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    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).

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.


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    THQN Brad
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    Hello dear Devs,

    I’ve noticed that you postponed your devdiary. Please tell us whether the staff of Black Sea Games and THQ Nordic are healthy and fine! I know that Sofia has been hit hard, so I wanted to ask. I wish for all of you to stay healthy and safe, everyone!

    Kind Regards!

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    12 hours ago, THQN Brad said:

    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.

    I love that you listened to the community and add such feature to the Princessess, which I believe will be married off more often than before. 

    Great job 🤩. Can we expect any other featured by Queens or Princesses? (Like suggestions on this thread Any additional thought being put into Princesses?)

     

    Would love to know if you got inspired by the community or was there always a plan to do something with Princessess? if you can answer this question on the stream 🙂 

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    The princesses features are great. They bring spice to the whole marriage game and make it interesting.

    Do princesses have different skill-levels for espionage? (some being more talented than others, like with the talents of kings and princes in KoH1?)

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    İ prefer more realistic and punishing effects to make you play more carefully and respectfully to your agreements and common manners...ofcourse this..who will prefer fantastic things in KNİGHTS OF HONOR ...this game is historical game!!!

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    You mention that "In the process, voters are not all equal, as each kingdom votes with the value of its prestige." Does this mean that if you have more prestige then all the GPs below you put together, that you can automatically win? 

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    I see that one way to play is to follow the path of greatness, get prestige, dominate over the map, become GP and EoW. 

    Will be there some other ways to enjoy the game like Steam achievements that would create different scenarios with different levels of difficulty, based on the starting kingdom and the achievement objective?

    Achievements could be based on historical events and conquest

    Example - Start as Byzantium, conquer all of Bulgaria and get "Bulgaroktonos" achievement,

    or to be out-of the box like

    Start as Mamluks/Abbassids and be elected as the Pope

    I know that players could create their own conditions and be creative, but having the reward of the achievement feels more motivating.

     

     

    12 hours ago, THQN Brad said:

    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?

     

    I guess by increasing the difficulty level to become more realistic and punishing would make sense. 

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    9 hours ago, Yavor said:

    Hello dear Devs,

    I’ve noticed that you postponed your devdiary. Please tell us whether the staff of Black Sea Games and THQ Nordic are healthy and fine! I know that Sofia has been hit hard, so I wanted to ask. I wish for all of you to stay healthy and safe, everyone!

    Kind Regards!

    Hi Yavor,

    Thanks for asking! Everyone is fine and healthy, talked with the team this morning. There were schedule conflicts last week that forced us to move the DevStream to 3/18 that we just couldn't work around (my fault!). Look forward to seeing everyone on Thursday!

    Cheers!

    - Brad Logston

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    5 hours ago, THQN Brad said:

    Hi Yavor,

    Thanks for asking! Everyone is fine and healthy, talked with the team this morning. 

    Cheers!

    - Brad Logston

    Glad to hear it, Brad! Thank you and keep up the good work!

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    I like the idea of your kingdom receiving more realistic and punishing effects for not honoring pacts and agreements that you've entered into.

    As for what should effect prestige, I definitely think your prestige should increase with the number of battles that you win.  And the amount of prestige you earn should receive a bonus increase for battles won against a major historical adversary of your kingdom.  For example, if my English army defeats a French army, my prestige should increase a higher amount than if my English army defeats an Italian army, etc.  Similarly, if my army defeats an army of a top-5 ranked nation, my prestige should increase higher than if my army defeats an army of a weak nation.

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    I'm glad that princesses get something to do.

    Am I misreading and they only get prestige bonus?  Or are they getting other bonuses as well?  Like the espionage and counter-espionage and other stuff?

    Edited by Lighthope

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    1 hour ago, Lighthope said:

    I'm glad that princesses get something to do.

    Am I misreading and they only get prestige bonus?  Or are they getting other bonuses as well?  Like the espionage and counter-espionage and other stuff?

    Hey Lighthope,

    like Brad says in the text: "the prestige bonus, espionage and counter-espionage bonus, and others." So there definitely will be espionage and counter-espionage for princesses which in my opinion totally makes sense. Your princess stays loyal to you since she is family but she is very close within a foreign royal court. That surely opens up some opportunities for some intel.

    I hope the devs will tell us a little more in the stream tomorrow about the other things they can do.

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    More Hardcore and Realism please!!! Are you planning to add military access to the game?

