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  • Draxynnic

    Fantastic teaser trailer. I’m wonder (pun intended) if the use of the Age of Wonders series title means the game will be a blend of (traditional) fantasy and sci-fi, or that the upcoming game uses this title just for name/game studio recognition.

    Can’t wait to see and learn more about the upcoming game.

    Yeah, I was thinking myself it could be interesting if it’s set in the far future of the fantasy setting, with fantasy elements to demonstrate that. Although they’d probably need to be careful to avoid spoilers regarding the fate of Athla specifically.


    Not what I expected, a bit sad the AOW story will not continue

    Not yet, anyway. Although I did notice that it’s still under the AoW label, and AoW does have a greater universe. It could still be connected, although I don’t really see the Archons taking on those war machines…


    Ok, I’m watching the stream now, so gimme the new game already! Gimme gimme gimme!

    Though I guess they will first announce a new Crusader Kings 2 DLC 😛

    Edit: To the peeps who are in the audience over there: yell something obscene really loudly when the show starts so we have proof you’re really there, ok?

    Obscene could be any random troll.

    The correct call-phrase is “Meandor’s name be praised!”


    Hrrrmn, so the time over there would be about 6:30am now? SO we’re looking at… about four and a half hours to go?

    Looks like my earlier calculations were a bit off. Better to be on too early than too late, at any rate.


    Yes soon now! According to my sources it will be announced tomorrow around 11:00 CET 🙂

    So, 10AM in UTC, which translates to 8PM in AEST, or about 20 hours from the time of this post, if I’ve done my calculations correctly.

    I’ll… probably have to miss the Triumph interview.


    Ok, so we agree here.
    Before we talk about Diplomacy – in a game like this, every feature should increase the “game experience” and that is true for diplomacy as well.
    However – that feature isn’t without pitfalls. For example, say you play some evil Necromancer – in that case, if your opponents were neutral or even good non-Necros, and you would be strong, it would be logical if they would all ally against you – at least you can make a point for that. Likewise, with GOOD AI players, it would make sense if they wouldn’t change their stance for bribes, while on the other hand EVIL AI players might take the bribe – but not keep their end of the bargain.

    In my opinion, Diplomacy is a very delicate feature, and the more 100% rules there are, the less fun it will be; diplomacy should never be 100% predictable.

    See, this would make sense. If it was a matter of the AI taking into account your class, alignment, and possibly even race in making its decisions, that would make the system deeper. If the AI had personalities, and there was a means to figure out what the AI’s personality is, that would also make the system deeper.

    That, however, is not how the system actually works.

    You have six “personalities” for the AI, on two axes:

    The first axis is whether the AI leans good, neutral, or evil.

    The second axis is whether the AI is willing to accept alliances, or whether it carries the “enemy ball” where it will refuse alliances no matter what.

    This gives a total of six personalities.

    As an example of how silly this is, here’s one game I played:

    I was playing a human Theocrat, with the Keeper of the Peace specialisation (therefore, I was obviously aiming to be good). The AI players included an evil dwarf necromancer, a good halfling theocrat, and a good elven rogue.

    Now, from what you’re envisaging, there’s a certain way you’d think this should go.

    What actually happened was the exact opposite. The evil dwarf necromancer was trying to get an alliance with me – I figured, by the rules I was playing by, that I would not allow this scum to live and destroyed him instead. The good halfling theocrat and good elven rogue, on the other hand, were both carrying the Conflict Ball and refused to ally under any circumstance. However, they were quite happy to sign and keep to nonaggression pacts. So I built up my forces on the border of the halfling, broke the pact, and alpha-striked him into a one-turn surrender. Then rinse and repeat with the elven rogue. Through all this, I maintained a good alignment because I played nice with neutral settlements.

    In no way did their carrying of the Conflict Ball make the scenario any more challenging or interesting. They had no distrust of me even as I built up my forces on the borders, and the only difference was a bit of blood was spilled (possibly in autoresolved battles, in fact) and the scenario dragged out longer than it needed to.

    Now, if the diplomacy system actually had a variety of personalities, that would be something different. You could have some AI players who form dependable allies, some which are looking for opportunities to stab you in the back, some which are violent, and some which are just plain crazy and unpredictable, possibly with cues as to which personality they might have (in the form of different diplomatic responses). Master of Magic and Total War Warhammer both have personality systems of this type.

    AoW3’s, however, just has “good, neutral, or evil” and “will ally or won’t ally”, and I really don’t think the second really benefits anyone except for the players who complained because they wanted to fight battles, but couldn’t stop themselves from playing the game in a way that they’d enjoy less just so they could get a quicker victory.

    It doesn’t make them any less predictable, since once you’ve identified that a particular AI opponent is carrying the Conflict Ball and is therefor not going to ally with you, you’ve still guaranteed that they’re going to happily sit there obeying a nonaggression pact until you’re ready to alphastrike them into surrender.


    Your point seems to be that “exploits” and “cheats” are more or less the same thing, but that isn’t true. A cheat will simply do something with no regard to game rules. If you use a cheat you do something you cannot do within the rules of the game – instant win of a battle, for example. You don’t play the game anymore, but instead the game does what you tell it. Keel over and die.
    An EXPLOIT, however, is WITHIN the game rules. Strictly spoken, the distinction between exploit and good play is rather vague at times, and some “exploits” can be quite clever, while a cheat is never clever.

    If the battle AI would be abysmal (which it isn’t), would it be the right thing to tell people who complained to forget manual battles and instead accept autobattles and leave people their fun to clobber the AI – or would it be better to try and improve the battle AI?

