. Obviously, they have a real problem. They need to balance the power of the unit with the possible flexibility of mods. This makes things 10,000 times harder, as it is very possible to make a unit OP with a few mods. So not only do they have to balance the unit, they have to balance the mods. Good luck with that, they have their work cut out for them.

Finally, they have some work to do on both the PVP and PVE scenes. I use the game to relax mostly, so me v. the computer is how I usually have it. But they way that they produced Empire Mode is sorely lacking:


Simultaneously, PVP has always been an issue. I am not going to post links, but there is a real meta-game, and it has not been terribly well conceived since launch. Many of the most egregious abuses are handled, but it is still a decent distance from balanced. Upgrading these experiences should be a major priority. I am not sure if you can achieve this through a simple list of game mechanics. This is a direct manpower commitment to the game I have not seen here in a long time.

That said, the game did a lot right, and I hope that they can advance those things further. I think the simplification of the city system is a big deal. I don't really want to spend all day micro-managing cities and picking the perfect adjacencies to min/max a city over a 1,000 hour game. That seems excessive. I think they were onto something with the balance they had, though it was sorely incomplete in its current state. If they just finished the job, that would be huge.

And the combat is getting there. I think a greater interaction with the environment would help, and more effects from the terrain would be obvious. Maybe you could capture a weapon in some nodes, or have some more diverse defensive structures / items. There are many things that I think they should consider next spin around the dial, because they got pretty close.

Thoughts?

Simply do away with multiplayer entirely, at least at launch. In my view it's impossible to have balance without sacrificing fun. Stellaris was a great single-player game at launch, and most age of wonder games are played in single-player. TBH most players do not even touch MP, it's very hard to play a turn-based game online anyway. If next AOW can have innovative and fun mechanics, getting rid of MP entirely is not too much of a sacrifice.
If enough people request it, it can always be added on later.
 
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coodav

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Simply do away with multiplayer entirely, at least at launch.
Really? I don't know. The PVP crowd is big, has had a lot of influence on the game, and reeeeeally into it. Way more than the PVE crowd, I bet. I don't know the numbers, but the activity on the PVP side is like 100X here. They have their own forums, discord, and everything. If you blow that crowd up, I bet you'd wish you didn't.

In my view it's impossible to have balance without sacrificing fun. Stellaris was a great single-player game at launch, and most age of wonder games are played in single-player.
Maybe, but remember, this game has a following. The strategy element makes it different than others. Serious strategy buffs play this like are basically the game. The game is not global at it's core, but battle.

If enough people request it, it can always be added on later.
That wouldn't hurt my feelings too bad, cuz I only do it once a year, but here's the thing... I really wish it would be balanced b/c of the computer. We need a computer that is as good at this game, in all it's complexities, as a human. So don't lose the balance. Up the computer gameplay until it is as good as a human. Do some AI machine learning thing or something. Make this chess, and DON'T skip the balance.
 

Nerdfish

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Really? I don't know. The PVP crowd is big, has had a lot of influence on the game, and reeeeeally into it. Way more than the PVE crowd, I bet. I don't know the numbers, but the activity on the PVP side is like 100X here. They have their own forums, discord, and everything. If you blow that crowd up, I bet you'd wish you didn't.


Maybe, but remember, this game has a following. The strategy element makes it different than others. Serious strategy buffs play this like are basically the game. The game is not global at it's core, but battle.


That wouldn't hurt my feelings too bad, cuz I only do it once a year, but here's the thing... I really wish it would be balanced b/c of the computer. We need a computer that is as good at this game, in all it's complexities, as a human. So don't lose the balance. Up the computer gameplay until it is as good as a human. Do some AI machine learning thing or something. Make this chess, and DON'T skip the balance.
The Multiplayer crowd may be big from personal perspective, but it's relatively tiny compare to players that play alone.
If you look at AOW Planetfall global statistic, 56.2 percent of player who have the game have some kind of achievement, and 2.6 percent player have won a multiplayer match. so 4.6% of players who played the game played multiplayer in some way. For Aow, 3.2 percent of players participated in a PBEM game, and 63.7 percent of players have some kind of achievement, which suggest 5 percent of players play multiplayer. Multiplayer scene may be very vocal and disproportional invested, but objectively speaking they are relatively tiny. SP players can also be extremely passionate, Stellaris Steam workshop have tens of thousands of Mods, including entire ship sets. Making compromises for the 5% at expense of the 95% is putting the horse before the cart.
 
