We often think about what we call the “Kingdom Lifecycle”, and the place that Kingdom Merge has in it.
The initial battles are passed- all regions have unlocked, all Seats of Power have been claimed. The unique politics of your kingdom have played out. At this point, you are ready to take on the challenge of the unknown, meeting a completely different kingdom on the battlefield to see what alliances will be made and what empires might fall in a new, merged kingdom.
This wheel could go on infinitely, but as we approach 5th and 6th merges for more kingdoms, we’d like to step back and consider what improvements we could make if we broke that wheel entirely. What new world would our oldest players like to create?
Well, this year we intend to address this in earnest. As such an important step of the kingdom lifestyle, we intend to bring the community along for each step along the way, providing regular updates on the process of development.
- We will evaluate upcoming merge groups on a case-by-case basis, but we expect that kingdom merges will continue as usual for kingdoms going into their 1st, 2nd, 3rd or even 4th Merge.
- We will be evaluating and evolving kingdom merge to better cater to mature Kingdoms past 3rd merge.
Keep reading to learn what this means for you, and how the first phase is going!
Phase 1: The Investigation
This investigation began through listening to player feedback and monitoring data from our oldest kingdoms. We noticed trends relating to stability on these kingdoms that did not manifest on younger kingdoms or internal test servers.
Here are several examples of stability issues that are disproportionately reported on more mature kingdoms.
March Delays (Pending Marches)
Players on larger kingdoms are more likely to report visual march delays of 1 second or more. Visually, this is disorienting and can lead players to strategize using outdated information.
Internally however, all combat calculations have a scheduled arrival and are not impacted by any visual delay.
This means that we’ve had to get clever in how we can identify through data when a delay is even taking place. We can now confirm and track that players on older kingdoms experience this significantly more, which helps us address these issues systematically.
Missing March Lines
Players on mature kingdoms are more likely to report that they do not see all march lines rendered on the combat map.
For example, players on 829 (older, larger kingdom) are less likely to render more march lines than players on 832 (smaller kingdom). A higher number of marches being sent is correlated with the chance of experiencing missing march lines.
We picked these examples to share as we understand that they’re very commonly experienced among players. We have had a team attempting to tackle them through various different directions over the past year.
Having exhausted those approaches, these are perfect examples of issues that cannot be fixed with a bandaid and must be addressed through a fundamental system rework.
Kingdom merge becomes less effective at accomplishing its goals after roughly 4th merge, and we can do better.
Long-time players may recall that we have taken on a similar initiative in the past.
This time last year, we released the completely refurbished Kingdom Merge system, which addressed a myriad of issues that could not be solved through simple fixes.
It introduced the Exile system, to handle the issue of derelict houses on the combat map and allegiances, as well as drastically reduced the amount of time and unpredictability that happened on merge day itself.
We mention this to make a parallel to the value of doing something the right way, even if it takes a little longer. We also want to call out the difference- The Kingdom Merge system works and will continue to be used for younger kingdoms.
The purpose of this new initiative is to address the lifecycle itself and find a solution for our older kingdoms to continue to flourish and have exciting moments without putting undue stress on game performance.
The Next Steps
We thank everyone for following along this far! We hope we’ve illustrated why a rework like this is necessary, but also an exciting opportunity to address some underlying issues and build something even more enjoyable.
We’ve looped the community into this fairly early into the development process, because we want to include you in the journey and leverage your feedback to build the best solution we can.
Now that we have exited the Investigation Phase, we will be entering the Ideas and Evaluation Phase. We already have a lot of ideas and Nothing is off the table as of yet. We can completely destroy Kingdom Merge for older kingdoms and build something new to accomplish the same goals.
This is a really exciting place to be and we’d love to hear from you folks too!
Head on over to Discord in the #Kingdom-Merge channel and let us know what ideas you have for what we could do to change up Kingdom merge for our oldest kingdoms.