    Your example is a bit of a strawman argument. As BBB says, if you can improve the AI to close an exploit, that’s obviously the way to go. (As long as it is actually an improvement, and not simply responding to an exploit by hobbling the AI so it can’t be exploited.)

    But let’s look at some of the diplomacy exploits, and the heavy-handed ways they’ve been dealt with:

    First we had the “bribe the AI with mana” exploit (at a time when for many classes mana was virtually worthless and tended to stock up faster then you could spend it), which is the main reason why we have limited mana supplies now. Was that really necessary? Sure, the ideal approach would be for the AI to have a more realistic appraisal of the actual value of mana and the way that, unlike gold, for many classes there is a diminishing value in having ever-deeper mana reserves. People complained that it was too easy to “win” by buying off the AI when they could be fighting battles. To my mind, there’s not much difference in buying off the AI with a worthless currency versus using BOSCH and bribing the AI with the gold you get.

    Now, I guess this one can play a role in mixed AI+multiplayer games, so working around it is appropriate, even though I don’t consider those to be fully competitive for reasons I’ve previously stated.

    More recently (relatively speaking) people were also complaining that it was possible to win a map against the AI via diplomacy at all, thereby robbing them of their chance to have epic battles. So now we have this heavy-handed system whereby some AI opponents will arbitrarily decide to refuse alliances with the player under any circumstances, regardless of whether you otherwise fulfill all the prerequisites?

    Does this benefit the game? Not at all:

    First, it eliminates the possibility of trying for an all-diplomacy game as a change of pace. Yes, the diplomatic system is simple enough that this, in and of itself, isn’t all that challenging. However, there are ways to make it challenging: setting the difficulty of independent spawners and cosmic happenings up to max, keeping the AI level of the AI leaders low, and regarding it as an ‘us against the world’ game, for instance. Now, you’re forced to fight an arbitrary number of AI empires to win the map.

    Second… it really doesn’t stop people from cheesing the AI using diplomacy. You’re arbitrarily blocked from forming alliances, but when you have a nonaggression pact, the AI is really bad at recognising when massing forces at their borders means you’re planning to stab them in the back. If you’re blocked from winning by forming an alliance, nothing stops you from forming a nonaggression pact, building up your forces at their border, breaking the pact, and then hitting them so hard that they offer their surrender after the first turn of fighting. It takes a little longer, but it’s no more challenging.

    Third: Well, as I’ve been saying all along, if you want to win by fighting battles, nothing is ever stopping you from doing that. You are free to choose how much you engage with the diplomatic system. If the way you using it is detrimental to your enjoyment of the game, you only have yourself to blame.

    Now, if you are playing a mixed multiplayer+AI game, how the AI behaves can matter. However, the arbitrary and opaque nature of which AI players accept alliances and which will not actually hurts the fairness of multiplayer, as has been previously discussed. It’d be much fairer to simply have an “AI accepts alliances” toggle in the game settings, and both players will then know whether it’s worthwhile to put resources into seeking alliances with the AI or not.

    • This reply was modified 4 years ago by  Draxynnic.


    Before I get started, I just want to clarify that using the term “unfun exploits” was not intended to imply anything about the presence or absence of exploits that are not unfun. That said, I would ask that if an “exploit” isn’t harming the multiplayer environment and enhances the overall experience rather than detracting from it, is it really an exploit, or is it an unplanned feature?

    EVERY imbalance has consequences for “competitive” play, because competitive play isn’t just human vs. human, without any AI player, competitive play is also any number of humans PLUS any number of AIs in a game. Which means, your main point is simply invalid. Imbalances and exploits are always a problem.
    So your post simply doesn’t stand.

    I disagree here.

    The ‘farming XP’ thing is actually something I consider to be a good example of something that didn’t matter until it did. Unless you were in one of the rare realtime multiplayer games which allowed manual battles against AI, it just wasn’t something you got the opportunity to do very often – until PBEM became a thing and split things around so that you played manual battles against the AI (in your turn, anyway) and autoresolved against other players, making XP farming practical in multiplayer games. At that point, and only at that point, it became a problem, rather than the devs being asked to nanny players who couldn’t help themselves.

    When it comes to AI alliances:

    First, I think this is the first time I’ve seen someone attempt to justify that as a multiplayer balance concern.

    Personally, I’d say that as soon as you introduce AI players into the game, it’s no longer truly competitive multiplayer, even if the players are going head-to-head. You’ve immediately introduced new factors into the gaming environment that make it less of a match between the skill of the human players, and makes it depend more on random factors – not exactly tournament conditions. Now, the multiplayer community may disagree on that, but if you’ve got AI players in a multiplayer game, I’d consider that a game that’s being played for fun, not to decide who’s best.

    Furthermore, if anything, the “fix” actually makes it more of a balance problem. In the circumstances where you can get an alliance just by buying off the AI, then at least both players can have more-or-less equal opportunities to spend resources to do so (potentially informed by the alignment of the AI player as to how successful they’re likely to be). The “fix”, however, includes arbitrarily designating, without any indication to the player short of fulfilling all the normal requirements and still failing, certain AI opponents as ones that will never accept an alliance, regardless of alignment or other conditions. If you’ve got two players who’ve both sunk resources into cozying up to an AI player, and one happens to be one that’s willing to ally and the other isn’t… then you’ve got one player who’s been put at a significant disadvantage because of the resources that they poured down the drain trying to get an alliance that was never going to happen. All because people couldn’t help themselves from buying their way to victory and then complained because they didn’t get the battles they wanted.