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Nerdfish

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A Journey of a thousand miles begins at your feet: Origins

Origins has been one of the most entertaining system in Stellaris, it adds flavors to otherwise similar empires. Since empires in AOW are defined by their leaders, origin becomes background for Lords. Here are a few of them to showcase the idea, I will post more as ideas arise.

Contender for the Throne
Your royal blood is troubled by the long line of siblings ahead of you. Perhaps founding a new domain will finally convince your parents and your people that you are worthy of the crown.
This is the default origin, like Prosperous unification, it’s powerful, versatile and mind-numbing generic.
Requirement: Human, Elf, Dwarf
Effect:
- Start with a rank 3 Royal Guard unit, a T4 version of the T3 racial unit that absorb damage from nearby heroes.
Royal Guards cannot be recruited, but can be obtained as quest rewards.
- Receive royal quests rewards Renown or Royal Guards
- Can Purchase Racial units from Home kingdom with renown, much like the empire mode

Rite of Passage
The Current Chieftain and Elders hold you in high regard since you were a mere cub leading a pack of hunters. However younger warriors in the tribe view you with envy. Perhaps Founding a new home for your people will finally prove your strength in their eyes
Requirement: Orc or Draconian
Effect:
Same as Contender for the Throne, except that Royal Guard is called Chieftain's Guard for tribal factions

The Favored Daughter
The Matriarch had always favored you over the other daughters. That's probably why they had plotted to send you on this expedition, to meet your end in an accident away from the court. With help of Mother, you are determined to make their plan backfire
Requirement: Female, Frostling or Dark Elf
Effect:
Same as Contender for the throne, except that for Matriarchal factions this option is only available for female lords.

Tigran have a fairly unique version of the "default" origin, but I am still thinking about it.

The Pirate Prince
Tired of the easy life at the court, you slipped away to find adventure on the high seas. Recently tired of rum and plunder, you set your sight on grander things
Yarrr...
Requirement: Human, Rogue to some degree
Effect:
- Capital spawns near water if able
- Warships (any units with the "ship" keyword, including juggernaut and air galley) have water concealment
- Embarked unit have fast movement
- clearing a site may reveal a "buried treasure" archeology site that rewards gold and items
- can clear Pirate Cove spawnners with influence
- Can Produce swashbuckler Unique units
Swashbuckler
Tier 2, Infantry,
- Have fire pistol and throw net
- Free Booty: Have no upkeep for three turns after wining a battle
- Corsair embarkation: Embarking cost only 1 move point. Embarking the Unit transform it into a Corsair warship with stat similar to a Frigate.
- Corsair have Fire Carronade ability, same damage as fire cannon but has a short range.
Corsair is considered a ship, and have Swashbuckler embarkation ability, transforming back into a Swashbuckler at cost of 1 move point.

The Runaway Princess
You were always expected to be the sacrifice in a political marriage. But your fate changed, one day, when idly looking out of window, you spotted a neighboring lord cutting a gallant figure."
This is Common Grounds with a fantasy twist
Requirement: Female, Human or High Elf
Effect:
- You start as an Ally of a male Lord, but no military units.
- You occasionally receive gifts from your Prince
- Random quest to impress your Prince
- Reaching level 10 starts the marriage quest, if the relation is high enough.
- Marriage quest is either sending the Prince a large amount of gold, or crafting a ring. Declining the quest breaks the alliance.
- Completing the marriage quest Confederates the prince, which absorbs their empire into yours.
- Confederating the Prince enrage your parents, spawning a large army that will attack and occupy your capital.
- Defeating this army to earn your parent's approval, which will complete the quest chain and reward gold and items.

