As we develop the Romans, each week are revealing them to you building by building, unit by unit, and technology by technology. We are not just showing you what the Romans will be, but showing you how we are building them, who is building them, and also why we are building them the way that we are. This week, we are revealing the Aquilifer, which is a Roman Officer available in Age 3. We are also revealing the new Gear category available to some Roman units, the Banner. Finally, we will review the entirety of the Romans’ Age 3 and see how it all ties together.
Aquilifer and Banners
You will recall that Officers are a type of Units unique to the Romans that train in the Praetorium. Officers still adhere to the traditional classes of units (Infantry, Cavalry, etc.), but they each share several important characteristics compared to regular units: Officers are more powerful, more expensive, and more pop efficient. They are also subject to build limits. Some will have unique powers, and we may give each of them bonuses against Priests. Of the four Roman Officers, we have already revealed two -- the Centurion and the Decurion. The Aquilifer will join the Centurion in Age 3. (In two weeks, we will reveal their final Roman Officer, who trains in Age 4.)
We did not uncover much information about the original designs of the Roman Officers, so our fingerprints are all over these guys. We know at one point the Aquilifer was in consideration, but he seems to have fallen out of the design fairly early on (around the time the Babylonians were being designed). We have no concept art and nothing in the files to suggest how he would have played in the game.
However, we took a shine to this unit and were happy to find a space for him in Age 3.
Whereas the Decurion (Age 2 melee Cavalry) and the Centurion (Age 3 melee Infantry with a limited Range attack) feel like large, powerful bruisers on the field, the Aquilifer, though still powerful, plays more of a supporting role.
Historically, an Aquilifer (roughly translated to “Eagle Bearer”) was a prestigious Roman soldier entrusted with carrying the Roman standard (which often included an eagle emblem), who served as a rallying point and morale booster for the legions during the chaos of battle.
Though ours are classified as melee Infantry units, their strongest role will be to buff the DPS of nearby friendly units. So unlike the Celtic Druid who needs to actively stand there and buff other units, the mere presence of the Aquilifer will provide a passive buff for those within a radius around him, leaving him able to move around freely and fight (though, again, you may want to keep him out of the way). This is similar to the Norse Chief's +20 percent area Health buff, but players will be able to have several Aquilifers at a time on the battlefield and they won't be quite as powerful as the Chief.
That brings us to his gear, which we are super excited about. As you can see, the Aquilifer easily stands out in the crowd by carrying that large banner into battle.
Since there is nothing like a Banner in the game, we seized the opportunity to create a new gear class. We had originally thought to call them Standards, but found Banners to be more fitting (such as in the term “fighting under the banner of Rome”). We also would like to leave open the possibility of other civs one day using this gear slot, so we are hesitant to make the name too civ specific.
We are still working out the details with the various Banners, so we have nothing to announce about what stats they will buff or where players will acquire them.
However, we can safely say that we will not be creating nearly as many individual items as the original Devs created for other gear used by only one unit. For instance there are 34 different War Horns, 35 Belly Bows, and 47 Priestess of Ra Scepters. And many of those have a dozen or more different versions for different levels.
We are thinking maybe 20 different Banners at launch (perhaps two Legendary versions). We see little purpose in killing ourselves with tons of low level uncommon and rare versions that you will all inevitably phase out once you hit Level 40. We expect some Banners to be droppable, others to be for sale in Rome, and a few craftable at the Infantry School. We‘ll have some fun.
But wait, there’s more! Historically, Aquilifers did not just rally troops with giant visual aids. They also sounded a loud circular horn, called a cornu. Therefore, our Aquilifers will equip a War Horn, which until now was unique exclusively to the Celtic Woad Raiders. Naturally, he will occasionally blow his horn when he’s standing around.
From a visual design perspective, we should thank Happy Smurf for championing the Aquilifer’s distinctive look. When Happy and Chaos started with us, we had not yet decided whether the Aquilifer was in or out of the civ. (He was the last unit to make the team, though we had penciled in some kind of buffing Officer. He almost came in Age 1, but we went with the Engineer instead.) But as soon as Happy Smurf took a look around the civ, he immediately started pestering us for a Roman “lion head guy.” Sure enough, we had some concept art for lion helmets, but they had been assigned to the Veles and the Numidian Horseman, both of which we had already cut from the roster. So with Happy Smurf’s loud enthusiasm, we agreed that the Aquilifer would don the traditional Roman lion head, which is not just historically accurate for that unit but looks amazing and pulls the entire unit together. The Romans may have a ton of units, but there is no question that you are going to be able to tell them apart.
