You Little Wonder: Age Of Wonders III – Golden Realms

By Adam Smith on August 25th, 2014 at 12:00 pm.

Age of Wonders III! I liked it well enough and keep meaning to play some more and, as is increasingly the case, an expansion may be precisely the excuse I need to do just that. Golden Realms, which is due on September 18th, is a meaty great wedge of new content, spearheaded by the inclusion of tiny little halflings. I’m not one for campaigns when random maps are available for conquering, so it’s pleasing to note that all of the new features have been integrated into the upgraded map generator. Rather than releasing a short CGI film about a halfling rogue to announce the expansion, Triumph have delivered seventeen minutes of developer walkthrough explaining everything that’s new. That’s below.

If I had just watched a film about a halfling rogue, at best I’d want to watch a longer film about a halfling rogue. That’s if the original short was exciting and pleasing to the eye. Instead, because I’ve just watched somebody playing Age of Wonders III and explaining what the expansion does, I want to emulate that person and to play the game myself. This is a good way to convince me that the expansion is of interest.

Here’s the long list of features, updates and additions:

- The Halfling Race: The little folk are back, with new units, heroes and leaders. The jesters shoots fireworks which dazzle the enemy and the cleaver flinging brew brothers keep the Halfling armies fed while on the road. Halflings can be used with all classes and introduce the new Luck mechanic which allows them to dodge incoming attack while they’re in good spirits.

- Golden Realms Campaign. In this three scenario campaign, you help the Halfling survivors of the Heartwood Massacre rebuild an empire in an exotic land and confront an ancient evil.

- Exotic Map Locations: Capture the Naga Dwelling, home to serpentine queens and giant man-snakes, and discover new treasure sites such as the fabled Lost City to benefit your empire.

- Over twenty new units: Encounter new exotic units such as the filth throwing Dread Monkeys, alluring Mermaids and the fearsome Glutton who can swallow whole regiments in one bite.

- New Hero Items: The Golden Realms contain 50 new magical artifacts to discover and use. Wield the enigmatic Crystal Skull, or wear a stylish Witch Doctor’s Headdress to mix in with the locals.

- Wild Magic Specialization: Unleash wild magic. Cause spontaneous mutations, warp equipment and turn orderly battles into a pandemonium where the lines of battle are violently warped.

- Partisan Specialization: Use new skills for guerrilla warfare. Create concealed hide-outs and develop ambushing skills.

- Two hand crafted scenarios: Playable single and multi-player these new stand-alone scenarios are built around the new features of the Golden Realms expansion.

Features:

- Mystical City Upgrades: Arcane treasure sites located in your domain unlock new unique upgrades for your cities, making the location and specialization of your cities more important than ever. Building a city near a Crystal Tree unlocks the Enchanted Armory which reinforcing your armored units.

- Empire Quests: Achieve empire building goals before your rivals to unlock unique rewards for your realm. This introduces a new type of indirect competition between players. Examples are the Eternal City: be the first to build a metropolis and get an awe-inspiring Monument of Prime Good and Evil, where the first player to achieve full good or full evil alignment has a party of champions the respective alignment join at no cost.

- Seals of Power: A new King of the Hill style victory condition where players must capture and hold the dangerous Seals of Power structures in order to achieve victory. Don’t sit and hold back as broken seals attract extra-dimensional beings wanting to take the Seal back.

- Defensive City Upgrades: Each race has a unique city defense to build. The Draconian’s Firestorm Pillar sets ablaze those who dare attack their city. Or the Bell Tower for the Humans which rallies the citizenry to shoot volleys at oncoming enemies.

- All the new content and features mentioned above are integrated into the updated Random Map Generator.

A few multiplayer sessions seems like a fine idea as soon as this is released.

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25 Comments »

  1. jasta85 says:

    Age of Wonders III is a game I keep meaning to get around to playing, but I keep getting distracted by other games. at this point I will probably just wait for the expansion and play it with all the new features. Looking forward to September.

  2. Ravenholme says:

    Yay! You guys finally covered it (and are the first news site I follow to do so).

    I’ve got 133 hours clocked in Age of Wonders III by Steam’s reckoning, and am really excited for the expansion. The games have ever been a compelling mixture of Heroes of Might and Magic and Civilisation, and this third installment is no different. The return of the Halflings is great, because the Age of Wonders universe has always had a pretty cool spin on their race concept.

