Follow SpaceSector.com on G+ Follow SpaceSector.com on Twitter Subscribe the SpaceSector.com Facebook page Subscribe the SpaceSector.com RSS feed Receive notifications of new posts by email
Buzz Aldrin's Space Program Manager: Road to the Moon | Now Available

Age of Wonders 3 Preview

By on March 3rd, 2014 12:59 pm

Age of Wonders 3 Preview

Excitement is in the air. It’s been over 10 years since the release of the last Age of Wonders game, and now, the wait is nearly over. I’ve spent some time with a preview build of Age of Wonders 3, and I’ve now got a pretty good idea of what you should expect when it releases on March 31, 2014.

A brief overview

Like its predecessors, Age of Wonders 3 is a turn-based fantasy 4X strategy game with a robust tactical combat system. Age of Wonders 3 features 6 character classes, 6 races, 3 modes of play (campaign, scenario, random map), and multiplayer both online and locally via hotseat. I don’t tend to play 4X strategy games for their multiplayer mode, so I won’t be mentioning much more about that in this preview.

Choose your own adventure

Whether you prefer a more controlled campaign experience, a slightly less structured scenario, or the mystery and replayability of a randomly generated map, Age of Wonders 3 has you covered.

There are two campaigns in the game and they are played from two opposing sides. One places you into the role of Sundren, a high elf princess who is looking to stop the Commonwealth. The other places you into the shoes of Edward, a human dreadnought who hopes to help the Commonwealth expand. Thus, on the surface at least, we are viewing a classic conflict of technology vs. nature in these campaigns. At the start of each scenario in the campaign you are greeted by several pieces of nice artwork along with full, high quality voice-over and text which helps bridge the gap between scenarios and introduce plot elements.

If campaigns aren’t your thing, but you still like a structured deliberate design, several standalone scenarios are also included. The preview build had two of them. One, called Mirror Pact, is a 4 player 2 vs 2 scenario with allied victory enabled. The most interesting part of this scenario is that certain cities, generally two that are on opposite sides of the map from one another, are “twin cities” and are linked together. This means that when you colonize one, the other is destroyed. This creates a rather interesting race to see which side can capture certain cities first. The other scenario I had access to is called Blightmouth Crater, and it features an interesting race for a central city. That city is the only place on the map able to resist the effects of blight that is soon to spread across the land. In that sense, it seems to be a more frantic map with a visible time limit before “bad stuff” happens. I imagine we will also see other scenarios in the final version as well.

Age of Wonders 3 - Mirror Pact Scenario

What most 4X gamers enjoy, and where the replayability really lives, is in the random maps. From what I’ve seen, these don’t disappoint when they come to options. I played a random map and was able to adjust a vast variety of settings. Aside from the basic difficulty, map size, etc., you can also get really granular with the game’s landscape and overall feel. Don’t like the underground map beneath the map? No problem, you can disable it. You can also start with more units, have a map full of mountains or islands, tons of monsters, or resource scarcity for example. In addition, you can enforce teams and allied victory from the start, if desired.

Leading an empire

My first impression is that your choice of leader is the most important choice you’ll make in the entire game. Your leader determines what spells and abilities you’ll have access to based on your class and specializations, and these are going to be the driving force behind how you play a particular game. As in most 4X games, your empire relies on the research decisions you make, and in Age of Wonders 3 your available options are almost entirely based off of these choices.

There are six classes available including Arch Druid, Dreadnought, Rogue, Sorcerer, Theocrat, and Warlord. I was able to spend at least some time with each of these classes during my preview. As this choice primarily determines you spells and abilities, I’ll mention more about them a bit later.

You’ll also pick a race and sex for your character, as well as design their appearance using a relatively robust RPG-esque system that allows you to choose facial hair, hairstyle, tattoos, clothing, accessories, etc. for your leader.

