Skill Research

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Home Forums Age of Wonders 3 Discussions Skill Research

This topic contains 54 replies, has 32 voices, and was last updated by  terrahero 9 years, 7 months ago.

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    Hi all!

    Just a quick question about skill research:

    What would appeal to you more?

    1: Skills unlock (semi-)randomly.
    2: Skills unlock according to a known skilltree.

    1: This is how it was in earlier Age of Wonders games: You had a book of 8 spells you could research, and when you finished researching one another spell would take its place. This makes every playthrough different and presents you with new choices after each research.

    2: This is how it is in most RPG’s and for example in Civilization games: A fixed skilltree that is presented to you where you make every choice. This makes it possible to plan your build from the get go and removes the random element.

    Let us know what you’d like and why!

    Thanks 🙂



    The semi-random method sounds nice, but I’d alter the AoW1/AoW2 system so that some higher level skills and spells could not appear before certain lower level prerequisites had been researched. As long as the prerequisites are fulfilled, the skill or spell would randomly appear in the spellbook as per option 1.

    Naturally, this presupposes a sufficiently large pool of skills and spells all told. I am also specifically thinking that there could be certain types of cross-path skills or spells where you could only get them if you had some primary prerequisite fulfilled AND have a minor prerequisite (e.g. in order to cast Spell XYZ, you would have to have Spell ABC from Path 1 researched AND know magic of Path 2 (at whatever level)).

    This would also mean that the selection of race/class/magic would affect skill trees in multiple combinations, making the playthrough with the same race/class but with different magics/skills different from a previous playthrough.



    I really like the way of AOWSM with your semi-randomly method. In AOWSM, there was the choice between researching a spell or an upgrade (like traveler, merchant, casting specialist 1 to 5 or so on). Does this possibility to choose still remain ?



    I think there should be at least some sort of random element to it, otherwise the replay factor will be negatively affected.



    I would prefer to have a fixed skill-tree…don’t ask my why, but I always liked it in the various games. [Civ/Elemental/etc.]



    I would really like it to be random (option 1). This forces different type of games on the player.

    What I notice when I’m playing other games like Civ or Elemental Fallen Enchantress, is that I tend to choose the same types of skills all the time. This because I *Think* they are good or cool. I tend not to try out a lot of stuff.  I think this is the same for a lot of other players as well.

    With random skills/spells to pick from I get to play with them, while I otherwise would not have picked them. This means I am often in for a pleasant surprise.




    Well, its hard to say without knowing the nature of the said skills.  Does a leader have to gain experience to acquire new skills or are they just researched? Or there are some general skills (like spells in AoW1 &2) and some separate leader skills?

    If there are RPG-like skill trees for leaders, it will be nice to have a definite tree with different paths (for example, for warlord something like one path for the close quaters fighter, second for archer, third for inspirational army leader) with a certain place for choices. But the path choice is probably done when specialization is chosen.

    If the skills are done as researchable technologies then it would still be nice to have a certain system here too. Say that if if I researched a level 1 attack or a terraforming spell I will get a possibility to reasearch a random level 2 attack or terraforming spell respectively.

    In AoW2 it always bugged me to get say an angel spell almost intantly and then wait for eternity to get a simple enchanted weapon. In random system there should be some mechanic for the high level spells to come later in the game.



    Thanks for the answers so far, keep them coming! 🙂

    @wakah-chan: Yes we will have some system in place to skew the randomness so it makes some sense.

    For example, we’d definitely need to make it impossible that you start up the game and the only skills you can research just happen to be late game (and thus very expensive) skills.



    semi-random aow2 style of course ))

    btw this mechanic makes not possibility to all heroes evolve in few “notorious” builds.



    It depends on the nature of the skills: what skills there are, how many and how much they cost. For example, in SM skill tree wouldn’t make any sense: all skills are simply different specializations, and there is a very small amount of them, so the most logical thing would be to have all of them available at any given moment (and the fact that some of them aren’t is more annoying than thrilling). On the other hand, if skills differed in strength more drastically and could be grouped in some conceptual sets, then the skill tree would be a fitting choice.

    But generally speaking, the best solution is most likely to have a moddable requirement system, which allows a mod maker to choose from fully random skill set, fully predictable skill tree or anything in between.



    i prefer the fixed skilltree because i like to be able to plan my strategy.



    Well i agree once again with Wakah-Chan. It should be random with some sort of “loose” conection. I played aowSm 2 days ago. I got the angel spell in week 3 and the unicorn spell in week 5 :p

    Also you should consider The same thing about hero skills. Sometimes my hero would get “wtf” skills for leveling up, and some skills were not that good, like archery,throwing darts etc. At least in my experience.



    I prefered Fixed as well, with increasing grades of power to the skills.  Each class should have limits as to what skills they can access.  This makes it fun to be able to plan and debate different builds, just look at the FAQs for Diablo II to get a sense of  how much fun and strategy can surround a fixed, graded build system.




