One of the major hooks in Age of Wonders games is the ability to create your own commander. Your character, the leader of your forces, is fully customizable. Age of Wonders: Planetfall is no different in that regard. Creating your commander from scratch, choosing your race or faction, assigning perks, and determining your secret tech to create more synergy — these are all vital in the grand scheme of your conquest.
Note: We also have our official review and technical review, which cover some of the features and mechanics in Age of Wonders: Planetfall.
Age of Wonders: Planetfall – Faction or race selection
Age of Wonders: Planetfall has six major factions or races to choose from:
- Amazons primarily use biological units such as female fighters, bioengineered lifeforms, and dinosaurs! This faction uses the Bio and Laser weapons groups.
- The Assembly is comprised of cyborgs bred for destruction. This faction uses the Arc and Firearms weapons groups.
- The Vanguard are your spacefaring men and women representing traditional sci-fi tropes. They use the Firearms and Laser weapons groups.
- The Syndicate are a secretive cabal using slaves to do their bidding. They use the Arc and Psi weapons groups.
- The Kir’ko are humanoid insects swarming over entire planets. They use the Bio and Psi weapons groups.
- The Dvar, or space dwarves, are a hardy folk that can survive in the harshest climates, even terraforming entire mountains. This faction uses the Firearms and Explosive weapons groups.
Note: Most attacks in the Firearms category will generally do kinetic damage. Laser and Explosives weapons groups do thermal damage. Ideally, you’ll want to look at the unit, weapon, or mod description to see the type of damage it does.
For this Age of Wonders: Planetfall guide, we’ll focus on only one character just to show you what the process is like. As mentioned in our basics guide, we suggested that the Vanguard might be one of the more beginner-friendly races to pick. So, for this character creation guide, we’ll pick a Vanguard commander. If you played the tutorial, then you’re already familiar with Jack Gelder so let’s go with him.
Weapons groups and Secret Tech combos
The image above will show you (from left to right) the faction you’ve selected, the Secret Tech, and the commander perks. We’ll keep Jake Gelder a Vanguard bro for now.
As for the secret techs, remember our Age of Wonders: Planetfall research guide? Each secret tech has its own type of elemental damage that it favors. To determine if you’ve got good synergy, take a look at the Vanguard race’s description. These boys and girls love their Firearms and Lasers, yeehaw!
Since most weapons in the Firearms group do kinetic damage and Laser weapons do thermal damage, then you’re in luck. That’s because the Promethean secret tech does favor those two elemental types. A majority of units, mods, and operations (or, you know, ” spells”) will also favor these types of attacks. The boosts and perks you gain will all synergize.
Age of Wonders: Planetfall – Commander perks
Next up, let’s look at the perks for your new Age of Wonders: Planetfall commander. There are four sets of perks and you can only choose one from each set. By default, you’ll have 3 points to spend in total.
- No Background (0)
- Veteran (1) – start at level 3, 10 skill points to spend; units gain experience 15% faster
- Skilled Diplomat (1) – +300 relations with all other races excluding your own; influence cost to bribe armies is 35% lower
- Martial Research (2) – weapons research costs reduced by 25%; commander regenerates all action points upon killing an enemy unit, can only occur once per turn
- Merchant Scion (2) – economy research costs reduced by 15%; trading dwellings is 10% cheaper
- Star Union Scholar (2) – secret tech research costs reduced by 15%; increased amounts of objects/loot picked up from world map sites
- Covert Operative (2) – society operations research costs reduced by 20%; increased covert offense and defense
- No Colony Supplement (0)
- Data Repository (1) – start with two random techs
- Energy Cache (1) – start with 300 extra energy/money
- Military Detachment (2) – start with a larger army (one full stack with six units another separate group with two units)
- Colonist Cryopods (2) – your first colony has 2 extra population and a Recreation Dome (keeping happiness levels satisfactory)
- Basic Equipment (0)
- Close Combat Equipment (1) – increases melee damage and vitality (health)
- Assault Equipment (1) – increases damage with ranged weapons and accuracy when behind cover
- Sharpshooter Equipment (1) – increases damage with ranged weapons and critical hit chance
- Assault Vehicle (2) – commander can ride basic mounts or vehicles; increases vitality
- Support Vehicle (2) – commander can ride basic mounts or vehicles; increases vitality
Note 1: Your general loadout, and the type of elemental damage will be dependent on the race/faction you choose. Your assault equipment will differ depending on the secret tech you chose.
Note 2: If you choose either of the vehicle options, your commander starts the game with that type of mount. This will allow you to explore the map faster.
- No Vice (0)
- Cruel – all colonies have -4 happiness; you gain +200 morale when killing an enemy unit
- Kleptomaniac – lose 10 energy/money each turn; start with a mod that works with your loadout
- Party Animal – all colonies have -10% production; all units in your army have +100 morale always
- Stubborn – all colonies have -10% knowledge/research; your army has +2 resistance to status effects
- Decadent – all colonies have -10% food production; your commander gains an extra 10 vitality/HP
Note 1: Vices are different in that they add extra perk points for your commander. However, this comes at the cost of a penalty, though there might be a tiny benefit added as well.
Note 2: Kleptomaniac is the safest choice most of the time. You can easily gain energy as you progress which nullifies the amount you lose per turn.
In any case, my picks are Veteran, Military Detachment, [Promethean] Assault Equipment, and Kleptomaniac.
Once you’re done choosing your perks, the next panel will let you customize the appearance of your Age of Wonders: Planetfall commander. You can change their portrait, face, hairstyle, skin color, accessories, torso and legwear, and more. You can even change their genders (except for the Amazons who are female-only). These changes to your commander’s appearance have no effect on gameplay.
That guy above is Jake Gelder’s estranged, edgy, teenage brother — Johnny Gelder. He likes FPS games and skateboarding. You might’ve met him in some online lobbies because he keeps talking about “ur mum.”
Saving your Age of Wonders: Planetfall custom commander will have it appear under the custom tab on the selection menu. There you go, you’re done. Now, it’s time to play the game.
That does it for our Age of Wonders: Planetfall research and secret techs guide. Be sure to head over to our guides and features hub for more information. You can grab the game via its Steam store page.