Makes You Wonder: Age Of Wonders 3 Level Editor Out

It looks easy to make something pretty.

I stepped out last week to conquer distant lands and it looks like no one at RPS posted about the Age of Wonders 3 level editor in my absence. I guess they must not be cool people, or they’d realise there’s nothing better in life than robustly featured editors for creating your own new lands to conquer. Especially for a game in which Adam enjoyed himself but craved more variety. There’s a video demonstration of the editor in action below.

The editor looks pleasingly straightforward. You can paint the terrain with mountains, lakes and forests, and plop down cities, roads and units with relative ease. If you’re more ambitious, you can push the tools further, adding new heroes, quests, campaign maps and story sequences. More than likely most people will use it to simply re-create real world countries and maps in the shape of their own face. I am totally OK with either of these options.

The Civilization series has long had a vibrant modding community, even producing work of such quality that it’s been bundled and sold as official add-ons to the base games. If Age of Wonders can attract even a fraction of that same DIY spirit, it’ll make this pretty, tempting fantasy 4X game irresistible. There’s more about the Age of Wonders 3 editor over here.


  1. SanguineAngel says:

    This actually might tip me into a purchase! It is reminiscent of the old HOMM(3 I think?) level editor. Which was a blast with friends

  2. nebnebben says:

    Yes! Yes! Yes!

  3. OpT1mUs says:

    Too bad the game itself is a bastion of mediocrity.

    • misterT0AST says:

      If only there were some tools to improve it.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Personally, it’s been the best game of it’s type since civ IV so I guess one mans bastion of mediocrity is another mans… well Bastion ;)

      • Stepout says:

        Having played many hours of the game, I took “Bastion of mediocrity” to mean super-amazing-awesome-sauce + sex.

        • RedViv says:

          How could you? The reasons for calling it a bastion of mediocrity are so well-stated and profound that it is hard to misunderstand, let alone ridicule!

          • OpT1mUs says:

            Bad AI, bad optimization, combat in which units are represented by multiple models which are only makeup since it doesn’t matter if all models are alive or just 1; the units still does it’s full damage, boring spells which only differentiate in the type of damage, too fast research, too fast building of buildings so you quickly get everything in every city and nothing differentiates them, units of different races too similar, small number of (boring) races (orcs AND goblins wow), boring tactical combat with units that never miss, small battlefield and shitty heroes. etc

    • Donkeyfumbler says:

      It’s not perfect but it’s the best 4x game I’ve played in the last twelve years (since the last AOW game) so far, and that includes Civ IV and V, Fallen Enchantress, any of the HOMM or Kings Bounty games, Total War and many others.

      If you see how active the developers are on both their own and the Steam forums, it’s hard not to have faith that they will be improving it for a long time to come.

      • OpT1mUs says:

        Yes, I’ve seen and that’s what I’m counting on. If they make another SM equivilent to AoW2 like original SM was to AoW3, I’ll be all over it. At the moment the games is average at best.

        People comparing Civ 4 and 5 to AoW3 just makes laugh in a sad way. The games have so little in common.

        • Reefpirate says:

          And in the meantime you’ll be spreading worthless trash type comments like you have here? That’s great. It really is the best 4X release of the century as far as I’m concerned. I’m sorry it didn’t live up to your AoW 2:SM expectations.

          The good news is that SM is still alive and kicking and you can go be miserable with the rest of the people who enjoy impassable mountains, invincible flying units, and 200 other units that no one ever uses but are available for variety’s sake.

          If anyone isn’t completely turned off by your comments, they can be reassured that a patch is due out this week that addresses some of the economy and AI issues. I’ve been playing the game steady since release and I’m fairly certain it’ll be Game of the Year for me.

          • MisterFurious says:

            Well, if YOU liked it then it must be good and everyone that doesn’t like it has to be wrong because you are the Center of the Universe and your opinion is always the right one.

          • Reefpirate says:

            No it’s more like I’m concerned someone who is interested in the game might wander into this comment section, read these trashy comments and then end up missing out on one of the best fantasy 4X experiences available.

            And did anything I said make you think it wasn’t my opinion I was sharing? I don’t remember saying I have the Ultimate opinion anywhere… If I say ‘this game is good’ you can read it just the same as ‘my opinion is this game is good’… You see when I type sentences like this I am doing it from the first person perspective.

