Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin was announced to the world on May 25 as part of the Warhammer Skullz celebration of Warhammer video games. Wargamer got an early sneak peek on May 17 at a hands-off preview by developer Frontier Developments, and the parallels with classic real time strategy games like Company of Heroes were immediately obvious.
Realms of Ruin promises to be an old-school real time strategy game. The press preview showed gold-armored Stormcast Eternals battling green-skinned Orruk Kruleboyz over a control point – which Frontier Developments calls an “Arcane Conduit” – in a way that was immediately reminiscent of Company of Heroes and the classic Warhammer 40k game, Dawn of War.
New units are produced at the interdimensional Realmgate portal on your side of the battlefield. Frontier promises that, just like all the best RTS games on PC, players will be able to “upgrade and specialize their forces via tech trees”. Though we didn’t see them during the press presentation, we were told that those upgrades are attached both to your Realmgate, and to an upgradeable “Command Post” building.
Classic rock-paper-scissors gameplay is core to how units fight, with different unit types – light infantry, heavy infantry, and ranged – performing best against their preferred target.
Frontier says that multiplayer matches will be “quickfire and exciting”, designed to last 30 minutes or less. The scoring system for multiplayer is pure Company of Heroes: you need to hold more Arcane Conduits than your opponent to drain your enemy’s victory points faster than they can deplete yours.
Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin factions
The two Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin factions revealed so far, and which Wargamer got to see fighting it out during the press preview, are the Stormcast Eternals and Orruk Kruleboyz. Frontier Developments promises “four playable factions that are completely distinct from one another visually and strategically” when the game releases.
If you’re an RTS fan not familiar with Age of Sigmar armies already, here’s a quick rundown: the Stormcast Eternals look like humans, but they’re a lot weirder. Sigmar, god of lightning and order, claims the souls of great heroes as they die, and reforges them on the Anvil of Apotheosis into superiors warriors. If they die again their souls will (usually) return to Sigmar to be reforged; repeated deaths gradually erode their memories and humanity. Stormcast are elite and tanky, in the lore and in the Realms of Ruin preview, taking lots of punishment to put down.
The Orruk Kruleboyz are a lot easier to understand: they’re swamp-dwelling, slave-taking, monster-harnessing, poison-using, sneaky Orc gits. They’re a lightly-armored horde army.
The biggest unit shown so far is the Stormdrake Guard, an elite-of-the-elite Stormcast knight riding a dragon. Frontier told us that each faction has squads of equivalent scale and power.
The single player campaign follows the Stormcast Eternals under commander Sigrun. Her warriors are part of a Dawnbringer crusade attempting to found a settlement in the primeval realm of Ghur. After reaching its destination, the crusade is attacked by the Kruleboy followers of Killaboss Dankfeer, which prompts a quest for the Stormcast to find a magical macguffin among the rancid swamps of Ghur.
The story is co-authored by veteran Warhammer 40k book author Gav Thorpe; it’s not his first videogame rodeo, having written for For Honor and Warhammer 40k: Deathwing.
Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin release date
There’s no official release date for Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin yet, but developer Frontier Developments says that the game would be “coming soon” in its initial press release. That was on May 25 2023, so we expect the game to be out in late Summer or early Fall 2023.
Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin platforms
Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin will run on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, XBox Series X, and PC. It will be available on both the Steam store and the Epic Games Store.
Console RTS games have always been a dicey proposition, as the control scheme doesn’t translate naturally to a controller. Frontier Developments says it has a new system called “DirectStep”, which means that “using the analogue sticks and a few simple button presses, players can quickly cycle through their squads, issue orders and engage the enemy”. Wargamer will be sure to give that a try when we get a hands-on preview.
If you’re a PC gamer through and through, Frontier Developments says your version of Realms of Ruin will use a “classic mouse and keyboard control scheme that’s designed to feel familiar to RTS veterans”.
Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin trailer
The first Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin gameplay trailer will drop in June, according to Frontier Developments’ first press release for the game. Until then, there’s a sizzle trailer for the game to keep you warm.
Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin multiplayer beta dates
In its initial press release for Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin, developer Frontier Developments announced it would hold two multiplayer betas for the game across all platforms. It hasn’t confirmed the dates for those betas yet, but – given the advanced state of the game – we expect them to be during Summer 2023. You can register your interest at www.aosrealmsofruin.com.
Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin is very intriguing. Wargamer’s RTS boffin Matt Bassil gave Company of Heroes 3 a positive writeup in his recent review, and we’re eager to see design principles from that franchise brought to bear on a Warhammer fantasy videogame. There also hasn’t been a landmark Age of Sigmar game yet – I reviewed the turn-based game Age of Sigmar: Storm Ground for Wargamer’s sister site PCGamesN, back in my days as a freelancer, and though it was solid, it left me hungry for more AoS videogames.