AoW 1/ Shadow Magic IMO was better than AoW 3 in some ways.

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Home Forums Age of Wonders 3 Discussions AoW 1/ Shadow Magic IMO was better than AoW 3 in some ways.

This topic contains 47 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  Lannister 4 years, 4 months ago.

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  • #258947

    Lannister
    Member

    1) The world was darker and more mature, i’m referring to visual art design. Some things look undoubtedly very good in AoW3, but other things feels off, like the big head of the wyverns is a comic relief and some halflings look ridiculous etc, Shadow magic felt very dark and Tolkien-esque everywhere. Aow 3 on the other hand reminds a bit too much of Warcraft 3/World of Warcraft in some ways. I can understand that 3D polygones makes the game engine feel more cartoon compared to 2d sprites, but the visual art design does not have to be like that.

    2) Classes is a nice concept, but made the game worse in certain aspects. A) Every race having the same class units gives an homogeneous impression, like the races lacking personality, gone was the Goblin Karagh or the Human air ship, the Dark elf incarnate.

    Instead every race is flying on the same Manticore or producing the same Juggernaut, i personally don’t like this at all, the nice reskin mod made it better butcould not fix the fundamental problem for me. Dwellings makes things a bit better but can not fix how races lack character compared to the previous Age of wonders titles.
    B) Since focus shifted towards classes, race diplomacy went almost extinct, diplomacy in Aow 3 feels very underwhelming, in the previous titles it was a simple concept, like orcs are evil and elfs are good, humans neutral, but it worked in creating tension among the races, Goblins would never like Elfs and vice versa unless in special circumstances. In the case of AoW something similar could had been made, like Juggernauts don’t like Archdruids and vice versa, Warlords(Might) do not appreciate the presence of Sorceress(Magic) or Theocrats to Necromancers, that would have been more interesting.
    C) Aow 3 and Classes (there is a comparison list) brought more units and skills than ever before, but each indivdual game feels more limited and with less variety in units skills and spells. Due to the class a lot of things are locked out for every individual game, yes the potential unit/spell list is big but each game feels limited, previously i could play one race and develop it with magical, mighty, mechanical units with a larger amount of magical support for my plan, that leads us to next point.
    D) Specializaton was split into several different classes, which lead to the actual magical spheres being very underwhelming compared to the older games, so not only did the class limit the experience of variety once in the map but the supporting magical spheres have fewer spells.

    I still think Age of wonders 3 is a great game though, don’t get me wrong, combat is IMO the best ever and very well done, but in certain ways the older games are more fun and immersive despite how old they are, i would of course like a future Age of wonders title to combine the best parts of every game and make a flawless product, that’s my dream.

    • This topic was modified 4 years, 5 months ago by  Lannister.
    #258949

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    For your point C) I have a simple cure: I didn’t like the fact that Arcane Libraries would hand out techs of your techbook only, and I modded them to give out random T1 and T2 techs of all class and specs minus a couple that make no sense.
    That leads to me, as a Halfling Theocrat in my actual game, having Summon Phantom Warrior, for example, and I also got Steam Powered, Death Ray and some more.

    #258952

    Sure in some ways it was better.

    Same applies to the original AoW.

    Larger skill book with mutually exclusive magic (pick earth or air, not both).

    Much larger battle maps.

    Multihex fixed cities.

    Ymmv but imho the last point especially created map tension.

    Dark grey orcs. They turned green in aow2 and sm. Don’t like!

    #258955

    Bouh
    Member

    You made me realize something about magic and diversity : actualy there is only one drawback with the way AoW3 use magic, it’s the research system.

    There are two problems with it :
    1) as you said, magic spheres are diluted in the class tree.
    2) everything being tied to research, you must prioritise, so you are very limited in a single game to the first choice you make : empire research or magic.

    The second main diversity problem brought by AoW3 design is the T4 diversity. There may be as many T4 in AoW3 as there was in AoW 1 and 2, but game conditions forces you into a handful of them. Your class only allows you one, and it’s unreasonable to take more than one per dwelling. And the same apply for the AI. Previous installment where more flexible for this because you only needed a big city and the race you want a T4 to produce. AoW3 lock you after the game begin.

    Much have been said about racial differences already, and much have been done actualy. Class and race units are now largely different and each race has its own feel now I think. More could be done for heroes though.

    I think the class and sphere concepts should have been melted more. Spheres could be corrupting all you class research and magic for example. Or the reverse. Maybe there could be a path of research more intertwined with racial units, providing the sorely missed racial T4.

    Maybe races could have been considered to have a kind of class already that would make class/race combo some kind of multiclass ?

