AoW: Planetfall collected knowledge - updated 23 August(News)This article puts all that we know about AoW: Planetfall in one place! It's long but it contains all you want to know. It will be updated regularly to include the latest published information.
Table of content
Introduction by iHunterKiller
Core gameplay features
Secret Technology “Classes”
Planetary “NPC” Natives
Technology and research
Strategic (world) map
Modding & Mapping
Introduction by iHunterKiller
I was only a young child the first time I played a game in the Age of Wonders series. The famed AoWII demo disk from a popular UK gaming magazine that featured a map with Yaka and his tigrans facing off against Meandor and Julias respective elven factions.
I ended up playing the AoW games everyday after school which helped to spark the inner TBS gamer within me. Fast forward many years and I was overjoyed to be involved in the first wave of beta testing for AoWIII.
All of this backstory is simply to say that I hold the series near to my heart, and so as you can imagine, I was very skeptical of the announcement for the new game. A sci-fi game.. using the Age of Wonders prefix? Thats.. Blasphemy! Did your new parent company force you into this decision!!? My mind started racing to very nefarious places during that initial live stream.
However, while we don't have a whole lot of information yet, I have spent a fair amount of time gathering up everything we do have and suffice it to say, I am intrigued and cant help but find myself feeling positive for the future of the series.
Let me tell you why.
- First of all, we don't know whether or not the sci-fi and fantasy universes are one and the same, but either way, it doesn't really matter, because this doesn't mean we have seen the end of the fantasy games. The developers are simply taking a break as they have been working on fantasy since the company's inception!.
- Secondly, the game is using the same mechanics we associate with AoW. The world map and combat systems return, even the amazing campaigns and modding tools are all a heavy focus of the devs. We are basically looking at a beefier AoWs game given a sci-fi spin. And I don't know about you, but as Im still immensely enjoying AoWIII, I am so happy to have a different type of game to enjoy alongside its fantasy counterpart.
- Finally, the game has the same team behind it that worked on all of the previous Age of Wonders games. The same nerds who designed the mechanics, who wrote the story and who composed the score. They are passionate about sci-fi in the same way they are passionate about fantasy and at its very heart, that is something to be looking forward to!
Ok! So the future is bright - but what about the game!? Well, it's sounding like the natural evolution of the AoWIII formula, with each featured beefed up to the max.
What we have come to expect remains:
- The “race & class” combo returns with a few changes. Now its “faction & technology” and your choice of race will be much more important than it was in AoWIII.
- However, entirely new species have been created just for this game and while some of them share similar traits and characteristics compared to the classics such as dwarves, they all have something that separates them from their fantasy counterparts.
- The world map and expansion system makes its return too, with a few improvements. The entire map is now broken into sectors, each one specialising in something different. One of them may allow you to establish a new settlement, while another can be bolted onto a previous settlements domain, unlocking new features. The idea is fascinating and should help to both speed up the game, while making empire management both more engaging and entertaining.
A human looking settlement with a human guardian & new artwork throughout the image! Checkout all those lovely looking sectors around the place too, oozing with loreful names.
- The game engine has received a massive overhaul as now everything is much more focused around long range combat. This has changed the flow of the game and new mechanics have been introduced that keep things interesting. Including the return of flying units!
More critical decisions have been added to the games world map, to counterbalance the already amazing combat side of the series:
- Colony management is more involved, with a population points system that can be moved around within a sector to specialise in certain areas increasing productivity where needed.
- An enhanced diplomacy system is woven into more areas of the game and further increases the fun factor on the world map.
- A new unit blueprint system has been introduced, unlocking the ability to create multiple versions of the same base unit - using different loadouts. For example a marine with a anti-infantry or anti-heavy weapon.
The game isnt even in an alpha state yet and I am already falling all over it with joy at the information that has leaked out over the past few weeks. So far so good. There are still many areas of the game we know so little about, but if you want to find a run down on all the information we do know, keep reading for a full list.
Check the 6 different logos painted on the walls. Perhaps these represent something... a form of Easter Egg perhaps of the 6 races logos? Who knows
- Main Website
- Announcement Trailer
- Release Date: Circa 2019
- Platforms: PC, Mac & Console
- Sound Designer: Michiel Van Den Bos
- Story Designer: Ray Bingham
- eXplore: Uncover the history of the fallen galactic empire as you explore lush landscapes. Encounter NPC factions and rival houses, and discover hidden technologies that can strengthen your society.
- eXpand: Create your own unique House, and build prosperous colonies through economic specializations of planetary sectors and governing doctrines.
- eXploit: Achieve your end goals through conquest, diplomacy or doomsday technologies. Engrossing options with NPC factions and rival Houses won’t make the decisions easy!
- eXterminate: Perfect your combat strategy in intense turn-based battles that offer tactical challenges, a large cast of races, units with customizable weapons, and destructible environments.
The dead skeleton from the trailer video, does that flower mean something? Who knows!
- It's still an Age of Wonders game, however technology replaces most magical abilities. There are also psychic races that help to represent magical abilities.
- The game is using a custom mythological science-fiction setting, based around a long forgotten fallen empire called the Star Union. It is unknown whether or not it is set within the same universe, however, the races are certainly unique to this game.
- Consider the setting a blend of Alpha Centauri & Fallout on a vastly increased scale, featuring multiple worlds all secreting away old technology among various other mysteries of the Star Union.
