Age of Wonders

aka: AoW, World of Wonders
Moby ID: 634
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Description official descriptions

Age of Wonders is a turn-based strategy game set in a fantasy scenario. The campaign can be played on two sides and tells a tale how the humans come to a new land and destabilized the peace between the races, throwing the land into war. The game also features several stand-alone scenarios. There is an extensive diplomatic matrix which structures the relationships between the 12 races and their respective leaders. There are global-spells which can be cast on the strategic map, outside of tactical combat.

Creatures can move around without being led by a hero, so the map eventually crawls with all sorts of strange beings. Neutral forces are not always static, most of them move around and sometimes attack the 12 races. The automatic tactical-combat mode shows a somewhat detailed overview of the combat simulation: it is a worthwhile substitute for impatient gamers, especially in multiplayer encounters.

As in Heroes of Might and Magic III: The Restoration of Erathia and Master of Magic, heroes are very important. They reach new levels of skill and power with experience and can be equipped with artifacts. But they do have limitations that usually do not allow a solitary hero to overrun a city-garrison all by himself.

Pre-game customization allows the following choices: 5 levels of AI skill (with the 1.2 patch), 5 AI personalities (from very violent to defensive), "classic" turn-based moves or simultaneous turns, incarnation of the player as the main hero (if he dies, it's game over for that side), selection of the main hero's name, face, and bonus sword-and-sorcery attributes, etc.

The map editor allows the gamer to create new maps, which can have up to 3 geological levels (one or two can be placed underground, with a cramped and dark tunnel-design).

Spellings

  • 奇迹时代 - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

56 People (52 developers, 4 thanks) · View all

CEO
President
VP of Marketing
CFO
Corporate Development
Director of Media
Sales
Operations
Administrative
Online Support
  • Tempest Digital
Concrete Support
Authorship
Design and Printing
  • Mars Publishing
Mars Publishing - Publisher
Mars Publishing - Managing Coordinator
Mars Publishing - Graphic Artist
Mars Publishing - Project Editor
Design
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 78% (based on 41 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 58 ratings with 6 reviews)

Age of Wonders is a good concept for a game, but aside from some good elements, it is a bad implementation of those ideas.

The Good
The game can be a lot of fun, especially building up your heroes. I like the fact that you don't have micromanage your cities as much as you do in Heroes of Might and Magic or in Master of Magic. Tactical combat, although time consuming, really gives you a lot of tactical options if you have a good mix of units, especially if you are fighting with two or more stacks of units. Finally, the graphics and sound are well done.

The Bad
The single player game is very repetitive since the objective never vary between missions from the basic "Conquer the map" quest. Most of the maps can be won fairly easily by just maintaining a stack with your heroes and a few other fast, powerful units since the computer AI is very defensive. Basically, the computer just usually hangs around his biggest castle with his leader hero and stacks up a ton of defensive units. All you have to do to win is to move your power stack over and assassinate his leader hero and watch ALL of his armies turn into neutral armies.

This gameplay flaw is even worse in multiplayer, because many of your hero's powers are useless (especially combat spells) if you just play defense with your hero. Of course, if you put him on the offensive, you risk even more, but this is necessary to take over enough cities to win the game, so winning is more due to good luck than good tactics.

Another major problem with multiplayer is that there is no middle ground between smart tactical combat and dumb quick combat. Quick combat is a good idea, except that the game gives you no tuneable options such as turning off the use of magic, or being able to set how aggressive heroes are in their attacks. A lot of the time your hero casts way too many expensive spells (like Terror) or charges into combat and gets himself killed while in quick combat and this is frustrating because you know that in tactical combat you would have won with a few minor losses.

Tactical combat is flawed especially in the defense of cities. Walls give you a huge advantage in that only certain troops can break through or fly over them, but they also give you a huge disadvantage vs. the attacker since your archers often cannot fire over the wall at the attackers while they are trying to break in and your troops are almost always very spread out compared to the attacker. Why doesn't the defender get to place his archers on top of walls so they can shoot unhindered at the attackers? Why can the defender run away and give up the city if he faces overwhelming odds? Why can't the defender place his stacks where he wants within his city before the attacker gets to move?

Overall, Age of Wonders has a lot of good ideas, but a mixed implementation of those ideas. Even though I was disappointed with the game in the end, it is still a fun game and if its problems are fixed in Age of Wonders 2 then it will be a great game.

