Expansion Dev Journal – Seals of Power Victory Condition

Hello everyone! As the first post-release Development Journal, we’re going to talk a bit about the creation of the Seals of Power, which is a new Victory Condition for both random maps and standalone or campaign scenarios. As with other upcoming new features, we can’t give an exact date of when they will be implemented. Note that some new Dev Journal features presented will be part of  expansions, while others will be included in patches / free updates.

So back to this new feature! When cleared, these legendary Seals of Power allow you to accumulate Seal Charges. The first player to be fully charged wins the game!

They can be pre-placed on maps, and in the Random Map Generator settings you will get the option to either play with or without Seals of Power. Since this represents a whole new way of winning the game it will add a whole new element to the gameplay experience and it can spice up the end-game.

Seal_HD

Lore 

** AoW3 Campaign Spoiler ***

As you might have learned from playing the campaign or reading the timeline (http://ageofwonders.com/lore-galore-age-of-wonders-world-timeline/), Merlin destroyed the last Shadowgate, banishing the old Wizard Kings.The Shadowborn on the other hand want to open new Shadowgates for their trapped masters, but where it used to be relatively easy to create and open such a gate anywhere (once the Shadow Demons had shown everyone how), it now has become all but impossible (Carishar made a valiant effort at the location of the old Shadowgate, but he failed because of Laryssa and Edward).

The reason for that is the Seals of Power: Merlin and his helpers built them all over Athla, to protect the world from invasions from other worlds. When players accumulate enough Seal charges they gather the power to break a Seal. Breaking a Seal releases such a huge (but temporary) power surge in the Leader breaking it that no one can stand against them: they become as demi-gods for a while, capable of vanquishing any foe. In gameplay terms: all other players lose (except allies of course).

**** End Spoiler *****

WM_Seal_Wide

Gameplay

Seals need to be discovered and are usually placed quite some hexes away from your starting position. Seals are usually heavily defended by elemental guardians. We have expanded on the concept of the original 4 elementals to include more variants (so yes, there will be new units associated with this feature!). Once a player defeats these guardians on a new TC map, he will own the Seal and begin to accumulate charges. Other players are notified that someone is beginning to break the Seal, and its location will be revealed.

Players will need at least one unit on the Seal at all times to keep ownership of it, as the Seal’s magic actively resists anyone leeching charges from it. The Seals of Power, even after being conquered and owned, are still dangerous however! Periodically a Seal will spawn a new army of elemental guardians to attack the player occupying it. So players will need to keep strong armies on the Seals in order to keep control over them.

Usually there are multiple Seals on the map, and we’ve found that contesting over seals is most interesting when there are less Seals than there are players. If you manage to grab two Seals you will accumulate charges twice as fast, but the other players are likely to try and take them from you. You can track everyone’s progress in a new Overview, which appears on any map that has the Seals of Power victory condition enabled. There are more things in the works, like new, unique rewards for taking a Seal for the first time, and empire-wide bonuses for occupying them. Seals become highly contested areas, with alliances likely to form to stop players from winning.  Of course the current victory condition of killing a leader and taking the throne city are still in place, so watch your back!

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this mechanic! At the moment we’re still heavily testing and balancing the Seals as well as adding the required content and code. Remember, these are Development Journals, and things that are still in the development stage can still change. We have lots of new and completely different things in the works too, so check back for upcoming development journals!

If you have any questions or remarks please let us know on comments / forums below!

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Narvek

Designer

Home Forums Expansion Dev Journal: Seals of Power

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This topic contains 89 replies, has 43 voices, and was last updated by  JeanLucPicard 2 years, 11 months ago.

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  • #102974

    Lennart Sas
    Keymaster
    #102979

    Interesting. I do look forward to trying it. Though,

    Periodically a Seal will spawn a new army of elemental guardians to attack the player occupying it. So players will need to keep strong armies on the Seals in order to keep control over them.

    It seems unlikely that anyone is going to dedicate a full stack of units to just sitting on the seal. More likely, they’ll sit on it with one irregular unit and come in with a stack if it gets taken, unless these spawns are extremely frequent.

    #102980

    Very nice. Will it be possible to set the “charge amount” required to win? Differently sized maps might be better suited to different amounts.

    #102981

    Ravenholme
    Member

    Interesting. I do look forward to trying it. Though,

    Periodically a Seal will spawn a new army of elemental guardians to attack the player occupying it. So players will need to keep strong armies on the Seals in order to keep control over them.

