Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Dev Diary #66: Grail Configurations and the Apostates

Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Dev Diary #66: Grail Configurations and the Apostates

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Hi there Commanders, my name is Luis, a designer at Triumph Studios, and today I will be your guide to a few new things we have in store for you in the next Planetfall expansion, Star Kings!

Grail Configurations
Grail Configurations are pre-Union artifacts found in some planets. They seem to prevent entropy by binding and changing the surrounding reality to serve a specific function. Although not much is known about their original creators, it is said that CORE knew about these and even used them in secret in order to maintain the Star Union. It is here that you come in, to uncover the vaults where CORE hid the Configurations, and gain their power.

Grail Poster.png


The Quest:
When a Grail is first detected on the planet, around early to mid game, all players will get the same four stage chain quest.

It starts with the construction of a special scanner to pinpoint similar energy frequencies as the grail. This functions like a Dwelling construction quest, where multiple colonies can contribute to overall construction.
Q1.png


Following the scanner, now you can find the Cyphers that hold the location and the key to the Grail Vault. These can be obtained from Exploration Sites or purchased from NPC Dwellings.

Instead of just entering exploration sites you will now have a new option to look for the Cyphers. If the site has been cleared before the quest started you can still try and find Cypher in it, but it isn’t guaranteed, and there might be a fight.
Q2.png


With the cyphers in hand, now is the time for a bit of research. This quest challenges your knowledge gain, as you decipher the entrance key and the location of the Grail.
Q3.png


Then, it’s the last stage, go to the Anomalous Site and seize your prize, but it won’t be easy, as there is a powerful new wildlife faction that has been tracking your movements and will try to obtain the power within the site for themselves.
Q4.png


Oh, and here’s the fun part! All commanders will get a notification when another completes one of these quests, so it becomes a race to find the grail! You can even find the Anomaly that houses the Grail Configuration before having the key to enter, so you can prepare a nearby colony, or even ambush another player who is further ahead on the quest, and after they clear the anomaly for you swipe it from them, because the one who control the Landmark, controls the Grail. Just beware they might not do the same to you.
Law Grail Site.png


Configuration Doctrines
So, what do you gain from these? A very powerful doctrine that will help you in the strategic and the tactical level! What it specifically does depends on the configuration.

For example, Configurations of Law improve Production and army upkeep and maintenance, while a Configuration of Unity will improve Influence gain, max out Popular Support and give +10 happiness to all colonies.

Here’s another:
Doctrine of Life.png


That will cover the basis of the Grail Quests and their rewards. Now, remember I said there would be a new Wildlife faction that would try to stop you? Well, let’s go over to them now!

Apostates

A group of breakaway Seers who realized that they could be more powerful by tapping into the abundant chaos of the universe, the Apostates are Oathbound who reject their oath of protection to instead seek power, and unite under this corrupt goal. The Paladins are branded Blackguards and the Seers who survive the embrace of the chaos are forever transformed.

Dark Tower Poster.png


The Apostates gain an unique modifier: Chaotic. This makes their main attacks deal extra damage of a random damage channel, in addition to their base Entropy damage.
Chaos Blade.png


The Blackguard, relinquished of their oaths now employ their battlesuits in ways that were deemed deplorable by the Oathbound. Low blows and exploitation of weaknesses are represented by the Opportunistic passive.
Opportunistic.png


Blackguard Adversary
Blackguard Adversary.png

Low tier Paladins who dishonored their oath of protecting the weak and that seek glory for themselves. Their blades are made from Seers who sought the chaos but failed to harness its power.

What they cannot reach with their blades, they use their ranged Enervation beams, which weaken their opponents by reducing their resistances to a random damage channel.

Chaos Witch
Chaos Witch.png

The Seers who follow chaos devote themselves entirely to its power. Their bodies are inevitably consumed by it, and only those more masterful in Entropy survive the process, but the power gained is immense.

Channel Chaos makes the enemies of the Apostates weak to a random damage channel, while making the next Chaos Bolt, normally a repeating single target ability, to also hit 2 additional random enemy units.
Channel Chaos.png


Chaos Outbreak is another powerful ability. It not only deals damage in a large area, with a displacement effect, it can also inflict Reality Break, which applies a random debuff, even to units immune to it. So for example, Burning to a Mineral unit. After all, logic needs not apply to those who follow chaos.
Chaos Outbreak.png


Blackguard Tyrant
Blackguard Tyrant.png

The most powerful of the Apostates is the Tyrant, often a Champion who craved for the seat of Exemplar but never managed to achieve it, not realising that this was because the Seers saw their lust for power.

Resentful, they steal an Exemplar’s battlesuit and join their Apostate brothers and sisters, gaining the powers of chaos, the Exemplar's weapons and plates reforged with the husks of Chaos Witches.

