News Archives: 2002
I and the staff of AoW2 Heaven would like to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas! I hope many of you were able to enjoy the day off from work today unlike me or if you’re on break from school you probably had plenty of spare time to play Age of Wonders or stop by the forums to wish your friends good cheer!
Angel GillB has KORTified the classic ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas poem, and if you have young children in the house tonight you can have an excuse to get on the Internet by tracking Santa’s progress around the world as he delivers toys at the Federal government’s NORAD Tracks Santa website (translated into six languages!).
I also spotted a little Christmas Present for Triumph Studios today, as Age of Wonders 2: The Wizard’s Throne captured a nomination for “Most Improved Sequel on PC” in Gamespot’s Best of the Year awards. Congratulations and enjoy the holiday!
I’m proud to present AoW Heaven’s Mod Section! I’ve been wishing we had one for a long time, but I eventually realized that wishing isn’t as effective as doing. 😉
The intention is to list all mod related “products” that are available for AoW, to provide links to where they can be downloaded and where more information about them can be found. The categorization and short descriptions should help identifying those mods that may be of interest to you.
Further information about mods is best gathered in our Mod Packs Forum. If there’s anything missing from the Mod section, please post about it in this forum, or send an email directly to Angel Nojd.
In addition to the listing of all (?) the known mods, we have a page with the most common questions about Warlock’s Rule-Set, including the installation of it. Warlock’s Rule-Set was the first, and for a long time only, complete mod pack. It’s widely used, very popular, and the foundation for many of the other mods. The Warlock’s Rule-Set FAQ page hopefully solves any problems you might run into.
But please note the warning on the Mod page!
The use of mods or mod tools of any sort is not in any way supported by the developers or HeavenGames. Anything you do is at your own risk. The more you “mess around” with tools and rule-sets, the more likely it is that you get problems with your game (and maybe even with your computer).
Be careful with this stuff, understand what you’re doing, and enjoy! 🙂
Comings and Goings in the Hall
Hear ye, Hear ye: The Sheriff of the Hall of Wonders Role Playing Forum wishes to make it known:
It’s been a long road, but The Zalanthar Incident, Chapter 2 has been brought to a close. In the best tradition of Hollywood of course, it had to be trimmed for length and a few scenes dropped (can you say “Tom Bombadil”?) due to the fact that GM Kaji, who took over the story after the departure Evilguy99, for RL reasons will have curtailed access for some months at least. Those who wish to read the story from the beginning will find Chapter 1 here.
On a brighter note, Cherub Blackmane is back in town and can be found dozing in his corner of The Prancing Pony Inn. Welcome back BM!
There are some new threads starting as well, for anyone looking to join up.
Beren V is planning to restart his “Keepers – Isle of Burbatek” thread for good guys only, based on his alternate AoW1 campaign. Sign up here if you’re interested.
For the bad guys, Silverwerewolf is planning a new “Demon Hunters” thread. You get to be one of of party of sometimes cooperating, sometime bickering fiends, each out to gain sole possession of the prize. Hmmm… sounds like “Survivor.” No sign up sheet yet, but drop by The Pony and have a chat.
And finally Emperor_Bone14 is recruiting both good and bad guys for the next installment of his “Gathering of Heroes” / “Call of the Reavers” tale in the World of Therin. Come and fight against the Evil Red Queen, or if you prefer, fight on her side against the sniveling powers of Good.
Thanks to Roger the Rampant, the Monthly Challenge makes a comeback to the AoW world, and a first appearance in the AoW2 world! This is your chance to compare your skill against the very best in single player games.
The AoW1 challenge for November 2002 is to find and kill Draco Lawgiver! Surely you don’t want to miss that! 😉
For AoW2 we are using the excellent and fun map Poilio 2 – Koilio by Mr. Pickles. Your task is to win the scenario as quickly as possible.
Read the details in the forum, in the Monthly Challenge thread.
Open House in the Hall of Wonders
Hear ye! Hear ye!
Following in the footsteps of “Talk Like a Pirate Day” the Sheriff in the The Hall of Wonders, the AoW and AoW2 Heaven Role-playing forum, has been asked by good innkeeper Farman of The Prancing Pony Inn to announce an Open House to celebrate the return of that fine establishment after it’s recent mysterious disapearance.
I think Farman had to take a break after seeing the Prancing Pony levelled then finally resurrected again. Bad on the heart, you know.
Hmm. I wonder, should we throw a costumed adventurer’s party on All Hallow’s Eve? (Also called Halloween.) Everyone could come in a costume depicting their favorite hero/villain, adventurer or comic character. Maybe we could get Farman to spring for free ale, cider and spookie cookies for anyone in costume and the Sheriff could forgive a bit of OT posts (as long as they are still related to the costumes or characters depicted) for one day?
So, anyone wanting to just drop by to say hello is welcome to do so. Of course, if you’d like to stick around a while, read through some of the story threads, and maybe even join one you’re welcome to do that as well. There are several now recruiting new party members. Or if you’d prefer, come start your own. But do please read Guidelines of the Hall if you plan to dplay there. Old hands and old newbiess alike are welcome, and there aren’t many rules, but you’ll find that some things may be different from what you’ve met elsewhere.
And of course as Farman says, free Ale and Munchies for all who show up in costume. Or if you’re sufficiently spooky, just show up as yourself.
RayB: Thoughts on the Fall
Master story crafter RayB has again graced the forums with a bit more insight into the AoW back story, specifically on Meandor’s role in the fall of Inioch’s court. You can read his comments here in the AoW2 General Discussions forum. It’s all interesting of course, but the grabber comes at the end
Anyhow those are a few more thoughts on the subject. All in all there’s a lot of material here, at one point Lennart and I talked about the possibility of doing a novel, which is why it is so detailed, just as a setting. Unfortunately that never happened, but I’ve long thought the story would make a good novel if told in the right way… (would be hard to choose a good viewpoint character… for example…)
Best regards, –Ray
And wouldn’t we all like to see that!
Wanted: Role Players
With a spate of RL crisis, and many members pressed for time, things have been a little slow in the AoWH Hall of Wonders Role Playing Forum, but several new story lines are now open and looking for players. You’ll find stories geared to Evil Characters out to stop those dratted Good Guys from overthrowing their dominion, and stories set in worlds of mecha-dragons and flying cities.
Everybody who wishes to come and join, or simply read and enjoy is welcome, and Farman the Barman at The Prancing Pony stands ready to fill your ale and doughnut orders. New players, and new GM’s in particular, are however advised to read over the Guidelines of the Hall sticky thread.
Emperor Heaven Launches!
Continuing HeavenGames’ long and proud commitment to city-building games, the newest cloud in Heaven is devoted to the new city-builder from Impressions Games, Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom, which is set in ancient China. Sporting improved gameplay features, graphics and higher resolution, Emperor is the first city-builder to feature online multiplayer! You can participate in co-op play or go head-to-head and trade with or conquer your neighbors!
Check out all of the fantastic game info, strategies, map editor tips and campaign walkthroughs that Seraph Jayhawk & Co. have created for you at: http://emperor.heavengames.com.
Please note that Emperor Heaven and all the city-building forums are on a separate database, so in order to post there you will have to register a second account. Sorry for the inconvenience; we hope to merge the databases soon!
Nothing there that I can see
Once again a question has come up about how the combat system works. This time, in relation to “random” hit and damage rolls which are uniformly repeatable in small scale TC battles after reloads in the Something Wrong with this Picture thread. After a (hopefully) lucid explanation of how random numbers in games are generated from a seeded sequence, Josh AoW added this
AoW1 and AoW2 random numbers work the same way in this regard. The only way to change the outcome is to do something different beforehand. In simultaneous turns, it is common for the AI to get one or more (or less) moves in while you’re starting the combat, which can change the results.
This is partially for debugging purposes, and partially to discourage casual reloading, in both 1P and MP games.
This however prompted additional questions about whether this repeatability could be exploited in PBEM games by trying cases on one machine until you found one you liked, then duplicating and sending that as your turn from another. In response Josh noted
In PBEMs, the accuracy with which you would have to mimic your previous turn would be incredible, as you would have to reproduce every minute action identically to keep the results the same. You would be spending many hours trying to cheat at a friendly game. Additionally, there are some other factors in the code that I have not discussed (intentionally) that might throw a monkey wrench into that plan. All in all, there are easier ways to cheat if you really want to.
To which we can all reply as ager Flitter did:
“Perfect, our games are safe. Thanks Josh”
New Pub in Town!
Interest continues to grow in The Aow/Aow2 Heaven Hall of Wonders Interactive Role Playing forum. The call is still out though for more experienced players and GM’s to build lands and worlds there. To help matters along, Ager and GM Kaji has arranged space for Farman, the Barman of The Prancing Pony Inn to set up shop there.
Here Newbies, Players, GM’s and Storytellers may gather to raise an ale and a song to old adventures while also plotting new. Or put another way, your one stop shop for Q & A, good times and sharing ideas.
Here Farman welcomes Newbies and their questions, he’s been around and seen a lot, so he can probably help you out or point out someone who can.
GM’s, Players and Storytellers, if you’d like to try out a new character or story idea, come on in and discuss it with friends – maybe get a new thread going. We can always use new ideas.
That about says it all, except that you needn’t even be an Age of Wonders fan, there’s plenty of room here for all. But Farman doesn’t like barroom brawls or food fights, so keep it civil. Although Dark Angel officially denies any Heavenly influence, rumors persist that Farman has high powered contacts in low places – specifically, the club he keeps under the bar.
So drop in to say hello, ask questions, participate in, or just hear a good tale. And maybe have some pie while you’re at it. Ale on tap. Milk on udder.
Interview With Elquein – Overcoming The Obstacles Of Creativity
I’m sure all you mapmakers out there know how frustrating it is to spend days or even weeks working on a map project only to lose the map to an irrepairable file corruption bug. Elquein shares with us some of her experiences in overcoming such a blow to the creative spirt as well as share her thoughts on what to do when you hit an idea block.
Read the interview article here..
Getting Back to AoW1
Also in the forums, check out a little piece written by yours truly debating the merits of comparable units in this thread: Undead Demon vs. Highmen Valkyrie – A Closer Look. Won’t anyone go to bat for the poor Nordic Glow? Offer your comments on unit balancing!
Campaign Editor v0.2
SmurfHero has just announced the latest update to his AoW1 Campaign & Graphics Editor. It is now possible to create your own custom campaign! In a post in the AoW1 Mod Pack forum, he had this to say about 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 right here it from this site.
AoW2 Heaven Downloads Now Open
Visit the newly redesigned AoW2H Downloads section! A brand new interface coded by our own Angel Zen now allows you to upload thumbnail size images of your custom-created scenarios, along with a host of other new features!
AoW2 Heaven Online!
