DevDiary 24 - Multiplayer Part 2
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.
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.
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.
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!