    Overall I think the class system is a brillant idea of AoW3, and reunite it well with AoW1 compared to AoW2 because it adds a lot of personality to the leader. But indeed races and spheres lost a bit of their influence and personality.

    #258959

    Gloweye
    Member

    I think we could have a functioning system if we’d be able to unlock research based on racial governance. It could give a nice way to get racial T4’s without being able to rush for them.

    Heck, we could lock T3’s behind RG3 and T4 behind RG5. Keep everyone down to T2’s unless you have dwellings or invest in a race. We’d also be able to have two T3’s for each race with much less issues than we could otherwise.

    #258961

    @ gloweye, locking it behind RG would be pretty cool, but might heavily encourage mono racial strategies.

    Also RG 5 is maybe a bit late lol. I think you’d have to expand the racial unit roster a fair bit if you couldn’t get t3 units until RG 3.

    BTW would this apply just to racial units, or class units as well? Because if you could still get class units in the current fashion, all players would do is spam class units.

    There’s also the related problem of Druids and Sorcerers summoning stuff all the time, which wold be very hard to counter for production classes if their units were locked behind RG.

    #258962

    Gloweye
    Member

    @ gloweye, locking it behind RG would be pretty cool, but might heavily encourage mono racial strategies.

    You’d have to hold on longer multi race, but get multiple T4’s… If they’re different enough, that could be very valuable.

    But well, call it RG 4 then.

    Obviouly, would require quite the redisign across the board tho, but the idea is a good one IMO.

    #258963

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    I think, the one thing that might gain would be a “race spec”, that is, an assortment of race-specific techs in the magnitude of half a dozen.
    Racial T4s would, imo, be counter-productive.

    #258966

    Taykor
    Member

    I think, the one thing that might gain would be a “race spec”, that is, an assortment of race-specific techs in the magnitude of half a dozen.

    Aren’t RG upgrades, especially high-level and more interesting, essentially race-specific techs?

    The world was darker and more mature, i’m referring to visual art design. Some things look undoubtedly very good in AoW3, but other things feels off, like the big head of the wyverns is a comic relief and some halflings look ridiculous etc, Shadow magic felt very dark and Tolkien-esque everywhere.

    And, by the way, no. I’d say it’s the other way around. Maps in Shadow Magic were filled with little jokes from the devs (like construction site for a beach resort, funny signs and so on). And overall ‘fairy-tale’ feeling was very strong. There was definitely not less humour in visuals and descriptions of units. At least as I remember it.

    I think the class and sphere concepts should have been melted more. Spheres could be corrupting all you class research and magic for example. Or the reverse.

    I don’t really understand how this could solve the problem of diversity in one particular game. Wouldn’t this further reduce available possibilities?

    Aow 3 and Classes (there is a comparison list) brought more units and skills than ever before, but each indivdual game feels more limited and with less variety in units skills and spells.

    I can’t but agree with this.

    Sometime ago I had an idea which could help with this – add a fourth additional sphere pick, but make it secret (in MP) and make techs from it appear in the book of research only in midgame or even later. This way you could research essential class techs and spells (and also from primary spheres) in early game without hindrance, but from the midgame you’d have additional tools and diversity.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 5 months ago by  Taykor.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 5 months ago by  Taykor.
    #258968

    Taykor
    Member

    del

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 5 months ago by  Taykor.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 5 months ago by  Taykor.
    #258972

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    As I said, my advice is to mod the Arcane Library into giving you ANY tech (within certain boundaries) which is very easy to do. I modded it so that it will give you any T1 or T2 tech including specs (that make sense). This works fine because it adds different arrows to your arsenal. The Summon Phantom Warrior tech my Halfling Theo found in such a Library, has been pretty helpful, I have to say.

    I’d upload that mod, but I had to integrate it with another mod; I changed/added a couple of Arch Druid techs, so I had to combine these in order to have the correct AD techs in the pool.

    Still – it’s worth a shot to mod it and try the effect of it.

    #258973

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    I think, the one thing that might gain would be a “race spec”, that is, an assortment of race-specific techs in the magnitude of half a dozen.

    Aren’t RG upgrades, especially high-level and more interesting, essentially race-specific techs?

    Not for me, because it would tilt things even more to mono-racial tactis, like BBB said.

    EDIT: Ah, okay, you mean, whether RG isn’t already a race tech?
    Yes, kind of, but with the exception of a couple of things like the Tame Troll the Goblins get it’s rather LIMITED techs. A TECH would be valid for non-Goblin troops as well.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 5 months ago by  Jolly Joker.
    #258975

    Taykor
    Member

    As I said, my advice is to mod the Arcane Library into giving you ANY tech (within certain boundaries) which is very easy to do. I modded it so that it will give you any T1 or T2 tech including specs (that make sense).

