Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Dev Diary #53: Anomalous Sites

Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Dev Diary #53: Anomalous Sites

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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Tombles

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The Star Union is full of mysteries, and as you deploy your armies over its planets you are treading on the remains of a billion lives, each with a story to tell. Until now, those stories were only visible in glimpses, a skeleton lying by a locked door, or a quote from a long dead scholar in a research report, but with the new Revelations expansion, those stories are ready to be told as part of a new feature called Anomalous Sites!


The smallest class of anomalous sites can be found by scouting the map, represented by glowing purple columns:


1 - FindSmallSite.png



In order to start exploring the site, you will need to deploy a hero to it. This hero needs to remain on the site in order for it to progress, though the hero and any units that accompany it will gain XP for every turn they are there. Since clearing sites can take several turns, it’s usually a good idea to wait for your second or third hero to appear, so you can keep clearing the map with your main army.


SPOILER WARNING! This post will now starting detailing a complete anomalous site story as well as hinting at the content of another one. If you’d rather be surprised in game, then read this SPOILER FREE VERSION instead!


Let’s see what happens when we move on to this site with our Amazon Hero:


2 - Small Site Intro.png



The message that we see here is generic, it mentions a sand bank because we are in an Arid sector, in order to find out what is actually buried here we’ll need to dedicate several turns to clearing the sand (later on, heroes can gain a skill that reduces the duration of these timers)


3- The Sun Shard.png



It seems we have discovered some sort of Celestian Relic! Since this relic is Psionic in origin, and Uljana’s secret tech is Void Tech, she can only make limited use of the knowledge that she finds here. If she had access to one of the Psionic tech groups (Celestian, Psynumbra or Psionic Weapons) she would most likely gain a whole tech for free from one of those groups!


4 - The Sun Shard - Choice.png



Being a rather straightforward person, Uljana immediately assumes that the relic belonging to a sect dedicated entirely to peace and love must be some sort of weapon, and gains an option to try and make it. This option only has a 50% chance of working, however, and if we fail we’ll probably only get a fairly crappy reward.


Of course, if we were to show some restraint and truly try and contemplate the real meaning of the priceless treasure we have found then… Oh, who am I kidding, GIVE ME THE GUN!


5 - Sun Shard - Weapon.png



A hammer works too! If our craftsman had screwed this up (a 50% chance) then we’d have had to make do with some energy instead.


6 - Hammer Time.png


We have successfully reforged a symbol of peace and unity into a unique flaming hammer of doom that does AoE damage on hit! All hail the Amazon Empire!


But what if we had been a different person? A calmer, less blood thirsty person? A person capable of showing some patience for once in her damn life instead of storming ahead like a bull in a china shop without listening to input from anyone else.


7 - A Better Kind Of Me.png



Our calm meditation is rewarded with the true history of the relic, which was rescued from a Psynumbra raid on a Celestian temple. The relic is also transformed into a Sun Shard world map structure that provides some nice benefits to any colony attached to it.


8 - The Sun Shard.png



Unwavering Will grants immunity to all Psionic Status Effects. Handy stuff! We’ve also gotten a unique hero trait as a reward for our patience:


9 - Worthy of the Name.png



This is a permanent, unique buff for this hero. If we could find a psionic weapon, then we could honor the memory of the Sun Shard by using its gift to rain terrifying, mind rending doom upon all who dare oppose us.


But what if we had been yet another person? A truly despicable person? The type of person who not only charged ahead without listening, but did so in your car with the dog on the back seat and crashed it into a tree and claimed it was all an accident and really, wasn’t it your fault that your cheap ass insurance didn’t cover third party damage?


I’m talking of course, about the Psynumbra. If your hero is of a particular race of secret tech, then survey sites will often give special unique options for extra rewards.


10 - Mittex Julia.png



So Mittex is such a vile and awful person that she would simply crush the artifact without a second thought! Let’s see what happens…


11 - Mittex The Grudge.png



Ha, in your face do gooders! As a reward, we gain a special property granting us extra damage against the filthy forces of the Celestian order.


As mentioned before, small sites like this are found by simple scouting. Once you have cleared 2 small sites, a medium or large site will be revealed for you to explore. This site is invisible to other players, though they will find it if they attack your hero while they are clearing it. The larger sites contain more phases, bigger rewards, and darker secrets. You can learn the history of the endless wars between the Growth and the Xenoplague, or the terrible secret behind the Hopperhounds’ juicy, succulent legs…


The Revelations expansion contains around 30 of these sites, and will be available on November the 19th! Who knows what secrets you will reveal?

12 - The Penguins.png
 
Last edited:

Haruspices

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Oh, yes, this looks great. I have to admit, I wasn't that keen on the Heritors - I like to play somewhat less monomaniacal factions - but the chance to take a meaty chunk of Planetfall-lore is definitely worth a DLC.
 

Mr_Dias

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That's quite a way to deter players' expansion. Is AI capable of using those?
 

Lucullo

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That was nasty, teasing and then shooting a spoiler warning! I had to close my eyes scrolling to the bottom. Luckily it is only a few days wait now.
 