    It seems unlikely that anyone is going to dedicate a full stack of units to just sitting on the seal. More likely, they’ll sit on it with one irregular unit and come in with a stack if it gets taken, unless these spawns are extremely frequent.

    Yep, this sounds very interesting, and since I suspect that this will tie into the campaign they’ve said they have in the works, I’m fairly sure we’re building up to the opening of the Shadow Gates.

    Lore (and future direction of the game) aside. The mechanic sounds interesting, King of the Hill-like, and with the potential to produce some real, interesting flashpoints of conflict. There are two methods to counter the worry about how people will hold them though – Adjustable frequency of respawning of elemental guardian stacks, or, and this is just a thought, having the recapture of a Seal by the Elemental Guardians reduce the number of charges acquired by the player, so they have an incentive to hold them in force against the respawning guardians. (Handwave it as the Elemental Guardians beginning to repair the seal and siphon back the charges stolen by the Empire through the Artes Arcane)

    “I am Welcomed in the Home of Ravens and Other Scavengers in the Wake of Warriors, I am Friend to Carrion Crows and Wolves, I am Carry Me, and Kill with Me, and Die with Me Where the Road Ends; I am not the Honeyed Promise of Length of Life in Years to Come, I am the Iron Promise of Never Being a Slave.”

    #102983

    DadouXIII
    Member

    Sounds like it will encourage conflict and give us an extra reason to pump out troops faster. I love it 😀

    #102984

    keejchen
    Member

    /u/Ravenholme has it figured out. AoW-team, listen to this guy! It would help to make seals more of a late-game thing, which it definitely should be.

    Also, i can’t wait to hear what happens if you have a captured seal within the domain of a city.

    #102985

    JPoll
    Member

    Sounds like a very good idea to expand victory conditions. Really like it. Thanks a lot for continued listening to community feedback!

    Are the elemental stacks going to spawn after a preset amount of turns or randomly? What I mean is, will players know when the next stack is going to spawn?

    And by the way, wouldn’t this be the perfect time to reintroduce chaos lords? =D

    #102986

    Rhaeg
    Member

    Nice feature!! … apart from the lore explanation :p

    I thought Merlin’s smashing of the Wizard’s Circle in Evermore knocked out the last Shadow Gate and made it close to impossible to go between worlds. So now we have these seals that are easily captured by Shadowborn agents, which would help them reopen the Shadow Gates? So why then did Merlin sacrifice most of his power?

    But otherwise it seems like a very nice addition!

    #102987

    MarciaVB
    Member

    Hi all,

    Really happy to see this enthusiastic feedback 🙂

    Some answers I can already give:
    -You will be able to set the amount of charges needed (in RMG). For the map makers: if you make a level, you can also set this amount.
    -We’re still testing out the amount of turns between spawns, but there will always be a little bit of randomness in there, like a turn or 2.
    -About Seals in a city: at the moment, if there are no player units on it, the Seal becomes independent again.

    Everything I said is subject to change of course 😉 Keep your input coming 😀

    #102990

    Narvek
    Keymaster

    Hey all, was going to reply, but I see Marcia has ninja’d me about most things 😛

    @rhaeg: They aren’t actually easy to find, nor that easy to break. This was the best option available to Merlin. We’ll reveal more later, but let’s just say there are reasons for it all and we do think about it all 🙂

    #102997

    Wakah-Chan
    Member

    I like the idea! Hate the AI sitting around in its cities after signing peace with everyone and these seals will be a good incentive not to do that.

    #102998

    Fizzbitch
    Member

    This is a cool territories type gametype, and I love to see strategy games experimenting with gametypes that were used before only in shooter games.

    The new elemental units sound awesome! Because 2 units per element sounded a bit dissapointing to me at first (which was largy made up by the already insane amount of units present). Will these units also come when a player choses the Expert level of that element as a perk?

    #102999

    Thunderborn
    Member

    When you occupy a seal can there also be a special power for each seal associated with it while you are holding it?

    Seal Named themed would be nifty to with some lore behind each seal. Could have a number of different Seals also so that you aren’t getting the same ones every game.

    What I am hoping for is some special content so it makes these seals special instead of just slapping another win factor into it.