Age of Wonders 2 Heaven, your newest source for everything AoW2 is now open! Check out the brand new site at:
The new AoW2H site will offer everything you’ve come to expect and enjoy from HeavenGames, such as downloads, polls, game info, forums and strategy resources. Check out the new site and give us your feedback in the forums!
AOW PBEM World Cup Finals Underway
The AOW PBEM World Cup Finals are now underway! It has taken almost a year, but the original field of 44 players in 2 events has now been whittled down to 5 finalists. The final matches for both the Singles and Doubles Events are being played on Jerk’s variation of Reedfin Canal (APWC 2001).
The Singles Event features Kris Lighthawk of the Elves battling against Frogman of the Dark Elves. You can read about their adventures in the match turn log.
In the Doubles Event Frogman of the Dark Elves pairs up with Draco of the Goblins to take on ArchmageSUN of the Dwarves and Waterfly of the Elves. Again, you can read about this contest in the match match turn log.
Good luck to all finalists, and we look forward to announcing the winners soon!
The Hall continues to grow
There’s been quite an explosion of interest in the new Hall of Wonder Role Playing forum. After a somewhat confuding period, things are becoming a bit more focused, and several new threads are now planned or under way. Some of the sub-plots of the original Come Let Us Adore Him thread will likely be spinning off into new threads of their own, as had the main interative quest itself. There looks as though there will be a variety of other game styles available as well as different GM’s begin to map out new stories and worlds. Anyone, newbie or old hand, interesting in joining or starting an RP story is encoraged to drop by for a look.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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!
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”
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!
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. 😉
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.
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!
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!
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.
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
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.
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 Wizard’s 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 … or at the very least establish I’m more than an inept fool that can’t 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.
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.
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!
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:
– 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 email@example.com;
U.S. and European entries are welcome!
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!
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!
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!
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!
Happy Canada Day!
Today is Canada’s 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.
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.
AoW2 scores 87% from Elited.net
AoW2 scored an 87% from Elited.net, here’s how reviewer Vix sums up her experience:
Overall the gameplay is addicting, you can honestly lose hours of sleep playing. The graphics in AoW2 are stunning and the animation has picked up since AoW. Spells are visually tantalizing. AoW2 shows off some of the best graphics of recently released turn based strategy games. I have not run into any bugs thus far which is a rarity these days. The graphics are beautiful and add to the enjoyment. Even the well characterized AI found in AoW2 are hard to defeat. AoW was a hit, and with AoW2 being an improvement from the first I can only see it surpassing others. If you enjoyed Disciples 2 you are going to love Age of Wonders 2.
You can read the full review here.
The chatlog is up!
Gamers.nl hosted a chat with the developers on thursday 27:th. They have now put up the log from the chatsession on their site. Check it out!
The chat also made it into the Gamers.nl News.
Here’s the Chatlog.
Discuss the chat in our forums!
Der Waggs informs us that Sfriese has completed the battle reporting system for both AoW and AoW2 at the LeagueAoW site! Sign up for IP games there if you haven’t already, and start reporting those battles!
PC Gameworld Rates AoW2 95%
Another awesome review for Age of Wonders 2: The Wizard’s Throne from PC Gameworld, who gives it a rockin’ 95% rating!
When the first Age of Wonders was released Heroes III began to fall by the wayside on my computer. With Age of Wonders II now residing on my hard drive I have a feeling that Heroes IV will also be going the way of III. From top to bottom Age of Wonders II is a great experience, giving strategy gamers a heck of a lot of game for their money. With beautiful graphics, a smart AI, and a dragon’s hoard of replayability, Age of Wonders II is a winner.
Now go out and show those bean counters that people do play fantasy games other than RPGs and Warcraft.
You can read the full review here.
Exclusive! Developer secrets revealled!
Well not really. But Triumph’s Josh AoW did take a few moment’s from his busy workload to answer the Savage BattleAxe’s question “How long did it take you to deelope the game engine” with
Tough question to answer. Some aspects of the engine are very similar to AoW1, rewritten to improve them. Others (like the 3D) are entirely new. Additionally, work on the engine will continue for some time to come (for new products)… If I had to pick a number, I’d say 2 years, but anything between 1 and 5 could be claimed…
Read it, and the ensuing discussion here in the AoW2 General forum. As always, feel free to jump in with your own questions and comments.
And in a somewhat related development, Arnout has posted a link to a site with an interview and pictures of the team at work in their Dutch offices.
If your interested, go have look at Gamers.nl
The feature is in dutch, however. But there are some pictures of the team @ work.
Lennart has kindly identified the visible culprits for us. Hmmm, those guys look a bit familiar.
Devs Live Online!
Triumph Studios Designer Lennart Sas was by earlier with the following invitation:
Dutch site Gamers.nl will host a chat session with TS Developers on Thursday 27th of June at 19:30 Central European Time, which is 1:30 PM Eastern Time in the US. English Q&A is no problem.
#gamers.nl on irc.gamepoint.net (aka irc.enterthegame.net)
Here’s your chance to ask those really tough questions like “How do I my units off a boat?” :b Seriously though this will be a great opportunity to not only meet the Devs and find out some things about the game, but perhaps some of your fellow players and supporters as well. For everyone who can be there, this is a must-see. Or hear. Or type. Whatever.
Positive reviews are coming in fast and furious; the critics can’t stop saying enough good things about AoW2! We’ve got four reviews for you today, starting off with an in-depth three page review at Gamespy, who gave it an 89/100 and called AoW2 the “best turn-based strategy game released this year”:
“A ruthless enemy AI that keeps you on your toes every single turn aids both the campaign and the individual scenarios. Age of Wonders 2 has one of the most aggressively designed CPU opponents that you will ever see in a strategy game.”
Next up is Gaming Illustrated’s in-depth review, calling AoW2 a “firm grip” at 88/100 (and a nice little plug for us here at AOWH!):
“For strategy and fantasy fans, AOW2 will answer why the Age of Wonders series is regarded as games that remains on one’s hard drive as other games come and go. Despite flaws, it’s the best turn-based strategy game this side of Civilization III.
The best solution for any AI failing is to face-off online against another player. AOW2 supports three types of multi-player games. I didn’t find a very extensive AOW2 community for multi-player, but the game has a loyal following with a fine community web site at http://aow.heavengames.com.”
Games Domain checks in with a thoughtful evaluation, rating AoW2 a “Top Game.” While Gamespy thought the interface could be a bit cleaner, this reviewer absolutely loved the layout, calling it “near perfect” and very “newbie friendly:
“What’s improved is the entire game. The artwork and presentation are stunning. The interface is near perfect and intuitive. The AI is sharp and aggressive and the difficulty levels mean something, ramping up the challenge nicely. There’s a lot of depth, tons of new units and spells, and a devious single-player campaign to deal with. Plus, many scenarios and full multiplayer options and a scenario editor to assuage the loss of the random mission generator. Age of Wonders II is a balm for those left unchallenged and disappointed by Heroes of Might & Magic IV and those still thrilled by Disciples II. It might even please older gamers still pining away for Master of Magic.”
Finally we have a summary review from Gamezilla, who rates AoW2 for “Fans Only,” because of the depth and challenging level of strategy:
“Even experts should give the tutorial a spin, as AoW2 contains enough bells and whistles to occupy even the most experienced strategist. In a given turn, you may be recruiting heroes, exploring, negotiating with or fighting other wizards, tapping mines or nodes for resources, researching technologies, learning/casting spells, building structures, managing morale, and/or moving units for strategic advantage. Whew! As you can see, this isn’t a game where you can sit back and mass produce units to conquer the map.”
Polite questions yield polite answers
On the question of the Auto-move option, which many have raised, Triumph’s Arnout noted here: that “Yes, auto movement will be off in the patch.” Please note that this does not mean this feature is being removed, only that the existing option toggle will now be OFF rather then ON by default when you install the game.
Elsewhere on the question of Hero and Item libraries not being saved, Sikbok offers this advice:
Until the patch is out, if you want to make a hero lib just make directory named ‘User’ in your Aow2 dir. The editer will automatically save the libary to this ‘User’ directory.
Working on other thingies too
Sikbok & Arnout
And on the question of healers outside combat Josh AoW notes that healers do, in fact use their healing automatically on injured units in their stack. He further explains:
The healer picks a target based on how hurt they are, and how valuable they are. Units with Repair will make the same decision for Machines.
As to the slowdowns reported by some users, there is no word yet of a fix, but the developers are working on it. If this means they do not have time to read and respond to every post immediately, please understand that. They have done a wonderful job, but inevitably in any project as complex as this and dependent on so many variables in user systems, some problems will occur. As Josh points out:
It’s hard to say, since we’re getting some conflicting reports… Hopefully a bit more data will be posted, and a trend will develop… The ambient sfx issue is fixed, so if that’s hurting performance on a particularly crappy sound card, it will be fixed as well…
Let’s all give them the time and support they need to keep up the good work.
The Trades Gives AoW2 an A!
The-Trades.com gave AoW2 a high grade of “A-” in its recent review. The author really enjoyed the gameplay (even the sound!) and drew many parallels to the Civilization line of strategy games, going so far as to label AoW2 “Fantasy Civilization.” Here’s a snippet:
There are many aspects of the game that I found perfectly enjoyable. Capturing enemy cities allows you to build their units as is appropriate for their race. The ability to cast spells both in and out of combat as a wizard is a very cool feature. The combat mechanism in the game is great as well. Whenever combat occurs you can choose between letting the computer determine the outcome (as Civilization would have you do), or you can take an active role and command each unit in combat. This is the cool way. Here you can cast your spells, move your units, attack with ranged attackers, knock down enemy walls, use your siege engines, invoke the special abilities of your races units and heroes. It is a lot of fun and the engine is well balanced.
Click here to read the full review. Thanks to Ager Kevin Kuphal for the heads up on the review!
Actiontrip gives AoW2 an 87
Yet another review, replete with screen shots for those who still haven’t got their own copies, has been posted at ActionTrip where reviewer Ure “Vader” Paul has this to say:
After striking a reasonably successful mark in the gaming world, Age of Wonders had captivated many turn-based strategy fans. In spite of its success, the gameplay was somewhat restricted and there were a few minor setbacks. Triumph Studios was determined to make things better in Age of Wonders 2: The Wizard’s Throne. First, a quick warning to all players who are unacquainted with games a la Age of Winders and Heroes of Might and Magic. Age of Wonders may seem a tad tedious at first, but once your units and heroes gain enough experience you are in for a treat.
In talking about the AI, he goes on to add
I have played games like Heroes of Might and Magic, and I’ve never seen such a well-balanced AI system. Any time you confront a weak band of enemies, you’ll witness them trying to avoid you at all costs. What’s even more impressive is that they’ll usually attempt to lure you into the magic domain of a rival-wizard, which makes you more open to attack. The AI in battle sequences has also been perfected. Archer units will really make an effort to get the most appropriate angle for damaging your company. Also, using advanced tactics is something you’ll find enemies doing very efficiently. They will position themselves behind rocks and trees, so as to avoid being hit by your archers.
