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Age of Wonders Emperor Edition 1.2b

Post Date: 10-08-2011 · Wednesday 4.35pm

The last kingdom of men has fallen...

In the highest temple of Thulus, we make our stand. The metallic ring of swords clashing echo deep into the night, punctuated only by the hellish screams of pain. Wizards and priests stand together, conjuring their magiks upon enemies and allies alike, behind a last vanguard of swordmen. Though we slay more undead in every confrontation, there is simply no end to their numbers...They fear not death.

As our numbers fall, we regroup before the shines of our gods and goddesses, where we give our prayers in shaky breaths. The statues and walls shake violently on every charge of their bone ram...the doors will not hold them long...may our gods be with us..


There hasn't been a whole lot of time for AOW, especially not when you're caught in the middle of a love storm! Since my time down here in Melbourne, not only have I been working around the clock but have been struggling to handle two different romances...so please forgive me for my slow progress :S

This is an update for my Age of Wonders mod; a fix to the most ambitious changes made in the previous version 1.2. Finally after a chance to playtest it, I've concluded that simple is best - the tier 3 units have been moved back to their original spots.

Whilst the idea of introducing more tactical units into the mid-game was theoretically sound, it increased the headache of city management to an intolerable level. With the early introduction of wall-climbers, wall-climbers and pass wall units, players had to garrison units in each and every fort - resulting in a reduction in the number of large-scaled battles in the game.

Tier 1 swordsmen now have their special bonuses upon gold veterancy fixed - something that was relatively broken in the previous 1.2 version. They now receive Physical Protection for their hard-earned efforts.

Thirsk's AOW Emperor Edition v1.2 reborn...

There aren't enough changes to warrant this as a separate release, and thus it remains as version 1.2b. There has, however, been good progress on the next version and if all goes well, the next one may be the last update I ever make for Age of Wonders. Keeping true to the chronology of versions, it will be known as version 1.8, to illustrate that it is by far, the biggest and best version to date.

So do look forward to my next post, for it may as well be the finest Age of Wonders mod you'll ever play.


Download Now

Emperor Edition Version 1.2b:

http://www.mediafire.com/?1gvhopss3040jcg (111mb)



Age of Wonders Unleashed

Post Date: 03-07-2011 · Sunday 1.51pm

The end is nigh...

Our castle walls have fallen. The front lines of defense are all but destroyed. With our supply routes cut off, the armies of darkness march on towards our citadel...our last sanctuary of freedom...where we make our final stand.

Is there hope left for mankind...?


Three months have past and I'm especially proud to present another large update to my Age of Wonders mod, version 1.7 aka Emperor Edition v1.2! Though its become considerably harder to fit in time for gaming with my professional career and social life, one thing hasn't changed at all, and that is, my love for Age of Wonders.

Over the last two and a half years of playing AOW and modding it for a small group of friends, I never quite realised how many people really enjoyed my mod.

For one thing, this website isn't really out there at all. Add to the fact that my mod isn't even listed on the Age of Wonders Heaven website, I was surprised to see so many downloads when I revisited my mediafire account. Here's the tally:

v1.3: 105 downloads

v1.4: 79 downloads

v1.5 aka Emperor Edition 1.0: 55 downloads

v1.6 aka Emperor Edition 1.1: 76 downloads

So I'd like to give out a very special thanks to all the fans out there. It amazes me every time when I realise how many people are still interested in this old 1999 game, and even more so when it's my mod you all are playing. So a big thank you once again.

For any enquiries or for more info, visit my Age of Wonders page. Otherwise, forget all that, let's just skip right to the fun part!


Emperor Edition v1.2:

The dawn of a new age of warriors..

In Age of Wonders, only the strongest survive. But no man nor creature is immortal, for death will inevitably find a way to even the mightiest warriors.

It is how they fight at the brink of all hope yet somehow survive, that they become respected as warriors. And when the time comes for them to meet their end, it is what they achieve in life that makes them remembered as heroes...



Remember the feeling you have when you see a group of your veteran soldiers all standing strong together with shiny, gold medals? Then the gut-wrenching hurt you had when you watched them get ripped apart in the very next battle?

This time, and in this update, it's different.

Most of the time, the tier 1 troops are the first to go in a battle and even for gold status veterans, they don't stay live long enough to savour their hard-earned honour. It's rather disheartening to see them get crushed not long after you've developed an attachment to them.

