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  1. 5 points
    Hello friends, and welcome to the third entry of the “Knights of Honor II: Sovereign” DevDiaries! In this one we will take a look at one of the most emblematic features for the KoH series – the royal court. We love both the atmosphere it creates and the “deck-building” element it adds to the gameplay. The royal court plays a fundamental role in our game, thus it’s not much of a coincidence our teaser trailer had the concept front and center! With this feature we are not trying to make a realistic depiction of medieval rulership. Think more of the famed King Arthur’s Round Table – the king is the central, most important figure, and by his side stand the most capable and trustworthy knights. Dynasties and the royal family also play an important role, but we’ll tell you more about the royal family in a future DevDiary. For now, let’s focus on the knights. The royal court consists of the king, who is now always a member of your court (unlike in the previous game), and up to 8 more knights, which you can recruit during the course of the game. Each knight has a class, which defines his strengths and abilities and thus they play a completely different role: Marshals: These are the most efficient army leaders and they are good at solving matters in one way only – by force. Marshals can lead bigger armies compared to other classes and usually focus on skills that improve their troop’s capabilities in battle. Merchants: Building, development, diplomacy, espionage and war – besides other things, they all require a lot of gold. Merchants are the best knights to take care of this need by exploring profitable trade opportunities with other kingdoms. Diplomats: Regardless the strength of a kingdom, it needs allies to ensure its safety and to prevail against strong enemy factions. Diplomats’ function is to make important friends and help bury the hatchet of war with enemies, before all Hell breaks loose. Spies: The usage of cunning spies is more of an offensive function. They can infiltrate enemy kingdoms, corrupt and build networks of puppets in their royal courts, and then create chaos. Kingdoms can shatter from within as a result of their actions. Clerics: A strong clergy improves the stability of the crown and calms the people, halting the spread of heresy and foreign religious influences. Clerics are also the ones to keep and protect the ancestral knowledge and wisdom. In the first game there were also Builders and Farmers, but since these turned out to be underused, we decided to skip them and instead focus on a smaller, but significant, number of classes. For example, a new feature for knights is the ability for each knight to be appointed as governor of a province, making that province become part of the Royal Lands. This increases the benefits your kingdom receives from a province and is another area where a knight’s class can play a role – different knights boost different aspects of a province, e.g. gold income and production, defensive capabilities, etc. We will share more details of the classes in upcoming DevDiaries where we have time to dig deep into their unique features. Of course, all that aid doesn’t come for free – knight wages are certainly not trivial. Players should also be careful with their actions and keep the crown authority high. Who knows what disasters might befall a kingdom whose knights lose trust in the rulership of their king and decide to serve another…? With the choice and usage of knights, players open up different possibilities to craft and shape the strategies of their kingdoms to fit their playstyles. Whether you like to overwhelm your enemies with a dreadful army, destabilize their kingdoms through espionage, influence them culturally and wait for their rulers to beg themselves for your wise rulership, or buy your way to victory with economic dominance over Europe – it is all up to you. We’re trying to make the number of combinations and different ways you can leverage your Royal Court quite expansive, and we’re excited to see how players try different strategies with the tools at their fingertips. We will talk more on this topic in our DevStream on Thursday, February 6th, @ 3:00 PM GMT / 10:00 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. So, jump right into the discussion and share your thoughts in this thread, or join our Facebook and Discord channels and talk there too. Do you find royal court management interesting and challenging? What were your favorite knight strategies and combinations from the first game? Share with us what is your preferred playstyle in grand strategies and what features you find most enjoyable. Next time we will focus more on the art of war – Marshals and armies. Until then, we bid thee farewell. Go forth and conquer!
  2. 2 points
    Welcome to the new home for the Knights of Honor community! We've been hard at working setting up this community hub where we can come together and chat about all things Knights of Honor. This is where we'll be posting regular DevDiaries about the game, giving you insights into the development process and exclusive first looks into the specifics of Knights of Honor II: Sovereign. We also want this to be YOUR community, a place where you can discuss everything from games to history. We know that KoH fans are a passionate group of people and we're eager to join in on the conversation. So settle in and get to know each other. Be good to one another, engage in enlightening conversation, and help us create the best game we possibly can. Gaming communities are special, and we can't wait to see how this one comes together!