But the real scoop comes at the end, where he notes
Fans of AoW games will be happy to hear that Lennart Sas from Triumph Studios spoke of a new sequel in his last chat with us: “AoW2 is unlikely to be the last installment in the series,” he said. So, until they sit down and make Age of Wonders 3, you can be sure that this game will be enough to hold your attention for some time – over 20 maps in the campaign mode, several single scenarios, many spheres of magic you can choose from, and a variety of races and units.
You can read the whole thing on-line then come to our forums and discuss your own impressions.
Devs Around The Forums
The Triumph Studios developers have been very busy on the forums lately responding to gameplay questions, clarifying feature implementation and assisting with technical and installation problems.
Josh Farley, Programmer, on Random Numbers Generator (for attack and damage values):
The random number generator is working fine, and is exactly the same as used in AoW1, and every other game you’ve ever played… Perhaps some players aren’t noticing distance/height penalties or other things (like special abilities) that affect combat, or perhaps they’re just having bad luck… But trying to blame the random number generator is pretty funny.
Josh Farley on the AI not using magic:
As noted by others, the AI can only use combat spells if it has the mana, casting points, and researched spells to use. The only other time he won’t cast is if his spells won’t do damage, the fight isn’t in his domain, or he considers the fight to be an easy victory.
Ray Bringham, Writer, on the loss of dungeon exploration:
As a matter of consolation, you will notice that there are some dungeon like tiles in the cavern section of the map editor tiles. Now you can make the whole underground one big dungeon crawl. The reason for their removal, btw, wasn’t because people didn’t like them. I think it was a matter of resources and simplifying the game code so that there weren’t so many special modes. There was a whole tileset for the internals of buildings which was greatly simplified by only doing the tilesets for the outdoor sites. The AI didn’t really work all that well in those modes because it had to wait until the unit saw you… and special game code wasn’t very applicable for the whole game…
I think in the end, in order to deliver more bang in other areas it was seen as an acceptable sacrifice to remove. I remember mourning their loss back when Lennart told me about the decision. I wept for a while. Then, like all things, I got back up on my feet and faced the new day, trying always to remain positive. Soon I found a new reason to live. And while I will always miss those dungeons, I feel as though I am stronger because I have endured their loss.
Check out these discussions and post your questions to the developers on our Age of Wonders II Forums!
More Positive Reviews!
The third review of AoW2 so far is yet again overwhelmingly positive. GamersClick has weighed in with its take on the best turn-based strategy game of the year and once again heralds AoW2 as the modern successor to the classic Masters of Magic:
There are a number of fantasy-themed turn-based strategy games available right now, and Age of Wonders 2 does an admirable job of distinguishing itself from the others. Gamers who remember the classic Master of Magic will recognize its influence on the gameplay, and those who enjoyed the first Age of Wonders game will not be disappointed by the improvements offered in the sequel. When you combine the solid gameplay with the high quality visuals and attention to detail, there’s a lot to like about this game.
Don’t let GamersClick‘s score of 82% fool you. AoW2 scored 9s and 10s in every ratings category except for “Sound” (5/10) which personally I think is a little too harsh which affected the overall score. Out of all the turn-based strategy games released this year, only AoW2 has been consistently given the accolade of reinventing the classic gameplay of Masters of Magic!
EU Version Is Gold
I can’t read the announcement myself, but Swiss Gamesweb is reporting the EU version of Age of Wonders II: The Wizard’s Throne has “Gone Gold” and is expected to hit retail outlets across Europe by the end of June.
Alle Freunde gepflegter Strategiespiele dürfen sich auf einen heißen Sommer freuen, denn mit ‘Age of Mythology’ und ‘Age of Wonders 2’ erscheinen gleich zwei Referenztitel diesen Genres. Die europäische Version des zuletzt genannten Titels hat laut den Entwicklern von Triumph Studios nun den Gold-Status erreicht und befindet sich gerade zur Vervielfültigung im Presswerk. Bereits vor einigen Wochen konnte die US-Version des Strategiespiels fertiggestellt werden. Somit sollte einem Release Ende Juni nichts mehr im Wege stehen.
We also have reports filtering in that Europeans who pre-ordered AoW2 are finally beginning to receive their copies!
The first two reviews of the just released AoW2 have been spotted on the web!
GameZone gives Age of Wonders II: The Wizard’s Throne a 7.4 overall rating.
GameSpot gives the game an “8.8 Great” rating, and writes:
Though it may seem difficult for beginners, Age of Wonders II sounds good, looks great, plays terrific, and improves on every aspect of the original game.
“…It’s a Feature!“
We’ve all heard the one about “it’s not a bug…” and as the AoW2 After Action Reports start coming in so do reports of unexpectedly interesting “Features.” Such as this thread about “Horses galloping on water.” But just to prove that even an old dog can teach us new tricks, forumer ffbj has discovered yet another heretofore unreported ability in the original game. See his “Build Roads Fast” thread in the AoW1 forum for the latest bit of goodness.
Elsewhere, opinions on the game vary from “Too Easy” to “Too Hard” which means the Devs have probably got it just about right and hit the elusive middle ground. Interestingly, one of the most frequent questions so far seems to be about the tutorial. Check here for “Gabriel’s Tip #1” – Don’t take your Wizard across the river!
Scenario Design Solution: Customising Defenders On Exploration Sites
There has been a lot of posts lately enquiring on how to customise the units defending an exploration site in the AOW2 map editor. Wazzz has provided a simple solution in response to this query in the Scenario Design forum :
“Here is the solution:
If you place an exploration site on your map, he defaults to average defenders, which means he will pick one race of the races available on the map and randomly select average strenght units.
Now, if you want to put your own defenders on this site, set it to ‘none’ (no (random)defenders)and place the units you want on top of the site, these will then automatically become the defenders of the site and will be invisible on the map, just like normal defenders. !
about items: if you place an item on a site, it will replace the random item in the site with the item you picked.”
Wazzz has also revealed that all editor glitches will be fixed in the next patch update. So cheer up, folks and happy mapmaking!
Blue’s News reports that the Final Demo is out!
The final demo contains the same scenario as the Beta Demo: Inioch’s Legacy, but it also has the Tutorial and supports email, LAN, Internet and single computer games. Of course it’s also updated with bug fixes and other enhancements that’s been added to the game since the beta demo was released.
If you haven’t got the real thing yet, get the demo!
GameSpy now open for AoW2
Following up on his earlier promise to email his contacts there, Developer Josh Farley reports here that as of 23:27 EDT
The GameSpy room for AoW2 is now up and running.
So those of you looking for MP games should now be able to find each other. Happy gaming.
Devs Around The Forums
Lead developer Lennart Sas and lead programmer Josh Farley have popped into a few threads around the forums latey, no doubt to read all of the “first impressions” posts by the fans. One of the most exciting comments though was by Josh who hinted at the inclusion of a Random Terrain Generator in a future patch! Hit the links below to view the full threads where these comments appear.
Lennart on the Official Strategy Guide:
“The strategy guide has very few inconsistencies. It went to print later then the manual. I think the writing is top notch and it has a lot of overall strategies, secrets and tips, some if which are written by the developers and QA team. Go get it, it really is one of the best game guides I’ve seen.”
Josh on why Watch Towers cannot be built:
“No evil master plan there, just a feature that didn’t make it into the [final] release.”
Josh on the status of the Gamespy multiplayer lobby:
I have emailed our Gamespy contact. I’ll assume the AoW2 room will open soon.
Josh on why the manual mentions a random map generator:
“Yes, that is a manual error. Random Terrain Generation may be added in a patch, but it would not be a fully populated map, but merely the terrain layout, height, etc.
Visit our forums to post your first impressions of AoW2, ask the developers questions and hookup with other fans for a multiplayer game!
AoW Heaven’s First Impressions
With the game now in players’ hands, we’ve opened up some new sections, including one for AoW2 Scenario Design and the General Discussion board is already filling up with “First Impression” threads for our own members. Naturally since most of us here already know the background and have played the Demo they’re a bit more specific then what you’ll find on sites like Gamespot though not always as lucid. There are still a few bug reports and questions about video problems which Josh AoW and others are attempting to answer. Nojd has started an FAQ in the new Technical Help section which will be updated as we go.
Overall the general impression is that the AI is much improved over the “dumbed-down” version in the Beta Demo and is far less predictable in it’s actions even within a given scenario. There are a few tips out, but it will probably be a while yet before anyone posts any major spoilers so even if you haven’t got your copy yet don’t be hesitant to visit the forums. We’re not going to tell you how it turns out or give you a walk-through that will ruin the fun because quite frankly we haven’t figured it out ourselves yet.
Gamespot’s First Impressions
Like many of us today, Gamespot got their hands on Age of Wonders II: The Wizard’s Throne today and has posted some quick impressions; they seem very impressed with the game and herald it as a worthy successor to the classic Masters of Magic:
Age of Wonders II makes good use of its 32-bit color palette; the difference between the sequel’s darker, richer color tones and the original game’s simpler 16-bit color scheme is immediately obvious. However, the game’s overland map areas are just as colorful as ever–more so, in fact, thanks to the sequel’s larger number of tilesets, which include undead swamplands and burning grasslands (the latter is home to the game’s two fire-wizard characters), as well as plenty of colorful animated objects spaced evenly on the maps, such as windmills, swaying trees, and flowing water, which help make the maps look more interesting without being cluttered.
You can read the full write-up here. As far as I can tell, this small write-up has not yet been “locked” (i.e., for users who pay for Gamespot’s ‘Complete’ service) so check it out today!
Reports are coming in from all over that AOW2 has arrived in many of the mail boxes of those who pre-ordered and is appearing on some store shelves as well! Check the AOW2 General Forum to get the early impressions! I’m running home to check if my copy has arrived!
The release of Age of Wonders II: The Wizard’s Throne is almost upon us! I hope to receive my pre-order copy tomorrow or the day after! While the world awaits AOW2, check out some of the positive first impressions the staff at CGOnline had on the game:
While you can create new cities, BTW, in the early missions of the solo campaign at least it’s not something you will be doing much of. Pioneer units take a while to build as only pretty heavily upgraded cities can make them. Then it costs a decent chunk of gold to build anew city (rebuilding razed cities doesn’t cost gold I don’t think, just consumes the unit). But it does happen, just don’t confuse it with MoM style colonization of the map, which is already well populated with cities.
Check out some of the other postings at the CGOnline board.
The AOWH staff is also working frantically to bring you your new online community home for AOW2! We’re adding game info content right now and tweaking the design. The forums will stay where they are, but will be expanded to include both AOW1 and AOW2. Almost there!
AOW2 Spells Part IV
Gamespy has posted the fourth and final installment of its Spell Casting teaser. Check out the Resurgence, Water Mastery and Static Shield spells. Here’s the description of Static Shield:
Gives units a lightning strike, and shocks enemies that strike it.
