Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Dev Diary #65: The Oathbound Faction

Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Dev Diary #65: The Oathbound Faction

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“A new champion stands, whose practiced virtue is beyond reproach. One entrusted by the people to wield great power in their defense.” – Marva Nexa, Oathgiver.


Good tidings to you, Commanders! Glenn here, game designer at Triumph Studios, and I am super excited to share with you some details on the new playable race: the Oathbound.

Lore:

On the data hub world Archanon-8, the archivists who survived the Cataclysm had the knowledge of thousands of planets and millennia of history at their disposal.

Using their highly advanced simulation and prediction system Oracle, they began to construct their new utopian society, where noble Paladins in powerful battlesuits rule and protect the people with benevolent will.

The archivists themselves took on the roles of an advisory caste called the Seers. Perfecting their link to Oracle over time, they learned to predict and manipulate the future, both in society and battle.


Conceptualization:

The Oathbound are a mix of various fantasies: enormous shiny mechas, honorable feudal knights, and future-seeing witches and wizards.

Oathbound.png


Gameplay summary:

The Oathbound consist of two factions. On the frontlines are the mighty Paladins, noble knights in enormous battlesuits sworn to protect the people. They achieve this with their mostly melee Arc weaponry and heroic abilities. Their defensive capabilities such as Defense Mode: Protector Shields and inspiring banners make them a gleaming bulwark of protection.

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Carefully watching over them are the enigmatic Seers. They use their connection to the Oracle to support their allies with future-seeing buffs and experience-increasing archives.

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Seers are support units, using ranged Entropy attacks. They control the fight by removing RNG from fights, using buffs such as Precognition and Providence, and debuffs such as Fatalism.
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Oathbound use inspiring Banners in combat, which bestow buffs or debuffs on random targets. By taking the Loyalty to the Flag doctrine, the player can take control of banners directly.


Hero Skills and Colony Lordship

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The Oathbound have their own list of Hero Skills, some of which are focused specifically for vehicles to support your Hero’s Battlesuit, such as the Field Repair Droid.

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By far the most unique Hero Skills that come with the Oathbound are Colony Lord skills. Oathbound Heroes, sworn to protect the people, can rise to become Colony Lords or Ladies. This represents their allegiance to a colony, inspiring their people towards more resource income. When a Hero learns these, they can be linked to one of your colonies. This grants two income bonuses to that colony; one that is always active, and another that remains while that Hero is within their colony’s borders. Building a Throne in a colony allows for some of the latter bonus to remain active even if the Hero is outside their colony’s borders.

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There are three mutually exclusive Colony Lord skills, each of which grant access to two more specialized, mutually exclusive Colony Lord Skills.


Heroes of any race belonging to an Oathbound Commander have access to Colony Lord skills.



Units – Aspirant

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The Aspirant is the Tier I infantry Oathbound with a standard melee strike and ranged attack. It’s Defense Mode: Shields Up and First Strike (trigger overwatch before the enemy moves) make it a defensive force when positioned adjacent to the Paladin Protector.


Units – Protector

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One of the melee fighters is the Paladin Protector. This Tier II Battlesuit’s Volt Lance has enough reach to hit flying targets. They inspire allies using Embolden, healing them and giving them Heroism for bonus damage to higher tiered units. Their enormous shield protects adjacent allies using Defense Mode: Protector Shields.

When shielding Aspirant units in their Defense Mode, the Aspirants will have a total of +4 shields as well as First Strike, making the combination a highly effective turtling formation. Heroism works really well on Aspirants as they can First Strike anything of Tier II and up for a surprising amount of damage.


Units – Augur

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“Fate balances upon a razor’s point. Either you or I are doomed. For you to live, I must die. And if I live, you are doomed. Your fate depends upon me, and I intend to live.” – Pulminis Vurgent, Augur.



This floating Tier II Seer balances life and death by carefully weighting the threads of time. The Augur’s Gift of Adamance grants an ally Last Stand, leaving them at 1 health when they would otherwise die. After one turn, the effect expires and heals the ally for 20 health.

On the other side of the balance is its Curse of Fatalism, making an enemy 100% easier to hit and failing all its resistance checks for 2 turns.

The Augur’s an excellent support to make your defensive frontlines last longer, or to expose distant, hard-to-hit enemies.



Units – Diviner

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The Diviner is the Seer with closest connection to the Oracle, allowing nearly all of its abilities to influence a 1 hex radius. This includes Entropic Storm, its offensive Entropy attack. Its Gift and Curse give Precognition or Fatalism to affected units respectively.

