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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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 7 years, 5 months ago.

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  • #103047

    esvath
    Member

    While I can understand that some would like to destroy the seals (either to invite Shadow Demons or to get the power surge without understanding the consequences), I wonder what explanation that we have (lore-wise) that justify players roleplaying as the good guys to destroy the seals?

    I think it will be interesting if we have another type of victory that instead of being The Destroyer of Seals, someone can play as The Protector of Seals. This VC requires players to keep the seals intact for certain turns, dedicating his/her resources to protect the seals from power-hungry leaders.

    (Or, perhaps, it would be easier to just give the player that has accumulated enough charges two possible endings: either to unleash the charges to destroy the seals and open rift between world (The Destroyer Victory) or to release the charges as a protective spell that will strengthen the barrier between worlds (The Protector Victory). Then give appropriate dialog/ending to the winning player.)

    #103048

    meeber
    Member

    Well I’m not much on the official Lore but I will say that the AOW3 Campaign is far more interesting than in the previous games. Now this does sound like an interesting victory condition and I already have some Scenarios in mind I’d like to create with them.

    Now as far as bringing back the Shadow gates I’m all for it. I liked the shadow realm as well as both the races that came with it.

    #103054

    justify players roleplaying as the good guys to destroy the seals?

    I was wondering this too, and forgot to mention it in my defense for the seals lol. But i think you hit the nail on the head.

    dedicating his/her resources to protect the seals from power-hungry leaders.

    It doesn’t matter what the resource is whether its time, units, resources, etc. But i do think it needs to play a little bit different than the destroy option.

    Perhaps every turn that you begin with a unit on the site, you unlock the use of a “free cast” once per turn ability. This spell channels a buff for the seal, after each cast it gives the caster a % charge point. Once you reach 100% you cast the spell that locks the seal away for a period of time whilst also granting the caster great power to conquer the land! I think that this should be cast through the buildings popup UI so you are still able to cast your own spells.

    The aggressive way to gain points could be changed so that each turn you want to gain charge you need to use that army claiming the site and attack/explore the place to gain the charge. Whether your destroying the seal or your looking for an off button lol, i duno 😛

    It would also be easy to ramp up the difficulty to obtain the site over the course of a game by increasing the cost of each % of charge (either more resources to channel or have the defenders take increased damage during the exploration). This would keep the site useful in the early, mid and late game as you can stock up early on charge and then finish it off late game when you can afford to do so.

    #103059

    Ravenholme
    Member

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>esvath wrote:</div>
    justify players roleplaying as the good guys to destroy the seals?

    I was wondering this too, and forgot to mention it in my defense for the seals lol. But i think you hit the nail on the head.

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>esvath wrote:</div>
    dedicating his/her resources to protect the seals from power-hungry leaders.

    It doesn’t matter what the resource is whether its time, units, resources, etc. But i do think it needs to play a little bit different than the destroy option.

    Perhaps every turn that you begin with a unit on the site, you unlock the use of a “free cast” once per turn ability. This spell channels a buff for the seal, after each cast it gives the caster a % charge point. Once you reach 100% you cast the spell that locks the seal away for a period of time whilst also granting the caster great power to conquer the land! I think that this should be cast through the buildings popup UI so you are still able to cast your own spells.

    The aggressive way to gain points could be changed so that each turn you want to gain charge you need to use that army claiming the site and attack/explore the place to gain the charge. Whether your destroying the seal or your looking for an off button lol, i duno :P

    It would also be easy to ramp up the difficulty to obtain the site over the course of a game by increasing the cost of each % of charge (either more resources to channel or have the defenders take increased damage during the exploration). This would keep the site useful in the early, mid and late game as you can stock up early on charge and then finish it off late game when you can afford to do so.

    Well, you’ve got to remember that actually the RMG and Scenario maps do, mostly, appear not to be set in Athla. So for those maps, the Seals simply become a King of the Hill like feature to fight over, simply a victory condition. And even if they are, then all the player Empires are, in-character, uninformed of what they actually are, and just see them as fonts of power to bootstrap themselves up to demi-godhood. Your ‘good’ path for those missions could simply be achieved by preventing the enemy from holding the Seals without holding them yourself, and achieving a normal victory.