Core gameplay features
- 6 Major Races
- 5 Dwelling Races (an expanded independent factions system which is akin to Dwellings of AoW3 or the Spirits of AoW2)
- A secret/ancient technology system in place of the class system from AoW3
- A sector system that covers the world, defining what you can encounter, connected to the Random Map Generator system
- Procedural generation – both in skirmish and campaign modes
- Considerably larger world & battle maps, compared to previous editions of AoW
- A module & blueprint system allowing you to customize units, keeping low-tier units competitive throughout the game
- New resource systems that make empire building and management more engaging
- A relatively rare resource, Cosmite, designed to manage the frequency of tier 3, and especially tier 4, units, as well as several high end technologies, that can be fielded has been introduced, but details are not finalized.
- A revamped diplomacy to incorporate various new systems of the game
- Hero & Leader Units with an expanded mount system
- A strong focus on ranged combat and tactical elevation
- The return of adjacent hex rule (to bring multiple armies into battle) and of a maximum stack size of 6 units
- All of the usual multiplayer modes we have come to expect from the AoW series, with a max player count of 12
- Terraforming both the world and battle map
- 6 different damage types (or weapon groups) exist: Kinetic/Explosive/Laser/Biochemical/Psionic/Arc
- The racial weapon techs (primary researched weapon tech types, but not necessarily the only damage type a faction will deal) follows this matrix:
- Vanguard: Kinetic/Laser
- Dvar: Kinetic/Explosive
- Kir'Ko: Psionic/Biochemical
- Amazon: Laser/Biochemical
- Assembly: Kinetic//Arc
- Syndicate: Psionic/Arc
- No faction at release uses Laser/Arc, because "The lack of flexibility the race would face might be problematic."
- Compared to previous AoW, the following comparisons can be made:
- Kinetic is roughly Physical damage
- Explosive is (likely) a split between Physical/Fire (Thermal)
- Laser is roughly Fire (Thermal) damage
- Biochemical is roughly Acid/Poison damage
- Psionic is roughly Spirit damage
- Psionic damage ignores armour rating, and is only reduced by shield rating and Psionic resistance.
- Arc is roughly Lightning/Shock damage
- Currently, no unit uses multi-channel damage abilities, but the game does support multi-channel attacks.
- There is no deployment phase, however the battlefields are now considerably larger, containing interactive objects that can be used for cover and even be destroyed under sustained heavy fire.
- Defender moves first when combat is engaged. Only the Attacker may retreat.
- With larger battlefields, a stronger focus is placed on ranged combat than ever before. This has allowed permanently air born units (who can't be hit by land melee units) to make a return to the game.
- Flying units can fly over ground units on the same hex.
- You can also use large vehicles or even summoned interactables such as a drop-pod as cover, gaining a boost to your defenses.
- Impassible terrain can only be flown or floated over in combat, with some rare units being able to move through obstacles.
- Technology replaces magic: Now called “Operations”, You can call in off-screen assistance in the form of; artillery and orbital bombardments, marine drop pods, napalm style attacks, and much much more.
- Natural Terrain & Tactical Elevation: Citadels, Biodomes, Terraces and more. While nothing has yet been set in stone, raised and lowered elements of terrain is planned and should affect cover, hit chances, movement, the value of flying units, etc.
- Sieges: The siege system has been redesigned. We know maps are much larger now and that elevation now plays an effect. Attacking from building terraces was discussed.
Combat between a Promethean Phoenix Walker and some sort of Promethean Infantry and a Xenoplague Plaguelord
- Defense Mode: Provides a 25% reduction in hit chance against the unit.
- Ranged Overwatch:
- Uses your remaining action points to enter overwatch and aim a cone of fire in a given direction.
- The unit will fire upon any enemies which enter said cone of fire (even if they are behind cover), a number of times equal to the amount of action points it had remaining.
- Primarily available to 'rifleman' and 'sniper' styled units, although generally defensive units may qualify for it as well.
- Benefits from a hidden bonus to allow Overwatch attacks to suffer less some of the accuracy penalties from long range and cover.
- Melee Overwatch:
- Melee units go into a melee range overwatch at the end of their turn, even if they took an action that turn.
- Provides a free attack against any unit which attempts to move past them or fire at them in melee.
- It is not confirmed if this drains their action points, but it likely will.
- Impact attacks can stagger units and break their Overwatch stance.
- High impact attacks break Overwatch of Light units.
- Massive impact attacks are needed to break the Overwatch of Heavy units.
- Units who get staggered in the middle of an action will be interrupted after their first attack or step is taken:
- A moving unit will stop with no move points left and might end up out of cover.
- An attacking unit will stop attacking and lose the unused attacks from the remaining action points it had.
- Action Points: A similar system to that of AoW3, however draining action points works a little different now that ranged combat reigns supreme.
- Certain attacks and abilities can stagger an opponent which knocks them out of stances like overwatch or guard mode and also drains them of their action points too.
- Hit Chance: “Controlled randomness” A combination of AoW2s hit chance and AoW3s Action Points has resulted in the chance to
- Hit for full damage
- Graze for half damage (up to 25% chance)
- Miss for no damage
- These will likely result in much more countering and careful advances than previously with an increased focus on ranged units that should make this quite an interesting and fun addition.
- Default, unmodified, accuracy of basic rifle like the Vanguard T1's rifle will likely be 90%
- Long range attacks have lower accuracy
- Targeting units under cover also lowers accuracy; smokescreens can be deployed to create cover
- While combat concealment did not make it into the game, there are things like long grass which will provide a defensive bonus to Light units(accuracy penalty for enemies), while instead being destroyed by Heavy units if the tile is entered
- Shooting at units at lower height than oneself increases accuracy
- It is not entirely confirmed, but it is at least implied that successive shots, and possibly Overwatch in general, experience accuracy penalties
- Example: for an accuracy of 80%, the hit chance is 80%, the graze chance is 20% and the miss chance is 0%. For an accuracy of 40%: hit 40%, graze 25% and miss 35%.