    The campaigns are actually worth playing through, they add a few enjoyable wrinkles to the basic objectives of kill/befriend everyone (Although the new Seals of Power victory condition looks fun), and the lore it adds based on the previous games and where it hints future expansions may go is also… interesting.

    In summation: It’s a great game, people who have not yet played it should definitely consider jumping in with this expansion.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    Ooh nice! I like AoWIII a lot. I haven’t played in a while, but I’m sure I’ll go back to it.

  4. Horg says:

    Poo Throwing Monkeys might have just toppled the Dire Penguin as the ”best” unit.

  5. LastLifeHorror says:

    Bah! Perfectly good excuse for a “Golden Wonder” gag wasted!

  6. Premium User Badge

    Rizlar says:

    Love that guy’s voice.

    The new terrain and units are also highly appealing. For me playing AoW3 is more of a tour of beautiful landscapes and strange beasts than an exercise in min-maxing. More of this stuff (and new ways to distinguish cities from each other) can only be a good thing!

  7. Premium User Badge

    RedViv says:

    Now I am in the mood for fifteen hours of washing dishes and singing songs about it!

  8. Loyal_Viggo says:

    Meh.

    Simple strategy to always win:
    1. Build one stack of tier 4-5 units with your best hero attached.
    2. Build 5 tier 1-2 stacks very quickly in the time it takes to make the above stack.
    3. Spam auto-resolve battles with low tier stacks to grind your opponents best units down, maybe kill a few, severely weaken the rest.
    4. Mop up with your intact tier 4-5 stack.
    5. Rinse and repeat… until…
    6. Win scenario move onto next.

    • ain says:

      OR you could use a strategy that isn’t horribly inefficient.

      • Loyal_Viggo says:

        Who cares about efficiency? A win is a win.

        The point is the game is weak-sauce when it comes to actual strategy.

    • Ravenholme says:

      Play Multiplayer, get destroyed long before you ever get a T4 unit. And you’ll be happy to know one of the things being included in the patch alongside the DLC are some refinements to the AI.

      Nevermind that such a strategy works for darn near every game with combat like Heroes of Might and Magic’s

      • Premium User Badge

        caff says:

        Good to know, I’ve had a few occasions where the enemy AI wigs out, but it’s always been fixed by a simple reload.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Did they ever resolve the problem where lower tier units didn’t matter, once you could fill armies with T4′s? I bought the game soon after release, played a bit and enjoyed it, but the limited number of units and the way it seemed to be just a race to the “best” high-tier units put me off, after a while.

      I’ve been playing the Endless Legend beta on and off in the meantime, which has its own issues, but maybe I’ll check back in AoW3 after the expansion comes out.

      • Horg says:

        It’s a work in progress, but we’ve now had 2 official balance patches with a 3rd in beta right now that work on making the early and mid game more relevant. Research is slower, gold gain is lower, high tier unit costs are up, there are more building prerequisites for the high tiers, lower tier units all got stat buffs as well as the new racial perks, high tier units got some nerfs and increased upkeep, and a new feature was added that allows players to slow down the overall game speed (so you can play at 50% / 75% speed and tech will take proportionately longer in custom games). It’s definitely better than it was at launch, and as other people have already stated, if you try and t4 rush in a multiplayer game right now you will get rolled over.

        • Zenicetus says:

          Great, thanks for that update! Sounds like they’re very aware of what needed doing, and I’ll have another go at it soon.

  9. Sian says:

    Hm. I wonder if the seals quest can somehow be deactivated. I don’t really want to play with a low turn limit. Now I doubt games will be over in 35 or even 40 turns because you need an army capable of capturing the nodes, but I like long games, so that is a change I’m not looking forward to.

    • Horg says:

      The AoW3 forum mods already confirmed that seals can be disabled. Additionally, they added ”you can also configure number of seals, target score and where the seals will spawn in the RMG.” It’s a nice option for people who don’t want to grind an opponent down over 100+ turns.

      • Sian says:

        That’s great news, thanks!

        I won’t deny it’s a good idea. It’s just not for me.

  10. jpm224 says:

    Is it a holiday in the UK or something?