Dev Journal: Exploring Wonders of the Third Age

Hi everyone, welcome to another development journal for Age of Wonders III! My name is Arnout Sas and this time I will tell you something about the wondrous structures that can be found in our game world.

In Age of Wonders III there are many mythical locations for your empire to explore and exploit! We’re not talking fabulous cities or the monster dwellings we showed before, but we will look at the more hidden and secret places; like the ruins of a Wizard’s Tower or the Sunken City of an ancient civilization. All of these offer great rewards. These locations have special combat maps associated with it, along with its unique sets of (usually) monstrous guards. High level locations are protected with enchantments posing extra challenge to your adventuring parties.

We have also added a lot of new sites and functionality, as well as keeping some classics.
Whether you find Treasure Sites, Visit Sites or Constructs, all are of great value; either offering rewards, permanent income or a onetime-boon. These exploration sites are best discovered in game, so we’ll only highlight a few.

WondersofTheWorld_Intro

The world map seen from the level editor, showing many different structures

The Treasure Sites that keep on giving

Treasure sites are generally ancient structures guarded by powerful beings. They can be raided for all sort of treasure such as magical items, units and spells for a reward.

What bothered us in the previous games is that treasure sites became useless once explored. So we created a new type of treasure site that, after giving you their initial exploration reward, keeps on giving steady income when they become part of your domain (unless occupied by enemies!). These per-turn bonuses range from basic gold, mana to production, although food, knowledge or happiness income is also possible.

This way treasure sites keep their value throughout the game. Just make sure that you don’t do the hard work of clearing a site and subsequently another player plunks down a fort or outpost right next to it before you do! This system is also applied to basic resource sites like gold mines and mana nodes. We experienced that this system rewards both brave exploration as well as the calculating domain expansion.

So what kind of specific treasure sites are there? There are many and here we’ll give you a sneak peek of some of them!

Examples of Treasure Sites:

AculpolisThe Sunken City
“After an act of unforgivable hubris, Aculpolis, the ancient capital of the Archons was swallowed by the waves, taking with it the treasure and knowledge of an entire civilization.”
Amitil the Elder, Histories of the Archons

Visit this water structure for ancient magical items and other riches. If you manage to get hold of it, you’ll receive 10 Gold and Knowledge per turn.

DungeonDungeon
This remote prison holds prisoners you can set free and who will join you. Of course you need to kill those hateful prison guards first. The dungeon offers 10 Production so it seems the slave labor doesn’t end when the dungeon is freed!

ForbiddenSanctumForbidden Sanctum
Explore this magical site for treasure. All manners of evil cults make this their home and nefarious, forbidden rituals take place here.
Located within your domain, it also provides Knowledge income.

WizardTowerWizard Tower Ruins
The Ruined Wizard Tower has a permanent version of the Sorcerer’s Static Electricity spell active; the defenders are protected by Static Shield and attackers suffer 40% Shock weakness. So any explorer must pack some serious punch to conquer one the most challenging treasure sites out there. It’s definitely worth it though as the rewards are great!

Monster Spawning Camps

These secluded sites spawn roaming monsters that threaten the area around their hide-out. Upon killing the baddies, and getting your reward, camps are destroyed. The biggest reward is getting a safe area for your empire to expand to.

CampsiteThe Brigand Hideout
This is a low-level camp, spawning thugs. It needs to be wiped clean as soon as possible, before building up a threat. Over time raiders spawn from the Hideout and rampage across the land, performing opportunistic attacks on ill defended settlements and resource sites. Successfully conquering the Hideout will result in some nice treasure (especially gold).

Brigand Hideout in game

Brigand Hideout in game

Visit Sites

Visit Sites is a wide category of structures that can be visited more than once and give you a boon like a blessing or new options like teleportation or instant unit recruitment when you visit them with your armies or heroes.

Visit Site Examples:

Haste berryHaste Berries
Eating the berries restores all move points. Located within your domain, it also provides production.
On each visit the berries are depleted and players have to wait a few turns for them to grow back.