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    Looking at the comments I see more and more people wanting "hardcore realism" and that makes me worried. So I ask of you, dear Devs, please don't make the game harder than it is intended by you! Some people may enjoy challenging themselves with games, but people like me don't have neither the time, nor the will to get good at hard games. I just want the easiest difficulty option to still be playable for me, that's all!

    Making the game accessible for a broader audience will only benefit the game!

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    55 minutes ago, Yavor said:

    Looking at the comments I see more and more people wanting "hardcore realism" and that makes me worried. So I ask of you, dear Devs, please don't make the game harder than it is intended by you! Some people may enjoy challenging themselves with games, but people like me don't have neither the time, nor the will to get good at hard games. I just want the easiest difficulty option to still be playable for me, that's all!

    Making the game accessible for a broader audience will only benefit the game!

    Agree. I mean we don't even know how the game will be played, yet they want "hardcore". I mean there is nothing wrong with that, everyone has they one playstyle. I am just worried that later people will complain "the game is unplayable, AI is to smart/cheating, etc..". Like stated by Yavor before, make it as you intended it. 🙂

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    Totally agree with Yavor and DoVlaLegend - it makes me a little worried, too. Please stick to your plan of easy to get, hard to master. Make it Knights of Honor not Paradox. And as I suggested it in the past: make hard and more punishing options a game setting but not a given. This gives motivation for playing the game several times with different settings.

    So far I am very happy with how things seem to go and how the game develops. Don't punish us with punishing gameplay 😉

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    5 hours ago, Yavor said:

    o I ask of you, dear Devs, please don't make the game harder than it is intended by you! Some people may enjoy challenging themselves with games, but people like me don't have neither the time, nor the will to get good at hard games. I just want the easiest difficulty option to still be playable for me, that's all!

    On the other hand, making it too easy makes the game boring.

    Which is why options are a great thing.  Hardcore rules are a blessing that can be turned on or off as the player wants.  This way, everyone gets to play the game they want.

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    This is a very very bad idea:

    • If I play singleplayer I DON"T CARE what AI votes on some magic election based on very complex compound points system. I want to play until I can, even if I'm a single province against world emperor. Only I, as a player, will decide the moment when I consider a defeat and stop playing. If not I want to continue my struggle NO MATTER WHAT ai thinks or votes. Since the vote is only from the top 2, most of the time IN A HARD GAME I as the only human player will most likely not be the top 2 and I will be voted out in a middle of my VERY HARD game just by some score. And you know that and you made the button "continue playing" but it means that the whole vote is POINTLESS. You basically make any hard game a punch in a face because it will not be "a real victory, because we voted you out, but you pressed the button".
    • If I play singleplayer and I don't know how to play or I want an easy experience, you can't expect me to understand a complex system of some points which are building up more and more for AI to win and for me to just lose on some "vote". A casual player cannot risk his experience with some sudden magic "vote" which is decided by AI based on some points a casual player does not understand or cant manage yet. And you think a game should just say "oh you know, that is a nice game you had here, too bad you are out of points and some AI is voted for an emperor" BUT you can "continue playing". All it says to a casual player - YOU LOST, game over. But that casual player through it was going really good. This type of things cannot happen out of the blue and make casual player feel completely incompetent. 
    • If we play multiplayer it is even worse. This is amazing can of worms for people to exploit and meta game some compound complex rating system as opposed to playing strategy military game we all hope to see. There is nothing worse than some magic score building up and no matter how close a military victory on a map is, you get voted out or your enemy is voted to be a victor. Everyone who is loosing the score game or even feels like loosing a score game will have major motivation to LEAVE the game in a middle which is the worse case scenario in a multiplayer for everyone involved.

    You are setting up your game for a huge bounty hunt for meta gaming prestige farming. Expect youtube videos of "10 ways to cheat prestige in KoH2", "play with a friend and dupe the KoH2 multiplayer for prestige farming" and so on.

