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Age of Wonders: Planetfall

Killer300

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Now that I've got a bit more experience with military systems around conquest, I've got to say that I really like the way it's handled. Cutting off sectors just generally works better than occupying resource nodes did, the timers are reasonable, and the one turn rebuild for turrets, wall style, is generally a lot of fun. Though given the number of ground units you'd think they'd still have walls in the future.

I'm also genuinely impressed by how different the factions are. The AoW III races racial units had a tendency to be a bit overly similar, with maybe a standout or two that were genuinely different. Here though? There's a broad role similarity and tech tree similarity (which isn't my favorite thing, but was expected) but there are genuinely major differences between the units and more reason to use them instead of going all in on faction units. Especially the workhorse infantry; there's huge differences there that are really well done.
Having recently played AOW III a lot(had it as a podcast game for awhile)...

I both agree and disagree with this. Now, I'm not going to get to play Planetfall for awhile, but I can already tell the difference between races is way higher than it was in AOW III. However, some things I'd note,

1. The Secret Techs, from what I can tell, are way, way less impactful than class choice was in AOW III. I think this makes sense, given that the DVAR and Syndicate are way more different from each other compared to say, Elves versus Humans, but its still a difference worth noting.

2. Race differences could actually get pretty extreme in some cases. Like, Goblins having awful normal infantry, but really excellent pike infantry, as an example. Now, how much that showed up in playthroughs... I don't know, given how often racial units would rapidly get traded out for class units, which speaks to the balance issues AOW III could have.

With all that said, yeah, Planetfall does do better at overt race difference, which is probably a better approach.

Well, that, and holy crap this game seems to have a way better strategic layer!

If anything they're further apart. AoW is way over on the squad tactics side of 4x games, with a very limited scope (a planet, yes, but the map's aren't actually planetary scale by any stretch of the imagination). Meanwhile Stellaris is stupid huge, all combat is spaceships, and it fundamentally focuses on massive scale politics.
This is what I actually really liked about AOW III, on replaying it. For all the issues the Age of Wonders series can have, and AOW III specifically, it's a series that I think has a really clear sense of focus.

I bring this up because there's a lot of 4X games that either are trying to slavishly recreate games like Masters of Orion 2, or, are trying to do way, way, way too many separate things at once. Age of Wonders, while clearly inspired by games like Masters of Magic, and later on, taking some inspiration from Civilization 5, I think has a clear identity it tries to accomplish. Which is namely a game with awesome tactical combat that is well supported by the strategic layer. It even manages to differ itself from Total War with its strategic layer having a little bit more depth, and the combat being more... approachable, for lack of a better word.

Granted, don't know how Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic was like in this regard, which I bring up specifically as that seems to be the best of the 2-D Age of Wonders games.
 

Sigrid Hex

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The Age of Wonders series is generally quite warlike. This one seems like it is less so based on what I've seen so far, but previously the whole economy system was just there to gate the resources you could put into fights and refusing to attack other players just means you get farther and farther behind. Diplomacy was there to help you guarantee you were always at war with one other player (not more, not less)
I mean, there are non-conquest victory conditions so I don't know if that holds true in Planetfall. If it really is a game about all the war all the time, the game is really bad at communicating this. (I have no experience with the rest of the series so I have no point of comparison.)
 

Knaight

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2. Race differences could actually get pretty extreme in some cases. Like, Goblins having awful normal infantry, but really excellent pike infantry, as an example. Now, how much that showed up in playthroughs... I don't know, given how often racial units would rapidly get traded out for class units, which speaks to the balance issues AOW III could have.
They're one of the examples of standout units (as are the goblin and halfling archers, the orc cavalry, the tigran infantry, and the draconian t2 support), and the goblins are probably the most unique feeling faction, largely because of the reintroduction of the butcher in an early patch when combined with the t3 racial and the swarm darter. The clear parallels are still a little heavy though. Sure, it varies more than Civ, but if you look at other military focused 4x games? I'm thoroughly unimpressed when comparing to, say, the Dominions series. Fortunately that core combat engine is just so finely tuned that what the small variations deviate from is rock solid.

