July 2002 Archives

July 31, 2002 Posted @ 3:29 PM | Angel Draco
Average Damage Formula
One of the 'hot' issues addressed in the new v1.10 patch was the amount of damage a unit did. Many people felt that all too often, powerful creatures did only 1-2 points of damage per strike. After the patch, units now typically inflict an "average" amount of damage, with minimum and maximum damage amounts a rarity. Programmer Josh Farley has several posts in this thread explaining the new damage calculation formula:
"There is no "formula" exactly, since the code generates a table and rolls randomly within it. The basic gist is that the random numbers form a bell curve where the min/max are exactly 1/2 as likely as the average value. BTW, it should be noted that this change has absolutely no effect on the actual value of different units, since the average damage (median) of any attack in the game was totally unchanged. In v1.00 it was MaxDAM/2 , and in v1.10 it is MaxDAM/2. The changes simply reduce the number of results that fall in the extremes."
Josh Farley also has some comments in this excellent discussion about balancing the Haste spell and flying units:
"Note that Healing Showers will give 5hp as often as 3, and 4hp most often of all, so it's value becomes greater than Healing if you can target 2 units with it. This seems fair to me. Geyser is still quite powerful. It always hits. That's a very nice feature, and boosts it's average damage a great deal. We're looking at a few balance tweaks for v1.20 (ahem, haste, ahem), but I don't see much reason to mess with either of these."
There are a lot of great discussions going on right now about changes instituted in the new v1.10 patch. Toss in your two cents!

July 30, 2002 Posted @ 7:40 AM | Angel Bluecollarheaven
AOW2 Review At The Wargamer
Another review at The Wargamer. There is no score, but the author has high praise for the game. A wonderfully thorough review!
    Age of Wonders II adds many features to the original game but these features are not merely chrome thrown into the pot. Magic, cities, resources and combat are woven into a comprehensive thread that demands equal attention to all four elements. In some systems, so many balls in the air could lead to micromanagement nightmares. So skillfully are they intertwined that players are absorbed and challenged, instead of being drained. To say that this game begs for "one more turn" is an understatement; it begs for "one more week." - John Cobb

Read the detailed review here.

July 30, 2002 Posted @ 12:01 AM | Angel Draco
European Patch Released
The European patch has now been released for AoW2. You can grab it from Take2 right here. Please Note! This patch is incompatible with the Polish version of Age of Wonders 2. If you have the Polish version of the game DO NOT use this patch as it will break the game.

July 29, 2002 Posted @ 1:49 PM | Angel Draco
Better Late, Than Never....
I'm pleased to announce my first (and probably only) new review of the classic original, Age of Wonders. Just-RPG has recently posted its review of AoW giving it a stunning A-, and yes, there are some screenshots!
Consider for a moment that the role-playing genre, turn-based strategy genre, and The Lord of the Rings series by Tolkien were thrown into a blender set on puree. What would come of this unusual recipe? The resulting amalgam would be Age of Wonders, and it would be (and is) superb. Why? Age of Wonders manages to mix an absorbing plot (rare in the strategy genre), well-paced and entertaining gameplay, and almost limitless replay value into an admirable product that should be greatly considered by all fans of either the RPG or turn-based strategy genre.
I must admit I found this review of my favorite game of all-time refreshing and it's a strong statement about how good the game still is after 3 years of near-constant play. A true classic. You can read the full-review here!

July 28, 2002 Posted @ 4:35 PM | Angel Draco
AoW2 - Postmortem
Lead designer Lennart Sas reflects on the highs and lows of the development process of Age of Wonders 2: The Wizard's Throne in a new article, Age of Wonders II: Postmortem, posted at Gamespy. Looks like there is some good news for the "random map cultists" out there:
"Just like when AoW was released, we have gone back to the fan forums [for what they'd like to see improved]. Work on the random scenario generator has been picked up again, due to threats from the "Random Map Cult." Unless the game is outsold by Panty Raider 2: The Quickening, it is unlikely that this second incarnation in the series will be the last.
You can read the full two-page article here.

July 28, 2002 Posted @ 3:42 AM | Angel Bluecollarheaven
The Unicorn's Rest Site Is Now Opened! (Guild and Roleplaying Information Site)
Good news for those of you who are interested in role playing in the Age of Wonders universe. I am please to announce that Bethgael's site The Unicorn's Rest - Guild Information is now officially opened. The site contains information about the exisiting guilds and characters. You might like to browse the libraries for interesting read-ups on the characters as well as to see what all the past roleplaying on the boards have produced. The site also contains friendly advice and tips for newbies who would like to join in the fun, and you don't have to join a guild to do so. If you have any questions regarding roleplaying on the forums or about the guilds feel free to post at The Unicorn's Rest Forum. If you like to post your stories or start roleplaying there, you are welcomed to do so as well.