Not only does striking the enchanted unit mean certain shock, it can also stun you, leaving you defenseless against its wrath. A very powerful spell that is innate to the dreadful Wyrm.
Read the full article here.
Spell Casting II & III
Gamespy continues with its series highlighting the spells of AOW2. A short description of the spell in paired with a nice screenshot of the spell in action. In Part II Cosmic Spray, Darklands and Enchanted Roads are shown. In today’s installment, Part III covers Forge Blast, Hellfire and Ice Age.
AoW2 Beta Demo Feedback Poll Results
The feedback poll about the AoW2 Beta Demo is closed, and the results have been compiled. According to the poll, it’s obvious that the fans wants the map editor to allow authors to disable certain things in a map:
- 89% wants the map editor to allow authors the option of disabling select structures from being built within a city
- 87% wants the map editor to allow authors the option of disabling buildable teleporters on a given map
Check out all the results on the AoW2 Beta Demo Feedback Poll Results page.
May 2002 Monthly Challenge Winners
All entries for the May 2002 Monthly Challenge have been processed, and it’s time to announce the winners! Congratulations to the following players who did their best for Julia or Meandor in the Age of Wonders II Beta Demo:
Best entry played as Julia: Snow Leopard — 5 Days
Best entry played as Meandor: Aim22 — 7 Days
For a complete list of results, check the May 2002 Monthly Challenge page.
New Admin for The Lifeline
As those who have been around long enough know, Age of Wonders Heaven was not the original, nor even the second AoW forum, and is not the only forum now. There is also The Lifeline – an EzBoard forum started by Silverleaf after our previous home was hacked. Unfortunately Silver has been missing now for six months and there is no active Admin to maintain thee board. After some negotiation, EzBoard has decided to allow the membership to choose a new admin, but only if there is a sufficient show of support. Otherwise they may simply close it down as they have other boards. That would once again mean the loss of a great deal of our community history. All past and present Lifeliners are urged to visit this thread for details and to vote here. Even Angel Draco.
Looking at Spells
Gamespy has posted the first of four articles highlighting the spells of AOW2. A brief description of the spell is provided along with a screenshot of the spell in action. Today they look at City Quake, City Spy and Corpus Furia. Read it all here!
Help us out
Gamespot has another instant poll up for “Which of these upcoming strategy games are you most looking forward to this year?” The good news is that Age of Wonders II is on the list. The bad news is it’s not doing so well. Yet. So what are you waiting for? Get out and vote! Then visit Spirit of War favorite Wazzz thread on the subject here in the AoW2 General Forum.
In answer to mapmaker and forum regular Fingers questions about “editor options in a patch” and the rather lengthy discussions that ensued therefrom Josh AoW had this to say:
4) [Wizard’s Off] Highly unlikely. Would require rebalancing the entire game, and re-coding just about everything from AI to the interface. It’s a ton of work, which actually removes features from the game that we like. That’s a bad combination to make requests about.
5) [Blank boxes for mapmakers to fill in] Sorry, but adding blank descriptions is an awful solution. Imagine if you played a game with empty descriptions… it would make the game look unfinished, and generate a bunch of customer service reports. Races and Wizards and Heroes have portraits. Races and Wizards and Scenarios have descriptions. Events can be added to tell whatever backstory you like on anything in the game.
1,2,3) [Max population, Disabling structures, and Limiting teleport items] are all possible…
While the “possible” in that statement leaves some room for questions, a “highly unlikely” leaves a lot less. So for the moment this seems to the final word on the subject and as LonelyTower puts it “Oh cool! 3 out of 5 wishes furfiled!” Feel free to add your own thoughts, pro and con, but keep things polite. The Devs will have more then enough good ideas to work on without asking for a fundamental design change.
May 2002 Monthly Challenge
This is a reminder that the May 2002 Monthly Challenge ends tomorrow at midnight.
The challenge for May 2002 is to win the Age of Wonders II Beta Demo! To download the demo, check the links listed in the AOW2 Beta Demo Forum. Your objective is to conquer the scenario in the least number of turns.
You may play simultaneous or classic turns.
You may play either Julia of the Elves or Meandor of the Dark Elves.
You must play with the following settings:
Allied Victory OFF
AI Difficulty CPU Knight
Please save your progress every 10 days under a new file name. Be sure to make a special, final save just before initiating your victory battle.
Please submit your game save for the winning turn to Angel Cay (alternate email address) before 23:59 US Eastern Time on Friday, May 31st, 2002.
Check the May 2002 Monthly Challenge page for rules and results.
Discuss the May 2002 Monthly Challenge in the Competitions Forum.
RayB on the Extra CD. And other stuff
Mapmaker and storyteller extraordinare RayB AoW answered a question about availability of the Bonus CD by noting
Last time they did the promotional cd, there were something like 5 maps on it. And well… they eventually showed up on fansites… so um… I wouldn’t stress too much…
Not that this is an official triumph opinion, just the ramblings of a madman…
But the real news was tucked away in the following Post Script
PS. Btw, I got official (Lennart) confirmation (gonegold and other fansites are not lying, game has gone gold.
Elsewhere, for the benefit of those who may not know what the term “Gone Gold” means, forumer LonelyTower put it this way
It means that the “final” game master discs are burnt and are sent for mass duplications.
That about sums it up LT, except of course it’s only “final” in the the sense that it’s what we will be seeing in the first retail boxes. That doesn’t mean there won’t be patches or tweaks later, or even that Triumph is not already at work on them. It does mean though that release is not being held up by any known major problems.
AoW2 Gone Gold?
Age of Wonders II
Perhaps the one and only game to pull me out of Morrowind for a small while. I got the news this one was gold while I was at E3. Super. Kiss the wife and kids good-bye my friends… Looks like we’re going to be away for awhile…
There’s a list of game features there as well for those who don’t already know what to expect. Let’s hope this is truth and not just rumor, and that the ship date of 11 June we’ve been hearing now stands firm.
Announcing a Team Tournament at League AoW
June 15th at 10:00am US Eastern Time, League AoW will host a 2-vs-2 Team Tournament on a special map made by the Lovely Queen Elquein Jaradcel. For more information and to sign up, please check the League AoW webiste.
AoW2 Release Date
GameSpot reports from E3:
GameSpot has learned that Age of Wonders II: The Wizard’s Throne is now essentially complete and on track to ship worldwide on June 11.
Read the whole news flash on their site.
Report from E3: The Editor
Alex Mars reports from E3, where he has been trying out the AoW2 Editor:
While at E3 I spent a few hours messing around at the AoW2 exhibit. They had an almost complete build including the editor.
He tells us about painting with the brush, events, missing “timed obstacles”, AI block, …, and concludes:
I have some issues with how AoW2 plays out, but I must say that the editor looks pretty good.
Read and comment his whole report in our forums.
Gamespy posts preview of AoW2
This time around, the game’s single-player campaign will cast you as the young human leader Merlin. With humanity on the verge of extinction, Merlin and his last followers are attacked by a band of dragons. Saved from death by the great mage Gabriel, Merlin will need to restore order to the land of Evermore, whose lands have been torn asunder by a schism among its most powerful wizards. Along with the main campaign, you can also look forward to single scenarios, all playable with either alternating or simultaneously executed turns. You’ll also get a scenario editor for creating your own challenges, as well as full multiplayer support allowing up to eight players to compete over the Internet or a LAN. Expect play-by-e-mail and hotseat options, too.
… can I get a hands-on preview of the infamous boothbabes?
Well sort of. Developer Josh AoW offered this clarification on the question How many mp is consumed when a unit retaliates?
Retaliation strikes consume 25% of a unit’s MP… A unit’s MP are restored to full at the -end- of their turn. So moving during your turn does not affect retaliations, but retaliations do affect your -next- turn’s MP. Units with high MP have the advantage that they still have more MP after 1-3 retaliations than a slow unit.
Uhm… OK, clear enough. So four strikes and you’re out as it were. As we inch oh so slowly toward the release we start to learn these little details. Maybe by the time it gets here we’ll understand them all. Or not. But stick around folks, it’s sure to be an interesting ride.
E3 Desktops for AOW2
There are five new AOW2 wallpapers for your desktop at the Gathering of Developer’s E3 website. Three resolution sizes are available; fantastic images! Check out the ones for the Stronghold: Crusader expansion back too!
I’ll be leaving for the E3 convention myself in just a few hours and will report back on Age of Wonders 2 when I return!
GameSpy’s E3 AOW2 Preview
Age of Wonders II’s gameplay will offer a blend of familiar features and significant changes from the original game. The core gameplay will still combine large-scale strategy and empire building with tactical combat and RPG elements. You’ll explore a colorful strategic world map to find resources like mines and magical mana nodes. You’ll capture or build cities, which you’ll expand with improvements like defensive walls and libraries that hasten spell research. On the grand scale, you’ll also get to engage in diplomacy with other leaders, negotiating treaties, trading resources or spells, and declaring war. As an interesting way for the game to dole out new quests, deities will occasionally make their presence known, recruiting you to do their bidding.
New Angel & Scenario Design Section
I’m pleased to announce that Cherub Bluecollarheaven has been promoted to Angel Bluecollarheaven, and will be overseeing AOWH’s brand new Scenario Design design section!
Bluecollarheaven is the author of the well-known “Custom Map Maker’s Resource” (formerly hosted at MSN Communties), which now resides here at AOWH. Hit the new “Scenario Design” button on our Nav Bar or check out its new homepage at: http://aow.heavengames.com/scenariodesign.
All aspects of using the Map Editor are covered. Submissions for articles and any short contributions are welcome! Click here to read Bluecollarheaven’s announcement and to check the submission guidelines.
Whether you’re an expert looking for advanced map editing techniques to make the AI more competitive, or if you’ve never used the map editor before and are looking for some beginner tips, our Scenario Design section is the place for you! Be sure to also check out the Scenario Design & Map Editing forum to get help or share info with your fellow map makers!
Updated AOW2 Preview at Gamespot
Got an early tip from a forumer this morning (thanks TheShadowDawn!) that Gamespot.com has posted an updated preview of AOW2, along
with a whole bunch of new screenshots and some new movies. The preview is very positive and heralds AOW2 as a worthy successor to Micropose’s 1995 strategy classic, “Masters of Magic.”
Master of Magic had all the exploration, resource gathering, and conquest of the Heroes of Might and Magic series, but it also had the management, research, and diplomacy of the Civilization series. It was a combination like no other, and to this day, many devoted fans still swear by Master of Magic–to them, it’s the quintessential fantasy strategy game, and nothing else comes close. That’s going to change with Age of Wonders II. The sequel will build on everything in the original game, but it will also have new features that might just make it the closest thing to a full-blown Master of Magic sequel that we’re likely to see this year.