Obviously there are ought to be a large number of origins. I am currently thinking of the others, and will post them if any idea matures.
 
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Sebadoh

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I have 1000+ hours in on Stellaris. And in that time I have developed a true hate-hate relationship with it. I'm on the verge of getting AOW: P, but all of these Stellaris comparisons are making me hesitate. I'm a long time 4X gamer who also loves XCOM style tactical combat.
 

coodav

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I wouldn't worry about that too much. Just know that in this game, there are some limitations. Once you get really good, the game's nature, and unfortunately flaws, come through. But it is quite a challenge until you get there. It is cheap too, so why not. It can be fun. Like 80% off or something, I think.
 

Nerdfish

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Got inspired for a few other origins, so without further delay. Going to add an unique unit to pirates because they are awesome.

The Mercenary Captain
Some royal bastards are raised by wolves, others by mercenaries. For the last couple years business has been lean for the world's second oldest profession. But you smell change in the air, the wind of conflict is blowing. It's time to make a killing, one way or the other.
It's a play style that has nearly no momentum, huge armies could be raised instantly for a particular goal, and disbanded when no longer needed.
Requirement: Warlord to some degree
Effect:
- Units from natural sites, e.g. dwelling or inns are 50 percent cheaper
- Units can be offered in diplomatic deals.
- Disbanding units returns 50 percent of gold cost.
- Gain "Raise Mercenary" Unique strategic spell.
Raise Mercenary:
Target Friendly city, Cost 20 Gold, Upkeep 10 Gold
(It's a spell, so it still cost 20 casting point, but cost gold instead of Mana)
Units in Targeted city cost 50 percent more gold, and 0 production.

The Next Khan
Since a child, you had dreams of vast plains of grass, of thundering hooves and throaty Warsongs. You do not understanding why everyone view you with spite and fear, But one day, you swore, they will all pay.
The marriage of one of AOW2's favorite races, and a recurring Paradox Meme. Perfect for roleplaying as Khal Drogo, or just being a time bomb.
Requirement: Human Male (I do not remember if Nomads had female leaders),
Only one lord on the map can have this origin.
- minus 300 relation to all lords
- start with 3 tier 2 nomad units in addition to normal human units
- start with nomad Caravan builder unit.
- Trigger "return of the Nomads" event between turn 40 and 50.
Nomad Caravan:
Builder, Machine, Nomad, tier 3
Unarmed unit that unpack into a Nomad camp dwelling on friendly or neutral sectors. The camp trains nomad units and can be packed back up.
Return of the Nomads
10 turns before this event, everyone receives a warning that a large horde of Nomads are approaching.
Sometimes between turn 40 and 50, 3 Stacks of Nomad units, each between 1500 and 2000 strength, spawns at the edge of the map under the Khan's command.
Each of these armies are lead by unique Nomad heroes. The Next Khan get the message that "The Khan is dead, long live the Khan",
and gain the ability to summon stacks of 6 random nomad units with a strategic spell (500 Gold)
Everyone who isn't an ally or has a defensive pact with the Khan declares war on the khan automatically.
 
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Mourioche

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Stellaris perhaps is a good game, i don't know because i've never played it,
I've never played it because it is not a turn by turn system.

First, I was inclined to buy it, but as i learned this is not a turn by turn, i've changed my mind.

If good elements are in this game, ok why not use them in AoW4 is you think it is good,
But never make a "continuous time" system for a next AoW !
Never !

A turn by turn system is by far better because you have time to think your moves,
With a continuous time system, you always should stop time to do that and
- There is no fun in that.
- This become worst than a turn by turn system
A turn by turn is also better because it is more realistic : in 4x we do not deal with time in seconds but time in days, weeks, months, years.
Even if all events constantly happens even with fast events, you always have days to take decisions.
So, turn by turn is more realistic.

If i want to play a "continuous time" system, i play RTS.
I can do that, i've already play tournaments with some of them, like Starcraft 1
I do not want to find this in a 4x.
This is not adapted.

