Focusing on legendary leaders, The Conquerors expansion pack challenges Age of Empires 2 veterans and novices alike to wage war on an epic scale with all-new civilizations, unique units and technologies, and campaigns based on infamous conquerors such as Attila the Hun, El Cid and Montezuma.
Currently Age of Vampires has become a total conversion, carrying the player to a world of horror and mystery. You get the choice to lead one of seven playable factions into battle for hegemony in Transylvania. Here's what's new, and worth knowing if you are new to the project.
Some general novelties:
- windowed mode
- parallel install, original game still accessable
- up to 250 population space
The world of "AoV" and its laws:
All the action is set in a parallel(?) version of Transylvania. One where (historical) reality, local myths and Victorian age prejudices about Eastern Europe have merged to one bizzar nightmare horror trip. The history of this 'Transylvania' is told in four ages.
Christianity has not yet entirely overwritten the pagan traditions. Therefore man is not at war yet with the supernatural and everyone uses magic with good conscience, like i.e. the 'Defense Spell'. All factions start out with primitive encampments that will later grow into dominions or defense bases. The minions of future vampire lords start out with a ghost, which oversees their loyalty and does the scouting. Vampires frawn on farming, sacrifice maidens or impale prisoners to obtain food.
~Age of Superstition~
Nobody has seen them yet, but the belief in vampires grows and drives the people of Transylvania to form opposing camps with distinct laws and architecture. Blacksmiths and different methods of war are introduced, but also the ability to trade. Societies diverge depending on their alignment, with slavery and oppression paving the way for vampire reign in some settlements.
~Age of Witchcraft~
Believes become real. If you are playing as a vampire lord you can now summon the ghosts and monsters that your people believe in. You can also build castles and satanic shrines (lodges) or monasteries or laboratories (depending on your clan/guild).
The battle for Transylvania reaches its climax. The strongest units, upgrades and weapons are now available. Vampire lords can now build wonders for every 200 kills and demonstrate their superiority.
A new class of units:
Mythical units are ghosts, vampires and monsters that you can train when you play as a vampire. Mythical units usually come with several powers and profit from technologies and armors taylored specificly for them.
- recover from wounds: almost all mythical units slowly regain their health after battle
- resist conversion: almost all mythical units cannot be converted
- shapeshift: some mythical units can shapeshift; for most this is just a visual effect, but werewolves also gain additional speed
- fly: some mythical units can fly, this means that they can freely move between land and water
- haunting: mythical units start out in a haunting mode, this means they fiercely defend the spot where they are summoned or the one they are ordered to haunt; it is recommended to order aggressive stance instead when battles begin
3 distinct building sets:
Currently there are three distinct architectures in Age of Vampires.
The dark and eerie buildings used by vampire factions are the author's own creation entirely and the mod's oldest feature. The Teutonic and French wonders were used as a fundament and inspiration.
Partially adopted from other moding stars (see credits) and partially adapted/re-combined this set intents to capture the atmosphere of a typical Transylvanian village. "Slavic" is used as a synonym for "Eastern European" and not a reference to ethnicity. In fact the Vlach and Szekely populations of Transylvania are most well represented by this style.
In Stoker's Dracula, the infamous vampire goes West and tries to set foot in England. The "Fortified Western" set tries to visualise the idea of a Western civilization at war with the supernatural. Most buildings are heavily fortified and regular barracks look like small castles. Some houses bear crosses as means of protection. Again alot of credit goes to the modding community of heavengames, so check the credits if you wish to adopt some of these beatiful buildings for your own projects.
The mod currently offers a choice between 7 factions exclusively. These are inspired by Victorian age horror literature (Van Helsing and Frankenstein Guilds), the lengend-inspiring history of Transylvania (Clans Báthory and Dracul) and Eastern European mythology (Dhampir, Vrkolak). Here's a really quick overview for each.
Inspired by a 17th century Hungarian noblewoman with sadistic inclinations. Among those with broader knowledge of vampire fiction she is second in popularity only to Dracula himself and has inspired vampire-stories already in her lifetime. The people of Hungary and Slovakia believed that she baths in virgin blood to remain young. The Báthory Clan has access to a broad variety of mythical and mortal units.
Dhampir are vampire bastards who tend to side with the living and hunt other vampires. The word 'dhampir' is Albanian and the myth is of mixed Slavo-Albanian origin. Playing this faction enables you to choose between good and evil. The latter enables a beastlike creature of Albanian mythology - the Karkanxholl.
The most famous of all vampires needs no lengthy introduction. The faction's desing is inspired by both the historical Vlad Tepes and Stoker's horror classic. Elements of Romanian mythology are also adopted. The Dracul Clan offers a decent choice of mythical and mortal units along with empowering, but expensive upgrades.
Mad science can be as scarry as any spook. Based on Mary Shelley's horror classic, the Frankenstein Guild is one of the newer factions and adds some unique twists in gameplay mechanics. You start with the infamous, creepy Igor as your scout and instead of monasteries or (witch) lodges you can build laboratories. The laboratory is a place for gruesome discoveries to empower your economy, medical skills (garrisoned healing rate) and monsters. You can build monsters with stubborn resiliance and a strong punch that pierces walls, gates and siege machines. Your own siege tools are intelligently designed and self-repair.
If you want to hunt vampires with angry mobs, armed with pitchforks and torches, the Transylvanians are your faction. They cannot build castles, but their armies easily overcome the fortifications of others.
~Van Helsing Guild~
Prepare the West for Dracula's invasion playing as the Van Helsing Guild! Vampire-slayers and exorcists from England, Germany and the Netherlands have joined their forces and with your help might even accomplish a daring "crusade" in Transylvania.
Stoker describes "Dracula" with hairy palms, the ability to disguise as a wolf and synonymes such as 'vrolok' and 'vlkoslak'. All of these point to the Slavic myth of the 'vrkolak' being an important inspiration for the horror classic. Vrkolak stories have influenced many modern ideas about vampires and werewolves. The Vrkolak are alongside the Dracul Clan the mod's oldest faction.
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