    #103005

    Rhaeg
    Member

    @rhaeg: They aren’t actually easy to find, nor that easy to break. This was the best option available to Merlin. We’ll reveal more later, but let’s just say there are reasons for it all and we do think about it all :)

    Thanks for the reply, I am glad to hear you ARE taking lore stuff into consideration 🙂 The lore/story of this very nice setting suffered a bit at times in AOW3 and the campaign was weaker then the previous ones, IMO. I should make a separate thread on this soon, going into it here would derail the “Seals” discussion.

    As a game mechanic it can only add to the tactical depth of the game, so I’m happy it is in. Suggestion: in a game with set alliances, it would be nice to have a joined “charge” pool, in stead of players in the same alliance accumulating separate charges. Ofc, the amount of charges needed for victory would need to be NumberOfPlayersInAlliance times higher as well.

    And by the way, wouldn’t this be the perfect time to reintroduce chaos lords? =D

    +1 🙂

    #103007

    Draxynnic
    Member

    I’m all but convinced we’re going to see the Shadow Gate blown open at some stage. This looks like our first hint as to how.

    On the question of why it’s worthwhile if the seals are breakable – if nothing else, I’d say it bought time. Reading between the lines, Meandor took the biggest army that he and his allies could reasonably put together and departed through the Gate, but the impression given is that this was not expected to hold the enemy at bay for long. Despite the Shadowborn’s interference, however, Athla in what I think is the canon ending is in a much better state to fight off such an invasion. If anything, that very interference has catalysed things.

    #103009

    wingren013
    Member

    This just made me think of Warlock Master of the Arcane’s armageddon mode.

    I’m all but convinced we’re going to see the Shadow Gate blown open at some stage. This looks like our first hint as to how.

    On the question of why it’s worthwhile if the seals are breakable – if nothing else, I’d say it bought time. Reading between the lines, Meandor took the biggest army that he and his allies could reasonably put together and departed through the Gate, but the impression given is that this was not expected to hold the enemy at bay for long. Despite the Shadowborn’s interference, however, Athla in what I think is the canon ending is in a much better state to fight off such an invasion. If anything, that very interference has catalysed things.

    #103010

    Ravenholme
    Member

    I’m all but convinced we’re going to see the Shadow Gate blown open at some stage. This looks like our first hint as to how.

    On the question of why it’s worthwhile if the seals are breakable – if nothing else, I’d say it bought time. Reading between the lines, Meandor took the biggest army that he and his allies could reasonably put together and departed through the Gate, but the impression given is that this was not expected to hold the enemy at bay for long. Despite the Shadowborn’s interference, however, Athla in what I think is the canon ending is in a much better state to fight off such an invasion. If anything, that very interference has catalysed things.

    That’s pretty much my read (and I think the obvious conclusion from the timeline and the campaigns) on the situation too. I suspect we’ll find out for certain in the next campaign though (Which, given this new victory condition, will probably revolve around a Shadowborn/Torchbearer race to the Seals of Power, though whether the protagonists of the campaign will be willing, informed participants in this, or uninformed pawns, remains to be seen)

    “I am Welcomed in the Home of Ravens and Other Scavengers in the Wake of Warriors, I am Friend to Carrion Crows and Wolves, I am Carry Me, and Kill with Me, and Die with Me Where the Road Ends; I am not the Honeyed Promise of Length of Life in Years to Come, I am the Iron Promise of Never Being a Slave.”

    #103011

    Kubera
    Member

    -We’re still testing out the amount of turns between spawns, but there will always be a little bit of randomness in there, like a turn or 2.

    offer:
    Summons to be strong against a specific enemy (ice elementals against draconians, fire elementals against frostling) – if at all possible.
    Increase the quantity and quality of units with each turn.. I hope – can surpass the limit of the stack? Well, that is to call for the purification of the “parasitic players” 12 or more elemental units in battle.

    #103014

    Rhaeg
    Member

    I’m all but convinced we’re going to see the Shadow Gate blown open at some stage. This looks like our first hint as to how.
    On the question of why it’s worthwhile if the seals are breakable – if nothing else, I’d say it bought time. Reading between the lines, Meandor took the biggest army that he and his allies could reasonably put together and departed through the Gate, but the impression given is that this was not expected to hold the enemy at bay for long. Despite the Shadowborn’s interference, however, Athla in what I think is the canon ending is in a much better state to fight off such an invasion. If anything, that very interference has catalysed things.

    I understand what Meandor did and it makes for some interesting story possibilities. To me, it just doesn’t make any sense at all for the leader of the Wizard’s Circle to give up most of his power to destroy shadow gates, if there are still alternatives to these shadowgates at some places in the world. Shattering Evermore was an ultimate (look at the consequences mentioned in the timeline!) sacrifice: understandable if it allows you to shut all doors between worlds, but not so if there’s a very concrete and attainable backdoor mechanism.