Dracupuncture

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he type of person who not only charged ahead without listening, but did so in your car with the dog on the back seat and crashed it into a tree and claimed it was all an accident and really, wasn’t it your fault that your cheap ass insurance didn’t cover third party damage?
Top tier writing, what a legend of a dev
 

Ridixo

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Being a rather straightforward person, Uljana immediately assumes that the relic belonging to a sect dedicated entirely to peace and love must be some sort of weapon
Yep, because peace loving sects don't make weapons, like the Jedi who didn't cut people on half in the name of peace :rolleyes:

Of course, if we were to show some restraint and truly try and contemplate the real meaning of the priceless treasure we have found then… Oh, who am I kidding, GIVE ME THE GUN!
This is one of the very best sentences i have read in a DD, congratulations :D

We have successfully reforged a symbol of peace and unity into a unique flaming hammer of doom that does AoE damage on hit! All hail the Amazon Empire!
I complete disagree with this, a unique flaming hammer of doom that does AoE damage on hit is still a symbol of peace and unity, just ask the one who oppose the Amazon Empire :p

If we could find a psionic weapon, then we could honor the memory of the Sun Shard by using its gift to rain terrifying, mind rending doom upon all who dare oppose us.
Truly, the best homage a Celestian relic deserves ;)

But what if we had been yet another person? A truly despicable person? The type of person who not only charged ahead without listening, but did so in your car with the dog on the back seat and crashed it into a tree and claimed it was all an accident and really, wasn’t it your fault that your cheap ass insurance didn’t cover third party damage?
Oh, do you mean a normal PC player :p

Ha, in your face do gooders!
Other of the best sentences i have seen in a DD. Please don't make me laugh that hard, it hurts :D
 

Mauer

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Will these be on the map from the beginning of the game or do they have a chance to spawn later?
 

Satonir

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You dig more - you fight better. Pretty much like an Army logic. ;) I like the exploration part, gj!
 

Tombles

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A potted version of the dev journal with all spoilers removed for those who just want the straight facts!

The Star Union is full of mysteries, and as you deploy your armies over its planets you are treading on the remains of a billion lives, each with a story to tell. Until now, those stories were only visible in glimpses, a skeleton lying by a locked door, or a quote from a long dead scholar in a research report, but with the new Revelations expansion, those stories are ready to be told as part of a new feature called Anomalous Sites!


The smallest class of anomalous sites can be found by scouting the map, represented by glowing purple columns:


View attachment 525184


In order to start exploring the site, you will need to deploy a hero to it. This hero needs to remain on the site in order for it to progress, though the hero and any units that accompany it will gain XP for every turn they are there. Since clearing sites can take several turns, it’s usually a good idea to wait for your second or third hero to appear, so you can keep clearing the map with your main army.

As you explore the story, you will be presented with various choices.

1) Some choices take time to complete
2) Some lead to battles
3) Some have a chance to fail
4) Some choices only appear if you are using a certain race or secret tech

Different choices give different rewards:

1) Energy or other resources (Research points are the most common)
2) Unique Hero items
3) Permanent hero traits
4) Unique units


While small sites like this are found by simple scouting. Once you have cleared 2 small sites, a medium or large site will be revealed for you to explore. This site is invisible to other players, though they will find it if they attack your hero while they are clearing it. The larger sites contain more phases, bigger rewards, and darker secrets.

The Revelations expansion contains around 30 of these sites, and will be available on November the 19th! Who knows what secrets you will reveal?
 

Zaskow

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Is there any random mechanics in these sites, except chance of success?

Also, didn't you think about giving sunbringer alike weapon to dvar Light Bringer? It would be thematic, I guess...
 

Tombles

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Not many:

Sometimes, the system will give you a random skill from a particular set of tech groups. So, if you were playing Kirko Celestian, and you uncovered the Sun Shard above, the system would pick a random Psionic or Celestian tech and give it to you (it would need to be tier 1 or 2, I believe)

If there is a random chance on a choice, then often there's another choice that gives the same reward without a chance, but it will take longer or cost you energy.

I can't think of anything else!
 

Yavor

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Dear Tombles, you made me laugh after a hard day! Thank you and congrats!
P.S. See you, guys, in the Tuesday stream :)
 

BBShockwave

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Oh yesss! Mini-quests! I already love this idea.
And poker playing penguins are the icing on that cake. :) So THAT's how Riker learned to be that good at poker! :D
I love the different paths based on your technology. That makes each of these sites special and you can never know what reward you are missing unless you find them with different heroes!
 
Last edited:

DragonZee

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I'm loving it. I'm a bit sceptic about the randomness, because getting skills that won't give you much in terms of strategy (for instance no Celestian opponents for Grudge Aura to use on), or a landmark which is far from your colonies (maybe the new Orbital Relays will be helpful here :D), but I will need to actually test the system in the field. Tombles insight about perks based on your tech group reassures me a bit though. All in all this is a great idea for both gameplay and lore: it adds more meatiness to the game (and things like quest chains work really well in TBS games, just see Endless Legend with their quest system), and even more RPG-like elements after mods and skills. I also think this is a great system to expand on in the future, I hope more of this kind of stuff will be added. Kudos, can't wait!
 

Nussor

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Excellent inclusion, but I really wish you had merged them with the already present buildings and special compounts. Creating anomalies on an empty tile feels kinda underwhelming.