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News Archive - March 2003

Sun., March 30, 2003

Some things to ponder..

Between the War in Iraq and the spreading SARS threat dominating people's attention, and the lack of any real developments from Triumph about the upcoming Shadow Magic product, there's not been a lot of discussion or real news to report lately in the AoW world. Still, there have been a few threads started that might be interesting.

Ager Whiteleaf started a thread here asking about the possibility of of adding some sort of Shops in the forthcoming game. Something similar was mentioned long ago, ie the idea of Artifact Foundries in the Wizard's tower where items such as armor or weapons could be created. Other possibilities would be limited use spells or potions. What's your opinion? Would such elements enhance the game, or would carrying around inventories simply add to feeling some people have that Heroes [are] too Powerful?

As always of course that is no threads asking threads asking/stating opinions about which are the best or worse race or units, and whether or not the game is totally "balanced." Clearly, the the various units and races are not identical, but is this lack of "balance" a good thing or a bad thing? As relative newcomer to the forum PrivacyLost points out
One of the things I've noticed over the years about game players is that most of us have different playing styles. Some people like to do things one way, others like to do things another. This is why you get so much complaining about things being unbalanced. ... Some of the races definately appear weaker on the surface but they have hidden strengths that give them a real chance. But mostly your never really stuck with one particular race in a game. You can always take cities of other races and utilize them very effectively.
Not everyone agrees however. Many players prefer to play using only units of their "chosen" race to the exclusion of all others. So the question then is, what is the more appropriate model of the game - one in which your goal is to build a coalition of forces, or one in which your goal is to assert the ascendency of a given race? The diplomatic model and non-race specific Wizards would seem to support the former, yet the storyline of the campaign clearly alludes to the latter. That unlike many 4X games, this one can be played either way to some is a strength of it's design, to others it's a weakness. What's your feeling?

Somewhat relatedly, what is your feeling on the relative importance to the gameplay of strategic movement and management of an army, versus the role-playing aspects of individual hero development. What effect does this have on the importance of the Wizard/Leader in the game. Again, AoW2 attempts to bridge a gap between party-based dungeon quest type games games and traditional simulation based war games. How well do you feel it succeeds at this, and is this a good idea or a bad one?

Just some ideas that might be worth discussing while we're waiting for Wazzz fingers to grow back. Feel free to jump in on any thread or start a new one.
Sun., March 9, 2003

Scenario Design Hall: King David's Map Techniques

Forummer King David has submitted an article with a gallery of pics from his map creations. His article contains some very neat tricks and some excellent ideas. Check it out here.
Thurs., March 6, 2003

Look! Behind you! RayB!

The much esteemed writer Ray Bingham, aka RayB AoW, aka Ham the Halfling has graced our forums with a few comments on the upcoming AOW Shadow Magic. While he can't say much, citing his NDA [Non Disclosure Agreement] for those who were concerned whether the new product - whatever it is - would contain a requisite dose his impish goodness, he informs us that he has, indeed, been hard at work on it. In the hot AoW 2 Add ON? topic he popped in to say
I'm flattered that a few people asked about me. I actually wasn't going to do this one, but was going to work on a novel instead, but the guy that was kinda fell through, so I am doing the story stuff now. It's a great project, and no, you won't have to have bought AoW2 in order to play it, or anything like that, but there's so much more content... well... anyhow anyone who's played 2 will be in hog heaven... (imo...)

Imo, this one's a real tribute game to the fans who've stuck with it and played both games. But that's just my opinion... who knows... I am probably treading all over my NDA so I'll shut up about everything else before Lennart gets out a big stick and starts whacking me...

I just wanted to say HI. Most of the story work was framed when I came on so I really couldn't give any input about the "Darkness" of the project, but with a name like AoW: Shadow Magic, you can probably guess it's not a prancing love story with Puck the playful Satyr and his Nymphs...
*sigh* that will disappoint some forummers no doubt. Well, maybe at least we'll get new artwork then. Hmmm... nymphs....

Rumors Swirl Around "Shadow Magic"

The comments about Triumph Studio's next project are coming fast and furious ever since knowledge of its new title, Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic, surfaced recently at GameStop. Is it an expansion pack? A console title? A stand-alone product? Agers have not been able to squeeze too much info out of the development team on the forums, but programmer Josh Farley recently had this to say about it:
    "We're not working on a console title. An announcement should occur soon (there's that word again), you guys will probably see it before I know exactly when. At that point, feel free to flood me with more specific questions. Until then, I'll just say that "true expansions" (small upgrades that require the original title) are becoming rare, and restricted to only major blockbuster titles, because of heavy competition, and restricted shelf space (in other words, your local store would much rather use their space to stock a $40 game they can sell to anyone, than a $20 game that only a smaller subset of their customers can buy).

    Many companies are and will be making more substantial projects (closer to a sequel than to an add-on of a few units and maps) than is common in an expansion, and releasing them as standalone titles. Of course, that's just my editorial on the business as a whole, and doesn't necessarily relate to what we're doing at all..."
Interesting stuff! My money is on a stand-alone, pseudo sequel to AoW2; using the same engine but with new content and a different storyline. You can try your hand at twisting the dev's arm in our AoW2 General Discussion forum!
Mon., March 3, 2003

AoW - Shadow Magic? Hmmm....

There's been considerable buzz about Triuumph's next offering, ever since forummer RigelOne found and posted this pre-release order link for Age of Wonders Shadow Magic. Developer Josh Aow has as always declined to provide much tangilble information beyond stating
By examining the title, release date, and price, you can probably decipher exactly what this project is. And that's all I'm saying right now.
although to sooth a few fears that popped up in the discussion he did later add
We'll be able to talk more openly... soon.

Until then, most of you are on the right track in regards to what we're up to...

No, not an RTS. No, not a card game.

Read the entire thread here in the AoW2 General Discussions Forum.

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