Announced in late January 2023, Age of Wonders 4 looks to be one of the most exciting fantasy RPG games of the last decade.
As a 4X game, developer Triumph Studios are developing their highly praised exploration and world-conquering mechanics with a host of quality of life improvements that are sure to inspire more games in the 4X genre, but with this new entry into the Age of Wonders franchise also comes some game changing ideas for the fantasy genre as a whole.
Below we have created a list of 5 reasons you should wishlist this game right now.
1. You Can Create Your Own Race
Character creators have always been at the heart of great fantasy RPGs, but with Triumph’s latest game you will be able to create and customise an entire race of creatures from the ground up, including creating your own playable character.
Where other games may give you a selection of races with predetermined traits, such as Argonians in Skyrim having the ability to breathe underwater, and let you superficially customise their face and body type; Age of Wonders 4 will allow you to select from a range of 10 base forms, before letting you decide exactly what traits and behaviours define that species.
The player can select from either Dwarf, Elf, Goblin, Halfling, Human, Mole, Orc, Rat, Tigran, or Toads, to form the basis of their faction’s physical appearance; and from this point you will be able to completely define the cultural and social traits of your people from a huge list of options. For instance, in the recently released developer video, we saw the devs create a race of Orc barbarian-cannibals who specialised in frost magic, but by the looks of things, the world is very much yours in terms of the kind of people you choose to make.
We also saw that the player can create a leader for their faction with any number of physical traits, with the leader’s appearance not necessarily being dictated by that of the faction they control.
The species that you create will not just be tied to you either, in fact, you could potentially bump into other members of the race you created during gameplay; and these creatures won’t necessarily be on your side either. In the announcement video, we saw the developer run into a faction of similar cannibal orcs further in the map, with the developer quickly making moves to befriend them, but it was explained that this may not always be the case for other members of your race that you meet in the wild.
Personally, I’ll be creating either a faction of feudal Toads with summoning abilities; or mystic Tigran with seafaring tendencies.
2. Give Your People Inherent Magical Traits
Tomes will be an incredibly important part of developing your people. Once their societal and cultural traits have been selected, you will be asked to choose from a huge range of tomes (apparently up to 54) which will dictate the type of magic your people use.
These magic abilities will not just give your characters a particular spell to use, but will actually dictate the theme of your factions’ individual units, themes, and upgrades. It was explained that the player will be able to develop their tomes throughout extended playtime, and the magical traits chosen at the beginning of the game may not necessarily dictate those used later in the game.
In the developer video, we saw the creator’s frost Orcs level up to be given the option to develop abilities such as summoning lesser snow spirits, warrior mark, or blizzards.
3. Dynamic Event Systems
The Age of Wonders 4 team also briefly discussed a new dynamic event system for the overall world. Although details on this system were scarce, it was explained that dynamic events will help shape your story in unique ways that may not occur in every playthrough, and a large focus has been placed on developing this system to be the best it possibly can be.
4. Create Your Own Realm
Something else we saw in the video was the ability to decide the type of landscape your game takes place in. For instance, we saw there are a number of pre-made story realms such as Valley of Wonders, Paradise Plains, the Ruins of Ambition, and more; but you are also given the option of generating your own unique landscape with traits that are decided by the player.
These traits appear to go far beyond the geography of the world’s landscape, with options such as the traits of the land’s inhabitants, and those of the rulers of the land. You can also select a player count for your unique world that will allow however many multiplayer rivals or allies into your world.
5. You Can Meet Your Old Characters in New Games
One of the most interesting aspects of creating a unique faction is that they will persist in the game through separate playthroughs. Meaning that your faction of industrious Mole imperialists from your first playthrough could potentially come across your new faction in a subsequent playthrough; either as friend or foe.
This is an incredibly exciting addition to the RPG genre as a whole, and something I sincerely hope other developers take on board in their future productions. Imagine meeting your old unique character as an enemy or friendly NPC in your new playthrough of Dark Souls or Fallout.
What Genre is Age of Wonders?
Age of Wonders is a 4X game, which stands for ‘explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate’, and it describes games such as Age of Wonders, Total War, and Civilization, where the focus of the game is to create and expand an army or cultural centre into enemy territories across a large, generally open world map.
Age of Wonders 4 is shaping up to be an incredible game, and given how highly the previous games in this franchise have been praised before, you should be confident that Triumph Studios will be able to deliver on everything promised in their exciting new reveal video.
Age of Wonders 4 will be available May 2nd 2023 on PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X|S.
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