Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Dev Diary #31: Landmarks

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LennartGS

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Hi there, time for this week’s Planetfall development journal. This time we’ll pick up discussing the locations you might encounter on the worlds of the Star Union. Last time we had a look at sites you encounter in the early game. This time we take a look at the Landmarks. After colonies, they are the most important class of structures found on the world map providing. They can be captured (or traded) with other players without taking over a full colony.

All landmarks are themed around the history of the Star Union. We have the Elysium Parks - Las Vegas type entertainment centers. There are ruins of the lavish Governor’s Palaces and Then there is black-sites associated with each of the Secret Technologies. Check out the screenshots below for their look and function.

Here are the main rules surrounding the Landmarks on the World Map:

  • Landmarks are key structures that are sector-dominant. It means that they take up an entire sector and no city can be founded there. Landmarks can be acquired by annexing their sectors to one of your Colonies.
  • Landmarks come in three power levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold Landmarks.
  • Landmarks provide an economic boost to your cities when annexed, of course the amount depends their level and exploitation type.
  • One annexed, you immediately get the flat incomes listed in the structure panel.
  • Landmarks come pre-specialized in one of the four exploitations: Food, Energy, Production or Research. Bronze starts at level 1, Silver at level 3, Gold at level 5. This means landmarks are a shortcut in empire building, but at the same time mean a loss of flexibility for that sector. Prioritize capturing one which one fits with your plans.
  • Silver and Gold Landmarks unlock a unique doctrine when added to a colony. Of course, the Gold Doctrines are stronger.
WmapPsi.jpg


WmapSynth.jpg

Spaceport.jpg


Landmarks and Combat:
  • Landmarks need to be cleared from Marauders that have set up camp there. To add to challenge, the adjacent hex rule doesn’t apply so you have to go in with a max party of 6. This results that the higher tier landmarks must be saved for later in the game. To add to the challenge, the defenders also are upgraded with mods as the game progresses.
  • Many Landmarks have inherent Battlefield effects, adding to the challenge. For some examples, see the combats screenshots.
  • Landmarks have a one-time clear-reward themed to the site. They involved a mix or resources, units and or hero items.
  • After being annexed, Landmarks are considered sector province bases meaning Militia Upgrades also spawn defenders on them. The Combat Effects now work in the owner’s favor.
  • As Landmarks are Sector dominant, combat maps for Landmarks are now more important then their equivalents in Age of Wonders 3. You can attack and steal landmarks from other players. Landmark combat maps are defender-favored. After being annexed they have a city-siege like layout with troops deployed in lines. Combat maps tend to be loaded with hazard obstacles. The Void Landmark for example contains explosives that cause Void Instabilities on nearby units.
TCXeno.jpg


TCPromethean.jpg


When rebuilding the Star Union, you’ll have to harness the ruins of its past.
 

Fluksen

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Those combat maps sure look pretty! Can you give a ballpark number of how many of those will be in game? Do they also have some random elements or do they have a fixed layout?
Also there is a typo in the description of spaceport tactical integration: "We can bring make pinpoint tactical strikes..." ;P
 

LordTheRon

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Wow, those combat maps look really nice. Great flavour to these Landmarks. I wonder how many different Landmarks we're able to discover.

Edit: haha, crossposted with Fluksen and it seems we feel very much the same about this journal. :)
 

Latieon

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Amazing, the Landmarks really look important and dangerous, nice to see many new untis too. I like the idea that landmarks can be conquered and you can defend them.
The artstyle of the Psynumbra look fantastic, really sinister. Sythetic are what i expected, they are hackers:
hack.jpg

But their goal is strange, which fit otherwise perfect to the Kir'ko.
 

TheGrinningMan

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Can we expect to see our favorite *cough* "entertainment" robots as marauders for Elysium Peaks?

But their goal is strange, which fit otherwise perfect to the Kir'ko.

My first thought as well. I wonder if Kir'ko/Synthesis will get a lot of synergies? We know the Kir'ko psionic hive mind provides a lot of group buffs -- if Synthesis networking does likewise, the combination of the two could be absolutely killer.
 

Latieon

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My first thought as well. I wonder if Kir'ko/Synthesis will get a lot of synergies?
The Synthesis hero, two Dev Diary ago, had two arc weapons, one of them affect vehicles with a status effect. I'm pretty sure that Sythesis are all about the arc-damage channel, a channel that Kir'ko don't support. But this isn't a disadvantage, with the Synthesis Secret tech, the Kir'ko will have something powerful against vehicles.
 

mr_stibbons

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Are the buildings unlocked by landmarks locked by rarity? Also, are they only available in the controlling city or empire wide?
 