The Diviner allows to influence a large group of allies who are sharing protective buffs such as Protector Shields to instantly gain the edge on RMG rolls, while punishing enemies who are bunching up too close.


Units – Exemplar

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This enormous Tier IV is the prime example of what all Paladins aspire to become. It’s mighty Stormvolt Glaive deals half of its damage to enemies adjacent to its target. It has two modes, reflecting its protective and devastating sides.

In Shield Mode, the Exemplar has Defense Mode: Protector Shields and Ordain Shield.

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Glaive Mode leaves an arm free for Onslaught. This mode also grants access to Defense Mode: Evasion, and Blitz.

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This allows the Exemplar to dive in the midst of enemy lines, deal large amounts of damage, and turn back to its bulkier Shield Mode in the blink of an eye. Blitz can also be used to jump close to an ally to shield them with Protector Shields.

“Exemplary, my dear Wattson.”

But wait! That’s not all! We couldn’t let you toy around with giant pilotable robots and let the Heroes drive around regular, standard vehicles! By choosing the corresponding perks, your Heroes get access to specialized Paladins: the dual-wielding Warlord and the inspirational Marquis.


Assault Vehicle – Warlord

18.png


The Warlord charges in, slashing enemies with their Arc Twinaxes left and right in shocking style. Its Volt Surge allows it to jump straight into the fight, and its Defense Mode: Evasion gives it a chance to nimbly dodge incoming attacks as it wreaks havoc on the enemy lines.


Support Vehicle – Marquis

19.png

“I have one terrible case of jet leg.”


This floating bulwark of inspiration can launch a Banner of Justice.

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This target can be chosen with the Loyalty to the Flag doctrine active.

Sounding its enormous horns with Honor’s Calling. The Marquis’ staff can launch Volt Discharge, an AoE Arc attack. Defense Mode: Hyper Armor grants the Marquis bonus armor.

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Tech Group and Mods

Of course, the Oathbound units are accompanied by a plethora of mods, operations, and doctrines, both from their own Tech Tree and the completely new Entropy Tech Tree. Here’s a small taste of their contents:

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Tactical Operation – Butterfly Effect

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This operation is an excellent way to counter enemy swarming tactics. Casting this on a weak unit results in both Fatalism and Butterfly Effect spreading to many enemies, getting a lot of value out if its priming cost if used at the right time.


Strategic Operation – Elevate to Protector/Warden

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Protecting your Aspirants long enough for them to reach Prime Rank pays off with these operations. Don’t forget to record your Aspirants’ deeds with Record Keepers for that much needed experience boost.



Doctrine – Duty of Care

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With great honor comes great responsibility. More virtuous Oathbound get bestowed greater rewards when completing quests for the planet’s natives.


Doctrine – Seers’ Crusade

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Tired of taking the heroic, melee frontline approach? Unleash the true power of your Seers with this doctrine, turning your support units into devastating artillery.

“I’m a medic, but…”



Mod – Entropic Radiation Emitter

29.png


Entropy doesn’t have to be exclusive to your Seers. Tack this onto your bulky melee frontline for continuous damage every turn.



Mod – Oath of Loyalty

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Believe it or not, even after all of this stuff, there is still more discover about the Oathbound. Follow their quest to a new galactic order as you heed the lessons of the past… and future. Suit up and prepare for our latest expansion: Star Kings, coming November 10th, as has been foretold.
 

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Ridixo

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Great info, thanks :D
And now we are just twenty days afar from the coronation of our new kings :)

Heroes of any race belonging to an Oathbound Commander have access to Colony Lord skills.
This is something i really like. I was thinking of this and of how would have been things if to get the bonus you needed to have an Oathbound heroe :)

On the data hub world Archanon-8, the archivists who survived the Cataclysm had the knowledge of thousands of planets and millennia of history at their disposal.

Using their highly advanced simulation and prediction system Oracle, they began to construct their new utopian society, where noble Paladins in powerful battlesuits rule and protect the people with benevolent will.

The archivists themselves took on the roles of an advisory caste called the Seers. Perfecting their link to Oracle over time, they learned to predict and manipulate the future, both in society and battle.
So the Foundation founded Camelot? I like that :D
Specially the part where Psychohistory runs on Java :p

“Fate balances upon a razor’s point. Either you or I are doomed. For you to live, I must die. And if I live, you are doomed. Your fate depends upon me, and I intend to live.” – Pulminis Vurgent, Augur.
I like this future i see :D
 
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Donal_Huda

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This new faction is looking really exciting! I can't wait to play it! I especially like the ability to "upgrade" the most experienced lower tier soldiers. Two questions: 1. When you do the "elevate" operations does their xp reset? 2. Are there any recommended specialization combinations with the Oathbound? I feel like it would be odd to play them with the Voidtech or Heritor but the doubling down on Arc or entropy damage could be cool...
 