    On the topic of voluntary restrictions:

    I don’t think someone deciding to take voluntary restrictions for a change of pace is necessarily a sign of a failing of the AI (although it certainly does have restrictions, as shown by higher levels of the AI representing higher levels of cheating more than better skilled AI) as you claim. If someone normally plays against, say, Emperor, and they choose to impose restrictions upon themselves and compensate by playing on a lower setting, then what, pray tell, is wrong with that? It’s an opportunity to play a different game, try things they might not normally do, and possibly become a better player through developing a better familiarity with what units they don’t normally use are actually capable of. If they’re able to take those restrictions and still win against Emperor AI… then maybe they’re just that good? Aren’t many AIs in any strategy game that can reliably win against the best players.

    As for the example about city building distances…

    I don’t really see what point you’re trying to make there. Should players be handheld into not being able to place cities too close together? Part of the game is learning what works and what doesn’t… and part of any good strategy game is having situations where what you’d normally do is not necessarily what you want to do right now (this is, after all, what stops every game from simply following through the same steps as every other game). The AI has its restrictions because it’s not good at judging when to change its strategy and can easily disadvantage itself if not prevented, but a human is smart enough to know when the benefits of placing cities close together outweigh the costs.

    At the bottom line: You seem to be trying to argue that even against the AI, a player just isn’t playing properly unless they use every resource at their disposal to win.

    I say… well, HEIN is a resource at the player’s disposal to win. It’s not very satisfying, but I could win a game against 7 emperor AIs in less time than it takes to set up the map.

    If an exploit is only relevant in playing against the AI, and it hampers a player’s ability to enjoy the game, they can just choose not to use it. Just like they can choose not to use the cheats. If you need to exploits to compete against the AI at a particular setting, then just lower the setting until you don’t need them, and work your way back up.

    If your use of exploits is ruining your experience in single-player games, you only have yourself to blame. Same as if you use cheats.


    Sorry, but I think that’s complete nonsense. When you play a computer game against the AI (as opposed to against other humans), you still play to win, not to give the AI a “fair battle”. Otherwise you could just, for example, not build T3 and T4 voluntarily.

    See, I fundamentally disagree with this position.

    Ultimately, when playing against AI, you’re playing for the fun and challenge. Winning against a set challenge is fun, but the fun and the satisfaction of meeting the challenge is the intrinsic reward, not the win itself. AoW3 has a number of cheats intended for map testing that can make victory against any AI level trivial (or just HEIN your way straight to victory altogether), but is that fun? Of course not. I really don’t see refraining from exploiting the game as being any different to refraining from using cheats.

    Endlessly farming a particular unit for XP? I don’t see how that’s fun, so why do it? If you’re not having fun doing it, but you feel like you need to do it to win, then why not just turn the AI down a level and not do it? Bragging rights?

    Finding it too easy to just bribe the AI into alliance with tons of gold and winning the game that way? If that’s not giving you the game you want, show some self-control and choose to play the game the way you want by not doing that. Pick some fights instead so you do get the battles you want. Don’t pressure the devs into arbitrarily making it so that forming alliances with the AI in sandbox games is virtually impossible.

    You scoff at people increasing the challenge by limiting themselves to only using certain units. I say that if that’s what they find fun, more power to them! Playing against the AI allows players to choose their own level of challenge, both in the settings they put in place at the start of the map, and in the restrictions they choose to set upon themselves. Which can be as general in choosing not to make use of unfun exploits like spending outs farming a single unit for experience, or as specific as setting limits on what they can do. People who can’t help themselves but to use such exploits, and then complain to the devs until that exploit gets “fixed” despite the harm it does to the rest of the game, just end up hurting everybody else because they want the devs to exercise the self-control that they can’t exercise themselves.

    Now, if something is impacting competitive play, then it becomes a genuine problem that needs to be fixed. But if we’re just talking about playing against the AI, and it’s an exploit that you can choose not to, well, exploit…

    Then, you know, you can just choose not to use that exploit, and enjoy the additional challenge that comes from showing restraint.


    I don’t get what’s so hard about warp drive, replicators, holodecks or a Heisenberg compensator.

    Warp drive takes a LOT of energy to maintain the negative energy fields to maintain a warp bubble. Last I heard there was a theoretical configuration of the bubble (essentially almost forming a closed universe that is linked to the main universe through a wormhole, and then you only need to form a small bubble around the wormhole) that might actually take the energy requirement to somewhere below “all of the energy in the observable universe”. But it still takes a lot, and all these theories are still untested.

    Replicators are basically 3D printers – get one specialised enough, and you probably could get it to pour tea into the cup for you as well. Speaking of which, I hear we’re getting close to medical tricorders.

    Holodecks… haven’t heard much. The challenging part is probably making the holograms solid – I think I’ve seen work that can generate regular holograms that at least appear to be present in unoccupied space, though. Early days, though, and it might require very specific circumstances. I don’t recall the details.

    Teleporters are still at the “teleporting hydrogen atoms is challenging, let alone anything more complex” stage, last I heard. And there’s still the question of whether, should a teleporter actually exist, teleporting a human is actually transport, or killing them and creating a doppelganger at the other end.

    Plus it got super tiresome of players whining about abusing the AI in manual battles and needs to be “fixed” when they’re the ones that is exploiting the AI on purpose. I noticed that they won’t stop exploiting because they can’t help it but exploit. Honestly its silly that they spend hours in a single battle grinding out every last bit of experience points off a single goblin. I don’t have that kind of time to spare lol.


