Age of Wonders: Planetfall – Dev Diary #15: Promethean Secret Tech and Doomsday Victory

Age of Wonders: Planetfall – Dev Diary #15: Promethean Secret Tech and Doomsday Victory

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LennartGS

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Secret Technologies

Next to the main faction, players select a Secret Technology at the start of the game. Secret Technologies are experimental, forbidden research projects that originated from the collapsed Star Union.

These Tech groups unlock additional Units, Mods, Ops and Doctrines, as well as powerful Doomsday Weapons, which form the Tech Victory of the game.

Secret techs actually are secret at the start of the game; you’ll only start to see which techs other players have when they deploy their weapons.

The first tech we’ll be looking at in Detail is Promethean.

Poster.jpg


Promethean Background

The Star Union deployed the Promethean Division to cleanse worlds of empire-destabilizing threats. PyrX was originally developed to immolate planets infested with Xenoplague, but it was rumored the tech also saw use against worlds with contamination of a more ideological type. The mere sight of the Promethean emblem instilled terror.
  • Deploy weapons of mass destruction
  • Settle in inhospitable places
  • Shield units and colonists from Armageddon
The Promethean Division was established in reaction to outbreaks of Xenoplague, an out of control bio weapon developed by TerraTech Industries. The Prometheans developed a secret tech called PyrX that could ‘purify’ planets from this Xenoplague. PyrX gas was pumped into the atmosphere, and once it was saturated, a catalyst reaction was triggered causing a cascade of fire which engulfed the world. This would lay waste to the surface, destroying all life, and making a clean slate suitable for terraforming on the fertile ashes.

Prometheans operated from Phoenix Vaults; massive underground complexes, completely isolated from the rest of the planet. After the planet was purified, the Prometheans would re-emerge, rising from the ashes to rebuild in the name of Star Union.

screen2-e06593f901295389bdc900d8093814d7eabfe57a24f42d00502693b9ea8e66fb.jpg


Seeing the potential of this devastating power, the Star Union started to employ the Promethean division for a wider range of applications. This lead to the development of more specialized technologies, as the Star Union used the Promethean division to ‘purify’ rebellious colonies, alien nests and other places of opposition.

But that is all history, Promethean Divisions with their bunkers were well suited to survive the great collapse. Now they must rebuild and face the threats that linger in the ruins of the Union.

Units
Promethean Units are good at exterminating biological life and shield units from thermal and biological damage.


- Plasmoid: These are fire drones that can teleport into groups of enemies to use their point blank fire weapons to incinerate them.

Plasmoid.jpg

- Purifier: Flame throwing exterminators.
Purifier.jpg

- Aegis Tank: Projects shockwaves (kinetic for a change). Effective against air units. Has fallout shields that protect all adjacent hexes. These shields can be boosted with seperate ability.
AegisTank.jpg

- Phoenix Walker: Huge, armored walkers that spray the battlefield with firestorms.
PhoenixWalker.jpg


Techs

- Phoenix Flash Strike (Strategic Operation) Localized PyrX deployment; engulfing a sector in fire; damaging all units. Changes Sector to Badlands. Damages units with Thermal Damage

- PyrX Absorption Panels (Unit Module) When standing in Fire, the unit heals faster and does increased damage.

- Phoenix Colonization Protocols (Doctrine) Ignore effects from Sector Hazards and Badlands Clime.

- Pyrx Bomb (Tactical Operation) Spreads a choking cloud in target area, lowering damage and accuracy; the cloud detonates in the next turn causing thermal damage. (See gameplay stream). This basically is the Doomsday Effect at a small scale.

- Phoenix Defense Protocols (Doctrine) Units get defensive bonus within domain and Colonies have a big bonus on Strategic Op Defense

PyrX.jpg

Updated Research Interface!
Doomsday

Doomsday is the tech victory of the game. The type of doomsday is determined by the player’s chosen Secret Tech, some are actually nice and not weapons of mass destruction. All doomsday weapons trigger over the same number of trigger stages, allowing rival players to recognize and counter the process.