    #103017

    Ravenholme
    Member

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>Draxynnic wrote:</div>
    I’m all but convinced we’re going to see the Shadow Gate blown open at some stage. This looks like our first hint as to how.<br>
    On the question of why it’s worthwhile if the seals are breakable – if nothing else, I’d say it bought time. Reading between the lines, Meandor took the biggest army that he and his allies could reasonably put together and departed through the Gate, but the impression given is that this was not expected to hold the enemy at bay for long. Despite the Shadowborn’s interference, however, Athla in what I think is the canon ending is in a much better state to fight off such an invasion. If anything, that very interference has catalysed things.

    I understand what Meandor did and it makes for some interesting story possibilities. To me, it just doesn’t make any sense at all for the leader of the Wizard’s Circle to give up most of his power to destroy shadow gates, if there are still alternatives to these shadowgates at some places in the world. Shattering Evermore was an ultimate (look at the consequences mentioned in the timeline!) sacrifice: understandable if it allows you to shut all doors between worlds, but not so if there’s a very concrete and attainable backdoor mechanism.

    I think it does, because by robbing the power of the Wizard Kings, he removed their ability to use magics which can flip between the two planes at will (Shadow Shift).

    Or, look at this way. Destruction of the Shadow Gates and Wizard’s Circles was closing the door, planting the Seals of Power was barring and bolting that door.

    “I am Welcomed in the Home of Ravens and Other Scavengers in the Wake of Warriors, I am Friend to Carrion Crows and Wolves, I am Carry Me, and Kill with Me, and Die with Me Where the Road Ends; I am not the Honeyed Promise of Length of Life in Years to Come, I am the Iron Promise of Never Being a Slave.”

    #103021

    Kubera
    Member

    Increase the quantity and quality of units with each turn.. I hope – can surpass the limit of the stack? Well, that is to call for the purification of the “parasitic players” 12 or more elemental units in battle.

    Clarify. Each object has its own level. After his capture begins to rise its level. The higher the level – the more it encourages the defenders. This has two benefits:
    1) it’s desirable to capture multiple objects (low lv) early in the game.
    2) the complexity increases with time (especially if “level up” of object has already raised another player).

    #103022

    Rhaeg
    Member

    Or, look at this way. Destruction of the Shadow Gates and Wizard’s Circles was closing the door, planting the Seals of Power was barring and bolting that door.

    I know it’s hard for a storywriter to come up with explanations for all these game mechanisms and missing races. In the end I’ll always accept explanations such as given by Ravenholme, but I can’t help but think that this barring and bolting is very shaky and not worth giving up all of your power and killing hordes of people. I don’t see much difference in having to capture a shadow gate or having to capture a seal.

    should make a separate thread on this soon, going into it here would derail the “Seals” discussion.

    I’ll shut up about this now or I’ll still be derailing the discussion :p

    #103023

    Ravenholme
    Member

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>Ravenholme wrote:</div>
    Or, look at this way. Destruction of the Shadow Gates and Wizard’s Circles was closing the door, planting the Seals of Power was barring and bolting that door.

    I know it’s hard for a storywriter to come up with explanations for all these game mechanisms and missing races. In the end I’ll always accept explanations such as given by Ravenholme, but I can’t help but think that this barring and bolting is very shaky and not worth giving up all of your power and killing hordes of people. I don’t see much difference in having to capture a shadow gate or having to capture a seal.

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>Rhaeg wrote:</div>
    should make a separate thread on this soon, going into it here would derail the “Seals” discussion.

    I’ll shut up about this now or I’ll still be derailing the discussion :p

    Well, without the Wizards Circle anchoring the power of the Wizard Kings, I imagine that it will be much harder for them to cast Shadow Shift to get back to Athla (And I imagine the Seals are further acting as a ‘jammer’ of that, if you will, and preventing from any Shadow Gates constructed becoming active).

