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|Warcraft: Age of Heroes|
Age of Heroes is based on the gameplay and mechanics introduced in Age of Mythology, albeit in an updated format. Players advance their tribe through four "Ages": starting in the Age of Origination, the player may upgrade to the Age of Exploration, the Age of War, and finally, the Age of Heroes. Each upgrade to a higher Age unlocks new units and technologies for the player, which strengthens their settlement. In longer games a fifth age, Age of Cataclysm, can be entered, bringing about drastic changes in the game world and offering powers and units of great power in order to help finish the game.
There are six playable "races" in Age of Mythology: the Humans, Orcs, Night Elves, Trolls, Dwarves, Tauren, Gnomes, Forsaken, Draenei, Blood Elves, Goblins and Pandaren. Each civilization has three "major heroes"—iconic characters of the specified race such as Varian Wrynn and Thrall Doomhammer. The player chooses their major hero before the game begins. Every time a player advances to the next age, a "minor hero" is selected. Minor heroes are slightly less significant historically than their major counterparts. Some minor heroes include Uther Lightbringer and Brann Bronzebeard. All heroes grant the player unique technologies, heroic units, and a unique "hero power".
There are five major resources in Age of Mythology: food, wood, gold, fuel and valor. Resources can be used to train units, construct buildings, and research technologies, among other things. Most resources can be gathered by various civilizations worker units, with the exception of valor. Favor is acquired in different ways by different racial civilizations: For example Human players gain it by having villagers pray at churches of the light; Dwarven players earn it by building monuments and landmarks; and Orc players receive it by fighting/hunting animals and gathering resources. Resources can be exchanged at a player's market, with the exception of valor.
Most units in the game takes up between 1 and 5 "population slots". Building additional housing structures, town centers and Inns can increase your population cap to a maximum of 500. Some buildings can negate an entire unit type costing population, such as a Work Camp rendering workers no longer part of the count. Once you reach the maximum amount you may create additional housings and structures for minor bonuses, and valor boons in the Age of Cataclysm.
Units can be classified into nine categories; scouts, infantry, archers, cavalry, casters, siege weaponry, naval units, legendary units, and heroic units. The rock-paper-scissors model governs most units in battle. For example, infantry do additional damage to cavalry, cavalry do additional damage to archers, and archers do additional damage to infantry, while casters will usually be specialized to a specific type depending on the unit. Scouts offer little to no combat value, and some cannot even attack. The same rock-paper-scissors formation exists in the three different types of naval units—arrow ships, siege ships, and hammer ships. Siege units are generally exempt from the rock-paper-scissors model, but are instead able to destroy buildings easily, while being vulnerable to cavalry attacks. Legendary units are extremely effective against heroic units, which in turn do large amounts of damage against basic units (units in the infantry, archer, cavalry or caster category unless otherwise stated). Legendary units are also able to collect artifacts, which grant the player additional economic or military bonuses when deposited in specified player's buildings. Most units can be upgraded, making them better at certain tasks.
Buildings in Age of Heroes can generally be split into three categories; economic buildings, military buildings, and defensive structures. The most important economic building is the town center, which is similar to the building of the same name in the Age of Empires series games. Most civilian units are trained at the town center, as are some technologies. Most importantly, players advance Age via the building. The town center provides thirty population slots, and building additional houses will earn the player ten additional slots per house. In the Age of Exploration, players may claim settlements (unclaimed town centers) for additional population slots. In some cases owning all town centres will trigger a countdown to victory. Other economic buildings include farms and markets.
Buildings are able to research technologies and upgrades, as well as provide resources for the player. Military buildings differ in name and purpose between racial civilizations, but all are able to train similar units. Military buildings are also used to research military specific technologies, such as armor upgrades, and attack improvements.
Walls and towers are defensive structures, which are not able to train units, and are used only for the purposes of defense. They are able to research some upgrades, although these are generally only useful to the building performing the research. Another type of building available to players, is a Wonder: a grand building that represents an architectural achievement of the civilization. In certain game modes, once a player builds a wonder, a ten-minute countdown begins. If the wonder is still standing after the countdown ends, the player who built the wonder wins.