Ridixo

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Wow, the battles look great, a lot better than in AoW3, and even then they were amazing :)

So the sith temple of ominous ominousness that we saw some DD ago was the forbidden library? Great! And it's related to one of the techs you can use. The colossus of the shadows looks really nice, already want to send some of them to my enemies. Just there is something that worries me: What use are this structures if you commander don't have the necessary secret tech? If your commander use Psynumbra and you clear the library great for you, but what about a Phoenix tech commander, will get anything at all. While he can't use the principal feature of the landmark at least he gets the cleaning one-time bonus, right?
 

mr_stibbons

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Only the doctrine directly benefits a secret tech. You would still get the income, citizen slots, building, and loot.
 

BloodyBattleBrain

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While he can't use the principal feature of the landmark at least he gets the cleaning one-time bonus, right?

the secret tech reduction is not the principal feature, that's just a bonus.

ahhh...@mr_stibbons ninja'd me.

Also, are they only available in the controlling city or empire wide?

This means landmarks are a shortcut in empire building, but at the same time mean a loss of flexibility for that sector.

After being annexed, Landmarks are considered sector province bases


I understand this is as meaning the landmark affects the city only, and no other city.


That badass looking "Black Psynumbra Giant" on the 1st picture - Can we add him/it to our army during the game? Please, answer this question. Please, please, PLEASE!


If it is part of the secret tech then I imagine you get it...he does look big, and mean, and capable, ergo probably NOT your first unit.
 

HTG2931

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Two thoughts:

Really like the idea of a 2 turn timer on the maurader abilities. Prevents you from taking too much damage against a weaker force, simply because you attacked.

I have concerns about the balance of linking the landmark operations to specific commander types. If you are lucky enough to have a landmark that matches your type right next door, what are the odds that you are going to steamroll someone who does not? Any chance to have a map creation option to force place matching landmarks on map creation?
 

BBShockwave

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Great ideas! So basically the "lairs" of Age of Wonders 2-3 are now sector buildings which stay on even after conquered and provide important bonuses. Having their hazard work FOR you, not against you seems like a great deal.
Nice to see Psynumbra units and buildings, man they are eerie. Like Hellraiser mixed with the Chthonic Void of Grim Dawn.
And we get to see some Xenoplage units, so those tentacled things seen in the first screenshots belong there!
 

Draxynnic

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Two thoughts:

Really like the idea of a 2 turn timer on the maurader abilities. Prevents you from taking too much damage against a weaker force, simply because you attacked.

I have concerns about the balance of linking the landmark operations to specific commander types. If you are lucky enough to have a landmark that matches your type right next door, what are the odds that you are going to steamroll someone who does not? Any chance to have a map creation option to force place matching landmarks on map creation?
First, you need to get in. Some of those defenders look high-tier and you can't just swamp them with numbers...
 

AC1632

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The Synthesis hero, two Dev Diary ago, had two arc weapons, one of them affect vehicles with a status effect. I'm pretty sure that Sythesis are all about the arc-damage channel, a channel that Kir'ko don't support. But this isn't a disadvantage, with the Synthesis Secret tech, the Kir'ko will have something powerful against vehicles.
We can reasonably assume that Synthesis involves techs to turn biological units into cyborgs.
The Kir'ko's entire lineup is biological, so you could potentially have the option to completely dictate which of your units are considered cyborgs for damage purposes, likely adding armour in the process. This is all speculation, but I could definitely see a savvy Kir'ko Synthesis player completely customising their units with Borg-like precision to match the strengths and weaknesses of their intended targets.
 

Fo Ren G

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I love the "Cannot Prospect" on the Psynumbra Sanctorium, made me picture some Dvar "Adeptus Mechanicus"-like division. But also the Synthesis Network and the Spaceport don't have that restriction, so the can be prospected?
 

nvc for the soul

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This looks wonderful! I like that some Landmarks provide a unique doctrine.
I wondered:
1. How unique are these landmarks? eg. how many 'Gold landmarks' will there be on average on a medium map? and how many of these Gold landmarks are unique to the map?
2. How do the number of landmarks scale to the map-size? eg. on a very small map, is it possible that some landmarks are not present?
3. Will there be map-options to control the relative occurrence of landmarks? and options to control the type of landmarks occurring?
4. Will there be map-options to control the relative strength of defenders of landmarks? (like in AOW3)
I hope for many map-options; in order to support many different playstyles.
 

HTG2931

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First, you need to get in. Some of those defenders look high-tier and you can't just swamp them with numbers...

Good point, but high-tier filled landmarks two hexes from your home base (that should be able to pump out it's own high level units relatively efficiently) is totally different from a landmark 25 hexes away.

The more I think about it, the more it seems like this is an opportunity to throw some cool options into the game setup. For balance, there could be an map generation option that forces all landmarks within, say, 5 hexes of the start bases to either be neutral or tech-matching. Or, to add some theme to it, as part of the hero generation one of your chosen perks could be to "settle next to a landmark discovered in the ancient archives," allowing you to force the generation of a tech-matching landmark within a few hexes.
...
Well, at least they know the general idea is cool to get this much discussion! Lol.