Then, i've never played Stellaris but i know what is this game, i've readen articles and watched some video.
Also, i've played a lot to AoW-SM and AoW_PL
And, i like ideas Nerdfish written and i'm agree with him.
 
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Sarmatian

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Benefit is the game, the gameplay.
You need something else ?

That's a completely nonsensical answer.

That would imply that adding features is always a positive regardless of how many features there already are, how those features works, do they complement or conflict with other features etc...

If you have an idea for a feature, first thing you should do is explain why it is (in your own opinion) a good idea to have it in game. What does it add to the gameplay, how it makes the game more fun/accessible/deep/strategic... , why is it better than what we already have?
 

Mourioche

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I understand what you speak about,
But consider that Nerdfish has written is a first draft.
All development start with this,
Details are also importants because if a good idea is bad implemented, this become something bad.
We can see this in all computer development, but also in writing of laws, and everywhere...
But consider this as a first draft ? a first steep is mandatory.

adding features is always a positive regardless of how many features there already are
Not totally agree but understand what you tell, you may add feature in order to modify previous features, and obtain something else.
I have in mind "big" mod who completly redefine some games.

And, the term "positive" is relative to each of them.
Each of them have its own idea about what a game should be.
You said "regardless of how many features there already are" ok, but it is sometime the purpose of mod : modify idea someone do not agree.
In this post, Nerdfish speak about to modiify or define the "regardless" part itself, may be ?
 
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Sarmatian

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I understand what you speak about,
But consider that Nerdfish has written is a first draft.
All development start with this,
Details are also importants because if a good idea is bad implemented, this become something bad.
We can see this in all computer development, but also in writing of laws, and everywhere...
But consider this as a first draft ? a first steep is mandatory.


Not totally agree but understand what you tell, you may add feature in order to modify previous features, and obtain something else.
I have in mind "big" mod who completly redefine some games.

And, the term "positive" is relative to each of them.
Each of them have its own idea about what a game should be.
You said "regardless of how many features there already are" ok, but it is sometime the purpose of mod : modify idea someone do not agree.
In this post, Nerdfish speak about to modiify or define the "regardless" part itself, may be ?

You obviously didn't understand what I was talking about.

There is a huge list of ideas. So, we heard what he thinks SHOULD be in the game. I want to know WHY he thinks that. What benefit do they bring?

I can say: "I want giant spaghetti monsters in the game!", but after that, I need to explain how would that improve the game.

Just listing ideas, in a way I want this, and this, and this, and this is pointless
 
Leviathans

Nerdfish

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We are but Motes of Dust: Leviathans

Stellaris had introduced giant enigmatic monsters that adds a lot of excitement to exploration. They are a lot of fun. Since age of wonders have a grid-based combat system, they have to be introduced with some changes. The implementation would be similar to bosses from King’s bounty. For references


Leviathans are essentially units of tier 5-10. They all take up multiple hexes in tactical combat and some have unique combat mechanics. Each tier doubles the strength of the unit, However military strength of Leviathans are displayed as a skull.

  • Tier 5 Leviathans: Take up 3 Hexes, can be found in neutral roaming and guard stacks.
  • Tier 6 Leviathans: Take up 3 Hexes, can be found in neutral guard stacks.
  • Tier 7 Leviathans: Take up 7 Hexes, can be found in exploration sites and dwelling defenses. It is its own stack, but spawn with up to 1 stack of supporting units. Have multiple weak points (hexes with separate health bars and status).
  • Tier 8 Leviathans: Take up 7 Hexes, can be found on high level exploration sites, is its own stack, but always spawn with up to 2 supporting stacks. Have multiple weak points.
  • Tier 9 Leviathans: Take up 19 Hexes, have unique battle maps, are fought in multiple phases: each time the Leviathans is defeated, it changes into a new form, and the map changes with it. Have up to 3 supporting stacks and multiple weak points. Can be optional victory conditions in campaign missions.
  • Tier 10 Leviathans: Are their own scripted battle maps, must be defeated in shadow of the colossus style. Exist only as part of the story line and does not spawn on random maps.

