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News Archive - August 2002

Thurs., August 29, 2002

Welcome Cherub TalonThorn!

I'm very happy to announce that TalonThorn has joined the staff of AoW2H!

Cherub TalonThorn will be working with Angel Bluecollarheaven in the Scenario Designer's Hall, writing new articles about scenario design and event scripts. He will also be reviewing user-made scenarios on a regular basis. TalonThorn already has several articles published, such as his five-part treatise, Map Event Basics.

Stop by this thread to in the Website Announcements forum to say 'Hello' or wish him well!
Wed., August 28, 2002

Well-rounded Review

Age of Wonders II received a very positive review from Well-rounded Entertainment today. There is not rating, but the author was very impressed with the game. However I thought the author dismissed the classic original AoW1 a little easily and too harshly, as AoW1 was very well received and is still popular. Here's a snippet of the review:
And while eye-candy means less in strategy games than other genres, it's worth noting that the spell effects are about as good as you can expect to see in a turn-based strategy. The sounds are nice and sharp too. You'd be hard pressed to find a better looking tile-based, strategy game.

Because the focus of AOW2 is more on capture and conquest than empire building, it has a certain war game feel. Without the empire building aspects of Master of Magic, it's hard to see AOW2 as the true heir to that legacy.

That's irrelevant, though, as Age of Wonders 2 has moved the series from being an "also ran" fantasy strategy clone to becoming a great game in it's own right.
You can read the full review here.
Tues., August 27, 2002

Next Patch 3: It's In There!

As anticipation of the upcoming patch mounts, Forummers continue to wheedle confirmations of fixes out of Triumph's Josh AOW

Ager steveL again brought up the question of resurgnce and Hero level up and was not only assured that it had been fixed, but as an interim workaround drew this sage advice
As noted in other threads, the problem is that after using resurgence, you lose the ability to upgrade the hero normally. Restarting the map should eliminate the problem, as long as the hero has not and does not resurge.

Ager Heretic voiced his concern that Violent Storms and Pestilence clouds are said to cost upkeep but cannot be removed, to which Josh replied
The description is incorrect and has been fixed for the next patch. I've haven't seen evidence of them consuming mana, or always failing to do damage (they have a to-hit roll, so sometimes failing is normal)...

Nor have the staff been idle. Angel Nojd inquired about the problem with Concealment and the Mouse Cursor and elicited a "don't worry, it's fixed. "

And the Quests go on

In the latest edition of the Hall of Wonders RP Digest, after encountering zombies, ogres, skeletons, explosions, vampires, a dragon, bigger explosions, the tests of a god, and more skeletons then you can shake a bone at, Evilguy's Zalanthar Incident has reached the end of Chapter One Still two more to go though so stayed tuned in. Next up: Frostlings!

Meanwhile Kaji's Path of Fury party is about ready to move after some nasty business at the Pony (boy, that place gets a work out) and Beren V and the Keepers are creeping around on the Isle of Burbatak in search of The Dragon Queen's Will. I think. But! Cynon and the LoC team are hanging in there with...

Oh, don't try to understand. Just come read. Or better yet, come join in the fun. Applications for party members and guest players are now being taken.
Mon., August 26, 2002

New Poll Today

We've got a brand new poll for you this morning that will run for two weeks. Today we ask which of the magic sphere campaigns did you like best? You can discuss the new poll topic in this "sticky" thread in the AoW2 General Discussion Forums.

We had a great response of 682 votes for our last poll, which asked what your favorite hero class was. The Paladin edged out the Warrior with 173 votes to 167. In a surprise showing, the Ranger took a strong third place with 131 votes. Bringing up the lower half of the hero classes were the Rogue with 89 votes, the Priest with 62 and the finally the Shaman with 60 votes.

I personally voted for the Priest and was hoping some of the more interesting classes would make a better showing. Perhaps Triumph Studios will implement some ideas to make these classes more appealing.
Fri., August 23, 2002

Next Patch 2: The Sequel

And just in case anyone is wondering when that might be, Josh just added this fuzzy little tidbit in what is rapidly becoming The New Boat Question thread.
I can state with a good degree of certainty what will or will not be in the next patch, since it is nearing completion (a week or two away I'd guess). The farther we go beyond that, the fuzzier my ability to predict things become, especially since I don't make the final decisions. Since we have not officially announced our next project, I think I'll avoid commenting on that. I will say that we are working on SOMETHING. If that something were another Age of Wonders game, there would be very little that would be impossible.

