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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

BeltarTheLion

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Mar 29, 2020
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For me the history of AoW is a long story of minimazation of exploiting flying units over AI. In AoW humans' Air Ships would eliminate everything just kill archers before. Or dragon would breath out the whole army. It was not hard to do. In AoW 2 and then SM it was minimized weakened ballista for Air Ship limited breaths for dragons. But inability to take the flyers down without ranged attack still was very huge advantage for flyers. And finally every unit ended up to be on the ground.
 

Rodmar18

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Don't forget that some flying units get tactical abilities that kind of emulate a top-down fight, such as:
- ignored threat zones while on the move;
- moving over obstacles and walls;
- first strike;
- charge, guard breaker or crushing blow;
- vulnerability to pikes;
Granted, some of them also make for giant creatures.

About Planetfall, is there any ability that corresponds a ranged retaliation, where you can ripost with your main ranged attack when the enemy attacks you at range on their round? Only marksmen would have this ability, and only once per round.
Also, could a ranged unit shoot at the first enemy unit moving on its round?
 

BeltarTheLion

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I interpret this as follow: if you feel like urged to max empire upgrades, class units or casting points, then those skills have to be important, for sure, and you are also certainly prioritizing them over tactical and strategic spells.

If the choice is obvious there's no choice. The problem not just in prioritizing Empire upgrades or class-units upgrades. The problem that many spells or sometimes Empire upgrades are useless or cost too much to justify time investment. The usabelity may depend on game speed settings. F. e. Summoning a bird competes with class recon units and becomes useless with slower speed settings. Many usefull spells suffer from other mechanics. Like I said before why cast Star Blades when you can do direct damage with a damage spell or shoot magic bolts or whatever your hero has to shoot. So if I've such a spell in my book I'm not likely to research it. In middle game many of starting spells becomes too weak but I didn't research them in the beginning because I had more important things to research. And I can't neither clean up low level spells fast because of 1 turn - 1 spell neither utilize them effictively in combat like casting multiple low level buffs per turn. As result sooner or later I don't see new good spells in the book and give even more priority to the left page.

One of the solutions could be to have more pages in Research book with much more spell available for research so the players wouldn't be bothered with the spells they doesn't think they need but have to research just to reach the usefull ones.

Can't Haste Production solve this problem? As for other production management, I find myself that I often neglect the potential of Build Housings, Research Mana, even Produce Merchandises, to tune this management more finely. E.g. stopping production in several cities to enable one critical production in one city.

Haste is emergency thing with serious consequence (-100 morale for 5 turns may be painfull even without additioanl gold spent). I mean more precise control like assignment of the population in Planetfall. And if my city has 100 prods why I can't build 2 50 golds buildings in one turn or 2 low level units (once I saw a city with 210 prod points without Dwarf Comet event or mana fuel I could build 3 Shredders or 2 Mystics in one turn if it was possible)? And why these lazy bastards of my subjects don't start new construction at the same turn they finished the prev. one if they have remaining prod points? OK who I'm to blame them when my lovable characters (their beloved leaders) do the very same in researching and don't want to research more than one spell per turn no matter how many RP they have.

In Planetfall this thing was solved by changing prod points which can't be collected to some materials so leftovers can be saved on next turn. But this doesn't look good for fantasy setting.

I often use housing for very small settlments. Merchandise can be good for some cities far away from the front-line to build there units and sometimes you can have a city with really huge gold income (many gold structures in one place) so it can have sense to units somewhere else. Don't forgrt that having 1000+ gold means +100 to base morale. If you can be rich you better be rich. :)
 

BeltarTheLion

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Mar 29, 2020
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Artefact craft. Useless.
I never use the forge but others do. Perhaps this is mandatory when using auto-combat?


At first the forge itself has irrelevant +10 RP bonus which is good sign that developers were not sure about usability and gave some compensation.

Spending 2 turns and a lot of gold and mana to give your hero +2 attack or to build lvl 2 unit. Hm-m hard choice. Not. The 1st thing which comes to mind add levels to forge so if you want to give your heroes some equipment you woudln't have to spend 50 gold 150 mana and what's even more impotant 2-4 turns only to have the ability for the craft and then some turns to create the item itself. I think the 1st level forge should cost no more than 60 resourses. And produce yellow-class items for 100 resources. Want something better buy upgrade. But crafting red or violet items is not the thing I think should be allowed. Such things must be really rare treasures taken from the dead bodies of the stongest monsters. Who lived peacefully in their lairs.