    That’s, of course, a good idea, but a bit limited and not… systematic, I guess. It’s a one-time thing and a lot of random factors are in effect: there need to be an Arcane library on the map, you need to find it and be able to capture it. Playing with research and class systems could give more.
    I mainly talk about some hypothetical future game. To make AoW3 more diverse your idea is quite good.

    Yes, kind of, but with the exception of a couple of things like the Tame Troll the Goblins get it’s rather LIMITED techs. A TECH would be valid for non-Goblin troops as well.

    True. But how these race techs should work? Should they randomly appear in your research book if you have a city of that race?

    #258977

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    Sorry, I meant LOST Library. Usually, there are many Lost Libraries on a random map. In my current game, 8 player, Large with UG, as a Theo with Master Creation and Adept Fire I got Summon Phantasm Warrior, Undead Plague, Death Ray, Suffocate, Corpus Furia, Savage Rage, Steam Powered and Mediator so far (turn 60) from Lost Libraries.
    Phantasm Warriors are Infs, so Order of Templar Knights works on them, making them Devout and giving them 20% Spirit protection, and I field a couple of them to good effect.
    It actually works with the AI as well, since I can see that the Frostling Arch Druid has Treasure Raiding active.

    It adds a certain thrill to the game, not knowing what surprise a Lost Library will spring on you.

    For the Race techs, it should be a Leader pick like a Spec, only for your starting race. True, Racial Governance is somehow doing something like this as well, but I’m not that happy with the way RG works and what it offers; I’ve started to make a thread about this at least a dozen times, but since I myself still have no consistent idea of how to “fix” RG, until now I’ve always stopped in mid-writing. I find many options not so good. For example, Draconian Prophet Economic: one positive point of military options is the fact that any upgrade not only works for future builds, but your existing units are upgraded as well. IN that regard, the fact that Peak of the Forefathers gets 100 gold cheaper to build is a letdown, because at the point you get Prophet, you’ll probably won’t build many anymore – not that you’d build a lot in the first place. Increasing vision radius by 2 is fine and all – but doesn’t that sound more like some kind of TECH?:

    “Eyes of the Forefathers” – Vision Radius of all player towns is increased by 1. Vision Radius of Drac towns is increased by and additional +1.

    Definitely a RACE TECH. And lastly, it provides an additional medal for all units produced in the town. Well, what unit(s) WILL be produced in a town with a Peak? So basically Drac Fliers will be produced with an additional medal (the summoning classes 100%), and if you compare that with Prophet Military – all Drac Fliers (the existing ones as well) are getting +6 MP and Martial Arts, it’s clear that RG4 Drac Eco isn’t working, and that there is a nice Draconian Tech in that.

    #258978

    Gloweye
    Member

    True. But how these race techs should work? Should they randomly appear in your research book if you have a city of that race?

    That’s why I wanted to tie it to RG – you could for example have every level of RG unlock a new tech to appear.

    That said, it would probably be rather restrictive as long as we’re limited to 12 research choices.

    #258979

    Bouh
    Member

    Bouh wrote:

    I think the class and sphere concepts should have been melted more. Spheres could be corrupting all you class research and magic for example. Or the reverse.

    I don’t really understand how this could solve the problem of diversity in one particular game. Wouldn’t this further reduce available possibilities?

    The feeling of lack of diversity IMO comes from a simple thing : the class has more importance than most other things.

    For any class, the spheres you pick will only add a handful of things you might not even use if you focus on your class stuff. Whereas in previous games the race would determine the first units and the strategy you would use, and the spheres would add onto it. That was something like 12*6*6 possibilities at the least (one race, one mastery and one adept sphere), and I discard the “cosmos” splashes you could do.

    What I mean is that now the class forces you both on the units you might use and the magic. The spheres are only a specialization. So, in some way the class took the place of both the race and sphere for the theme you want to give to your game. Races are still important, but that would make 7*7*10, with the ten being equivalent to the secondary theme a second sphere would give you.

    Maybe it’s only that I miss the enchantments of units that made a huge difference in how you would play. Magical spheres do not push your playstyle like this in AoW3. Classes do.

    So I think the feeling of less diversity comes from this : the class took too much importance at the expanse of race and magical spheres.

    But I think I’m also a bit biased. The diversity was not that crazy in previous AoW : there was alway the same squelton of infantry/archer/support/cavalry/T2utility/T3combat/T3support/special/T4. The core was always the same, each race simply did it its own way. Considereing what have been added to make the races more singular I think the feeling is close now.

