Dev Journal: Necromancer Class Design!

Necro_GlyphWith Golden Realms and V1.4 hot of the presses we do not rest, but get straight back to work on the next Age of Wonders III expansion.  As we’ve hinted in the past, we’re happy to confirm the coming expansion will include the Necromancer class!  Usually we run development journals when items are a little bit further in development, but with this one we want to give an early look on what we’re planning and hear your feedback. First topic: the Necromancer!

Necro_male_outfit-klein

When we started AoW3 and developed the concept of the leader class system, the possibility of a Necromancer class quickly dawned on us. We think implementing Undead as a class has more potential than as a race, because this way we can model a gradual transformation of the leader, the population and the racial units to the undead state. The more they transform, the more powerful they gradually become.

We soon realized that the Necromancer would be the most work of all the classes, so this is why we saved thinking about it for an expansion. Not only will this class need all sorts of reanimation skills, but the effects of Necromancy on the population also need to be modelled. How far do we take this? How will the starting population of the Necromancer’s cities change over time? How are the base racial units affected – do all race units get turned into undead? How do we visualize all this? What sort of bespoke undead units does the necromancer summon and how are they different from turned racial units, and the existing (archon revenant) undead units? Lots of questions, but we are super excited about the possibilities and eager to start answering them. So if you can spare a minute away from Golden Realms and V1.4, we’re looking forward to your thoughts on the Necro! 😉

 

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  • #125097

    Lennart Sas
    Keymaster
    #125100

    Harleyquin14
    Member

    Not unexpected, but a lot of work ahead before something which will satisfy most of the hardcore community can be unveiled.

    I’m looking forward to it myself, always liked playing with Undead in the previous games.

    Once the necromancer is out, what happens to the Archon dwelling?

    #125103

    ed57ve
    Member

    I like the idea of different mechanics with every race (like you did with the halflings) or in classes like the guys at triumph are intending to do the necromancer, the original races and classes feel a bit like the same gameplay

    i dont know how to go for it, i am always a good boy in games 😛

    #125104

    Leyrann
    Member

    The only thing I don’t like about this post, is that you’re saying it’s most likely going to be the final expansion.

    And I have to +1 ed57ve about how Halflings and probably Necromancer too have a much more different feel than the other races. I’d love it if a bit more of this kind of diversity (with maybe as much potential impact as luck) was added.

    #125105

    Rimobul
    Member

    Whhaaaat? The final expansion? Oh, come on! There are still so many features that Age of Wonders 3 can implement… at least, make some DLC-s with more races and campaigns and spells, etc.

    But the Necromancer class looks awesome! The idea of slowly turning the population into undead sounds very interesting. Will also the appearance of the towns change? I am really looking forward to more info.

    #125107

    Lennart Sas
    Keymaster

    Re: Number of expansions, hope you understand that this really depends on how the game and expansion will perform in the coming months, so spread the word :-)

    #125110

    iblis86
    Member

    Cool! So no undead as a new race, but that’s ok for me. Thanks for keeping on expanding this great game, and I will definitely buy your further expansions and support AoW3 as good as I can!

    #125111

    Leatherneck
    Member

    I seriously hope this means the Frostlings are making a return then as well!

    #125113

    rohirrimelf
    Member

    Great news!!

    But take your sweet time on this necromancer class. I`m loving the halflings and new class right now. Both artistically and when it comes down to gameplay. Would like to see a new (evil) race along with the necromancer + further patching to improve the challenge on single player. A simular expansion like the last one will make me very happy. Ive bought the golden realms and will buy the next expansion if it ads something simalar to the first one.

    #125115

    Khelle
    Member

    As I expected – only 2 expansions for AoW3.
    So where’re now people who had said they thought the game would be supported much longer, when I criticized Golden Realms for lack of real content as for being called ‘Expansion’, hm?
    Still I was hoping they were right, and it was only my pesimism because of being gamedeveloper myself…
    I wonder , if the game sold too little or they got some new thrilling project.

    I would also like an info if the game will be still patched after this last expansion, or is it going to be no longer supported ?

    Speaking about Necromancer, I would love this class to be implemented, so I am waiting for more info. Artwork looks nice though.

    #125117

    LordTheRon
    Member

    Oh yes, there’s confirmation! Very excited about this upcoming class. Soooo many new possibilities. It’s gonna be hard enough for you guys to decide on what can and cannot be done.

