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DevDiary 24 - Multiplayer Part 2


THQN Brad
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  • THQ Nordic

Hello friends and welcome to the 24th DevDiary for “Knights of Honor II: Sovereign”! After the deep dive into the religion topic, we will now return to “Multiplayer” – a topic, started in DD19, where we already talked about game modes, victory conditions and team games. Now we will have a look into more detailed settings, that will be provided for the players to finetune their experience. Many of these work in singleplayer as well, but talking about them in multiplayer aspect provides a more thorough view.

What players might probably want to pick first is the starting period. We have 3 predefined starting periods and each of them includes the political landscape of the Old World. Depending on this setting, different kingdoms will be present on the map and allocate provinces, corresponding for the period, together with their culture and religion for that time. This setting also affects starting royal families of all kingdoms.
 

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For further variety, you can mod these periods or even create a new game from a save, so the starting possibilities are practically unlimited.

As we’ve mentioned very early on in our DDs, there are some very small historical inaccuracies in this direction that we’ve chosen to undertake in order to capture the most interesting “landscape”. Gameplay and fun over historical accuracy is one of the pillars we’ve set for KoH2:S and we hope that no one will be offended by this choice – after all, our goal is to create an entertaining sandbox strategic game, that quickly dives into the “alternative history” category, rather than to follow the actual history of the world, step-by-step.

After a period is chosen, players can pick either starting kingdoms or a starting provinces, which will create a corresponding kingdom from it – you might wish to be a king of Nottinghamshire, instead of England. Players can also set the starting number of provinces, unless they want to play with the historical territories – an option, especially useful for having somewhat balanced multiplayer games and when you want to roleplay a specific kingdom, but you don’t want a too easy or difficult start. Random kingdom or province selections are also valid options. Finally, setting up the starting gold can give players a small boost or handicap early on, as this setting does not affect AI controlled kingdoms.
 

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Starting conditions can be considered part of the “difficulty” settings, but they are not sufficient in that direction. In the hands of a novice player, a big empire can quickly crumble due to rebellions and many wars with its numerous neighbors; and very skillful players can still feel the AI Kingdoms are not a match for them, even when starting with one or two provinces. This is why the “AI Difficulty” setting is probably the most important long-term. It does not only tweak the strength of the AI kingdoms, but also their aggressiveness and other game parameters to provide either more a dynamic, or a more casual experience.

The last few settings are multiplayer specific and as these Dev Diaries shouldn’t get too lengthy (right?), let’s focus on the most interesting ones. “Player wars” can be either allowed “Always”, “Never” or be allowed after defined time or generations (the number of kings’ deaths in any single player-controlled kingdom). So, a proper game for all players can be found or created – whether you want to avoid the nasty feeling of the other players, wrecking your towns or pillaging your settlements; or you want some of that, but not too early in the game; or you just want to go in PvP action from the first second – it is all a matter of how this setting is configured.

“PvP Espionage” setting might look less important and at the start at the game, it really is. But later on, when powerful espionage is achievable and economically affordable, it plays a significant role. As some Spy actions can be very powerful, hard to detect and as there is no way to make an impenetrable defense against espionage, it might be frustrating for some players to be the target of such cunning offensive, though others will surely find a lot of fun in it. If you dislike that backstabbing gameplay, espionage against players can be either limited to less harmful plots, or directly forbidden.

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The final setting we’ll take a look at is for players, that hate being eliminated or just prefer playing a chill co-op game with their friends. “Defeated players” setting can allow limited picking of new kingdoms to those players, whose previous one got destroyed. This option is probably our team’s favorite, as, friends or enemies in-game, we want to complete the multiplayer games together, until someone reaches the set goal.

As adding more settings is not impossible, we’d love to hear whether you find these ones nice for shaping your experience and what else would you like to tweak in the game. How would you use these to make the “perfect” game for your playstyle in single and multiplayer?