Age of Wonders 3 - Leader Creation

Race is of less significance compared to class in my opinion. Race determines your starting city race and which 9 or so unique racial units you’ll have access to as you progress. I didn’t notice any empire wide bonuses or significant mechanic changes between them. Each race’s units do have some built-in resistances and other abilities due to their race, and these primarily consist of resistances against certain damage types and movement bonuses in certain terrain. Ultimately, the race units aren’t mirror images of each other, they are all uniquely designed after all, but I found them to be similar enough that the choice of race wasn’t that important to me. In addition, I found the higher level class specific units, monsters, and summons to be much more useful by mid to late game, and these are available regardless of race.

Trick of the trade – research as a weapon

Although you are a powerful leader capable of casting mighty spells, you’ll find yourself researching much more than spells. Though there are certainly a lot of spells to go around, you will also be researching empire upgrades, which essentially unlock new abilities and capabilities for your empire without the casting cost and upkeep a spell or enchantment brings to the table.

Spells come in multiple varieties, such as combat direct damage spells, combat buffs, strategic map direct damage spells, global enchantments, city enchantments, unit enchantments, summons, and so on. For me, the most interesting spells tend to be the powerful enchantments and summons. In my first game I summoned the Horned God, a powerful ally for my druid. In my second, I was a powerful Warlord unleashing the Global Assault enchantment, a spell that instantly upgraded all my units to max level. Even my new recruits were max level as long as I maintained its upkeep cost. Spells like this are game changers. Another example is the Juggernaut class’ Great Mobilization, a global enchantment that increases the speed and effectiveness of all their powerful war machinery. Every class has at least 1 or 2 spells like these, and I can see these being a goal for a lot of players to strive for each game.

Age of Wonders 3 - One of the powerful enchantments

I could go on and on about the spells, but I must not forget to mention the Empire Upgrades. These upgrades are immediately activated once research is completed, and they can be just as powerful as many of the spells available to you. My sorcerer for instance has unlocked “School of Teleportation”, an upgrade that gave all my support class units the ability to teleport around on the battlefield, as well as a resistance to projectile weapons. My Warlord on the other hand was able to unlock Thoroughbred Mounts, an upgrade that made all his cavalry units superior to those of the competition by making them much more difficult to kill. The best part about these is there was no upkeep cost or casting time required.

Extending your domain

Cities in Age of Wonders 3 project an area of influence referred to as their domain. The size of a city’s domain is dependent on the city size. A city’s size will increase over time based on its population growth. The size of each city’s domain is important because any explored and undefended resource nodes which fall within this area will provide a bonus to the city. The basic resources you’ll be working with are gold, production, morale, mana, knowledge, spell casting points, population, and happiness. There are also more exotic locations, like Ancient Ruins, Tombs, Spider Queen Shrines, and Blood Altars. These tend to offer some unique rewards, like artifacts for your heroes, special abilities for a limited time, and additional units, though usually these involve a challenging battle as well.

In Age of Wonders 3, nearly every resource node, even the basic farms and gold mines, are defended by independent units. In order to claim these resources, you will both need to have it within your domain and also defeat any guardians it may have. Not every single item on the map is guarded, as I did find some free piles of gold and mana from time to time, but those rewards tend to be the exception rather than the rule. Although you will have to fight over most of the locations you’ll want to bring into your domain, unlike some other games in the genre, you won’t then have to build anything to claim the resource. The resources themselves already contains the building and bonuses, so you’ll instantly have access to its benefits once the capture conditions I mentioned are met.

Age of Wonders 3 - The Magma Forge is mine.  Next up, that creation node between my cities...

In order to claim these nodes, you’ll be battling independent units, and often you’ll be doing so against the odds. This is because these nodes can contain special battle effects, effects unique to the tactical map it uses, and these more often than not place the defending units at an advantage. In addition, all defending units move first whenever a battle takes place, so as the aggressor you are at somewhat of a disadvantage.

The world does not just consist of neutral monsters and other leaders. As you explore, you are also bound to run into some of the neutral independent empires, city-states more or less, and you’ll be making decisions about how to go about living with them and hopefully bringing them into your empire. When initially encountered, your choices tend to be rather limited. You can ask to open your borders to each other, or you can declare war against them. Declaring war is the easier way in many cases, but is not necessarily the best way. For one, your empire will become more evil if you take actions like these, and then you’ll have to offset these with other good acts if you don’t want morale to suffer amongst any good units you are using. If you don’t care about being evil, then this becomes less of an issue. The other reason this may not be best is because if you can show a little patience, they may be willing to join you for free and will even throw in some rewards to sweeten the deal. It seems sometimes they need a little help from their friends, and if you extend a hand to help them with their quest, you can assimilate them into your empire peacefully.

