DevDiary 10 - Traditions
Hello friends, and welcome to the 10th DevDiary for “Knights of Honor II: Sovereign”! Last time we talked about character skills and in this diary we will take a look at traditions, which are very interlinked to them and can even be abstractly considered as “kingdom skills”. We will explain how these two features are connected, how traditions are gained, and how they affect the game.
First of all, in KoH2:S the player does not take the role of any of the knights, nor really the king or his dynasty – knights, kings and dynasties rise and fall, and with their death their skills are also gone, but the game continues. Introducing this new feature for the series, the traditions, we wanted to offer an additional way for players to strategically shape the strengths of their main avatar in the game – the kingdom itself – and also to create long-term progression players are motivated to make. As almost everything else players do is more or less temporary, we felt that such a permanent component of their progression is much needed in our game. Yes, we already had the knights’ skills and province development, but knights perish, dynasties fall, and thriving provinces can get overtaken or separated from the kingdom one way or another.
The second important thing we wanted to consider and represent well is that KoH2:S is not a civilization game. We want to capture a specific and rather short moment of time, the High and Late Middle Ages, and, debatably, we think that technological / development tree wouldn’t be very fitting for that goal. We’d like this feature to allow the players to boost their kingdoms in all possible aspects and how believable would it be to let you invent things like agriculture, stock farming, literacy and so on in that period, when they were all invented thousands of years before that? That’s why we crossed out this type of “inventions” and technological tree off our list.
Kingdom traditions represent the knowledge of nations, built over the ages and are less of a “invention” and more of a “focus”. Unlike provinces or knights, they cannot be forcefully taken or destroyed by enemies. Once adopted, they endure even in the harshest crise and are only lost if a player prefers to replace one of them with another. An additional advantage they have is that their effects spread kingdom-wide and can provide bonuses to all provinces and knights.
Thus, they are harder to acquire than skills. To each skill there is a corresponding tradition and, similarly, adopting them requires spending some gold and books, but this is the easier part. In order to gain a tradition, a kingdom must additionally have at least one knight that has mastered the corresponding skill (at level 3). In that regard, the kings are the quickest “gateways” to traditions, since each skill they learn is directly acquired at the maximum level. As a final requirement, there is a limitation to the number of traditions that can be acquired – in game terms, tradition “slots” become available with the progression of a kingdoms’ prestige, a statistic that represents the overall progression and stance of a kingdom and that we will probably discuss in more details in another DevDiary. A kingdom right now can adopt up to eight traditions, though we are still experimenting with that number and at what point and cost each slot will be available.
Similar to skills, traditions can provide a wide range of effects and can be improved on through a cost of gold and books – their maximum level is 3, too. Some of them can provide statistical boosts, others – access to new actions, plots, or even more specific abilities like what kind of siege equipment can be constructed within a kingdom. They also boost knights’ abilities and some of these bonuses are restricted either to classes, governors, kings, etc.
There is one very specific and powerful combination – traditions boost knights that have mastered the corresponding skill. Once again, we will illustrate this with the “Cavalry tactics”, since we gave it as a skill example in the previous diary. When this tradition is adopted, it makes the cavalry squads larger, which is a bonus, that applies to all cavalry squads in the kingdom – those led by knights, regardless of their classes and skills and even those stationed in garrisons. However, if the tradition is improved to level 2, marshals that have mastered the skill will gain an additional combat tactic from this tradition – “Chase and kill”, useful in pursuing retreating enemy troops. At level 3 of the tradition, these marshals will get another new tactic – “Shock charge”, especially valuable for those of them that lead considerable number of heavy cavalry units.
Such combinations can be done in many aspects of the game and provide significant benefits in a chosen directions. What makes this strategy even stronger is that once a tradition is adopted, it is always available for learning by knights of that kingdom, so in this way players can ensure that they will be able to make the desired “combo” and no longer rely on random affinities of knights to learn that skill. In result, by choosing their traditions, players can define the biggest strengths of their kingdoms and build a long-term strategy, regarding what skills they want always available and boosted.
To summarize it, we are trying to make that systems as something unique in KoH2:S and offer the players interesting choice and many possible strategies to explore. Skills are the path to traditions, and traditions, the path to skills; they work both as a boosting mechanic, shaping the strengths of a kingdom, and give an opportunity for interesting combinations as well.
We will talk more about Traditions in our DevStream on Thursday, September 3rd, @ 4:00 PM GMT / 12:00 AM EST. 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.
As always, we would love to hear your thoughts on that topic and always read and look into your feedback. Does the tradition system sound interesting to you? Do you think it would be too challenging for you to choose a favorite tactic and achieve it, or maybe it is just the opposite – do you think that even more complex system and tech-tree is more suitable for such game?
Next time we will look into another class of knights. We’ve already talked about marshal and it is time to share more about the strategical benefits and gameplay possibilities of merchants.