As a result, each swordsman in every race receives a blessing upon promotion to gold status, whereas the special tier 1 unit receives a custom *new* ability upon reaching veterancy. The tier 1 archers remain untouched, due to the fact that they already receive marksmanship bonuses. Only the tier 1's receive the veterancy bonuses lest there be trouble up the ranks when no one can take down that gold status Titan...

-Added special bonuses to tier 1 veterans

From my experiences of playing AOW, games tend to end not long after the introduction of tier 3 units. Like an exponential relationship between time and technological advancements, it's easy to see that we spend most of our games in the early-mid technology phase because once the Emperor AI begins to bring out the tier 3 flyers and melee powerhouses, the game usually goes downhill from there.

There isn't a great deal of diversity in the late-game either; It usually takes 3 turns to install a tier 3 unit then another 3 turns to train one. Consequently, most players simply rely on one single tier 3 to pull them through - leaving the remaining two tier 3 units neglected.

In attempt to fix this flaw in game design, I've reduced the tier 3 units available by moving one tier 3 unit, from each of the twelve races, down to tier 2 status. This move, would create more opportunities for tactical gameplay, as the majority of these units are capable of both melee and range combat, specific terrain concealment, and either wall-crushing, wall-climbing or passing-walls. Their prices and stats have been slightly lowered to cater for the slower mid-game economy.

-Moved tier 3's to tier 2
1. Human Charlatan
2. Azrac Sandworm
3. Frostling Frost Queen
4. Lizard Lurker
5. Elf Ranger
6. Halfling Rogue
7. Dwarf Balloon
8. Highmen Avenger
9. Dark Elf Shadow
10. Orc Assassin
11. Goblin Big Beetle
12. Undead Wraith

Now that the Undead Wraith is available for production in the mid-game, the last thing we need is to see them dominate the non-magical units due to their physical immunity. The Undead Wraith subsquently receives a nerf - losing its immunity in exchange for a higher defence rating.

-Nerfed Undead Wraith - Phys. Immunity + Phys. Protect + 3 DEF

As expected from a fantasy perspective, the Dwarves, being the masters of invention and contraptions, receive a slight marksmanship buff to their siege weapons. There have been no changes to catapults except for the Undead Skull Thrower, which should be more lethal since it already suffers from low hit points.

-Buffed specific siege weapons + 1 MARK
1. Dwarven Bombardier
2. Dwarven Ballista
3. Undead Skull Thrower

To ensure that the elite tier 2's do not overpower the tier 3 range units, due to an easier ascension to veterancy, there has been a slight buff to all remaining tier 3 range units.

-Buffed all remaining tier 3 ranged support units
1. Wizard + 2 MP
2. Spider Queen + 1 DEF
3. Priestess + 3 RES
4. Lich + 1 DMG
5. Centaur + 1 MARK

All men must die..

And that is how the cookie crumbles. Not too sure when the next update will be but it will definitely be another large update. If you ever see me, Thirsk, on Gameranger, playing AOW in a room known as "The Tavern of Heroes", do drop by and say hi.


Download Now

Emperor Edition Version 1.2:

http://www.mediafire.com/?d99272gi9700q5q (nuked due to the newer 1.2b)


Age of Wonders Double Release

Post Date: 17-04-2011 · Sunday 5:29pm

War is never ending..but always changing...

Seal the gates and man the walls! War has reached our lands yet again!

Though our soldiers stand firm and our machines newly oiled for the coming siege, is our strength and courage enough to hold back the face of death itself...?


Such a busy period of time it's been, with my sister's wedding, relatives pouring in the home gates, preparations for a vacation in Bali, a new job in Melbourne, a fantasy novel called Desert Spear, and a new game called Sanctum...

Anyways, I've been putting this post off for far, farrr too long now, and with plenty of things to do in the coming weeks, this may as well be my last post for quite some time.


Today I present to all you Age of Wonders fans, a most royal gift: A double update to my Age of Wonders mod, dedicated to players who love playing co-operatively against the AI under Emperor difficulty.

Bringing an end to version 1.4 is the Emperor Edition series, currently with versions, v1.0 and v1.1. Both can be played on any AI difficulty (not necessarily Emperor) as the numerous changes within only seek to enhance overall gameplay. For an additional challenge and realistic gameplay, play the game whilst obeying my Rules of Engagement.

The changelog for both versions is listed and explained below.

To comment or for more info, please visit my Age of Wonders page.


Emperor Edition v1.0:

The Tactician's AOW, the Emperor Edition...

As the only tier 3 unit to have a defence rating of 6 (most have 4) in addition to Parry, the Human Cavalier is overpowered and even more so when enhanced with Stone Skin. Hence, more often than not, the Cavalier is produced in mass production due to speed, high attack and defence ratings and high health. When an Emperor AI gains access to the Human Cavalier, it often spells death to the rest of the world.

