DevDiary 33 - Patch 1.3 Updates
Hello friends and welcome to the third post-release DevDiary for “Knights of Honor II: Sovereign”! We know that it’s been some time since our last update and you’re probably hungry for news about what’s to come. So, let’s dive right in and discuss what you can expect in the latest upcoming patch.
With the upcoming update you can expect a few major quality of life additions, with perhaps the most requested by fans of the game being the zoom-out level of the game’s camera. It has been increased both in world view and during tactical battles, when the “Extra zoom out” setting is enabled. This allows players to see significantly bigger portion of the world. Preserving the older zoom-out restrictions may still be a better choice for players with low-end hardware, as observing such a large area with numerous objects in it has its toll on the performance and requires more powerful system to ensure high frame rate.
When you need to transition to political view, you can now do it seamlessly by simply scrolling the middle mouse button. In the same manner, zooming in while on political view leads to a seamless world view transition, enabling much smoother navigation between the two modes.
While we’re on the topic of navigation, the option to set waypoints to army movement in world view has also been introduced. You should now be able to do that by holding down SHIFT while ordering an army to move, similar to how you can set waypoints to units in tactical battles. This can be key when you want to navigate past certain kingdoms’ territories, for example to avoid relationship drops or potentially threatening armies in the area. It is really useful to avoid other inconvenient maneuvers of your armies, like crossing rivers while being chased or passing in the vicinity of castles and towns, that deal attrition damage.
Waypoint can either be set to an empty spot on the map or to any specific object (e.g., town, settlement, mercenary camp). Armies will interact with said object if it’s the last in the movement queue, with the caveat that entering battle cancels all subsequent waypoints.
We’ve also vastly improved the AI in tactical battles. A big part of our efforts was focused on making sure that noblemen cavalry squads act more careful and avoid ending up in dangerous situations; and when that happens – to try and run before it’s too late. These features were already present, but we made a major overhaul of the system and fixed some unwanted behavior that we encountered along the way.
Extensive work was done on fleshing out the threat assessment by all units. Areas where archers are shooting or can shoot at are now also properly recognized as higher-threat zones and entered with more caution – a behavior that didn’t work as we expected it to and is now debugged and rebalanced. AI squads also try to protect their archers more often.
On players’ side, keeping your archers more spread-out should now be of a bigger importance, as disorganized state has more severe penalties and properly triggers when ranged squads are trying to shoot while their lines are overlapping. Finally, increasing the friendly fire significantly should make strategic players think twice before sending deadly volleys where their own troops are fighting.
There are also some vital tactical battle improvements on a more micro-level. For example, squads should now position themselves a bit better on the battlefield and chase enemies more efficiently. Enemies are now more reluctant to split their forces and rush for your capture points, which sometimes allowed for easy victories by the players when forces were otherwise equally matched.
As a combination with all these changes, and many others, we hope that playing tactical battles will feel more fluid, challenging and interesting as an overall experience.
A few new exciting rules have also been added to campaigns, hopefully allowing for more varied starts and interesting challenges. First off, you can now “shatter” the world by forcing all kingdoms on the map (not only player, but also AI-controlled ones) to start with 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5-province territories. This option can be set via the “Kingdom size” option in both singleplayer and multiplayer lobbies. While playing with these rules, all kingdoms start off on an equal footing, with no trade centers, caliphates and autocephalous states (with the exception of the orthodox owner of Constantinople).
Speaking of fair starts, the “Religious Standing” campaign rule has been reworded and expanded to include more options in multiplayer. Now called “Kingdom standing”, it offers separate settings which offer more starting limitations for all players in a campaign. Namely, starting with no trade centers, not having an autocephalous/caliphates state, or having no vassals/sovereigns. The two other options in this ruleset allow you to either start a campaign fully historical regarding these aspects, or fully balanced (taking all of the criteria above into account).
Last but not least, we’ve been working hard on narrowing down the potential causes for some unfortunate game crashes and disconnects in multiplayer. This update includes some vital backend tweaks that will hopefully eliminate as much of these issues as possible.
As we wrap this diary, we’d like to thank every person who has commented on the forums and our discord channel, sharing what they’d want from the game. This feedback is invaluable to us and it would be an understatement to say that all of it helps us immensely. Thanks to all of you who also responded to our enquiries, when nasty bugs and issues were reported and we needed additional information. You rock!
If you have any further questions, or simply wish to chat about all things related to Knights of Honor II, feel free to join us in our DevStream on Wednesday the 19th of April on the THQ Nordic channel: http://twitch.tv/thqnordic. Until then – go forth and conquer!