We’ll talk more about Multiplayer in our DevStream on Thursday, January 13th, @ 5:00 PM GMT / 12:00 PM EST and we’ll be happy if you can join in our conversation – there are still open slots in our lobby. The Twitch stream will be hosted on the THQ Nordic channel: http://twitch.tv/thqnordic and we’ll be grabbing responses from this post as well as answering questions live during the stream.

Next time we plan to talk about the production of goods and their usage. Until then, we bid thee farewell. Go forth and conquer!


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Yaaay I get the first comment! Maybe adding options for religion, rebellions, and multiplayer rts battles would be options. I really like the idea of the option for players to come back into the game as another nation, awesome idea! I will think more about which settings would make good additions, and look forward to reading other peoples ideas!

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Can you join a game only as a spectator? 

Can you stay in a game as a spectator after being defeated? 

Is there a setting to limit how often you can start a holy war against another kingdom? Being the target of a holy war every 2 minutes because another player controls the pope could be quite frustrating. 

How are pacts between human players handled? Can I defame a friend after he agrees to an alliance but doesn't send any actual troops? 

Could we have a setting to deactivate only pillaging between human players (for a set amount of time/kings)?

 

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Greetings, dear Brad, dear devs, and dear fellow fans!

First I want to say I wish everyone's great and has had good holidays!

I'm so happy with what is published there, about the many different ways to configurate a game... I love especially kingdoms descriptions, it can truly help a player when choosing a kingdom! By the way, is a kingdom's description the same for the three starting dates, or not? And if not, can it be modded so there may be three different descriptions? 😄

The minimap, and all the visuals, even if they might be on works, they all look gorgeous, it's still so pleasant to the eye!

Also the possibility of creating a kingdom, coming out of nowhere, based on whichever province you want, I find it's a nice idea! And same for the possibility for a player to switch to another kingdom if their first is defeated!

Can't wait for the devstream!!

Edited by Calliope
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From the campaign setup screenshot I can gather that there is a mechanic to put multiplayer game into a pause, presumably by any human player. There is also an optional cooldown on game pause, probably per player in a given timeframe. What is "unpause lock" in this context? An ability for other players to unpause game vs pause is unlocked only by original player who paused the game?

But in my mind, these are minor details to the main question of game time - how time is handled by a multiplayer game? Is it running at regular 1x speed as single player? Is game speed in multiplayer variable or just pause unpause options?

Is multiplayer "player host to player clients" or "game server to player clients"? If there is a player host, what happens to the game when host drops? If a player drops from a multipler game, can you rejoin? If you have 5 people in a game and a host player is a first to lose the game, can the other 4 still continue playing?

We know from dev streams that KoH2 single player campaigns are long. I recall statements like "at 40 hours right now". In this light, how long do you EXPECT a multiplayer games to be on average. What are provisions to either carry over an existing game to continue at another day or to compress overall experience to more time-manageable single game sessions?

How many players can you have in a multiplayer game at maximum? There are 6 slots on the UI shown. If 6 is maximum and we are playing on a full global map all the time, do you see an issue with player selected kingdoms being potentially too far away from each other?

Can players join an existing multiplayer in a middle after it had been started?

Is there any persistent progress for a player? In game persistent profile? Records of the games/victories/losses? Hall of fame, ladder? 

In regards of AI difficulty setting. Do you have AI playing same game (real in-game economy) or is AI getting resources and units out of the thing air to make an appearance?

 

PS

Regarding "player wars after N king generations". Did you tried to suicide your kings with no army against enemy city over and over again to cheat on this N generation limit and have early aggression available to you?  An honest question, just curious )))

 

 

 

 

Edited by William Blake
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I like the idea of setting up your very unique game. However, I will mostly start historically since I directly wanna dive in into the action (just like in KoH1 😉).  Maybe after a few games I will start playing around with setting in order to get good options for multiplayer. Could be interesting for multiplayer to have settings that make the whole game last less long for getting a clear winner - or maybe @Ivory Knightpersuades me to do weird and crazy stuff right from the beginning since he is as illusive as the night. 😜

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Hi guys,
Hi Brad, Alex and the whole dev team,

sorry if I am not a very active writer at the moment but i still follow this great game!