Age of Wonders 3 - Not the best rewards, but I'll take it.

Conquering thine enemies

Age of Wonders 3 does not use an initiative system for its units. The defender always goes first, moving all of his units, and then the attacker goes and moves all of his, and this cycle continues until the battle is over.

Tactical combat is really the key element of Age of Wonders 3. While you can certainly auto calculate some sure-fire victories, the tougher fights are going to be based on your battlefield tactical prowess as a player. My experience across a few scenarios is that tactical choices have a huge impact on whether you win or lose in this one.

The first thing to realize before even entering tactical combat is that an individual combat can include up to 7 armies if they are in the correct adjacent hexes. If you aren’t careful, you can find yourself against much larger odds than you expected. Each army is limited to 6 units only, so bringing an extra stack of 6 units to help you siege an enemy is a worthwhile idea.

Your leader is a powerful asset in tactical combat. While your leader can still contribute to battles they aren’t participating in, spell casting costs are doubled in this situation. As your leader has a finite amount of mana available per turn to spend on spells, this can vastly reduce the amount of spells you can use if your leader sits at home. I’ve also had some success building a front line warrior leader, but this is a riskier proposition than in some games as damage can be delivered to you very quickly.

One big reason for the high damage outputs is that each unit has what equates to 3 action points each turn. Aside from some particular attacks and weapons, most units can attack once per action point they have remaining. This means they can attack 3 times potentially in one round. At first glance this seems very powerful, and it is, but there are some caveats. First, moving more than a space or two costs you an action point. Second, moving even further can cost you a second. Third, all units can counterattack melee attacks as long as they have action points remaining, so when you go to smack an enemy a couple of times, they may smack you right back a couple of times.

Age of Wonders 3 - A tactical grid shows how many actions are used based on how far you move

Ranged units can bypass the counterattacks, but they have some issues of their own. They are prone to line of sight and range damage reductions. They also generally can’t use their ranged weapon if an enemy is within melee range. If however you can keep them slightly behind the front line, and you can get them close enough without using any action points to do 3 full damage attacks in a turn, ranged units can dish out a substantial amount of damage. This includes casters, archers, and muskets.

The units themselves are aesthetically pleasing. Many of the units are made of up multiple individual figures that die off as the unit takes damage, but it is important to note that this does not affect a unit’s combat effectiveness. A unit does not have reduced capabilities based on its available health or the fact that 3 out of 4 of the visible members of the unit have died. This means a unit with 1 health remaining is going to output just as much damage as one with a full 50 health. This ultimately leads to an emphasis on finishing off units rather than spreading damage around.

There are two other combat mechanics worth mentioning. The first is essentially attacks of opportunity. Whenever a unit tries to disengage from an enemy, or a unit tries to walk past an enemy, the enemy will receive a free attack against the unit that is moving. The other situation that can occur is a flanking attack. A flanking attack occurs whenever a unit is facing a different direction from an attacker. The first attack from the attacker receives a damage bonus, and no counterattack, but any additional attacks will be subject to counterattacks and will deliver normal damage.

Not all That glitters…

Let it be known that I’ve only played 15 or so hours of Age of Wonders 3 thus far, and those hours were spent in a preview build. It’s going to take me many hours of play in the release version before I can pass any sort of judgment on Age of Wonders 3. The hours I’ve spent thus far have been very entertaining as I explored the plethora of options, spells, and combat mechanics Triumph Studios have delivered. The diversity of spells and upgrades each class brings to the table is certainly quite impressive.

