Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Dev Diary #63: The Voidbringer Invasion

Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Dev Diary #63: The Voidbringer Invasion

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“Between the shores of imagination and reason, she drinks your dreams, replacing them with restless nightmares. Surrender. Let her enthrall you. Let her consume you. Feel her transformations within you and it will carry you in her womb.” -Asuras Durvasas, Psynumbra Mindshredder, “RV-7544R: Nihilistic Rebellions”


Hail, Commanders. I’m Glenn, part of the game design team at Triumph Studios. Today I’ll be sharing the details on the Voidbringer Invasion, a brand new mechanic included in the Invasions Expansion.


The Invasion Begins:

The Voidbringers are coming. Planets where Commanders are fighting over remnants of the Star Union can now be targeted by these extradimensional monstrosities. Be prepared, or you too shall become a thrall to the Voidbringers.
Voidbringer_Banner.jpg




Conceptualization:


For this Expansion we wanted a system to shake up the mid- to late game. The Voidbringer Invasion is meant to keep players on their toes and adapt their defensive and offensive strategies as the game progresses.

Commanders facing the Voidbringers need to reconsider alliances, bolster defenses and send designated strike teams to take down Voidbringer structures. Those who welcome the new overlords, however, can simply surrender and side with the dark powers of the invaders…


The Voidbringers and their Thralls:

The invading armies consist of the Voidbringers and their thralls. The thralls are a set of familiar Planetfall units who have been corrupted and enslaved by the Voidbringers, now fully under their control. Thralls cannot survive if Voidbringers aren’t close by, so killing off the Voidbringers results in all thralls in the current combat dying instantly.

6.PNG




7.PNG


The Strix is an elusive Voidbringer willing to sacrifice thralls to lead to its enemies’ demise. It’s Thrallbomb ability targets an allied Enthralled unit and blows it up, dealing massive damage to surrounding enemies.

8.PNG


The Naga is an aggressive Voidbringer that forces its destructive will through its thralls. It shoots a damaging spike from long range. Thralled Tendrils sends forth damaging tentacles from target thralled unit, dealing damage to enemies around that unit. By focusing it’s Dark Strength on a thrall, it empowers that unit with 20% bonus damage for 2 turns.

9.PNG


The enigmatic Undine flays enemies with dark energy. On top of that, it can refresh allied Enthralled units using Cleansing Darkness, healing them for 30hp and removing all negative status effects.

10.PNG



The devastating Leviathan is the pinnacle of the Voidbringer incursion. It warps all dark energy around it in devastating attacks. Siphon Thrall allows it to gain health, shields and armor by damaging an Enthralled unit. It can Resuscitate Thralls to bring fallen soldiers back to servitude. Beware of its Call of Terror, an extremely powerful artillery strike that can cause multiple units to panic.


Forms and Alliances

In the Voidbringers’ long track of extradimensional devastation, they’ve adapted to control various elements and mould them to their will. This led to various Voidbringer Forms, each dubbed with names by those who have surrendered their souls.

The Forms cover Psionic, Thermal, Arc and Biochemical damage channels, and their chosen thralls vary depending on their Form. Every Form resists all damage types except one.
11.PNG
12.PNG

13.PNG
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When the invasion begins and the Voidbringer Spawners start landing around the planet, you will be given an ultimatum: join the Voidbringers, or oppose them and fight.

Opposing the Voidbringers starts a faction war with them, leading to rewards for every 10 Voidbringer or Enthralled units killed. It also starts the quest chain to defeat the invasion. It will start a war with with any Commander who joined the Voidbringers.

Joining the Voidbringers will start a war with every Commander who opposed them, as well as with all NPC factions. It also unlocks two very special operations: Call Spawner and Call Voidbringers, allowing you to place a Spawner or summon a stack of Voidbringers and Thralls under your control, respectively.

18.PNG


Commanders who gave in to the invaders are signified with a special icon under the minimap and will have a special diplomacy environment:

15.PNG


16.PNG



Defeating the Voidbringers:

The Invasion has a chance of appearing on any planet type that has it enabled. There are two foreshadowing events that can help the Commanders prepare for the impending attacks.