    Effect on races and poulation shoukd be quite radical and destinguishing imho.

    #125119

    Mr_Pete
    Member

    Lennart & Triumph,

    Great news about the Necromancer class. It would be great if you created a lengthy campaign (say 5 scenarios) based around it, and possibly (budget & time permitting) bring back some Archon units (in a similar way to the Nagas were added in the Golden Realms).

    I know that Frostlings have been much discussed, and certainly a more-Arctic series of scenarios would be great, maybe tie it in with the Necromancers with the player either being on the side of e.g. an undead / Necromancer Frostling lord (it would be great to play ‘evil’ for a scenario or two) or the player more traditionally doing a ‘good vs evil’ fighting against the undead Necromancer Frostling lord. I think they could tie in well together.

    If this is the last expansion then maybe Tigrans or Azracs will not get a look-in, but hey maybe that is something for Age of Wonders…4 😉

    Also, as Lennart says it all depends on how the expansion and game performs in the next few months. I used to work in game development and consultancy before my current directorship at a Google Youtube division; so I am well aware of the industry and the pressures – particularly for smaller European developers.

    Personally I think the game is excellent and I have greatly enjoyed playing the Golden Realms campaign (just finishing the final campaign mission, I like to explore every nook and cranny of the map & units). Many of my colleagues know the game and we spread the word. One way to boost sales may be to approach some of the main game review sites and suggest they consider re-reviewing the game due to the Golden Realms expansion and the massive 1.4 patch changes. Worth a try, if only one or two sites do a review of it it could spread the world & boost sales.

    But certainly in me – and doubtless many others on this forum – you have a solid supporter and have done the original Age of Wonders in 1999. Keep up the great work.

    #125121

    Yarovit
    Member

    Truth be told I’d rather see Frostlings. I don’t like being evil in video games (save for Overlord of course) and I can’t see how you can be good as necromancer.

    But yeah I have vision. Necromancers would have another option when they conquer city- raze&resurrect. Take few turns and requires mana. If they simply assimilate the city it suffer high happiness penalty. They cannot migrate alive races and alive units suffer morale penalty under their leadership.

    Undead versions could have all undead weaknesses and resistances, losing all their racial. I also think undeads’ morale should be affected only be leader’s allingment. After all reanimated corpses don’t give a damn about stinking monkeys.

    I don’t have much ideas for transformation. But let’s say there are three levels. On lowest level leaders look pretty much like corpses. At second level their eyes start to glow. At third magic swirls around them. Similar with units who would look rotten at first, like freshly deceased people at second and at third magic would similarly swirl around them. Every state would empower them, increasing their statistic and lowering their weaknesses, gaining regeneration at third state. Let’s say they would be weaker than their alive counterparts, similar or slightly stronger at second and noticeably better at third.

    As of necromancer exclucive units I can see T1 skeletons. They replace irregulars in “killed” cities. Weak unit with weak ranged attack.

    Second units would be T2 acolytes (necromancers’ bring-that-clean-here-don’t-annoy lackeys) who have heal undead. If old death damage from older AoWs returns they have death bolts, if not frost or blight and some plague-themed debuff. They would be necromancer’s only support replacing racial support.

    Necromancers’ third unit would be T4 summon- grim reaper. And here I see some interesting skill- touch ability that will kill targeted unit within few (2-3) turns if it doesn’t resist. In both cases it would suffer big penalties to both morale and all attributes. Only way to avoid death if affected is killing reaper who used it.

    #125124

    Ha I was idly brainstorming some Necro ideas today.

    www.grababrew.weebly.com/

    #125126

    Maybe there could be a few mutually exclusive skills (like Druid’s favored enemy) that allow you to lead your faction towards either good or evil.

    Evil – a necromancer society where undead are seen as merely tools and soldiers, populations are subject to dark rituals and sacrificed to increase the size of the undead army. Focus on “zerging”.

    Empire tech:

    Reaping – racial units get green/gray-ish sickly skin and receive some inherent undead properties (like blight proteciton, etc.) cities no longer dislike blighted terrain, undead class units are 10% cheaper. Generates evil alignment in some way, either via conquering cities, turn by turn or creating more undead.

    leads to,

    Deathless Horde – racial units receive some symbolic mark of undead transformation like glowing red eyes or a skeletal hand/arm, they’re not fully transformed however. Cities now like blighted terrain but hate fertile, population growth penalty. All city hexes become blighted. Racial units receive further undead bonuses but also weaknesses like spirit weakness and such, they also get the undead “racial” trait. Class units are now 20% cheaper (in total) while racial ones get a 10% cost decrease. Generates more evil alignment, staying good/neutral is virtually impossible at this point. Razing cities generates undead units for the player, amount/quality depends on the size of the settlement.