ShipyardMaster Shipyard
Here you can buy naval units outside of cities. Located within your domain, it provides a Production and gold income bonus.

Hearts

Hearts are a new type of structure found in Age of Wonders III. Usually found at the center of specific climes there is the heart of that clime. Blighted Lands, Temperate lands, Tropical Lands, Arctic lands, all have a corresponding heart. Hearts are powerful structures and owning them gives you a considerable advantage.

Heart of the Blight

First of all, each heart provides a happiness bonus to the owning player and negates any negative terrain penalties normally associated with that terrain. For example HighElves dislike Blighted terrain and suffer city penalties when settling these lands. When owning the Heart of the Blight, High Elves are actually happy to be there!

Hearts and their surrounding area cannot be permanently changed by terrain changing spells or abilities– at least not for long as the land reverts back to its original clime quickly.

A High Elf Town on the intersection between two hearts, each spreading their domain.

A High Elf Town on the intersection between two hearts, each spreading their domain.

We still have many surprises up our sleeve, but you’ll have to wait until the game comes out! However in the upcoming dev journals we’ll look closer at cities and domains!

Thank you for reading!

The following two tabs change content below.
Designer at Triumph Studios

Home Forums Dev Journal: Exploring the Wonders of the Third Age

This topic contains 77 replies, has 36 voices, and was last updated by  Cosmicwitch 5 months ago.

Viewing 30 posts - 1 through 30 (of 78 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #11524

    Arnout
    Keymaster

    Hi everyone, welcome to another development journal for Age of Wonders III! My name is Arnout Sas and this time I will tell you something about the wo
    [See the full post at: Dev Journal: Exploring the Wonders of the Third Age ]

    #11527

    I hate constantly resorting to tired old epithets of praise but this is just plain awesome.

    #11528

    TheSpeaker
    Member

    I hate constantly resorting to tired old epithets of praise but this is just plain awesome.

    Totally agree.

    I also like that most sites are now usable instead of just being abandoned. Any self-respecting empire would use and abuse all resources it could, whether it’s throwing slaves in dungeons or researching ancient civilisations.

    #11529

    Tomipapa
    Member

    Thanks Arnout, awesome journal!

    “So we created a new type of treasure site that, after giving you their initial exploration reward, keeps on giving steady income when they become part of your domain (unless occupied by enemies!).”

    This idea is a really good one, i love it! It will bring more depth to the game

    About the Hearts:

    -Are these hearts guarded? Imo it should be guarded by some creatures otherwise, the player with the fastest unit gets them.
    - 1 heart/terrain type for the whole map, or if there is 3 separate blight territory on the map then the number of blight hearts will be 3?

    #11530

    Ice Age
    Member

    Nice one! was defenatly worth the 2 week wait! :)

    A few questions…
    1. Is there diffrent types of the same structure? for example is there a ruined wizard tower that has a permanent flame spell instead of permanent electiricity?
    2. Do monster spawning camps can appear randomly on the map? (like the barbarian camps in civ 5) If they dont i think they should…
    3. Can a treasure site be explored by more then one player? So for example can i explore a treasure site that was allready explored by another player and in enemy domain? Or i will get “this site is empty” message?

    Another thing…
    The shipyard building implies that there are dedicaited naval combat units, since it was confirmed that there aren’t dedicated transport ships. So im just wondering about naval combat ship types and naval combat mechanics (for example can they participate in land combat if it adjasent to the sea?) there wasn’t much info published about naval combat so far…

    #11531

    The best part of reusable treasure sites is that adventuring needs to be coupled with expansion plans. Makes the strategic game a bit richer.

    #11535

    I’d just like to say this is a great decision all around. I especially like the sunken city and the “hearts”. I expect to find Cthulhu esque monsters that need to be dragon/kraken/ dedicated ship shot and powerful elementals respectively.

    Long term exploitation of ruins is a very “early medieval” stylistic move; spoliation lasted for centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire. It really adds to the “wizards are gone/fallen world” aspect, with the ruined wizard’s tower being especially poignant. I wonder what the benefits are.