          • OpT1mUs says:

            I said why I think game is mediocre. I’m sorry if that somehow offended your fragile feelings. That game will still be mediocre even if it’s your “game of the year” or whatever.

          • Reefpirate says:

            Why the hell does everyone think my feelings are somehow involved here? I’m the ultimate arbiter of opinion judgement and also apparently emotionally invested in your cynical opinions…

            Like there should be an RPGCodex for 4X players and you can be one of their forum moderators where every game that isn’t Dominions 4 or AoW 2: SM gets flamed all to hell.

          • mr.ioes says:

            It’s funny, but my experience is 100% like what Optimus says. Comparing it to civ 4 or civ 5 makes me sad as well. The only thing “trashy” here is AoW 3 and Optimus gave many (not all, I could add ^^) reasons for it.

      • Cinek says:

        “it’s the best 4x game I’ve played in the last twelve years” – I would wait at least 4 weeks before making loud statements like that. Joy from having something new blinds you, sir.

        • Donkeyfumbler says:

          Well I’ve already put more hours into it in the last week since it was released than any game except Civ5 from that list, and I have no doubts it will overtake that in the next week or so but I do get what you mean – it’s why modern films always dominate those ‘Best 100’ lists for 12 months or so after their release but then you look for them on the same kind of lists 10 years later and they are nowhere to be found.

        • Reefpirate says:

          I understand what you’re saying… But I’ve been playing steady since release and once I get home from work I’ll be firing it up again. Obviously some of the ‘new car’ smell has worn off, but when compared to any of the other 4X releases in the last 12 years I can’t think of anything better.

          Fallen Enchantress is kind of neat after they’ve MacGuyvered something interesting out of it… But right out of the gate AoW3 is everything I wished Elemental was but always failed to be. The only other game I would say comes close with polish and overall quality is the Sins of a Solar Empire series, but it’s kind of the strange step-brother of 4X games.

          • Laurentius says:

            My initial impressions aren’t that positive, it’s AoW all right but Fallen Enchantress:Legendary Heroes ( for all my reservations) fared better right from the start, somehow even combat feels clunkier and less meaty in AoW3 then in Legendary Heroes.

          • Reefpirate says:

            I had plenty of fun with Legendary Heroes, but I still don’t really know what is happening in that game. It’s just a mish mash of 4X and RPG elements kind of lumped together. AoW3 feels like a more coherent package. FE: Legendary Heroes has some cool features I’d like to see in AoW3, but you have to remember FE: Legendary Heroes came at the end of a long succession of fuck ups, restarts, re-fuck ups and finally another restart that took several years after the release of Elemental…

            So now I challenge you to compare Elemental, which was the original release of FE: Legendary Heroes, to Age of Wonders 3. That’s a no contest as far as I’m concerned.

          • Donkeyfumbler says:

            You really found the combat better in FE:LH than in AOW3? Although they improved it a bit over the combat in the original Fallen Enchantress, I still found it very bland and far too simplistic. That and the fact that there was no range penalty for missiles fairly much killed it for me. I had been hoping that FE was going to be AOW3 (before I found out there was going to be a proper sequel) but if it concentrated on one thing (and lets face it, it was all over the place trying to decide what it wanted to be) it was on the strategic rather than tactical layer.

          • Laurentius says:

            Yes it was simplified but quicker and for me more meaty and satysfying in bigger picture of hundreds of battle that are ahead me. AoW3 is very true to AoW in this that even early into game and i already have urge to auto-resolve a lot of battles.

        • WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

          I’d actually go one stage further and say it’s the second best 4X I’ve ever played, after Alpha Centauri.

      • RanDomino says:

        What about FFH?

      • falconne says:

        I wouldn’t call this release of AoW a better 4X than Fallen Enchantress with Legendary Heroes. Maybe after a few expansions. Currently it’s got a really nice tactical layer (aside from units not getting weaker as they take damage), but a very shallow strategic layer which is the key element of a 4X. The city building is dull, the races are generic, research is dull and there just isn’t much to do when you’re not in a battle.

        Currently I think it appeals more to the steam rolling “adventurer” type players than the typical 4X player who likes city building with substance and strategic/analytical depth.