I think that's vague enough.
A week or two? Deliciously vague, Josh.

The Next Patch

Triumph Studios programmer, Josh Farley has poked his head into one or two threads lately. Here are a few updates from the past few days. I've recently received several emails about localized language versions of AoW2. Josh commented in this thread:
We are continuing to create localized versions of AoW2 to sell into more parts of the world, which creates new sales on top of our original markets. When all is said in done, AoW2 will be playable in 10 different languages. I would be quite surprised if AoW2 didn't outsell AoW1 by a large margin, as you would hope for a sequel to do.
Josh talked a little about features in the next patch and why the AI can see concealed/invisible units in this thread:
The AI's ability to see concealed units is unlikely to be changed in a patch. Any new AI system would require far more work and especially testing than is feasible, and releasing an untested system is not an option. Beta Demos, yes... Beta patches, no. Just to keep the thread from being entirely negative... In the next patch, the AI will build Masters' Guilds.
Finally, there has been a lot of debate quite recently about the use of water in AoW2 and the AI's seemingly inability to properly use transport ships to cross bodies of water in scenarios. Josh gave a very clear explanation in this thread:
Water is used as a separator, much like mountains, that only certain units can cross. The usage of oceans and islands is quite limited in the scenarios that came with the game, for obvious reasons. That's the serious answer to why water is in the game... Major AI additions are unlikely to occur in a patch, simply because there do not exist the resources to properly test them. If there is an expansion, the code base would be so different by the time it came out, that it is unlikely to be feasible to graft chunks of the new code back into the old.
You can read more in our AoW2 Forums!

New Poll Monday

We'll be launching a new poll this weekend, so please vote if you haven't already!
Wed., August 21, 2002

Spanish review at Meristation

Ager Santiago gave me the heads-up on this AoW2 review in spanish at Meristation. It's an extensive, nine-page review with lots of screenshots. Meristation gives AoW2 a 9/10! You can check it here.

It's not the file size, it's the bandwidth....

Websites everywhere are grappling for new ways to pay the bills in the post dot-com era. Stardock's Brad Wardell has begun a new series of articles to answer the question "Can websites survive on the Internet?" over at Avault. This is a good read and a realistic look at the Internet economy.
Tues., August 20, 2002

Josh on the Asian Patch question

We've recently heard a rash of complaints about the Asian release of AoW2 distributed by New Era Interactive, specifically in Singapore and Thailand, but presumably in other countries of the region as well. It seems as though the distribution there does not match that of the official US/EU release and the patch to 1.10 does not work properly. Triumph Studios, while not directly involved, has been made aware of this fact and are looking into it. Thriumph's Josh AoW had this to say recently:
We are looking into the issue. I can't make any guarantees, except that I intend to figure out exactly what the issue is, and what solutions there may be...
and added this encouraging note:
I believe we will be able to make a v1.2 patch for the New Era customers, around the same time the other regions get v1.2...
While there's no guarantee, and no word yet on when that patch is to be released, it's worth noting that triumph is concerned about the problem, and hopes to support it's customers who have waited so long to acquire legitimate copies of the game. Hats off to Triumph for this one.

You can read more in a thread here in the Technical Help section of the Forums.


Mon., August 19, 2002

AoW1 Campaign Editor v0.2

This is such an exciting AoW1 news announcement that it deserves to be posted here too. Ager SmurfHero has just released the latest update to his AoW1 Campaign & Graphics Editor. Yes folks, it is now possible for you to string several scenarios together to create your own custom campaigns! He had this to say about the new AoWCGE in this post of the AoW1 Mod Pack forum:it:
"I've just uploaded AoW Campaign & Graphics Editor v0.2. Compared to v0.1.1, you can create and modify campaigns now. I hope you like it. Please share your experiences with it in this forum, so that I know what to improve.

What's also new is that I've made AoWCGE CardWare: if you use it, please send me a postcard. The address is in the help file. Other than that, AoWCGE is completely free (of course).
You can now download the new AoWCGE right here from Age of Wonders Heaven.