- Damage calculation
- Each additional resistance point reduces damage by 10% compared to the damage without this extra point, so additional resistance has diminishing returns.
- The formula is D = I + (I x (1 - 0.9^-R)) with I = Incoming damage D = Actual damage taken R = Damage resistance (sum of shields, armour and elemental resistance)
- The shield value is ignored by melee attacks.
- Armour and shield values can be reduced, but not into the negatives. Elemental weaknesses are the only way to use the damage formula as a damage amplifier (for instance Thermal Weakness 5 means that 5 is subtracted from your armour/shield value, and that result can be negative).
- The first few points of resistance reduce damage by roughly 10% each, but as more is stacked, this decreases rapidly. The difference between 10 and 11 resistance is only 4% for instance of the incoming damage.
- Deals +20% damage
- Also triggers damage bonus (e.g. Exposed Flank or Flanker abilities)
- Ranges (hexes)
- Short: 3
- Medium: 5
- Long: 7
- Extreme: 9
- Insta-death abilities
- Some abilities can instantly kill enemy units (like Invoke Death in AoW3). For instance the Plasma Disintegrator Module is an end game module for laser weaponry, allowing attacks to strip armour and giving a chance to insta-kill tier 1 and 2 units.
- Each race is designed around its own unique set of mechanics.
- Different primary races will each provide unique playing experience through different:
- Racial economic bonuses
- 8 Modules (for each race)
- Operations, etc.
- Each race will provide 11 stock units: 8 ground/air faction-specific units, 2 faction-specific naval units, and a Colonizer.
- Are an old expeditionary task force that were sent out to claim new worlds on the frontier of the Union. The Vanguard are hardened pioneers and marines with few ties to the old world; the effects of time dilation matter little to them. When they arrived at their destination and emerged from cryo-stasis, the Vanguard found out the Nexus had gone black, and they had no way to return. In the time they had been traveling, the empire they were sworn to protect had fallen. Because of this delay, the Vanguard resemble imperial forces from before the fall.
- The Vanguard specialize in drones and autonomous robots.
- Their faction leader is called Jack Gelder, his city is called Fort Gelder.
- Favoured terrain: Arcadian
- Known Units:
- Very weak offensively (4 power Thermal damage, multi-fire ranged attack)
- May have innate stealth detection.
- Increases the accuracy of allies against targets it attacks, or it has a specific ability to increase the accuracy of allies against a given target.
An OWL upgrading: its modules are de-activated for 1 turn
- Assault Bike
- A high speed vehicle designed to engage enemy units at medium to close range, it mounts powerful, high impact laser weaponry but sacrifices armor along its flanks to make up for it
- Exposed Flanks: loses two points of armour when flanked
- Focused Laser Array: medium range, single target attack, moderate amount of thermal damage; High Impact attack which knocks Light Units into an adjacent hex
- Wild Laser Array: fire over the 7 hexes directly in front of it; stagger enemy unit it hits
- Stagger Resistant (originates from Heavy Unit): can only be staggered by Massive Impact attacks
- Mech Walker
- Their engineer unit can deploy a turret
- Their T4 specializes in launching various types of drones in combat to provide defensive and offensive support. It is possibly flying. Possibly similar to a Star Craft Protoss carrier, in function, but certainly not visual style, since this is Vanguard.
Humans, and some weird tiny units in the background (look over the guy in the coats right shoulder!) which are probably the Kir'Ko Ravenous and Frenzied .
- Are a brutal race of warrior women who biologically enhanced themselves as well as savage alien races to use as their tools, in an effort to better crush their foes.
- They have been described as an all female nation of MMA fighters, riding brutal dinosaurs into battle.
- A parallel has been drawn between them and elves.
- Inherent traits:
- Favoured terrain: Arcadian.
- Forest Affinity: provides a morale bonus in forests (potentially stacking with their Arcardian favored terrain when applicable).
- Expedited Movement (Forest): allows faster movement through forests.
- Known units
- Typically deployed to patrol the vast forests where the Amazon’s conduct their research, Lancers are the pinnacle of self sufficiency.
- Its melee attack Staggers opponents.
- Energy Buckler: gives the Lancer its 3 Shield but not against flanking attacks.
- Flanker: provides a bonus +25% damage on Flanking attacks, in addition to the base +20%, for a total of +45% damage
- Are a faction of planetary miners who entered the most hostile places in space using their powerful suits to shield themselves from radiation, heat, etc. during the Star Unions reign.
- Now, nobody knows exactly what they look like, as they live within their suits, and you never see their faces. It's like... do Dwarven women exist – AoWP style!
- Even when you customize their appearance, you’re customizing the eye holes, adding an exhaust or an extra tube, etc.
- Their methods are based around explosives, tectonic shifts, etc. and so their battlefield mechanics are themed around area of effects and staggering opponents.
- Dvar commonly have 24 base speed. A sort of slow but strong thematic army approach to their design.
- Inherent traits:
- Favoured terrain: Arid.
- Known units:
- Dedicated gunnery platform designed to guard Dvar facilities against thieves and aggressive native fauna.
- Unlimited Overwatch: allows a full three shots against all targets that enter their cone of fire when in Ranged Overwatch, regardless of the remaining action points.
- Concussive Volley: long range, extremely (currently at 96% against a Lancer) high success rate single target stun ability, which lasts only for the turn of impact, designed to setup another ally to take advantage of the automatic flanking damage.
