Age of Wonders 4 – Diplomacy Guide

Each AI empire has a personality, visible on the diplomacy screen, which determines their preferences and strategy. All empires will have a Relations value towards each other, representing the degree to which the empires are on good terms with one another. Good relations are requires for Treaties. Bad relations increase the chance of AI empires declaring war.

Relations

The player’s relation value with an AI player will determine if they’ll want to become their ally or their enemy. This puts emphasis on maintain relations with the AI.

All empires will have a Relations value towards each other, representing the degree to which the empires are on good terms with one another. Good relations are requires for Treaties. Bad relations increase the chance of AI empires declaring war. When two empires first meet, either empire can offer a gift of 50 Gold for +50 Relations or threaten them for -50 Relations. If an empire is more powerful, all weaker empires will lose Relations with it.

Two empires may have the following relations levels:

LevelRelations
Friendly600 to 800
Trusting400 to 600
Respectful200 to 400
Indifferent-200 to 200
Suspicious-600 to -200
Hostile-800 to -600

In order to manage relations, the AI uses the trading system in the same manner as the player and they rely on the trade requirements to determine whether they want/can make a certain trade or not. This means that the same rules that are exposed to the player are also applied to how the AI will act on their own when making decisions. An example of this is when you want to create a Wizard’s Bond, if the relation is not good enough, the tooltip will tell you so, but it will also tell you the exact relation value you must reach before the AI will consider the deal. The trade requirements as well as value of a trade option can be modified by the AI player’s personality.

The AI will also make use of the friendship and rivalry declarations to indicate their intent for relations. They will start making declarations quite soon after meeting them, if they can afford the upkeep, so how they are greeted does make an important difference. Over time the AI may still reconsider their declarations, so, with some effort, you may be able to have them reconsider their rivalry should things not exactly go your way from the get go.

While the AI does influence the relation value, this does not have to decide the outcome of the relationship as the player can mitigate a high threat level with. For example, with a declaration of friendship, or by sending gifts or trying to achieve their personality preferences.

In realms with the teams game setting, most diplomacy with other empires is disabled.

Messages

The AI will talk to you from time to time and they will have messages that they send in response to what is happening in the realm or to foreshadow their intent for the relationship. So keep a good eye on what they are saying! Whenever a message has gameplay effects, it will always be accompanied by info text that is shown underneath the message to help explain the meaning of the message.

With these messages, the AI is capable of responding to a great deal of gameplay scenarios as well as having variations on these messages based on personalities. The AI has a cooldown system to not overwhelm the player with messages. In addition, there are filters on when certain messages and interactions are allowed. An example of this is the wizard’s bond which is also the first treaty you can achieve with another ruler, without it the AI will only send you important messages such as them disapproving of an action or wanting to declare war, but with the wizard’s bond a whole new range of messages opens up.

Personalities

Each AI empire has a personality, visible on the diplomacy screen, which determines their preferences and strategy. Personalities will impact the AI’s behavior both on a strategic as well as a diplomatic level by hooking into many systems and behaviors. As such they will for example influence how the AI will evolve their cities and empire, the armies they build and the tomes they research. Personalities also hook into diplomacy through trading, pronouncements and also offer you ways to influence the relation through personality preferences; each personality gives an AI ruler 2 things they like other rulers to do and 2 things they will dislike, for example they like it if you make alliances but hate it if you break treaties.

Based on these preferences, the player can try and influence their relations with an AI player by achieving the things they like and avoiding the things they hate, with 19 different personalities it may not be possible to keep all rulers happy however!

Personalities are structured into 6 different archetypes, with multiple variants on each archetype. The variants determine the specific preferences, but only the 6 archetypes influence strategic and diplomatic behavior. The specific personality an AI player will have depends on their leader’s alignment and affinities at the start of the game and also determine how they will continue to develop these. The archetypes themselves do not hook into a specific affinity, but the variants do.