Still, 4X strategy games are perhaps the most difficult of all genres for game developers. A 4X game is made up of multiple parts, and while a great number of the parts and pieces I experienced in Age of Wonders 3 felt polished and well designed, it is worth mentioning that I had a few issues with the preview build that I am really hoping to see fixed by release. Of these, my biggest concern right now is with the AI. I found the AI, at King difficulty (one step below the highest), to be a tad easy for my liking. I didn’t see them expanding their empire on the random map in a timely fashion. For example, lightly guarded resource nodes in range of their capital hadn’t been cleared even though a starting army would have been able to do so. I also found the AI (both independent an AI leaders) to be very easy to fool and outmaneuver in tactical combat to the point that I was able to defeat armies 2 to 3 times my size. Siege defense in particular was an area I found the AI quite rough. I’m hoping that AI polishing is a top priority by release, and based on the care that I see in other aspects of the game, I’m going to remain optimistic that we won’t see these problems at release.

Age of Wonders 3 - I'd love to see the AI improved so I can't win like this.

One missed opportunity, in my opinion, is that Age of Wonders 3 doesn’t feature any alternate victory conditions. Other than conquering all the enemies, or conquering all the enemies with your allies, you’ve got no other real avenue to ending the game. In addition, I didn’t seem to have access to a spell to reveal the map despite exhausting every single research option in one game. This made tracking down the enemy throne city, which was underground within a vast network of narrow passageways and waterways, a rather tedious task. I’m hoping they add something in to make this process easier, or perhaps provide a way to ask enemies to surrender to you when they are greatly outnumbered. If not, I can see myself exiting games prematurely once victory is a foregone conclusion.

It’s almost here

Age of Wonders 3 releases on March 31st and I’m excited to see how things will turn out. I haven’t had a chance to fully explore all of the classes yet, and since they feel so diverse, I am certainly anxious to do so. Check back for our full review after I’ve thoroughly explored the release version.

     Subscribe RSS

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Buzz Aldrin's Space Program Manager: Road to the Moon | Now Available

40 Comments


  1. David Walsh says:

    Looking good.

    I hope they will realise that the longterm success of this kind of game (and games today can have much longer commercial lives than previously due to digital delivery) will depend to a considerable degree, other things being up to speed, on the single player AI…and….MODDING.

    For instance, Warlock would have had immensely more commercial success if it had been given a better AI and modding tools.

    With digital platforms like Steam etc people will continue to buy certain games for years…especially if there is an active community creating mods etc.

    • AstralWanderer says:

      “I hope they will realise that the longterm success of this kind of game…will depend to a considerable degree…on the single player AI…and….MODDING.”

      I would have liked to hear more about the AI, but that isn’t something that can be judged quickly (unless it’s obviously bad) so I expect it will be dealt with in the full review. As for modding, both AoW and AoW2 have mods available, so it would seem strange if AoW3 didn’t follow suit:

      http://aow.heavengames.com/mods/index.shtml
      http://aow.heavengames.com/cgi-bin/forums/display.cgi?action=t&fn=33

      It’s an interesting preview and the game looks like a goodie. Unfortunately, it has also aroused severe controversy due to it being one of the first with regional pricing on GOG – see:

      http://www.gog.com/forum/general/letter_from_the_md_about_regional_pricing/page1
      http://www.gog.com/forum/age_of_wonders_series/post_your_regional_price_for_aow3/page1

      For that reason I’ll be boycotting it for now (even though I could get it at a cheap $19.99 Russian price) though I’ve not decided whether to continue when it goes on the promised 70-90% discount sale.

      • Keith Turner says:

        I’ll be taking a hard look at the AI in the release version. A poor AI will really hamper replay for those of us who don’t play multiplayer. All I can report right now is it didn’t seem very difficult, but they have some time and I was not quite on the hardest difficulty either. The verdict will be out for a bit on this.

        Interesting info about the GOG pricing. I wasn’t aware of that.

    • Noldor says:

      “With digital platforms like Steam etc people will continue to buy certain games for years…especially if there is an active community creating mods etc.”

      Yeah I’d be inclined to agree with that assessment. GC2 for example is still selling surprisingly well, according to Stardock.

      “I hope they will realise that the longterm success of this kind of game (and games today can have much longer commercial lives than previously due to digital delivery) will depend to a considerable degree, other things being up to speed, on the single player AI…and….MODDING.”

