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Age of Wonders: Planetfall Sector System Detailed. Adds More Strategic Options

Age of Wonders: Planetfall Sector System Detailed. Adds More Strategic Options

The developers of Age of Wonders: Planetfall have finally revealed more detail about an all-new sector system in a recent dev diary. It's perhaps one of the biggest things that will differentiate Planetfall from Age of Wonders III.

According to a developer, unlike Age of Wonders III, Age of Wonders: Planetfall now wraps horizontally. This means no more camping in corners.

The game will also have five main land biomes and oceans which will have varied yields that can be exploited through research. Some of these biomes they've revealed are frozen wastes, lush jungles and deserts.

You could start a sandbox game that allows you to shape your own planet or use a planet template. The developer mentioned you could even recreate famous sci-fi worlds from other IP if you want.

All procedural generated planets get a name and are plotted on the Star Union’s galaxy map. You can create desert worlds resembling Tatooine, the feral jungles of Avatar, or the infernos of Hell. There’s loads of settings, like you can control the amount of Star Union Ruins on that particular world.
— Triumph Studios

What Are Sectors

But the big change most of you have been waiting to know more about are sectors. These a bordered areas that come in a number of types:

  • Wilderness Sectors follow natural boundaries and reflect their terrain. A Sector contains one biome and a number of natural terrain features - these define the sector's base resource yield. Players can expand their colonies into Wildernesses and coastal waters and develop them.
  • Landmark Sectors contain high value, large Imperial ruins providing unique benefits. Landmarks “occupy” the sector. This means they can be annexed by your colonies, but you can’t found a new colony on them.
  • Dwelling Sectors: Contain the bases and cities of NPC Natives. Smaller spawner-like camps you can clear through diplomacy or force. Larger habitats work like landmarks in the sense they occupy a sector.
  • Additional Structures and Effects: Next to sector occupying Landmark and bases, there is a collection of secondary structures to be found. They include resource nodes, pickups and visit sites. Then there are defenses and hazards that work as status effects for the entire sector.

 

It seems like sectors are pretty important to your colony's expansion. Grabbing a sector gives some useful benefits, but exactly how sector borders work with your colony border seems a little sketchy.

How Sectors Improve Gameplay

The devs also highlighted how sectors offer new meaningful gameplay possibilities:

  • World Building: All Sectors are named (including wildernesses) hinting at their contents. Landmarks such as the Xenolife Institute in the screenshot above have bits of lore added. Sectors have their own mix of inhabitants, resources, dangers or mysteries, this way each Sector tells its own little or big story.
     
  • New City Expansion mechanics: Colonies are expanded by adding sectors to them, these sectors can subsequently be specialized in one of the main resource types and further upgraded. Landmark Sectors provide unique benefits to the colonies. Higher level landmarks unlock new city upgrades, or unlock new Doctrines. We’ll be delving into cities and doctrines later.
     
  • Sectors as strategic Goals: In AoW3, cities were the only real strategic targets on the map, whilst in the older AoW games you could flag individual resource nodes which lead to grieving tactics. Sectors can be conquered individually (also taken from enemy cities), thus forming secondary strategic goals. 
     
  • Diplomatic Interaction: Sectors come into play during border disputes. Players may lay claim to lands by building Forward Bases in sectors. Sectors make good diplomatic trading items in order to settle disputes. Trading one of your precious cities was often a bridge too far, but redrawing the borders by trading sectors is less painful.

I'm curious about the implementation of what I call as micro details. A 4X strategy game has mostly put more emphasis on the macro.

Having sectors seem to imply that colony management and improvements will be a lot more involved. Dare I say, perhaps you might not be constructing too many colonies?

Just purely speculation on my part, but having seen Civ go into this direction of making cities more involved with districts, this sector system seems to follow the course of that design trend.

More details will be revealed in the run-up to its release in 2019. 2019 is looking like an amazing year for strategy games.


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