DevDiary 25 - Royal Family
Hello friends and welcome to the 25th DevDiary for “Knights of Honor II: Sovereign”! So far, we have talked about the role of the royal family members here and there, the king’s class-related bonuses, diplomacy effects of royal marriages, etc. But we’ve never had a more detailed look into the royal family itself, so it is high time to do it.
Since the beginning of the development process, we knew that we want the royal family members to play important roles in the kingdom, but not to such extent that will make them the center of the game, as we didn’t want KoH2:S to be a dynasty simulation, but rather than that to be focused on the kingdom government and grand-strategy. We wanted the related features to be quick to manage, but still – to add depth to the game, to call for strategic decisions and interesting choices to emerge.
There are three main groups in royal families – the king and the queen; princes and princesses; and important relatives, which are in fact ex-princes and potentially – future kings. All male characters can become a part of the royal court and all besides the important relatives can be married – for diplomatic benefits and, naturally, for having successors.
The King’s abilities, combined with the Queen’s ones if the king is married, affect the entire kingdom. There are 5 abilities (each one with a value between 0 and 5), similar to the 5 knightly classes. But they do not necessarily correspond to the king’s class – he might be a great merchant himself, but at the same time to contribute too little to the dealings of the rest of the merchants and the overall economy of his kingdom and instead to be very influential over his soldiers. The abilities and their primary bonuses are as follows:
- Warfare – Boosts the morale of all armies.
- Economy – Boosts trade income and reduces the costs for Buildings and Upgrades.
- Diplomacy – Increases the kingdom's diplomatic influence and chances of success for a few grand-scale actions.
- Religion – Increases the kingdom's cultural power and chances of success of for a few grand-scale religious actions.
- Espionage – Increases espionage defense and the chance to reveal enemy spies.
Beside the kingdom-wide effect of their abilities, kings have significant benefits in their activities, depending on their class, as well as governing bonuses.
When a king dies, one of his heirs inherits the throne, if they are old enough to bear the crown. The eldest prince is by default the one who succeeds his father, but players may choose otherwise and change the successor (prior to the king’s death, not upon it). However, this has its cost and risk – such decisions reduce the crown authority and the eldest prince might decide to rebel if he sees such a change of succession as unjust.
When a prince succeeds the crown, all of his brothers become “important relatives”. Each of them brings a bonus to the kingdom passively, regardless whether they are in the royal court or not. Furthermore, if a king dies and there is no prince to succeed him, one of the important relatives is chosen as a successor and the dynasty is preserved, as they do have royal blood.
The worst case is when there is no one from the dynasty eligible to succeed the crown – then a knight from the royal court, or just a newly generated character, becomes the king and this changes the dynasty. That can be very dangerous, as it leads to serious crown authority loss and if there is tension in the kingdom already, it can even lead to one of the most severe events in the game – splitting of a kingdom. Losing the control of important provinces and entering wars with the newly formed separatist kingdoms, that defy the new king and his right to rule, is never pretty. However, such dire consequences are only probable in very large kingdoms, with serious governing problems.
To avoid a dynasty change, it might be a good idea for players to protect their kings and princes, as well as to make sure they are married soon enough. If no diplomatic marriage with another kingdom is arranged, the king might and probably will marry to a local noble lady sooner or later. This happens outside the player’s control and brings no diplomatic benefits. You can read more on that topic in “DevDiary 13 – Diplomacy Part 2 – Diplomat and Pacts”.
Princes and princesses, on the other hand, never marry automatically. As princes might inherit the crown rather late in their life, it is risky to leave them unmarried, as their remaining time might not be sufficient for raising an heir. Therefore, it is a good strategy to marry your princes soon enough. Though their children are not part of the game before a prince becomes king, if they are married prior to succession of the crown, there is a chance that they will already have one or more children upon becoming kings.
It will be great to hear your thoughts on the royal family features – do you find these an interesting part of the whole experience, would you prefer not to bother with the royal family at all, or on the contrary – would you like to have more gameplay mechanics from that sort and maybe more complex dynasty trees?
We’ll talk more about Royal Family in our DevStream on Thursday, February 17th, @ 4:00 PM GMT / 11:00 AM EST. Become part of our royal family and join in our conversation. 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 (ok, we admit that we copied this section from the previous diary, but we are honest this time).
Until then, we bid thee farewell. Go forth and conquer!