TheShadowDawn pointed out to me, however, that one cannot view the movies and screens unless you are a “Gamespot complete” member (it’s “pay for service” plan). One of the movies is supposedly “unlocked” for non-Gamespot Complete members, but I was still asked for a log-in code and could not view it. Oh well. Their current list of “free” screenshots is very good though. You can see each of the “Wizard’s Selection” screens and read a bit about their history. You can read the entire preview here.
FC spellcasting update
Once more kindly developer Josh AoW has come by, this time to expand upon the question “So what is the fc combat spell fix going to be?”
Options for the player to set how AC AI handles spells for them would require a large amount of work, since this has to be synced across a MP game. This may be possible in the future, but not right now.
The main change from the demo is that AC AI will not cast spells if it considers the battle easy. This is calculated dynamically, so if the battle turns against you, the AI will start casting.
And elsewhere he had this to say about the new improved (but missing from the Demo) Animate Dead spell
Animate Dead is no longer a small area-effect spell. It now creates up to 5 zombies from all over the battlefield. As such, it is much more useful.
Now put those together and imagine – just when you think you’ve squeaked through that PBEM battle the AI hits you with a pack of resurgent zombies rising up against you. Scary Josh, scary.
And the word on teleporters is…
Josh AoW has once again graced the forum to say in response to a “petition” that the option to disable building cities or teleporters will be included in the release. Later, in answer to a query about other structures, he added this
Alex: That’s what we had time to implement for release. Any additional features in this area would have been too time consuming to implement at this time. IMO this addresses the main concerns voiced by forum posters in this area…
Feel free to make suggestions for further improvements to AoW2 after the full version is available.
Notice the tense in those two statements. Josh, does this mean what we all hope, that the game has in fact now Gone Gold and release is imminent? Please say it’s so. Pretty please? If we offer you doughnuts?
Unit descriptions, wherefore art thou?
Triumph’s rayB AoW popped in to address the question We all miss unit descriptions, right?” and has this to say:
Um… because the writer of the game had about 15 personal emergencies over the past year, including having a crappy job, getting laid off, selling house, moving, getting a new job, working insane hours and having a new baby. Well, that and it wasn’t part of my contract… errr… I mean “the writer”.
As for the Iron Maiden, it is an interesting tale, involving Elven Physiology and their hatred of refined metals, in particular that of Iron… not involving the torture device…
OK, Ray we all know about the house the beatiful baby girl and the rest, but about this Iron Maiden…. And what about those torture devices? Besides the ones you mentioned that is. Come on Ray, give with the story!
GamesDomain Previews AOW2
A preview of Age of Wonders 2 has been posted at GamesDomain.
Age of Wonders II has taken the bare bones of its predecessor, and fleshed them out considerably, with a luscious new engine, a new combat basis, and an epic storyline narrated by your traditional bearded old man with a twinkle in his eye. The world is out of balance – our human hero, Merlin (no, not that Merlin) has had his city destroyed, his people scattered, and is generally not a happy bunny. His ship is attacked and sinking to the bottom of the ocean, he believes his final days to be numbered – but not so! The wizard Gabriel saves him, and tasks him with saving the world.
It covers the basic storyline and essentials of game play. Nothing really new, but there are ten spiffy screenshots, especially this one, from what looks to be the “victory” screen following the Life Sphere campaign missions.
With Josh AoW saying the release is still on schedule and hopefully only weeks away, there’s still a lot of discussion on the forum about the relative strengths of archers, whether or not “gate smashing” is a good thing, and the whole new Tactical Combat system in general. The list of known/preceived problems keeps growing and the devs have gotten even more secretive about exactly what changes they may be making, but it’s likely they won’t be making major design changes now, and can’t be expected to. Read about the feedback Survey here and you haven’t filled it out yet, please
try to do so. If the results are to have any relevance at all, they need to be in before the “Gone Gold” date.
There are of course still a lot of things we haven’t seen yet, some we know of (like Skill Research and the other races) others we do not so there’s still lots of room for speculation and a lot has been going on in the AoW2 General Discussions forum. Come in and add your comments and suggestions there as well. They may not make it in the initial release, but who knows what may show up later in the way of patches or even expansion packs? If past history is any indication, Triumph will be responsive to user input in terms of balancing the game and even adding new tweaks, and of course now that the mod-maker genie for AoW1 is out of the bottle, we can possibly expect to see similar things creeping into AoW2 as well. Exciting days still lay ahead.
A preview of Age of Wonders II: The Wizard’s Throne is IGN.PC’s feature story today. It does a nice job of explaining the basics of game play, says the AI is very challenging and praises its graphics. Here’s a snippet:
Most battles will probably be fought out in the open with on the natural cover or trees and rocks hampering movement and providing cover from missile fire, but you’ll also have the opportunity to attack cities, which can have walls around them. If you do attack these cities, you’ll want to make sure you have some siege engines along with you to knock the walls down. If you don’t, chances are you’ll soon find your forces being picked off by the well-defended missile troops behind the walls. If you don’t have the siege engines, you’ll have to bash down the gates with melee damage. This can take a little while depending on your units and give defenders ample time to cause damage enough to seriously deplete your forces. Overall at this point, I’m finding the tactical battles quite the treat, even if I seem to be outnumbered most of the time.
Angel Cay just got an email from Electronic Boutique about his pre-order for AOW2, looks like the new projected shipping date is June 11. Here’s what EBGames.com sent him:
Important Information about your Age of Wonders II: The Wizard’s Throne order!
Dear EBgames.com Customer,
Thanks for pre-ordering Age of Wonders II: The Wizard’s Throne from EBgames.com! As an added benefit to ordering from us, we’ll keep you informed of ship date changes. We are writing to let you know that we have made a slight change to the projected ship date. The new ship date for Age of Wonders II: The Wizard’s Throne will be 6/11/02. As always, EBgames.com will not charge your credit card until we ship your order.
I’m not too worried about this slight delay. I’ve waited this long for AOW2, I can wait a little more. Plus, I’m sure the extra time will allow the Devs to ship a better game; every little game play tweak counts!
15 Screenshots at C&V
Computer and Videogames.com has just posted 15 new screenshots. You must register with their site to view them.
May 2002 Monthly Challenge
The challenge for May 2002 is to win the Age of Wonders II Beta Demo! To download the demo, check the links listed in the AOW2 Beta Demo Forum. Your objective is to conquer the scenario in the least number of turns.
You may play simultaneous or classic turns.
You may play either Julia of the Elves or Meandor of the Dark Elves.
You must play with the following settings:
Allied Victory OFF
AI Difficulty CPU Knight
Please save your progress every 10 days under a new file name. Be sure to make a special, final save just before initiating your victory battle.
Please submit your game save for the winning turn to Angel Cay (alternate email address) before 23:59 US Eastern Time on Friday, May 31st, 2002.
Check the May 2002 Monthly Challenge page for rules and results.
April 2002 Monthly Challenge Winners
All entries for the April 2002 Monthly Challenge have been processed, and it’s time to announce the winners! Congratulations to the following players, who helped Julia and Elric defeat the evil hordes:
1st Place (13 Days) — Snow Leopard
2nd Place (15 Days) — Tie between Waterfly and Tekk Zero
For a complete list of results, check the April 2002 Monthly Challenge page.
New Screenshots @ Gamespot
Gamespot has just posted 3 new screenshots. They’re hi-res and show off some pretty cool graphics!
Take the AOW2 Demo Feedback Survey!
That’s right folks! Now that we’ve devoured the demo over the last two weeks, it’s time to stand up and be counted!
Take the AOW2 Demo Feedback Survey and weigh in on some of the “hot” issues!
This 10 question survey will take all of 30 seconds to fill out! It’s anonymous, but you will need to enter in your forum name and password to vote, as you can only vote once! We’ll solicit input for about two weeks or so and post the results!
What are you waiting for? Hop on over to the AOW2 Demo Feedback Survey!
More Demo Tweaks & CGW Preview
More news of demo tweaks from Lennart Sas were peppered around the forum today:
“BTW, we resolved balance [i.e., mana] issues with summoning spells and pioneers. Now pioneers need a range of 10 between cities and an extra 250 gold to build an outpost. Pioneers can also build roads again…. The ‘duplication of a hero’ bug [has also been] fixed.”
Also received word today from forumer Tylertoo the latest (June) issue of Computer Gaming World magazine contains a brief review of AOW2 based on a beta version of the full game, including the campaigns, written by Robert Coffey, CGW’s RPG and Strategy editor. Here’s a snippet, as provided by Tylertoo:
“I dabbled in a number of the game’s mini-campaigns. Each of these smaller sequences of maps limits your in-game avatar to using just one of six realms of magic…. Learning the nuances and strategies that each spell school afforded only deepened the strategy and forced me to adapt constantly…. Maps were enormous, dotted with teleport stations that made the often-arduous march across the landscape much easier.”
Stop by the forums to catch up on the latest feedback for the Beta Demo!
AoW2 Balance Tweaks
Lennart Sas tells us about recent balance tweaks to the game:
New Freestrike rules:
Flyers/non-flyers can’t free-strike each other. No free strike if the destination is next to the unit
New Item Teleport Cost:
25 Mana per Item level + 2 Mana * HexDistance Phase take 2/3 of the moves. (leaves one strike after phase)
We’re looking into the other ‘hot’ issues too.
Keep the feedback coming!
Beta Demo – The First Week
Roughly one week ago the long-awaited Beta Demo for Age of Wonder’s II: The Wizard’s Throne was released, and what a week it’s been! Our Beta Demo Feedback forum has exploded with over 2000 posts in that time, and the email address Triumph Studios posted for feedback (firstname.lastname@example.org) must be bursting at the seams. FilePlanet notes the demo has already been downloaded 15,675 times! Who knows how many other thousands of times it has been obtained from mirror sites.
When posting in the Feedback Forum, please remember to use descriptive thread titles so the developers and other players scanning the forums can quickly locate relevant posts about your issue. Also, try to combine multiple comments so as to minimize the overall number of threads the developers have to comb through. Finally, please keep your feedback civil. Whining will get you no where; heed the advice of lead programer Josh AoW:
Melodrama, or worse yet, personal attacks, do not hold much sway. Well reasoned arguments, and anecdotal accounts of gameplay, would be a better course of action if what you really want is not just to vent, but to see a change in the game before the full release.
We watch this forum quite closely, and are paying attention to the discussions going on here. They will point us at the things we’ll want to reevaluate before release. Does this guarantee a change? No. We will examine the issues raised on the forum that we feel have the greatest merit, and decide what to do from there. Keeping posts concise and without the clutter of emotional outbursts gives any point you argue a better chance of being heard. Make things combative, and the point will often get lost.
The first week with the Beta Demo has been great; it has the makings of being a game for the ages. Let’s all have a good time playing Age of Wonders II!