    Yet, to go back to what I was saying, the research bottleneck both the class stuff and the spheres stuff. And usualy you can’t make a strategy out of the sphere stuff alone. Spheres are only here to support you main strategy that will lie on the class and race.

    That’s why I talk about the spheres that could bleed on everything. It’s only a way to increase their importance.

    And actualy the last spheres (grey guard, shadowborn and torchbearer) go this road, with research that pushes your playstyle to something. Elemental spheres should have more of this. Without losing their magical sphere feeling.

    Actualy, I think that the only thing that miss is enchantments for the magical spheres. Empire, city or units enchantments. This would have a visible effect on your units. Combat enchantments are nice but either you lose a powerful unit to cast it in combat or it is very expensive if the unit is not there. And damage spells, they have to be worth the cost. A leader turn in combat is usualy worth much more than 20 damage on a unit. Compared to before, you could flood the land and give water walk or water skin to you units. Air would give flying, which was very important to take cities. Earth stone skin was as good as it is in AoW3, but haven’t to be cast during the combat. These were spells with a big influence on the game. This kind of influence is now mostly in class stuff.

    #259002

    Naetell
    Member

    Coupling extra racial units to RG sounds interesting. I think I know what I’m doing for my next mod then.
    Choice of one of two T3 at RG2 and T4 at RG4. That’ll be quite a number of T4 units though, and I suck at graphical work, so I likely won’t be releasing that mod to the public.

    #259005

    MBFG6669
    Member

    IMO AOW3 feels like dumbed-down version of AOW2SW.
    It sucks on all fronts, less spells, less units, less races, less possibilities, less teraforming, smaller maps, smaller battles. There isn’t a single thing that this thing does better than AoW2SoM, or there is nothing that it improves or experiments with. Honestly I loved for AoW1/2 for that it was unique and didn’t copy excessively of any other title. I loved how it reminded me of Masters of Magic. Unfortunately AoW3 is just another HoMM clone to me with no mind and spirits of its own, complete waste of money on unmet expectations and a absolute sell-out of fans of the series, to a corporate money making machine. Graphics even thou 3D, they are very simplistic and plain. There is no details to them and from a dark, magical, misty world in ao2som, they made a parody of it in aow3 stylized on Warcraft/latest HoMM/Endless Legend with Bobbleheads included – I think you could call it UNITY style cash in on classics nostalgia.

    #259006

    Hiliadan
    Member

    less spells, less units, less races, less possibilities, less teraforming, smaller maps, smaller battles

    Really?

    151 spells in AoW2:SM vs 424 skills in AoW3.
    181 units vs 398
    15 races vs 9 races + 6 dwellings
    Fewer possibilities? I would say many more with many more combos, units, skills, etc.
    Smaller maps? I don’t remember the RMG in AoW2:SM, I played only scenarios, but the maps in AoW3 are huge and if you’re unhappy there is a mod to make them even bigger.

    It’s true that there is less terraforming and smaller battles and that the “magic” side is reduced.

    AoW3 innovated in many ways, like no more domain around heroes, no Wizard Towers, the class, the Dwellings, the Vassals, etc, etc. It took risks and it provided a fresh experience.
    Both games are very good and they are also very different, but that’s what I want personally. What would be the point of redoing AoW2:SM, you can already play it!

    #259008

    Naetell
    Member

    I fully echo Hiliadan, and with more races being modded in we’ll make it to that 12 races barrier one day.

    The RMG in AOWSM was terrible. It didn’t create maps that made any sense. The RMG in AOW3 is one billion percent better.

    That being said…

    Unfortunately AoW3 is just another HoMM clone to me with no mind and spirits of its own, complete waste of money on unmet expectations and a absolute sell-out of fans of the series, to a corporate money making machine. Graphics even thou 3D, they are very simplistic and plain. There is no details to them and from a dark, magical, misty world in ao2som, they made a parody of it in aow3 stylized on Warcraft/latest HoMM/Endless Legend with Bobbleheads included – I think you could call it UNITY style cash in on classics nostalgia.

    This is complete and utter bollocks.

    #259009

    It’s a fair bit of work but it’s not that technically demanding to get a new race in the game.

    Just loads of tweaking etc to make it fun.

    I already made a Dark Elf race, Gloweye et al made a shadow elf race.

    We could smash through 12 if we wanted to.

    #259013

    Taykor
    Member

    151 spells in AoW2:SM vs 424 skills in AoW3.