        • Reefpirate says:

          It’s a wargame fantasy 4X. AoW always has been. It’s about the fighting, not the cultural development… Unless the cultural development is related to getting better siege equipment maybe.

          • falconne says:

            And that makes it just barely a 4X in my opinion. It’s light on the first two X’s, the third X barely exists and is very heavy on the last X. Most of this thread is about a few people claiming this is the best 4X in years… in reality those players aren’t really into what 4X games are all about.

    • Caiman says:

      You have a funny way of saying “best 4x for years”. That could be confusing for you.

      • OpT1mUs says:

        Not that hard to be best 4x in years when there is very poor competition. Also Dominions4.

      • Cinek says:

        What cave you lived in?

        Both Shogun 2 and Civilization V (after all DLCs) beat crap out of it. Heck: Even stupid metacritic agrees. Go, get some fresh air before posting stupid statements like that.

        • Donkeyfumbler says:

          Ummmmm – it’s his opinion (expressed in a tongue-in-cheek way), so it’s no less stupid than yours (or anyone else on Metacritic). Don’t let that stop you getting angry that someone disagrees with you though.

        • Reefpirate says:

          Shogun 2 completely failed to capture my attention for more than a couple of hours after I paid full price for it. I still haven’t played Civ V but I think it’s nice how you compare Civ V + ALL DLC to AoW 3 just one week after release. From what I gathered Civ V had kind of a mediocre release and was made good with DLC.

          In my opinion, easily as valid as yours, AoW 3 is the best Fantasy 4X of the century, if not 4X in general. And it hasn’t even had its first patch (although the patch coming out this week looks sweet).

        • Dominus_Anulorum says:

          I know man. How dare he have a different opinion of a game than you? Clearly he is a terrible, dumb, stupid person. Games are clearly an objective medium and there is only ever one right opinion to have about them. People whop cannot comprehend this are just plain dumb.
          If you couldn’t tell, that was sarcasm.
          Also, this: link to

          • Reefpirate says:

            You could save a lot of time if you just copy pasted ‘but that’s just your opinion, man’ into all of your replies…

            I know that’s my opinion in contrast to his… Which is why directly in my comment I said ‘in my opinion, equally as valid as yours’.

            But if you ever want to have a meaningful conversation about anything ever, you’re going to have to compare opinions. ‘Hey an opinion is an opinion and leave his opinion alone’ has got to be the most boring way to live.

          • Dominus_Anulorum says:

            I agree completely. I don’t have a problem with people expressing opinions. However, I do have a problem when people insult others over it. I realize that its the internet and I probably need to chill and all that jazz, but I really don;t see why it isn’t possible for people to discuss these kind of things in a normal manner. If you don’t like it feel free to say so, but people who do like it aren’t idiots.

          • Reefpirate says:

            I try to keep it pleasant and civil as much as I can and I really don’t think I was insulting anyone… But things can quickly get heated when the hyperbole comes out, and when people are invested in either totally loving a game, totally hating a game, or totally wishing a game was something that it is not.

            I may have gotten a bit heated with you too… And I’m sorry if it came across that way. Let’s all try to be more pleasant!!

    • Furienify says:

      While I agree completely with all the flaws you mentioned, depending on how mod-friendly the game is I’m fairly optimistic. It’s a few simple tweaks from being a pretty goddamn solid game – slowing down growth rates, maybe gating certain building types behind population so you don’t rush T3 units at the start, tweaks to unmissable melee damage, etc. I remember some of these being possible from default in AoW2.

      Plus there’s all the missing races that are still mentioned in lore making for tons of DLC hooks, so I remain hopeful. Maybe we’ll be able to make our own units, too. I want my goblin suicide bombers back, god damnit.

  4. Horg says:

    The game is also getting its first patch this week which fixes the two major performance bugs, specifically the scroll stutter when you have a stack selected and the slow down in long siege battles, as well as a small balance update. You can activate the beta version of the patch via steam right now, instructions are found in this link:

    link to

  5. Frank says:

    I thought “out” meant not included. :) That would “make me wonder”, not its inclusion.

  6. Chris D says:

    (Incoming Cliche Alert!)