The rings on their back can generate a maddening wave, driving those close to the Tyrant insane. The anarchy and discord then fuel their chaos forged armor, regenerating it.
Instill Anarchy.png


And because this is an Exemplar, they gain an ability similar to Blitz, but with an Apostate flavour, without the necessity of changing to an inferior defensive mode.
Tyrant's Assault.png


Apostate Golden Landmark - Dark Tower
When enough Apostates gather on a system, they build grand temples to the Chaos. These are known as the Dark Towers.

Dark Tower.png


Here they rule from above, subjugating others in order to sustain themselves, while they journey on their quest for the grails.

TC_Shot.png


And if you too thirst for chaotic power, then exploring, clearing and controlling these Gold Landmarks will give you that and more...
Reward Dark Tower.png




Right, that was a bit longer than I expected, but it goes to show how much there is in this expansion. I hope you all enjoyed this read and get to experience these new features, enemies and more when Star Kings releases on November 10th!
 
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I like the look of that t4 robot we can use as vehicle :D
Also, status effect resistance is now finally visible !
 
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Love the Grail part, especially the fact that it looks a bit like a treasure hunt. This reminds me a bit of the Grail hunt from HoMM, where you search for obelisks with the fragment of a map which leads to the Grail. Regarding the Dark Tower, why do I have the feeling that it would allow to construct 1 or a few of the Apostate units?
 
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Holly Molly! I thought the Apostates are going to be simple re-skins of the Oathbound :O A surprise, to be sure, but a welcomed one :) The witch looks awesome! Now I wish they were the main faction :(
 
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And if you too thirst for chaotic power, then exploring, clearing and controlling these Gold Landmarks will give you that and more...
Reward Dark Tower.png
So we can pilot a tier 4 unit as a tier 3 vehicle? Or now we got tier 4 vehicles as well? o_O
Loving the expansion in any case already :D
 
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I'm not too excited for the grail system, it seems like an only slightly altered version of systems we already have. Then again the new wildlife units look great. I hope I manage to mind-control some chaos witches. :D They really remind me of Wild Magic in AOW3 which was my favorite specialization by a landslide.
 
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So we can pilot a tier 4 unit as a tier 3 vehicle? Or now we got tier 4 vehicles as well? o_O
Loving the expansion in any case already :D
10 hype trains/10

I think that, maybe, Oathbound heroes will have a talent that allow them to pilot anything with "battlesuit" tag?...
 
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I think that, maybe, Oathbound heroes will have talent that allow them to pilot anything with "battlesuit" tag?...
They having a talent that allows them to pilot tier 4 things would be very fitting of the faction. I think it would be odd the Oathbound commander going on foot. But it would be unjust with the other factions. Not all the factions got a tier 4 vehicle. The Dvar got the Earth Crusher, the Shakarn got the Sonokarn and the Syndicathe got the Zenith, all of them could make for tier 4 vehicles. Having a universal skill to ride tier 4 vehicles could be a better thing :)
 
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They having a talent that allows them to pilot tier 4 things would be very fitting of the faction. I think it would be odd the Oathbound commander going on foot. But it would be unjust with the other factions. Not all the factions got a tier 4 vehicle. The Dvar got the Earth Crusher, the Shakarn got the Sonokarn and the Syndicathe got the Zenith, all of them could make for tier 4 vehicles. Having a universal skill to ride tier 4 vehicles could be a better thing :)
Dvar have full stagger res and other talents, Shakarn - 10% Crit and powerful infantry modes and so with other factions. Unlike them, Oathbound don't have very powerful talents. So talent with T4 - can be their trump-card. And as I can tell with my experience, T4 legendary weapons already as strong as T4 vehicles or even stronger.
 
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Really liking the Grail mechanic! It may not be such a big addition, but just like with anomaly sites it adds more to the exploration and kinda RPG feeling the AoW games have had whilst also being a strategy game that breaks away from bit monotonous routines, much like Endless games went for with heroes and quest objectives. I love it! It also adds more competition, forcing the decision of wars or not.

The Apostates looks absolutely amazing, I adore the design for them and their landmark looks so good. The Chaos Witch is probably among one of my fav unit designs, it sorta beats anything of the Psynumbra and Voidbringers in terms of horror. And the paladin, wielding a sword made up of bodies of failed chaotic seers, that's such a badass little lore snippet!

Looking forward to fighting them! They seem quite unique and cool, kinda feel very end-game worthy of wildlife. I really hope you can obtain some of them as units somehow and the paladin as a vehicle like the Tyrant. The Tyrant is also really insane and I can't wait to find it as a vehicle to test it out!
 
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Or..... Perhaps more tier IV vechicles will become pilotable. Drone command Hero, Reaver Hero etc?:cool:
 
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Now i think about it:

For example, Configurations of Law improve Production and army upkeep and maintenance, while a Configuration of Unity will improve Influence gain, max out Popular Support and give +10 happiness to all colonies.

