Age Of Darkness: Final Stand

Platform(s): PC
Genre: Strategy
Publisher: Team17
Developer: PlaySide Studios
Release Date: 2023

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'Age Of Darkness: Final Stand' Early Access Update Adds New Units, Armor System And More

by Rainier on Aug. 2, 2022 @ 12:27 a.m. PDT

Age Of Darkness: Final Stand presents a modern, darker spin on the survival RTS genre that will challenge new players, and strategy experts alike.

The darkness is an entity of evil. Some say it is the manifestation of human fear and nightmares, others say it is a wandering mass of damned souls haunting us. The origin of the darkness itself is unknown, but one thing for certain is that we can keep it at bay through the power of light and fire.

Age Of Darkness: Final Stand is a dark fantasy survival RTS where you must illuminate, build and defend humanity’s last bastion against hordes of Nightmares.

Set in a dark fantasy world with the last vestiges of humanity fighting for survival, Age of Darkness: Final Stand features proprietary SwarmTech technology to render over 70,000 enemies – the Nightmares – that attack humanity’s last known stronghold.

Surrounded by The Veil, a deadly procedurally generated fog of war that conceals Nightmares and drains the very lifeforce from anyone brave enough to venture through it, the final enclaves of humanity must survive a series of five Death Nights, waves of attacks with an exponential number of Nightmares to overcome, so hope can endure.

Strategic construction, careful resource management, and rapid recruitment are the keys to surviving unrelenting swarms of Nightmares. Robust defenses to build, battle worn heroes to enlist, and the tug of war between light and dark all complemented with an original soundtrack by Path of Exile composer Kamil Orman-Janowski. Each Death Night brings with it ‘malices’, random gameplay modifiers such as reduced range of defence towers or even trained units leaving training halls as Nightmares, which test humanity’s strategies for survival. Meanwhile, mighty Heroes bring with them unique abilities that can help strongholds hold back the Nightmares during the night.

Set in the remnants of a kingdom consumed by a deadly fog, you decide. Will you hide in the light? Or take back your world.

New Units


The Hunter is a Rebellion-specific unit, replacing Arbalests for the faction. What the Hunter lacks in range, it makes up for in tactical options. The Hunter comes with the capacity to place a trap at its feet that when triggered, slows and damages enemies within its area of effect. You can use your Hunter to pull groups of nightmares into a deadly snare, or lay down lines of traps in preparation for a Death Night.

Hunter Trap -  Active ability:  Deadly trap that when triggered releases a puff of toxic smoke that damages and slows enemies within.


Cultists are also faction-specific units, replacing Soliders for the Volatists. When trained, two Cultists are provided for the price of one. They don’t hit nearly as hard or have as much health as a Soldier, but when you train one, you get two. They also have the ability to shred armor with their attacks – an attribute not available so early to other factions.

What about the Order?

As of this coming release,  the Catapult will become an Order-only unit. We can also share with you some awesome things that are coming in v0.9:

  • NEW Order-specific unit, The Lightbearer
  • Further Faction modifiers, giving more play differentiation between each Faction

Wait a minute, we said shredding armor?

Armor System

A long-standing issue with Age of Darkness was the tendency for more advanced, higher cost units to completely supersede early units. The prime example of this was the Arbalest, which for a long time was strictly better than archers of equivalent cost, except for its lower movement speed.

Unrelated to this, we also felt that players, regardless of faction, could generally reach the perimeter of the map - where all those juicy gold veins live - too quickly. The strategy for experienced players tended to involve making a beeline for the edge and scouting for the best veins early.

We also had a smaller issue that Armor in Age of Darkness was of negligible usefulness. It flatly reduced incoming damage, and no unit had more than 1.5 armor. Also, secretly, damage was never reduced below 5, so armor did nothing to mitigate Crawler attacks.

To recap, we had three issues: Units became obsolete, players could reach the edge of the map too quickly, and armor was not very useful. Our solution was to completely rethink armor.

Armor is now a resource. While a unit has armor, incoming damage is reduced by 70%. If you want to deal full damage to that unit, you'll need a way to get through its armor.