But this doesn't solve the problem of production stall while creating items. This can be fixed by separating prod line for the craft. It can be explaned with some specialist doing them not the whole city. And this master guy could create something for regular units (like additional modules in Planetfall)
 

UnstableVoid

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A better UI. Even better combats, and less of them. There are way too many pointless fights in the game right now. As an example of interesting combat systems, take a look at Druidstone, that introduce many interesting elements to tactical turn-based combat systems, and make levels that aren't about murdering all enemies, but allows for other objectives. I love the focus on campaigns and single-player, so keep doing that. I would love some world-building with more personality than generic fantasy - it's very hard to get into the long text pieces between campaign missions because everything is very generic and boring. Personally I would love a more in-depth city building aspect with more resources, but I don't know if that should be the focus - right now what AoW 3 got over many other games in the 4x genre is that the combat is better than most, and maybe the best decision would be to press that edge.
 
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dav77-b

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Fantasy Setting. Many races. Allot of Magic. Deep lore. Unit Customization like in Planetfall.
 

BeltarTheLion

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Mar 29, 2020
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Some thoughts about unit customization. Why it is like it is. Unit enchantment mechanic existed in AoW 1/2 and beside direct damage/buff or unit summon spells it was the main way to utilize mana. But casting many enchentments could make unit extremally strong I guess the developers saw that as a problem. AoW 3 introduced using mana for making units in settlements and gave much more global\settlement spells. So unit enchantment with following upkeep became not necessary and these spells turned to combat buffs. But on tactival level they compete with other actions heroes and leader can do. Especially leader who in AoW2 sat in the capital and had only one function in combat - cast spells. What's more units in AoW3 are fragile in close combat so it's normal to expect that enchanted with damage buff unit will take only one combat encounter. Which make damage buffs not very good in comparisson with direct damage spells. I use damage buffs not very often compared to healing, protective and direct damage spells.

The second thing AoW3 introduced rather standart for many games but really good damage type resistanse system (AoW 2 had only weaknes, protection and immunity). This allows to make the whole races resistant or weak to some damage types. Cold based attacks are useless against undeads and etc. I guess because of that In Planetfall unit castomzation modules can change unit attack types.

Planetfall in terms of unit customization uses conception of detachable modules which makes logical restriction with 3 modules per unit which don't allow to overbuff units. And logical not having upkeep for modules. And all modules require cosmite which unlike omnipresent mana is very limited resource. In fantasy AoW 3 settings it's analogue would be not mane but some rare gems and etc. I hardly imagine fantasy world where mana is not something common. And making literally tens if not hundreds of different module for every race including minor ones made it hard to remember how everyone works. What's important the intallation of modules requires one turn that makes harder to use them as precast buff in sudden attacks.

From other side most of customizations are made for combat and having many of them makes it hard to understand the army's strength. I guess that's why Planetfall shows overall "strength score". What's more units in Planetfall can have modules giving them very surprising abilities. You will not inspect carefully every unit so regeneration module can be nasty surprise in combat.

So keeping customization as combat spells looks like good idea. You fight with an enemy weak to fire - you enchant your army with fire strike. We just need the ability to cast many minor buffs in turn. This's possible tactical choices cast expensive strong spell like Mass Bless, cast a lot of small buffs on disired units (which you can't because 1 turn - 1 cast) or don't cast anything at all. Another idea make direct combat spells less attractive for non-magic related heroes. Now such spells depends from taken magic specialization so Warlord casting Fireball do that as effective as Mage. Because AoW3 despite introducing classes still gives class-independent magic "schools".
 

Rodmar18

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I think that one reason for combat unit enchantments being a tad limited in AoW3 as compared to sustained unit enchantments in AoW2, is that they are so many units with special abilities, and that several units gain more of them upon levelling-up. I don't know how this fares in Planetfall.