    People will stop playing military medieval  game of power and armies and start playing meta game of "how to boost prestige, win easy in 10 minutes". And it will happen, because you could not make a SIMPLE system, couldn't you, you made a COMPLEX and COMPOUND system, and I bet you with 2 people preparing to exploit it in a single match it will be exploited just because there are too many components to the system. Simple example: say catching a spy gives prestige, if you knew when to catch a spy and there is an action for it, it would be easy to catch a spy, player A and player B are playing the meta game and player B sending spies in to player A and player A catches them for prestige profit over and over again instead of playing "normal" game. Or if defeating rebels is a prestige boost I will run my province to rebel on purpose all the time just to farm rebel victories. If I know that building a cathedral is a boost, player A will build one, give province to player B, B deletes the cathederal, gives province back to A, A builds same cathederal second time get restige again. And so on. Or if you get prestige for a victory over an enemy marshal, player B will send marshals with no army to player A to win and farm prestige.

    The more complex your compound prestige system is, the more possibilities there will be for some exploit especially if you have 2+ people on the same game with a goal to exploit.

    In a multiplayer you can't have votes on who won. It is just pointless anger inducing bs which will ruin the game for people who are winning but can't get "all nice players to agree" and for everyone who are loosing but don't agree to lose yet some majority of "lame random people" just voted you out. It cannot work in a competitive game, no one votes for a nice honest winner in a competitive match, humans don't work like that.

    PS

    And if you are expecting your multiplayer NOT to be competitive, well, then everyone should get a trophy and you can't vote on who is the most special kid on this short bus. 

     

     

     

     

     

     

      

    Edited by William Blake

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    13 hours ago, William Blake said:

    If I play singleplayer and I don't know how to play or I want an easy experience, you can't expect me to understand a complex system of some points which are building up more and more for AI to win and for me to just lose on some "vote".

    In all the games I've played, never once has the AI voted to make someone Emperor.  I don't think it's that big of a concern.

    Maybe some people want to play the diplomatic game.  Not me.  I want to roll stomp Europe.  But to each their own.  Choices are good.

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    13 hours ago, William Blake said:

    This is a very very bad idea:

    • If I play singleplayer I DON"T CARE what AI votes on some magic election based on very complex compound points system. I want to play until I can, even if I'm a single province against world emperor. Only I, as a player, will decide the moment when I consider a defeat and stop playing. If not I want to continue my struggle NO MATTER WHAT ai thinks or votes. Since the vote is only from the top 2, most of the time IN A HARD GAME I as the only human player will most likely not be the top 2 and I will be voted out in a middle of my VERY HARD game just by some score. And you know that and you made the button "continue playing" but it means that the whole vote is POINTLESS. You basically make any hard game a punch in a face because it will not be "a real victory, because we voted you out, but you pressed the button".
    • If I play singleplayer and I don't know how to play or I want an easy experience, you can't expect me to understand a complex system of some points which are building up more and more for AI to win and for me to just lose on some "vote". A casual player cannot risk his experience with some sudden magic "vote" which is decided by AI based on some points a casual player does not understand or cant manage yet. And you think a game should just say "oh you know, that is a nice game you had here, too bad you are out of points and some AI is voted for an emperor" BUT you can "continue playing". All it says to a casual player - YOU LOST, game over. But that casual player through it was going really good. This type of things cannot happen out of the blue and make casual player feel completely incompetent. 
    • If we play multiplayer it is even worse. This is amazing can of worms for people to exploit and meta game some compound complex rating system as opposed to playing strategy military game we all hope to see. There is nothing worse than some magic score building up and no matter how close a military victory on a map is, you get voted out or your enemy is voted to be a victor. Everyone who is loosing the score game or even feels like loosing a score game will have major motivation to LEAVE the game in a middle which is the worse case scenario in a multiplayer for everyone involved.

    You are setting up your game for a huge bounty hunt for meta gaming prestige farming. Expect youtube videos of "10 ways to cheat prestige in KoH2", "play with a friend and dupe the KoH2 multiplayer for prestige farming" and so on.

    People will stop playing military medieval  game of power and armies and start playing meta game of "how to boost prestige, win easy in 10 minutes". And it will happen, because you could not make a SIMPLE system, couldn't you, you made a COMPLEX and COMPOUND system, and I bet you with 2 people preparing to exploit it in a single match it will be exploited just because there are too many components to the system. Simple example: say catching a spy gives prestige, if you knew when to catch a spy and there is an action for it, it would be easy to catch a spy, player A and player B are playing the meta game and player B sending spies in to player A and player A catches them for prestige profit over and over again instead of playing "normal" game. Or if defeating rebels is a prestige boost I will run my province to rebel on purpose all the time just to farm rebel victories. If I know that building a cathedral is a boost, player A will build one, give province to player B, B deletes the cathederal, gives province back to A, A builds same cathederal second time get restige again. And so on. Or if you get prestige for a victory over an enemy marshal, player B will send marshals with no army to player A to win and farm prestige.