Changes from Age of Mythology
Although much of the game plays similar to Age of Mythology and it's expansions, there are many new features that set it apart. As mention, a new military unit type, casters are available, which factor into the rock-paper-scissors formula depending on the individual unit. Some may even have a focus on buildings, scout units, siege units and other casters. Most civilizations also have one caster that focuses on weakening or negating a specific type, rather than being strong against them.
Map size in AoH is much bigger than in AoM, with AoM's "Gigantic" size being the equivalent to AoH's "Small", followed by Medium and Large. The games economy and units are balanced more around longer campaigns and bigger civilizations across the map, sporting larger population caps, faster units and more Age rules, such as the Age of Origination being locked into minimal combat between civilizationns, and mount training available at later ages to increase units speed.
A new building type found in all civilizations is the Inn, to help colonize the larger map space. Inn's will heal all units garrisoned inside them, and heal workers who are working around them. At later ages Inn's can even train your civilizations worker units, and in some cases, other units as well. Some units may train a "Hearthstone" ability which will teleport them to the last Inn they were garrisoned inside after a period of vulnerability. Inns allow your units and civilizations to extend beyond the limits of your towns, and in later games allow you to create new "settlements".
Lastly, Legendary units (the games analogue to Age of Mythology Hero Units), Heroic units (analogue to Myth Units) and various other units may have additional abilities tied to a button visibile while selecting the unit, similar to spells and Hero Units in Warcraft 3.
The following civilizations are available in the base game.
- Human Alliance
- Orcish Horde
- Council of Three Hammers
- Troll Empires
- Gnomish Engineers
- Tauren Tribes
- The Night Elves
- The Forsaken
- The Draenei
- The Blood Elves
- Goblin Cartels
Like in AoM, the game uses Random Maps, randomly generated each game, but based on rules, restrictions, and win scenarios specified by the map type. A full list of maps can be found below.
- Durotar- Each player starts on a small plateua with some starting resources. While it's easy to wall up the exit from the plateau, you'll need to venture beyond once your starting resources run out.
- Ashenvale- Covered with large forests and mountain ranges, making the map easy to defend from an enemy. Plenty of hunting can be found on this map if you are willing to venture further from home.
- Azshara- Crisscrossed with mountains, and has oceans lining its sides. There is some fishing to be had, but not much. The canyons of Anatolia sometimes hide extra gold piles.
- Lost Isles- You may find all your allies on one island, you may find yourself on and island with an enemy, or may find everyone starts on their own separate islands. There is plenty of fishing to be found, and small islands can be colonized for bonus resources.
- Blackrock- Impassable rivers of molten fire separate players as they battle. Each player has a single crossing through the lava to each adjacent player, which can be walled off. The only food to be found on this desolate map are boars, but these are plentiful. Neutral dragons may attack villagers that stray too far from the safety of your town.
- Ghost Lake- The frozen lake that gives this map its name covers the center of the map makes it impossible to build there. Players must expand around the edges of the map instead of clustering their town in one location, and it is harder to defend from attacks. Goats may be found on the icy lake though, and herded back to the player's town.
- Coldridge- The ultimate defensive map. Players start surrounded by cliffs, with a single gap to other players' towns that can be easily walled. The cliffs offer no protection against flying units or god powers however.
- King of The Hill- At the center of the map is a Plenty vault that can be taken control of by any player once you defeat the neutral units guarding it. The player who controls it not only gains a constant flow of resources from the plenty vault, but starts a countdown. If the countdown finishes with the player still controlling the vault, they win.
- Loch Modan- The central areas of the map are taken up by a huge lake, and players must expand (and fight) around its sides. Fishing is plentiful, but it will be easy for other players to strike at you from the seas.
- Hrothgar's Landing- The snowy map is a great continent, surrounded on all sides by seas. This map has little hunting, but the seas have plenty of fishing to supply you with food.
- Oasis- On this desert map, wood is scarce except for the forests that grow around the oases that cover the central areas of the map.