- Through some visual trickery the Dvar Tier IV actually looks like it is taking up 7 hexes.
- Possibly some form of artillery.
- Represent both a brutish orclike race, as well as a skittish goblinoid people. They have also been heavily modified and many of their body parts have been replaced with mechanical legs or even tentacles.
- One of their units can take apart corpses and rebuild them into spider bomb robots.
- Are a race of rational, sapient and psionic insectoids that were once enslaved by the Star Union, giving them a bad predisposition towards human houses
- Inherent traits:
- Swarm Shield: gains a non-stacking bonus of +2 shields when adjacent to other Kir'Ko units
- Rapid Regeneration: heals +6 bonus HP per strategic turn on the world map
- Favoured terrain: Fungal
- Known Units:
- One of the descendents of the Kir’ko queens, who were wiped out by the Star Union. Bred as guerilla fighters, the Hidden championed the cause of Kir’ko rebellion from the shadows. As with all Kir’ko females, the Hidden have powerful psionic abilities, which they use to both attack and elude their foes.
- Defense Mode: Evasion: provides a further 25% reduction on top of normal Defense Mode, for a total of -50% chance to be hit.
- Universal Camouflage: grants concealment on all terrain types.
- Shrouded Step: ability similar to Shadow Step in AoW3: teleports the unit at short range and also creates an accuracy-reducing smoke cloud in the target and all adjacent hexes upon arrival.
- Psi-Rifle: uses all the action points.
- Psi-Rifle Snap Shot: can be used after moving.
- Improved Overwatch: gets an accuracy bonus for overwatch shots.
- The Kir'Ko equivalent of the Vanguard Marine is called a Frenzied, a melee unit who gains a bonus for each attack it makes.
- The Kir'Ko equivalent of the Vanguard Tank is called a Ravenous. Mechanically similar to the Harvester from AoW:SM, it is a melee unit which can eat units whole and then lay eggs to spawn new units of their own.
- Very little is known about them other than they are currently using an eastern architecture design and are rumored to be themed around slavery.
Syndicate (left) and Amazons (right)
Secret Technology “Classes”
- You choose one out of six types of secret technology that you start the game with.
- This determines your research and “class”-based abilities, modules, doctrines, operations and units. Each Secret Tech also has a unique Victory Condition.
- Every Secret Tech will provide a race with around 4 additional unique racial units.
- You can unlock additional secret technologies from “old tech black sites” scattered throughout the maps.
- Secret Tech selection will be hidden to other players (they can of course guess it when they see you using units or other elements from the Secret Tech).
- Promethean Technology – Designed to destroy enemy of the Star Union from within or without.
- The Promethean specialize in Thermal weapons that leave areas of the battlefield on fire, providing area denial abilities. They can also mod their units to be immune to this fire, or even gain buffs from it, allowing them to reshape the battlefield to their advantage.
- Xenoplague Technology
- Biochemical damage.
- Unknown! We need more info.
- Psionic damage.
- Possibly Kinetic damage.
- Two more secret tech, yet unknown.
Icon of one of the two secret tech to be revealed, mentioned as "the opposite of Psynumbra".
Planetary “NPC” Natives
- These are the mindless and disorganized units that you will be encountering throughout the maps, that do not belong to an empire.
- The confirmed units so far are Giant killer insects and the Quartzinites: A varied race of creatures made from types of stone.
- Marauder Bases are the term given for spawner sites of various roaming independents. Similarly, Marauder is an umbrella term for the monsters and pirates that are beyond reason and cannot be negotiated with, not a true NPC Faction.
- Marauder units include:
- Hopperhound: similar to a giant locust, with the ability to jump and rip through (shred? ignore?) armour.
Non-Primary Combatants (NPC) Factions
- The independent faction system from AoW3 has been fleshed out and are planned to have a more important role within the game.
- They are intended to represent the people that survived the fall of the Star Union, but are not powerful enough to amass system or even planet wide control.
- NPC Diplomacy and Quests
- Each NPC Faction has its own set of quests and narrative flavour.
- Quests can even include economic quests requiring you to spend time producing a quest objective in one of your settlements.
- With good influence and relationship, you can ask for NPC to give up important structures for you to use. You can negotiate otherwise friendly faction site defenders to move away at an influence cost, varying by the level of your relationship and your general reputation level.
- If you decide to remove an army belonging to an NPC faction by force, it means war with the entire faction and a hit on your global reputation.
- Just as AI Players, NPC factions lay claim to unowned Sectors around their habitats.
- NPC factions will make demands based on their relation with you and based on the stage of the game. Small and early offenses can be made right by payments in one of the key resources. Soon demands will escalate and include demands that you hand over sectors to them. If you decline demands, relations will go further south and you are at risk of attack.
- NPC Factions have no direct relations with each other, but may provide quests which impact player relations with other factions.
A NPC faction's Quest
- NPC Unit Rosters and Assets
- Each NPC Faction has at least 5 unique units, including a Tier IV.
- It also has a set of unique Mods and Operations you can acquire from them.
- As with other mods, they will have requisite unit identifiers, such as Infantry, Biological or Mechanical.
- Depending on your relation level you can recruit NPC Units as auxiliary forces. The higher your relation, the higher the level you can recruit. This recruitment costs additional influence.
- NPC relation of other players can be influenced through Covert Ops and play a role in achieving particular victory conditions.
- NPC Attack Events
- NPC factions can launch invasion attacks associated with events. An extreme version of NPC attack events are Boss events, extra strong armies that have named Boss characters with high level unit mods and henchmen.
An NPC Boss Army alert (Highly WIP)
- Strongly defended, relatively permanent structures (presumably they may still be subject to being razed).