Take note, my friends, that there are two main places (the busiest) for you to roleplay at: The Lifeline Guild Forum and our ownAoWH Hall of Wonders Forum. If you like to play it extreme, such as using multiple characters, The Lifeline Guild Forum allows you to have multiple accounts for playing each of your own characters. Have fun.

July 26, 2002 Posted @ 10:29 PM | ChowGuy
Patch Version 1.10 [U.S.] Released
Triumph Studios' Josh AoW announced the long await Aow2 Vsion 1.10 patch has been released for the U.S. version only International version to follow shortly. His post, "Patchy Time" can be found in the AoW2 General Discussion Forum. Any cooment or questions about the patch should be posted there as well.

The official link given for the download is the distibtor's main site at http://www.ageofwonders2.com
and the download page itself can be accessesed via this Direct Link.

There is a readme file, and a long list of changes. The patch itsel is a 7.2MB exe file that can be installed from any directory.

Among the changes:

A New "Beginner" Difficulty setting has been added to the Campaign.

Buttons are now provided to display the Scenario Objectives, and to Surrender [Lose] a Custom or Campaign Scenario.

The Tutorial Map has been changed to make the "Leave Merlin at Home" message clearer.

The Campaign maps Fire1 [Initiation], Water1 [Initiation], and Life3 [Special] have been updated to correct small problems.

The Custom Maps Centralaeon, Broken Circle, Passion & Poison, Belendor's Expedition, and Asteroid on Asrakan have been updated, and a new map Let Sleeping Gods Lie has been added.

July 26, 2002 Posted @ 1:28 PM | Angel Draco
4/5 Stars from Avault
Age of Wonders 2 received 4 out of 5 stars in a recent review from the Adrenalin Vault! Reviewer Gavin Carter heaped tons of praise upon AoW2 in his three-page review. Here's how he sums up the "Difficulty/Intelligence" rating:
"The A.I. of Age of Wonders II is some of the most aggressive I've ever squared off against in a strategy game. Directly from the start, it's not content to just sit and wait for its defeat. It will toss armies at you from the beginning of the mission. You can also see the effects of the A.I.'s advancement as the match wears on. Later, the computer will begin dumping more and more of its mana into bigger and bigger magically summoned creatures. The net effect is that Age of Wonders II is a challenge from the very beginning. It's unfortunate that there are no difficulty settings, as newcomers to the genre may well find it far too difficult for their tastes."
You can read the full review here.

July 24, 2002 Posted @ 6:17 PM | Angel Draco
Hints About The Patch
There have been several hints dropped over the past few days about what will be added/changed in the forthcoming v1.10 patch for AoW2. Here area few confirmed changes so far:

  • Walled Siege AI has been improved for the patch (full thread).
  • Arnout on why the Draconian Flyer is more expensive and the Haste spell has more upkeep (full thread):
    The Draconian flyer has one of the best stats for a 3rd level flying units. In combination with the race base sphere Air, the flyer be comes deadly, especially a whole stack. This tactic: flyer and air sphere haste and explorer skill outbalances the multiplayer game. That is why we tweaked the flyer and the spell.
  • Josh on game features vs. editor enhancements making it into the patch (full thread):
    Seriously, we've seen these suggestions, and while I don't think any of them made it into the v1.10 patch, it doesn't hurt to keep tossing the ideas around, as there may yet be more work done on this AoW thingy before we're through... btw, editor options are much more likely to be considered than big chunks of additional engine work... just in case you wanna focus your energies.

  • July 22, 2002 Posted @ 3:18 AM | Angel Draco
    A Gone Gold "Must Have"
    Age of Wonders 2 just began what is sure to be an impressive run on Gone Gold's "Now Playing" list, and has been awarded GG's "Must Have" award. The original AoW1 enjoyed an extremely long run on GG's "Now Playing" list in 1999 and won its "Game of the Year" award.

    July 19, 2002 Posted @ 2:50 AM | Angel Draco
    Building a Community Website - Part V
    Part V of the article series Building a Community Website has been posted, along with a new, less fuzzy picture! In Part V, I go over some "behind the scenes" issues of how we generated all our statisical content, and the file structure for a large site with multiple access users. Of course, the final treat is seeing the very last set of concept images that would evolve into the new AoW2 Heaven site!

