Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Dev Diary #67: Your Galactic Empire

Avoxel

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Hello Commanders, Thomas here. Designer at Triumph Studios, today I will be sharing some of what I have been working on for Star Kings.

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The Galactic Empire system is intended to add a sense of progression across multiple planetary conquests, presenting new challenges and allowing for even more creativity when building your empires.
In addition we wanted to encourage the RPG aspect, through Secondary Objectives based on the world’s traits and through your choices of what to bring along on your conquests. Players will be able to lean into ‘their’ empire’s style and develop it over time.



Planet Traits
Since we knew we wanted to have a game mode that encourages replayability and experimentation, we decided it was necessary to really spice up the worlds you attempt to conquer. This is done through Planet Traits:
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A Planet Trait is a modifier to the scenario you will encounter on that world, they are broadly divided into 3 categories:

Features are traits that add particular structures, sectors, or otherwise modifiers to the Map Generation of the Scenario map.
For example:
Scorched world – Badlands are significantly more common, Arctic is disabled, Coast and Oceans are replaced with Lava.
- Geothermal Instability hazards are more common.
- Pangea map type

Inhabitant traits add certain AI players and may give them a particular behavior.
For example:
Syndicate Allies – 2 AI Allied Syndicate players must be present
Disputed Claim – 2 AI Dvar players are present with additional assets, and will inevitably go to war with each other.

Modifier traits are global modifiers to gameplay mechanics that may force you to adapt and consider strategies that you otherwise would not.
For example:
Limited Space – Colonies cannot grow larger than 12 Colonists
Barren Lands – All non-Coastal sectors without Rivers produce -50% less Income

Each Trait has a value (not visible to players) that roughly indicates it's impact on the difficulty, when a world is generated up to 4 traits are chosen, the total value of these traits may not exceed the Complexity rating of the world. Additionally only 2 traits of any category can be active at the same time.


Secondary Objectives
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Secondary objectives were the second piece of the puzzle to make the experience of Conquering a Galactic Empires planet different from the average scenario. Each Planet Trait has an associated Secondary Objective, which requires a certain task be completed.

Each time a step of a Secondary Objective is completed you gain Imperial Renown which you can use to call in your Requisitions, and Experience towards the Tech or Race associated with that Secondary Objective.
Some Secondary Objectives also function as Victory Conditions when they are completed, letting you swiftly conclude your conquest and providing an alternative goal to your usual conquests.
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Requisition System
Then to the final major piece of the puzzle, the Requisitions. This is how you bring otherwise unavailable technology with you on your conquests. When preparing for a planetary conquest you may choose to bring along (depending on your empire level) up to 3 of each: Units, Mods and Operations/Doctrines.

Each of these Requisitions has an associated Renown cost, this indicates the Renown required to acquire the Requisition once planetside. You start your conquest with 50 Renown, to gain more you must make progress towards your Secondary Objectives or complete Empire Requests.
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In this particular setup I decided I wanted to lean into my previously acquired Paragon allies, letting the Paragon Soldiers and Heavy Soldiers make up for the otherwise relatively lacking ranged capability of the Oathbound. I chose the Overcharger Augment to really get the most out of my Paragon units in the mid to late game, and brought the Smart Rounds so i’d have access to a strong offensive mod for their Firearms attacks. For Operations I brought Cleansing Pulse to compensate for my potential weakness to status effects, and Imperial Mandate so i’d not be found lacking for Influence and won’t have to answer to anyone while waging my righteous war of conquest.

Requisitions let you try unusual builds, bring along units unlocked through Relics that one would otherwise not have access to, or simply make up for certain technologies your faction may lack (such as bringing along a Psionic mod when playing Assembly Psynumbra).


Relics
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Certain planets will unlock a Relic when conquered, unlocking unique Requisition items for future conquests.

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Relics can be found in the Reliquary, where you can review which relics you have already claimed and what other Relics are still out there for the taking.

There are 2 unique kinds of relics that are gained through different means:
  • Grail Configurations are gained through the claiming of that particular grail type on a world in your empire, and these uniquely grant a global bonus that is always active.
  • The Emperor’s Throne is uniquely unlocked outside of the Galactic Empire game-mode itself, and is gained through completion of the Oathbound Campaign.


Progression
Completing the conquest of a planet grants you progress towards multiple aspects of your empire:
  • Your Leader’s Race and Secret Tech
  • Each step of a Secondary Objective you complete will grant you experience towards the associated Secret Tech or Race. Completing all steps grants bonus experience.
  • If the planet has any Traits that are associated with a Relic then that relic is now unlocked and added to your Reliquary
  • Your Leader and any Heroes that joined you from your Hall of Heroes will gain a level, this means they will start at that level next time they are chosen as your leader, or offer to join you in a future conquest.
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Aside from Requisition unlocks, certain milestone levels in a Race or Secret tech will grant you ‘Tech Aptitude’. This means that should you choose a leader using that Race or Secret tech, you will be granted additional starting technologies from the relevant Race or Tech as soon as you land.


Hall of Heroes
The Hall of Heroes is your repository of great Heroes and Leaders, any Leader you choose to bring or create for your conquests is stored here. You can also create new Heroes here any time you like, alter their appearance and toggle whether or not they should show up as Heroes during your conquests with other leaders (wouldn’t want the empress serving a lowly general now would we?).