    Honestly, it annoys me when people keep going “I exploited the AI, you should fix this!” where the answer could simply be… don’t exploit the AI?

    For instance, that whole thing about people complaining about how easy it is to exploit the AI into forming an alliance, leading to it being made so that nowadays it’s all but impossible to form alliances with the AI in a randomly-generated map? I liked being able to roleplay my games a bit and choose who to ally with and who to wipe out, or to reach that point where I know I’ve won and be able to bully remaining opponents into allying with me rather than having to mop everything up. Nope, now I have to build up my forces, station them close to their cities (which the AI still doesn’t see coming) declare war, and alphastrike them so hard that they surrender after a turn of fighting instead. Seriously, if exploiting the AI makes it less fun, show some restraint and don’t exploit it. If you want your game to be won by battles rather than diplomacy, you always have the choice of just fighting your way through everything.

    in reply to: Shadow Realm – campaign #271764


    – campaign description: needs to put the 1st letter of Shadowborn, etc. in capital letters and I also feel it could be improved @Drax.

    Added to to-do list. Honestly, I haven’t looked too closely at the current filler yet.

    – scenario description: I find “Our objective is to seize the Shadowborn supply outpost at this location. If an active portal can be seized, it will be an opportunity to strike against the Shadowborn forces controlling the Shadow Gate.” a bit underwhelming and unclear. @Drax: could you please find something more sexy and that gives a better understanding of what is at stake? It should let us understand who we are, for who we fight, and what is the context.

    Also added to to-do list – like I said, I’ve been focusing elsewhere up to now.

    – scenario text: shouldn’t we add a capital letter to race name? So “Draconian” and not “draconian”?

    Had to look around to see which convention Triumph uses for race names. Looks like they are capitalised, so I’ll make the appropriate capitalisations.

    On p.3, need to remove the text in brackets in “However, I will not be acting alone. Esnodil the Vile, a former Dark Elf who has retained the name he (? – I remember assuming ‘she’ before and being corrected)” and correct “he” to “she” for Esnodil.

    Yeah, that’s a note that apparently got missed. Fixed in draft document.

    – 2nd dialogue with Esnodil: “you focus on establishing yourself and getting ready to attack the Shadowborn.” ==> I’d had a “should” before “focus”.

    It made sense in the voice I was imagining it in. That’s hard to convey in text, though, so it probably is better having the ‘should’ in there.

    – 3rd dialogue about the Golem: why talk about the forest to the east if the Golem spawns outside the forest? I’d remove that mention or move the Golem to the forest. Also it would be good if the Golem was actually damaged, so either he starts with 1 HP, or he has a property “Damaged” that prevents him from attacking and can be removed with “Emergency Repair”. I would advice on both: starts at 1 HP AND has “Damaged” (so the Damaged property needs to be modded in).

    The idea I had was that it was abandoned in the forest (because it would be too obvious out in the open) and that Esnodil’s agents had carted it to Grevara. I’d imagined that it was broken down with something that was relatively easy to fix by someone who knows what they’re doing – we could make it require more deliberate action on the part of the player, or just add dialogue to reflect this.

    – Colm 1st dialogue: missing a capital letter for “Dreadnought”

    Fixed in document.

    – it felt a little weird that my character (Grevara) talked instead of me to take the 2 Dwarven outposts

    Hrrrmn. I think I know what you’re referring to – probably easiest to just remove the Grevara marker from the button.

    – maybe add a dialogue with Esnodil when the player enters the Blighted area to say it was the corrupted zone she was talking about, and to be careful and give some intel on the enemy? For instance it would be good to tell about the Archon Dwelling and say it’s a strategic location which controls a Heart of the Blight and would make our work much easier to stay in this corrupted area, but that it’s heavily guarded and the Obelisk of Undeath there is extremely dangerous.

    Hrrrmn. It’s probably reasonable to justify that the presence of the dwelling is known, since it’s probably been there for a while. We can add something to that effect. 🙂

    – turn 4, out of nowhere, Mestar declares war on me, without any dialogue. Might be worth adding a dialogue when you meet him and/or start at war.

    Refineus has some draft dialogue down. I might tweak it a bit, though.

    – might also be good to add a small dialogue with Colm or Esnodil when reaching the access to UG? For instance Esnodil saying Sundren is on her way, and will meet you when you reach the Gate? Or Colm dubious you can survive UG?

    Hrrrmn. We should already have some dialogue firing on reaching the underground – we can add a bit more.

    in reply to: Shadow Realm – campaign #271651


    I’d meant to address the dialogue considerations today, but circumstances got in the way of that, and I won’t be able to get back to it until Monday.

    In the meantime, though, one thing I will say is that the scenario description currently on the map and the campaign description are both currently placeholders – they’re both on the ‘to do’ list, but aren’t things I considered to be high priority for mapmaking and testing purposes.

    in reply to: Shadow Realm – campaign #271107


    One possibility we could take with the dragon quest is to put a dragon lair somewhere in what is currently featureless mountains that becomes a vassal on completing the quest – leaving it up to the player to decide whether to fully acquire and develop the lair, or leave it as a vassal to receive the occasional wyvern tribute. This could mean that it has a greater effect in the later stages of the map, but the player has to sink resources into it to get adult dragons.

    in reply to: Shadow Realm – campaign #270961


    Had a thought, while writing dialogue for archons in the second scenario:

    What would people think about the possibility of having a campaign-only archon hero?

    We could probably make such a character fairly simply using a human theocrat as the basis, and then add on abilities that would be overpowered on a human hero – such as innate Shadow Walking, Spirit Protection, possibly a couple of points of Spirit damage, and Dedicated to Good.