    …………………………………………………………………………………………………..

    Good – dead ancestors are revered, populations are not forcibly subjected to necromantic rituals. Racial cities and units do not undergo transformation, focus is on empowering undead class units, not spamming them. Quality over quantity.

    Empire tech:

    Reverence – Class undead units are 10% more expensive but receive some kind of combat bonus (maybe just bonus rank), their inherent weaknesses to spirit and/or fire are diminished. Generates good alignment as above.

    leads to,

    Hallowed Dead – Undead units are 20% more expensive (too much with dwarves?) but even stronger (quick learner maybe so they level up super fast?), have no inherent weaknesses. Generates more good alignment. Something “interesting” is missing here but I’ll leave it at that. 😛 Just brainstorming anyway.

    #125127

    As I expected – only 2 expansions for AoW3.<br>
    So where’re now people who had said they thought the game would be supported much longer, when I criticized Golden Realms for lack of real content as for being called ‘Expansion’, hm?<br>
    Still I was hoping they were right, and it was only my pesimism because of being gamedeveloper myself…<br>
    I wonder , if the game sold too little or they got some new thrilling project.

    I would also like an info if the game will be still patched after this last expansion, or is it going to be no longer supported ?

    Speaking about Necromancer, I would love this class to be implemented, so I am waiting for more info. Artwork looks nice though.

    I understood this as meaning that Necromancers would be in the likely last expansion, i.e. not the next expansion, or even the one after that necessarily. Basically, the Necromancer looks like it’ll be their swansong!

    www.grababrew.weebly.com/

    #125128

    Lennart Sas
    Keymaster

    Hey this is the first AoW game that even has expansions! :-) We’ll keep supporting AoW3 as long as we reasonably can, both through new premium content and free features. I removed the blurb regarding it being possibly the last expansion, not to draw too much attention to it and let’s focus on all the cool stuff we can add! :-)

    #125129

    Ericridge
    Member

    Well. That was surprising! Never expected to get info on necromancers.

    Brains.. brains.. brains!

    Let there be a spell where you spread plague that reduce the population of cities and generates zombies next to city hex?

    #125132

    I’m thinking two population bars: the ordinary one, and the “undead” one. Essentially, the undead bar will load from rushed productions, population losses, battles fought there, and regenerate slowly from the Necromancer’s class building (A charnel house, or something morbid).

    production undead units will be rushed/take time from the undead population and other existing production upgrades. undead population would also let you cast certain battlefield or strategic enchantments.

    For example, lets say a strong enemy is coming at one of your good cities, but you don’t have a strong enough garrison to resist them. You would then cast an “instant garrison” spell that would, for a price in undead population, raise up defenders.

    On the battlefield, you might want to also raise up troops, curse the enemy, or have the dead limit their motion by grabbing them from bellow.

    normal racial units will be produced more or less normally, except that they will get some undead benefits from empire upgrades and spells.

    I think the more ethereal undead units (such as a Dread Reaper) ought to be summoned, while the earthly ones (Bone Horror) should be produced.

    #125133

    HarbingerLeo
    Member

    I think I’d rather see another race then another class, but Necromancer could work. Especially when holly champion feels sort of underpowered. (Not sure why it was ever separated from willpower.)

    Point of interest, Necromancer is said to be the power of life and death. I don’t think it’s only tricks should me raising armies from dead bodies. Making living things live longer or harder to kill should be in there somewhere too.

    #125134

    Undead units could be class spells and units in ways similar to other classes. A ghost for a basic scout summon, a zombie for a basic cheap irregular class unit, and so forth. Instead of summon spells they could have abilities that reanimate units that fell in combat. For a unique twist in combat itself, perhaps even in-combat summons, an ability no other class has right now. This could give them a feeling of having hordes of cheap weak cannon fodder to slowly drown opponents, especially if their low tier units get back up after dying. They could still have potent higher tier units of course, but those would be harder to produce like any other class.