So we're also introducing a new stat -- Armor shred. Armor shred acts like damage, except it only applies to armor. A unit with 5 armor shred will need to hit an enemy with 15 Armor 3 times to break through. Damage is calculated after armor shred is applied, so the final of those three hits, in addition to removing the armor, will deal full damage. Once Armor is depleted, it will only recover when you're near your Keep or one of the Workshop buildings.

What does this mean in practice?

Well, many units now have some armor or armor shred. Sentinels have extremely high armor, and Arbalests have high armor shred. But Nightmares now ALSO have armor and armor shred.

While exploring the map, you'll need to consider your unit composition more carefully now. Do I have enough sources of armor shred to take high-tier nightmares down before they can wreak havoc? Do I have enough raw damage to kill a Wraith before it can shred through my Sentinels?

In all likelihood, you’ll find it a lot harder to reach those outer limits, as units like Axemen and Spitters become much tougher to take down with pure damage. Likewise, you’ll find that many units which normally get left by the wayside become integral to keeping up your momentum. Arbalests can punch through armor like no one else, but you may want to keep a squad of Archers waiting in the wings to deal pure damage once that tough shell has broken.

You’ll also find units with armor much more durable in some scenarios and much less in others. Your Sentinels can withstand far more attacks from a swarm of Crawlers, and can hold the line in a Death Night much longer. But if you want to keep getting value out of those units, you’ll want to consider where you’re building your Workshops.

This system is designed to create roles for existing units as well as create space for future units to exist without invalidating any of the current line up. It also opens up space for future blessings, malices and faction properties – some of which you’ll hopefully see sooner rather than later.

Age Of Darkness: Final Stand is available through Steam Early Access.

Throughout early access, Age of Darkness: Final Stand has received continuous and game-changing content updates including:

  • The addition of two new heroes, Aelis and Vizargo
  • A rehaul of the Factions system (giving different stats and buffs to each faction as well as adding new starting units so each faction can play to its unique strengths)
  • Additional buildings, including the Trade Bazaar, Fishing Port, Triage Tent, and Watchtower
  • Further player units, including the Pikemen and Siege Catapult, and many more to come (including faction-specific units) in Update 0.8
  • The brand-new ‘Burster’ enemy
  • Quality of life and balancing improvements

Key Features:

  • Fog of War: Evolved: Light up a rich, complex, procedurally generated map to claim territory back from ‘The Veil’. A dynamic living death fog that conceals enemies, drains life from your troops, and hinders exploration efforts. Holding the line against this terror is not for the faint of heart. Any units unfortunate enough to be too close to ‘The Veil’ become ‘horrified’, sending them into fits of fear and lowering their fighting effectiveness. Only light cures the darkness, so fight in the light or pay the price.
  • Death Nights: Brace yourself against huge tidal waves of Nightmares. Leveraging an internally developed technology called ‘SwarmTech’ Age of Darkness: Final Stand is able to  render over 70,000 enemy units on the screen at one time. These enemy legions claw their way up through seething fissures in the earth to reinforce ‘The Veil’. When the Death Night begins, you’ll be weakened by a Malice - a random affliction capable of undermining the best laid plans. If you are fortunate enough to survive until dawn you will be rewarded with a choice of Blessings. Live or die, Death Nights will test your strategic skills to breaking point.
  • Heroes Vs Horrors: Lead the charge against the horrors of the night with powerful and unique Heroes. Using special abilities gained from levelling them up, these Heroes can be key to turning the tide of a desperate battle. But beware, the Nightmares have elite roaming champions of their own that drop precious resources when killed, posing an extreme and ever-present threat to your expansion. Are you the hunter, or the hunted?
  • An Army Needs Training: Train and configure your army via a multi-faceted Army Skill Tree system where you decide upon multiple routes of progression for Melee, Ranged, and Siege units. Grant your Archers invisibility to scout hard-to-reach places. Imbue your Sentinels with rage so they may restore their health with each blow and install speed boosters on your Ballista’s to hurry them to new defensive locations. Each session, the choice becomes yours, though be warned, the most powerful abilities may cost more than just your gold.
  • Day & Night transitions, expand by day, hunt by night
  • Living Death Fog system that grows and recoils from the light
  • Horror and Embolden based status effects which may curse or aid your troops
  • Special Nightmare units, Spitters, Crushers, and Wraiths that test your combat skills

Age Of Darkness: Final Stand is coming to PC (Steam) in 2022/2023.

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