- Usually multiple per map.
- Can and will lay claims on surrounding sectors.
- Dwelling can be annexed to your cities like other sectors. They have resource yields comparable with the Golden Landmarks (the highest-level economic structures in the game), and they unlock the production of units of the faction.
- NPC faction (forward) bases
- A lesser form of dwellings.
- Usually multiple are scattered around a dwelling, not necessarily attached.
- Temporary structures (removed if cleared), similar to a spawning site in AoW3.
- Can be cleared by either combat or diplomatic means.
- If made sufficiently hostile, they will spawn stacks to attack the player instead (similar to Brigand spawners when hostile).
- Relations with them are influenced (and possibly influence as well) by relations with that NPC-faction as a whole (such as the dwelling).
- With unique combat maps.
- Can occupy sectors and prevent settling in said sectors.
- Patrols: guard territory around dwellings.
- Raiding Armies: attack enemy territory; originate from dwellings or bases.
- Boss Armies: high level raiding armies.
- The RMG associates particular assets with NPC factions.
- For instance, Growth has particular tentacle hexes and particular resources and Hazards near its areas based on their theme. NPC factions have a noisy clustering, meaning a Dwelling + Bases + Resource Guards don't sit in a clumped ball on a map, but territory has holes and mixes with other NPC factions
- The Union’s privileged citizens and praetorian military. Named after the Paragon Augmentations company that provided them with the extensive bionic implants that unnaturally extended their lives. Their life-extending augmentations and therapies which are now faltering. They haven’t lost their arrogance and entitlement though.
Approaching a Paragon Dwelling with a Colonizer.
Paragon units (including probably a Paragon transport moving a Vanguard unit)
- Intelligent plants escaped from biotech company Terra Tech. They strive to live in a symbiosis with other life forms, not for people with tenctaclephobia.
- Mutated descendants of the urban populations. Their society and religion were shaped by gaming culture, as the empire population was entertained extreme VR experiences. With the networks gone, they seek their thrills in the physical world.
- Robots from the emergency services that have developed their own autonomous AIs after the central network of CORE went down.
- Psi-Fish (also called "Space Jellyfish" :silly
- Mysterious floating aliens that have become more prevalent after the collapse.
- NPC factions can be controlled in the RMG, but details on how (just frequency, or even type?) were not provided. Apparently not all NPC types will exist together on a normal planet.
Technology and research
- Players will have limited access to the tech trees of other main faction races they acquire in their empire.
- The tech tree is divided into a yet unknown number of tiers.
- There are some tech progression dependencies but (so far) only within the same tech type, creating "Tech Paths", displayed in distinct colours (see screenshot below).
- Military and Society technologies are separated form each other, but now also researched simultaneously.
Techs have tag identifiers under their name denoting Forces/Tactical/Strategic/etc.
- Units are classified as Biological or Mechanical. This influences the module they can use.
- Mechanical Units automatically have 4 Psionic Resistance and 2 Arc Weakness, similar to Machines having Spirit protection (immunity) and Shock/Fire Weakness in AoW3. Biomechanical attacks have been stated to include such effects as armour-shredding acid, being designed as a counter to the generally highly-armoured Mechanical units.
- Some units are classified with the 'Core' trait.
- While unconfirmed, it is noted that of the revealed units, only T1 units so far have been Core, and one can extrapolate that 'Core' units are likely the units available to be produced by a faction without requiring further research.
- Different sizes:
- Light Unit
- Heavy Unit
- Standard property given to most vehicles and larger units.
- Gives Stagger resistance (staggered only by Massive impact attacks).
- The unit will not turn to face its attacker when shot at.
- An undetermined title, but at least one larger size
- So far, this primarily appears to relate to Impact/Stagger effects, with Heavy Units having Stagger Resistance which counters High Impact, but not Massive Impact strikes. Also, Heavy units do not turn to react to flanking strikes.
- A 'Large Target' trait also exists. It is presumed to relate to the fact that you can now aim at units later in a line, and have a chance to hit any of the targets, with a multi-shot attack. Large Target in this case, would likely make the given unit more likely to be struck, making it an effective blocker unit.
- Unit Blueprint & Module system:
- A fairly unique system whereby you research “modules” based – each of which can only be applied to specific unit types.
- Modules originate from your race (8 per race), Secret Tech, Weapon Tech (around 7 per weapon group), NPC-factions, secondary-acquired races (and possibly even Landmark fans hope).
- Units can have up to 3 modules.
- In order to build units using those modules, you need to design a blueprint or template which you can name, and then build its “prototype”.
- Each new unit of that type built after the prototype will use the set design and previously built units can be also be upgraded to that design too.
- This lets you develop and field various versions of the same stock unit, each specialized to counter a specific threat. This also means that through micromanagement, you can choose to field low tier units and keep them competitive throughout the game, instead of relying on high tier units as soon as they become available.
- It's worth noting that some races modules can be used by multiple races, while others are locked to only a themselves. Such as Amazons using Vanguard guns, while only the Kir’ko can use their organic weapons.
- The mods equipped by a unit can be changed (upgrading) or new mods can be added to a unit having few or none (retrofitting): this takes time (at least 1 turn) and also disables all current mods for the duration of the upgrade process.
- Experience and ranks
- Currently, unit rank ups are primarily set to increase health and accuracy values, with the unit module system designed to provide extra abilities to units. The devs have looked into providing enhanced modifiers towards a unit's core trait purpose, though, at higher ranks. Bonus towards a Bulwark's Overwatch, or a Lancer's flanking effectiveness, for example.
- Endless champion medals are not in right now, but might come back. High-end mods are relied on to make early game units viable.
- Boss units
- Should exxist outside the standard unit tier ratings
- Found within certain exploration sites, and special spawner events, such as NPC attack events.
- Unit icons updated on the go: a snapshot renderer will update units' icons based on the modules they use, etc. It will also save icon creation time for modders.
Strategic (world) map
- Your settlements now spawn their own set of defenders, meaning you no longer need to place a world map army on the side to have a garrisoned force during tactical combat.
- You can increase the levels of protection through buildings, such as city-wide shields.
- Sector System:
- The entire map is now broken up into named sectors (a similar game mechanics to the Mystical City Upgrades from AoW3), and a single sector can be as large as an AoW3 cities domain.
- Different sector types:
- Wilderness Sectors follow natural boundaries and reflect their terrain. They contain one biome and a number of natural terrain features - these define the sector's base resource yield. Players can expand their colonies into Wildernesses and develop them.
- Coastal Waters: similar to Wilderness Sectors.
- Landmark Sectors contain high value, large Imperial ruins providing unique benefits. Landmarks “occupy” the sector. This means they can be annexed by your colonies, but you can’t found a new colony on them. Some examples:
- Elysium Park: lets you recruit Las Vegas style entertainment industry androids.
- Xenolife Institute:
- Gives +40 food, +4 colonist slots in food, +20 research income and +2 colonist slots in research
- Unlocks structure Genetics Lab
- Is potentially related to the Xenoplague units (unless it's entirely a Secret Tech), at least in lore.
- Sunshine Synthetics Biodomes:
- Primary income attribute: growth
- May be affiliated with the Growth NPC faction
- Perpetual Spark Generator:
- Primary income attribute: energy
- May be affiliated with the Autonom NPC faction
- Inverse Relativity Center:
- Primary income attribute: knowledge
- Dwelling Sectors: Contain the bases and cities of NPC Natives. Smaller spawner-like camps you can clear through diplomacy or force. Larger habitats work like landmarks in the sense they they occupy a sector.
- Sectors may provide unique story content, such as quests and side missions.
- Additional Structures and Effects: Next to sector occupying Landmark and bases, there is a collection of secondary structures to be found. They include resource nodes, pickups and visit sites. Then there are defenses and hazards that work as status effects for the entire sector.
- Colonies are expanded by adding sectors to them, these sectors can subsequently be specialized in one of the main resource types and further upgraded. Landmark Sectors provide unique benefits to the colonies. Higher level landmarks unlock new city upgrades, or unlock new Doctrines.
- The number of sectors a colony can annex is dependent on population level, as well as research allowing you to settle certain types.
- Players may lay claim to lands by building Forward Bases in sectors. Sectors can also be captured and traded individually.
- Forward basis cost rather than yield resources.
- A Sector Analysis screen will detail information related to each sector: structures, incomes, and unlockable Doctrines (primarily for Landmark Sectors), etc.
The Sector Analysis panel on the right, with doctrines presumably unlocked by the Xeno Life Institute (Cosmite here has its old name of Crystal)
- Sectors will project a scan range into surrounding sectors' fog of war, and possibly beyond, giving identifying markers for site defenders (Neutrals) and aggressive independent or enemy unit stacks.
- Research, varying by faction to some degree, can influence the scanning distance and details given, but research can also inhibit enemy scanning abilities, depending on what your faction has available.
- Concealed units avoid being revealed by scanning by default, and structures such as the Shroud Station project a scanning-resistant fog of war similar to the Domain of Darkness of Age of Wonders 2. There are even Operations to conceal sectors (or units).
- Scanners will not show an overall detection radius by default, but it may be added in as a toggle.
Scanner identifying hostiles in the fog of war
Note the yellow markers in the fog of war
- Terraforming on the world map makes a return, including the ability to lower and raise terrain and likely even erecting new mountains altogether.
- The world map is based around a single planet, though the campaign will span an entire system or even galaxy.
- Various map layers, such as underground, shadow realm, atmosphere and orbit are in a concept phase at the moment and may not make it into the game at all. *sad face*
- The world map is still square, but it now loops around on the west-east axis. Letting you continue marching in one of those directions without stopping.
- There are five main land biomes + oceans. Planets are thus made of frozen wastes, lush jungles, and deserts, with their own alien flora and fauna.
- The different biomes have varied resource yields to be exploited through research.
- Planets can be created from templates or the player can adjust settings (including the amount of Star Union Ruins for instance).
- All procedural generated planets get a name and are plotted on the Star Union’s galaxy map.
- Movement and healing
- Standard move speed values are 24/32/40.
- Being within Friendly Territory causes a unit to recover +6 HP per strategic game turn. It has been implied, but not outright confirmed, this may be the only way for units to normally regain health, applying a form of attrition to the game. It is notable that this healing also applies for units tagged as Mechanical.
- Pickups on the world map can sometimes trigger bonus events with a multiple choice selection of actions/rewards to be taken from them. These bonus events are always positive in some way, to avoid ambushes on scout units getting the pickups.
Example of pickup events
- Hazards are a new type of hex occurrence which drastically reduce the income of sectors they are in, and have negative effects on units nearby.
- They require special researched technology to be removed.
- Examples include:
- Nuclear Craters
- Void Rifts
- Biowar Residues
- Abyssal Tear:
- This sector contains a Tear into the Abyss, through with its influence seeps into this world.
- This sector generates 50% less income.
- Units do not regain health out of combat.
- Non-Psynumbra units suffer a -3 reduction to Vision and Sensor range.
- Non-Mindless, Non-Psunumbra units suffer -300 Morale.
- Psynumbra marauders spawn from here, raiding their surroundings.
Resource bar icons (left to right). Energy, Cosmite, Knowledge, Influence, Global Morale, Tactical Operations (Tac Ops), Strategic Operations (Strat Ops), Doctrines. Reputation is next to leader face. The city banner of Gelderland shows from left to right: icon representing the current item in production, a small number indicating time remaining on production (3 turns), a large number for the current population level (13), a small number indicating time until population grows (1 turn). Hope you have good eyes!
- Energy is the main universal currency in the game. It is used for the production and upkeep of units, colony structures, unit modules and operations. Energy is generated by your colonies. It can be traded, and can be found as nodes and pickups on the map.
- Cosmite is a rare material, which has an origin beyond the void and is required for advanced units (T3 and especiall T4), unit modules and potentially some Operations and special structures. Cosmite is mainly gained from map nodes (Craters!). The rarity of this material means that high tier units can’t be mass produced and Sectors containing Cosmite are highly contested.
- Cosmite may or may not have some depletion mechanic, but is currently leaning heavily towards being balanced by income versus costs.
- Influence is the diplomatic currency used to manipulate other players and NPC factions, it can be used for things like asking NPCs to surrender locations, hire NPC mercenaries, and to make diplomatic pronouncements. Influence is gained by performing Quests and from an inherent generation of your empire. Cooperative Doctrines and friendly play styles give bonuses on Influence generation.
Quest for The Growth NPC Faction with influence among the rewards.
- Reputation determines how other Empires and NPC factions see you. Reputation modifies your Influence gains and Global Morale. Similar to AoW3’s alignment, your Reputation is influenced by your in-game actions.
- Knowledge is used to conduct research (rediscover and apply the lost technologies of the Star Union).
- Tactical Operations points are used to launch Operations you can call in during tactical combat (Air strikes, Psi Storms, etc), when a battle takes place within your Operational Coverage. The Tac Ops value resets every turn.
- Strategic Operations can used on the world map. Strategic Operations include summons, sector (de-)buffs, and covert actions.
- Doctrine slots determines the amount of global doctrines (e.g. empire wide bonuses) you can have active at once.
- More doctrines will be available than you can pick: choices will need to be made.
- Global Morale is the overall morale of your empire. It affects Unit Morale and the Happiness of your colonists. It is influenced by the wars you enter and how justified they are perceived to be. Note there are more variables but they are not global. Like colony food and production capacity.
- Colony Management & Resources:
- Excess production and research points will overflow so as to not go wasted.
- Roads are now automatically built between your settlements / sectors.
- Sectors yield special resources and the terrain or biome a sector is based on determines the types of bonuses available.
- What these resources do exactly is unknown, but they will provide some form of benefit based on the settlement its attached to. This makes it vital to snake your empire across a map, to soak up these resources into your sector chain, effecting each settlement within.
- A new system has been introduced that allows you to designate what your Colonists (population) are working on, to better exploit these resources.
- A new settlement will start off with a few Colonists. Colonists from all sectors are pooled together and can be assigned to specific tasks. Such as:
- Working towards increasing the food stores which helps with settlement growth.
- Sending your workers to the factories will increase production speed.
- A new settlement will start off with a few Colonists. Colonists from all sectors are pooled together and can be assigned to specific tasks. Such as:
- This seems like an an improved version of the old settlement build queues, seemingly allowing you to work on multiple things at once by moving people around to speed up certain outputs.
- Colonist assignment is fairly straightforward and can be fully automated. Colonists act as wiggle room in the economy (on top of flat income sources). Colonists are assigned per resource channel (and not per sector or per tile).
- Command Point & High Tier Unit System:
- Command points are assumed to work like casting points, without drawing from a pool of mana.
- They let you use special abilities during combat or on the world map and reset upon the beginning of each new turn.
- Allied victory is evidently available
- Last Man Standing: self-explanatory, classical victory
- Domination: a certain percentage (likely 60~70%+) of the map control is under control
- Doomsday (Technological victory):
- Little is known, but these are presumed win conditions for a Skirmish game and a campaigns end goal.
- There are at least a few different versions, one for each Secret Tech, of these “super weapons” around and they are supposed to be so powerful that they could have wiped out the entirety of the Star Union.
- Converting to a hive mind was hinted at as the level of power to be expected by these super weapons.
- Another was the Genoplague (which may be a simple high tier “spell”), which lets you mutate soldiers or even an entire colony with a virus that rewrites their DNA.
- Rewriting colonist DNA could change how they deal with the environment they live in,
- Rewriting soldiers DNA could result in them becoming freakish monsters, able to stab enemies with their sharp but fleshy appendages.
- Opponents will get multiple notices about the proximity of a player reaching Doomsday victory
- Little is known, but these are presumed win conditions for a Skirmish game and a campaigns end goal.
- Racial Victory Conditions may exist in a future expansion, but are likely to be a toggle option off by default at best, for multiplayer, due to asymmetry.
- Happiness & Alignment & Diplomacy Mechanics:
- These are all now interwoven, being either revamped or entirely rebranded versions of previous systems.
- Happiness should work “better than in AoW3” on both the tactical and world maps, while alignment is heavily woven back into the diplomacy system.
- Racial happiness is influenced by your actions toward each race.
- Threats, costing Influence, can be added to diplomatic requests. Declining can give the opponent casus belli.
- Available diplomatic requests include:
- Open Borders (unlimited or for a fixed duration)
- Truce (unlimited or for a fixed duration)
- Defensive Pact: you get involved in a war only if your ally is the one attacked, but not if your ally is an aggressor.