At first, an unidentified force of hostile creatures might be spotted near your borders. Defeating these monsters will grant some insight in what form of Voidbringers are preparing their assault.

2.PNG



Some turns later, the Voidbringer Beacon will land. This is the source of the Voidbringer’s link to our dimension. At this stage, an impenetrable barrier is around it. The Beacon calls forth roaming armies of Voidbringers and their thralls.

This Beacon is the target that must be destroyed to vanquish the invaders from this planet.

3.PNG



After a few more turns, the Invasion will have begun. All around the world, Voidbringer Spawners are crashing down from orbit, sending forth armies of Enthralled units under their Voidbringer overlords.

4.PNG



5.PNG

Destroying these Spawners will damage the impenetrable barrier around the Beacon. Commanders who have destroyed enough of these Spawners gain access to the Voidbringer Beacon for the final showdown.

The more Commanders on the planet, the more Spawners will need to be destroyed before the Beacon barrier breaks.

Destroying the Beacon defeats the Voidbringers, and kills all players who surrendered to them. It’s up to the Commander who dealt the final blow to decide whether they want to claim their victory by unifying the remainders on this devastated world, or continue the game to prove their prowess in conquest.



Victory Conditions:

The Invasion will disable all ongoing Victory Conditions except Doomsday. Joined Commanders will also have Last Man Standing enabled, as their objective is to purge the world of those who oppose our new evil overlords.
Continuing the game re-enables these victory conditions if the winning Commander decides to continue the game after the Voidbringers have been vanquished.



Control the mayhem:

The Invasion has various settings in Advanced Planet Setup to provide the challenge you prefer:

Invasions Timing: From Earliest to Latest, this setting controls when the Invasion will roughly spawn. It can be set to Random for true uncertainty, or Disabled to turn off the Invasions mechanic.
Invasions Difficulty: Changes the strength of the invasion’s stacks, as well as the spawn rate of roaming stacks and the amount of defenders on the Beacon and Spawners.
Invasions Chance: The chance of the invasion actually occurring on this planet.

19.PNG


You are all that stands between this planet and it’s certain annihilation, Commander. Will you resist the urges to join, and be strong enough to drive them from your planet? Or will you lay down your arms in sweet surrender, succumbing to the power of our extradimensional overlords?

The Voidbringer Invasion is included in the Age of Wonders: Planetfall – Invasions Expansion, out now.
 
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Donal_Huda

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I really liked this invasion mechanic! In the game I just finished it meant that I had to really balance between protecting my empire's heartland from errant voidbringer spawners with sending out a sufficient force to take out the beacon all while fighting off my neighbors! It was a lot of fun.

One thing, I have been noticing, though, is that I often completely max out the social research tech well before the end of the game and while I put my military tech toward whatever other races I've absorbed my social research just sits idle. Is there any chance of either an expansion to the social tech tree in the future or the addition of repeatable techs at the end of the tree that grant bonuses? Such as excess happiness in all colonies, or a production boost, or cosmite? Perhaps it could be randomized to give different bonuses every time you research it? Just something I was thinking about. No matter what, I really like the new expansion and the game!
 
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BBShockwave

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Love this mechanic, though I am not sure I will enable it on all maps I play. It's probably best used on very large maps where you plan to research everything and get armies of tier 3-4 units.
The thralls dying when the Voidbringers are defeated is a very fun mechanic, but is still balanced, since them being ethereal, it is still not easy to focus-fire and bring down these aliens. I also like the color variations and the redesigns - they do resemble the Psi-Fish (who I assume are likely renegade Voidbringers who chose less invasive methods of reproduction) but are much more aggressive looking.
The shards raining is kind of a big danger, since you never know where they will land - and if they will fall on one of your sectors.
Fighting FOR the evil alien overlords (Futurama style) is a fun mechanic, if punishing, as you will lose all NPC race allies and are on your own. Still, have to try it sometime.
 
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Zaskow

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I hope we'll see more similar endgame content in future.
 
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Chikanuk

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Cool stuff. But it will be cooler if they have their own models, not just psi-fish reskins.
 