Heroes gain a level for each planet in whose conquest they partake, these levels determine their starting level when they first appear on a planet, either as your Leader or as a Hero.
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You’ll have to forgive the rather interesting statistics, most of the conquering in this empire was done before these particular statistics were tracked.

Heroes also gain traits based on their chosen Loadout, Nymera for example has gained Imperial Champion: Juggernaut due to her original Melee Loadout.
These traits grant an army buff and gain power as the hero gains levels, starting at Veteran for levels 2-4, then proceeding to Champion at 5-7, and so on.
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Modding Potential
Lastly something that I am excited about is the ease with which you may add new Planet Traits, Secondary Objectives or Relics. Simply making a new RPK and attaching it to a trait that you add to the system will add that content to the game if that trait is present. Want to add your new sector type to the world? Replace all Spawners with Penguin nests? Give all units that flank guaranteed critical hits? The traits system lets you add nearly anything you can think of.
New units, Mods or Operations can also be added as part of relics or even just added to existing progression trees.


Hope this was an interesting read, and that you are excited to try your own hand at Galactic Conquest!
 
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Snorro Soliman

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A truly inspiring read. This mode will add tons of replayability to this game and does provide an enormous framework to modders (I think).
Thank you @Avoxel and Triumph for what is shaping up to be a solid expansion. I also feel truly validated in my purchase of your Season Pass. Would consider purchasing a future pass.

I do consider finding a Mycelian world and applying MAXIMUM PURGING to it...
 
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RMan89

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Thanks for the diary, it was interesting to read especially that it answered a few questions that i had regarding the new features. I honestly thought that tech requisition would allow one player to steal tech from another during gameplay, but this is still good enough. Plus stealing tech and mods would could really cause some crazy situations, so maybe that's for the better?
Btw. are both planet traits and tech requisition exclusive to Galactic Empire mode or will they also be available for a normal single planet conquest mode?
 
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Donal_Huda

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Thanks for this! I agree that this should really up the replay value of the game! I also like how you've made it where you can change your starting hero between planets. That way the player can change up playstyle mid-campaign. I like that a lot. I don't think I've ever played with the same starting hero twice, so this variety plus progression is really exciting! Keep up the great work!
 
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Ridixo

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This looks really really great :D
Thanks :)

Just to make sure of it. Tuesday 10/11 Star Kings is out together with the patch and The Galactic empire mode, right? :)
 
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Ridixo

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Any chance there will be a way to play Galactic Empire with a friend (online multiplayer)?

So far as i know it's single player thing. Many people have said on other threads that it's too much broken and unbalanced to be used on multiplayer :(
 

Pickles GRR

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It looks very like a very promising addition. I am a bit concerned about this bit.

"Aside from Requisition unlocks, certain milestone levels in a Race or Secret tech will grant you ‘Tech Aptitude’. This means that should you choose a leader using that Race or Secret tech, you will be granted additional starting technologies from the relevant Race or Tech as soon as you land."

It seems to incentivise using the same race /tech over and over rather than trying out the different ones. Same with heroes I guess though you could have a fairly varied stable of half a dozen.
 

FerrokenFibrous

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It looks very like a very promising addition. I am a bit concerned about this bit.

"Aside from Requisition unlocks, certain milestone levels in a Race or Secret tech will grant you ‘Tech Aptitude’. This means that should you choose a leader using that Race or Secret tech, you will be granted additional starting technologies from the relevant Race or Tech as soon as you land."

It seems to incentivise using the same race /tech over and over rather than trying out the different ones. Same with heroes I guess though you could have a fairly varied stable of half a dozen.
As far as I can tell, race/tech levels are gained through secondary objectives associated with that particular race or tech, so it's somewhat at the mercy of RNG. Not sure whether the actual race and tech you're using on that particular world will have any effect on the XP progression.
 
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Will planet traits be available for regular, single games? I suppose Inhabitant traits would be out of place, but Features and Modifiers could add a lot of spice to multiplayer matches without affecting the balance... too much.
 

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As far as I can tell, race/tech levels are gained through secondary objectives associated with that particular race or tech, so it's somewhat at the mercy of RNG. Not sure whether the actual race and tech you're using on that particular world will have any effect on the XP progression.
Think so too based on the icons next to secondary objectives + it will benefit you to bring specific race/tech combo depending on the traits (like dvar promethean vs xenoplague infested planet)
 
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Snorro Soliman

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I hesitate to write this(because it is picking at nits or ' spijkers op laag water zoeken') but I just noticed: some of the Pre-Order content is currently named ' Star King' (unit icons and some cosmetics I believe). Received as part of the pre-release sign up.
the Star Kings (plural) will soon be a new icon and cosmetic set. Will this set be renamed?
Nitpicky, I know, but just wondering.
 

DragonZee

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Nice post but I still can't wrap my head around this mode. In the sense that I don't know if I should be excited or just interested :p Guess I will need to try playing it first.
 

ufozhou

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how about a reputation system with different factions?
you helped ELOPE several times then they be friends with you when contact during your individual planet.
 
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