This is what I actually really liked about AOW III, on replaying it. For all the issues the Age of Wonders series can have, and AOW III specifically, it's a series that I think has a really clear sense of focus.
I'm with you 100% here. It knows what it wants to be, and it does it. Even the "peaceful" options just redirect you against independants of varying types, where you still get to use that excellent AOW combat. Planetfall inheriting this was really the main thing I was asking for, and I got it in spades. Plus, the factions are way more fun thematically.

I mean, there are non-conquest victory conditions so I don't know if that holds true in Planetfall. If it really is a game about all the war all the time, the game is really bad at communicating this. (I have no experience with the rest of the series so I have no point of comparison.)
At the very least you'll be moving armies around clearing out indies, and that seems pretty well communicated - the map is rich in them far beyond the barbarian encampments of Civ, the occasional pirates of MoO, etc. The minor factions give out quests, which are routinely military in nature. You start out not with a couple of scouts but with a small army with a military hero leader. Then there's the way that the only things that cost energy are units, unit modifications, and military installation upkeep (which basically translates to units). It seems pretty well communicated.

Which is more than I can say about some of the other aspects of this game. There are some issues with important UI elements being weirdly subtle.
 

Spaßwolf

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I mean, there are non-conquest victory conditions so I don't know if that holds true in Planetfall. If it really is a game about all the war all the time, the game is really bad at communicating this. (I have no experience with the rest of the series so I have no point of comparison.)
I watched a Stream that ended in a Doomsday Victory yesterday (which is like a science victory in a Civ game excepct more Apocalypse). The streamer had to research his secret tech all tge way to the end, build a launch platform in three sectors, launch a strategic operation (=spell) and defend the weapon sectors for 10 turns. As started engulfing the world in flames (startimg the 10 turn victory countdown) all the AI players declared war on him and sent their armies to stop him. This lead to some challenging fights on burning maps.
So even some of the non-military victory conditions involve war. Compared to a science victory in Civ this one had a much more engaging endgame.
Maybe some other victory conditions are more peaceful.
 

Sigrid Hex

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I watched a Stream that ended in a Doomsday Victory yesterday (which is like a science victory in a Civ game excepct more Apocalypse). The streamer had to research his secret tech all tge way to the end, build a launch platform in three sectors, launch a strategic operation (=spell) and defend the weapon sectors for 10 turns. As started engulfing the world in flames (startimg the 10 turn victory countdown) all the AI players declared war on him and sent their armies to stop him. This lead to some challenging fights on burning maps.
So even some of the non-military victory conditions involve war. Compared to a science victory in Civ this one had a much more engaging endgame.
Maybe some other victory conditions are more peaceful.
Well I mostly meant the Planetary Unification (or whatever) victory condition which I guess is the "diplomatic" victory condition.

And for anyone else, yes I understand that a large part of the game is running around and clearing out stuff, thanks, I did play the game for more than zero minutes so I do understand this basic concept.
 

Ferrus Animus

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1. The Secret Techs, from what I can tell, are way, way less impactful than class choice was in AOW III. I think this makes sense, given that the DVAR and Syndicate are way more different from each other compared to say, Elves versus Humans, but its still a difference worth noting.
From my experience yes and no. One issue is that planetfalls research takes longer and needs more direction. You can go full race or full secret tech.
And some secret techs integrate well with with race, like Promethean, while other barely interact, like Xenoplague.
Others vary, as for example with synthesis, Assembly have all of their units integrated as cyborgs and Dvar all but their early tier infantry and support. Kirko and Amazon's on the other hand bring only biological units, meaning to use all the buffs you need mods on them.