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Caustic_av

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Hello, I finished the Invasions campaign on the hard challenge level but for some reason I've never seen a single leviathan spawned, even in the main beacon location. Is it a bug or is there some trigger for tier IV units to start spawning and dominating the map? The lack of leviathans made the voidbringer fraction experience rather lacklustre.
 
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Corpseprince

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Hello, I finished the Invasions campaign on the hard challenge level but for some reason I've never seen a single leviathan spawned, even in the main beacon location. Is it a bug or is there some trigger for tier IV units to start spawning and dominating the map? The lack of leviathans made the voidbringer fraction experience rather lacklustre.
Hey Caustic_av, could you inform us what Form the voidbringers were in this instance? We can then investigate the issue further
 
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MrFedia3000

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Very disappointed with Voidbringer units being recolored models of Psi-fish units. That's something you'd expect from a fan-made mod not an official DLC.
 
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HousePet

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I suspect that there might be a very good in-universe reason why the Voidbringers are using similar models to the Psi-Fish.
(Also Triumph is still a smallish studio, and I expect that most of those animations weren't reused before, because the Psi-Fish rigs are so different to everything else. This is saving us money.)
 
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Very disappointed with Voidbringer units being recolored models of Psi-fish units. That's something you'd expect from a fan-made mod not an official DLC.
1591264472520.png

To be fair they are not just recolored, there are differences in the models there.
I'm gonna guess it was just a case of running out of art-budget for bigger changes/ completely new voidbringers models after already adding 24 new unique models in the expansion.
Previous expansion only had 13 new models and its own variety of similarly "reskinned" models for the anomalous sites for comparison.
 
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Sandman25DCSSS

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Hello, I finished the Invasions campaign on the hard challenge level but for some reason I've never seen a single leviathan spawned, even in the main beacon location. Is it a bug or is there some trigger for tier IV units to start spawning and dominating the map? The lack of leviathans made the voidbringer fraction experience rather lacklustre.
I have had an opposite experience. I've been attacked by a stack which consisted of 6 (six) leviathans (2700 power total). Fortunately they had no mods so it wasn't that bad, but probably there are some bugs here indeed.
 
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I suspect that there might be a very good in-universe reason why the Voidbringers are using similar models to the Psi-Fish.
Weel, if they are related to the Psi-fish they are expected to look similar. In Star Trek Vulcans and Romulans are quite different in their culture and society, but they look similar because they are in fact two divergent branches of the same species. And in Age of Wonders Eternal Lords the necromancer just re-skins their unit to make them ghouls because they are just the same units but with undead traits. They don't need to look different and in fact they look more corporeal and menacing that the Psi-fish and i think that ws the idea :)
 

Leon Feargus

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I was wondering why the story is such that the voidbringers "crash down on planets" instead of just appearing from the void. That's what I would do if I were an energy-leeching, mind-destroying entity from another dimension.

Major nitpick, I know

Looking interesting though, can't wait to experience the invasion.
 
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HousePet

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Safer to dimensional shift into the air above solid rock, than risk accidently shifting into solid rock and getting yourself killed?
Something to justify wrecking the entire sector?
Causes more terror if you get crash into the ground from space?
I don't know how extra dimensional horrors think.
 
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Leon Feargus

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Safer to dimensional shift into the air above solid rock, than risk accidently shifting into solid rock and getting yourself killed?
Something to justify wrecking the entire sector?
Causes more terror if you get crash into the ground from space?
I don't know how extra dimensional horrors think.
Haha, well I do appreciate the effort
 
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Zenicetus

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Safer to dimensional shift into the air above solid rock, than risk accidently shifting into solid rock and getting yourself killed?
Something to justify wrecking the entire sector?
Causes more terror if you get crash into the ground from space?
I don't know how extra dimensional horrors think.
Shock and Awe?

It's how today's military thinks, when it's an asymmetrical situation against a weaker opponent and they expect to win. Let them know what they're in for, maybe convince some to switch sides. Sneaking in quietly might not get as many converts.
 
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Ericridge

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So what exactly is invasion chance? If its set to 50% that means invasion might happen or won't happen? Even when the appearance time is at 70th turn? If that is so then I have done a big goof up, wanted to try them out but its currently set to 50% for my current game I think.
 
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