Age of Wonders: Planetfall by Triumph Studios

Have you been watching the Monday streams? The player is in the late game now, turn 125+ and he’s only fielding Tier IV units just like AoW3 back in the day. He’s got plenty of resources to field and maintain these high level units, in fact hasn’t really used low tier units for some time, and overall he’s fielding quite a few units/army stacks/heroes with only 4 colonies (maybe 5). Here he is attacking an AI player with SEVEN Tyrannodon units, the big bad boy for the Amazon, armed with lots of powerful mods and the like.

I don’t think things will end up being very different from late game AoW3, which may or may not be a good thing depending on one’s preference I suppose. This is a pretty decent sized map, not sure what the settings were for the game setup (it wasn’t shown) so maybe with big maps this is just how the game looks after over one hundred turns?

oh hey what’s going on he----


…ahem. Carry on.

I could reliably have a t4 unit out by turn 35-40 in AoW3.

I could have a 6 stack by turn 50.

And the opportunity cost wasn’t very much.

And several players were much better.

Now, I believe a player can get a t4 by turn 58, if they focus their research on only that and go heavy on research sectors, and thus sacrifice energy, production, food, well rounded research paths. None of those were really a consideration in AoW3, except maybe research.

fast research to unlock your t4, build the appropiate building, and voila, done. And your economy didn’t really suffer either because you could rely on clearing for quite a while, which I think has been massively toned down for PF.

The AoW3 comparison would be Knights in lieu of Tyranadons.

I think the blue player has one t3 unit there, in the centre stack, the celestian unit. The flier and other celestian unit are t2. The Frenzied is tier 1, the sniper is tier 2, the biomancer is tier 2.

If that is the army at turn 125, rather proves my point I think.

Plus, I get the impression that the streamers are messing around on pretty low difficulties, including the Pdx guys.

I’m more worried about late-game AI than how many T4’s and how few T1’s given this match up. The AI had a much larger army than the player, but if it’s all low tier units spread over their empire, a small concentrated force of T4’s will just roll through them like they stand still.

Sure, maybe the AI is playing like you wrote earlier, with viable low tier units all day long, but it seems to me it’s still a wiser strategy to flood your army with the highest tier units you can build, and there seems to be no reason no to do so.

It would be the wiser strategy to use only special forces and air craft carriers, yet this doesn’t happen, because of cost, and various other reasons.

So, yeah, ofcourse a stack of 1 t4 and 5 t3 units will beat out 2 stacks of t1 and t2 units (because, otherwise, what would the point be of having higher tier units, if not to give an advantage?), but the entire design of the new game is supposed to heavily gate the production of t3 units and t4, compared to AoW3.

To recap, regarding t3 and t4 units in Planetfall:

  • you need to build the appropriate barracks
  • you need to research the unit
  • you need cosmite to build the base unit
  • their production costs tend to be very very high, so even a fully kitted out production city will need a few turns to make one
  • the equivalent cost in lower tier units will pretty much always win, especially if they are cosmite modded and the tier 3 is not
  • modding a t3 or t4 unit is 3 to 4 times more expensive for the same mod than modding a t1 unit

Going back to that screenshot, having a stack of 5 Tyranadons is actually more of an investment than getting 5 Knights together.

That’s a much more valid concern imho than worrying about the much bemoaned T4 “spam” that people complained about in AoW3, which came about because of an excess of resources given to the Ai especially, and arguably to the player over the course of very long games (large maps)

resources seem much more curtailed, and access to units much mroe gated, as already outlined.

Regarding what the Ai does with it all, that is a vey good question.

In AoW3 it would fast tech to it’s t4 class unit, and fast build to it’s racial t3 unit, and fast tech to have the maximum number of casting points, then it would crank out the “best” units it could (best here meaning almost inevitably most expensive and that in turn meaning almost ievitably t4 units)

And it would do this for every class, which is why facing a Dreadnought or Warlord Emperor AI in mid to late game was far more dangerous than a Sorceror, or a Necromancer, because “build and pump out units” is precisely how a warlord and Dreadnought should be played.

However, the modding community, and one mod in particular by a guy called Jolly Joker, tweaked the Ai building parameters, and made single player quite challenging without facing many t4 and t3 units.

Now if a modder (in fairness, he is quite obsessive) could do that, then one hopes the pros at Triumph will be able to deliver something more complete.

Plus, the dlc nature of the industry nowadays could actually help them here, because they can tweak and alter things once their sample size of players goes up, namely after release.

They did this with AoW3 after all.

I gotta pre-order this when I get home.

Dammit @jpinard you missed out on the GMG 25% discount!

At least it’s still 15% off. So he’s only out like five bucks, could be worse.