LeagueAoW Multiplayer & PBEM Tourney

The LeagueAoW is organizing an AoW2 multiplayer and PBEM tournament to begin on September 1, 2001. You can sign-up for one or both of the competitions. The MP online players will have one week to complete their matches, while the PBEM tourney has a time-cap of 3 weeks to finish the game. Visit the League's ezBoard forum or email Der Waggs, League Admin, for more info and to sign-up!

4500 Downloads; Only 7 Reviews

In just 8 days there have been 4500+ files downloaded from our new Downloads Central! Unfortunately, only seven reviews have been posted. Reviewing maps takes just a few minutes of your time and is an important service to the AoW community. It provides valuable feedback for the author and helps other people in deciding which files they'd like to download a map and invest their time into playing it. The more we help authors create better maps, the more fun we'll have playing them! Click here here for some tips on reviewing scenarios.
Sun., August 18, 2002

New Scenario Design Article - Map Event Basics

Talon-Thorn has written up an excellent article on how to start making your own map event scripts. The article, Map Event Basics, patiently explains in detail each component on the "Events" Tab in the AOW2 Editor and clarifies a lot of what might perplex the mapmaker at first. There are also a lot of useful tips and shortcuts contained in the article. A recommended read for anyone new to scenario design and event scripting. Excellent work, Talon-Thorn! Read it here.

Have fun and happy mapmaking!
Fri., August 16, 2002

Gamespot Australia Review

Gamespot Australia has reviewed AoW2, giving it an 8.6/10. They agree with the rest of the world that AoW2 is the best turn-based strategy game currently on the market:
Turn-based strategy has weathered the storm of the RTS craze. While fewer in number these days, traditional strategy games for the PC offer sophisticated graphics and sound, refined upgrade paths and the ever-popular thrills of epic combat. Turn-based play gives the player precise control over all available resources, and lets one savor each victory at a comfortable pace. Age of Wonders II: The Wizard's throne is a polished release that keeps pace with the latest trends while still running on modest hardware.
You can read the full review here.
Thurs., August 15, 2002

AOW2H Wizards Ladder Launches

I am extremely excited to announce the launch of the AOW2H Wizards Ladder!

The AOW2H Wizards Ladder is an ongoing competitive system for Age of Wonders II: The Wizard's Throne. Participants seek out and challenge other ladder players to online games. The winners of each game earn ladder points, while the losers lose ladder points. The ladder is sorted daily, and players move up or down the ranks depending on whether they have won or lost. The goal is to work your way to the top of the ladder where you may challenge the reigning champion to a duel.

For more information and to join the ladder, please visit the AOW2H Wizards Ladder thread.
Wed., August 14, 2002

Five New Scenarios

The Scenario Downloads section has five new maps for you to play, including the two scenarios that originally were only available on the AoW2 pre-order bonus disk: Death Swamp and The Marching Desert.

There have been 857 files downloaded in the short two and half days the new Downloads section has been open! If you've played a scenario, please take a few moments to post a Comment or write a more detailed Rated Review about the scenario. Be sure you check our Scenario Review Guide for tips and ideas on writing a good review.
Tues., August 13, 2002

Forums Back Online

Our forums are back up, thanks for your patience!

Forums Temporarily Down

Our forums will temporarily be down while we complete Phase II of our move to a new, faster server. We apologize for the inconvenience. While you're waiting, check out some of the user-created scenarios available in our new Downloads section!
Mon., August 12, 2002

Downloads Section Now Open

Check out our newly redesigned automated Downloads section! A brand new interface coded by Angel Zen now allows you to upload thumbnail images of your scenario's mini-map, along with a host of other new features! Users will also be able to edit and update their own file submissions without having to email their new versions to the downloads administrator.

Please note we are still tweaking the "User Comments/Ratings," "View Authors," and "User Self-Edit" links, so those features may be intermittently disabled while we read: Angel Zen polish up the code.

Enjoy the new Downloads section and submit your custom-created scenario, stat chart or wallpapers today! Find a bug or have a suggestion? Send us your feedback.

AoW2 only $15 at Frys

We have reports of Frys Electronics stores carrying AoW2 for only $15.00! You can find Frys in California, Texas, Oregon and Arizona. Click here for locations and maps.
Sun., August 11, 2002

To Bug or not to Bug...