    As for the shipyard, can you only create ships of your class, or are there “generic” ships as well?

    #11538

    CEZ
    Member

    I’m not sure I like the sound of these ‘hearts’.
    One of the best aspects of AOW2 was the unrestricted manipulation of the land.

    More than that though, it just seems plain wrong for elves to like blight just because they own the very source of it? :/

    Just an honest impression. Everything else looks cracking! :)

    #11541

    NEHZ
    Member

    I’m not sure I like the sound of these ‘hearts’.
    One of the best aspects of AOW2 was the unrestricted manipulation of the land.

    What if you can destroy the hearts?

    -Are these hearts guarded? Imo it should be guarded by some creatures otherwise, the player with the fastest unit gets them.

    You mean the player that first places a city or fort next to it. Owning structures requires domain.

    My question: will you lose the positive effects of a heart in your domain if it’s occupied by enemy forces, like you do with mines?

    #11542

    Red Key
    Member

    What will they think of next? I mean this in a good way. The devs are doing an awesome job coming up with new stuff that fits into the game and sounds really fun. I want to know the answers to Tomipapa’s questions and this: Can I create small sections of some land type without including a heart of that type on the map?

    #11543

    Nice variety of structures. Really make me want to explore these wonders!
    And these are only ‘Examples’, so it means there is more….

    Haste Berries: nothing beats a strategically placed Haste Berries in your kingdom :) – but do you also get haste with it?

    #11544

    RedDino
    Member

    OOOUUUU! Looks and sounds great. The idea of treasure-sites beeing valuable after plundering is great! Doesn´t make waiting for release easier….

    #11547

    More than that though, it just seems plain wrong for elves to like blight just because they own the very source of it? :/
    class=”wp-smiley”>

    I guess it would make sense for different races to convert the heart to their desired element. Maybe via a spell like with nodes in AoWII/SM?

    I think the hearts are supposed to be an alternative way to counter terraforming spells and abilities. Let’s say some necromancer is turning everything to blight and ruining your crops but you’re playing a warlord or rogue with little magical ability, the heart would enable you to counter the necromancer provided you can both capture and hold the heart.

    It’s also probably safe to assume that not every map would have a heart (or more).

    #11548

    sindustry
    Member

    Everything seems fine to me,except hearts.
    Btw there are so many new features for the third game,i feel like game is losing its edge.

    #11549

    Qasar
    Member

    EXCELLENT!

    #11550

    Brother JO
    Member

    I really like this new explorable site system and how you can turn them into income places, but I just didn’t buy the hearts system. I like how hearts can prevent terraforming in some parts of map, but I just didn’t like it’s prevention of race disadvantages.

    I mean if you’re high elf and don’t like blight, why should you like blight just because you captured heart of blight and control it?

    I also noticed several things that you guys might have missed:

    These per-turn bonuses range from basic gold, mana to production, although food, knowledge or happiness income is also possible.

    I notice that there is knowledge as a new(ish) resource type and there is food as a resource(or food reward is just full heal for fighting troops?).

    “After an act of unforgivable hubris, Aculpolis, the ancient capital of the Archons was swallowed by the waves

    There is also hint for archon’s destruction, it seems they’re just destroyed like Dragonlance Series’ Istar(except the part gods blasted a mountain on top of the empire), I actually start to think archons had a lot of similarity with Istar from DL series.

    The dungeon offers 10 Production so it seems the slave labor doesn’t end when the dungeon is freed!

    Also dungeon says it gives 10 production bonus. But does it give 10 production to nearest city or is there some sort of global production which is determined by arithmetic overall production of all cities you control? Same question for happiness that come from some ruins and hearts

    #11551

    “Master Shipyard
    Here you can buy naval units outside of cities. Located within your domain, it provides a Production and gold income bonus.”

    This really got my attention. I wonder what naval units will be available in cities? Will troop embarking still not need any ships, like what we have been led to believe? If so, will it be like the Rome2 system, whereby dedicated naval units are massively superior, but costly.

    Isthe sunken city only Archons? I would LOVE to come across an old Azrac town. So, will there be a non ‘sunken’ version of this?