Speaking of undead being impervious to blight attacks, I'd like more if units could have more than 100% resistance against some elements in AoW4, given how debuff effects are common in AoW3, moreso when a 80% elementary resistance means a 100% susceptibility to same damage type-based abilities, when not expressely stated that this unit is not affected by that ability. I mean that undead should have, say, a 140% resistance to blight damage unless one considers that blight also means acidic, etc.
 

BeltarTheLion

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when a 80% elementary resistance means a 100% susceptibility to same damage type-based abilities

I remember when in one game I tried to capture an water object from 2 mermaids with Sheila The Spoiled. Sheila could kill the mermaids in combat and had 80% of devine resist (40% inherited from being a kitty and 40% more from some artifact). I didn't count but I made no less than 10 attempts but everytime it ended with lesbian shipping. X) I doubt if in AoW 3 elemental resists work to effects at all except 100% resistance which makes the effect unapplicable at all.

In Planetfall it explicitelly stated that the work.

I don't know how this fares in Planetfall.

In Planetfall modules often give not just buffs but usable functions (healing, temporal improving for accuracy).
 

Rodmar18

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moreso when a 80% elementary resistance means a 100% susceptibility to same damage type-based abilities
I doubt if in AoW 3 elemental resists work to effects at all except 100% resistance which makes the effect unapplicable at all.
Yes, you are right, I wrote out of memory and I phrased it too lightly. I meant that when an effect applies, it applies fully, because resistance only comes in play in the chance of being affected.

According to AoW3 Wiki, a 100% actual resistance (i.e. sum of inherent resistance, buffs, and debuffs > 100%) means a 0% chance of being affected, or total immunity.
A 0% actual resistance means that the chance of being affected is solely dependent on the difference between effect's strength and target's stats (defense or resistance), i.e. a 50% chance if difference is 0, a 100% chance if difference is > +10, a 0% chance if difference is < -10.

Total chance = (50% + (5% * (Strength - Resistance)) * (1 + Weakness/100)
Replace Resistance with Defence for physic-based effects; count elemental protection as a negative weakness.
Thanksfully, most of the time, explicit immunities prevent debuffed unit to be affected against "lore".

That means that a 80% Spirit resistant target with 9 Resistance (such as your hero) gets a 13% chance of being affected by Seduce (12 in strength). Given two attacks, your hero should have had roughly 24% of being seduced per battle.
 

BeltarTheLion

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I think I still have the save will check in a couple of days (When I get the computer I played). This was what I expected (50%+5*(Seduce-Resistance))*0.2 which is small even for 2 sequental attacks but got totally opposite.
 

Goemoe

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Did any developer ever mention in any media, there will be a AoW 4?

To the topic, as I play daily PBEM on random maps, I enjoy the additional types of dwellings and/or troops I can build due to good mods. Each game feels different, even after years. So I would like to have more options for the RMG in AoW4. A twin route for buildings/units per city is great too.
 

Scaarion

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May 14, 2020
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As a longstanding fan of the Age of Wonders series, I just hopped back in on AoW3. I have to say, the nostalgia is real, but there is still a lot to be desired in some very key factors.
So, since this is solely a thread of what we desire from future installations, I'll cut to the skinny of that end and forego my full review:

Crafting Rebalance
I'm certain we've all enjoyed the arcane forge in random scenarios, and have equipped our heroes with items that fit our needs. However, there are some serious oversights in the current crafting mechanic, and in the available options for what one can craft. While I understand that many active power, skill, etc options should be reserved for the epic, legendary, and mythical item drops, including ultra-high resistances to given damage types, there are many options which are not even present.

Many items in the game may be found at common and strong ratings which provide defense, resistance, or damage functions which are simply not even available when crafting a custom item, and many of these make absolute sense for a hero's equipment. The fact that we can't take these options at all, even in limited quantity, is unnerving and makes it far less plausible to make full use of the ability to create your own supplemental equipment before the player winds up finding them (if they ever find what they're looking for or need). Scarcity of resources is fine, and the overall point limit makes it impossible to craft certain items which can only be found, but some of the simpler options (such as putting defense or resistance on any piece of armor, or granting melee damage bonuses with shield items and ranged damage bonuses with weapons) should really be permitted. Further, some of the low-power, easily resisted statuses that were omitted could absolutely be featured, if not in all forges, under individual leader classes to exemplify the class' individual talents.