    It’s a game of two halves. The tactical part is pretty great. I like how the system of action points, attacks of opportunities and retaliation combines into a really satisfying series of choices.

    I also like the variety and colour of the units a lot. The racial variations for each of the unit types gives it a lot of character.

    Unfortunately the strategic portion of the game doesn’t hold up as well. I’m always loathe to say things like “You just build a load of cities, build lots of armies and repeat” as it always feels reductionist, but in this case I’m having a hard time coming up with a good counter argument to that. It becomes a case of expand as fast as possible and then steamroll. I feel the game would be much stronger if there were some kind of limit on how fast or how much you could expand, sure there’s upkeep, but just build more cities and problem solved.

    Late game bloat is an issue for pretty much all large scale strategy games but in this case it feels you run into it by the time you reach the mid-game, and that’s a problem.

    Now you can probably alleviate some of these issues by setting up your games so that you can find the sweet spot for map size and number of opponents etc., and it’s nice that you have all these options but I feel like the designers really should have taken more responsibility for how they present the game. When the default settings don’t include naval combat or underground terrain it’s hard to believe that’s the intended experience.

    It feels a little like going into a shop to buy a cake and being handed some eggs, flour and butter and being told “There you go. make it how you like it”. I mean, thanks but wasn’t that your job?

    Overall there’s still a lot to like but the experience as a whole feels unfinished and I wish the strategic layer came closer to being crafted into as tight and and interesting as the battles.

    • Reefpirate says:

      Overall I think the game feels remarkably ‘finished’, at least by modern standards for day one releases… Or lengthy never really finished early access games.

      I agree with what you’re saying about maps though… I’ve brought it up on the AoW 3 forums a few times that the map you generate makes a big difference how the economy plays out. It would be nice if Triumph had a sort of ‘curated’ selection of map options where you can get their ideal game experience. It’s not hard to achieve on your own, but who knows how it might shift as the game is balanced…

      But you have to remember that AoW really is a war-centric 4X. The strategic map exists almost soley to drive the tactical combat. It’s not trying to be a Fantasy Civ game and I kind of like it that way.

      And about the game balance: The devs are quite quick to respond and very active on their forums. The new patch, which I’ve been playing in its beta version on Steam and will be released tomorrow I think, addresses some of the issues you’re talking about. They slowed down production and research quite a bit and it makes the progression in to late game take longer which is nice.

      At the very least the devs are acknowledging all of these major issues, commenting on them, and working on solutions that seem to be quick to deploy. The future looks bright in my opinion.

    • WhatAShamefulDisplay says:

      I don’t think you’re meant to view it as being like Civ, where you play for the 4X experience, but rather Total War, where the overworld map is a somewhat diverting way of funnelling you into the stellar battles. Just set the difficult to high so you get lots of armies to fight and Bob’s your Uncle.

  7. The Random One says:

    “most people will use it to simply re-create real world countries and maps in the shape of their own face.”

    Well, something’s face at any rate.

    • pepperfez says:

      On the internet no one knows you’re a doge…until you make a map of your face.

  8. Wolpertinger says:

    Fortunately this game has some extremely community-active developers that have already been paying attention to some of the balance issues – there’s a beta patch available on steam that dramatically slows down the progression from ‘midgame’ to ‘lategame’ – the best spells/units have had their research costs multiplied, and midgame ones slightly increased, as well as the tier 3 racial unit building being more expensive. Having played with it for a while, the game feels considerably better already, and from what I’ve heard some of the developers say this is only the start of their rebalancing. They say that they don’t intend to leave the balance as is – and seem fully aware of many of the issues with this game, and have even stated their intent to completely redo some systems from scratch if they don’t work out well, which seems great. Considering how they turned the mediocre game of AoW2 into the masterpiece of shadow magic, i’m optimistic.

    They’ve stated their intent of releasing at least one, possibly multiple expansions, too, so that could give the strategy layer more depth once they get more of the weird and interesting Age of Wonders races back into the game to shake things up a bit. They have all but confirmed a Necromancer class (instead of an undead race, apparently – this way you can get undead flavors of every race instead of just generic human skeletons and zombies), and who knows what else we’ll get.

    Either way, it’s an extremely promising game and it’s definitely a blast to play regardless of the issues, so.. yeah.