As you know I am totally biased.

But I think the release version of this gne will be better than the release of AoW!

I mean, I would hope so - it’s largely the same team, it would be weird if they hadn’t learned anything from AoW3 and both its expansions. :)

weird but not unheard of.

From these guys? Did they flub previous expansions?

I took his point to mean he’s seen developers do it, not Triumph in particular.

That was my first thought, but then I don’t know why he would try to counter my point with such a sentiment. We are only concerned with Triumph for these purposes, I would assume. I don’t believe we have to worry about Triumph putting out a worse product at launch with Planetfall than we had with AoW3, something I’d have thought @BloodyBattleBrain would be happy to have agreed with me on. I have mis-read the room before, though.

I can’t see Paradox’s involvement lowering the quality of what Triumph puts out. My only worry is Paradox-style nickel and diming, and that tends to be mostly an issue with Paradox’s own games instead of stuff they publish.

I meant studios do sometimes take steps backwards when releasing sequels.

I wasn’t countering @BrianRubin, as I in fact agree with him that I think Triumph here took a very long and in depth look at what worked well, and less well, and I remember a series of surveys a couple of years ago which went quite in depth and spawned some very interesting discussions.

It is interesting though, if you chart the changes across the games in the series, how some things could be argued to have gone backwards.

This is all very much YMMV territory, but let’s take the example of T3 and t4 units, because we were talking about them earlier.

In the 1st game you had fixed cities, you could never found a new city, only rebuild a razed one.

Those cities were of a fixed size, which determined what lvl unit they could produce. 1 hex cities meant only tier one units etc.

There was no random map generator either.

One most maps, there were very few 4 hex or even 3 hex cities. The demo map that got me into the game is called First Conflict and has Haflings, Goblins, Orcs and Elves as playable races, and Humans as a neutral race in the middle.

Only Humans have size 3 cities and no one has size 4 cities on the map.

The result was gating of higher tier units more so than even in Planetfall.
Unfortunately the balance between tiers was not so good (you basically always wanted the highest you could get, as most units were trash) and ditto the balance between races (a race with dragons as t4, or the lightning lady elves had, were your best bet as they were totally imbalanced!)

You ended up with some very tense fights over the handful of big cities.

Anyway the core idea here is tying units available to the level of city development, and tying that to the map itself.

With the introduction of random.maps in aow2 onwards, any city could end up producing any unit.

In AoW3 this also happened, although TS did add extra building via patches so the pace of city development was reduced a bit.

In Planetfall you need to research the units, and the economic system is designed to favour lower tier units, and from.what we have seen so far, t3 and t4 units aren’t nearly the powerhouses they used to be. Well t4 units especially.

An example is the Celestian T4 units which requires influence iirc, and quite a bit. I think the number I saw somewhere was 100 influence, and there’s a cap on how much influence you can have, which I think is 200. Basically, much harder to mass this unit.

So, you could say how cities and higher tier units has evolved, but you could also say it has gone backwards, if you so chose.

AoW3 saw 6 unit stacks, no true flying, class system taking precedence over race, 6 races down from 15.

Which some people most definitely so as going backwards.

PF has 6 races and classes, but both seem.much more fleshed out than previous games.

True flying is back, but so too is chance to hit, and some people are already saying it’s a step backwards.

It’s a difficult thing to create a sequel it seems, putting it mildly.

Ther are some people who literally want just AoW1 with new models and textures.


also, city development and management.

First game had fixed cities.

2nd game had cities on the map and options to start with a settler only, no settler etc.

AoW3 had the same options.

PF it seems has no options: you always start with the planetfall, and a small city. There isn’t a way to have no settlers. could argue that’s a step back.

I dont think it is because the central thesis of the game is shattered empire, people living in ruins, complete collapse of civilisation, so having gleaming cities existing might not fit that so well.

If this is the case, at least the AI should be able to use settlers this time.

I’m expecting a good bit of AI improvement going to a 64-bit engine, though Civ V-VI proved it wasn’t a guarantee.

In AoW2 and SM the AI had issues with settlers but in AoW3 it used them very well.

So well in fact they had to cap the rate of settler use.

But the AI couldn’t use fortresses at all, well more accurately it couldn’t use builders.

So now there are no builder units, and creating a fortress is done by spending influence to make a forward base.

I am very curious to see how the AI manages settlers now.

Bitness and memory usage don’t really have any bearing on AI from anything I’ve seen, so I wouldn’t expect that to change anything. The biggest factors are A) if the game design kept AI in mind and B) the time/effort of the developers. That’s about it.

More gameplay:

and an interview:


and an article

And Assembly spotlight video:


And a developer playing PF, as Assembly.