Age of Wonders 4 Story Trailer and Developer Diary #7
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With Age of Wonders 4 launching on May 2, 2023, the Triumph Studios team has put together a new story trailer that sets the stage for the game's events, introduces the primary overarching conflict, and highlights some of the key systems.
The trailer also invites us to pre-order the game, and in particular the Premium Edition that comes with an Expansion Pass that will eventually give us access to plenty of new content and empire-building options.
Here's the trailer:
And an overview of the Expansion Pass:
In the Age of Wonders 4 Expansion Pass, players will receive the following content:
- Archmage Attire: The Wizards of Magehaven dress to impress, representing their grand personalities and ambitions. This outfit pack unlocks a new set of clothing you can wear as a whole, or to be mixed and matched with other in-game items. The Archmage Attire pack will be available instantly with the launch of Age of Wonders 4 for all Premium Edition players.
- Dragon Dawn: Embrace the power of the Ancient Dragon Lords in the Age of Wonders 4: Dragon Dawn Content Pack. From your Dragon Throne, forge empires inhabited by reptilian minions and use draconic magic to evolve your people into dragon hybrids. This content pack includes a new Dragon Ruler type, a Reptilian Form, and New Tomes of Magic.
- Empires and Ashes: The empires of mortals resurge after the devastation brought forth by the Wizard Kings! In the Age of Wonders 4: Empires and Ashes Expansion, players fuse magic and steel to unleash devastating war machines to drive the Godir back into the Astral Sea. This full expansion, includes a new Culture, new Tomes of Magic, new Empire Building options and a new Story Realm.
- Primal Fury: Channel Nature’s Spirits in the Age of Wonders 4: Primal Fury Content Pack. Create races using new beastly forms and a primeval culture, with new Tomes of Magic that tap nature’s hidden powers and the Fey realms. Your surroundings will be able to contain new forms of wildlife, creatures and bountiful resources.
- Eldritch Realms: The Age of Wonders 4: Eldritch RealmsExpansion opens portals to realms filled with arcane marvels and unspeakable horrors. New forces threaten the rule of the Godir of Magehaven. With new strange monsters, new racial forms, magical realms and locations, this full expansion will bring a new dimension to the game.
Then, you might want to check out this recent developer diary penned by Triumph's director Lennart Sas where he tells us a thing or two about the early stages of a typical Age of Wonders 4 game with their focus on exploration, scouting, and assorted "player versus environment" activities.
Seeing how the diary is quite robust and packed with insights, here's just a couple of sections, and you take it from there:
Hello there and welcome to a new Development Journal! My name is Lennart, Game Director for Age of Wonders 4. Today we’ll be looking at the early game exploration and “player versus environment” phase, where you'll get your bearings using your scouts, identify allies and threats, while looking for opportunities in the mythic lands around you. Scouting is more important than ever due to the large variety of Realms you venture to (see previous Dev Diary) and the decisions you make in the early game will have a big effect on the development of your empire.
Vision on the World Map
Unexplored Terrain is covered in animated mists that swirl around mountain tops. We rendered silhouettes of terrain features into the mist so you have some rough awareness of the lay of the land. The units you send out explore this terrain, revealing terrain features and the presence of settlements and armies. If explored hexagons exit the vision range of your units or structures, then they become part of the fog of war; meaning you can’t track enemy armies.
Some Units have Camouflage abilities allowing them to hide in particular terrain features. Sensor Range from Planetfall makes a return, as Remote Sensing. This allows you to sense enemy presence into the fog, and acts as an early warning system. A number of upgrades improve the range of this ability. At default this Remote Sensing is zero.
Every race has a Scout Unit coming from its culture. Scouts combine high mobility with far vision and have perks pending cultures. Their primary use is on the world map, in combat they can work as skirmishers pelting enemies with their ranged attacks. Examples:
Scouts are best sent out into multiple directions from your starting town to explore for opportunities, threats and grab up undefended pickups here and there. Here are some noteworthy enhancements that help with scouting and exploration. Especially when playing on bigger maps it makes a lot of sense to invest in these early:
- The Dark Outrider has extra vision in the enemy domain and has camouflage abilities.
- The Floating Mystic Projection has the ability to find Astral Echo pickups which grant knowledge and mana.
Of course there are other skills in the Empire Tree and Tomes that can help your scouts, but that will need to wait for a later diary!
- Wayfinder Enchantment and Enchanted Crows: These Enchantments (spells sustained by mana) enhance scout movement rate and scout vision ranges respectively.
- Seafaring: This early skill can be bought from the Empire Skill Tree. A significant investment (Imperium is also used for expanding your realm), but worth it as the first players to embark can retrieve floating treasures scattered across the seas and can use knowledge of the coast lines to their advantage.
- Excavation: Another skill that can be acquired from the empire tree (though underground races start the game with it) that allows units to dig through earth. Excavated provinces reveal treasures but also threats. So be careful!
- Advanced Sensing: An Empire Skill in the General Branch. Allows you to detect enemies in unexplored terrain.
- Force March: This comes in towards the later stages of the early game and allows players to spend mana to double a stack’s movement in a turn; helping them cross large distances. The cost varies on stack size and the marches cause units to take damage so rush tactics are less effective.
You’ll discover points of interest that will help you in your empire building endeavors. While scouting you can snap up some unguarded pickups here and there (which can be highly lucrative in itself) the main point is to identify expansion targets, as well as threats looming in the mists. Here are the main location categories you can encounter on the map:
These locations listed above may be found in the uncharted wilderness, but some are unfortunately located inside the territories of NPC factions: The Free Cities and the always hostile Infestations.
- Pickups: These stashes of resources boost the early game economy. Lower tier ones are unguarded and can be picked up by lone scouts. In addition to base resources we have things such as Creature Cages which give you a free unit as well as Battle Standards which increase rank/level of all units in an army.
- Resource Nodes. All provinces provide income but Resource Nodes such as Pastures, Deposits and Mana springs provide a good bonus and unlock special province improvement types for your cities (more in a future dev journal about Cities and Economy).
- These provide a unique benefit when located in your domain; and if you gather all three of a type another bonus kicks in. Given their rarity you may have to trade with other players or free cities to complete your sets. Heavily guarded unless positioned in enemy domains.
- Ancient Wonders: These landmarks are of exceptional value and require an army led by a hero to explore. Quite a few improvements have been made to these sites, warranting a separate upcoming development journal.