Happy Birthday to HG’s own Cherub Blackmane, celebrating his 18th birthday today! Stop by his forum party and wish him well!
Are we having fun yet?
It’s been a few days now, and the dust is starting to settle. Lots of players making lots of comments, mostly favorable, but as expected several bug reports that we hope will be fixed in the general release. Warlock has resurfaced in a couple of threads, and already has the first version of his soon to be famous unit list up, along with catches on a number of things others have overlooked. Good to see he’s still plugging away.
As for the release itself, one of the biggest topics seems to be that the Random Map Generator will not be included in the initial release, but may come out later. There have been a number a threads here in the forum on the subject, and it’s dominated the USENET groups, but at this point discussion is moot. Josh AoW has stated
Random Map Generator is looking very unlikely to make it into the initial release. It is simply too much work to get working well, and releasing it in a partially finished state is not something we want to do.
There may however be random terrain generation for user created maps. That will go a long way toward making the map-makers job easier, and ultimately perhaps toward a supply of quality maps to play.
On the brighter side, if you haven’t been able to download the Demo, or overlooked the offer on the startup screen, Triumph is offering a special deal on pre-orders. $10US off the list price, plus a bonus CD. You don’t even need the Demo to get in on it – the links are available here. It only works if you pre-order from EBgames or Gamestop though.
AOW2 Preview @ Wargamer
Wargamer has posted a new preview of AOW2. This preview is a “post beta” preview and covers all the basics, but in a twist, adds a ton of commentary and quotes from PopTop Executive Producer, Franz Fels and other PopTop devs, which I haven’t seen in any AOW2 preview so far. Comments on the campaign, the background story, and those expensive cut scenes we’ve all heard so much about abound:
Campaign scenarios are strung together with some of the finest digital animation cut scenes to date. Although these interludes are brief (a total of three minutes, at a price tag consisting of 15% of the game’s budget, according to PopTop’s Phil Steinmeyer in his column on p.98 of the April, 2002 Computer Games Magazine) they do an excellent job advancing the story line. While the cut scenes are certain to attract the attention of various passers-by at the major trade shows, PopTop’s Mark Asher suggests a more practical use. “For me, cut scenes are like a reward for successfully completing a portion of the game, the payoff for a job well done.”
Click here to read the entire preview.
Beta Demo: Day One
24 hours into the Beta, there have already been over a hundred threads started in the Feedback section, but surprisingly few bugs, most of them as Josh AoW points out dealing with specific driver problems. Video problems in general are the big thing, this game has a lot going on, and DirectX troubles seem to be the biggest source of problems. Angel Draco has “stuck” several threads at the top of the forum, including comments on posting rules, mirror sites, and lists of known problems. Everyone should start off with these before diving into the rest of the message base, and please remember, there is already a section for general discussion. Gameplay suggestions, “wh00t” comments and other things can go ther, try to keep the Beta section for technical and problem reports. The Devs are paying attention to both sections, but obviously with the release coming up soon, error fixes in the engine will likely take precedence over enhancements or unit balance features.
Mirror Sites for Beta Demo
Long line at FilePlanet? Two new mirror sites for downloading the 96MB AoW2 Beta Demo have been posted. Check out the Beta Demo Feedback forum for the links!
Beta Demo is Out!
Once you’ve gotten in a few turns, hit the Beta Demo Feedback forum to let the Developers know what you think! Be sure you check the “sticky” threads first!
AOWH – One Year Old Today
Happy Birthday to us! Age of Wonders Heaven opened its virtual doors one year ago today. Has it really been a whole year? This site, the Staff and our gaming community has grown by leaps and bounds since then and I’m eternally grateful to everyone who has helped make AOWH the great place it is today!
The list of people who keep oil in this machine is long and distinguished. Special thanks to Spineman for giving my idea for AOWH the proverbial ‘green light’ and his awesome downloads section, Hamlet for his design of the site, Zen for his design contributions, forum administration and for putting up with seemingly endless ICQ messages from me, and Jayhawk for his web mastering advice.
Of course, where would AOWH be without our dedicated Staff who contributed all of the excellent content AOWH now offers? My heartfelt thanks to Cay, Nojd, Blackmane, The Jerk, Bluecollarheaven and ChowGuy for their hard work, dedication and for putting up with endless amounts of nitpicking from me.
Last but not least, my sincere thanks to you, The Fans, who visit our site and make our community the strong group it is today. This site could not exist without your support. And of course, who could forget the lovely and talented developers at Triumph Studios who take the time to visit our community and listen to our feedback.
It’s been a great year! The future promises to be even better. Stop by the Forum Party and join the celebration!
Lennart Sas Interview at ActionTrip
For those of you who haven’t already seen it, ActionTrip has interviewed Lennart Sas, lead designer of Age of Wonders II: The Wizard’s Throne. Some interesting game play features were revealed, like this bit about artifacts in the game:
AT: Since we’re discussing magic, can you reveal more details and specifics about the artifacts and the way they’re utilized?
LS: Artifacts are carried by wizards and heroes and can be found at exploration sites or gained by completed quests which the wizard receives from spirits; deity-like figures. They range from offensive and defensive weapons, to rings and “use items.” Also, wizards are able to teleport items between heroes, at a high price of course.
The hot new wizard portraits
With the fourth weekly edition of IGN’s “Behind the Magic series we have three more wizards – two male and one very sexy look “ancient Elven woman.” Which taken with the previous portraits has prompted some of the fairer members of the forum into a bit of discussion as to whether there is an incongruity here. The illustrious Josh AoW has added his comments, pointing out that the wizards/leader portraits and the hero portraits are very different things but drop by, take a look, and let us know where you stand on the matter. If nothing else, as Angel Draco says “At least they’re not complaining about teleporters…..”
Dutch Interview with Lennart Sas
The Dutch game site Gamers.nl has posted an English translation of its recent interview with Lennart Sas, lead designer on Age of Wonders 2: The Wizard’s Throne. As Triumph Studios nears completion of the game, Lennart talks about wrapping up the development process, the difficulties in getting start-up capital for its Netherlands-based game company and teases us with some game features. Here’s a snippet:
There are a lot fundamental changes. The list of new features will give you the feeling that you are a great sorcerer like Gandalf or Sauron who builds a great kingdom, which you can suit to your own ideals.
Age of Wonders II has a form of role-playing on a large scale. Along with more magic and combat related skills, your wizard has empire-management skills which, for example, make you a good trader, a peacekeeper or even a bloodthirsty hawk. You are in charge of the kind of magic you shape your country with, what kind of races live in your cities and with the kind of spirits you work together with.
Keep in mind this interview is a loose translation from the original, Dutch interview, so expect some grammar anomalies. 😉 Give it a read, then discuss it with other fans in this thread on our AoW2 forums!
Behind the Magic: The Wizards – Part 4
PC.IGN has posted part four of its “Behind the Magic” series highlighting the Wizards in Age of Wonders 2: The Wizard’s Throne. The final installment features Nekron the Death sphere wizard, Tempest the Air sphere wizard and Serena the Life sphere wizard. Here’s a snippet about Nekron:
Driven purely by appetite and hunger, Nekron sweeps the world of any of life’s impurities, bringing sweet, decisive, unbiased death to all. His cities are populated only by Undead slaves, freed from the irritating habit of independent thinking or wavering obedience. He appears pale as death, his limbs thin and skeletal, with the grinning face of a skull. He is drawn to places of great suffering and seeks to bring all to a similar fate.
Here comes the Glutton [Gulp]
The Devs have been back once again. Lennart’s interview prompted a thread about the new Glutton and Pheonix units, in which Josh AoW had this to say:
Here’s some info on how it works right now (subject to change):
Swallow: The unit comes out with 1HP if freed. If the Glutton eats another unit, or the combat ends, the unit is digested, and is permanently killed.
Resurgance: The Phoenix returns with 25% HP. If the Phoenix’s corpse is destroyed, it cannot return from the dead.
Meanwhile Arnout reports that “There are no teleport or towngate spells in AoW2” which should eliminate at least one of the major exploits hard-core players have long complained about. Seems the devs have been listening. Now if they could just get that demo to us …
Lennart Sas Interview
Lennart Sas, lead designer for Age of Wonders II: The Wizard’s Throne was interviewed by HomeLan, where he touches on all aspects of the game, such as the background story, gameplay, scenario editor, engine improvements, new races and building features. Here’s a snippet:
HomeLAN – What are some of your favorite new units you are putting into Age of Wonders II?
Lennart Sas – The Glutton is one of my new favorites. It’s a giant slug with a vast appetite and a bad temper. If it gets lucky, it can swallow an enemy whole. This doesn’t kill the unlucky victim outright, however, and he can be freed upon defeating the Glutton.
Another new unit is the Phoenix, which will respawn when killed, either after 3 combat rounds or when your side is victorious.
It’s been a busy week here on the forums, with a new VIP and several of the other developers posting. First of all of course say welcome to Arnout from Triumph Studios. He is of course the brother of Lennart Sas, and one of the scenario designers you may recall from the original AoW. He and RayB AoW waded in with some thoughts on the teleporters in the Rollin Rollin Rollin thread, which seems to have stirred up quite a bit of interest. Hey people, cut these guys some slack, they’re on our side! On the plus side for us all he had this to say about the Editor:
Yep, in the editor had a set of brushes for wood, stones etc. So you don’t have to edit every single tree
Everyone who has suffered through building a map with huge forests will appreciate that, as will those of us who only play them.
RayB, Josh AoW, and Lennart himself also graced us with some insights on the new artwork, specifically on the distinction between the hand painted and computer generated portraits for some of the characters in the game. Read about it here and check out some of the portraits yourself. See what you think. Josh had some things to say about the New Interface as well, including this:
The interface and fonts scale with resolution, and the map is zoomable… so higher resolutions have a lot going for them…
Which should be good news for fans who have high resolution video but lack the huge monitors to go with it.
First Look: AoW2 Gameplay Trailer
What’s the next best thing to playing the AOW2 Beta Demo? Getting a chance to see actual game play itself of course! While the world waits for the demo’s release, you can preview one minute and thirty seconds of gaming goodness, along with hearing some of the background story to Age of Wonders II: The Wizard’s Throne. Check out the 2MB AoW2 Gameplay Trailer, then discuss it in our forum!
If you post news on your own websites about the Gameplay Trailer, please do not directly link to the file. Provide a link to our main news page at http://aow.heavengames.com , or our AoW2 Resources page. Thank you!
March 2002 Monthly Challenge Winners
All entries for the March 2002 Monthly Challenge have been processed, and it’s time to announce the winners! Thanks to everyone who entered the contest and helped Frodo deposit his precious ring into the cracks of Mount Doom.
Congratulations to the 4 winners who completed the task in only 6 days:
For a complete list of results, check the March 2002 Monthly Challenge page.
April 2002 Monthly Challenge
The challenge for April 2002 is to conquer the map Valley of Wonders (Monthly Challenge April 2002). Your objective is to capture all 4-hex cities.