With only a single unit left to reveal, let's take a look at what's available in the Praetorium:
Age 3 AnalysisThough AoEO’s civs are crafted to have very unique playstyles, they arguably still have more in common than they differ. And where they differ, they tend to differ in predictable ways. We discuss this at some length in our Unit Design Blog.
In Age 1, the civs are almost totally identical, save for a few small, but critical differences. Then in Age 2, they begin to noticeably separate, but they each get about the same stuff: three or four new military Units with some combination of melee and ranged that can all counter each other.
In Age 3, there are still a few of similarities: by then, every civ can heal. And everyone gets a Battering Ram. Age 3 is also a period of huge growth — every civ gets more new units in Age 3 than they do in any other age. And they also get some of their most powerful and defining ones (Hoplites, War Elephants, Immortals, Woad Raiders, Berserkers, etc.).
But while the civs are still orbiting each other in Age 3, the distances get larger and larger. For instance, Egypt gets just five new units while the Norse get nine. By Age 3, some civs have just two Infantry while others have as many as four. And some civs can construct two new Buildings and others get four. The civs really come into their own in Age 3 and firmly establish their unique playstyles.
So shall it be for the Romans. In Age 3, they unlock nine new units (the most for Age 3, tied with Norse), including the Centurion, which is arguably the most Roman of all Romans plus the Aquilifer. The others are the Eques (from the Castellum), Cretan Bowman (Auxilia Camp), Battering Ram, Scorpio, Clinicus, Pontifex, and Enneris. They also get three new Buildings (which is normal), the Fortress, Siege Workshop, and Templum. This gives the Romans in Age 3 a total of four Infantry (tied with the Norse for most), two Ranged and two Cavalry Units (normal), two Priest Units (same as three civs), two Warships (same as the Babylonians and the Norse), one Unique Unit (the Engineer), and two Siege units (again, the most in the game).
Adding in the four Common Units (Villager, Fishing Boat, Merchant Transport, and Caravan) and Scout, this brings the Romans to a total of 19 units through Age 3. (The Norse have the most with 20 units through Age 3. All other civs have 15, except for the Babylonians with their Ox Carts, who have 16.) Rome is big, but they are really only off the chart with their Scorpio, which represents the only time a civ has a second Siege unit in Age 3, let alone any ranged siege. Again, this is a calculated move to feature Roman Siege, which is a side of the game that has been long overdue for a specialist civ. With all those units and that much Siege, the Romans are running a little large in Age 3, but since their three Officers face substantial build limits, it makes some sense for them to have more options. And every civ has been off the chart one way or the other, so it's actually normal for Rome to be abnormal somewhere.
To make it easier to follow everything, let's have another look at all Roman Military Buildings' Units and Techs:
At any rate, we can’t wait to hear what you all think and even more excited to get the Romans into your hands. In the meanwhile, we have now shown you every single Roman Unit and Building except for two: the final Officer and the Wonder. We kind of rushed the Aquilifer to you this week and still have a bit more to do for him. Meanwhile, the final Officer is extremely complicated and in an unfinished state. Therefore, we want to keep him in the oven for an extra week before we reveal him. We will be back next Saturday with the Wonder and possibly some other surprises. We already showed you the Millarium. Now we want to show you the other kind of Milestones.
Thank you so much for reading, and we will see you all next week!
Project Celeste Development Team
What do you think about this week's blog? What would you like to see next? Let us know in the comments below!
Missed the Roman Civilization's announcement? Find out about it HERE.
Project Celeste is completely free and always will be. However, we gladly accept donations for our overhead costs, which are larger than we have budgeted. If you want to support us, you can do so HERE.
Read every Romans related blog HERE.
Tell your friends! Join our Discord HERE.
By PF2K on Jan 18, 2020 at 12:40 PM
- Similar Threads - Weekly Blog #27