2. Race differences could actually get pretty extreme in some cases. Like, Goblins having awful normal infantry, but really excellent pike infantry, as an example. Now, how much that showed up in playthroughs... I don't know, given how often racial units would rapidly get traded out for class units, which speaks to the balance issues AOW III could have.
A lot of race differences in AoW 3 are the result of patches and a community asking for it a lot.
And they played a significant role, though you have to consider that with the majority of players playing single player it's not necessarily as amuch a factor.
What of a multiplayer community existed put much value on these units. Goblin pikes aren't the best example, asclasses that used them well tended to phase them out. But for example Draconian and High Elf supports were quite powerful and found themselves to be a preferred choice for Sorcerers due to that.

Granted, don't know how Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic was like in this regard, which I bring up specifically as that seems to be the best of the 2-D Age of Wonders games.
It had a higher unit variety, with races being a much bigger focus as classes didn't exist, just magic schools. But AoW always had a certain roster fell to racial units, with especialyl lower tier ones slotting into infantry, archer, pikes, cavalry and support.

I mean, there are non-conquest victory conditions so I don't know if that holds true in Planetfall. If it really is a game about all the war all the time, the game is really bad at communicating this. (I have no experience with the rest of the series so I have no point of comparison.)
It's not a game about all war all the time, but a game where the purpose of the economy is to build a military and the purpose of diplomacy is to direct it.
There's no culture victory.

Well I mostly meant the Planetary Unification (or whatever) victory condition which I guess is the "diplomatic" victory condition.
It starts a countdown for all your enemies to bring you down too.
And the doomsday victory seems like the economic one, with all the research ti requires.
 

Killer300

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They're one of the examples of standout units (as are the goblin and halfling archers, the orc cavalry, the tigran infantry, and the draconian t2 support), and the goblins are probably the most unique feeling faction, largely because of the reintroduction of the butcher in an early patch when combined with the t3 racial and the swarm darter. The clear parallels are still a little heavy though. Sure, it varies more than Civ, but if you look at other military focused 4x games? I'm thoroughly unimpressed when comparing to, say, the Dominions series. Fortunately that core combat engine is just so finely tuned that what the small variations deviate from is rock solid.
Well, also the Halflings.

But okay, fair enough. Dominions does get around this, after all, so we can't blame tech level.

I'm with you 100% here. It knows what it wants to be, and it does it. Even the "peaceful" options just redirect you against independants of varying types, where you still get to use that excellent AOW combat. Planetfall inheriting this was really the main thing I was asking for, and I got it in spades. Plus, the factions are way more fun thematically.
Yeah, exactly. Age of Wonders feels like it found a good formula early, and just stuck to it.
 

Killer300

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From my experience yes and no. One issue is that planetfalls research takes longer and needs more direction. You can go full race or full secret tech.
And some secret techs integrate well with with race, like Promethean, while other barely interact, like Xenoplague.
Others vary, as for example with synthesis, Assembly have all of their units integrated as cyborgs and Dvar all but their early tier infantry and support. Kirko and Amazon's on the other hand bring only biological units, meaning to use all the buffs you need mods on them.
Ah, that's interesting.

A lot of race differences in AoW 3 are the result of patches and a community asking for it a lot.
And they played a significant role, though you have to consider that with the majority of players playing single player it's not necessarily as amuch a factor.
What of a multiplayer community existed put much value on these units. Goblin pikes aren't the best example, asclasses that used them well tended to phase them out. But for example Draconian and High Elf supports were quite powerful and found themselves to be a preferred choice for Sorcerers due to that.
I see.

It had a higher unit variety, with races being a much bigger focus as classes didn't exist, just magic schools. But AoW always had a certain roster fell to racial units, with especialyl lower tier ones slotting into infantry, archer, pikes, cavalry and support.
So broadly speaking, it seems Tier 1 and 2 were always infantry type units, with Tier 2 having pike and support types units, while Tier 3 upwards had creatures instead.
 

phred

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Wow, the Azracs had a Level 1 wall-crushing elephant unit?
I need to make some time to play AoW1.

I've always heard that the story is the best of all the games. And the units are looking a bit more varied than AoW2.
 
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