Army Sizes and Composition

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Home Forums Age of Wonders 3 Discussions Army Sizes and Composition

This topic contains 18 replies, has 14 voices, and was last updated by  Draxynnic 9 years, 9 months ago.

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    Hi all!

    Like everyone else here I’m delighted to hear we’ll finally be seeing AoW3!!!!

    I’m eager to see how troop production and city development will work in this latest iteration.

    In Age of Wonders 1 there were generally quite large armies in the field. In Age of Wonders 2, the range of city development options, in my experience, stifled troop production. Where a city is always going to remain the same size, and has few upgrade options, it may be worth building a few low-tier units. Where that same city can upgrade into one capable of producing top-tier units, there is (even more of) a disincentive to train lower-tier troops.

    Now I’m sure many of you will agree, a fundamental issue which has been in every AoW game is the power of higher-tier units. There is/was little reason to do anything other than spam your most powerful units (in AoW and especially AoW2).

    Essentially, I’m interested in hearing everyones thoughts (and even better what the devs are thinking!) on how army size/composition should work.

    Will it be the case that we see relatively small forces, the game centering around small groups and powerful heroes, or will there be a greater incentive to produce larger armies of weaker troops as an alternative?

    Similarly, will/should cities be mainly focussed on civic development or on troop development? Personally I would like to see a dual queue, whereby structures/developments can be simultaenous to training troops. AoW is ultimately about war and conflict, not civilization.

    Finally, how should units scale to ensure that low-tier troops are not completely obsolete in the later stages of the game?











    I’d wait to see what they can do with the civic aspect before I judge it so harshly.


    Interesting and good point you made there, Heroic Spur.

    Personally, I prefer a sound amount of low-level units to be necessary for successful warfare because it just makes more sense from a “realistic” point of view. Top-tier units should be somewhat rare, giving the additional effect, the more rare the more impressive they are on the battlefield.

    What I did in AoW2 on my Single Player Custom Maps I created for myself to reduce the ratio of high level to low level units was to make a mod where there was no city growth at all or only super-slow (can’t remember exactly if you could adjust population growth to zero completely). That way level 1 cities always stayed level 1 and could only pump out low tier grunts and only the cities that were pre-defined in the scenario as big cities and capitals, i.e. level 3 or level 4 cities, could train those high tier units. Those cities were therefore in turn all the more important and fought about. Worked pretty well for me and felt similar to one of the other fantasy TBS classics “Warlords 1”.

    If we can adjust population growth rates again via modding I don’t see a general problem therefore.


    I’m also of the opinion that low level units were kinda pointless so I’m all for making the top tier ones harder to produce. But mind you: if the top tier are made too strong this will casue an imbalance as 1 such unit will be able to defeat entire low-level armies. This will need to be extensively tested to get the stats right.



    Yes it would be great if not all of your settlements can grow to a maximum level.  I remember how many times my gold level low tier units killed higher tier ones, so i dont see this as a big problem.


    Well, I remember how one orc warlord almost destoryed me at the begining of some AoW1 map :p



    I would be disappointed, if despite introducing battalions, the best way to play would require using exclusively single top level units.



    Those “battalions” are clearly visual because everything is counted as one unit.



    Eador solved that problem with restriction on how many units of each tier you can have.



    Developers wrote that on the tactical map will be used flanking attacks and other bonuses. It means a lot. You can do a lot of the weaker teams units. Capture strategic assets faster. And to have the advantage of these bonuses in combat. By the way, in multiplayer weak units play normally. I do not know what you talking about. .



    I’m seeing a lot of suggestions here that seem to be aimed towards forcing the player to use the “right” mix of units. What I think would be a more elegant solution, though, is giving the player a good reason to use a more balanced mixed rather than going “but thou must!”

    One thing that was a hallmark of each installment of Age of Wonders is that for the same level of power, low-level units tend to be cheap to build and expensive to maintain, while high-level units are the reverse. When you add to that that high-level units allow greater concentration of force (since eight dragons or kharags are clearly more powerful than eight hatchlings or spearmen, and you can only fit so many units on a battlefield) high-level units become clearly the best option. If the balance of upkeep costs was changed, I could see lower-level units becoming more attractive – if, hypothetically, all levels of units had upkeep as a fixed proportion of their build price and the build price was proportional to power, then building high-level units would allow greater concentration of power (for launching or defending against major assaults) while multiple low-level units would allow for greater dispersion (for conducting or defending against guerilla-style campaigns).

    This would mean that, if a player desired, they could still build their whole army out of high-tier units if they so chose – but it would no longer be the optimal strategy, since if we assume that stack size limits aren’t coming into play and there aren’t other tactical considerations coming into play (one side countering another, ranged units behind a wall, etc) then an army of low-tier units versus high-tier units that cost the same could be expected to have roughly equal chances of winning.

    (Oooh, there’s an edit button now!)



    The difference with Eador though was that the low level units became dead weight more or less, or cannon fodder for summoning demons.



    Well, something similar is essentially the same for low-level units in previous AoW installments. The upkeep of level 1 units is effectively doubling their price every five turns or so, so unless you’re swimming in money keeping them around is often actually causing more harm than good unless you have something for them to be doing right now. Even their role as fast-mustering troops to deploy and discard starts to be made obsolete as it becomes possible to produce level 2 units in one turn. In the long run, level 1 racial* units tend to become quickly obsolete unless they can serve as cheap scouts or have ranged attacks (since ranged attacks don’t scale much with level) and even with the latter it can often be better to get level 2 equivalents since they take the same time to build and have substantially greater ability to defend themselves in melee (or, in the case of priests, have healing, or, in the case of war machines for defending a site, do have a substantially stronger ranged attack).