A tier 9 leviathan is as powerful as 32 tier 4 units. They will put up a fight even when completely surrounded by late-gate armies. Tier 8 leviathan has strength of 16 tier 4 units, but they are found inside exploration sites, and posses the ultimate challenge for the hero stack.
Here’s an example to illustrate idea:

The Origin Spider (Tier 8)

A myth which speaks of a nameless horror that live beneath the earth. The mother of all spiders. It lives in the nightmares of Arachnophobic and treasure hunters, for few who have witnessed it lived to tell the tale.

This Leviathan 4X150HP leg segments. 1X300HP head segment and 1X540HP body segment.

Unit abilities:
Animal, Living, Fire weakness 50 percent, Leviathan (The unit is treated as a flier for the purpose of tactical movement. Each part of units are vulnerable to different status effects)
Entourage: 1-6 baby spiders + 1-6 queen spiders.

Head Hex: Defense 20 Resist 15,
Vulnerable to:
Bleed, Blinded, Brain rot, Broken spirit, Daze, Dazzled, Frostbite, Exhausting fatigue, Frozen, Immolated, Hinder regeneration, impaired, Lessened Vision, Misfortune, Immolated, Scorched, Shocked, Stunned, Weakened, Frozen
Passive: Critical(destroy the unit when lost), Head (applies own broken spirit, daze, dazzled and stunned status to all hexes.) Devour whole
Active ability: Colossal bite (25X3), Gas breath

Body Hex: Defense 16 Resist 10
Vulnerable to:
Bleed, Frostbite, Exhausting fatigue, Frozen, Immolated, Hinder regeneration, impaired, Misfortune, Immolated, Scorched, Shocked, Stunned, Weakened, Frozen
Passive: Critical(destroy the unit when lost), Torso (applies own Exhausting fatigue, weakened, and stunned to all hexes). Path of Webs (Create webbed terrain when moving over tactical combat, any walking unit entering webbed terrain must save or become webbed)
Active ability: Web Spray(4 hex cone breath does no damage but inflict webbed and create webbed terrain) Slam(single strength 35 physical attack against unit directly under this hex), Rapid birthing (Spawn a random Baby spider unit for each enemy destroyed by Devour whole.

Legs: Defense 16 Resist 10
Vulnerable to:
Bleed, Frostbite, Exhausting fatigue, Frozen, Immolated, Hinder regeneration, impaired, Misfortune, Immolated, Scorched, Shocked, Stunned, Weakened, Frozen, Slow
Passive: Leg (Each Frozen, Stunned, or destroyed leg reduce movement radius by 25 percent) Colossal trample (Units it moves over takes 20 physical damage.) Reflexive block (50 percent chance of transferring ranged damage from the from head to frontal legs and from torso to rear legs, providing that a leg have movement point and health remaining. )
Active ability: Impaling crush (Physical 20X3, counter-attack only)

This monster is designed so that different classes must tackle it in different ways. Some class will have to use AOE damage to destroy its legs, some classes will try to keep it stunned and looted, while others will try to melee the head. Regardless, it will take a powerful late game stack with experienced heroes to stand a chance. Any other forces encountering this thing is better running as fast as possible.

Leviathans are pretty complicated, I will post more as I come up with them.
 

BloodyBattleBrain

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  • Warlock 2: The Exiled
We are but Motes of Dust: Leviathans

Stellaris had introduced giant enigmatic monsters that adds a lot of excitement to exploration. They are a lot of fun. Since age of wonders have a grid-based combat system, they have to be introduced with some changes. The implementation would be similar to bosses from King’s bounty. For references


Leviathans are essentially units of tier 5-10. They all take up multiple hexes in tactical combat and some have unique combat mechanics. Each tier doubles the strength of the unit, However military strength of Leviathans are displayed as a skull.