    I think the Good Guys vs Bad Guys struggle over the seals and what they represent for Athla and its connection to the Shadow Realm is going to be one of the central conceits of the new campaign that they’re working on, and I also suspect that things will go awry. I hope they will, because I LONG to see the Shadow Realm in AoW3’s graphics engine, and I love the tactical/strategic possibilities that spells like Shadow Shift (and conversely, shadow lock) offered.

    #103060

    Kubera
    Member

    I decided to think of new elementals. Had an idea to make the basis of the “smoke”? Awesome protection – against physical attacks, most of the other elements. But cons – very weak damage. Key – to immobilize the target.

    lively smoke anyway already exists

    I also hope that lightning elemental will. And maybe water elemental (as hot steam for example, or as a poisonous substance).

    #103065

    Draxynnic
    Member

    Well, D&D has a large range of nonstandard elementals. Unfortunately, my relevant books remain in storage, but smoke, lightning, ooze, ice, and a variety of others have all cropped up in D&D, usually in overlaps between the elemental planes and the Positive and Negative Energy Planes – making a total of twelve I think on top of the original four.

    Let’s see if I can remember them systematically:
    Positive: Lightning (air+), Steam(water+), Radiance(fire+), Minerals(earth+)
    Negative: Dust (earth-), Ash (fire-), Salt (water-), Void (air-)
    Boundaries: Ooze (water + earth), Smoke (air + fire), Ice (water + air – go figure), Magma (earth + fire)

    Regarding the good guy and bad guy dilemma with the seals – I suspect in the campaign it may only prove to be a victory condition for the bad guys, but in RMG maps it’s simply a mechanic. Alternatively, it might be that one of the things that can be done with the ‘godlike power’ that comes from tampering with the seals is repairing them – likely an act of desperation for the good guys, but it’s better to take a risk to remove a threat to the seals than to let the enemy destroy them permanently. Similar to how, in the SM opening cinematic, a Shadow Gate is opened so that the Shadow Demons dispatch the Phobian forces chasing the wizards.

    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.

    Simply put, the impression I get is that Meandor, Merlin and Julia knew what was coming, and knew that if the battle was to be fought now, Athla would lose. The sacrifice had consequences, but even if the protection is imperfect, it buys time – time for the peoples of Athla to unite into something that can fight back, time for the archons and syrons and whoever else might still be in the Shadow Realm fighting the good fight to rally and retake the Shadow World around Athla (it’s possible that part of the reason for the imperfect sealing is so that if Merlin receives the correct signal from his allies in the Shadow World, it CAN be undone). The disruption from the breaking of the wizard’s enchantments is still probably a lesser evil to a second invasion from the Shadow Realm, especially since we’ve had strong indications that, willingly or not, many wizards are among the attackers – the first stage of an invasion may well have been to cancel those enchantments at just the right time to cause maximum chaos and disruption to prevent an organised response. Merlin’s act removed that option from the enemy and weaned Athla from reliance on wizard enchantments.

    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 … >.>)

    That’s an interesting point, actually – the power might not actually have been destroyed, but bound up in the seals. When the seals are all broken, it might well come back.

    (One thing I had been thinking, with the discussion of more elemental creatures, is that this might well be a leadup to bringing back ‘Wizard’ as a class, allowing for elemental-themed leaders to be made again. Possibly set up to interact with specialisations in some way – where for other classes specialisations just add new researches that don’t directly interact with their class researches, wizards might have their specialisations decide what subset of their class abilities they have access to. The tricky part, though, would be to make this possible without horribly overlapping with existing classes.)

    #103074

    Ericridge
    Member

    As expected, the unsealing of seal on dev journals open with exciting bang!

    #103075

    Well, you’ve got to remember that actually the RMG and Scenario maps do, mostly, appear not to be set in Athla.

    Hmm i dont agree with that at all im afraid.