Please submit your game save for the winning turn to Angel Cay before 23:59 US Eastern Time on Tuesday, April 30th, 2002.
Results for the March 2002 Monthly Challenge will be released shortly — I just need to finish sorting through the entries!
Behind the Magic: Part 3
PC.IGN has posted part three of its “Behind the Magic” series highlighting the Wizards in Age of Wonders 2: The Wizard’s Throne. This week’s installment features Mother Mab the earth sphere wizard, Karissa the Fire sphere wizard and Anon the Life sphere wizard. Here’s a snippet:
The unquenchable Karissa burns with the powers of Fire. She possesses the power to burn the hearts of men, while her beauty enrages her Orc minions to savagery. When bored she may command her orcs to fall upon their own swords, warring against their own kind, thus her subjects are battle-hardened brutes that glory in carnage. She appears unto men as a scantily dressed, voluptuous woman with flaming red hair. Undisciplined men who behold her beauty will leave their allegiance in hope to pursue their boiling lusts, while those who resist are impaled upon the spears of her Orcs.
Ginette & Hadberz in Heaven
Many long-time AOW players fondly remember Kristen’s AOW website as the place to go for custom-made scenarios. Sadly, Kristen’s site was lost–along with the code–and can never be rebuilt. Luckily, however, a vast majority of her maps could be found at Ginette Vandal’s and Hadberz’s sites.
Ginnette and Hadberz have since moved on to other projects, but thanks to the hard work and dedication of Angel Nojd, those scenarios live on here at Age of Wonders Heaven in our new Ancient Maps archive! You can access these gems from the Ancient Maps link in our left-hand Navigation Menu under “Downloads,” and enjoy speedy downloads from our dedicated HeavenGames downloads server.
Weighing in at a hefty 55 MB, too many maps to count from some of the most famous authors of the community are available, including 10 scenarios made by Triumph Studios’ writer, Ray Bingham. (give “Isles of Luck & Loss” a try!)
Check out some of the first and best user-created scenarios in AOWH’s Ancient Maps archive as we tick off the days until the release of the AOW2 Beta Demo!
“Most Wanted” Game
I’d like to wish everyone a happy and joyous holiday. No matter what you believe, today is a fine day to reflect on what is good and decent in the world these days, and a time to think about what we can do to help our fellow man. Peace be unto you!
Countdown continues – week 2
A new trio of Wizard profiles are up at ign.com. Fetatured this week are Arachna, the Spooky Spider Lady, Nimue the Water Sorceress, and Marinus the Halfling Merchant. New screen shots as well. Take a look, then come visit the discussion thread in the AoW2 forum to tell us what you think you see.
Welcome SikBok, QA Tester
A new member of the Triumph Studios development team joined our forum discussion today. SikBok is a quality assurance tester for Age of Wonders 2, and according to forumer Iznoghoud, SikBok had a “multi killer posting spree” with Wazzz in his debut thread. I don’t know what they said, but I’m certain they’re making fun of me.
Say “hello” to SikBok and try to follow the action in the Dutch Developers thread.
AoW2 Forum Round Up
A couple of interesting bits from the Developers in the AoW2 Forum over the last couple of days. With the public release of the beta demo hopefully just a few short weeks away, anticipation is running high! Here’s what the Devs had to say, hit the links for the full thread:
We’re going to focus on finishing the PC version, before evaluating future hatching eggs.
All units in AoW2 WILL feature voice-overs (I’d rather call them ‘selection sounds’) but they’re not annoying nor in any language (so we won’t have translation issues). Imagine the goblin going ‘gna gna gna heh’ (it does!) The Orcs are my favorite, and you will find out why in just a while.
DPL files are Delphi’s version of DLLs. They are simply more versatile and useful collections of our programming code. So Delphi would be our “editor” for those, since they are really just compiled source code. As for the rest, that’s not really my decision, but I know we wouldn’t be likely to spend the time putting any tools together when we have deadlines breathing down our back… So, Magic 8-Ball says: “Answer unclear, try again later.”
This system was changed. Damage distribution is now even. so if you have a 50% chance to-hit, and 5 DAM, then you have a 10% chance of doing 1 DAM, 10% of doing 2 DAM, etc. The “always critical hit” situation you described does not occur in AoW2.
I actually made this suggestion to Lennart a long time back. I think it’d be fun too. We also discussed a “Hell” type level too… both are possibilities, I suppose in future expansions. Ultimately the fruition of such features comes down to the popularity of the project at hand. If AoW2 does well, chances are they’ll get a chance to try out some of the more “funky” terrain types.
And here is some slightly older stuff you may have missed!
We do the scenarios in-house. As the game is still in development, the scenario designers need to be in close contact with the rest of the development team. However, if there is going to be an add-on pack for AoW2, we may be able to recruit some map-maker talent off the internet.
The 3rd level is gone, as it seemed pretty redundant w/the 2nd level. The underground looks much prettier, with 3D walls, and a variety of terrains (I believe all terrains are available, but I haven’t checked some of the weirder ones).
AoW2 = An interesting game that the developers wanted to create after doing AoW1. It so happens that we received TONS of feedback. The highest requested items we took very, very seriously, and it just so happens that the fans of MOM were very vocal about their wanting to see things like random maps, build your own cities, and a number of other features that were only had in MoM. However, I think once you see the game, you will see that this is something very special, done by a group of developers that care about a game, not recreating nostalgia in those who once played a game and want to recapture their youth by playing something like that again… Well, it would be nice if AoW2 were a fountain of youth… but um… yeah…
Post your questions and comments to the Triumph Studios developers in our AoW2 Forum!
Let the Countdown to AoW2 Begin!
PCIGN.com will be profiling the 12 wizard avatars over the next few weeks in its AoW: Behind the Magic series, as we begin countdown the release to Age of Wonders II: The Wizard’s Throne!
The three wizards featured this week are Yaka, Artica and Fangir. Each profile includes a beautiful portrait of the wizard, a brief bio and a screen shot of the wizard in action! Here’s a sample, profiling Artica:
Artica is the Queen of all Frozen Lands. Though beautiful to behold, her icy countenance chills many hearts. It is natural that most shun her cold ways to favor more bountiful lands, and so Artica spends much of her existence in solitude. She uses her powers to observe the world around her. She has been known to show her visions to her allies, if it suits her agenda. Her followers are fiercely loyal to her, and though impoverished they will continue to fight for her in conditions far less hospitable than the average soldier.
You can read the entire article here. Check back every week or so for another installment of AoW2: Behind the Magic or keep your eye here on AoW2 Heaven’s news. Visit the “Countdown Begins” thread for the discussion.
New AoW2 Screenshots!
Some of the forumers have been poking around on the web, and found two more reviews of the upcoming AoW2, here at Multiplaer.it and here at Nextgame.it. Both are in Italian, but they have lots of nice screen shots, many we’ve not seen before. Speculation is of course rampant. Use Altavista’s Babel Fish site to translate them from Italian to English if you wish.
Take a look, then come visit the “New Preview” thread in the AoW2 section for the discussion.
March 2002 Monthly Challenge Update
Please note the following change to the March 2002 Monthly Challenge:
The map has been updated as of Monday, March 11th. The updated map may be obtained by clicking the link below:
The updated version of the map adds the ability Fire Immunity to the artifact The One Ring, which allows Frodo to cross the lava hexes below Mount Doom and capture the Fire Node.
If you have not yet entered a submission, then please download the updated map before doing so. If you have already entered a submission, your entry will be reviewed and you will be contacted by email.
Please accept my apologies for any inconveniences this may have caused.
March 2002 Monthly Challenge
The March 2002 Monthly Challenge throws a little twist into our monthly contest. Instead of defeating all opponents in the least number of days, players this month will only have to complete a single quest as quickly as possible.
You will play the role of Frodo, Bearer of The One Ring, in Newsboy555’s ‘Middle Earth 1.03’ map. Your objective is to drop The One Ring into the lava cracks below Mount Doom.
For more information and to download the map, visit the March 2002 Monthly Challenge page.
The contest closes at 23:59 US Eastern Time on Sunday, March 31st, 2002.
February 2002 Monthly Challenge Winners
All entries for the February 2002 Monthly Challenge have been processed, and it’s time to announce the winners! Thanks to all who entered, making this the most active Monthly Challenge yet, and congratulations to the whole group on some really impressive strategies and times.
The Top Five are:
(1) Eriksson [5 Days]
(1) Frogman [5 Days]
(3) Elvons [6 Days]
(3) Frenchkisser [6 Days]
(5) Waterfly [7 Days]
with an Honourable Mention to Frogman for his initial submission of 14 Days on Valentine’s Day, February 14th!
For a complete list of results, check the February 2002 Monthly Challenge page.
February 2002 Monthly Challenge
I would like to remind everyone that submissions for the February 2002 Monthly Challenge are due tomorrow, Thursday, February 28th, at 23:59 US Eastern Time.
Submissions must be emailed to Angel Cay and need not be ZIPed.
For more information regarding the contest, visit the February 2002 Monthly Challenge page.
AoW2 preview up at CG Online.
As we draw closer to the eagerly awaited release of AoW2, the hype is building. CG Online has yet another preview up, complete with lots of new screen shots. Speculation as always is rampant. Read about it in the forums here then add your own thoughts. What do you see?
Big News from RayB!
The esteemed RayB dropped by by the forum today to comment on several things. As always, he was pretty evasive about the forthcoming AoW 2 release date or any details, but he did have one major announcement to make. Seems he’s now a new father. Again.
this last weekend, Friday the 15th of February, my sweetheart Sondra (also featured as a dwarf priestess in AoW) had our fourth daughter, Hannah Bingham at 8:44am, she was 6lb, 5oz, and 19inches long.
Read all about it in the Rayb’s semiannual update thread in the AoW 2 General Discussion section, and while you’re there take a look at some of the other threads. He had this to say for example in response to Magog about the Random Map Generator
Maggie: You bet you’ll be able to edit any random map that you create. It should be nice because you won’t have to fill out the maps, just tweak them as you like. Of course … that does present the possibility that some of the handmade maps will be just some guy’s random map runs… which can turn out to be a bad thing…
Well we know that your maps will be excellent as always Ray. As for the rest of you out there let’s just hope we can live up.
Dungeon Siege Heaven Opens
Three days ago HeavenGames opened our thirteenth site, Dungeon Siege Heaven. There was a onslaught of announcements that day across all HG, so I thought I’d just wait a bit to share the love across the whole week. Developed by Gas Powered Games and Chris Taylor, Dungeon Siege looks awesome! Angel Farmgirl (aka, Player_Theta) is running DSH and the news posting is coming fast and furious as DS nears its April release date.