    “Crappy units that just don’t stay dead” is very much the classic necromancer style. Perhaps the low tier zombies can be slow and overall pretty bad, but have a combination of abilities that make them obnoxious. Some combination of abilities like disgusting stench, regrowth, reviving themselves a few turns after dying in combat, cursing or doing damage to units that hits them…..basically something that is annoying and difficult to get rid of if you focus on it, but not a direct threat because of mediocre stats and speed. Shadow magic pretty much did them perfectly I think.

    If you want to really play up the “turn your own people undead” aspect you could have higher tier unit research give access to very powerful units, but apply drawbacks to your economy. Whether this is empire wide based on the research or only in the city with the upgraded necro production building is mostly a balance issue.

    As for good vs evil turning the populace undead doesn’t have to be an evil act if they aren’t reduced to mindless zombies. Giving someone eternal life and immunity to disease, hunger, pain…not even a theocrat can offer that. Just say that in order to do it right it takes a lot of work for the rituals and the magical upkeep of their new bodies, so it reduces city economy/population but allows for units like liches, vampires, deathknights, or whatever else you decide to include.

    For interesting spells, besides reanimation and summoning there are plenty of related spells that could be added. Two things necromancers tend to specialize in is stealing life and damage over time with curses and plagues in other settings. No class really has spells that fit either of those so that opens up plenty of options for nukes, debuffs, aoes….. DoTs that are much more efficient than a nuke but take time to work and can be wiped off, lifesteal spells that are less efficient for damage but heal the caster. A battle wide enchantment that buffs undead and debuffs the living? A hero “lich ritual” skill that gives some kind of buff but also makes them undead? A hero commander skill that gives the army lifesteal? There was even a very unique and interesting death spell in shadow magic that infested an enemy with a parasite and did damge and debuffed, and if the unit died the parasite came out to fight.

    #125135

    Zaskow
    Member

    I like Necromancers’ style.

    #125137

    Khelle
    Member

    @Lennart Sas
    I still think of Shadow Magic as an expansion, not a separte game. Yes, you probably think “and here we go, with yet another SM talk…” :)

    What’s difference between expansion and premium content you mentioned?

    #125140

    ed57ve
    Member

    from where do people imply that is the last expansion? :/

    #125145

    Gloweye
    Member

    BBB had some nice ideas in his linked document, some of them corresponding to a thread I made a while ago ( http://ageofwonders.com/forums/topic/the-necromancer/ ) which, though from before we knew of Golden Realms, is still pretty up-to-date IMO.

    For those who think that thread to long to read, (31 replies, come on…), basically spells that animate undead from the fallen in battle, a vampire with life steal/seduce, a death adept support units starting with heal undead, maybe an buff for undead, and an animate dead ability at Elite that would animate units persisting after combat. since all undead require mana to sustain, you could raise huge armies quick, but face upkeep wrath if done to much. T4 would be either a Dread Reaper Summon or an Animate Bone Horror, made from multiple corpses.

    I personally disagree with killing of your cities, cause I just don’t see the reason, and it also never happened before in AoW.

    #125146

    Leyrann
    Member

    from where do people imply that is the last expansion? :/

    They mentioned this probably/most likely/I-don’t-know-what being the last expansion, but they removed it. As Lennart also stated.

    #125148

    Khelle
    Member

    @up
    There was note in this article stating this is the last expansion for Age of Wonders 3. It was deleted by Lennart after some first comments that focused mostly on that instead of necromancer class idea.

    #125149

    Yarovit
    Member

    Maybe there could be a few mutually exclusive skills (like Druid’s favored enemy) that allow you to lead your faction towards either good or evil.

    Evil – a necromancer society where undead are seen as merely tools and soldiers, populations are subject to dark rituals and sacrificed to increase the size of the undead army. Focus on “zerging”.

    Good – dead ancestors are revered, populations are not forcibly subjected to necromantic rituals. Racial cities and units do not undergo transformation, focus is on empowering undead class units, not spamming them. Quality over quantity.

    Never thought about it. That’s very nice idea

    #125154

    esvath
    Member

    from where do people imply that is the last expansion? :/

    Apparently, Lennart had written it in the news and then edited it when people’s attention was focused on the “final expansion” instead on the Necromancer class :/

    #125155

    ed57ve
    Member

    bone horror o golem for tier 4 please, they should check the one in heroes of the storm, like a giant construct of all class of bone 😛

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