DevDiary 16 - Prestige, Great Powers, Emperor of the World
Hello friends, and welcome to 16th DevDiary for “Knights of Honor II: Sovereign”! When we talked about traditions in DD10, we mentioned the concept of a kingdom’s prestige, and how traditions are unlocked as prestige increases. Prestige has а much greater impact in the game, though, and it even paves the road to victory, so today we will take a deeper look at how it is increased and what role it plays.
Measuring the greatness of a kingdom in KoH2:S is done by summing up two elements. The first element represents major events that took place in its history (fame). The second one represents its current greatness (prestige).
Actions and events can lead both to increases or decreases of fame. The example that usually comes to mind first is battle and war outcomes – winning brings fame and losing reduces it. There are many ways to increase your fame however, like leading a crusade or putting an end to a rebellion. The ways to lose fame are broader, so the players might want to be careful with their actions – executing noble prisoners, breaking non-aggression pacts, attacking their vassals, etc. bring ill fame. The negatives of such actions, however, have a long lasting, but not permanent, effect and as time passes, the wrongdoings are forgotten, little by little.
Things that comprise prestige are control of important cities (e.g. Mecca, Constantinople, Venice, Alexandria, London), production of unique goods, important buildings, and rankings. Rankings are an interesting new addition to the series and a major factor here. They are always relative – it depends how well a kingdom is doing compared to the rest of the world – and the prestige bonus is awarded depending on the kingdom’s standing and not on absolute values. Currently there are 15 rankings in five categories (wealth, conquest, culture, society and politics) and the players can aim at topping those which best suit their strategy and playstyle.
Additionally, a kingdom also gains a percentage of the prestige earned by its vassals, as well as from kingdoms it has royal ties with, but only by marrying princesses. In the first game of the series players didn’t like marrying princesses, as that would only lead to potential claim of inheritance from the other kingdom, so to counter-balance that in KoH2:S, we added bonuses that only princesses possess, like the prestige bonus, espionage and counter-espionage bonus, and others.
As the game develops, we are iterating and balancing the events and actions that increase or decrease fame, as well as adding ways for fame to change when we introduce new features as well. The good news is that this feature is easily moddable as well and those who want to get creative can easily add or remove fame as a side-effect of a building or an action.
If a kingdom’s prestige rises above a required value, and if it is among the nine with highest prestige, it starts being considered a great power. Besides the epic golden frame of the coat of arms, great power status provides significant bonuses like higher army morale, stability, and cultural influence in neighboring kingdoms. It also allows the kingdom to vote for becoming the “Emperor of the World”.
“Emperor of the World” (EoW) is an important feature we kept from the first game, representing rare gatherings of the Great Powers’ (GPs) kings who can vote to accept the superiority of one of the top two claimants, or abstain, if they want to support none of them. In the process, voters are not all equal, as each kingdom votes with the value of its prestige.
Players can even get bolder and try to proclaim themselves as EoW whenever they see fit, as long as they are among the Great Powers and have the required prestige for that action. This is very risky, though, since if the rest of the GPs deny the claim, a war starts between all who denied it and the claimants. In order to get their support, it is not nearly enough just to fulfill the requirements or even to lead the prestige chart and be the leading great power. The rest of the great powers would only support someone if they see them worthy for the title, but likeable as well. Here things like good relations, royal marriages, large scale trading, being caliphate, etc. play a huge role.
Yes, this is a bit fictional roleplay-ish feature, which lacks historical accuracy, but it turned out to be quite fun in KoH1 and a good conclusion to a game – if you feel victorious, even though you’ve not conquered yet every single province, you have way to feel like you can win and claim victory and see whether you’re really the undisputed EoW. After all, the game is about becoming the dominant empire in the Old World and not always about “owning” it all.
In the situation where an AI kingdom wins such a vote, players can also singlehandedly refuse to accept them, but then they get in war with all of the GPs and results are usually not pretty. However, in multiplayer games such votes cannot be denied and the Emperor of the World is victorious, while the rest must admit their defeat.
We’d love to hear what kinds of things you think should bring or take prestige and fame and which ones you expect to be too restrictive for your playstyle. Would you prefer more realistic and punishing effects to make you play more carefully and respectfully to your agreements and common manners, or do you prefer more freestyle gameplay, without too many consequences?
We will talk more about Prestige, Great Powers and Emperor of the World in our DevStream on Thursday, March 18th, @ 3:00 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.
Next time we will talk about the emblematic class of KoH series – Spy and Espionage; what we’ve kept from the first game, what we’ve changed, added and why.