    I have to say, my doubts are being replaced by massive curiosity, thumbs up Triumph!

    #11552

    Ice Age
    Member

    I notice that there is knowledge as a new(ish) resource type and there is food as a resource(or food reward is just full heal for fighting troops?).

    Knowledge was there from the start, you can see as far as in the theocrat video, its the candle thingy it determines your skill research rate. Food is a city resource same as production, and while production determines the building rate in your city, food determines the growing rate of your city, You can see that in the dreadnought video in the granary part.

    #11555

    melkathi
    Member

    Hearts sound great for multi-race empires, where different races would prefer different terrain. With the heart, they all are happy with the terrain you have.

    #11559

    11balanced
    Member

    Great job (as always))! Regarding ‘hearts’: the concept is interesting but I dislike that strange feature of ‘making elves happy with blight’. I think it would be better if they could ‘migrate’ it to another terrain type (like a city could migrate to a different race) – of course it should have strong defenders, representing it somehow (like penguins and frost dragon for ‘heart’ of snow).

    #11562

    Draxynnic
    Member

    It is interesting to see some more hints as to what happened to the archons…

    On the Hearts and reducing morale penalties: It’s plausible that what’s happening there is that ownership of a heart means that you can influence terrain of that type in some manner so that it’s more hospitable to you. Maybe it’s outright changing the land in subtle ways (making it so that Blighted land, for instance, still grows mushrooms and other potables that your people can cultivate and eat, if they know what to look for) or maybe it’s just that ownership of the Heart gives you a greater understanding of the land that allows you to live better in it.

    #11568

    vfxrob
    Member

    Thus is all excellent, can we raze the heart!?!

    #11569

    Rhaeg
    Member

    Very cool stuff!

    As others have posted here though, I find the idea of ignoring a racial terrain penalty once you own the heart of that terrain type, a pretty bad one. From a lore/immersion/RP standpoint this makes no sense at all.

    After a long campaign through the blighted lands of the vile undead archons, the elven general did not believe the morale of his troops could get any lower. It had been many days since they’d seen any sign of a plant or tree that was not affected by the corruption. The hunters that were sent out to gather food returned empty handed every day: no beast, neither deer nor rabbit nor any other would live here.

    That day they reached the heart of this terrible blight and massive cheers went through the ranks of the elven host. The lands might be sick and corrupted, but at least they were their sick and corrupted lands now. Rejoice!

    I read in a previous dev blog that you had big discussions at Triumph about whether or not it was appropriate for female dwarves to have beards. I would hope/think that there are some of you there who think this thingy with the hearts is a little bit odd ;)

    I recognize that it might be interesting from a tactical point of view (hearts become a valuable landmark to fight over), but there are other ways to achieve the same result. For instance, if you own a heart of a certain terrain type, there could be an option to deactivate it (the elves send their priests or mages to turn the heart into a dormant state, or whatever). An inactive heart would no longer spread its terrain type. In the example of the screenshot in this blog with the elven town in between the two terrain hearts, the elves could choose to deactivate the blighty one, allowing the other (forest?) heart to push back the blighted lands from the west.

    This may be easier said than done implementation-wise, but IMO vastly preferable over what you have now!

    #11573

    Awesome dev journal! Thank you!

    As for hearts, I will chime in with what others are saying regarding morale. I really like the way morale works depending on terrain, and owning a heart should not change that, IMHO.

    Now, what I would like hearts to do is this:

    I recognize that it might be interesting from a tactical point of view (hearts become a valuable landmark to fight over), but there are other ways to achieve the same result. For instance, if you own a heart of a certain terrain type, there could be an option to deactivate it (the elves send their priests or mages to turn the heart into a dormant state, or whatever). An inactive heart would no longer spread its terrain type. In the example of the screenshot in this blog with the elven town in between the two terrain hearts, the elves could choose to deactivate the blighty one, allowing the other (forest?) heart to push back the blighted lands from the west.