    I would rather research be fixed. To whatever extent that may be, but I think that consistency in a game is important for Multiplayer games.

    I also think that Starting spells should be fixed, or a preliminary option on Leader Customization.

    RNG to decide whether you start with only enchantments or situational Tactical Spells isn’t good multiplayer design. Likewise it’s not good if you’re limited in the things you can research, though I have faith the lower level spells etc. will be more balanced this time around there will always be clear favorites in the game start lottery. So I’d rather that the lottery was removed altogether if that was the only choice.

    However, I think the best option would be to have the randomness as an option on the game set-up screen. And as mandatory in the campaign, that way people who want the randomness can have it, and people who don’t won’t.



    I agree that a tree-based system would be better. Why? Because it avoids issues that I’ve had in the previous games where my list of spells to research at any given moment would fill up with spells that I did not need at the moment or were underpowered.

    I think that a fixed tree for skills and spells (and revamping of all spells to improve their uses in multiple situations) would be the solution.


    I prefer a fixed tree myself. It’s exciting to research a bunch of lower level spells or skills to climb up to that one skill that would work so well with your current strategy. Plus, it allows for skill builders and build discussion and sharing, which is part of the fun when playing strategic games.

    In AoW, I always ended up with just researching the new spell that came up as the 7 or so others did not interest me.



    i would like to see spells and skills handled differently:

    For skills i want starting research options be heavily influenced by class taken.Should be almost fixed,so that the element of strategic planning is in play.

    For spells i want a semi randomized system in place.

    there should be e.g. Level 1,Level 2 and level 3 spells.

    Assumung 8 spells are researchable at start,imo the best idea would be to let it randomly be 7 level 1 Spells and 1 Level 2 spell.

    U only get a new Level 2 spell offered if u did research the level 2 spell or there are no more Level 1 spells left.

    Level 3 spells should only unlock when u have researched all Level 1 and Level 2 spells.

    Of course this could be further expanded by including more spell levels,like level 4 for real powerful spells.

    Not sure if class should influence the level 1 spells offered at start.


    I like a bit of randomness. Perhaps make it so that lvl 2 spells/skills require x amount of lvl 1s, and so forth, because angel early on is just rubbish.


    I preferred the AoW1 system overall, if I had to choose between them…



    The AOW 1 system for spells was great. Some lvl 1 spells were granted randomly, and then we could research better skills in a fixed way. This randomness could be balanced by the class (an archdruid would always have summon boar lvl 1 for example)

    However for skills, it should be fixed. I hate randomness when it comes to skills. We want to build the hero with total freedom. A tree skill will be nice.



    I’d rather have a semi-random spell research, with some restriction so you won’t start with being able to research lv4 spells. Skills & Hero level-ups like in Aow2 (or recently Fallen Enchantress): couple of random skills to choose from. Otherwise I’d do as I did in Aow1, always choose the same upgrades in the same order. Which was boring and not a lot of fun.



    As most people already said, make it semi-random. Random enough to make each game play a little different, but not so you start with late game skills at the ready.

    Planning on a pre-fixed skill tree can be fun, but once people find the ‘perfect’ build order there is no need to experiment with it any further and you’ll always stick with the same routine.



    Precisely. Fixed trees tend to devolve to a min/maxing routine soon enough, so a semi-random element to give variance would be great.

    For this reason cross-path skills and magic would be good ideas. Make some skills and spells that are both roughly equally desirable in their effects cross-path with mutually exclusive requirements, meaning that in the beginning you have your options open, but once you choose, the other choice is locked out.


    Brother JO

    I agree with semi-random unlocking for spells and cross-path for skills.Cross-path skills would lead more variety in gameplay thus leading more combos.

    But please don’t put something like Peace Keeper into aow3.Recruiting most powerfull creatures from every race and putting them in army was just OP and you never ever had to migrate a city because you were good with every race.



    Excellent thinking Brother Jo.


    Haha I always picked Peacekeeper when playing a Neutral race. Although most of the times it was more rewarding to just conquer a city instead of negotiating with it.


    1 especially in multiplayer. Small random interesting, but only in battle. Globally should be allowed to win the mind, and not random. especially if you play serious tournaments. Tournaments are good for increasing the gaming community. People love the balance and predictability. For random bad they will always blame the game and throw tournaments.

    2 only possible in a single company


    No randomness plz.


    in a previous post mixed 1 and 2 🙂 . No 1. Yes 2.



    What many of them said before me. Semi random with restricitons to high lvl spells early on. A game should be FUN at the first place everything else only come after that. Predictable = boring, always the same and no fun. I  saw too many other games where the devs throw out many fun element in the shake of some Mr pro multiplayer guy. So just keep AoW on the good old ways 🙂



    I prefer Semi-random because it encourages strategic variety.

    That being said I would like a system that is a bit less random than AoWSM.  It was always a bother when your starting research options are clogged up by level 3 and 4 spells.  In the beginning these spells are often beyond your means.  It would be much nicer to have to research a number of level 1 and 2 spells before they start showing up.


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