    MBFG6669 writes nonsense, of course, but I never liked this picture as it is fallacious in some things. For example, you must throw out all straight empire upgrades from ‘skills’ of AoW3. Or compare them only to mage upgrades of AoW2 (+% of research and others), which as far as I understand aren’t shown on the picture at all. Also class units of different races are still mostly the same unit flavour-wise, even now, when they have enough differences.
    Also, as was discussed here already, the number of spells and units encountered and used in one particular game is just as important as the overall count.

    We could smash through 12 if we wanted to.

    But wouldn’t 32-bitness of the game prevent you?

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 5 months ago by  Taykor.
    #259030

    Gilafron
    Member

    181 units vs 398

    That’s definitely misleading. The class units are nearly identical across the races. A Monster Hunter, whether dead or alive, elf or orc, is a Monster Hunter. I would have liked to have seen more diversity. I’d rather had seen more oddball classes or races like Necromancer to give it different feels. Something like Warlord has no tactical spells. I would get more enjoyment from that. Also, something like specialization is different depending on class. Fire Warlords are very different from Fire Arch Druids. I realize balance becomes extremely difficult, but variety is the spice of life.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 5 months ago by  Gilafron.
    #259034

    Hiliadan
    Member

    The class units are nearly identical across the races.

    I would not go as far as to say that, many have significant differences that make them play differently (e.g. Tigran Shaman shapeshifts, Human Warbreed swims, etc.). My opinion would be that some class units are quite different but some have similarities so overall, it’s actually less diversity than the displayed number. But even if you divide the class unit number by 9 (number of races), you still get 22 and that’s 64+22+22+16+98 = 222, so that’s still more than AoW2:SM.
    But anyway, I think we can all agree that the diversity of options in AoW3 does not feel like “dumbed-down version of AOW2SW”?

    And Gilafron, you might subject to the “I want what I don’t have” syndrome. 😛 If Fire AD was different from Fire Warlord, you might be asking that Goblin Fire AD was different from High Fire AD. 😛

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 5 months ago by  Hiliadan.
    #259037

    Taykor
    Member

    I’d rather had seen more oddball classes or races like Necromancer to give it different feels. Something like Warlord has no tactical spells. I would get more enjoyment from that.

    So true. One of the main disappointments in AoW3 for me always was not only that magic for ‘magical’ classes was rather lacklustre, but that magic of ‘non-magical’ classes wasn’t worse at all. Sometimes even better. Also they usually have more opportunities to use spells in battle, because they don’t really need CP for summoning.

    #259039

    @ Taykor, I don’t know how the 32bit ness of the game affects things.

    I am pretty confident though one could add pretty much as many races as one wanted.

    No idea what would happen. I guess it would end up being a mess for the rmg, but at the moment I don’t think every map is generated with every race so it might not matter?

    #259041

    Taykor
    Member

    No idea what would happen.

    I meant memory limits. I’m fairly sure that even someone from the devs mentioned that mods could rather easily be hampered by it if adding a lot of new content.

    #259042

    Naetell
    Member

    I meant memory limits.

    AOW3 is a 32-bit game without 64-bit option. This means it has to deal with the 3GB Barrier.
    Given that the base game already uses a lot of RAM, there actually wasn’t that much space for mods to begin with. Especially mods that include new graphics use more memory than ones that don’t.

    TT;DU: Having too many mods will cause an out of memory error and subsequent crash.

    #259136

    Lannister
    Member

    I would not go as far as to say that, many have significant differences that make them play differently (e.g. Tigran Shaman shapeshifts, Human Warbreed swims, etc.). My opinion would be that some class units are quite different but some have similarities so overall, it’s actually less diversity than the displayed number. But even if you divide the class unit number by 9 (number of races), you still get 22 and that’s 64+22+22+16+98 = 222, so that’s still more than AoW2:SM

    The difference between class units isn’t really comparable to wholly different and original models, a human warbreed is similiar to an orc, visually it’s the same model.

    For example in shadow magic there are 15 races, each with a unique tierIV unit, 15 different racial Tier IV units. Age of wonders 3 all class IV units are identical except for the Warlord that has some racial differences(still the same model). Random dwellings offering TIV units that may or may not appear(depending on settings or rng) is not nearly enough to come even close. That number will not be noticable on this list but in the actual game it’s a huge difference in flavor and variety.

    Sure that unit list is impressive when looking at only numbers but in any given map only a certain amount will be available, as pointed out already.

    #259139

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    Of course AoW2 SM has its fair share of “similar” units as well, say, Monk, Priest, Druid, a lot of the Cavalry units and so on.

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