Dungeon Siege Heaven is packed with brand new information obtained from their Dungeon Siege preview. “Extensive” is an understatement for DSH’s Game Info section, with complete coverage of armor, weapons, spells, items, accessories and exclusive visuals detailing all of the information provided. Here’s some more info from the DSH press release:
Due in store shelves across America in April 2002, “Dungeon Siege” combines the immersive elements of a role-playing game with over-the-top intensity and non-stop action. “Dungeon Siege” plunges you into a continuous 3-D fantasy world where you face off against an army of evil that has been unleashed. You begin as a humble farmer, and as you travel through the world and gain new skills, you can gather a party of up to eight characters to aid you.
“Dungeon Siege” also features the Siege Editor. The editor gives you the freedom to rework nearly every aspect of the game, making “Dungeon Siege” not only a game, but also a role-playing platform for those who want to create their own characters, spells, dungeons – even entire worlds. You can post these user-created files to Dungeon Siege Heaven, making them available for anyone to download and explore, or play as a multiplayer game.
Dungeon Siege Heaven will be dedicated to featuring extensive coverage of Dungeon Siege as the game is being developed, and will bring you the latest news on the game, as well as chats with developers in the forums.
If you like roleplaying games, or just want to check what all the buzz is about, visit Dungeon Siege Heaven, and be sure to stop by the DSH Forums to say hello and visit some of your fellow HG fourmers!
February 2002 Monthly Challenge
Well folks, it’s been a while, but it’s that time again… time for a new Monthly Challenge!
And what better time of year than Valentine’s Day to try your hand at Silverleaf’s classic The Sacrifice. This quirky little map will require you to play as the Elves, and use your army of sexy nymphs to seduce your way through hordes of Goblins and Orcs. Be the fastest player to seduce all enemies (or just plain win the map, of course) and you win the challenge!
For more information, and to download the map, visit the February 2002 Monthly Challenge page.
GameSpy Previews AOW2
GameSpy.com has posted an in-depth preview of Age of Wonders 2: The Wizard’s Throne. Lots of great content and impressive new screenshots! Custom map makers rejoice! Here’s a clip:
Perhaps the most impressive feature of this game is its comprehensive map editor. Players can create large maps and scenarios that are limited only by their imaginations. Of course all the units in the game will be available, but the truly creative will take advantage of the conditional text boxes and effects to create some great stories.
The text boxes are self-explanatory; anyone that’s dying to write a fantasy-game scenario has the tools to do it here. Players can also give any spot on a map an effect. These range from triggering teleportation devices, battles, non-player character encounters, and more. So it’s entirely possible to create a multiplayer scenario that splits up a party, tells them different stories, and sends them on various quests before bringing them back together. There is a ton of neat stuff that can be done with the editor and I’m sure many imaginative gamers will take advantage of it.
You can read the entire interview here. Our forums are buzzing with speculation over the new units and other goodies observed in the new screen caps. Add your comments and post questions to the developers in the AOW2 General Discussion forum.
BlueCollarHeaven In Heaven!
AOWH is pleased announce that noted custom map maker BlueCollarHeaven has joined our staff! Cherub BlueCollarHeaven will be writing custom map-making articles for the future Age of Wonders II Heaven website.
Many long-time AOW players should already be familiar with Blue’s previous work. She is the author behind the excellent AOW Custom Map Maker’s Resource site, the best collection of information on the Internet for custom map making info.
Look for the AOWH to have an extensive Map Making Resource section for the gaming community’s every need, with articles, competitions, workshops, interviews and secrets of the top map makers, and more!
Congratulations to Cherub BlueCollarHeaven and thank you for serving the AOW community! You can express your own good wishes to her in this thread of the Website Comments & Announcements forum.
February 2002 PBEM Rankings
Players who participate in AOWH Sanctioned PBEM Tournaments receive points for every tournament match that they win. These points accumulate over time, and are used to rank players in terms of their relative success in AOWH sanctioned PBEM tournaments. Points accumulated from the 5 most recent AOWH sanctioned PBEM tournaments contribute towards a player’s ranking.
For a complete breakdown of points accumulated by all players in all competitions, please download the PBEM Rankings in Microsoft Excel format.
The Top Ten Ranked PBEM Players for February 2002 are:
1 Frogman (16 Points)
2 Argammon (12 Points)
3 ArchmageSUN (10 Points)
3 Warlord Keldon (10 Points)
5 Aim22 (8 Points)
5 Kris Lighthawk (8 Points)
7 Draco (7 Points)
7 Frode (7 Points)
7 Rorschach (7 Points)
7 Thrashbarg (7 Points)
Want a chance to earn your own spot on this distinguished list? Watch the news for the Heartwood Forest Mini-Tourney to be announced later this month.
November Monthly Challenge Winners
The November Monthly Challenge was to complete Jason’s All Things Unequal (Monthly Challenge November 2001) as a 2-player, co-operative PBEM in the fewest days possible.
Congratulations to the Winners:
Kris Lighthawk and Frogman (46 Days, Dwarves/Goblins)
and the Runners Up:
Guvmint Helper and Raveji (49 Days, Dark Elves/Orcs)
Watch the news for the February Monthly Challenge which should be available next week.
“The Vede” Plays AOW2
Check your local news stands for the March 2002 issue of PC Gamer Magazine. Senior Editor, Greg “The Vede” Vederman provides a short, but very positive write-up about AOW2 after having actually played a beta version of the game!
In the beta build I recently played, the unbalanced uber-heroes were gone, as were the seemingly endless marches toward the enemy during tactical combat. The microscopic units are now visible, and the default camera is closer to the action.
I’ve retyped the entire write-up in our AOW2 General Discussions forum. Click here to read it!
AOW2 Shipping Date?
Gamespot AOW2 Interview
Gamespot has been taking a look at the plethora of turn-based strategy games coming out in 2002, and today it focuses on the best of the best: Age of Wonders 2: The Wizard’s Throne. There is a brief preview that summarizes most of what we already know about the game, but the real treat is the interview with lead programmer Arno van Wingerden and lead designer Lennart Sas, along with two new screenshots!
Sounds like the map making community will be happy with the “even-scripting system!” Here’s a snippet:
There are more then 25 city upgrades–structures you can build in your towns, as well as “chambers” upgrades for the wizard’s tower, the most important new structure. Military upgrades allow the production of more advanced units, temple upgrades produce priests and increase happiness, shrines dedicated to one of the gods increase productivity town growth rate, and so on.
The wizard’s tower upgrades are more magical in nature. The wall enchanter puts a protective wall around your city dependent on your magical sphere. Teleportation gates let you link cities, and a casting chamber gives your wizard more casting points when present. Far casters increase the domain where your magic is active.
You can read the full interview here. There is also a poll on what features you’re looking forward to (Draconians are in the lead, of course!) so be sure to vote!
You can discuss some of these exciting revelations in our AOW2 Forums.
Heaven’s Cloud Gets More Crowded
I’m pleased to announce that ChowGuy has joined the AOWH staff! Cherub ChowGuy will be assisting with posting news on our main page that highlights information from AOWH’s own forums and our website in general.
Did RayB drop a hint about the storyline for AOW2? Did Josh mention some of the new hero abilities or maybe Wazzz compared the merits of spell spheres? ChowGuy will be hitting the news with links to those comments in the forums for your convenience!
Congratulations to ChowGuy and thanks for serving the AOW community! You can express your own good wishes to him in this thread of the Website Comments & Announcements forum.
Monthly Challenge Ends Today
A reminder that submissions for November’s Monthly Challenge, All Things Unequal is due today before 23:59 EST. If you’re international, you can check the world time converter. Send all final submissions to Angel Cay. If you’re almost done and need an extension, you can appeal to his good will … bribes and ego stroking work as well.
Gamespot Has Spotted AOW2
Angel Nojd alerted me to the Gamespotting feature of Gamespot.com, where the staff post their hot pics for the coming year.
Andrew Park, Managing Editor, is looking forward to all the turn-based strategy games coming out this year, but he paid special attention to Age of Wonders II: The Wizard’s Throne. Here’s a clip:
The sequel is going to expand and improve on all these features. For starters, it’ll have an enhanced map editor, as well as two brand-new playable races, the Tigrans and the Draconians. What’s more, the sequel won’t force you to remain with a single race at the beginning of any game–you’ll actually be able to recruit different units from different races more or less from the get-go. Though all the races won’t work well with each other, it’ll be interesting to create more varied armies from the start–and I’m sure that several different races will have interesting unit abilities that’ll play off each other well. Age of Wonders II will also have new city upgrades, some of which will actually resemble those of Heroes of Might and Magic’s city structures. For instance, rather than simply upgrading a town to level two or three, you’ll be able to build miscellaneous structures, like the hall of enchantment, that can grant your armies additional powers. Oh, and I could mention that Age of Wonders II will look considerably better than the first game. It’ll make use of particle effects and 3D terrain, as well as larger, more-detailed units, though it’ll retain the same sort of distinctive hand-drawn portrait art of the original game, which generally resembled an interesting cross between a fantasy artist’s sketchbook and an oil painting.
There’s also a nice tactical combat screenshot with a face-off between the Dwarven War Cannon and Frostling Mammoth (which first debuted here at AOWH). Click here to see more animated AOW2 units.
You can read the entire here. There’s also a poll so be sure to vote!
Queen Julia Wallpapers
The Elven Queen Julia dominates the February cover of Computer Games Magazine and she looks better than ever! That signature armor of hers hasn’t tarnished one bit. 😉 This is also the same image of Juila that appears on the Official AOW2 site as well. You can download multiple resolution wallpapers of this amazing cover at CGOnline.com.
I’m sorry there hasn’t been too much for you to read here lately. In case you haven’t noticed, I haven’t been around the forums much in the last week and a half. I had a real crunch time at work, and in the middle of that chaos my great-aunt passed away, which put everything on hold made it much more difficult to catch up. The holiday weekend turned into a “working weekend” for me, but at least I was able get back on track.
There will be more frequent news updates as we highlight comments from the developers and post news and rumors abot AOW2. The Devs have been pretty active in the AOW2 General Discussions forum lately; stop by check out the latest buzz!
A New Home For The Forgotten Warriors
Time has no meaning to me, or the elves that I live with, and if you decide to live with us you will soon realize what I mean by that. We live by the sun and and the moon. We listen to the winds and hear the earth we stand upon. For countless centuries these elves have been trying to keep everything in the order it was, before all of the mortal races began their rampage. Creating a chaos that is nigh impossible to prevent from growing. But they never give up hope. And because I admire them, I have been staying with them and teaching them as much as learning from them. So if you wish to stay here longer, tell me, and I will ask the elders if they would allow you to stay.
A “Unit” in the LeagueAOW is similar to an RTS clan; the members have similar goals and philosophies. You can join a Unit you identify with and participate in group tournies with them. The Forgotten Warriors embrace the Elven culture and harmony with nature. Stop by the Forgotten Warrior’s forum to say Hello! and learn more about Units in the LeagueAOW.