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DwigMod 4.0

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Dwiggs The following is an excerpt from the DwigMod 4.0 documentation, explaining what DM4 changes and why. If you're already familiar with DwigMod and just want to know what's changed since the last version, please check out the forums or the documentation files included in DM4 - there's a LOT of new in-depth documentation, for old and new players alike.


Thank you for taking the time to try out DwigMod 4.0! This mod for Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic is far more than a simple set of new units, or a tweaking of balance ssues. Countless hours of development and playtesting have gone into this mod (hereinafter referred to as DM4), and hopefully, the results will speak for themselves.

The overall goal of DM4 is to develop AoW:SM to its fullest potential, in terms of depth, replayability, and fun factor (but to do so while maintaining the identity and structure of the game itself). DM4's approach is to do this by fleshing out those parts of the game that are overshadowed due to homogeneity or power level (such as the similarities between and the low viability of many low-level units), shallow returns (such as the lack of racial priests/settlers that can even move over their race's terrain), or the lack of supporting game mechanics (such as the uselessness of protections).

Many changes and new features have been implemented with this goal in mind, from the obvious to the subtle. While by no means comprehensive, here is a list of some of the "big picture" changes that DM4 includes:

- City development is deeper.
Cities grow more slowly and building availability is restricted by city size; infrastructure is much more important in DM4, as different buildings provide various benefits, such as trade (gold) and growth bonuses. A well-populated, strongly developed city is much more valuable than a small, undeveloped city, steering gameplay towards an approach closer to the original Age of Wonders.

- Heroes are stronger and more unique.
Hero statistics, as well as the skills available as they level, are defined strongly by race as well as class; many powerful skills are available to a hero with the right prerequisites. Warriors develop powerful combat abilities such as double strike and physical protection; Paladins defend their ground with a variety of special strikes and protections; Rangers travel over and hide in various terrain while developing powerful ranged abilities; etc. Each hero also starts with at least one unique talent, a skill that s/he could not normally possess given his or her race/class combination.

- All units have been redesigned.
Strong emphasis has been placed on bringing out the strengths and weaknesses of each particular race, and in developing a strategy/counter-strategy approach to unit selection so as to discourage the phenomenon of "single unit massing". Care has been taken to ensure that units across all four levels retain their usefulness. Summons have been modified as well to fit within the overall power level (and to spice up the more useless ones). New units have been added, including racial priests and a selection of naval units.

- Exploration and discovery are deeper.
A wide selection of completely new units are available in DM4, but rather than adding them to existing races without regard for balance, these units have been distributed elsewhere in the game to be discovered, most often in overland recruitment structures. Artifacts have been overhauled to make item rarity and power levels more logical, and to throw some unique twists into the system.

- Spells have been redesigned.
Many spells that were previously overlooked have become quite potent in DM4. Higher level spells are now more valuable and worth the research/sphere investment; many of the overland and domain spells are especially potent under DM4's mechanics.

- Abilities have been altered... enhance certain game mechanics and to adjust to DM4's overall power level. Where possible, protections have been made more desirable by reevaluating various spells and attacks and making single-element attacks more common. DM4 of course makes use of the Gas Breath, Lightning Bolts, Shoot Black Javelin, and Entangle Strike abilities that were unused in normal Shadow Magic.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more subtle changes in DM4, but they all exist only to serve the "big picture" goal - to flesh out the "emptier" corners of Shadow Magic, opening up new strategies and avenues of discovery, making Shadow Magic into the game that it could have been. DM4 isn't just a collection of spontaneous, largely untested changes that "sounded good"; the mod has been playtested to death and back, and it's been played that much simply because we enjoy playing it that much. :) It's my sincere hope that you derive the same pleasure from our efforts. Enjoy the mod, folks. :)
AuthorReviews   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
Useless to say much.
Absolute Pefectly done!
Rating: 5
As good as lighthawk mod, wich means, its excelent also.

Love those lvl 1 units:)
While I'm actually waiting to start a Dwigg mod games as I write this, I'll try to give prospective downloaders an idea of why this mod is so good, and popular.

As with the original Dwigg mod, lower level units now count for something! They're much more than fodder, but they've also been balanced far more than in the original mod. This means that early battles are more fun, not simply scout wars.

Magic is also different: it's more meaningful in that spells (especially enchantments) aren't so easy to get. Practically, this means that you must make tactical decisions about what units you want to use your magic on, rather than simply throwing cheap enchantments on everything. The starting spell books is also fair, now, and gives every player a decent spell to start with.

Heroes are also different. Different hero classes are now quite distinct from each other. A "priest" feels like a priest because he casts spells, while a warrior feels like a warrior because he get's massive melee upgrades. As with many of the changes, the new hero system makes for a richer, more varied game.

Races are also more distinct. Goblins are fast growers and extraordinarily cheap, but also relatively weak in combat, while Dwarves are hardy and slow. This many not sound different than the original game, but differences are more meaingful and distinct now, which enhances the feel of the game.

Additionally, there are a slew of new units. Since they are recoloured, you need not fear a huge download. However, they are well done and add some spice to the game. Some of them can only be gotten through quests or structures, which makes them precious and far more fun to play.

This mod makes for a far different game, one that I, and many others, feel is far deeper and compelling than the original rule set. Give this mod a couple games and I believe you'll be hooked. I am.

Many thanks to Dwiggs and all others who made this mod so much fun.



[Edited on 10/28/04 @ 10:27 PM]

S BattleAxe
Rating: 5
This mod has brought new life into the game for me, it is quite possible the best thing to happen to the AoW series sincie AoW:SM.
Rating: 5

Additional Comments:

I found this Mod extremely well done and thought out. The strategy of Game-Play alters realisticly, and the new Units add that extra needed spice.

I will be using this Mod as my 'Standard' version of Game-Play now, excluding PBEM's.

Well done with this.

Rating: 4
(Insert Rating analysis here)

Additional Comments:
I agree with everything that has been said but there are a few sloppy inconsistencies with this mod.

Most of the new units or heroes don't have descriptions and the ones that do such as Ashlinn for instance use the old unit or hero description.

Apart from that the mod has been very well done and thought out. All units are now useful, city infrastructure is better paced, and I particularly like the fact that the hero classes are very different from one another.
Rating: 5
(Insert Rating analysis here)

Additional Comments:
Other than some maps, this is by far the most interesting download add-on to Shadow Magic that I have tried.

I'm still exploring through several games (mostly PBeM) the different aspects of this mod, but it makes gameplay fresh and opens up new possibilities.

Top marks well deserved. Well done.

Rating: 5
(Insert Rating analysis here)

Additional Comments:
this mod has breathed more life into this game than any one other single scenario or mod

even though online play reform is a big goal, it's also great for sp experience as well

awesome job! hope there's more!
I have enjoyed using this mod. I have only used Dwigmod4 for single player games. I think that this mod definitely improves mana balance by about 66% over the vanilla ruleset. I tend to play mostly lg or xlg maps with shadowland and underground. I usually use the RMG with all settings set to random. I usually choose advanced options to disable surrender.

Many thanks to Dwigs and all Dwigmod contributors.

[Edited on 02/18/05 @ 09:01 PM]

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