The Age of Wonders 4 Golem update is here, giving you more than enough reasons to return to one of the best 4X games on PC right now, or even pick it up for the first time. Arriving alongside the launch of new Age of Wonders 4 DLC Empires and Ashes, which introduces a fusion of industry and magic to the already excellent Paradox strategy game, the Golem update is a hefty upgrade available to all players, so let’s dig into the details.
We here at PCGamesN were very impressed by the latest game from Triumph Studios and Paradox Interactive, with our Age of Wonders 4 review calling it “a game you owe it to yourself to play.” It stands alongside the likes of Crusader Kings 3, Cities Skylines 2, Stellaris, Victoria 3, and Europa Universalis 4 as one of the best strategy games on PC and another fine addition to the Paradox lineup. Now, the free Age of Wonders 4 Golem update makes it even bigger and better, with new features and reworks to existing systems.
The first of these additions is a new Item Forge, which can be built in your cities after unlocking the Wizard Tower. This lets you craft, tweak, upgrade, and infuse items using essence earned by disenchanting gear at the Arsenal, giving you the potential to do things such as add new passive properties, change the damage channels of weapons, and forge active abilities onto the likes of staffs, wands, and melee weapons.
Next up is the new cooperation panel, found in the free city interface and used to handle interactions such as trading and war coordination. Upon raising your influence over a free city to the point where they’re acting as a vassal for you, you’ll now be able to instruct them to attack various locations, from infestations to enemy cities. You can spend Imperium to speed up its assault, or reinforce its efforts, and when it successfully pillages a province you’ll be sent the rewards.
Form traits have been reworked – you’ll now get five points to spend, with each costing between one and three points. Triumph has updated the default traits for all existing forms so they will always make use of their full five available points. Several of the existing traits have been altered, along with the addition of three new ones – ‘light footed’ stops friendly units blocking movement, ‘sharp eyes’ gives you additional vision and sensing on the world map, and the delightful ‘hideous stench’ reduces the resistances of any enemies unfortunate enough to be standing nearby.
Water gameplay has been given a revamp too. You’ll now be able to annex coastal provinces much like you can on land, employing all the same general improvements. Seafaring perks and water vision have been rejigged slightly, new unique ship models based on the unit roles have been added, and special waterborne underground passages have been introduced to connect the seas. There are also seven new maps focused on water-based combat.
The Golem update also includes 18 new war-based events and six additional war-related quests, new banner icon, hero origin, and society trait unlocks for pantheons, and several quality-of-life upgrades including a new spell book interface and a Pangea map type.
The Age of Wonders 4 Golem update is out now on Steam. It’s available for free alongside the paid Age of Wonders 4: Empires & Ashes DLC, which is also out now and priced at $19.99 / £16.99. The base game is also 30% off on Steam until Monday November 13. You can find the full Golem update patch notes right here for all the individual details, courtesy of developer Triumph Studios.
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