      There are 3 real concerns I have with this game right now:

      1. There’s only 6 races; original games had twice as many, so I don’t know what the plan is for some of them.

      2. The quality of the AI so far – there are some reports that it can be beat by an average player. They said they’re working on it.

      3. The modding potential of the game, for which the developer Triumph hasn’t talked about in great detail.

      From what I understand the other races are to be added back in future DLC and expansion packs. I don’t know much about the campaign though as there is a publisher embargo on videos.

      3. The moddability of the game.

  2. ashbery76 says:

    I was concerned about the lack of talk about the strategic A.I on the forums.Beta’s seem to talk about MP battles a lot but not about the strategic A.I.

    I will possibly wait for more details because weak strategic A.I would kill the game.

  3. Dirk van den Tillaard says:

    Did you play the 2 month old test build from early feb? A lot of good can happen till that build and release.

    • Keith Turner says:

      I previewed the game between mid Feb. and late Feb. The build changed during my preview. As I mentioned, it is certainly too early to judge what the game’s release version will look like. I hope the AI is amazing as that is would really increase replayability.

      • Dirk van den Tillaard says:

        This week there will be more reviews from a much more recent build.

        I have read 2 reviews. One of them said that the AI is excelent and the other one diddnt mentioned it but overall was very positive about the game overall.

        I think that the people reading this preview should read up on more reviews that are bound to come out. Instead of relying on a months old build. Since a lot of work has been done on the AI the last few weeks.

        • ashbery76 says:

          I do not consider the average reviewer the same as experienced player in this field.

          Keith knows these games.

  4. t1it says:

    Expected a bad AI. And I expect it to remain bad at release. They’re bad AI programmers or they just don’t care. The series has always suffered from an utter incompetent AI.
    Other than that. Way better than legendary heroes already..

  5. Jeff P says:

    AOW is one of my favorite titles. I’ve played all the predecessors, and will definitely pick this up at some point. I never buy until on sale (with a significant price discount), which usually means that the game is in much better shape than at release (crossing fingers.)

  6. JohnR says:

    Yeah Keith, to be fair I noticed those two problems you mentioned in the earlier games. That is, it can sometimes be very tedious trying to find an enemy faction capital/leader, especially, as you said, if it’s underground. Further, although in my experience the AI was serviceable most of the time, it will occasionally make some pretty glaring errors at both the strategic and tactical levels. That said, the series does a lot of things right and I’ve gotten hours and hours of enjoyment from the games, and I breathed a mild sigh of relief after reading your preview that Triumph has apparently not done a radical overhaul of the game system for AoW3.

    Speaking of the AI, I tend to agree with what Scott Tortorice at Game Squad said about how AI design is dead in the water, my point being that if the AoW3 AI appears deficient at times, it definitely has plenty of company these days.

    Anyway, it’s my hope that AoW3 will get me off my current MMO craze. ;)

  7. Adam Solo says:

    Never played an Age of Wonders game, I come from Heroes of Might & Magic ;) I like the look of this and the combat system sounds like fun. Looking forward for your review. Hopefully the AI will be better at release.

    One big difference I see here, is that your leader can actually play in the battlefield RPG-esque style, and not just hang outside casting spells but actually fighting in the front line if you wish. Tell me, what happens if your leader dies? Does it respawn? With less abilities? How does that work?

    • Keith Turner says:

      I am also a HoMM fan… Well up through HoMM V anyway. The only HoMM that had leaders in combat was HoMM IV, which I never got around to playing.

      When you leader dies, he or she respawns back at your capital, aka your throne city. They are then unusable for a few turns while they recover. You also can’t cast spells and all progress on any spells you were casting, some take quite a few turns, is lost. If your leader is killed and you lose your throne city, you lose the game.

      Scenarios and campaigns have other loss conditions ad well, some of which include if specific heroes you are provided die in combat. Also, If you have items on you, I have seen these drop to the ground for pickup as well.

      Edit: For the sake of comparison, losing a hero is punished a bit more in Legendary Heroes. In that series a hero suffers a permanent injury/penalty every time they are defeated.

