DevDiary 13 – Diplomacy Part 2 – Diplomat and Pacts
Hello friends, and welcome to 13th DevDiary for “Knights of Honor II: Sovereign”! In the previous diary we talked about diplomacy, mainly in the context of wars and alliances. Wars are indeed often desired and the main path to victory in the game, but in some cases, they’re better to be delayed or avoided altogether, and looking for allies once the wars have started might be a measure undertaken too late. So, in this DevDiary we shall continue on the that topic, but focusing on the agreements and pacts outside of wars, as well as on the role of the Diplomats.
Doubtlessly what everyone would expect from the Diplomat class in a KoH game is mainly improving the relations with foreign kingdoms. Initially, this is what we were focused on and, indeed, maybe a tad too focused. Diplomats had to be sent to a kingdom and there they had quite a few possibilities like gaining the king’s favor, fascinating the queen, and whatnot. Though these used different mechanics and resulted in somewhat different bonuses, they felt pretty much the same, considering the final goals. That made them feel more like periodical tedious action to perform, rather than making a strategic choice.
We felt that we really needed to improve this class and in the recent months, we reworked it significantly. A big part of this was removing all that tedious micromanagement and instead adding new actions and effects that widen the range of problems Diplomats can solve, hopefully providing different strategies for the players to explore. One of the more significant things we’ve added are Defensive pacts and Invasion plans as something exclusive to the class. Each diplomat can form and maintain only a single pact or plan, so it is a tough choice. Both of those are targeting a selected kingdom and the diplomat can search for potential “friends”, which become “potential allies”, since their obligations depend on whether and how a war with the target starts.
The Defensive pacts are visible to all kingdoms and they can be quite discouraging to a potential attacker, since they know that attacking any of the pact members means starting a war with all of them. The opposite is not true – if someone from the Defensive pact voluntarily attacks the target, the pact is broken and the members do not become allies, at least not automatically. So, it is a way to defend yourself from a formidable foe, but it is useless if you actually want to use it for offensive purposes.
That’s where Invasion plans come into play – they trigger the other way around. When the leader of the plan starts a war against the target, all participants enter the war as allies. These plans are normally kept a secret, since if the target finds out in time about them, for example by having a good spy network, there are quite a few strategies they can explore. They can form a Defensive pact in response; try to dissuade the plan’s leader from attacking; attack first to surprise the enemies and wage war only against one of the kingdoms; or even try to take out the diplomat that maintains the Invasion plan, in order to immediately interrupt it.
In the image we see that Croatia participates in an invasion plan(s), together with Germany, Austria, Bosnia and Vidin, but Germany, Austria, Bosnia and Venice are in defensive pact(s) against it. Also, royal marriage with Bosnia and trade agreement with Tarnovo are shown.
Apart from forming and maintaining pacts, diplomats may also travel directly to another kingdom in order to improve relations passively, over time. This can be a particularly important order, in times which demand more cautious strategizing. If matters have escalated to war, diplomats may also be ordered to negotiate peace, which comes in handy when dealing with stubborn kings who refuse to step off their high thrones.
Another new addition to the diplomats is their more “civil” involvement in internal affairs. They provide significant bonuses when governing a province and are a good match in that direction, even when compared to Merchants. Indeed, merchants are the ones ensuring the highest income, but diplomats are helpful in improving multiple aspects for the development of a province.
While they are not on a mission, diplomats can be very helpful in improving the opinion about the crown of different society groups. These opinions are a new feature for the KoH series, which affects almost all matters of a kingdom, thus the timely intervention of an experienced diplomat can be crucial. We will talk more about Opinions in one of the future diaries, as it is a separate topic, and a large one at that.
Another new action, maybe a bit more unexpected, is the searching for a spouse for a member of the royal family. This can be manually done by the players as well, but diplomats can be helpful in speeding up and easing the process. Royal marriages have several important roles. The marriage of a king early on helps having a big royal family and each member is useful – princes are powerful knights in court and a king, dying without a successor, can truly throw a kingdom into chaos. Both princes and kings, married to a foreign princess, can also have territorial claims, if the father of the princess, the foreign king, dies. Marrying your princesses has significant diplomatic advantages on its own. While the marriage lasts, the foreign kingdom is more benevolent towards you (compared to having a prince or king, married to their princess) and you also gain part of their prestige. Of course, regardless the gender or position of the married royalty, a marriage always considerably warms up the relations between the two kingdoms.
We’ll be glad to hear your thoughts on Diplomacy – do you enjoy spending time and effort on it, ensuring the best diplomatic affairs in grand strategy games, or is it just a final resort you reach for when the army fails you? Would you like to explore more elaborate strategies with the Diplomat class, or rather stick to the basics and focus on increasing your foreign relations?
We will talk more about the Diplomat and the pacts in our DevStream on Thursday, December 3d, @ 4:00 PM GMT / 11:00 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.
Till then, we bid thee farewell. Go forth and conquer, our brave warriors!
*Note: the original DevStream time had an error for GMT due to a daylight savings time confusion. Will be going live at 4:00 PM GMT / 11 AM EST