    Your ‘good’ path for those missions could simply be achieved by preventing the enemy from holding the Seals without holding them yourself, and achieving a normal victory.

    I dont think this will work bud, otherwise the “good guys” would be gaining charge the entire match. You need to put some mechanic of attainability for both sides, not just “stop them from doing stuff”.

    Im interested in how the Archons feel about the barrier these seals create as not only their dead rose out of their crypts but it seemingly also blocked them from entering Athla too. Perhaps we will see the undead crypts and living Archons play a bit of a different role in the future.

    #103083

    vfxrob
    Member

    This is going to awesome!

    #103115

    Kubera
    Member

    Well, D&D has a large range of nonstandard elementals. Unfortunately, my relevant books remain in storage, but smoke, lightning, ooze, ice, and a variety of others have all cropped up in D&D, usually in overlaps between the elemental planes and the Positive and Negative Energy Planes – making a total of twelve I think on top of the original four.

    Let’s see if I can remember them systematically:
    Positive: Lightning (air+), Steam(water+), Radiance(fire+), Minerals(earth+)
    Negative: Dust (earth-), Ash (fire-), Salt (water-), Void (air-)
    Boundaries: Ooze (water + earth), Smoke (air + fire), Ice (water + air – go figure), Magma (earth + fire)

    Thank you. It was very informative.
    I had a desire to delve into it (I just love all the fabulous stories and a variety of elements). If there is online, then give the link. Until I found this:
    http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/SRD:Elemental_Type
    add: Almost everything that you found here

    p.s. Another interesting thing, “storm” (lightning + water + wind)

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 5 months ago by  President.
    #103116

    terrahero
    Member

    Its certainly interesting to see new victory conditions being added to give the gameplay more diversity. A new, unique, way to win can totally flip the game dynamic on its head however.
    You devs doing balancing are going to have your hands full on this one! Imagine a class with fast early-scouting vs a class without such. The early-scouting allows faster discovery and capture of such Seals. To name one example.

    For me personally however, i must admit, i will probably just turn these off all the time. It doesnt appeal to me all that much, but thats a personal preference. I’ve played so many other games with a conquest-mode/capture-points that the whole concept is completely worn out on me.

    #103131

    Ravenholme
    Member

    Its certainly interesting to see new victory conditions being added to give the gameplay more diversity. A new, unique, way to win can totally flip the game dynamic on its head however.<br>
    You devs doing balancing are going to have your hands full on this one! Imagine a class with fast early-scouting vs a class without such. The early-scouting allows faster discovery and capture of such Seals. To name one example.

    For me personally however, i must admit, i will probably just turn these off all the time. It doesnt appeal to me all that much, but thats a personal preference. I’ve played so many other games with a conquest-mode/capture-points that the whole concept is completely worn out on me.

    I don’t think even a full stack of fast scouts would be sufficient to take one, judging by the likely strength of units guarding them, and as soon as you do take it, everybody else knows where it is.

    #103133

    terrahero
    Member

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>terrahero wrote:</div>
    Its certainly interesting to see new victory conditions being added to give the gameplay more diversity. A new, unique, way to win can totally flip the game dynamic on its head however.<br><br>
    You devs doing balancing are going to have your hands full on this one! Imagine a class with fast early-scouting vs a class without such. The early-scouting allows faster discovery and capture of such Seals. To name one example.

    For me personally however, i must admit, i will probably just turn these off all the time. It doesnt appeal to me all that much, but thats a personal preference. I’ve played so many other games with a conquest-mode/capture-points that the whole concept is completely worn out on me.

    I don’t think even a full stack of fast scouts would be sufficient to take one, judging by the likely strength of units guarding them, and as soon as you do take it, everybody else knows where it is.

    Knowing is half the battle 😉

    If i know where the seals are and my opponent doesnt yet, i can work towards that or i know how to counter my opponent when he hasnt scouted me yet.