      • Adam Solo says:

        Seems like a considerable punishment for losing your leader, however Legendary Heroes’ permanent penalty system could work even better I suppose, since it’s more dramatic and theoretically more interesting in my book. But, being the leader such a key element of this game, by what you describe, it probably makes more sense not to have permanent penalties.

        • Viktor Rexach says:

          The penalty for champions in Legendary Heroes is not permanent. You can remove it by purchasing a 400-gold potion.

  8. whocares says:

    Good AI don’t sell and demands a very good expertise in strategy too. And by that I mean the guy in charge of coding the AI should be good when playing turn based strategy game, chess, you name it. If you lose at settler level in Civ, don’t expect to be good at AI programing :)

    But main argument: good AI is too time costly to develop. Fancy graphics, that’s better to sell.

  9. Boris says:

    $40 is too much when you consider tried and tested gems can be had for next to nothing on steam.

    No incentive to pay full price, Steam Sale all the way.

    I picked up Gnomoria on Steam for .80 cents in the Crimbo sale and I’ve logged 133 hours in it already… that’s your value.

  10. Mictavius says:

    Unfortunately I have to agree with who, A.I.’s are usually the first thing to be neglected because of the general focus on multiplayer gameplay these days and because you can produce a decent campaign without one with scripting. Also it is really hard to code a good A.I.

    Also worth noting that as several people have said the series has never had stellar A.I.

  11. Wodzu says:

    So another game in which A.I. sucks eh?

  12. Electrolux says:

    I only played AoW2 for the first time last year. It’s ace. So I’m hyped for this. It only gives me a month to clear my Eador: Genesis campaign though aaaargh.

    Idiot AI goes with the territory, I just need the AI to cheat like a bloody scumbag and I’m away. The AI leaving that resource alone is a good sign because it indicates it didn’t need it and nor should it; the game is a test for me not the AI.

    No AI is going to give you a better battle of wits than MP so why waste resources on it, start making AoW4 instead.

    • AstralWanderer says:

      “No AI is going to give you a better battle of wits than MP so why waste resources on it…”
      Because:
      * an AI can play anyplace, anytime and for as long as you want. It won’t need toilet breaks, meals or throw a fit and quit halfway through a game.
      * an AI won’t (normally) keep you waiting several minutes doing its turn
      * tactical battles within a strategic game are problematic in multiplayer (many games only allow auto combat, AoW requires you to sit through everyone else’s tactical combats).
      * 5-10 years from now, MP servers may not exist leaving only single-player versus AI as a viable option.

      • Electrolux says:

        Fair points and I’m not suggesting that there is no AI at all. I play mostly SP too, my perspective is more that I just need my ability to be tested. The AI doesn’t need to do it with intellect it can just as easily do it by cheating.

        I agree of course that the AI needs to know how to move the pieces around and represent an opponent but if it’s merely a hard-to-beat idiot that’s fine by me.

  13. trix62 says:

    This is one of my fave game series of all time.

  14. Ruprecht says:

    I will not be buying this without evidence that they’ve at least tried with the AI.

    AoW2 AI wasn’t just average, it’s not even bad, it’s completely hopeless. It doesn’t even attempt to play the game. It’s worse than the AI in the original Civ which ran on an 8mhz cpu…

    Sure most strategy games the ai isn’t going to challenge you (without help) once you’ve mastered the game but at least it does something. AOW2 wasn’t the usual “bad ai” like HoMM etc etc it was a whole other level of suck.

    Basically with AOW2 if you tried to have a sandbox game… the map generator would create a broken/99% grass map… and then in the game itself all the AI players would just sit there doing f-all.

    I would not have described that as “ace”.

  15. Martok says:

    Well unless the AI is truly atrocious, this AoW3 is going to be a must-buy for me. Really looking forward to this one!

  16. ashbery76 says:

    Just 9 hours in an I think it’s already a lot better than fallen enchantress.I see some flaws like the strategic game looking at bit light compared to Civ5 but it’s focused on killing,spells and exploring lairs.

    No bugs so far and polished too it seems..