-Nerfed Human Cavalier - 2 DEF

Similar to the Human Cavalier is the Azrac Elephant. As one of the strongest tier 1 units, the high price (40 gold) for the Elephant is reasonable; however, against Emperor AI (with no limits to their coffers and gold), you'll usually find the Azracs dominating the map in the early game. Technically, any high priced and powerful unit can be formidable in the hands of the Emperor AI but the Azrac Elephant, being a tier 1 unit which can be pumped out each and every day, is simply too much of an advantage in the early game.

-Nerfed Elephant - 1 ATK/ - 1 DEF/ + 1 DMG/ - 6 GOLD

With the introduction of the Rules of Engagement, castle sieging is alot messier, and those that can climb or pass walls have no choice but to enter the castle and fight before the walls have been breached. If you're not playing with the Rules of Engagement, fear not, as these buffs are given to units which are seldomly used and often overwhelmed against other tier 3 melee units.

-Buffed all units with Wall Climbing or Pass Wall ability (except Undead Wraith)
1. Giant Slug + 1 HP + 2 GOLD
2. Orc Assassin + 1 HP
3. Spider Queen + 1 HP
4. Shadow + 1 HP
5. Rogue + 1 HP

Upon reaching tier 3 units, it is unfortunate that the range units are overshadowed by stronger melee units. More often than not, the Emperor AI is quicker to reach tier 3 units than we are, leaving us with no choice but to send in the strongest tier 3 melee units to fight them back on equal grounds. Unless there is time to install and train other tier 3 units, this usually renders all tier 3 ranged units redundant (against an army multiple times your size)- so a HP buff is necessary to bring back the range units to give them greater chances of survival against melee units.

-Buffed all level 3 ranged support units
1. Elf Ranger + 1 HP
2. Avenger + 1 HP
3. Frost Queen + 1 HP
4. Human Charlatan + 1 HP
5. Djinn + 1 HP

The tier 1 special units are underused. Their extra abilities are highly welcomed but their low HP means still being slain by the common Swordman or Archer. Furthermore, it must be worthwhile to invest in them due to the extra time it takes for them to be installed. By increasing the HP to all tier 1 special units, human soldiers are (more appropriately) the lowest of the food chain, and we can expect to see more diversity in units and tactics in the early game. The Dwarven Berserker already has 6 HP so it is given an extra 2 movement points to improve its Round Attack.

-Buffed all level 1 special units (except wolves & elephants)
1. Scorpion +1 HP + 4 GOLD
2. Berserker + 2 MP
3. Spirit Puppet + 1 HP
4. Kobold + 1 HP + 2 GOLD
5. Goblin Bomber + 1 HP
6. Hell Hound + 1 HP
7. Dire Penguin + 1 HP + 9 GOLD (+ 1 HP from v1.4)


Emperor Edition v1.1

Introducing five new units...

Version 1.4 saw the introduction of a wealth of new heroes and portraits, whilst the initial Emperor Edition 1.0 saw more unit balances in hope to diversify the overall game experience. This time, however, I've added five new units to the game to bring yet an even more unique and diversified experience to the game.

Firstly, there is a small catch with the addition of new units - I had to replace some old units to make room for them.

-The Humans lose their Ballistas in exchange for a tier 3 Wizard

-The Highmen lose their Ballistas in exchange for a tier 2 Templar

-The Dark Elves lose their Ballistas in exchange for a tier 2 Mummy

-The Goblins lose their Warlock in exchange for a tier 2 Werewolf

-The Undead lose their Necromancer in exchange for a tier 3 Lich

This leaves Ballistas as a relatively uncommon contraption in the game, leaving only the Lizards, Dwarves and Orcs, with access to them. By replacing the common Ballista from three races, there is room for more offensive melee capabilities in the mid-game, which is usually held at a deadlock thanks to the arrival of Catapults and Ballistas.

My initial plan was to leave the Humans with access to Ballistas (as expected from fantasy lore); however, the Wizard is draped in blue so he fits right at home with the Humans.

In addition, I wasn't too satisfied with Warlock's Ruleset in terms of the new units he had added in. The Halfling Priest, Goblin Warlock and Undead Necromancer, though a welcome change to the Vanilla units, were a bit too similar to one another - ranged magicians that are a step up from the usual tier 2 Priests/Clerics/Saints in the game.