    #103135

    Draxynnic
    Member

    Ah yes. From what I recall, storm elementals were actually a mix of all four…

    What’s the earth part? Well, you see, when you killed one, it turned out that some of the elemental’s structure came from a certain precious metal, and as the other parts of the elemental’s form dissipated then a broken lattice of this metal would fall to the ground. After all, every cloud has a silver lining…

    #103175

    Stormwind
    Member

    I am assuming the AI will not be smart enough to know how to deal with seals? So this is principally for MP (though of course the player can use it against AI but will not find the AI using the correct counter strategy?)

    If you find the best seal # to be less than the players, this meaqns only one seal in a 1v1 battle?

    Anyway, it looks interesting and glad you are trying to tackle the end of game problem, since it does drag a bit in that stage.

    #103187

    Ricminator
    Member

    ehh @stormwind they are working on the ai, so I definately think that the ai knows how to use it or what kind of danger it can become.

    #103208

    NEHZ
    Member

    I expect the hardest part of the AI with the seals to be to prevent explotation. Then again, at least it’ll be similair tactics you’d use against humans: by creating a high priority target, you can try and draw the main force away and then take their throne city/other cities. Or you can try to force the opponent to take a disadvantagous fight, since they have to take the seal away from you.

    #103228

    Kubera
    Member

    Lennart Sas, MarciaVB, Narvek
    New Elementals will T3 or T4? It would be a good possible to add new secret summoning T4 spell.

    #103249

    Stormwind
    Member

    (@Ricminator) I hope so. I know that in age of empires when you tries for a wonder victory the AI could care less. Also, for those ancients like me, in MoM when a AI cast spell of mastery, none of the other AI would care, they would still come after little ol me like I was the worst thing since unsliced bread.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 5 months ago by  President.
    #103257

    Sleepypanda
    Member

    This sounds like it could be really fun. Looking forward to trying it. A few quick questions, though (in regards to RMG only):

    -You will be able to set the amount of charges needed (in RMG).
    -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.

    Firstly, you noted players will be able to set the amount of charges required, but didn’t mention the number of seals on the map. Will that be a customizable option as well (and if yes, will it be by number or by a “Low\Medium\High” selection)?

    Secondly, will you allow players to set the strength and\or respawn delay of the elemental guardians?
    Strength can be simply number of units in a spawn, and respawn delay could be either both static and variable turn number or just the static part being customizable, by either numbers or the “Low\Medium\High” system).

    Thirdly, will seals have some kind of defenders advantage and\or battlefield enchantment?
    If yes, will you try to balance it so that it will be useful for the elementals (should they re-conquer the seal and\or during attacks) or make the elementals raze the wall\cancel the enchantment?

    Lastly, will players be able to cast city enchantments on the seals, and will a captured seal provide any kind of domain range?

    Thank you for your time.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 5 months ago by  President.
    #103277

    MarciaVB
    Member

    New elemental units: we’re still looking into re-balancing all of the elemental units, old and new ones. I’m not going to spoil everything for you guys, a little bit of surprise is always nice 😉

    AI: Our goal is to have the AI understand and interact with this feature, and our programmers are working on it.

    Themed Seals: We looked into making Seals element-themed, but we felt that it would give some races unfair advantages. Imagine for example you play a 1 vs 1 match with one Seal, and it happens to be fire-themed. Have fun against your Dwarven opponent while you are playing High Elf.
    Maybe in specific campaigns/scenarios it might be themed, as map makers can insert their own defender sets, and it might be relevant to the story. For RMG the elemental guardians will probably stay mixed.

    Tweakable values in RMG: The number of Seals will be adjustable, we’ll try to have a slider with an exact number as we feel this will be easier for players to tweak their matches.
    We think it would be nice for the players to be able to tweak as much as they like, but we will probably keep it simple in the beginning so players will know what to expect, and maybe add more tweakability (defender spawn strength & frequency) later on. I’m speculating here though, maybe we’ll already add it in, but we’re not promising anything. It depends on how much time we have to test and tweak everything. Remember we’re a pretty small team and we have a quite a lot of other features in the works too. 😉

    Battlefield enchantment: We think it would definitely be cool. Still testing to keep everything fun, but it’s something we’re keeping in mind.