  17. Serge says:

    Huh 1.7 giga download…
    Warning! Seems there are some problems with activation for ppl who bought on Steam – something to do with key and having to have Triumph account

  18. Lens Flares Suck says:

    No demo no sale. I’m tired of buying a pig in a poke.

    • Lens Flares Suck says:

      WAIT JUST A MINUTE HERE… you have to create a ‘Triumph’ account and login before you can play the game?

      What is this, Blizzard?

      If this is a ‘one time activiation’ deal, maybe, but if this is a ‘you need an account and to login every time you play the game’ that is A REAL PROBLEM FOR ME.

      • ashbery76 says:

        No.You can bypass it by using guest log in..

      • Keith Turner says:

        As ashbery76 said, you do not have to create an account/register your game. You can log in as “guest”.

        You will not be able to participate in online multiplayer if you login as guest.

        Also, I have noticed that my game status/saves that are created when I am logged into their service are not present when I log in using guest mode. I had expected to still be able to access them, but I hadn’t attempted to do so before checking this for you tonight.

        • Lens Flares Suck says:

          I no longer care how it works, the fact that I have to figure this nonsense out means I’ll spend my gaming money elsewhere.

          Warlock 2 will be out in a week, so I guess I’ll pick that up instead.

          Registering? Logging on to play a single player game? Save games are different based on how you play? This is not anything I’ll have anything to do with.

        • AstralWanderer says:

          If you have to log in *anywhere* to play single-player (guest account or not), that qualifies as DRM and makes AoW3 a “don’t touch” in my books too. What happens when that server shuts down? What happens if someone wants to/has to play offline?

          I’d ask if those playing AoW3 can confirm this is a requirement for singleplayer – especially those with the GOG version. Though judging from http://www.gog.com/forum/age_of_wonders_series/aow_3_not_really_drm_free/page1 the login requirement *seems* not to be present for singleplayer.

        • ashbery76 says:

          loggin is just for the MP server.You don’t have to be online to play SP.

        • Keith Turner says:

          I’ll do some digging on this as part of my review preparation and will include my findings. At this point I am still focused on evaluating the gameplay.

  19. AstralWanderer says:

    ashbery76: “loggin is just for the MP server.You don’t have to be online to play SP.”

    Thanks for the confirmation – compulsory login for MP still bothers me though since even with “guest login” as an option, it means MP dies when Triumph’s server does (yes, I know there are plenty of AAA titles that are far worse and I’ve boycotted every one of them). There’s more debate on this at GOG’s AoW forum:

    http://www.gog.com/forum/age_of_wonders_series/aow_3_not_really_drm_free/page1

    Keith Turner: “I’ll do some digging on this as part of my review preparation and will include my findings.”

    Thanks for taking this on – the one reason I’ve turned away from “mainstream” review sites (and PC games magazines) has been their refusal to mention DRM when present.

  20. Serge says:

    I’ve started playing elven campaign and am not impressed so far. (Ppls say that random maps are a better though). My biggest gripe is 3D graphics – it’s very intensive (my laptop with 670m is able to handle middle quality but with small stutter) but it’s ugly. FE LH graphics is way more pleasing to the eye. The problem of AOW 3 is too many high details which looks not good without strong antialiasing, and strong antialiasing is not possible on mid-level machines due to excessive amount of graphics detail. They also have problem with camera perspective distortion. I didn’t found UI neither especially smooth no especially intuitive, though it’s not especially bad either. Can’t say anything about gameplay itself yet – it looks OK for now, but ugly graphics is distractive.

    • Mezmorki says:

      Make sure you patch your game. Autopatch in Steam or if you bought it from GOG you’ll need to download the patch from there. The patch fixes a number of performance issues and a few balance as well.

      I’ve been playing AoW3 since release and it’s been one of the more enjoyably games I’ve played on the PC in years. The game has a great fundamental design (as they didn’t mess with the formula from prior game’s too much), and the dev’s are fairly responsive on the official forums and are clearly listening to community when it comes to improvements and balance tweaks. I’m excited to see how the game evolves in the next few months.

      But even right now it’s great in my opinion. There is a lot to like in this game.

Leave a Comment


Related Articles:

Post category: Game Previews