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DragonZee

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Seems a lot of mechanics to digest: banners, governors, buffs/debuffs and mode switching to name a few.

"On the data hub world Archanon-8"

I see what you did here :D
 
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Luke_Falcon

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This new faction is looking really exciting! I can't wait to play it! I especially like the ability to "upgrade" the most experienced lower tier soldiers. Two questions: 1. When you do the "elevate" operations does their xp reset? 2. Are there any recommended specialization combinations with the Oathbound? I feel like it would be odd to play them with the Voidtech or Heritor but the doubling down on Arc or entropy damage could be cool...
Can't answer the first one, but during the last stream, the devs themselves said that Heritor is crazy good with the Oathbound. Voidtech is pretty solid overall for everyone and I can think of a few good synergies, like being able to move your melee unit through solid objects and teleporting your mechs into melee range or out of trouble.
 
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Jaerik324

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I kind of like the Colony Lord skills myself, but the "in colony's domain" bit makes me think the Colony lords need to stay defensive in the domain, making them prefer to play tall.

Also, upgrading Aspirants into protectors or wardens is a good thing. Wonder if there are more or just those two.
 
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The Numi

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I love that we get to see all the units, the Seers got such amazing design to them, they truly look mystical and otherworldly!

I was a bit afraid of the colony lord thing, it didn't seem that worth the 4 skill points. I still feel it could be bumped down to 3 points, but knowing that there's an upgrade that makes the effect for the hero to require to be inside the domain nolonger be required alleviates it. I'm curious what those additional colony lord upgrades are afterwards, it can also certainly make it worth picking up to get those.

The units look fantastic and their design is amazing! I've said time and time again I love melee builds as well as vehicle commanders, so I'm super excited for these guys. I also love playing around with supportive units and Seers fit right in with that. One thing I wonder, since everyone aspires to become a paladin exemplar and Oathbound commander/heroes seem particular unique given how many vehicle options there are and support for it, would it be the first faction to allow for a tier 4 vehicle hero? Or would that just be too insane balance-wise.

Either way, can't wait to see all the battlesuit options for your commander, having seen the stream there's a handful of them with certain secret techs adding in their own just how other factions get unique weapon options. I look forward to try most of them and particularly that heritor + warlord + ruthless killer + siphoner combo. Essentially turning your commander into a murdering mech maniac with how killy warlord is and thanks to continuously having action points to spend.

I don't get it :(
My guess is because people have mentioned Oathbound reminds them of Archon's from the previous AoW games, so it's a bit of a fun easter egg.
 
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Jaerik324

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I am still wondering what in the galaxy the Battle Suit trait/tag/whatever those are called (like heavy and biological) does if anything.

Also, am glad that the Throne allows for the Lord skills to work in full without the lord staying in the domain. Still think it makes them better for a playing tall style of gameplay.
 
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Bookthief

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Not certain if its just a mix up or not but the Paladin's protector's text all refer to a volt lance, but the weapon under the stats is called a volt saber.
 
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mbuh

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I wonder if the corrupted version of the oathbound is actually npc faction

I don't get it :(
As others have said above. But i'll add that it probably has deeper references. Anon is one of the wizard, or we can say commander whose starting race is archon.

If i remember correctly, Anon is the most diplomatic of all archon commander, tied with gabriel (another archon commander). Archanon, archon and anon? Or Anon's version of archon.

The oathbound theme is very similar to anon led archon. They even have a doctrine that only works if they are virtuous.
 
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As I read the skills, I feel like Field Repair Droid is too cheap on the skill points for what it offers. Regeneration is, in my honest opinion, a powerful perk. And if your leader survives and you win the battle, getting your battlesuit back at 50% health is nuts. There is a reason that mods that do this are late game.
 
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Luke_Falcon

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i think this will be my new favorite race
It wouldn't make much sense lore-wise: the Apostate (if I remember they're name correctly) are supposed to be Oathbound traitors/heretics so while other races might be ok with working with them, the Oathbound would definitely not and creating an exception that this one NPC race is not available for all main races is just not worth it. Plus, they seem to be using mostly the same tech as OB so they would be a redundant colour-swap.
 
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