    Alternatively, we could go the ‘almost an Archon’ route and bring in Paxanaria, who is (technically) still human, but had a pretty strong set of innate abilities in the Shadow Magic campaign.


    • This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by  Draxynnic.
    in reply to: Discussion of possible DLC shenanigans after release #270690


    Imo it’s very important to distinguish the type of DLC a game may offer.

    For instance, a DLC in the veins of “Eternal lords” is content. It has to be coded, playtested, translated.
    A DLC in the veins of “Random weapon skin” is, imho, no content. It does not have to be coded or playtested. it has to be created, but, the creators most often than not are NOT the people who’d code content. They are artist and/or somethimes not even heavily affiliated with the developer, e.g. interns or contracted artwork.

    And whilst I understand how people can get pretty emotional and petty about cosmetic DLCs they should realize that artists rarely work in the same timeframe as coders.

    As an anecdotal observation…

    It’s probably also worthwhile to avoid having content mixed in with cosmetic DLCs.

    Now, there’s a bit of a double-standard here. Content DLCs and expansions are generally expected to have additional graphical resources bundled in with them. However, it can put a bad taste in the customer’s mouth if it’s clear that the majority of what justifies the price is cosmetic, but there’s some gameplay addition thrown in such that if you want the ‘complete’ gameplay, you need to buy the cosmetics even if you don’t care about them.

    This was, in fact, one of my contributing factors to deciding to abandon D&D 4E – namely, when WOTC started incorporating attack cards into miniature packs. Which then meant that, even if you had all the books, you would not have a complete set of the rules unless you also bought all of the relevant miniature packs as well, regardless of whether or not you actually wanted the miniatures (which was what the price tag was based off). Now, this was far from being my only consideration – I wouldn’t even consider it the primary one – but it was something I considered to be a bit fo a dodgy practice that left a bad enough taste in my mouth that it contributed to the load of straw the proverbial camel was carrying.

    Now, software isn’t really comparable, since that example involved actual, physical objects. But let’s imagine that, for the sake of illustration, Triumph were to put out an absolutely awesome graphics update for AoW3 that the customer base broadly agreed was worth the $5 asking price if you were interested in the improved graphics. As long as copies of the game with the update are compatible with copies without, so far so good – people who don’t care about cosmetics (or don’t care enough to pay $5) can still enjoy the full gameplay without it.

    Now, let’s imagine that this update was bundled in with a single new specialisation. A single new specialisation is probably not something that would be worth $5 on its own, and a player would probably be justified in being upset about having to choose between spending $5 on graphical updates they don’t care about, or on missing out on a single gameplay element which, on its own, is not worth the asking price. That’s something I can see people being annoyed about.

    (Incidentally, Thariorn, I have a feeling that TotalBiscuit presented much the same argument in one of his videos, defending day 1 cosmetic DLC. I’d have to admit I’m not 100% convinced that the results should be DLC as opposed to being rolled in as an added bonus, but I’m not opposed enough to particularly care about it either.)

    in reply to: Shadow Realm – campaign #270550


    Tireless might be too strong for a Rogue. Tireless + Total Awareness (Rogue ultimate ability) + Life Drain (forged item) = very very strong hero.

    This is a valid point. Tireless + Total Awareness is a very strong combination. Gets even stronger with First Strike – which Rogues can get at level 3.

    in reply to: Discussion of possible DLC shenanigans after release #270225


    One thing that SikBok mentioned in the… erm… announcement of the announcement of the new game, is that the DLC question is one that tends not to be discussed with a suitable degree of nuance.

    DLC is, I think, on the whole, a good thing. In the current days of digital distribution, most things are going to be downloaded anyway, and DLC offers a means of providing expansions and mini-expansions without the developer having to go to the expense of physical distribution for content that might not otherwise be worthwhile. On the other hand, we have certainly seen examples of DLC practices that have gone to the point of being exploitative.

    What seems to be a reasonable ‘moderate’ stance is for content to be priced somewhere around the $10-$20 mark, as long as it’s chunky enough to be considered at least a mini-expansion. Small DLCs are acceptable, but should be cheap and used sparingly.

    I think it’s telling, and indicative of what works going into the future, that some of the more popular recent offerings in this genre have followed (or, possibly, you could say, set) these guidelines:

    AoW3, for instance, has, essentially, two mini-expansions: Golden Realms and Eternal Lords. Golden Realms has a new race, a new dwelling, and a mini-expansions worth of new features at the lower end of the mini-expansion scale. Eternal Lords is on the upper end of the scale, but is considerably meatier. The Deluxe Edition DLC is arguably a bit pricey for a bonus scenario and a soundtrack, but that’s more about the prestige.

    Endless Legend has four mini-expansions, all priced relatively low in the mini-expansion price range, and offering new mechanics and most of them offering a new major faction as well. There are a couple of small updates, but they’re priced accordingly and there’s only a two of them.

    Neither have day 1 DLC that isn’t of the “upgrade to the deluxe edition” kind.

    Total War Warhammer is possibly getting towards the expensive end, to an extent that they might not have gotten away with it so well if it wasn’t a melding of two large franchises, but is still, I think, reasonable for what you get (if on the high end therof). They were lambasted for Chaos Warriors being, effectively, day 1 DLC, although they were offered as a preorder and, after some controversy was raised about preorder culture, early adopter bonus. Expansions in the range of $10-20 have introduced new races, which is probably reasonable given that a new race in TWW is probably more work than a new race in AoW3 or EL, although the more expensive ones might be at the upper limit of what is reasonable. The Lord packs are probably also skirting the edge of being reasonable, but do add significant enhancements to the races in question. There is a cosmetic upgrade DLC, the ‘blood and gore’ pack, but that seems to be intended as a means of keeping the rating of the core game down.