    What I think people are looking for is to change that so that lower-level units remain worthwhile in the late-game (without, of course, ending in a situation where it’s not worth climbing the tech tree at all).

    *Level 1 summons are more useful in this regard because they often have useful special abilities like flying, phase or web, can be summoned where needed, and because casting points are more ‘expensive’ then production points.



    I agree with @draxynnic.

    I think it’s always better to have an incentive to select units than it is to be compelled into selecting them.

    Ultimately it comes down to opportunity cost. Producing armies of low-level units as Draxynnic has pointed out, was a bad move economically in AoW1 (For example, an orc swordsman was upkeep 4,  while a warlord had an upkeep of 8), added to the fact that these units would be murdered by higher level ones.

    I think some potential options for remedying that are:

    -To reduce cost and upkeep of low-level units

    -To allow larger cities to produce more of them to reflect their greater population/production capacity

    -To add more experience levels, which makes level 1 units which survive over a greater period of time, more potent

    -As @zhukodim has highlighted, to synergise their abilities with the new tactical options (like Flanking), or for them to have unique abilities in the first place, like the ones possessed by summoned units mentioned above.

    The least desirable option would be to place arbitrary caps on unit types. However, some of them might be justified. Some units, for example Orc red dragons from AoW1, are extremely rare, and so a limit imposed on their numbers would be entirely understandable. If such an approach were to be implemented, where to draw the line between reflecting ‘realism’ and overtly pre-determining the players army composition would be the greatest challenge.


    Just raise teh recruiting and upkeep costs of level 4s?


    If each level cost twice as much as the level before to maintain, that could be a solution, so:


    lvl1- 4 gold

    lvl2- 8g

    lvl3- 16g

    lvl4- 32g


    That immediately makes them much more precious.


    + 1 . for rare, expensive, cool units.. should not win packs reapers.



    This is one of the things which makes me Favor AoW before AoW II/SM.

    Cities in AoW were of 4 sizes where size 1 cities could only train tier 1 troops. Size 2 cities tier 2 troops etc.

    Since every city could only produce tier 1 troops at the start, you had to upgrade every city you wanted to produce higher tier troops (though you could ofcourse not upgrade a size 1 city since sizes were the hard limits).

    If memory serves, bigger cities generated more gold as well.


    That system made size 2 cities more valuable than size 1 cities since they not only gave you more gold but could also get you tier 2 troops.

    Size 3 cities were critical points of conflict that could very well mean the difference between victory and defeat since tier 3 troops were so powerful (and every race had 3 unique tier 3 units).

    If a map had a tier 4 city, then serious effort went into capturing and holding it since it would be the crownjewel in your empire if it wasn’t too far away from the frontlines. And even if it were, it would still be too important to ignore so you would either have to power through the frontlines, ignoring the size 4 city or take the size 4 city and possibly go around the enemy.


    In AoW II however, every little hut would grow into a metropolis and could train tier 4 troops….


    Master of Magic had the same problem (though everybody gives it a free ride since it was basically the first 4x TBS with tactical combat) though it took A LOT longer to get to the highest tier units than AoW II did.


    To summarize, I too want a limit on the hightier units.


    Brother JO

    Copy paste from here:

    3-)We can also have recruitment structures which enables recruitment of more powerful units to a race with a unit cap and as you capture the same structure you can recruit more of them.Example: Shrine of Chaos which enables recruitment of level 4 creatures with maximum 5(+2 for each captured shrine)

    3.1-)These structures can be made race specific and can be migrated.Like lets say we have Unholy Mountain which lets undead unit recruit titan unit and if captured by elves it can be migrated to Fairy Forest which lets elves recruit fairy dragon.

    With this we can have strategically important structures on adventure map which will give us aow 1 like recruitment.In aow1 you needed to capture bigger cities to recruit more powerful creatures.But since cities can be built and grow into big cities in aow2 and now aow3 ,aow1 system can be implemented to aow 3 with strategic recruitment sites.

    Well while implementing these ideas into game would be very hard and complex; it would end the high tier unit spam problem and bring game more strategic depth.



    @zamina: You don’t need to increase the recruiting cost of level 4s. If it wasn’t for upkeep, level 4s would probably already be a bad deal apart from the force concentration aspect – ten or so level 1s could probably wear down a level 4.

    The problem is that the level 4 costs 15 gold to upkeep, and the ten level 1s cost a whopping 60 to upkeep per turn. If you were to consider just five level 1s (which I would estimate would be taken out by a level 4 in pretty short order unless they had very favourable circumstances) it would only take ten turns of upkeep on average for the level 4 to be both cheaper and more powerful (and it gets even worse if you have the reduced upkeep perk, which is ironic since the flavour of that one seems to be aimed towards having armies of weak creatures). That’s the real problem.

    Placing hard restrictions on the number of top-level units available and generally making them harder to get would certainly reduce their dominance, but it’s a bandaid solution, and in my experience in AoW1 my tendency once I could build level 4s was to prioritise my resources into doing so unless tactical considerations deemed otherwise or because I simply had money to burn – because level 4s were just a much better deal, especially over the long term. If that were to be addressed, I suspect the cruder measures would prove to be unnecessary.

    PS: I had considered simply doubling upkeep per level, but I’m not sure that wouldn’t prove too punitive at the low levels – I’m not convinced that a single level 2 unit is worth two level 1 units. I should point out that I’m not convinced it isn’t, either – but the bottom line is that I think upkeep costs should be roughly proportional to how powerful the unit is, and in previous installments they clearly aren’t.

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