Finally, on this point, the rarity of items seems randomized more than balanced. I have found many epic, legendary, and even a handful of mythical items that a better version can be made in every capacity within the forge, while some strong and common items are superior to anything craftable. The Serrated Serpent Shortsword is a prime example, having a +3 physical melee damage bonus and armor piercing, but being listed as legendary. I can make an item with a +4 damage bonus and armor piercing, and it is listed as only strong rather than of legendary rank. I feel this is more of an oversight in the items mechanic than an outright sin, but it makes the value of trading with AI factions very unbalanced, and the sale cost of items even moreso. The mechanic is overall sound, but has a lot of holes in it, and could use some serious review. Especially with particular boons like Polearm, which grants only roughly double the benefit of armor-piercing, and against a far lesser spectrum of units, but costs 4 points compared to armor-piercing's 1 point, which more or less mitigates the efficacy of armored as a bonus quality on any unit the hero encounters. A solid review, as a cost rebalance, would more than suffice to address the little oversights in the system and make it a more viable option, perhaps even allowing it to be one that could be featured in the campaigns.

Search Engine
Presently, there is no such mechanic in the diplomatic menu, nor in any aspect of the game. However, when working with a massive map against numerous opponents, your item, army, and city lists become more than a little convoluted, especially in the diplomacy and trade menu. Nothing is alphabetized, and there is no search prompt to allow a player to rapidly find items or cities they're looking for to trade with others. This makes it a veritable nightmare when literally every hero is fully equipped and spare items are floating about, or when you have dozens of settlements and are trying to find one specific city you're willing to relinquish. Even if a sort option was present (allowing to sort by name, value, city size, etc), it would make a world of difference in an organizational sense.

Army Management
In many ways, the army management systems present are lacking in a lot of capacities. There are many times when a full army may need to be disbanded (such as creating a small supplemental militia grouping to help defend against a boss event, knowing they will only be a tax on your economy once it's over). Further, the "go to next" function seems to have no rhyme or reason to which armies it jumps you to next, save maybe distance, which causes ordering to become a bit hectic in the late-game. This further shows when trying to use the send-to function for items found by hero-less armies, and can cause rapid skipping of heroes on high hero volume maps. Experimenting on the upper ends of limits and thresholds has revealed a lot of instability in management options and opportunities, which could be quite easily addressed via the aforementioned sort mechanic, search mechanic, and maybe a proper organizational redesign. Such mechanics likely wouldn't prove much of a tax on the engine, either, and could be easily implemented without consuming much space in the visual representation of the game.

Also, it may be recommended to attach the "accelerate movement" option to something other than right-clicking, as there have been numerous times where right clicking has removed or altered an army's orders rather than accelerating the army's movement on the world map. A small detail, but one that can prove a frustration when the engine lags.

Interrupted Actions
Possibly one of the most agitating events in the game for me is the fact that orders, item sending, and city management are frequently interrupted if you try and take advantage of the simultaneous turns option. Any time a new alert, army movement, or other such event occurs, it resets and possibly even cancels your current string of action. This has caused numerous items to be lost to the ground when trying to send to a hero after a battle or dungeon raid, and has prevented the completion of quests due to an enemy army swooping in as I am clicking on a quest target, ultimately preventing the movement from even occurring or being registered as an order. If the engine being used requires a full map refresh every time anything happens, it may be time to consider upgrading the operating engine. I would be far more understanding if another army beat me to a quest objective if my units were at least following an order and simply arrived a moment later, rather than completely denying the action was even issued as an order at all.

Unit Balance
Now, nobody can expect all units in such a diverse game to be balanced, and there will always be an expectation of better and worse units for given roles, tasks, and military powers. For example, I would never expect halflings to have nearly the combat capacity of orcs, warlord units to be weak enough to fall to wild animals, etc. However, the balance I am talking about is not in terms of what given military styles offer. It's in the presence of units as a whole.