    The more complex your compound prestige system is, the more possibilities there will be for some exploit especially if you have 2+ people on the same game with a goal to exploit.

    In a multiplayer you can't have votes on who won. It is just pointless anger inducing bs which will ruin the game for people who are winning but can't get "all nice players to agree" and for everyone who are loosing but don't agree to lose yet some majority of "lame random people" just voted you out. It cannot work in a competitive game, no one votes for a nice honest winner in a competitive match, humans don't work like that.

    PS

    And if you are expecting your multiplayer NOT to be competitive, well, then everyone should get a trophy and you can't vote on who is the most special kid on this short bus. 

     

     

     

     

     

     

      

    I suspect they are designing it in theme of the first game, where it was kinda a background event that really only mattered once u get big enough and that the AI almost never achieved. Have you not played the first KOH?  I do agree with you there may be some worries about how this all balances in multiplayer, and possibly how it affects incentives in multiplayer. You do make many bold statements about how it will play out in multiplayer and in the game in general do you have the beta or something already to know this??? Also what part of the internet hurt you my son. Some people will indeed play with each other in a sort of friendly "honest" manner, not all people in the gaming community are trolls and back stabbers. I do not know what the devs intention is with regards to multiplayer if they want it to be a completely competitive natural selection game experience or a more play with your friends experience.  

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    7 hours ago, Ivory Knight said:

    I suspect they are designing it in theme of the first game, where it was kinda a background event that really only mattered once u get big enough and that the AI almost never achieved. Have you not played the first KOH?  I do agree with you there may be some worries about how this all balances in multiplayer, and possibly how it affects incentives in multiplayer. You do make many bold statements about how it will play out in multiplayer and in the game in general do you have the beta or something already to know this??? Also what part of the internet hurt you my son. Some people will indeed play with each other in a sort of friendly "honest" manner, not all people in the gaming community are trolls and back stabbers. I do not know what the devs intention is with regards to multiplayer if they want it to be a completely competitive natural selection game experience or a more play with your friends experience.  

    It would be very helpful for the conversation if you don't assume experience and age of people you don't know. Regardless, an argument is either valid or not valid based on logic and facts and not who and why made that argument.

    Any multiplayer competitive game is known to be very high on tension. If you don't think it is a fact, you might want to review last 30 years of gaming or watch some twitch for a change.

    If you don't think it is a fact that people cheat and exploit in video games especially in a multiplayer, you might want to google VAC and half a dozen other anticheat systems. It is very naive to ignore the size and complexity of this problem. You can't design game systems for "good people only" no matter how enjoyable your gameplay might be with friends.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    On 3/19/2021 at 12:05 PM, Ivory Knight said:

    Some people will indeed play with each other in a sort of friendly "honest" manner, not all people in the gaming community are trolls and back stabbers.

    Sure they are.  Read the developer's notes to the game M.U.L.E.

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    Obviously, the game isn't released yet, and we're already projecting our thoughts on something we barely know...

    Let's not forget whatever the thoughts we have, they are to be helpful for the game developpers.

    Any critique has its place, as long as it stays cordial. There have been discussions in diaries, if I remember well, about the ability for the player to customize its own game, with many options available. We haven't seen them properly, but all we can do is trust the team.

    And if there is to signal bugs, errors, mistakes, the developpers are all ears ! They have no interest in proposing an unbalanced game, filled with flaws.

    We are not aware of the impact our propositions have on them, but they are listening.

    I will take the example of Imperator: Rome, that I'm about to discover, since the recent updates seem to make it what it should have been on its release. This game has received a lot of bad reactions because it was too buggy, not original in its gameplay, hard to learn and handle... and it took for the devs almost two years to make it something interesting, unique, enhanced, intuitive, easy to learn, etc.

    When someone creates something, he has to draw a plan, and after that, to form it, by creating its skeleton, then to put on it muscles and nerves and all the rest. It's only in the end its author blows a breath of life to make it alive.

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    7 hours ago, Calliope said:

    Obviously, the game isn't released yet, and we're already projecting our thoughts on something we barely know...

    Let's not forget whatever the thoughts we have, they are to be helpful for the game developpers.

    I am working on the assumption that our comments on princesses had a direct effect on how they were reworked in KoH2.

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