  • Research Initiation Phase

  • Build Three Doomsday Structures in the provinces of three individual Colonies; in the Case of Promethean, these are called PyrX Refineries.
PyrXRefineries.jpg

Two PyrX Refineries build in Colony Provinces

  • After constructing the first structure you have the ability to launch doomsday operations which target enemy cities. As you build more structures, the effect of these colony operations is strengthened. In the case of Promethean this Operation is called is the PyrX Fumigation Procedure.

  • Then you research and launch the Doomsday Finisher Operation, in the case of Promethean this is the Planetary Purification, which targets the entire map with the effects of PyrX Fumigation.
PyrXPurificatin.jpg

The atmosphere fumigated with PyrX Clouds
  • As the power of the Doomsday builds, you’ll need to defend your Doomsday structures for 10 turns. If a player captures one, then the timer is paused. If the player then manages to raze the structure, the Doomsday stops all together; and the Finisher finisher needs to be re-launched once you have the re-acquired 3 structures.

  • When the counter hits 10 the Doomsday triggers. The planet’s surface turned to ash and victory is yours. Hurray!
 
Last edited:

Fenraellis

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May I be the first to say that I love the new attention to detail for technology icons(different per tech now, as well as just nice looking), and even the wispy heat haze and smoke around some of the Promethean units.

The flavor texts are also rather excellent, as usual, along with the introductory bit of lore provided.

Doomsday looks like a rather interesting variation on the Unifier Victory(special structures in multiple cities) and Seals Victory(holding control points) combined.

So their lineup includes a T1 wisp-like unit, with negligible defenses, except for fire aura damage backlash, and it's phasing/blinking ability also does damage on arrival(and presumably ends the turn, rather than allowing an additional action). We didn't see this unit in the unit list shown in the livestream, though. Was it not enabled at that time, considering we saw the other three Promethean units? One might imagine it is otherwise available to be produced by default, due to the lack of a Forces tech for it, unless it's a combat summon type unit specifically(also explaining the lack of showing in the list)

On a related note, on this unit, and the Aegis Tank and Phoenix Walker, I noticed that their Psionic Resistance is now a value of 2, which I imagine extends to the generic Mechanical resistances of units as a whole. Was it hurting the effectiveness of Psionic units too significantly(2 being 19% damage reduction compared to 4's 34% reduction)?

A circumstantially vulnerable T2 Infantry(1 Armor, but against Thermal/Bio it has 3 defense rating, which is average to above average), with only single-fire attacks, but good damage on the one attack. Also, probably bonus effects on one or both of them, such as burning.

A very durable support-tank unit. I mean, wow. 5 base defense rating on a T3 seems to be 1 above average, with an even further 7(!) against Thermal damage. Nice try hurting that with Thermal attacks, at a whopping 72% damage reduction value! With a host of interesting abilities, and notably the quote "Effective against air units."

The Phoenix Walker, we've seen this before, but it looks much more menacing now, with the lighting effects, the different stance, and the wispy smoke. It's constructed slightly differently now, too, with longer weapon barrels:
(picture courtesy of Tibbles)


That PyrX Flash Strike is a scary anti-city Operation, but I really do like how the damage is scaled as a percentage of current health now, instead of a direct kill-spell.

Overall, a good view of the Promethean Secret Tech, and even some new information to consider on the side as well.
 
Last edited:

Truewhit

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A very nasty way to die. I am surprised citizens whould not rebel when hearing what their leader has in store for their planet.
 

mr_stibbons

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Are there going to be any side effects to the doomsday project while the countdown is running? Filling the atmosphere with choking, explosive gas can't be fun even before it ignites.

Did the psi resistance for vehicles just go down to two?

Is the purifier changing based on what race you build it as? What does being vanguard grant it?

What exactly do the fallout shields do? These screenshots would be more fun if we could look at tooltips. You might want to consider trying to move more information to the unit card, like the range/accuracy of attacks, or a larger abilities pane. Everything we're looking at is only around half the full list, while scrolling in AOW3 wasn't necessary for anything but the most complicated units.
 