  3. 1 point
    Hello friends, and welcome to our second “Knights of Honor II: Sovereign” DevDiary! Today we’re going to take a look at the world of KoH2:S. One of the very first steps for us was to choose the time period our game takes place in. Setting the rough boundaries was rather easy, considering this was something we definitely wanted to preserve from the first game. We could hardly pick a more appropriate period than High and Late Middle Ages for a game with that title, right? These were the glorious days of knights, central to the KoH series, and everything that goes with them – epic battles and sieges, crusades, intricate diplomacy, court intrigues, and clashes between kingdoms, cultures and religions all over Europe and the Old World! Within that period, allowing players to choose from several starting points in time seemed like a good feature. After all, we had this 15 years ago and variety in game settings and modes has only become more important for gamers since then. This allows us to add more interesting setups for conflicts and give the players more options to take control of a wider variety of kingdoms. One of many examples is the choice between Byzantium or the Latin empire we would have to make if we had just one starting setup, since the second one emerged from the ashes of the first – and we wouldn’t like to exclude either of them from the game. So, after making a thorough research pass, we chose three starting points in which the historical maps looked most interesting to us – the beginning of the 12th century, the 20s of the 13th century and the middle of the 14th. Only the first of those differs significantly from the starting points in the first game, but it seemed extremely appealing to make the change, what with the tension between Christians and the Baltic and Finnish pagans, the Crusader states in the Holy Lands, the fragile balance of power on the Iberian Peninsula, the massive strength of Byzantium and the Holy Roman Empire, and many others. Since we realized there can never be a definitive answer to the question “which is the most interesting moment in the Middle Ages”, and since there are players who like to get creative and set up their own starting conditions, we are doing our best to provide some options to customize their experience, especially through mods. Modders will be able to change the political scenery and define which kingdoms participate, what provinces they control, what religions they follow, who are their rulers and so on. Whether the players like to recreate a specific historical time period or devise a fantasy Europe with House Lannister or Mordor in it, it will be up to them. Elaborate modding possibilities proved to be quite fun for many in the first game, so we plan to give even more control for your ideas and imagination in KoH2:S. Choosing how big the map will be and what territories to include was an entirely different and more significant challenge, since the map size impacts not only the overall feel of the game, but the gameplay as well. One of the things we felt we might improve from the first game was including Arabia, in order to provide a more complete picture of the Old World and make it fun to play with Islamic kingdoms. Thus, we stretched the map to the east and a bit to the south so that Arabian cities with great significance, like Mecca, Medina and Baghdad, are included in our game world. At some places we “cheated” the geography a bit for the sake of gameplay, which is the number one priority for us. For example, we enlarged Rhodes so we had enough space to place the city and some settlements, since it was a historically important landmark and we wanted it to be part of the game. Another example is the decision to slightly shrink the Arabian Peninsula, so that the map does not stretch too far east or south, opening vast empty spaces. After all, Africa was called the “Dark Continent” at that time because too little was known about the area and it wouldn’t make too much sense to have a lot of playable provinces there, nor would it be fun to conquer the barely inhabited, but immense, Sahara Desert. Almost the same goes for the north-eastern parts of the North European Plains. Since it is hard to estimate which world size and province count would provide the best experience prior to testing the game in its entirety, we initially left the question open. We really wanted to fine tune and iterate on the map several times. We even asked for our community’s opinion on the topic through a somewhat hidden way, by asking a general question in a Facebook post early last year. To remain agile and alter the map throughout development, we invested a lot of time in making a proper map-creation kit. One cool example is an automation tool that generating borders between provinces automatically, based on settlements and terrain features like mountains and rivers. We were very pleased to see how well it worked on most places. Here is one example – Trebizond, entirely auto-generated: The actual territory of the Kingdom: (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org) In our social media channels, many people ask what the size of provinces are. To be honest, there really isn’t an exact answer to this question. In densely populated regions they are smaller, and vice versa – there are some pretty large provinces in Sahara and the lands furthest to the north. Larger territories are harder to conquer, since armies will need more time to reach their targets, but due to the same reason, these territories are harder to defend. It is not only the size of a province that matters, though, but also its settlements and the resources that can be found in it. A smaller province can sometimes be richer in all aspects than a larger one. We wanted to share a few words regarding the historical accuracy, as well. We’ve put quite some effort this time around to improve here, as we know there were some mistakes in the first game. For example, there were some cities in the original KoH which did not exist in the corresponding time period. While our game is more a fun sandbox than a history lesson, we know it can be an immersive experience to rewrite history from a more accurate starting point. This task is quite hard, since some territories were in very complex states of rulership, and little is known for others. Even historians argue over territorial specifics, but we can say we’ve done our best and surely those who care about that side of the game will be able to see the difference. We hope we’ve managed to answer some of your questions about the game world of KoH2:S. If you want to learn more, join our DevStream on this topic on Thursday, January 9th, @ 3:00 PM GMT / 10:00 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. So, jump right into the discussion and share your thoughts in this thread, or join our Facebook and Discord channels and talk there too. We’d be glad to hear what is your “perfect” moment in the medieval history of Europe, what Kingdoms you want to lead or oppose, and what are your preferences of the game world size and province count. Next time we will dive deeper into the heart of the game and talk about the Royal Court – the King and his trusted knights. Until then, we bid thee farewell. Go forth and conquer!