The list of archetypes is as follows:

  • Diplomat – A diplomatic personality that favors good alignment, alliances, treaties and loyalty.
  • Isolationist – An isolated personality that favors building their empire defensively and is less inclined to deal with other rulers, which makes trading more expensive.
  • Merchant – An economically focused personality that likes to trade, but strives for a better deal, trading is more expensive but time requirements may be reduced.
  • Sage – A personality that favors research and the use of magic, they also like making treaties and try to avoid unjustified wars.
  • Spy – A research focused personality that likes to gain vassals and prefers smaller alliances over big coalitions.
  • Warlord – A wardriven personality that favors evil alignment, conquest and expansion.

Trading

The trading system will be at the heart of the player’s negotiations and dealings with the other rulers in the realm.

While trading with other human players will have a free form approach where the player can specify the trade items and amounts exactly to their liking, trading with AI players focuses on clarity and provides a more straightforward experience.

When entering the trade screen, players will always be presented with trade options that the AI player will actually consider or would consider if the certain conditions are met. Each trade option can have various conditions which are shown in its tooltip. When these conditions are met, the AI player will always want to make that trade, though they may ask for something in return.

Clicking a trade option leads to the close deal screen where the AI will present one or more offers or requests in order to make the deal work. Sometimes they will not ask for anything in return if they think the deal is fair. Selecting any of their proposed options will round up the deal.

The player may also propose the deal as a gift to the other ruler, which grants a relations bonus. While this takes away the haggling, it offers a much simpler and faster way of making successful trade deals with the AI.

The below list provides a general overview of everything that can be traded:

  • Resources (gold, mana and magic materials)
  • Equipment for heroes
  • Captured heroes in prison or crypt
  • Contact information of other rulers
  • Cities and provinces
  • Gifts (because good relations are forged with gold!)
  • Treaties (Wizard’s Bond, Open Borders, Province-Claims Pact, Teleporter Pact, Shared Vision)
  • Diplomatic States (Defensive Pact, Alliance)
  • Vassalage

Treaties and Diplomatic States

Treaties allow two empires to better help one another and requires sufficiently positive relations.

Treaties, both diplomatic as well as resources, are permanent and certain diplomatic states depend on forming specific agreements with the other side before agreeing to them. Diplomatic treaties are also bilateral, so opening borders means both rulers will do so.

TreatyRequired RelationsEffectsRequires Treaty
Wizard’s Bond-100Throne Cities are revealed to each other and enables the Call to War interactionNone
Open Borders50Armies can enter each other’s provinces without trespassingWizard’s Bond
Province-Claiming Pact50Cities can build on each other’s claimed provinces without causing a GrievanceWizard’s Bond
Defensive Pact200If either empire is attacked the other empire must declare war on the attacker or break the treatyWizard’s Bond
Teleporter Pact150Armies can teleport to each other’s TeleportersOpen Borders
Share Vision150Empires can see each other’s vision and explored areasDefensive Pact
Alliance600If either empire goes to war the other empire must declare war on the same empire or break the treatyDefensive Pact

As in most diplomatic actions, the other ruler will have to like the player before agreeing to any treaty, so a few relation increasing measurements will probably be needed for the more advanced treaties. Broken treaties and pacts will impact the relations with other empire rulers and may give them a reason to start a war. If an empire ends a treaty, which is only possible after at least 5 turns have passed since signing it, it will gain Evil alignment and the other empire will gain 5 Grievances.

The most basic treaty is the Wizard’s Bond, which start off the diplomatic relations with the other empire rulers and unlock the path to better treaties. This also tells the AI that the player is now open for conversation and allows them to send various messages. Without it they will mostly leave the player be.

Although the ultimate goal in diplomacy is to seal an alliance with another ruler — which will require Wizard’s Bond and a Defensive Pact first, as well as some time and bribing investments — it is important to remember that such treaties involve an automatic call to war when a member of the alliance is attacked. Befriending a Warlord may therefore not always be the best idea, so sometimes the best diplomatic approach would be to keep a healthy distance.

Pronouncements

Pronouncements are a collection of diplomatic interactions which do not require mutual interaction between two rulers, but instead allow making a public statement.