    And I kind of imagine it’s supposed to be shaky, it was done in a fit of desperation, with Merlin, Meandor and Julia in on it, the shakiness is so that, well, we as players can come along and start undoing these seals for a temporary boost of power, unaware that we’re basically unlocking the door preventing the corrupted Wizard Kings and the Shadows from returning (Which I assume will be the essence of the new campaigns plot – whether the Shadowborn are doing it willingly or someone is pursuing it unwittingly)

    “I am Welcomed in the Home of Ravens and Other Scavengers in the Wake of Warriors, I am Friend to Carrion Crows and Wolves, I am Carry Me, and Kill with Me, and Die with Me Where the Road Ends; I am not the Honeyed Promise of Length of Life in Years to Come, I am the Iron Promise of Never Being a Slave.”

    #103026

    smeagolheart
    Member

    sounds a lot like capture the flag except you sit on the flag and try and hold it.

    #103029

    ForeVision
    Member

    Personally, i’m very interrested in the challenges holding these seals (assuming heavy sieging will take place). Think of it, you’ll need to resupply troops, probably some will build towns close by, multiple players could have multiple towns close to a seal, it’ll be lots of battle for sure. On the case, will these elementals behave like the scoundrels do that come from a brigand’s hideout, or be focused purely on seal occupation?

    #103030

    Ravenholme
    Member

    Personally, i’m very interrested in the challenges holding these seals (assuming heavy sieging will take place). Think of it, you’ll need to resupply troops, probably some will build towns close by, multiple players could have multiple towns close to a seal, it’ll be lots of battle for sure. On the case, will these elementals behave like the scoundrels do that come from a brigand’s hideout, or be focused purely on seal occupation?

    I imagine the latter, but it’d be nice if they became more pro-active around seals that are being challenged. Peaceful occupation until someone takes the seal, and then if/when they retake it they start sending out raiding bands of elementals.

    “I am Welcomed in the Home of Ravens and Other Scavengers in the Wake of Warriors, I am Friend to Carrion Crows and Wolves, I am Carry Me, and Kill with Me, and Die with Me Where the Road Ends; I am not the Honeyed Promise of Length of Life in Years to Come, I am the Iron Promise of Never Being a Slave.”

    #103032

    sheepfly
    Member

    Cool feature!

    It would be cool if this victory condition could be applied to some players but not all. Could make lopsided match-ups more interesting. (For instance, one player tries to claim the seals for a near-instantaneous win, while the other players in an opposing alliance try to destroy their nemesis before he can achieve godlike powers.)

    #103033

    Taykor
    Member

    Nice feature. New units are very welcome.
    And it is great to have some new information at last!

    #103036

    Bob5
    Member

    I really like this, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it affects gameplay, it’s bound to be interesting. And does this mean we’re finally getting back the water elementals?

    #103041

    Something that wasn’t mentioned much (or at all?) was the fact that the Shadow D’s are attracted to magical energy. I think that’s why the Syrons were taken down before the races of Athla as they overall seem to be less magically inclined.

    Yes the events of evermore shattered and fractured Athla. However that catastrophe locked the realm up against dimensional incursion – i personally think of it like a force field around the continent, but sure we can go with the door analogy for now lol.

    Those seals don’t only lock the door and bolt it closed, oh no. The key thing to note here is that they are bolted shut from the inside, to keep the stupid kids from trying to get back outside (if only they did that in movies, eh?). More seriously, i’m sure Merlin and company knew that other Wizard kings wouldn’t agree with their plan on delaying/stopping the shadow demon threat and that they would try to get the gates open again somehow.

    Combine all this with the loss of magic in Athla which effectively removed the shadow demon bait sitting right behind the door … ok now this is reaaally starting to sound like a good plan!

    Sure it may of been hard on Athla but lets not forget that the shadow demons have devoured entire realms, many many realms and that Meandor came home scared of something coming. As was said, he rose an army to slow down whatever it was to give Merlin time to pull this plan off.

    Though i must say that i am a little iffy on how he is now just playing out “God” watching his machinations unfold instead of continuing the good fight. Its not as though he did a whole lot in the campaign.

    However I actually think this is a really really nice way to add extra lore to the evermore incident as i felt that it was a bit lacking in merit. I still want to see the consequence of “You took away our magic kings and all that power … it may of helped our forefathers, but now we have to fight this menace without that power” be brought up in a scenario or mini campaign 🙂

    Btw, i reckon that even though that kind of power isnt in Athla any more, once all these seals are broken it will flood back! Evermore will rise and the good fight will return. Then
    JULIA GOES GOD MODE !!! … and all the rest of the ex wizards who remain do too i guess.
    *Yaka returns from the void with a horde of Tigrans” nom nom nom (because Tigrans have been hiding in the void …. or something … >.>)

    🙂

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