    July 17, 2002 Posted @ 6:04 PM | ChowGuy
    What a night!
    For those who aren't yet aware, Cherub Blackmane has started a new role-playing thread in the Hall of Wonders for new and old players alike. Already an impressive cast has joined in, some new and a bit shaky, others old hands. All of course are welcome, and the old hands are happilly teaching the newwer ones.

    The initial plot centers around a quest for a legendary item, the Stone of Polonius, and is led by Silent Hawk [Blackmane] - a monk of a secretive order who preach Enlightenment. Joining him, or considering it, are a wide range of characters from thieves and assassins to a knight paladin, a renegade seeress turned warrior, and a druid who's just trying to sort the whole thing out.

    It's still the first night, the tale is just getting started, and already we've had death, robbery, and a broken skylight. And those are the nice things. Several sub-plots are swirling around that may end up spinning off into threads of their own. Hopefully this will grow into a fully fleshed world where many such stories can be played out, rather then just this one.

    The ground rules are flexible, and though influenced by AoW and AoW2, the story itself is distinct from that story line, and is not neccessarily even bound to the Blessed Continent or it's world. It should all prove very interesting for anyone who enjoys RP, whether as a participant or merely a lurker reading along. So if you count yourself among that number, by all means journey to the Hall and "Come, Let us adore him"

    July 17, 2002 Posted @ 3:08 AM | Angel Draco
    Building a Community Website - Part IV
    Part IV of our article series Building a Community Website has been posted, along with a new, less fuzzy picture! The thread has now received over 1000 page views since Part I was posted last Wednesday. Thanks for your enthusiasm for AoW2H; it's going to be a fantastic AoW2 resource!

    Today's Part IV explains how we implemented a "unique but unified" HeavenGames' look to the site, and takes you through the design process of the site's masthead. Amazing how one little graphic okay, it's very big could be so much trouble?

    Look for Part V tomorrow; the final installment!

    July 15, 2002 Posted @ 11:12 AM | Angel Draco
    First Sting for AoW2
    I guess it was too good to last; a string of glowing reviews is just asking for a little nip in the bud. Well, it just came from Game- Revolution.com, who gave AoW2 a sharp B- in its recent review. The Duke found AoW2 to be a mere clone of Heroes of Might and Magic, with a clumsy interface, bland music and so-so graphics. He also didn't seem to understand how to access a little menu called Game Options to turn off "auto movement" for troops. After you read the full review here, why don't you let The Duke know just what you think of his taste in games.

    July 12, 2002 Posted @ 5:02 AM | Angel Draco
    Building a Community Website - Part III
    Another installment of our article series Building a Community Website has been posted, along with a new, less fuzzy picture! The thread has received 500 page views since Part I was posted on Wednesday, so I hope you're enjoying it and that you're also having fun deciphering the image based upon information revealed in the article series. Today's Part III takes a short look back at the evolution of HeavenGames website design and how we ended up with the design standard we employ today. Some color experiments are also displayed, along with several ill-fated design ideas.

    July 11, 2002 Posted @ 4:52 PM | Angel Draco
    Patch on the Horizon?
    Will the first patch be released soon? Josh dropped us a clue today when he responded to a list of bugs discovered by Angel Nojd:
    Noted, thanks. Not sure if any bugs listed would make the patch... not that it's almost done or anything...
    Josh also commented on how the Healing spell will be changed in the patch:
    The cost of the Healing spell has been increased for the patch.
    Discuss how changes like this will affect your gameplay strategy in the forums, and keep your eyes peeled for more clues about the patch!

    July 11, 2002 Posted @ 1:51 PM | Angel Draco
    Building a Community Website - Part II
    Part II of the article series, Building a Community Website has been posted, and the AoW2H image has become a tad more clear today as well! Today's segment looks at browser-related design issues and making the site fit within varying resolution sizes, particularly the navigation bars. You can check it out here!

    July 10, 2002 Posted @ 2:41 AM | Angel Draco
    Building AoW2 Heaven
    Ever wonder what goes into building a large community web site for a game? Well then, follow along with me in the Website Comments and Announcements forum as I explain the earliest stages of designing the soon-to-be-launched Age of Wonders 2 Heaven community site. Check that forum for regular updates as I take you though the design process.