Truewhit

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Are there going to be any side effects to the doomsday project while the countdown is running? Filling the atmosphere with choking, explosive gas can't be fun even before it ignites.

Did the psi resistance for vehicles just go down to two?

Is the purifier changing based on what race you build it as? What does being vanguard grant it?

What exactly do the fallout shields do? These screenshots would be more fun if we could look at tooltips. You might want to consider trying to move more information to the unit card, like the range/accuracy of attacks, or a larger abilities pane. Everything we're looking at is only around half the full list, while scrolling in AOW3 wasn't necessary for anything but the most complicated units.
I think they avoid providing tooltips due to all the stats not being finalized.
 

mr_stibbons

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I think they avoid providing tooltips due to all the stats not being finalized.
I get that, but there are times where the unit isn't properly explained without tooltips-for instance what's the difference between firestorm and torrent of flames on the phoenix walker? Is the higher damage firestorm on cool down? Does the lower damage torrent have superior range or aoe? As pretty as the models are, I'd like some clarity on how the unit is supposed to work.
 

Fenraellis

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Is the purifier changing based on what race you build it as? What does being vanguard grant it?

What exactly do the fallout shields do? These screenshots would be more fun if we could look at tooltips. You might want to consider trying to move more information to the unit card, like the range/accuracy of attacks, or a larger abilities pane. Everything we're looking at is only around half the full list, while scrolling in AOW3 wasn't necessary for anything but the most complicated units.
For what it's worth, in the livestream, the Purifier was the only Promethean unit with had the word "Vanguard" before the unit name. Perhaps implying the other three don't benefit from any particular biological shared traits which might exist. Vanguard don't have any special one for their units, as far as we know, but the Kir'Ko Swarm Shield trait may be limited to Biological units such as the Purifier.

On your second point, it would likely be worth it for the Devs to consider consolidated Climate Recovery and Expedited Movement traits, which when moused over would list the types. In the trait panel itself, they could probably show the applicable climate and terrain icons, matching sector detail icons, as a summarized view, with the mouse over tooltip actually listing them by name and effect)
Especially since it appears research eventually gets your units access to all of them anyway, somewhat clogging up the trait list. Poor Amazons (maybe Dvar, too, with Mountains?) with the bonus Forest movement to start, but maybe it stacks, if it's a flat movement cost reduction, turning Forests into Logistics-like Roads for them with the research being completed, too.
 
Last edited:

Tombles

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I don't have time to answer people's questions properly right now, but a couple of quick notes:

1) The screenshots of the units were taken while all research was unlocked, this is why the units have a bunch of extra abilities like Expedited Movement Forest, and stuff like that.,
2) We're aware that the list of unit abilities is becoming overloaded, and we're hoping to look into solutions for it soon!
 

Fenraellis

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I get that, but there are times where the unit isn't properly explained without tooltips-for instance what's the difference between firestorm and torrent of flames on the phoenix walker? Is the higher damage firestorm on cool down? Does the lower damage torrent have superior range or aoe? As pretty as the models are, I'd like some clarity on how the unit is supposed to work.
For better or for worse, such information was generally lacking with an at-a-glance view in AoW 3 as well, requiring mouse overs for tooltips there, too. Areas of effect, range, cooldowns, bonus status effects, etc.

As for the two abilities you mentioned specifically, if you look carefully, Firestorm has flame icons going in all directions, whereas Torrent of Flame has the flames all going in a general frontal cone shape. From that, we can likely extrapolate that Firestorm is an attack effecting one or more radii worth of all tiles around the unit, and Torrent of Flame is a cone attack similar to breath attacks and flamethrowers from AoW3.

That being said, they may certainly have different special modifiers attached to them as well, and likely have different cooldowns(1 turn for Torrent of Flames, 2 for Firestorm?)
 

Jean-Luc

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I love that the "tech victory" has gameplay effects and isn't just something you click your way to after spamming research centers. Great iteration on the "ultimate spells" from AoW3.