    On the whole, I’d probably say that for a strategy game, if the DLC policy is at least as reasonable as that of TWW, it’s probably appropriate. I don’t believe any of the games above have been considered to be failures financially-speaking, and the first two have, to my knowledge, avoided significant grumbling on the DLC question – TWW has had some, but CA’s DLC policy there has been mostly accepted, and despite a few missteps CA has been fairly responsive in identifying what people are unhappy with and doing better next time. So I think it’s fair to say that the TWW DLC policy is somewhere close to the border of what the market in the genre accepts.


    Thanks for your reply, Sikbok.

    Reason I asked is that it seemed you avoided the subject, as Shakey posted a post in this very thread and you didn’t respond to him, yet you did on posts after his, which would have meant you did read his/hers post.

    So I started a new thread on the subject as I think there is room for discussion as many worry about this whole Paradoxian thing. It is not that I want to bash you guys, I just want my favourite franchise to prosper.

    Kind regards,


    Shakey wasn’t really as direct on the topic – his post was more along the lines of general distrust of Paradox with DLC mentioned in passing, but the main criticism seemed to be that the base game wasn’t functioning and they were adding piles of DLC without fixing the core problems. You were more direct in regarding excessive DLC as the problem in and of itself, compared to Shakey’s post which seemed more along the lines of “please put more effort into fixing the game than milking DLC!”

    On the topic of DLCs themselves… I might switch to the thread you’re making on the topic.

    in reply to: Triumph’s New Game to be announced May 18th @ PDXCon! #269850


    It just irritates me that there is infinity of possible fantasy world yet in almost every fantasy game we see the good old elves and orcs. I know it is the safest route but really couldn’t games creators use their imagination more sometimes?
    If it is AoW4 I really hope that Shadow Realm will add lots of things that we hadn’t saw already a thousand times.

    Yeah, I get where you’re coming from. However, I think the AoW-verse works so well because it is the same elves, orcs, dwarfs and so on – it makes the subversion more poignant.

    There’s also a tendency, in settings that have “unique” races, to have races that are essentially filling the same roles anyway. (See the Five Races trope, if you don’t mind risking the timesink that site can be.)

    But yeah, the Shadow Realm opens up a lot of weirdness potential. Shadow Demons and syrons are both unique to the setting.

    in reply to: Shadow Realm – campaign #269849


    You are the one with lore-knowledge, best writing-skills and best creativity/ideas for that IMO.
    The confusion around Bormac came from the fact you were too nice trying to concile everyone. You said in the same post “I wouldn’t be inclined to put Bormac on-map” and “Put Bormac where Colm is now”, both expressing your own opinion and trying to concile things with what others expressed before. You can propose your story and I’m sure it will be broadly accepted. The sooner you propose it, the easier Refineus can use it to build the map.

    Oh, I’m aware I’ve been as guilty of it as anyone. *’.’*

    But it is getting to a point where it’s been quite a while and the first mission still feels like it’s in committee. We really need to get mission 1 nailed down, and ideally mission 2, ASAP.

    Anyway, I think I’ve got enough to get the starting text down.

    Colm could have the option to be bought for some gold and could decide to “bail” when he realized the shadow gate needs to be entered. Just a thought

    I like it!

    Could have a subquest in there where Colm is insistent that the garrison force under his command remain where it is, but where buying him off (or doing him some favour) can persuade him to unite his forces with the player’s (giving the player Colm as a hero and control over Colm’s forces). However, if the player tries to send him into the Shadow Realm, he bolts.

    I updated the first mission draft text for a couple of new additions. Added ten new dialogue ideas for the involvement of our heroes, how the story can progress within the map which we can work from. It’s a start, and it will give a slight idea how map will be in the end.

    They all relate to quests, story, progress and win/defeat condition for the first mission.

    Sounds good – I’ll have a look over it tomorrow.

    Incidentally, on the proposal for a quest to take out a Horned God on a dragon’s behalf: How about trading out the Horned God for a couple of stone giants accompanied by a couple of ogre units? That way, I can spin a sob story about how the poor dragon’s babies keep getting knocked out of the sky by rocks and then pummeled by the degenerate children. *evil grin*

    Regardless, of maps in total and previous discussions. The more story logic I have on my work table, the better I can define maps in general. This also applies on world maps we use in mission presentations.

    Noted. I’ll put some thought into it, have a look at what you’ve already got, and see what I can come up with.

    Incidentally, would it be worth getting into contact on Steam? I’m not always on, but it could provide a more convenient means of discussing finer details.

    in reply to: Triumph’s New Game to be announced May 18th @ PDXCon! #269831


    I would be excited if it’s AoW 4 but I would also be excited if this is a completely new game. Honestly I would love to see AoW-style game with less generic fantasy world.

    At first glance, the AoW world does seem fairly generic, but when you get deeper into the lore, the entire setting is a subversion of what is usually a core trope in generic fantasy worlds – namely, the decline of the elder races to be eclipsed by the rising star of humanity. (The broad overview of the AoW story can be summarised as “that’s what was supposed to happen, but the old races refuse to go quietly.”)