    July 9, 2002 Posted @ 2:49 PM | ChowGuy
    Hints & Ttips Piling Up
    Even as more and more people discover the wonderful world of AoW, we are beginning to see strategy reports and in depth discussion on the campaign scenarios from the "old hands" in the Gameplay and Strategy forum. The first few, Fire and Water, in particular have been quite well analyzed and you can find hints and complaints in these threads among others

    Help in First Campaign Mission
    Small question about fire 2 mission
    Water Campaign's First Mission
    Water Mastery Phase (2nd)

    Warning: these threads may contain "spoilers." If you have not yet tried these missions you may not wish to read them. If you have tried and are having difficulty you may find useful hints there, though they are by no means all guaranteed to be good ones. If you've conquered them already and wish to share your own ideas, by all means come join the discussion.

    Meanwhile, players have been finding and reporting on little known features. Some of these the devs have said are intentional and simply undocumented, others seem to be unexpected surprises. One of the intentional ones which has now been confirmed by Josh AoW is the ability to cast spells in allies' domains as well as your own. If you find any such features please feel free to share them, and if you're not sure they're intentional or bugs, then ask.

    July 9, 2002 Posted @ 1:38 PM | Angel Draco
    Armchair Empire Gives AoW2 8.2/10
    Age of Wonders 2: The Wizard's Throne scored an 8.2/10 from Armchair Empire's recent review. Sounds like the reviewer joined the ranks of many new AoW2 players who found the tutorial rather difficult.
    Age of Wonders II: The Wizardís Throne (AoW2) almost got uninstalled 30 minutes after being installed. My motive: I got killed 10 minutes into the tutorial. Mission failed. Game Over. A digital equivalent to a slap in the face or kick in the crotch. After seriously considering kicking the game back and sending it to oblivion, I decided to press on and trounce AoW2 Ė or at the very least establish Iím more than an inept fool that canít get passed the first ten minutes.
    I found this review to be quite funny and enjoyed the author's candor. You can read the full review here.

    July 8, 2002 Posted @ 1:08 AM | Angel Draco
    GameSpot's PC Game of the Month
    Each month the editors of GameSpot.com, the online gaming magazine, highlight what they consider to be the best PC games released every month. Age of Wonders II: The Wizard's Throne snagged Second Place honors for the month of June 2002, coming in right behind BioWare's long-awaited RPG, Neverwinter Nights. Curiously, the summary states AoW2 has a random map generator. Don't worry, I already emailed Gamespot about the oversight.

    July 6, 2002 Posted @ 2:41 PM | Angel Draco
    Gameplay Analysis & Water Sphere Campaign Help
    Now that many people have been able to play AoW2 for a few weeks, we're beginning to see some in-depth analysis of various gameplay features, units and spells. The developers have offered their two-cents on some of the more interesting discussions. Hit the links below to visit the various threads and read all of the comments.

    Nordramor on the Healing Showers spell.
    "In terms of bang-for-your-buck, Healing is just phenomenal. You can double-cast it with only 20cps, and since it's reactive, you can 'save' it until the end of your turn, heal up your units, and hit next turn.

    I don't think the Healing spell needs to be eliminated, but it's cost efficiency needs some tweaking. How about increasing it's casting cost to 11 CP? This would allow Channelers to double-cast it but prevent it from being used excessively each turn."
    SikBok on the upkeep cost of low-level units:
    "Sorry, the upkeep will be unchanged in the patch. It would wreak havoc on the AI settings. Probably resulting in the AI using masses of low-level units in attacks. Would you enjoy being attacked by 4 stacks of 8 zombies?"
    Josh Farley clears up some questions regarding the "Protection" ability vs. special combat effects in this interesting discussion:
    "Protection does just affect damage, so RES [Resistance] is what's most important in avoiding negative side-effects [like Vertigo]."
    And finally, for those of us still struggling through the Water Sphere campaign missions, RayB offers up his winning strategies:
    "First, I upgraded my main city as fast as I could, while the second city I simply built up its population as quickly as I could, thus it's gold returns were better. I did that diplomacy trick too, with Marinus and managed to get a number of nodes and farms too. I needed gold because I wanted Leprechauns. I mean, if you're gonna play Halflings, you have to have armies of Leprechauns, just for the Sheer enjoyment, if not for any other reason.

    Leprechauns are also siege machine killers, and since the AI builds tons of catapults and ballistae, these little guys are wonderful in battle cuz you teleport into the city and do sabotage in one single move. 1 out of 4 or so will destroy a siege machine in a single hit. Very fun. BOOM!"
    Read the rest of RayB's Water Sphere campaign strategies and more on our AoW2 Forums!

