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'[GAME] Age of Wonders 3'

This thread has been linked to the game 'Age of Wonders 3: Shadow Magic'.
Tue 29/04/14 at 16:12:
Regular
Posts: 261
It has been over a decade since I bought ďAge of Wonders 2: The Wizardís ThroneĒ on a whim. While I did have a lot of fun playing the game, I struggled against the AI and felt like I didnít have a full understanding of how to play. This made me feel slightly put off about purchasing the third game in the series, but I decided to buy it anyway, and Iím glad I did.

Age of Wonders 3 is a turn based fantasy strategy game developed by Triumph Studios. In every match you start with a city, a leader and some units. The objective is to defeat your enemy leaders and take their main throne cities. If the leader respawns and then you take their main city, then you will have to defeat the leader again to end the game.

There are many nodes randomly scattered around each map, which give resources when located within your domain. When you build a city it will have a small domain radius, but as the city grows in population each turn, the domain and resources of the city increase. This means that the best way to gain resources is to find clusters of nodes and build cities in those locations. On some maps you may have enemy independent units that are generated from camps which will be aggressive toward you. Clearing these camps will stop them from spawning and provide you with a reward. These two elements of gameplay encourage you to explore the map quickly.

When you click on an enemy with an army with enough movement points, you are typically asked whether you want to fight the battle manually or automatically. The game will also calculate your chances of victory: probable defeat/victory, closely matched or very likely defeat/victory. I think it is good that the auto battle AI isnít that great, because if the AI could play perfectly for you then there wouldnít be any incentive to fight manually. It can be confusing when taking these ratings into consideration as you can lose a ďvery likely victoryĒ in auto battle and there have been a few occasions where Iíve won a ďvery likely defeatĒ battle with a couple of units lost when fighting manually.

When you click manual combat you are taken to a battlefield and the defender takes the first turn. There are a fair number of things to take into consideration such as flanking, attacks of opportunity and action points. These additions make battles more interesting than mindlessly charging at each other and it makes you think about where to best position your units.

Although I have managed to understand this game better than its predecessor, I feel that Age of Wonders 3 does a fairly poor job of teaching players the mechanics of the game. There is an in-game guide known as the Tome of Wonders which covers many topics within the game, but only a couple of paragraphs are given for each topic. I was expecting the first campaign known as ďThe Elven CourtĒ to explain how to expand your empire, but it just seems to leave you to figure everything out. In the second mission you learn that builders have the ability to drill through the walls when underground and it gets you know there are caves that allow you to move between the surface and underground areas. Apart from that I have learnt a lot from the game from experimenting in multiplayer matches and reading the forums.

I believe that the AI needs some work, as I have played many games on random maps against the AI but I have only lost against the hardest AI known as Emperor. The AI cheats by having bonus resources on all but the easiest AI. I find it strange that I havenít lost to the second hardest AI known as King and yet I canít beat the AI one level higher. There is no middle ground for me to have a 50/50 win rate. I have the choice between a fairly easy opponent and fighting a brick wall. The AI also seems to be very passive, even on Emperor. It is only when you draw first blood on them that they seem to start to come and attack you. Then again, the first patch that was released was to weaken the easiest AI for the first mission of the campaign, so maybe it is dependent on the individual.

The AI also seems to focus on your leader and hero units, which is sometimes a poor choice because unit strength doesnít diminish as a unit loses health so at least in the early stages of the game it is best to focus fire units that are the easiest to kill. The way fights usually go against the AI is for you to cast a damage spell and keep your units stationary until you are out of casting points. The AI typically keeps their units there and sometimes doesnít bother to cast spells on you, even on the hardest AI.

The Campaign is eight missions long, which may not sound like much, but they can take many turns to complete and can take a few hours to finish. Before the start of each mission the story is told through pictures, voice narration and text. I liked how the story was told, but those who wish for story to be told within cinematics might be disappointed.

You can create your own leader to use in multiplayer. This allows you to pick a Class, a Race and three specialisations. Racial differences donít seem to be major and it only changes the terrain types that they like and gives small bonuses like an extra 1 ranged or melee damage. It is the Class that brings the most changes this changes the spells and units that can be researched.

For those who want a game that has in depth city building, then this isnít for you. I have already mentioned how resources are gathered and there are only a few buildings to increase the amount of resources generated in a city. I think it is simple in a good way. It allows the player to focus more on sending units into combat than managing a city in detail. I also feel that there are enough unit types to keep combat interesting but not so many that it becomes overwhelming.

Ultimately Iíve enjoyed Age of Wonders 3. The Campaign story is well told and the scenarios that you are put in versus the AI are varied. The Multiplayer against other players has been fun and Iíve enjoyed my games against the AI even if I feel it could be better. There is something compelling about exploring through the fog of war in every game, never knowing what you will find. Iíve spent almost 100 hours playing so far and if you want a turn based strategy game then I feel safe in recommending this.