  • Tier 5 Leviathans: Take up 3 Hexes, can be found in neutral roaming and guard stacks.
  • Tier 6 Leviathans: Take up 3 Hexes, can be found in neutral guard stacks.
  • Tier 7 Leviathans: Take up 7 Hexes, can be found in exploration sites and dwelling defenses. It is its own stack, but spawn with up to 1 stack of supporting units. Have multiple weak points (hexes with separate health bars and status).
  • Tier 8 Leviathans: Take up 7 Hexes, can be found on high level exploration sites, is its own stack, but always spawn with up to 2 supporting stacks. Have multiple weak points.
  • Tier 9 Leviathans: Take up 19 Hexes, have unique battle maps, are fought in multiple phases: each time the Leviathans is defeated, it changes into a new form, and the map changes with it. Have up to 3 supporting stacks and multiple weak points. Can be optional victory conditions in campaign missions.
  • Tier 10 Leviathans: Are their own scripted battle maps, must be defeated in shadow of the colossus style. Exist only as part of the story line and does not spawn on random maps.

A tier 9 leviathan is as powerful as 32 tier 4 units. They will put up a fight even when completely surrounded by late-gate armies. Tier 8 leviathan has strength of 16 tier 4 units, but they are found inside exploration sites, and posses the ultimate challenge for the hero stack.
Here’s an example to illustrate idea:

The Origin Spider (Tier 8)



This Leviathan 4X150HP leg segments. 1X300HP head segment and 1X540HP body segment.

Unit abilities:
Animal, Living, Fire weakness 50 percent, Leviathan (The unit is treated as a flier for the purpose of tactical movement. Each part of units are vulnerable to different status effects)
Entourage: 1-6 baby spiders + 1-6 queen spiders.

Head Hex: Defense 20 Resist 15,
Vulnerable to:
Bleed, Blinded, Brain rot, Broken spirit, Daze, Dazzled, Frostbite, Exhausting fatigue, Frozen, Immolated, Hinder regeneration, impaired, Lessened Vision, Misfortune, Immolated, Scorched, Shocked, Stunned, Weakened, Frozen
Passive: Critical(destroy the unit when lost), Head (applies own broken spirit, daze, dazzled and stunned status to all hexes.) Devour whole
Active ability: Colossal bite (25X3), Gas breath

Body Hex: Defense 16 Resist 10
Vulnerable to:
Bleed, Frostbite, Exhausting fatigue, Frozen, Immolated, Hinder regeneration, impaired, Misfortune, Immolated, Scorched, Shocked, Stunned, Weakened, Frozen
Passive: Critical(destroy the unit when lost), Torso (applies own Exhausting fatigue, weakened, and stunned to all hexes). Path of Webs (Create webbed terrain when moving over tactical combat, any walking unit entering webbed terrain must save or become webbed)
Active ability: Web Spray(4 hex cone breath does no damage but inflict webbed and create webbed terrain) Slam(single strength 35 physical attack against unit directly under this hex), Rapid birthing (Spawn a random Baby spider unit for each enemy destroyed by Devour whole.

Legs: Defense 16 Resist 10
Vulnerable to:
Bleed, Frostbite, Exhausting fatigue, Frozen, Immolated, Hinder regeneration, impaired, Misfortune, Immolated, Scorched, Shocked, Stunned, Weakened, Frozen, Slow
Passive: Leg (Each Frozen, Stunned, or destroyed leg reduce movement radius by 25 percent) Colossal trample (Units it moves over takes 20 physical damage.) Reflexive block (50 percent chance of transferring ranged damage from the from head to frontal legs and from torso to rear legs, providing that a leg have movement point and health remaining. )
Active ability: Impaling crush (Physical 20X3, counter-attack only)

This monster is designed so that different classes must tackle it in different ways. Some class will have to use AOE damage to destroy its legs, some classes will try to keep it stunned and looted, while others will try to melee the head. Regardless, it will take a powerful late game stack with experienced heroes to stand a chance. Any other forces encountering this thing is better running as fast as possible.

Leviathans are pretty complicated, I will post more as I come up with them.
I like all of these, and would also like that every so often these go rampaging, like the independent hero stacks that would appear in AoW3.
 
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