Elves, who are noted heavily for their archers, still only have the basic tier I archer unit as an option, instead favoring the storm sisters support unit for their upper tier production option. Frostlings appear to be nothing more than a cheap trope listing based loosely off of the Whitewalkers, the Ice Queen of Narnia, and the entire "Winter is Coming" trope. Draconians have no ACTUAL draconic options or benefits, in spite of that being their ENTIRE motief (except the fire resistance and fire-oriented damage, which doesn't account for the core of what dragons actually are as per your game's own lore).

Overall, upper tier units are either support, cavalry, or infantry class, without exception, and many options feel thoroughly under-explored. There are no high-tier archers or monsters available through basic racial lists, and there are extreme biases towards having a very melee-oriented playstyle if you truly want a successful army. Range is undervalued, or undermeasured, and any range given to an attack type is easily closed by opponents on the combat round immediately after an underwhelming volley is launched. There are no units which can attack and THEN move, which is an integral part of Guerilla tactics in numerous other games (including from lower-cost titles), and there is almost no way to achieve multiple actions within a single round for any unit other than Warlords using the Killing Momentum skill, which seems to be an exclusive bonus for the Warlord and Infantry with a blood pit in their origin city. Overall, it's clear that the generally accepted opinion is that Swords and Axes are the best thing ever and all other weapons are either inconsequential or only useful as a backup option.

Perhaps focussing on diversifying unit loadouts could be a goal with the coming game, giving more options and more ACTUAL STRATEGY to the strategy game. A mid tier ranged unit for each faction would be wonderful, regardless of leader class, and a wider array of talents to compliment leader units could easily be employed to spice up tactical play. For example, the monster hunter and other units clearly meant to be guerilla fighters could benefit from the attack then move mechanic, even it's through a skill (Perhaps called retreating shot). Having armies which clearly should include monsters have the ability to produce them (even if only wyverns for the Draconians, or Ogres for orcs) could very easily be kept within balance by giving the Dwarves, Humans, and Elves some equal opposites. The Dwarves could have their own unique machine unit only available for their race (or just make the cannon a generally accepted thing in a time where cannons are clearly aboard literally every large warship). The Humans could have a unique Irregular or an upgrade to their priest (since they're clearly obsessed with religion based on having what should be a theocrat unit as their only support unit option). The Elves could have their own variety of super archer. There are a lot of options to work with, and a lot of diversity left untapped. Even if only adding one or two additional unit options for each Tier, it would make a world of difference in terms of strategic versatility.

Further, some benefits which only apply to certain unit classes from unique structures, such as the focus chamber, make no sense to exclude the irregular units which also use conventional ranged weapons. The monster hunter and civic guard come most to mind, but are far from the only ones who should benefit from the same benefit as archers. Perhaps making certain units multiclass rather than merely listing them off as irregulars, could become an option. Clearly, irregular is the role for anything that doesn't fall into normal unit classes, but there are a few within it which clearly qualify for at least one of the preexisting class sets.

Finally, a severe lack of naval options can't help but be noticed. Even something as simple as a transport vessel capable of carrying a single army could make naval travel a lot more viable, and strategically gratifying. Improved movement speed with an arrow volley that grows more powerful based on how many units are aboard, allowing a small group of other ships to serve as escort for a true naval army.

Army Retraining
It is a regular issue that one has to restructure their military forces based on new structures available in new settlements if they truly want to maximize their military power. Armies have to be entirely recreated to grant bonuses that are, realistically, from equipment more than the unit, itself. Enchanted Armor, Vigorous Mounts, even the Focus Chamber's magical ammunition, all seem to be things which a passing soldier should be able to pick up or retrain to get access to. An option to spend additional gold, mana, and maybe even reduce the unit's level to retrain in a new city and gain any bonuses that city would offer would be a very welcome addition.

To elaborate, have a unit garrison within the city, and have the option to retrain them become available on the unit's own actions menu. This would cause the unit to be unusable during the retraining period, and would take turns equal to the number of bonuses they are retraining for in order to complete. Once completed, all bonuses the city would grant that the unit did not already possess would be added to the unit's own benefits list. This would enable a player to keep units they have been training since the start of the game without having to completely recycle a veteran army, while still taking a significant cost. The gold and mana costs would be 1/2 the original cost of the unit, and their level might decrease one or two ranks, or to the rank of the city's own trained units of their given class. However it would need to be balanced, it wouldn't offset gameplay, and could allow for some truly elite units to be produced over a long and tedious cycling of units between different cities with different city upgrade structures.