From a fantasy perspective, the Undead should invoke more fear and dread in its enemies with its hideous undead creatures. I felt that the Necromancer, although as fun as that sounds, doesn't produce the same sinister imagery that can be found in most fantasy novels. Besides, the Necromancer has only Life-Stealing and cannot raise the dead, so a Lich would be more fitting.

The Goblin Warlock was removed to enable the Werewolf - something more fitting for a race associated with Wolves and Wolf Riders. The Werewolf, like the Goblin Troll, has Regeneration but also employs a Poison Attack with the benefit of an Extra Attack.

Now I could easily describe each and every new unit, but I'll leave that as a surprise! Suffice to say, they each have a plentiful number of abilities at the expense of melee attack and defense ratings; however, keep them alive well or empower them with enchantments, and they'll be a force to be reckoned with.

A few more unit imbalances have been fixed in the game albeit not as profound as the stat changes in v1.0.

The Human Charlatan has been given a slight buff lest the Human Wizard and Cavalier steal the show.

-Buffed Human Charlatan
- Magic Bolt - Parry
+ Lightning Strike + First Strike + 20 GOLD

The Human Musketeer is now a tier 2 unit, as a measure of recompense to the loss of the Ballista. Moreover, the Musketeer would be a more worthwhile investment in the mid-game as opposed to the late-game.

-Moved Human Musketeer to Level 2 + 6 GOLD

The Halfling Priestess has been nerfed in her combat abilities, as expected from a fantasy perspective. The modifications ensure that the Halfling Priest is sufficiently different to the Human Wizard.

-Nerfed Halfling Priestess
- 1 DEF - 2 Marksmanship + 2 HP


Thirsk's Rules of Engagement

Seven simple rules to enhance realism, challenge and fair-play

I wish I could edit the AI intelligence in the game, I really do. There would be no more baiting the enemy to your archers, no more luring the enemy out of their walls, no more getting the first strike on the AI when you're attacking and no more AI units attempting to die in herds as they seek an elusive path to your archers.

As fun as it is to out-smart the computer, it's almost cheating how we're taking advantage of its shortcomings. It's rather impossible to improve the AI with the developers holding onto their source codes, so I've devised a set of rules to obey, to bring back realism, challenge and fair-play to the game.

A word of warning though: these rules should only be obeyed by the seasoned vet. Beginners need not comply. It makes the game brutally hard on an XL map and relatively hard on a Large map.


1. You cannot have peace or an alliance with any AI in the game - the only alliance can be between you and your co-op friend. Besides him/her, you must declare war on them all!


2. You cannot raze any enemy occupied territorities unless the enemy has done so first - This includes mines, farms, mana nodes, altars, tower forts and of course, cities. Essentially, an eye for an eye. When the AI razes your farm, you may raze one of their farms/mines. Only when the AI razes your city, you may raze one of theirs.


3. There will be no retreating from battles, with the exception of heroes. When you lead an assault on the enemy, you are committed to it, even if all your units die in combat.


4. When attacking, you must go on an all out attack (except heroes). This means that all units must engage in melee or range combat whenever possible but if short of movement points, must move into "attacking range" so that they can attack immediately on the very next turn.

Archers therefore cannot stand idly around and await the enemy to enter its range, but must move into attacking range whenever possible. In other words, you cannot bait the enemy out to get the first strike (defenders should always have the initiative).

*The AI does this, so why don't we? At least give the AI defenders the benefit of first strike like we do*


5. In battles where you attack with more than one group of solders (aka company), each company must only engage a single enemy company. This is to simulate war where armies battle in many different areas on the battlefield and not just one. You cannot form up companies on attack to gather your firepower and heroes are no exception - heroes must stay with the company at all times.

*The AI does this, so why don't we? The AI doesn't gather up its armies to overwhelm you with numbers so you shouldn't be allowed to either*


For example, you can send in two companies to defeat a single enemy company but only one company is allowed to attack first - the second company acts as backup and can only attack when the first company is wiped out.

There are times when the targetted enemy company does the unusual and moves to attack your other company instead. When they attack a different company, that enemy is now the other company's target. In other words, a company can defend itself against a secondary enemy when threatened.



6. When sieging the enemy, you must still go on an all out attack (except heroes). There can only be one breach in the castle walls - choose the first double gates you see (can't be on a side where there are no defenders!). All units must await at the wall until the wall is breached - EVEN if arrows and fire rain down upon them. Units which can climb or break walls must do so to attack the castle defenders with or without aid. This can make sieging quite bloody but it makes sense as there are always high number of casulties in a normal castle siege.