    That said, if the new game is AoW4, the distinguishing factor is that the Shadow Gate is open. That allows for a lot of weirdness potential.

    in reply to: Shadow Realm – campaign #269830


    Mostly, Colm’s purpose is to show that the scenario involves a mix of Torchbearer forces and local Commonwealth forces. Colm is there as the general in charge of the Commonwealth garrison that was already there when Esnodil and Grevara arrive.

    HousePet’s third point is a valid one. We can defer Bormac – and other major characters – from appearing until the third scenario, where having them appear above level 1 becomes more of a matter of “this hero is now roughly on par with those the player has brought with them”.

    Either way, at this point, to be honest, I’m getting a little antsy to just get the characters involved in the first scenario finalised so I can get on with the writing. There’s only so much I can write up when we’re still undecided on which characters will be present, particularly which characters are present to begin with.

    in reply to: Shadow Realm – campaign #269811


    So the player is Elven Court, Colm is Commonwealth, and there is another Elven Court Leader, Esnodil the Vile?

    Grevara’s background essentially makes her a Torchbearer of Commonwealth origin. She believes in the Commonwealth’s stated ideals, but unlike Edward at the start of the original AoW3 campaign, she has first-hand experience that the Commonwealth hasn’t always genuinely held to those ideals, making her a bit cynical of the Commonwealth as it is. As a result, her first loyalty is to the Torchbearers.

    Colm is Commonwealth.

    Esnodil is likely to be a Torchbearer of Elven Court origins. With a name like that, she was probably a Dark Elf before the Mending.

    I think that will be hard to balance and make the scenario too easy. It’s probably better to either a/ make Bormac appears at the Shadow Gate, discuss with Grevara, gives her 1 Machine (Cannon?) to reinforce her and explain her the advantages of machines in the SR, then excuse himself that he cannot join her because of the Shadow Sickness + it’s a scouting mission, not a full-strength expedition, or b/ make Bormac joins Colm as a hero (and do the same dialogue).
    In both cases, Bormac can reappear later on to discuss with Meandor when Grava reports back and asks for reinforcements.

    If we want Bormac to be under AI control, I’d probably put him with Esnodil (a Torchbearer representative) than Colm. I don’t think Bormac would be seen dead working under Colm, honestly.

    I don’t think providing a 10th-level hero who’s subject to Shadow Sickness is going to be a big issue, particularly since for now at least we don’t have many heroes for the player to use. The stack we have him arrive with is something we can balance – it might be as small as a pair of golems or something.

    It’s probably worth considering just how many heroes we want the player to have through the course of the story. For the second scenario, we should have Grevara acting as a hero for the Shadow Elf leader, but if we want more than that, Bormac might be a good option, grumbling about the Shadow Realm all the way.

    in reply to: Shadow Realm – alpha tests #269792


    Just added the updated TAF files, and the launcher crashed. Worked on the second try, however.

    If they’ll be useful, I’ve put the relevant logs in a /Logs/Draxynnic folder in the Dropbox.

    in reply to: Shadow Realm – campaign #269791


    Can we have Bisancon (native place of the hero) and Rockholme (the Dreadnought academy where the hero was trained) on the map?

    Bisancon and Rockholme are both locations that are present in the original campaign. Bisancon (note that the c is actually one of the French soft c’s with the hanging squiggle – we should make sure to put that in when we get to the final draft) is the location of the 5th scenario of the Commonwealth campaign, if you take the “champion” (non-Torchbearer – Edward rebels against Leonus whichever choices you make) route, and is labelled on the overview map. It’s actually not that far from Sunbirth Citadel, but from a technical standpoint, I don’t think it’s worth trying to copy part of that scenario to work in here.

    Rockholme (the name of which I’m working of memory, so I’ll double-check before finalising) is the location of the 5th Elven Court scenario on the Torchbearer route. It’s the splash of yellow on the north coast, between the Elven Court and the Commonwealth.

    – one starting ally representing the commander of the local (probably Commonwealth) forces in the vicinity: who? You talked about Bormac but Drax said he would prefer not to have him in game but in the same post talked about having him in game.

    I’m thinking Colm the Lucky. He appears in the Bisancon scenario in the original campaign as a potential turncoat (the player can get him to abandon Leonus in favour of siding with Edward’s faction instead). I think there’s potential to set up a bit of a double-bluff there: put in story elements that make the player wary of him turning to the Shadowborn, but in this timeline he remains loyal.

    Thinking on it, though, I think there’ll be missed opportunities if Bormac doesn’t show up at all. Bormac is a character which goes back to the original AoW, and his response to Meandor (and the Shadow Elves) could be an interesting one, and it allows for interaction between Grevara and her mentor. I wouldn’t be inclined to make him an allied leader, at least not on the original map, but we could have him join the player as a hero partway through. Possibly when the player reaches the Shadow Gate, with a stack of machines and advice about how machines aren’t affected by Shadow Sickness. I’d probably make him around 10th-15th level.

    What about Weralc himself?

    Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Scenario. He’ll come later – at this point, he’s escaped into the Shadow Realm.

    EDIT: On the 2nd and 3rd mission, I think Drax needs to clarify the plans. For me the ritual to bring back the Wizard Kings is the end of the campaign so is mission #3. It looks like you’re doing that as soon as mission #2 Refineus.

    That was my original outline, but I’m flexible when it comes to the person who’s actually designing the maps adjusting the outline.

    EDIT2: I launched a poll about the campaign to know what players want: https://www.the-battlefield.com/aow3/index.php?page=bf_poll&pollnumber=30 Please let me know if you have comments, if it’s good for you, I’ll post it soon. Got 100+ votes for the “Hopes for the new Triumph game” so we could get many answers.