Leader Classes
I love the options brought forth by this installment, and am very thoroughly looking forward to what new options will be available in future games. However, here is where I feel I should put in my two cents for this bit.

The primary classes shown are wonderful, but there are a few to be desired. The following are my initial thoughts on prospective classes:

Ranger: A unit focused on ranged unit production with bonuses which resemble the exploration perk. Starting off with a higher ranged damage stat and mid level defenses, a moderate melee damage, and maybe a few borrowed influences from the Druid in terms of befriending animals and summoning them for class spells & powers. Rangers would grant foot archers, mounted archers, and flying archers as unique options (perhaps mounted on gryphons, to follow the motif of the king gryphon mount).

Guardian: A purely defensive role, having significant bonuses they can provide to the defense & resistance stats of their units and focusing on units which employ similar skills and the absorb pain power. This class would specialize in outlasting enemies, and possibly grant further defensive boons to walls and siege-proofing structures. The Guardian's highest tier units would also grant auras which improve the defense of nearby units on the combat map, or have the ability to reinforce other armies from two hexes out.

Artisan: A class whose focus is on production of items, structures, and so forth. Among their class spells would be benefits which apply to individual unit classes and structure survivability, possibly even mitigating structure destruction from other classes' spells. Further, improving the point value available for custom item creation and the unlocking of additional properties to add to crafted items. Unit options would be replacements to the builder, which would feature a combat oriented builder unit, and units which can repair machines, walls, and provide equipment to other units of given classes during combat, their specialist irregulars would have various tools and gadgets in their repertoire.

Grand Templar: Equal parts warrior and cleric, the templar would emphasize the military might of the church in ways the Theocrat cannot, while shirking some of the healing potential it grants. Granting spirit damage, spirit vulnerability infliction, and improved banishment abilities, as well as a number of defensive boosts to preserve life to replace the healing options of the theocrat.

Demonologist: An alternative to the Necromancer for an evil-inclined ruler, the demonologist would focus on summoning powerful demonic entities and eldritch monstrosities to do battle. The presence of angelic forces for the theocrat begs for an equal opposite, and this would be exactly that. Having curses, hexes, and debuffs partnered with the ability to summon powerful demonic allies during battles, or permanent additions to be ritualistically summoned within cities (likely via sacrificing population in addition to mana and gold for the unit production cost), the class could offer a lot of unique options.

Admiral: By no means viable for every map style, but in terms of naval combat would be supreme. Emphasizing resource bonuses for water tiles, especially ocean tiles, improved naval vessels for use in open sea warfare, and amphibious units for rapid deployment across bodies of water, the admiral would be the islander's dream come true. Having less potential for invading land-based cities, they would also sport the ability to create their own oceanic production facilities within water fortresses which could serve as resource structures. Special units would possess advanced mariner skills or be improved ships for each tier of production, even if this was only through improving the stats of preexisting aquatic units and embarked units.

Many of the aspects of the options listed above could easily be included in the skill research trees of existing classes, I admit, and perhaps even a cross-specialization option could be included to allow late-game leaders to adopt a secondary "sub-class" through research. These options could allow for significantly greater diversification in build options, and allow late game to have greater use for gathered intelligence after learning all skills of current specialization. The fact that I rarely have a game where I don't wind up having no use for research by the mid game makes it a bit disappointing, and very tedious to focus on any victory type other than military conquest, because there's nothing else to keep working for, and no other options for development. Cross specialization could enable a leader to spend fifth or sixth tier quantities of research points to gain access to entirely new specialization trees, and allow players and AI warlords to offer entirely new challenges to gameplay.

Species Diversity
I've seen a few requests for new playable races in this thread, but haven't really seen any recommendations as to how to approach adding additional races. First, I would focus on optimizing and diversifying the existing races, and then look to your minor factions and dwellings for further inspiration. Frankly, there's enough already present to enable a massive influx of playable archetypes.