This is more of a "philosophical" question I guess but do you find it risky using the same primary resource (energy) for buildings/units *and* operations? Previous games had separate unit/building and magic economies (few exceptions aside) and I feel there was a reason for it. It was so that players didn't have to choose between spells and units (summons count as spells for the purpose of this discussion) and could use the full capabilities of their faction, both magical and mundane. It also meant that spells and construction/training didn't have to be balanced against each other. Now that you might have to choose between a PyrX Flash Strike and a few more T3s (just an example) you risk either specific units or operations being marginalized by the other and a slew of balance issues cropping up, not just units vs units but also units vs operations and the myriad of combinations this brings. Was Cosmite perhaps originally planned to be a mana replacement? Don't mean to be a doomsayer but I could see this being a "hidden tiger" of a problem in the future.
 
Last edited:

Fo Ren G

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Oof. Turning someone's Capital Colony province into a scorched badlands is quite a way to say 'I declare war on you'

Also, I can already imagine the reverse XCOM situation of a squad of Hidden on a deep-strike mission on a PyrX Refinery in an effort to prevent the end of the world.
 

Calm

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This is more of a "philosophical" question I guess but do you find it risky using the same primary resource (energy) for buildings/units *and* operations? Previous games had separate unit/building and magic economies (few exceptions aside) and I feel there was a reason for it. It was so that players didn't have to choose between spells and units (summons count as spells for the purpose of this discussion) and could use the full capabilities of their faction, both magical and mundane. It also meant that spells and construction/training didn't have to be balanced against each other. Now that you might have to choose between a PyrX Flash Strike and a few more T3s (just an example) you risk either specific units or operations being marginalized by the other and a slew of balance issues cropping up, not just units vs units but also units vs operations and the myriad of combinations this brings. Was Cosmite perhaps originally planned to be a mana replacement? Don't mean to be a doomsayer but I could see this being a "hidden tiger" of a problem in the future.
In the same space, the reverse is one of my grumbles (amid a sea of excitement!) about Planetfall---how strategic/tactical operations aren't connected. In AoW 3, learning to gauge when you needed a short-term boost vs when you could invest for the long term was a neat factor of gameplay. It was also what first encouraged me to pay more attention to leveling heroes to get access to crazy battlefield spells while still having casting points.

So when I think of energy being the currency for both operations and units/buildings, it doesn't worry me much. It just means players would have to become adept at discerning what they really need at that moment.
 

Aleksandria

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The skills clutter is definitely a little wild, but it seems like lots of the issue is similar but distinct abilities- different types of recovery/expedited movement and so on. A solid fix- if the system allows for it- might be combining them under categories when there are multiple, for either distinct abilities (recovery, expedited movement and so on) or on benefit (defensive, recovery, mobility, combat, innate) that when moused over will open a list of relevant traits the unit has. Basically like any toolbar you would find on a web browser or document manager.
 

oasisbhrnw

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Very cool stuff, I look forward to turtling until I can set the world ablaze. Also, that first screenshot with the Phoenix Walker and the terrifying looking alien is brilliant.
 

Ridixo

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Great Dev Diarie. Just... are those water sectors?
Anyway, interesting idea that secret technologies are in fact secret, that and the race/tech combination could lead to nasty surprises. Just two question: In the lore of the game and the description of certain techs there is terraformation, so if the scorched land strategy is taken too much by a player with Promethean technologies it can lead to the planet being terraformed? That could be very bad for the other players, but a real advantage to the Promethean player, like in AoW3 the "Land of X" spells. Also, you need to build at least three PyrX Refineries™️, i get that but you can also build lets say one per sector to have a better advantage when the enemy come to try to impede your efforts to just start a flame in their hearts?

some are actually nice and not weapons of mass destruction
This are not DOOMSDAY DEVICES :(
The planet’s surface turned to ash and victory is yours. Hurray!
This are DOOMSDAY DEVICES :)
 

YaumeLepire

If Entities Had Glasses
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Jan 10, 2016
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Meh... Purification by fire is not my favourite kind. Ascending my empire to a higher state of being or creating a planet encompassing hive-mind is more my style.

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