Discussion continues on the latest patch to AoW2 and on what is does and does not address. Angel Nojd has posted a list of the known changes, and issued a call for additions in the General Discussion Forum.

On the subject of the AI using ships, Triumph Developer Josh AoW had this to say:
Well, the AI not being able to use to use boats is a known issue... but is unlikely to be addressed before an expansion.

If you're making a map, I would not suggest depending on the AI to make use of boats...
The long-awaited Random Map Generator likewise remains the subject of a great deal of discussion, but the consensus seems to be that a poorly done RMG would do little to enhance the game if it came at the expense of other features. Given the initial furor over the reported faults in the Map Editor itself, one can easily understand Triumph's decision to withhold a potentially buggy RMG. Like the new "boat question" this one seems destined to await an expansion at the least.

There is also a list of other specific items of concern in the "Bugs not fixed" thread, many of which Josh notes have been already adressed or noted for the next patch. Please remember though that merely because sometihng does not work as you might like it to does not make it a bug. If you note something which does not seem to behave as documented or which unexpectedly behaves differently then it did before then by all means report it, but there is a separate Suggestions Forum which the devs also monitor.
Sat., August 10, 2002

What's New In The Scenario Design's Hall?

For those of you who are interested in designing new maps for AOW2, be sure to check out the Scenario Designer's Hall for map making tips and how to's.

I'd like to highlight two featured articles:

1) Talon Thorn's Editor Notes
Talon Thorn demostrates a few things you can do to make your maps look more realistic and interesting, such as making a mountain look misty, or enhancing the magical appearance of your power nodes.

2) Interview with Der Waggs, lead administrator of League AOW
Der Waggs tells us how he playtests and selects maps for league tournament games, as well as point out important considerations when making a map for league games.

Also, remember check out our growing Event Scripts Resource Database.

Thurs., August 8, 2002

Mystical Score

AoW2's amazing musical score was authored by long-time game composer Mason B. Fisher, of Wirehaired Productions. Mr. Fisher has apparently been a lurker on our forums for quite a while now! I was very happy to receive a surprise email from him the other day with a nice compliment about our AoW2 Music section.

He has just now registered on our forum as The Wirehaired, so please give him a warm, HG welcome in this thread in the Website Comments & Announcements forum; feel free to ask him about his work on AoW2 or anything else on your mind.

Secret Areas

Missed this one from a few days ago. Programmer Josh Farley offered a little info about some of the inside jokes and easter eggs in the game. Here, Josh is talking about the secret treasure area in the 3rd Water Sphere campaign scenario:
"He he, some of the more obscure events in the game were my handiwork, including this one. I don't have the patience to craft a beautiful landscape with balanced armies and whatnot, but I have the sadistic mind to make up some pretty mean events... Most of the ones I did for AoW2 were toned down somewhat, because my original ideas would rarely be completed."
Read the entire thread: Water 3 Secret Area (spoiler?).
Mon., August 5, 2002

Welcome To A New Age!

Thanks for visiting this brand new cloud in Heaven! We'll be doing our very best to keep you all up to date with the latest information from Triumph Studio's Age of Wonders 2: The Wizard's Throne!

It's been a long time coming, and we appreciate your patience! We hope you'll find the extra wait well worth it! This new slice of Heaven will offer everything you've come to expect and enjoy from HeavenGames, such as downloads, polls, game info, forums and strategy resources.

Please take a few minutes and have a poke around the place and you'll stumble across some very cool areas! We have tons of gameplay resources such as the Units and Magic Spells listings in our extensive Game Info section courtesy of Angel Nojd with a little help from Angel Cay and myself!). Map editors will be happy to learn Angel Bluecollarheaven has returned with the AoW2 Scenario Designer's Hall in our Library section!

Be sure to take a few seconds to vote in our Poll and then stop by the forums to discuss
There is just a little grey in this new cloud though. Our new automated downloads section is not quite ready yet, but we do have a temporary Downloads section where you can submit new scenarios and download new maps.

Give us some feedback on the new site in the Forums, where you can also discuss gameplay strategy, using the scenario editor, find a PBEM game, or participate in our role playing forums!

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