I'm so excited to see how it looks and I think you guys have found the right amount of variety to create a new MP story for many, many hours of fun.
It's a really awesome and totally innovative new option in a grand strategy game to play as another nation after a defeat! I love it 😊.
The best part - You can choose and set up the game settings how you want and create your own play style!

Looking at the UI, I think you can play it without a big tutorial like KoH - it's really impressive how you guys designed it without losing the depth of the gameplay i bet.

Can't wait to play it - So many greetings to all of you!
- J0hnson

 

PS a little question:
Are there already diseases (plague, famine,..) or natural disasters (volcanic eruption, stronger winter,..) in the game which affect the gameplay? Or will there be DLC's in future that add something like that as an option when you create a game?

Edited by J0hnson
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Hello guys, happy new year!!

I'm mostly an Age of Empires and Company of Heroes player. I have spent so many hours is these 2 games, for many years, because of their multiplayer game. 

Anihilation through action, siege, killing and violence, is what I have learnt from pvp and also what I expect. 40 to 60 mins a game, ranks and statistics. 

In skirmish-pvp, if you dont have special maps, I think that you should let us lock large areas of far provinces, so opponents can start us neighbours...? 

Anyway, just saying. I haven't read all the topics, so i might missing a lot... 
I like what I have read here from you. Can't wait to play the game! 

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I will probably never play a single multiplayer game of KoH2 (I never play strategy games in multiplayer), but I definitely appreciate options for many different starting conditions.

Some suggestions I have (if not already implemented) are

  • "shattered world" (no historical kingdoms, just lots of small or even single province kingdoms)
  • option to change culture/religion of a kingdom you choose to play (with option to change culture/religion of provinces)
  • Diplomatic range: it can be immersion-breaking if every lord can interact with every other on the map as if the telephone was already invented. So choosing diplomatic range (unlimited and different limit settings) might be a useful option.
  • Naming titles after dynasties: Important for some cultures. For example if you rule as a member of the Fatimids, this option would decide if your realm is the Fatimid Kingdom or instead the Kingdom of Egypt with the corresponding name shown on the map.
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Love that so much thought is going into multiplayer. A bunch of friends and I are really looking forward to the release.

We are excited that KoH 2 looks like it will bring together a bunch of games features that we like, but in a way that works well in multiplayer.

 

Can’t  wait to play it!

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  This is very interesting, I really like the options! I have to admit when I read the dev diary I actually had a dream I was selecting a kingdom in KOHII last night. 

However I am not fully sure what does number of provinces does exactly... Does it mean that all players have to play as a kingdom of x number of provinces or does it change the amount of provinces in this case Genoa has? Does it create more provinces? What if I change it to 1? Would it merge all Genoan provinces?

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 1/11/2022 at 5:27 PM, Zerg said:

Can you join a game only as a spectator? 

Can you stay in a game as a spectator after being defeated? 

Is there a setting to limit how often you can start a holy war against another kingdom? Being the target of a holy war every 2 minutes because another player controls the pope could be quite frustrating. 

How are pacts between human players handled? Can I defame a friend after he agrees to an alliance but doesn't send any actual troops? 

Could we have a setting to deactivate only pillaging between human players (for a set amount of time/kings)?

 

From what I read you need significant resources for a holy war, both money and faith. If you beat the player, you don’t need another crusade. If you don’t, I believe faith drops. And you also need to be wary of rogue crusader kings. 
In any case, you won’t be able to spam crusades all over the place.

These are intelligent people. If they take long to develop it’s because they are considering lots of different options for good gameplay. 
 

Adding a broken holy war mechanic certainly isn’t one of them.

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  • 3 weeks later...

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