There are 4 possible pronouncements:

Declaration of Friendship (100 Gold)

  • Requires an upkeep of 10 Gold each turn
  • Gain Relations up to +300
  • Grievances added are reduced by -40%
  • Diplomatic treaties grants +25 more Relations

Declaration of Rivalry (100 Gold)

  • Requires an upkeep of 10 Gold each turn
  • Lose Relations up to -300
  • Grievances added are increased by +40%
  • All existing treaties are broken
  • Making new treaties is impossible

Fabricate Grievance (75 Gold + 75 Mana + 5 Turns)

  • Both empires gain a minor Grievance against each other

Denounce (50 Mana + 1 Turn)

  • Influences relations with all empires that both empires have encountered
  • If the Grievance was a Fabricated Grievance the targeted empire will gain a Grievance
  • Can only be used once per Grievance

Declarations cost an upkeep to maintain, but the benefits are worth the costs. AI players will also make use of these declarations, so it is advised to try and stay on their good side if possible. Declarations can only be ended after at least 5 turns have passed since sending them.

These include declaring a player as a friend or rival. This will influence the value of newly gained grievances and it will also slowly add a modifier on your relation, which increases every turn to quite a significant modifier. A friendship can add up to 300 relation points and can go even higher, up to 400, if both parties declare their friendship and share multiple treaties. A rivalry can lower the relation by -300 points and if left unchecked can cause the relation to spiral to war. Friendships lower the value of grievances gained while rivalries increase the value of grievances.

Pressure System

Other factors also have an impact on the relation value and eventually the AI’s behavior. One of those systems is the pressure system (threat level). At any given time the AI will evaluate all other rulers in the realm and calculate a pressure value for them, this value depends on many factors and effectively determines how well a (AI) player is doing. It looks at things like relations, armies, cities, income, and many more factors. Things like the AIs personality, difficulty level and game phase also hook into this.

The calculated value is compared with a strive value that the AI thinks the player should have and the AI concludes one of seven different threat levels from this. Which means they are either threatened because you are doing very well or they ease up because there’s already enough pressure on you. The threat level is expressed as a relation modifier, where being threatened means you receive a negative relations modifier and being at ease gives a positive relations modifier.

Grievances and Wars

Grievances are past actions that an empire carried out against another empire. They are the fuel for war and can be triggered by simple actions, such as trespassing and ignoring province claims, or with more serious actions, such as breaking treaties. Not only do they diminish relations with other rulers, they are also used to generate war justifications.

The following actions add Grievances:

  • Being insulted when first encountering another empire
  • Being spotted in another empire’s territory without an Open Borders treaty
  • Building on a province claimed by another empire without a Province-Claiming Pact treaty
  • Being attacked
  • Fabricated Grievances

It’s important to gather grievances if intending on waging war and to prevent the opponent from getting any grievances on you, but sometimes it cannot be helped. Luckily, sometimes it is possible to pay the other ruler to forget a grievance — though, there is a limit to how much grievances the AI will want to forget at a given time. The player can sell their own grievances for 10 Gold per severity, although if they are aiming for good alignment, it is also possible to forgive a grievance, which will yield an alignment bonus instead of gold and a temporary bonus to Relations of both parties.

War Justification

War justification is what is used when trying to declare war on another ruler. It is very important to have enough of it because without any justification, relations with other rulers and free cities will worsen as well as the empire’s imperium income when declaring war. The opponents’ grievances also matter as they are subtracted from the player’s own grievances. This means the balance of grievances on both sides determine the war justification.

It is possible to fabricate a grievance if you are planning for war. Another way of gaining one is through a call to war. A call to war always requires an answer within 3 turns and may even break your diplomatic state if declined. When being called into a war by your ally, they will share the grievances they used to declare their war, this will (hopefully) allow to declare a justified war yourself. Even if your ally declared an unjustified war, you will always get some grievance points to use.

Attempting to declare war on another empire will mention how the armies of both empires and their allies together compare to each other.

Both vassal cities as well as vassalized rulers will always be automatically drawn into the wars of their overlord and only exit the war when their overlord resolves it. Vassals can still independently make good relations with others but cannot declare wars or have wars declared on them, these interactions always have to pass through their overlord.

Volodymyr Azimoff
About Volodymyr Azimoff 13955 Articles
I love games and I live games. Video games are my passion, my hobby and my job. My experience with games started back in 1994 with the Metal Mutant game on ZX Spectrum computer. And since then, I’ve been playing on anything from consoles, to mobile devices. My first official job in the game industry started back in 2005, and I'm still doing what I love to do.

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