Research is one of the key parts of the game. Research will be generated over time for every city you have. Each city will generate a different amount of research, and research buildings such as a Laboratory will increase the amount of research each city produces. Research can either be in the from of a passive ability or adding a new spell or unit you may construct or cast.
Each skill has a set amount of research that is required to be produced to gain its benefits. The research value of the skill is proportional to perceived strength or benefit of the skill. There are three primary types of skills that can be researched: Combat Spells, Strategic Spells, and Empire Upgrades.
All Spells are listed on their respective pages of Origin - those specific to Classes or Specializations are listed on their specific pages. There are also some Secret spells, which cannot be researched, but can be obtained by other means, such as Treasure Sites or Empire Quests. These are listed on the Miscellaneous Spells page. Lastly, there are some spells available to everyone, known as Avatar Spells, noted at the bottom of this page.
For more on casting mechanics, see Spellcasting.
Some Spells are cast in combat, usually to directly aid in the destruction of hostile units, or to preserve your own.
Combat Enchantments will affect the entire battlefield for the time that they are active. They can for example give bonuses to your units( Mass Bless), or debuff the enemy's ( Mass Curse). Some have have a certain effect at the beginning of a combat round, like Arachnid Horde or Great Healing Showers.
These Spells can be Disjuncted just like the Enchantments on the Strategic map, and a Critical Success of Failure can occur, causing Disjunction Backlash to the leader on the wrong end of it - this can have a huge impact on the rest of the battle.
Strategic spells once researched are spells cast on the adventure map unlike battlefield spells which can only be cast during tactical battles. Like their battlefield counterparts, strategic spells can damage enemy armies (for example Sunburst) or enemy cities(for example City Quake) directly, provide a constant empire-wide boost to all friendly units when the spell is active (for example Shield of Dispassion) and add an additional magical element for the defence of targeted friendly cities (for example Rotten Wall and Glyphs of Warding). Strategic Spells have an upkeep in mana which must be paid or the spell is cancelled when the faction's mana reserves run dry.
Strategic Spells can be reinforced once cast with the investment in Casting Points giving a proportionate increase to the integrity of the spell. Higher tier spells require more mana and casting points to fully reinforce compared to lower tier spells. Reinforcing strategic spells makes it harder and more expensive for enemy leaders to Disjunct the spells.
Empire upgrades once researched deliver some kind of passive benefit to the player's empire as a whole. Effects can vary between increased resources from certain treasure sites (such as "Sanctified sites" for the Theocrat), a permanent boost to all or some of the player's heroes and units (such as "Harbingers of Death" for the Necromancer), a bonus to city structures and/or treasure sites within a city's domain (such as "Shrines of Unlife" for the Necromancer and "Animistic Knowledge" for the Arch-Druid) and/or a bonus to units produced in cities (such as "Modern warfare training" for the Dreadnought). These benefits do not cost players additional expenses in gold, mana, population or casting points.
There is no static tech tree in Age of Wonders 3; rather, the spells are chosen from a random pool when a number of conditions have been met.
There are 12 slots with available research in the research book. The first 3 (Left page, the two at the top and the one on the far left in the center), are fixed slots. These contain the the following:
- Movement tree, existing of Basic Seafaring, Advanced Seafaring and Advanced Logistics - in that order. All of these are Avatar Technologies.
- Casting Points tree, existing of the Casting Point upgrades specific to your class(for example; Sorcery), though they are currently the same for all classes. In addition to Casting Points, they also raise your Mana Cap, making this tree a good and reliably available option to become a good spellcaster fast.
- Class Unit tree, existing of the Technologies which are required to produce your class units(for example; Summon Wisp and Produce Apprentice). These contain both the summoning spells(where appropriate) and the Empire Upgrades required to obtain your Class units - note that the latter will still require you to build the Class Buildings.
After this, there are 9 slots left. These are divided among the categories of:
- Empire Upgrades
- Combat Spells (Sometimes referred to as Tactical Spells)
- Global Spells (Sometimes referred to as Strategical Spells, as in used on the strategic(overland) map, instead of the combat map.)
Note that the Global spells slots are also used for Summoning Spells and City Enchantments, as these are treated as Global spells by the game mechanics.
All of these 3 categories have 3 slots available. Also, the game tries to fill them with at least one class research option, and at least one non-class research option, with the third being random. Within the non-class option, the game does not differentiate between specializations.
This system of slots allow a player who wants a specific technology deeper into the tree to focus his research - if you want a specific global spell from your class(Example: Enchanted Walls), you should research other global spells from your class(like Glyphs of Warding or Dread Omen).
There are some more mechanics making it much more likely for some spells to show up - at the start of a game, it will make a list of all unresearched Tier 1 skills, from which it will select spells that it will offer you to research. Whenever this list becomes shorter than 3 skills, the next Tier gets added in. This makes it possible for basic spells and abilities of a lower Tier to show up very late, because sometimes the more expensive skills can get chosen over them for a lot of times.
Note that the "random poolsize" has been reduced in update 1.5. Possibly changing the threshold of 3 to 1 or 2.
Once a research slot is freed up, for example you've researched the entire Movement Tree, the open slots will be added to those from the random options. The first added slot is assigned to Combat Spells, the Second to Global Spells, and the third to Empire Upgrades.
Should it happen that one of the lists become empty, the game will select a skill inside your class/specialization that will sometime be available to you almost at random.
- Index:Empire Upgrades
- Other Spell Pages: