Age of Wonders 3


#1

(I felt this one deserved a proper title so it could be more easily found.)

Great news - it sounds like beta testing is going well and the game has finally been given a release date (or a more approximate one than the nebulous “Q1 2014”) - Late March!

https://ageofwonders.com/new-years-update/

This is one of those games that I’m so jazzed for I may take a day off from work when it comes out, further proving I have and will never grow up. :)


#2

For reference, here is a link to the previous thread about AoW3, Triumph Studios announcement due soon…

And yes, the beta testing is indeed going well. Triumph Studios knows what it’s doing and has its stuff together. Take my word for it.


#3

New class introduction: Rogue!


#4

Bearded dwarven succubi. Hot


#5

This thing continues to look in. cred. i. ble. I’m dying to play it at this point. I just hope the AI can make good use of what looks like awesome mechanical design.


#6

March can’t come soon enough!


#7

So excited for this one! Everything about this game tickles all the right parts of my brain that make me a gamer. It’s visually super fun to look at, the art style, UI/fonts, and animations all seem like a lot of care was put into them. The gameplay is VERY Age of Wonders in all the right ways, and the new class/race system is super smart and will be a no-brainer to pump DLC into (which I’ll be throwing money at if the game turns out even half as great as it looks like it could). Obviously, expectations need to be tempered by concerns with the AI, such as Jason pointed out, or potential issues with balance or gameplay (such as the fact that, at least early on, people did not like the fact that there were no flying units in the game - guys with wings would land after their movement animations).

I have hope the beta test is in full swing and it sounds like there is a lot of great feedback being provided, so hopefully the end result is a strong strategy game beloved by fans and new players all over.


#8

I want to be excited, but when was the last time one of these types of games had anything remotely enjoyable or competent as an AI opponent? Without an AI all the pretties and features are useless. As much as I loved AoW Shadow Magic, it was the AI that caused me to shelve it many years ago.


#9

The testing is progressing apace and Triumph is getting a lot of feedback from the beta team. Balance, AI, bugs, UI etc, the lot. Believe me, they well know the importance of all these things, the AI particularly.


#10

Never. So no one plays them for the AI, or has ever played them for the AI.

But look at it this way. The fantasy 4X started with MOM, where the AI was completely braindead. So at least the AI is [I]improving[/I]!


#11

The AI makes me stop playing these games after a certain point though.


#12

Not sure if serious, but in my case it’s always been the opposite, unless you mean recent entries in the genre which I agree are basically pointless. That said I’m excited to see how this new AOW will turn out.

Apologies if you were joking.


#13

For those new to this new game, the new big feature of Age of Wonders 3 is the class of you leader. Before you chose race of your nation, magic spheres and some modifiers like warlike or researcher. Now you also choose “class”, like warrior, rogue, druid, theocrat, etc, so even more mixing & matching will be possible. Exactly, the class that you choose won’t change only your leader, but it will unlock some units/skills/spells specific of that class and even I think affect some of your national units. So a theocrat/dwarven army will be different from a druid/dwarven army and that’s different from a druid/goblin army.

Apart from that, it seems a fairly faithful conversion to 3d of the old games. Edirr, something to add? :P


#14

Nothing that would not be prohibited by the NDA, so sorry, can’t say anything even though I’d like to. Your summary is accurate, though.


#15

I was mostly joking … but kinda-sorta not. There’s never been a 4X where the pure, non-cheating AI put up a serious challenge to an experienced human player. Instead, the balancing mechanism for 4Xs has always been allowing the AI to cheat outrageously in various ways to create the higher difficulty levels in the game.

That’s not at all surprising, considering the complexity of a 4X’s ruleset and the fact that the devs themselves seldom know the optimal strategy for the game when it ships (there’s always someone out there who has more time and brainpower to devote to figuring out perfect play than the devs do.) It just means the fun of playing such games against the computer seldom comes from a pure, evenly matched battle of wits, as with two humans playing chess. Instead, it comes from learning the game, then overcoming the unfair odds the computer throws at you with your superior brainpower … or, once you’ve played the game for a while, coming up with rules variants to handicap yourself and make the game fresh again. That’s where things like one-city challenges in Civ come from.


#16

Sure, but there’s different levels of AI competency, even though they’re not as good as an experienced player. The AI in EU4 is good enough for me to have a lot of fun. The AI in Endless Space or Civ5 pretty much ruins those games for me.


#17

What KevinC said. No AI will stand up against an experienced player, but there are degrees. HOMM3’s AI may not be perfect, but part of the reason for its longevity was that its challenge curve was sufficiently smooth yet demanding for most people (and it is still enjoyed by 3 generations of strategy aficionados in my family alone), until they mastered it. The difference with later titles in the same series, which were a disaster AI-wise, was stark.

That said, AI for a 4X game seems to be indeed one of the more complex to implement, which is why I’m waiting for the release of Quantomas’ AI.


#18

Yeah, this is what I was getting at about the AI. I am not asking for a Deep Blue driven Grand Master Chess AI, but I don’t think it is unreasonable to ask for a game’s AI opponent to be able to play its own game-- something that has become incredibly rare in recent years. Was playing HoMM III the same challenge as playing a person? No, but the AI could not only play the game, but it also put up a reasonably entertaining fight. The AI on HoMM IV on the other hand failed utterly on both accounts. It had to be given ridiculous sums of units and resources for free and it would still die repeatedly to trivial encounters just outside its own castle that was already leveled up to OP levels beyond reason from turn one. Frankly, it just didn’t work and in a genre that is primarily about single player, that is a problem. And sadly HoMM IV is not alone in the slightest in this regard as many (dare I say most, or possibly just short of all) games of late seem to fall prey to this as AI doesn’t sell games nearly as well as screenshots it would seem.

Again, I don’t need the a great AI. I routinely play Acenscion against the AI at lunch even though I rarely lose, but its AI can still play and it gives me a way to enjoy the game alone. If the Acenscion AI was like most recent 4x games, then the AI would start with 40 victory points, a pre-built deck, and still lose because all it did was buy Mystics (basic resource card) every turn.

I loved AoW and AoW SM, but the AI in it was just barely better than HoMM IV and leagues from HOMM III’s. Which was a painful shame as once I learned the game, then there was nothing to do other than play the map. I know player made AIs showed up much later, but by then I was long past interested in saving the game, but still depressed over the critical misstep of AoW:SM. I very much hope the new one will be different.


#19

I think there is a disconnect from the features that players want in a game and how hard each additional feature makes it more difficult to program the AI.

If the dev cuts out certain features than players complain or if the AI is not up to par they complain.

I suppose the best Kickstarter for gaming would be a project about AI research. I would love to see one of the stretch goals be for an AI specialist on a 4X game.


#20

I think that the disconnect is that AI is an optional development cost. In a single player game, if you don’t have an AI then you don’t have a game. I am sorry if AI programming is not as easy as art assets, but that doesn’t make it optional. If there is no way to play a game (ie there is no functioning opponent-- again functional, not necessarily crazy good) all the art asserts and high tech engine features are meaningless. In the most basic of terms a game is a game. Without any one or thing to play a game against, it fails to be a game at all.