The Bottom Line
Age of Wonders tries to take the best elements of Master of Magic, Heroes of Might and Magic, and Warlords, but many of the gameplay elements they chose don't combine to make a game with lasting replay value.

Windows · by Droog (460) · 2001

AoW sets the standard for future fantasy TBS-games.

The Good
Well, this is my favorite game of all time, and here I will try to explain why... First time I played the game I was not that impressed, and put it on the shelf for a month. I tried it again later, and was hooked. The cartoon-like graphics which I found boring at first, after a while showed to add to the feeling of the game. And the large amount of units makes this game never boring, you never know what kind of ugly creatures youll find in a dungeon, and one battle is never like the other.

Also the music is the best music I ever heard in a game (it's made by Michiel van den Bos).

One fun aspect is also the play by E-mail feature. It's more fun than it sounds.

Also the support from the developers is great. They frequently visits the gamers forum and reflect on game suggestions.

The Bad
The AI could be better, and the map editor could have more story-telling features (even if the developers added some features after gamers suggestions).

The Bottom Line
A turn based fantasy game, taking place in a beautiful world with a lot of different creatures.

Windows · by Grov (657) · 2002

Heroes of Might & Magic meets Master of Magic - and doesn't quite live up to the names.

The Good
Age of Wonders can be said to be the best strategy game since the amazing Master of Magic. This is largely true, since the only noteworthy games since Master of Magic were Heroes of Might and Magic II and III. At first glance, Age of Wonders seems to be a perfect mix, combining Master of Magic's strategy with Heroes of Might & Magic's, along with a touch of Heroes of Might and Magic's battle system only vastly improved. However, I found Age of Wonders' gameplay to be somewhat... lacking. It certainly has its shares of good qualities though:

  • The first thing about this game which catches the eye is the eye-candy. The graphics are marvellous: images of landscapes, cities, heroes and characters are professionally rendered and create an immersive atmosphere.
  • The next is the incredible music. Professionally done, with excellent samples and great patterns, by one of the two who made the music for Unreal and its sequel Unreal Tournament - Michiel van den Bos. Truly a musical masterpiece, especially in computer game standards.
  • The interface is very well thought out. While captilizing on both Master of Magic and Heroes of Might and Magic, Age of Wonders eliminates most of their weaknesses. Along with the ability to select multiple units at once and the option of semi-simultaneous gameplay, Age of Wonders also features the best battle system to date. Complex rules combined with excellent mouse control and beautiful graphics, Age of Wonders still manages to keep the combat manipulation simple and manageable.

With all those excellent features, what can possibly go wrong with Age of Wonders?

The Bad
Hard to explain. I don't like Age of Wonders for the same reason that I didn't like either Heroes of Might and Magic games. After playing Master of Magic (which is near-perfect in its own), I found that I cannot play other, newer games without having to compare them to Master of Magic.

The result? None of them are adequate. No game managed to captivate me the same way Master of Magic does, and not one seems nearly as addictive as Master of Magic is. Age of Wonders is too much like Heroes of Might and Magic for me to appreciate it.

Guess it's just a matter of taste.

The Bottom Line
A technically magnificent game. I suppose most people (like my brother Miki) will find it one hell of a game, but I find it lacking in gameplay. Guess it's just me.

Windows · by Tomer Gabel (4539) · 1999

[ View all 6 player reviews ]

Trivia

Extras

The UK edition of the game is said to include a novel by David Eddings 'worth 6.99£'. Either most people didn't like it and threw it away or it never was there; anyway it's definitely pretty hard to find.

Getting off a boat

Most people playing the game for the first time faces the same problem: How do you get units out off a boat? This is not covered in the manual, and the words "How do I get off the boat?" is probably the most posted and joked about in the AoW-forums.

Highmen Theme

The song "Highmen Theme" seems to be remix of Journey.umx which is played during the Nagomi Passage level ('day' version) in the Unreal mission pack Return to Na Pali.

Information also contributed by Grov, MDMaster and toothbrush

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Age of Wonders III
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Age of Wonders III Collection
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Age of Wonders III (Deluxe Edition)
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Age of Wonders III: Eternal Lords
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Age of Wonders III: Golden Realms
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  • MobyGames ID: 634
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Jean-Paul Cardinal.

Additional contributors: Tomer Gabel, PCGamer77, Unicorn Lynx, Grov, Patrick Bregger, MrFlibble.

Game added December 30, 1999. Last modified February 13, 2024.