  4. 1 point
    Hello friends, and welcome to the first “Knights of Honor II: Sovereign” DevDiary! The DevDiary is a place where we can discuss specifics about our game, share some insights about the development process, and offer perspective on what game-shaping decisions we make and why. We’ll do our best to talk about cool, interesting topics, of which we’d love to hear your suggestions! Hearing your feedback will help us make the best game we can, and also understand what our fans care about. It was really hard for us to keep silent for so long, since there’s so much we want to share about the game. We’ve also noticed the fan questions pouring in too, and while we can’t answer everything right now, we’re anxious to answer the ones we can! It may go without saying, but thank you for all the love and patience, we really appreciate it! “Knights of Honor II: Sovereign” is a real-time grand strategy game set in the medieval times. Players will lead a royal court of honorable knights, build prosperous cities, assemble mighty armies, and find trustworthy allies to crush their enemies, striving to become the ultimate emperor of Europe. The first game was released nearly 15 years ago and in order to make a sequel for today’s gamers, we needed a clear and up-to-date vision first. Questions like “what makes the Knights of Honor franchise unique” and “what do grand strategy players want today” were big conversation topics for us. It’s critical for us to keep the spirit of the game intact – an easy to get into and immersive experience, instead of a numbers-heavy simulation that takes dozens of hours to begin understanding how things work. We also want it filled to the brim with interesting decisions for players that require strategic thinking and planning. Another key vision statement that was important for us to clarify, even though it may seem obvious, is to put the fun of the gameplay before historical accuracy. Now, this doesn’t mean we’re creating a fantasy version of the world – “Knights of Honor” is grounded in historical facts and we’re huge history buffs ourselves! But we do not hesitate to represent complex activities in a simple manner in order to make it fun, even if this means using a little creative license here and there. Finally, we had to decide whether most of our players would enjoy single player or would they rather play with friends online. We couldn’t rule out either of the groups as minority, so we decided both modes are equally important and we shouldn’t save any effort on their development. Thus, when designing a feature, we try to pay attention to the implications it brings and handle it differently in each scenarios so the fun and excitement is maximized however you choose to enjoy the game. To summarize, we’ve set those three rules as pillars in the development process and from then on, we refer back to them regularly as guideposts: We are making an immersive, easy to learn and hard to master game Fun gameplay is our top priority, even above historical accuracy Both single and multiplayer modes should be well addressed for every feature We are very interested in what you think! We’ll be hosting a DevStream this Thursday, Dec. 12th, 2019 @ 3:00 PM GMT / 10:00 AM EST where we’ll talk about the vision of KoH2:S in more detail and discuss your comments to this DevDiary. The Twitch stream will be hosted on the THQ Nordic channel: http://twitch.tv/thqnordic Heck, we’re going to host DevStreams after each DevDiary from here on out, so get excited! It would be great to hear what your thoughts are on KoH back in the days, and what you liked and disliked about it, or even what you like and dislike about other grand strategy games you’ve played recently. Do you prefer single player or multiplayer? What are some classic mechanics that are important to you and what new features would you like to see in the game? Who knows, your replies and questions may be directly mentioned during the DevStream! Next time we will shed more light on the world setting – what time periods can you play in and what makes them so interesting and challenging. Until then, we can’t wait to see all the exciting things everyone talks about in the forums and hope everyone can join us for the upcoming DevStream on Thursday. You can also join us on Facebook and Discord as well! We bid thee farewell. Go forth and conquer!
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