    July 5, 2002 Posted @ 3:39 PM | Angel Draco
    Win a Copy of AoW2
    The Dutch game site, Gamers.nl is running an Age Of Wonders 2 contest where you can win an original artwork drawing from the Triumph Studios
    team and a U.S. retail-edition of the game! Here's how you can enter:
    Make up your own, original fantasy creature and describe the following characteristics:
    - Name
    - Size
    - Characteristics
    - Background story
    Only ONE winner will be chosen, and they'll be a lucky winner indeed! He or she will receive their fantasy creature as a beautiful artwork drawing, made by the same artists that brought you the Age Of Wonders 2 drawings. Besides that, the winner receives a Age Of Wonders 2 poster signed by the core AoW2 development team and a copy of the U.S. retail-edition of the game!

    Entry's for the competition can be send to prijsvraag@gamers.nl;
    U.S. and European entries are welcome!

    Deadline for entries is July 15th!

    July 4, 2002 Posted @ 1:32 PM | Angel Draco
    Happy Independence Day!
    The Declaration of Independence was adopted by Congress 226 years ago today, July 4, 1776. The staff of AOWH wishes everyone a happy and safe 4th of July! Visit this thread in the Community Forum for some great 4th of July links about the holiday's history, food & drink recipes and activities for the kids!

    July 4, 2002 Posted @ 11:10 AM | Angel Nojd
    Role Playing!
    Blackmane's set up something for all those who have been interested in role playing characters. His new thread is a beginner's guide to role playing, where he will walk players through example and teaching to become better role players.

    No prior knowledge necessary, as all players are accepted. Simply read the rules in the thread, and jump in!

    July 3, 2002 Posted @ 11:40 AM | ChowGuy
    Welcome VIP Nordramor!
    For those who haven't noticed yet, AoW Heaven has welcomed a new VIP to our forums!

    Nordramor is from the Stratos group, and worked on the original AoW strategy guide and wrote the manual for AoW2. He has remained enthralled with the game and has been quite active lately on the forums, often giving concise, definitive answers as well as insightful analysis such as this to a question about Basic City Concepts
    Cities come in 4 sizes, numbered 0-3. Once a city reaches size 3, it will not 'grow' but you can store up additional population. Population is consumed when Pioneers are built or when a production is Hurried. Check the tables in the city appendix for more info.
    If you haven't done so yet, drop by and say hello to Nordy!

    July 2, 2002 Posted @ 12:03 PM | Angel Draco
    ZenGamer Recommends AoW2
    Marcin Manek over at ZenGamer has posted an in-depth and thoughtful two-page review of AoW2 with many screenshots, giving it a 9/10 and their coveted "ZenGamer Recommended" Award, "mainly for innovative gameplay and excellent unit/race balance; heretofore unseen in a strategy game." Marcin's review gets extra points with me as he actually visited our Forum and read some of the fan/developer feedback before writing his review. Marcin "had a blast" playing AoW2 as his review tells. Here's a snippet:
    This simple [combat] formula is actually nothing but. Not only is there a lot of variation in attack modes, you can also use the terrain to your advantage, and a careful selection of combat spells can help you win the day. Take Fire Cats for example. They are rather weak Tigran units that don't even have Strike ability (can't hit you in one-on-one combat), but they fling fireballs that deal low amounts of damage as their default attack. On the other hand, they are cheap to produce, have decent movement, and can set your units on fire (the "On Fire" status deals 2 damage each turn). If you're defending, just sit back with some Fire Cats and lob fireballs! You can also Freeze, Swarm, Curse or Vertigo your enemies - either with spells or attack effects; there are many more that I would simply run out of space for.
    You can read the full review here. When you visit the page, be sure to click on the "Rate This Game!" link beneath the "ZenGamer Recommended" logo on the right-hand navigation bar; support AoW2!

    July 1, 2002 Posted @ 10:14 AM | Angel Draco
    Happy Canada Day!
    Today is Canadaís 135th birthday! Be sure to wish Angel Cay and the rest of our Canuck Agers a Happy Canada Day in the Community Forum!

    For more information on Canada Day Celebrations in Canada's Capital Region, click this link to the National Capital Commission website. The site is getting a lot of hits so try refreshing the page several times if it doesn't come up immediately.

    July 1, 2002 Posted @ 9:35 AM | Angel Draco
    Electric Playground Gives AoW2 8/10
    The Electronic Playground has given AoW2 an 8/10. It's a very thoughtful review, examining the pluses and minuses of gameplay features:
    Overall, Age of Wonders II: The Wizard's Throne provides a lot of game. With all of the different game modes, all of the units, the empire building, world exploration, and the ability to create your own scenarios this game is guaranteed to keep you busy for quite awhile. If you are a fan of turn based strategy games then AoW2 definitely deserves a closer look; the strategy and combat aspects of the game are definitely the strong point.
    You can read the full review here.