Blog

Skirmish Hall
1/10/2012
Ian Vogel, Design Lead

The fully configurable Skirmish Booster Pack allows you to choose every element of PvE gameplay, from resources, teams, and victory conditions to opponent civilizations, difficulty, and strategy.

  • All units are automatically unlocked and battle-ready.
  • It supports 2-player co-op against up to 4 computer-controlled enemies.
  • You can also do battle on more than 20 different maps.

There are a large number of options and settings that can be configured in the Skirmish Booster. For all of the settings other than victory condition, players can also choose a random option that makes the battles even more chaotic and exciting.

The Skirmish Booster allows access to all of your civilization's units even if you haven't unlocked them in the tech tree through the campaign. You also have access to all of the ages, even if you haven't reached the appropriate city level and unlocked them via the tech tree. You do not, however, get access to all technologies; these still need to be unlocked by spending points you receive for leveling. Experience earned from the Skirmish Booster can be used to level, fully unlocking units and technologies, and improve the rewards.

Speaking of rewards, the greater the challenge, the bigger they get. In addition to being rewarded at the end of each successful match, there will be several global quests that allow you to earn unique advisors, vanity trophies, and additional experience, coin, and chests.

Key Features:

  • Fight on more than 20 different battlegrounds.
  • All units are automatically unlocked and battle-ready
  • Supports 2-player co-op against up to 4 computer-controlled enemies.
  • Battle 9 unique computer opponents.
  • Configure maps, teams, victory conditions, and resources.
  • Customize AI ally and opponent civilizations, difficulty, and strategy.
  • Earn new advisors, vanity trophies, and custom gear.
  • Countless hours of gameplay await!

Available settings:

  • Teams
    • There are 2 teams
    • The allied team can be controlled by a combination of players and computer allies
    • The opposing team consists of customizable computer opponents
    • Computer allies and opponents can be customized in the following ways:
      • Hero: There are 9 unique armies the player can fight against. 8 of them focus on specific strategies and unit types and the final one is a random army that changes tactics from one match to the next.
      • Civilization: All existing civilizations can be chosen for each computer ally or opponent. Each hero has a unique strategy that varies based on the civilization chosen. They adjust their build and attack groups to use the most civilization appropriate tactics and counters.
      • Army strength: There are 5 different levels
        • Weak: Weak allies and opponents build small numbers of military factories and units and attack with smaller waves of enemies at less frequent intervals. When chosen as an opponent, weak enemies start with an additional elite defender. Weak allies and opponents tend to use lower level uncommon gear rather than the rares and epics used by fierce and unstoppable armies.
        • Standard: Standard is the default army strength assigned to all computer controlled players. Standard allies and opponents build medium numbers of military factories and units and attack with medium waves of enemies at more frequent intervals than weak computer armies. When chosen as an opponent, standard enemies start with a couple of elite defenders. Standard allies and opponents tend to use lower level uncommon gear rather than the rares and epics used by fierce and unstoppable armies.
        • Strong: Strong allies and opponents build more often, attack more often. When chosen as an opponent, strong enemies start with a small elite group of defenders. Strong allies and opponents tend to use uncommon gear rather than the rares and epics used by fierce and unstoppable armies.
        • Fierce: Fierce allies and opponents are very efficient at building and gathering and they produce lots of military factories and attack frequently. When chosen as an opponent, fierce enemies start with a small elite group of defenders and an additional villager. Fierce allies and opponents use rare gear starting at low levels. Finally, fierce opponents react and counter player tactics more quickly than lower level difficulties.
        • Unstoppable: Unstoppable allies and opponents are the toughest army of the bunch. They will build more units more quickly, use the strongest epic gear and advisors, and gather resources at the fastest rate. When chosen as an opponent, unstoppable enemies start with a small elite group of defenders and additional villagers. Unstoppable opponents react and counter player tactics the quickest of all.
  • Map

    There are over 20 different maps to choose from covering a range of gameplay types including deserts, islands, limited or strategically important resource hubs, mountainous regions, heavily forested areas, and terrain where heavy distribution of water pools limits options for building and expanding bases.

  • Map Size

    Map sizes can be configured from one of 4 different sizes from small to very huge. In addition, map sizes scale based on the maximum number of players on either team to accommodate for the space needed to properly build player bases. Every map can have its playable terrain modified by this setting and the prominent features of that map are modified by both the map and team sizes.

  • Map Resources

    There are 3 different map resource settings from low to high. On the low setting, starting resource mines and bushes contain fewer resources and there are fewer resources on the map overall. On the high setting, starting mines and bushes have high numbers of resources and there are more of them spread throughout the landscape, which also impacts the terrain and strategic control points on the map.

  • Player Resources

    There are 4 different player starting resource options available from low to very high. On the lowest setting, players have just enough resources to build their next villager and storehouse while the very high setting allows players to quickly age up or build a large army in short order.

  • Maximum Age

    Even though all units and ages are unlocked in the Skirmish Booster, players can choose to limit combat to age 2, 3, or 4. This setting locks out the ability to age up beyond the maximum specified age and creates a completely different feel for how combat plays out on each map.

  • Victory Condition
    • Standard: Destroy all enemy Town Centers.
    • Conquest: Destroy all enemy Town Centers and all units.
    • Wonder: Be the first to build a Wonder or defeat all enemy units.

Skirmish AI Improvements and adjustments:

  • Computer-controlled allies and opponents gather resources much more efficiently and more intelligently seek out new sources of resources when a source is depleted. They also defend storehouses placed throughout the map.
  • Enemy opponents will start with a small group of units that patrol their Town Center. The number of units scales with difficulty.
  • Enemy town centers do drastically increased damage to villagers to prevent villager rushes.
  • Computer-controlled allies and opponents get Advisor cards. The rarity of these increases with difficulty
  • Enemy opponents aggressively research upgrades for units most commonly used in their strategy.
  • When starting with a lot of resources, computer opponents will age up faster and build lots of military factories early on.
  • Computer-controlled allies and enemies will send the herdables (cows, goats, etc) back to its base and the villagers will gather from them.
  • When computer controlled allies and opponents are under attack, they will garrison villagers and then put them back to work when the threat is gone.
  • Computer-controlled villagers will repair damaged buildings.
  • Computer-controlled allies and opponents will increase attack sizes with each attack.
  • Computer-controlled players will build Wonders if the Wonder victory condition is set.
  • Computer-controlled tower placement has been significantly improved and AI will build towers at storehouses that are far enough from their Town Center. If the computer-controlled strategy is not turtle focused, they will still have a random chance to build some towers around their Town Center.
  • Egyptian computer-controlled allies and opponents will use their starting Priestess of Ra to empower their Town Center.
  • Computer-controlled allies and enemies build caravans and ramp up the number they use as they age up.
  • Computer-controlled allies and enemies make more effective use of docks, transport ships, and the different flavors of naval units on water heavy maps.
  • Computer-controlled allies and enemies use priest abilities much more effectively.