Age of Wonders 4 Dev Diary #20 - Roadmap
After the release of the Dragon Dawn Content Pack and the associated Wyvern Update, it's time to look ahead. I'm Lennart Sas, game director of the Age of Wonders series. Today, we're sharing our Roadmap for 2023, highlighting the free updates in store. In this Development Diary, we'll delve deeper into our plans, show what we have coming up and the reasoning behind it.
Age of Wonders 4 had an exceptional launch, with record sales and critical acclaim. This game is Triumph's most ambitious and complex to date, offering more systems and customization options than ever before.
Our goal extends beyond providing a fun experience for role-players and tinkerers. We aim to cater to power gamers, strategy connoisseurs, modders and multiplayer fans; you, the core of our community!
Our initial focus was to improve core tech for stability, performance, and multiplayer. The recent Wyvern Update has already made significant progress in these areas. Check out the Wyvern update patch notes for more information. Of course future patches will continue to improve stability.
Major AI Update
In a symmetrical strategy game like ours, the AI plays a vital role. We've been working tirelessly to enhance its performance, making it more proactive in general and proficient in various subsystems. This Summer's Watcher update will prioritize major AI improvements. Due to the complex nature of the AI we unfortunately could not bring AI fixes earlier, for the Wyvern Update.
Freedom versus Constraints
Some design choices (either intentionally or unintentionally) resulted in an overly flexible experience where everything is possible. While accessibility is important, we want choices to have consequences and factions to develop distinctively. We are planning to make significant effort in tightening several aspects of the game in the upcoming updates.
One of our highest priorities is revamping the research system. Currently, it's too easy to acquire an abundance of Tomes, causing balance issues and often resulting in homogenous end-game factions. Our changes will limit players to a subset of Tomes and Affinities in a single session, encouraging more meaningful choices and stronger faction identities.
More Checks and Balances
We'll be introducing additional checks and balances to various mechanics, such as tightening rules for casting summons, limiting the impact of direct damage spells on the world map, and imposing more severe penalties for exceeding the Hero Cap.
We aim to make winning feel like a true achievement and ensure losing feels fair. We acknowledge the need for improvement in Magic Victory, which often occurs too early and doesn’t scale along with map size / session length. We want player factions to actively prevent opponents from reaching victory, rather than relying on PvE pressure. Expect a reworked Magic Victory in the upcoming Watcher update. Seals Victory will return as a premium feature for Empires and Ashes.
While map generation systems continue to evolve, there are specific areas we want to give extra attention to. For the Watcher Update, we're enhancing the Underground, making caverns more spacious and valuable, relocating the Ore-class of magic materials predominantly underground, granting higher annex ranges for underground cities, and introducing themed Infestations through excavations.
Water gameplay improvements are also planned, offering more reasons to explore and ways to exploit water provinces, as well as enhancing naval encounters. Lava gameplay, including lava walking and faction-specific lava sector exploitation, is under consideration for future updates.
We will increase the number of notches on player distance / relative map size so there is some more granularity there.
In addition to addressing issues, we're dedicated to introducing exciting new free features. The Golem update will bring a War Coordination system for Vassals and other players, allowing you to request assistance in attacking specific targets. We're also developing an all-new Item Forge; the design already looks very promising as it integrates the collected Magic Material nodes in your domain.
Balancing the game remains an ongoing task, focusing on addressing overpowered meta playstyles and combat synergies. Top priority goes to adjusting the buffing of ranged units, among other considerations.
Faction creation lies at the heart of the game, and we're committed to enhancing it across updates. Expect more options for customization and evolution, such as an additional Form trait slot and traits themselves and new ways to alter army visuals. We're striving to improve faction identity and differentiation both from the start and as factions progress as we continue to develop the game.
We hope this summary of our upcoming plans is helpful! Please note all of the above is in various stages of development, so things may still change!
To conclude, we sincerely appreciate your continuous support, invaluable feedback, and patience as we enhance Age of Wonders 4. Your input fuels our passion to create the best strategy game possible. Thank you for being a part of our community and please continue sharing your thoughts!
Best Regards, Lennart Sas Game Director Age of Wonders 4