I remember in the earliest age of wonders game that an Undead Faction was a standalone option. Now, there is the Archon Revenant dwelling to fill that role, but no true undead race presented as a viable, playable option. Their continued presence, I feel, could enable a Revenant Faction with a more diverse unit roster to match that of major empires. This could add a new race, and give a powerful undead force to Necromancers.

The Fae: There are a lot more Fae that could be employed, and those already in the game serve as good groundwork. The Sidhe, Tuathe De Danaan, Silphs, and Leprechauns are all viable options to expand this roster and allow the Fae to have a true Sithen to compete with other major empires as a truly terrifying faction. Their primary focus would be on natural environments, and would be hard opposed by blight and necromancy, as opposed to making "Holy" magics of unidentified deities the sole bane of undeath.

Giantkin: Ogres, Trolls, and Giants are often noted in mythology as far more than mindless beasts subservient to those of power. Entire Jotun empires stormed the asgardians, comprised of Hill, Frost, and Fire Giants. Ogres wielded javelins and hunting tools. Trolls would trade and make elaborate deals in various mythos. There is an entire unit roster just waiting to be tapped of unique, hard-hitting, expensive armies which take a far greater tax on resources in exchange for their awesome power.

Lizardfolk: The Draconians already feel more like lizardfolk than proper descendants of the dragons, and truly could be structured to embrace their draconic gifts far more profoundly. This would leave room for a new empire of lizards, focused on poisons and amphibious combat within the marshes and wetlands. Tribal at base, and more of a blend between goblins and orcs for gameplay style, having the ability to produce low-cost high-volume armies or specialist armies of the larger, more deadly lizards that lurk in the world.

Beastkin: Tigrans, a direct hat tip to the Elder Scrolls Khajiit in so very many ways, are but one of the many beasts which could be anthropomorphized. Any of a number of species, or specie groupings, could be employed to close the gaps of species diversity. Having different species for different climates, biomes, etc could really broaden things without having to worry to heavily about lore impacts.

Dark Elves: So, I'm going to be frank - The fact that I see nothing but a bunch of fair-skinned humanoids, down to the fact that I can't even get a BLACK ELF or actual AFRICAN HAIR on my HUMAN leaders is more than a little disappointing. The bias towards the fair skinned races is a huge let down, and the lack of any non-white human, dwarf, or halfling units really makes some predispositions of the creators stand out. Dark Elves, not evil by design, but more accepting of the magics of the night and the creatures which reside within such domain would be a welcome addition to help ease this. Their nature is the moon to the high elves' day. They don't have to be Drow, and I feel that making them resemblant of such would only expound upon prior biases. However, making a true night-dwelling dark elf faction would make for an awesome set of gameplay mechanics within one faction's addition.

These are just my initial thoughts on prospective faction options, and any of them would be welcome additions, in my opinion. However, I'd also be welcome to any other options which could be present, as the AoW series makes for a fun gameplay experience through and through.

Trade
Trade is a key part of almost any turn based strategy on the market, these days, and even for many real time strategy games. The entire civilization series features trade mechanics, the Age of Empires Franchise, the Endless Series, and so forth all understand the value of economic victories. It would be nice to see such mechanics employed in the next installment of AoW, and would definitely help the franchise catch up with the market they're competing in. Simple trade mechanics are easy to account for, and city upgrades for trading structures are fairly basic. Also, the option to raid trade vehicles used by these structures could allow players to upset and offset other players' economies by literally stealing their income with strategic moves on major roads or sea routes.

Patrol & Rapid Response
This is both an option I've seen, and one I haven't in other games of the franchise. The Patrol option for armies should be present, to allow a persistent path to be followed. However, adding an auto-engagement range, where patrols will divert to attack enemy armies would really bring the entire mechanic together. Rather than waiting for armies to attack a fortress on an open stretch of grassland, or hoping they will use the bridge you stationed an army upon, having the option to make them automatically engage invaders would make simultaneous turns not only more viable, but also far more logical for this turn-based strategy game.


In summary, while I don't expect all of this to be acted on, these are the thoughts that have been generated in my 141 hrs of AoW three and my countless hours on the previous installments of the franchise. If anyone would like further feedback on any of this, I would be more than welcome to discussion, debate, or suggestions. Also, if there is a means to get this, and any other information within these forums, more directly into the hands of the creative development staff of AoW, I'd love to know.
 