Here’s another:
Doctrine of Life.png
All of them are nice and useful but...

So, what do you gain from these? A very powerful doctrine that will help you in the strategic and the tactical level! What it specifically does depends on the configuration.
How much grails would be on a given planet? There is only one site? And how it's decided which doctrine you get? There are Law, Unity and Life grails or with the cipher you can change their type to get what you want/need? :confused:
 

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Another thought. I suppose it might be possible to be able to deploy Aposthates in the Galactic Empires mode via either requisition-per-unit or building them in your cities after an unlock. I do hope I'll get an army of floating chaos witches, cackling like maniacs while they hurl literal entrophy at my foes.
You could quite feasibly have a Morgana to your Arthur.....
 
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Grail Configurations
Grail Configurations are pre-Union artifacts found in some planets. They seem to prevent entropy by binding and changing the surrounding reality to serve a specific function. Although not much is known about their original creators, it is said that CORE knew about these and even used them in secret in order to maintain the Star Union. It is here that you come in, to uncover the vaults where CORE hid the Configurations, and gain their power.
I keep coming back to this line. Call me crazy and apply tinfoil hat but:
' they seem to prevent entrophy by binding and changing the surrounding reality to serve a specific function'
That sounds an awfull lot like magic. The suspension of a natural process (entrophy), the bending of reality itself to a specific goal and the fact that they are pre-Union.
Could this be the first, tenous link to Athla, or at least its sorceror kings (think AOW 2:Shadow Magic).
I know its quite a leap, but still....
Merlin is heavily connected to the Grail in Arthurian lore, the AoW version of him is a consistent presence throughout series pre-planetfall
(even showing up to do some magic simply beyond the scope of the game in Aow3, rerouting the re-incarnating lords)

As a wizard lord (with or without the circle of Gabriel) ' binding and changing the surrounding reality to serve a specific function' sounds exactly like something he, or the other greater lords, would be capable of.
 
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Imrix

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Hmmm. I'm kind of cool on the Apostates, weirdly? Like, I know the whole "The Evil Of Chaos" is a stock trope and that's probably all it is, but I've always kind of preferred chaos as a value over order, so I guess I'm primed to see the framing of like, "oooh they're so eeevil, they're cruel and power hungry and have abilities like Instill Anarchy," and my gut reaction is to go, "uh. are ya sure ya want to be vilifying anarchists right now, with everything that's going on in the world?"
 
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Ridixo

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I keep coming back to this line. Call me crazy and apply tinfoil hat but:
' they seem to prevent entrophy by binding and changing the surrounding reality to serve a specific function'
That sounds an awfull lot like magic. The suspension of a natural process (entrophy), the bending of reality itself to a specific goal and the fact that they are pre-Union.
Could this be the first, tenous link to Athla, or at least its sorceror kings (think AOW 2:Shadow Magic).
I know its quite a leap, but still....
Merlin is heavily connected to the Grail in Arthurian lore, the AoW version of him is a consistent presence throughout series pre-planetfall
(even showing up to do some magic simply beyond the scope of the game in Aow3, rerouting the re-incarnating lords)

As a wizard lord (with or without the circle of Gabriel) ' binding and changing the surrounding reality to serve a specific function' sounds exactly like something he, or the other greater lords, would be capable of.
“Quantum-powered molecular machines are not magic, they're science. But the Uncertainty Principle dictates that if I explain to you exactly how it works, it will stop working that way. So just trust me, it's not magic, it's just probabilistic, quantum state-driven, sub-atomic machines.”
—Stanley Strangelove, Publicist, Smolltech Enterprises


Magic is just the name we give to the technology we don't understand
-ELOP Scientist

Technology is just the name you give to the magic you do understand
-Merlin before vanishing after wrecking some Apostates with magic :p
 
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DragonZee

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All is cool I dig the Apostates design, especially the WItch. Definately not a simple reskin. It also appears there's this crawly type of unit, maybe Tier I meat shields...

I'm only wondering about the Life Grail. +100% Food can be useful, but is it actually so in mid to late game, becasue that is the earliest when you will acquire the grail? I don't know about multiplayer, but in single Food is usually the least useful resource in later stages of the game. At least teh regen seems like a strong buff...
 
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Imrix

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I would actually say that in my experience, food is more useful lategame than early.

In the early game, colonies grow fast enough to get a new colonist every turn just from their standard four colonist slots on food that they can grow... Not quite up to 8 colonists and their second sector, but pretty close. I want to say it's 6 colonists, but I'd have to check. It's only later on that you really want more food, if a game is running long and you want to grab 3rd/4th sectors, or rapidly grow a new colony after your initial boom.

Which means that what the Configuration of Life is basically doing is saying, "hey, you know that stage of the game where your colony growth starts slowing down? Yeah, not anymore."
 
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