    Pretty much, owning a heart, should give you command over it, making the terrain associated with it expand or shrink at will. But owning a heart should also have consequences all over the map, not just its dominion. So, if I own a heart and I deactivate it, the terrain linked with it should slowly disappear from the whole map.

    Edit: I figure that classes could have an extra influence on hearts, when controlled. Like, for instance, the druid could make the grass or forest (?) heart grow even faster and stuff like that.

    Edit 2: And what about having the hearts and its defenders, powerful structure and units as they are, be concealed within its terrain? So, to find it, you would have to determine its position or actively search for it.

    #11576

    Calmar
    Member

    The treasure sites look awesome! I love you guys! :D

    #11578

    Great job, devs!

    On hearts and morale: I may say I quite like that owning a heart makes a race happy where they would not be happy before, at least from a gameplay perspective.

    Lore-wise: setting as high elves are no longer just “good”, as their alignment can change, I think that it makes sense that their preferences in terms of landscape architecture can change as well! “Well yeah, we used to be all about butterflies and flowers, but we figured that it’s kinda silly for a badass warrior race to become all sad and emo just because we’re all living in an environmentally challenged area”-General Berethil of the High Elves”

    That being said, maybe it should be slightly preferential to live in the right kind of terrain than just having conquered a heart?

    #11579

    Brother JO
    Member

    Pretty much, owning a heart, should give you command over it, making the terrain associated with it expand or shrink at will. But owning a heart should also have consequences all over the map, not just its dominion. So, if I own a heart and I deactivate it, the terrain linked with it should slowly disappear from the whole map.

    I think every heart affects only ?x? terrain around it. So there can be several blight hearts with blight zones in a single map.

    I also agree with the idea de-activating the hearts when it suits the player.But I don’t think it should affect other zones.

    Edit 2: And what about having the hearts and its defenders, powerful structure and units as they are, be concealed within its terrain? So, to find it, you would have to determine its position or actively search for it.

    I agree that heart’s location should not be revealed. Players should search for it like they search for concaeled elven city in AoWSM. I think it will be better if they also cut enemy army’s vision when enemy army enters land with same type with heart controlled by player and heart should cast automatic “domain of darkness” around it.

    It’s a bit confusing so I’ll give an example: Let’s say I control heart of frost and I control plenty of snowlands in my control zone. If an enemy unit enters snowlands in my control zone it has half-vision like domain of darkness spell and when his army leave my lands, they will be unknown to the enemy after few turns like he never explored the area.

    BUT if he enters a grassland I control and if I don’t own heart of grass, then nothing happens.

    #11584

    Rhaeg
    Member

    Lore-wise: seeing as high elves are no longer just “good”, as their alignment can change, I think that it makes sense that their preferences in terms of landscape architecture can change as well! “Well yeah, we used to be all about butterflies and flowers, but we figured that it’s kinda silly for a badass warrior race to become all sad and emo just because we’re all living in an environmentally challenged area”-General Berethil of the High Elves

    I don’t think terrain morale ever had anything to do with alignment (good/evil) in the Age of Wonders universe, it has more to do with a race’s natural habitat. Frostlings enjoy the cold because it is where they are used to live. Orcs do not like the forest because it reminds them of enemies hidden in the trees who shoot arrows in their poor orc hides. Elves live in the forest and enjoy that, because of the fair weather, their foresty friends that live there, the wood they have learned to craft with etc. All of this regardless of being good or evil: elves were never all “good” in the previous games anyway (for instance, Serena in AOW2), but that never affected how they viewed certain terrain types and climates.

    #11585

    Well, I’m just saying that stuff like that can change as well: orcs may well dislike the forest because they fear whatever might hide among the foliage, but if the forest was their home (symbolized by them controlling the heart of the forest), they could and should enjoy life there. I like the thought of forest-orcs :-)

    But as I wrote above: I might be inclined toward a solution where elves would prosper the most in forests/grasslands, but where they would be more than okay with living in a desert or wherever as long as they controlled the heart of that terrain…

    #11586

    Callynn
    Member

    Very promising to keep the world more alive like this. Release date plx :>

Viewing 30 posts - 1 through 30 (of 78 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.