*The AI does this, so why don't we? The AI suffers immense casulties from arrows and ranged weapons when sieging our castles so we should too*


If sieging with more than one company, to simulate the "forlorn hope" aka first suicidal charge, the first company must commit to the attack immediately rather than wait for reinforcements (2nd/3rd companies) to arrive at the breach. Again, units which can climb or break walls must do so to attack the castle defenders, regardless of which company they are in. In a castle siege, you need not attack separate companies, and your two companies are allowed to attack the single AI company.

*Okay, so the AI doesn't just make one breach, it makes several. But having one breach forces your attack in waves, which is both challenging and entertaining at the same time*



7. There are no rules of engagement when defending (the AI often has you heavily outnumbered anyhow). Use every dirty trick in the book to keep your men alive!

Defend your lands unto your dying breaths, for he who falls today, may rise tomorrow...


Download Now

Emperor Edition Version 1.1:

http://www.mediafire.com/?hss3kyd4n7t3k6m (111 mb)


Emperor Edition Version 1.0:

http://www.mediafire.com/?4ywzn5e4x32tlpq (111 mb)



To Celebrate Australia Day...

Post Date: 26-01-2011 · Wednesday 8:50pm

War is coming...again.

Ever since my last post, my life has been an endless stretch of online gaming, weddings and friends, movie marathons, fantasy novels and the rare online shopping sprees...but NO more!

For today is Australia Day!!

And it is a time to rejoice!

Eat lamb!

Clean up!

(Oh yes..I did my fair share of house work today so don't you accuse me of being un-Australian!)

But you know what? To HELL with Australia Day! This is not at all why I am here.

Today, I am proud to present to you all a major update to our beloved Age of Wonders mod!

It came about after I was left devastatingly disappointed from playing Age of Wonders 2 - the interface was a mess, heroes would respawn after death, and the battle scenes were horrendously downplayed. (Why are the sequels never as good as the originals?)

But in any case, there is reason to madness. And thanks to that wretched abyss, I clutched onto the only game I knew worth saving, and modded it over four days with a newfound fervor. In fact, the only thing that could stop me was my 5 year old nephew - and that's saying alot!

And so, our journey begins...yet again. We return to the war that has spanned over a decade, in a land fought over by twelve different races. Let us return the world back to the way it was, to the Age of Wonders...

Prepare yourself for the dawn of heroes...

Alright, now that the pep talk's over, let's get into all the nitty and gritty details. There have been ALOT of changes. Whether it be heroes, portraits, abilities, spells or units, everything has been modified in some way.

Gone are the unintelligent, unbalanced and often-DAMN-UGLY heroes of the ancient wars. There are 52 new heroes in the game, each with new names, titles, faces, stats and abilities.

Gone, also, is the imbalance of heroes amongst the twelve races. Each race now has an equal chance of recruiting heroes; and moreover, an equal chance that the hero may be a spellcaster or non-spellcaster.

52 new heroes and over 140 new portraits!!

The Portrait system has also been improved. All portraits have been re-organised for ease of navigation. An extra 57 portraits have been added, making it now just over 140 new portraits to choose from.

The Spells system has been re-worked, reducing the mana costs of most combat spells, as spells are often underpowered in this game.

Now, virtually every ability in the game is available for use by your heroes...for the right price, of course. With such a diverse range of new heroes and abilities, you will need to adopt new playstyles and strategies to overcome your enemies.

And finally, after a few tweaks of some unit stats, the game is now more balanced and complete than ever before.

Plexides, the Templar of Light, at your service

Behold, what Age of Wonders could have and should have been...


Download v1.4:

http://www.mediafire.com/?qnbexje1ajaqbai (111 mbs)


And a BIG thank you to all who have enjoyed my mod - 40 downloads for v1.3!

To comment or for more info, please visit my Age of Wonders page.


Age of Wonders for Download!

Post Date: 12-10-2010 · Tuesday 7:47pm

War is coming...

The ultimate king of turn-based strategy is back! Just to mark the long-awaited return of Age of Wonders on classic gaming websites such as GOG or Impulse Driven, I have enhanced my Age of Wonders mod, fixing various bugs and glitches, & uploaded it for download.

In Age of Wonders, you can forge alliances, upgrade cities, research spells, recruit soldiers & train heroes, explore dungeons & ruins, and siege castles

This is little rare gem is only 110 megabytes in size and has already eaten away several hundreds of hours of my life. If you consider yourself a strategy nut, but can overlook the non-3D graphics, you'll love this.

Man the gates and ready the archers!