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Age of Wonders 2: The Wizardís Throne Preview
developer: Triumph Studios
PII-300, 64MB RAM, 250MB HDD
|ESRB rating: T
release date: Jun 15, 02
|» All About Age of Wonders 2: The Wizardís Throne on ActionTrip|
Well, once again we get a chance to Q the delightful crew working on the sequel to the popular strategy game Age of Wonders. We drilled Lennart Sas from Triumph Studios to give us another update on their promising turn-based strategy Age of Wonders 2: The Wizard's Throne.
You'll find out more about the power of Wizards and the way players can utilize their magic to improve and protect their domain, as well as enhance the performance of troops in battle. Furthermore, we discuss many things that are going to build up the gameplay from the original game. So, sit back and enjoy the ride.
Action Trip: To kick off the interview, we'd like to ask you to explain in a few short words what Age of Wonders 2 is (for people who haven't played the first game that is).
Lennart Sas: Age of Wonders 2 is a game where players enter a rich fantasy world as a powerful wizard-king. The goal of AoWII is to establish a magical empire where players confront rival wizards.
During the game players research powerful spells to aid in their conquest, explore mysterious places, and even deal with an odd spirit or two.
Summing up your magic powers.
I shall smolder thy Wizard out!
AT: We'd like to update our readers on the current development progress of Age of Wonders 2. Could you tell us exactly how far has your team gone with the game's creation?
LS: We are in Beta now. All features are working and we're adding just a little bit of content. In addition, we are also polishing the gameplay, AI and the interface.
AT: Tell us more about the character Merlin and his importance to the whole story.
LS: The human race has always caused problems within the Age of Wonders fantasy world. Since their arrival, the world has been in a constant state of war. Technology and expansion drive the humans, not the ancient races who are bound to nature and magic.
In a particularly cataclysmic period in the Age of Wonders, a promising young human called Merlin washes up on the shores of the mysterious land Evermore. Upon his arrival, Merlin is initiated into an ancient Circle of Wizards. He learns of a schism amongst its members and is sent out to master each of the spheres of magic to help his doomed race and find out what is plaguing the Circle of Evermore.
AT: Obviously, throughout the game the accent remains on the Wizard units. Specifically, what are the changes you have applied to the Wizards? And how will they make the gameplay more exciting?
LS: The player is a Wizard King, which differs from the original game where the player was a hero-leader. Being this overlord, players can shape the empire to their liking and cast powerful spells that alter the domain. No longer being tied to the starting race, if the orcs are unruly, players can decide to migrate their cities to another race. It is even possible to change alignment, although this won't happen without the empire showing some cracks.
So to sum it all up, players' wizard characters and play-styles shape their empire, and they don't need to resort to micro-management.
AT: We'd like to know more about the Magic Domains in the game and their purpose. Also, can you perhaps reveal some of the cool spells we'll get to try out in the game?
LS: The Magic Domain is the area where the Wizard wields power. In this domain, players can support their troops in battle. Global enchantments like terrain-altering spells are only active in the player's domain, summoned creatures only heal within that domain, etc.
The Magic domains are also a good way to link magic to the strategic nature of the game. It becomes very important to capture and build wizard towers and magic relays that expand your domain.
AT: The player gets to enhance his skills and abilities throughout different Spheres of Magic: Earth, Fire, Life, and Death. We are most intrigued with 'Death;' tell us what it entails.
LS: As a death-wizard players can reign as a dark lord (Sauron-like features, from Lord of the Rings.) From their dark tower, players can cloak their domain in an eternal night, turn the lands into a volcanic wasteland, and enchant their legions of darkness with terrible spells.
A particularly nasty death spell makes dead bodies on the battlefield violently explode, damaging nearby units. This spell creates an interesting trade-off with a necromancer's usual animate-dead combat spells, from the mess 'Corpus Furia' creates, not even the best necromancer can create a functioning zombie.
AT: Since we're discussing magic, can you reveal more details and specifics about the artifacts and the way they're utilized?
LS: Artifacts are carried by wizards and heroes and can be found at exploration sites or gained by completed quests which the wizard receives from spirits; deity-like figures. They range from offensive and defensive weapons, to rings and "use items." Also, wizards are able to teleport items between heroes, at a high price of course.
AT: The players will be able to attack enemy cities. Will they have the possibility of doing this at any time during the game, or must they wait for an appropriate moment? Also, how can the players improve the defenses of their cities?
LS: A substantial part of the strategic gameplay revolves around town sieges. Towns come in various sizes (they actually grow in Age of Wonders II) and have varying defenses, in addition to the units that are garrisoned in the town. There are two types of walls, wooden and stone. Of course stonewalls offer better protection, but are more expensive. Later it is also possible to enchant the walls with a wall enchantment spell. You can also build several defensive upgrades after you have built your wizard's tower, including a tower guard that shoots bolts at attackers.
AT: Is there any chance revealing the exact release date of Age of Wonders 2? After AoW2 can we expect another installment maybe?
LS: Age of Wonders II will be released towards the end of spring 2002, can't be more precise. There are plenty directions left to explore, so AoW2 is unlikely to be the last installment in the series.
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