    From the votes so far, it looks like the preference is a mix of old and new characters, leaning towards more old characters. I think we can work with that. }:>

    in reply to: Shadow Realm – campaign #269700


    Grevara has a backstory now!

    I’ve left the old drafts up for reference, and barring any further unexpected circumstances, I should be able to complete the journal for the first scenario and possibly some dialogue for the proposed sidequests by the end of the week.

    (Sorry for the delay – have some personal stuff that’s coming to a head, and it took a while to get back into a good state of mind for writing. Still not sure I’m entirely there, but probably at a point where I need to dive back in to get there properly.)


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    in reply to: Shadow Realm – campaign #264583


    Gotta admit, I’m not sure Meandor CAN have children any more. It’s not exactly clear if he’s technically alive in AoW2 or if he’s an antiheroic lich.

    Might be worth refreshing my memory on what’s actually said in his Shadow Magic campaign, but it is part of his background that he did die and come back.

    I have not named her yet the female Draconian dreadnought in the first mission. Only a placeholder name “Draconia”. I was thinking to name her something on “G” like “Grevaria”, “Grendia”, “Gvend” or “Gyvenian”

    I like the general sound of “Grevaria”, except that ending with ‘ia’ feels a little off – makes it seem a bit closer to an elven or human name. Looking at the existing draconian leaders, though, there does seem to be a trend towards male names ending with a consonant (Carishar, Firak, Rautar, Reskar, Rish) and female names ending with a vowel (Fai, Malzua, Zerti). Possibly we could go with “Grevara”?

    If you make changes just alter the change note with an update. I can make changes pretty quickly, that is also. Another thing I was thinking is to add someone from the hero library. Like: Esnodil the Vile, Rogue high elf. The other rogue hero in the high elf rooster is with Werlac.

    Also, I updated the “draft folder” with documents a little and added picture of map also.

    Noted. I’ve had something come up at the last minute (again, ugh) that will probably limit how much I can get done at least for a few days. Should be able to at least get some writing done, though.

    in reply to: Shadow Realm – campaign #264501


    I’ll do my best! It’s part of the reason I wanted to make sure the basic decisions on characters are made – I don’t want to spend a lot of time fleshing out a character that we don’t end up using.

    Sorry that the Great Firewall is causing problems. Good luck with breaching it!

    From my understanding of what Refineus is saying, he’s not planning on leaving out minor quests entirely, just doing them last. This is actually fairly common procedure: start out by building something that works, even if it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles you’d like in the end (the so-called “minimum viable product”) and building from there. This has a couple of advantages: first, it makes testing possible earlier than it might otherwise be (speaking of, I’ll probably need to refamiliarise myself with the cheats once we start testing the campaigns in earnest), and second, it means that if for whatever reason the project needs to come to a close before it’s fully complete, there’s a good chance you can at least put out something.

    That said, triggering dialogue events between the characters when certain things happen shouldn’t be too difficult (although I’ll let Refineus weigh in on that, I can probably write just about as much dialogue as needed). Branching dialogue trees, particularly having such with consequences, might be more complicated – again, unless I seriously up my game on the map editing and scripting side, that’ll probably be up to Refineus to put together.

    in reply to: Shadow Realm – campaign #264482


    Okay, so I should start having time again, so on that basis: Shall I proceed on the basis of draconian dreadnought starting character? I’ve got a few ideas of how to write that “voice”, but if there are any objections I’d like to hear them before I start (re-)writing. 😮

    The game does not run maps directly from the dropbox. Maps need to be run from your own user content folder. However, Age of wonder package manager, the level editor and such can be used freely without problems.

    Figured it was something like that. Should be able to move it to a more suitable folder easily enough, but I decided attempting the lazy way was worth a try.

    Adding Bormac to fulfill the taste for suppressing nature and underground combat. We can even go as far replacing both Edward and Sundren with Bormac. Without taking away Sundren and Edwards involvement.

    Another thing is changing Edwards location into someone else from the commonwealth like Colm the lucky. Sundren can be removed and replaced by someone else of a lesser general. (who I don’t know)


    I wouldn’t be inclined to put Bormac on-map. He’s one of the most senior Peacekeepers around beside Ham and Julia herself – possibly older than both, in fact. Story-wise, though, he can make for a good background character – an excuse to have the player start with a dwarf city or two (in order to limit draconian availability) and a potential off-screen mentor for the (starting) player character.

    Regarding Sundren, an elven rogue leader would probably make a suitable on-location lieutenant for Sundren. Alternatively,

    At this stage, my inclination is:

    * Put Bormac where Colm is now.

    * Change one or two of the starting draconian cities to dwarfs (optional, if we want to make the Shadow Realm more dangerous)

    * Put an High Elf rogue with Keeper of the Peace where Colm is now.

    I can probably make appropriate changes myself, if doing so won’t break anything.

    I will probably do other quests for the main storyline at a later point for the first mission. I will finish all the maps so we get an overview of the campaign.

    The importance of various steps how I work with the campaign will be in this order. So people understand how I’m working with the campaign. As said, earlier scripting and such are a learning process for me.

    Map including terrain, decoration, cities, leaders and enemy spawners etc -> Campaign script for map order -> Most needed scripts and quests to make the campaign run -> Adjusting keymap/story elements -> Story Quests -> Minor quest.

    The reason is that there are lots of backtracking in campaign making and it’s a lot easier to work with something that is 60% working rather than something working partly only. In these order, extra fluff quest is my least priority, as with triggers and such. It will take time, but things can be expected to be done.

    Looks like a suitable minimum-viable-product-esque approach to me!

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