- (Full) Alliance
- Other players can become your Vassal. Vassalage is currently permanent, with no way for the Vassal to end the relationship on their end without their 'Ruler' being defeated.
- Players automatically lay claim to sectors next to their borders. Settling in it, gives a casus belli unless you have treaties. You can extend claims by building forward bases.
Settling near other players or NPC factions will damage relationship with them
- Your leader unit in both the campaign and skirmish maps are referred to as a Commander, instead of a Wizard, Leader, Rogue, Dreadnought, etc.
- Campaign leaders can be visually customized.
Commander selection screen. Secret Techs should also be displayed on the portraits on the left at game release.
- Perks and vices:
- AoW:SM style perks are back for Commanders.
- Three types of perks can be chosen:
- Background: empire bonuses
- Star Union Scholar: researches Secret Techs faster and also gets bonus rewards from pickups and treasure sites.
- Colony Supplement: extra starting bonus, such as basic structures in your settlement.
- Cryopods: extra starting population.
- Energy Cache: extra starting Energy.
- Personal Loadout: starting gear and combat skills for the commander. Sniper for long range, assault for short range, close combat specialist for melee and pilot for a starting vehicle, are the currently known types.
- Vices: penalties of varying intensities to obtain extra perk points in exchange.
- Kleptomaniac: lower your empire's energy income, but also gives your leader a free piece of random starting equipment.
List of perks on the right, during Commander customization.
- House System:
- Triumph Studios have stated that they are unhappy with it and as with everything else at this point, is subject to change or even entire removal. The idea would be to create your own “house” and play under its banner. How this affects the game is completely unknown at this point.
- The Random Map Generator is hooked into all areas of the game, including the campaign for maximum levels of replayability. Core sectors will remain the same for plot reasons, but what you find in between may be different every time you restart the map. What is loaded into these sectors is likely dependent on your difficulty settings.
- “Each campaign has you resettle a single world, which is procedural generated according to your inputs.” <source>
- Similar to previous AoW campaigns, you can choose which of the factions you want to play as at set points within the campaign.
- In an interview we are perhaps given the indication that you can choose which type of map you want to deploy on next, through your choices and the use of the Random Map Generator:
- ‘The Star Union was was so big that there are thousands of worlds to chose from.’
- However it is possible that this is simply referring to a lore reasoning behind skirmish maps.
Modding & Mapping
- Though its not confirmed yet, the devs are pushing to have the Randomly Generated Maps savable for future editing and personal use as scenarios. The hope is that you could take a campaign map and designate which sectors are randomly setup.
- The games uses a 64 bit engine, allowing for a huge array of items to be added to the game, making it easier to mod in new units and even entire races.
- We will be able to craft new tactical combat maps, and partially randomize them too. For example, we can make a fort map and then randomize the locations of the trees and rocks around it, in any area we specify. You can then assign an array of maps to an encounter site and one will be picked at random.
- Modding in new damage channels is not currently supported, and is unlikely at release.
- Both Modding & Mapping tools will be available on launch day.
- The thousands of worlds of the Star Union were connected through a network of wormholes, called the Nexus. This allowed faster than light travel and fast communication between the worlds.
- As the Star Union grew from dozens to thousands of worlds, the Union deployed a governance system at the heart of the Nexus called CORE (short for Conscientious Omnipresent Regency Engine), which gathered and processed data from across the Union. At the start of their term, Emperors and Planetary Governors would be connected to CORE, opening their minds to the immense interstellar dataflow.
- Terratech is a biotech company which did the Empire’s Terraforming and ran scary genetics programs. They left guarded black sites on various worlds where they experimented on people. These have become treasure sites within the game and could contain Secret Technology. Terratech is also embedded in the origins of various post-collapse factions through the enslavement and forceful augmentation they forced upon sentient races, such as the Kir’ko, through painful genetic modification.
- After the Collapse clusters of stars at the heart of the Union ominously disappeared and gravitational storms made travel through the Nexus impossible.
- The story begins rather grim and dark as you emerge from your homeworld to find the Star Union empire you once knew, loooong gone. The game soon evolves into a more mythological sci-fi setting when events unfold and the campaigns will give you the option to create a new Age of Wonders, or plunge the galaxy back into darkness.
- The various races, factions and houses of the game were once close with each other before the fall of the Star Union, but after so many years of isolation, they no longer recognize each other.
- The game begins not long after the hyperspace lanes reopened as the races dash towards the heart of the once burgeoning Star Union space empire.
- The game will feature a fully fledged map of the galaxy, and every campaign and skirmish map has been placed on the Star Map, showing exactly where that map is located.
- The AoW fantasy world of Athla is potentially connected to the AoWP universe and placed on the Star Map, based on an interview with Lennart Sas at PDXCon2018.
- These maps all have emergent story lines providing hints of past events. The overarching story comes in the form of the Campaign mode.
- 64 bits
- Improved renderer:
- Full anti-aliasing support
- Soft shadow support
- Optimized for high res-displays (4K) – Interface scaling
- DirectX 11 (AoW3 uses DirectX9)
- Improved multi core support
The Creator Engine 4.0 uses modified Physical Based Rendering (PBR) to render beautiful visuals!
Gains in visuals between AoW3 and Planetfall
- Empire Tasks are probably kinds of AoW3's Empire Quests or Quests during the campaign
- The Technologist is one such Empire Tasks
- Everything in this article is conjecture and picked up from forum threads, convention attendees, press sites and dev diaries. The game is a long way off and this article is not a clear representation of what the final product will be like.