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Goemoe

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As you mention trade: I have never attacked a city in AoW because I lacked mana or gold. But I do have attacked certain objectives because of rare resource nodes in HOMAM games. Might be a good point to add more resources to make trade more valid in AoW games.
 

Rodmar18

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About 3D models on tactical maps, I think it depends on the zoom levels and the camera options, because I 've came to like the blurry, "eery" 2D sprites in AoW2, as much as more detailed 3D models in AoW3, but what I wouldn't like is the detailed and glossy models (or the special rendition) of Warcraft III and co (Armies of Exigo from Black Hole Ent.).

Another idea:

Entrenchment / Encampment:
Currently (AoW3), we may order a stack to "camp" on the strategic map, but this is only a convenience way to skip them until the end of the turn.
What if a stack could entrenched, that is skipped forever in the movement queue (until status is revoked), and those units gain a small benefit in case of a defensive tactical combat occurs. The price would be a a small cost in movement points to enter Entrenchment and/or to exit this status.
The benefit could be a small movement point bonus for first round (defenders always move first), or a better placement, or a defensive bonus (but this could be too high).
 
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Goemoe

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I wonder: Did any Triumph dev ever mentioned a possible AoW 4?

Interesting side note: whenever I look at steam, there are always more people playing AoW3 than Planetfall, though the latter gets new DLCs every few months ...
 

BeltarTheLion

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From my expirience I think that the main problem with AoW Planetfall that you often have nothing to do in you turn from other side in AoW 3 every turn something happens. There're different reasons for that but that's what I see.

What if a stack could entrenched, that is skipped forever in the movement queue (until status is revoked), and those units gain a small benefit in case of a defensive tactical combat occurs.

In fact Planetfall inteoduced it in reverted way on tactical map. You can spend all MP and ability to stay in defence but move a couple additional hexes.
 

BeltarTheLion

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I can make an item with a +4 damage bonus and armor piercing, and it is listed as only strong rather than of legendary rank.

How? If you create a damage item you'll spend 1 more point for any additional atk od def point just like with hero's skill points. You need at least 6 points to create a +3 atk weapon but you've only 5. May be good enough for defence thing to create +2 def +1 res so you wouldn't lose your hero suddenly (even AI likes flanking) and torso items are rather rare I usually very happy to get +1 def +1 res things. But +2 Atk. Let me make it straight all heroes have ranged attack and it's better to keep them behind regular units so melle damage is not very actual for heroes.

when you have dozens of settlements and are trying to find one specific

The game is hard to play when you have just 10 settlments. Too many microcontrol. In fact very big map are not very funny to play. And week CPUs can have problems with them.
 

BeltarTheLion

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So, I'm going to be frank - The fact that I see nothing but a bunch of fair-skinned humanoids, down to the fact that I can't even get a BLACK ELF or actual AFRICAN HAIR on my HUMAN leaders is more than a little disappointing. The bias towards the fair skinned races is a huge let down, and the lack of any non-white human, dwarf, or halfling units really makes some predispositions of the creators stand out

Because there are no such things like black elves or black dwares. They will look as ridiculous as black girl playing Cirilla in "Witcher" who should have Slavic appearence. From other side black people in movies about Ancient Rome will be historically accurate there were even black emperors but that would look strange for the viewers.

The fact is we may live in Europe with very few non-white population but we know how non-European humans look like. Racial variation are perfectly neutral. But black elf would look like something non-neutral.

Tigrans, a direct hat tip to the Elder Scrolls Khajiit in so very many ways, are but one of the many beasts which could be anthropomorphized. Any of a number of species, or specie groupings, could be employed to close the gaps of species diversity.

Tigrans are good fraction because:
1) People like cats and anthrocats are attractive.
2) There're cultural connection with Ancient Egypt. Which makes much easy to understand them.
3) Cats themselve have rather complex image of being blood-thisty predators and something really soft and cute at the same time. That's very good for character development even if strategy games don't require much.

But random furries will be just random furries. And people outside furry-subculture don't understand and like them.

I guess that was the reason to exclude some races of AoW SM like Nomads from AoW3. There were no cultural codes which people could associate with them.