8.0
There have been no replies to this thread yet.
Tue 29/04/14 at 16:12:
Regular
Posts: 261
It has been over a decade since I bought ďAge of Wonders 2: The Wizardís ThroneĒ on a whim. While I did have a lot of fun playing the game, I struggled against the AI and felt like I didnít have a full understanding of how to play. This made me feel slightly put off about purchasing the third game in the series, but I decided to buy it anyway, and Iím glad I did.

Age of Wonders 3 is a turn based fantasy strategy game developed by Triumph Studios. In every match you start with a city, a leader and some units. The objective is to defeat your enemy leaders and take their main throne cities. If the leader respawns and then you take their main city, then you will have to defeat the leader again to end the game.

There are many nodes randomly scattered around each map, which give resources when located within your domain. When you build a city it will have a small domain radius, but as the city grows in population each turn, the domain and resources of the city increase. This means that the best way to gain resources is to find clusters of nodes and build cities in those locations. On some maps you may have enemy independent units that are generated from camps which will be aggressive toward you. Clearing these camps will stop them from spawning and provide you with a reward. These two elements of gameplay encourage you to explore the map quickly.

When you click on an enemy with an army with enough movement points, you are typically asked whether you want to fight the battle manually or automatically. The game will also calculate your chances of victory: probable defeat/victory, closely matched or very likely defeat/victory. I think it is good that the auto battle AI isnít that great, because if the AI could play perfectly for you then there wouldnít be any incentive to fight manually. It can be confusing when taking these ratings into consideration as you can lose a ďvery likely victoryĒ in auto battle and there have been a few occasions where Iíve won a ďvery likely defeatĒ battle with a couple of units lost when fighting manually.

When you click manual combat you are taken to a battlefield and the defender takes the first turn. There are a fair number of things to take into consideration such as flanking, attacks of opportunity and action points. These additions make battles more interesting than mindlessly charging at each other and it makes you think about where to best position your units.

Although I have managed to understand this game better than its predecessor, I feel that Age of Wonders 3 does a fairly poor job of teaching players the mechanics of the game. There is an in-game guide known as the Tome of Wonders which covers many topics within the game, but only a couple of paragraphs are given for each topic. I was expecting the first campaign known as ďThe Elven CourtĒ to explain how to expand your empire, but it just seems to leave you to figure everything out. In the second mission you learn that builders have the ability to drill through the walls when underground and it gets you know there are caves that allow you to move between the surface and underground areas. Apart from that I have learnt a lot from the game from experimenting in multiplayer matches and reading the forums.

I believe that the AI needs some work, as I have played many games on random maps against the AI but I have only lost against the hardest AI known as Emperor. The AI cheats by having bonus resources on all but the easiest AI. I find it strange that I havenít lost to the second hardest AI known as King and yet I canít beat the AI one level higher. There is no middle ground for me to have a 50/50 win rate. I have the choice between a fairly easy opponent and fighting a brick wall. The AI also seems to be very passive, even on Emperor. It is only when you draw first blood on them that they seem to start to come and attack you. Then again, the first patch that was released was to weaken the easiest AI for the first mission of the campaign, so maybe it is dependent on the individual.

The AI also seems to focus on your leader and hero units, which is sometimes a poor choice because unit strength doesnít diminish as a unit loses health so at least in the early stages of the game it is best to focus fire units that are the easiest to kill. The way fights usually go against the AI is for you to cast a damage spell and keep your units stationary until you are out of casting points. The AI typically keeps their units there and sometimes doesnít bother to cast spells on you, even on the hardest AI.

The Campaign is eight missions long, which may not sound like much, but they can take many turns to complete and can take a few hours to finish. Before the start of each mission the story is told through pictures, voice narration and text. I liked how the story was told, but those who wish for story to be told within cinematics might be disappointed.

You can create your own leader to use in multiplayer. This allows you to pick a Class, a Race and three specialisations. Racial differences donít seem to be major and it only changes the terrain types that they like and gives small bonuses like an extra 1 ranged or melee damage. It is the Class that brings the most changes this changes the spells and units that can be researched.

For those who want a game that has in depth city building, then this isnít for you. I have already mentioned how resources are gathered and there are only a few buildings to increase the amount of resources generated in a city. I think it is simple in a good way. It allows the player to focus more on sending units into combat than managing a city in detail. I also feel that there are enough unit types to keep combat interesting but not so many that it becomes overwhelming.

Ultimately Iíve enjoyed Age of Wonders 3. The Campaign story is well told and the scenarios that you are put in versus the AI are varied. The Multiplayer against other players has been fun and Iíve enjoyed my games against the AI even if I feel it could be better. There is something compelling about exploring through the fog of war in every game, never knowing what you will find. Iíve spent almost 100 hours playing so far and if you want a turn based strategy game then I feel safe in recommending this.

8.0

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