    City enchantments & domain: No, they are just structures, not cities or fortresses.

    I hope this covers most of your questions! (Except the lore-parts, that’s Narvek’s domain 😉 )

    #103287

    Narvek
    Keymaster

    Ninja’ed again, was in a meeting.. 😉

    I’ll just add my own take (similar to Ravenholme’s) on good aligned players and Seal victory (if they happen to even know the backstory to the Seals):
    I think I would try to win by conventional means before someone has enough Seal charges, or, if that’s totally impossible in practice, go for the lesser evil: you break the Seal so you at least know that you can defeat those who plan to do more evil, so that they can’t repeat it nor can do horrible things with the power they released.

    In the end, being ‘good’ is subjective and relative. If you do the thing with the most positive outcome with good intentions, you’re good.

    #103295

    Draxynnic
    Member

    Themed Seals: We looked into making Seals element-themed, but we felt that it would give some races unfair advantages. Imagine for example you play a 1 vs 1 match with one Seal, and it happens to be fire-themed. Have fun against your Dwarven opponent while you are playing High Elf.
    Maybe in specific campaigns/scenarios it might be themed, as map makers can insert their own defender sets, and it might be relevant to the story. For RMG the elemental guardians will probably stay mixed.

    It could potentially be put in as an option, for players who are aware this could lead to unbalanced maps and are happy to proceed accordingly.

    #103304

    Sleepypanda
    Member

    Thank you for your reply.
    This certainly clarifies things, and so far it sounds great. : )

    #103305

    Ravenholme
    Member

    Now, roughly, and hopefully, another two weeks until the next Dev Journal (Wonder if it will cover one of the new races or one of the new classes, or some other gameplay mechanic, like maybe the new dwelling?)

    Also, would any of the Devs in the thread mind giving a rough ETA for the next big patch?

    #103308

    Ricminator
    Member

    ETA? Unfortunately when there done. Doesn’t make sense to release something what’s buggy as hell, but hopefully it’s pretty soon, otherwise they wouldn’t be talking about it.

    #103312

    go for the lesser evil: you break the Seal so you at least know that you can defeat those who plan to do more evil, so that they can’t repeat it nor can do horrible things with the power they released.

    I don’t know if i like this as its sort of like saying “i may as well burn down your city and kill everyone inside it because the army coming over the hill is going to do much much worse to you”.
    I know it isn’t a perfect analogy, but alignment is already a sticky subject in the game atm and i think this will only help to cloud the situation.

    #103321

    Draxynnic
    Member

    A better analogy might be to think of a scorched earth strategy, where you’ve already evacuated any people in the area affected – the damage is going to be done either way, but by denying the enemy the shelter and resources of the city you just burned, you might be able to stop them sacking the next – which you might not be able to evacuate in time.

    Tearing down buildings to make firebreaks would be another analogy – those buildings are going to get destroyed anyway if you don’t do something drastic, but they might save the next.

    Working back to the concept of the seals, the general idea is that if the forces of good lose in a particular location, the forces of evil will move on to the next set of seals and break those too. If the forces of good break the seals… it’s still bad, but it’s better to lose one than to potentially lose three or four.

    #103323

    Ravenholme
    Member

    A better analogy might be to think of a scorched earth strategy, where you’ve already evacuated any people in the area affected – the damage is going to be done either way, but by denying the enemy the shelter and resources of the city you just burned, you might be able to stop them sacking the next – which you might not be able to evacuate in time.

    Tearing down buildings to make firebreaks would be another analogy – those buildings are going to get destroyed anyway if you don’t do something drastic, but they might save the next.

    Working back to the concept of the seals, the general idea is that if the forces of good lose in a particular location, the forces of evil will move on to the next set of seals and break those too. If the forces of good break the seals… it’s still bad, but it’s better to lose one than to potentially lose three or four.

    Nailed what I and, I believe, what Narvek was meaning when saying that.

    #103366

    Gyor
    Member

    Cool.

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