- Uldum- On this desert map, teams start on opposites sides of a river that spans the map's width. To actually fight your enemies, you must cross the river somehow.
- Barrens- Animals of all types can be found, providing plentiful hunting. However the open map provides little defensive opportunities, and many paths of attack.
- Arathi- A sea with plentiful fishing fills one corner of the map, arranging players in a 'part circle' around it. In addition, instead of starting the game with sentry towers, players start with the fortress of their civilization.
- Sudden Death- In Sudden Death, you must defend the Citadel you start with. If it should be destroyed, you are knocked out of the game.
- Migration- Each player starts on a small island with only a small amount of resources. To capture new resources, they must sail to the continent in the center of the map and fight other players off to gain new riches.
- Hellfire- Members of the same team start very close together, and enemies are at opposites ends to one another. While each player has a small amount of starting gold, the rest is guarded by neutral strongholds and demons in the central areas of the map.
- Dragon Island- Each player starts on a tiny island, with only a small gold mine, a few trees and berry bushes to begin their ascent to power. However, also starting with a transport, they can set out to the large continent in search of new resources and settlements, but neutral naga may attack unwary villagers.
- Watering Hole- Criscrossed with a tangle of paths, Watering Hole has plentiful hunting from the variety of animals that come to drink from its waters, but no other food sources like berries or chickens.
- Black Morass- Covered with mist and filled with wildlife, Marsh has more boar and other game than most any other map in the game; hunting can go relatively late in playing due to the sheer number of it. Small ponds and streams traverse the land and serve as barriers against enemy attacks, though not as effectively as the water bodies in maps such as Watering Hole.
- Highlands- Although it doesn't have very much food on land, Highland's river that cuts right through the map is abundant in fish. Controlling the river is essential in the game, as it acts as a wall (save for a land bridge in the middle) and allows you to harvest the abundance of fish.
- Borean Tundra- fairly open map; forests aren't very large and there aren't that many water bodies. The hunting game is plentiful on the map, so hunting would be a very viable economic option for a while as your economy grows
- South Sea- Controlling the water is absolutely vital to winning the game, as it is the source of the majority of the food on the map, plus controlling the water means your own island is safe from enemy landings. But there's not just you and your enemy's islands on the map, there are also several other smaller islands with more resources.
- Barren Wars- Sets all teammates extremely close together, resulting in huge single cities as the bases develop. This overlapping of buildings makes for a very strong defense, as most everything in the team is concentrated right in that area. The map's layout is very similar to Barrensh; wide, open spaces with decent amount of hunting available.
- Conquest Isles- Two massive islands separated by the sea.
- Kvaldir- Everyone starts on their own moderate sized island, with one major island in the middle. The waters do not provide fish and field of view is obscured greatly on the dark seas.
- Sholozar Basin- Small lakes on either side of the map provide players with a safe fishing location.
- Feralas- Grassy clearings in a sea of trees. Follow the paths through the forest to find your allies and enemies.
- Broken Isles- Players start on islands that are connected by shallows. Overgrown temples are present on the map that can be used once they are repaired by players.
- Hinterlands- The outer forests give way to large open expanses perfect for farming. Periodic rain is an integral part in this land.
- Warsong- Kill your opponent's regent before yours meets his fate! All players start with a Fortress.
- Trade Route- A long map where players can capture trading posts that generate resources similar to Plenty Vaults.
- StranglethornAll players start on one side of a large river with only starting resources and no extra settlements: They can attack their enemies or settle on the other side of the river.
- Kobold Mines A hilly greenland, all sources of gold are centered in corners of the map and clustered together.
- Beetle Island With a coast surrounding the continent, fishing becomes a primary resource of food as the only source of food that spawns are giant beetles, who have thick armored shells.
- The Unknown- It produces greatly different maps at random.
- Land Unknown- Similar to The Unknown, Land Unknown only generates maps with little water; perfect for those that don't want to deal with naval fighting in their games.
- 'Unknown Isles- Similair to The Unknown, but favoring high amounts of water and seperated and segmented land.