Welcome to the second update for our Kingdom Lifecycle initiative!
In our last update, we shared the results of our Investigation phase, outlining why we needed to take a step back and evaluate the way we approach Kingdom Merges for our oldest kingdoms.
We want to stress that this is not a call we made lightly. We know how exciting Kingdom Merges are, and the thought of disrupting or delaying that cycle is frustrating. However, we have exhausted the ‘quick’ fixes, and it is time to really invest in creating something that will better address the evolving needs of our kingdoms.
In this update we will go over:
- Results of the Ideas and Evaluations phase
- Commonly voiced player feedback we gathered
- Next steps as we enter the Wireframe phase of development.
Be sure to stick around until the end to hear about the current front runner idea, Stake your Claim. This is an event designed to give players more agency in the decision of where they ‘end up’ after a merge.
But before we get into that, let’s review the phase we just finished and who worked on it!
As merge is such an important part of a kingdom’s lifecycle, we wanted to bring the community in very early into the development process so we can ensure no concern is left unheard.
This also gives us an opportunity to provide more transparency into the actual process of development, who does what, and why the process takes the time it does.
You can even recognize some familiar faces from our Developer Interview series that work in these early stages of production:
- First is the ever-present Goose. If you take part in our Discord community, you’ll recognize him as the Product Owner for Battlegrounds, but he also heads up our Game Analytics and Product teams. These disciplines work to define the issue, support it with data, and prioritize the work against other initiatives and bug fixes the studio takes on.
- Next we have Catridge as the Senior Producer for this initiative. He keeps the team running smoothly, ensuring all work is accounted for, in scope and on time.
- Systems Designer Cruxx is responsible for outlining and documenting the Stake your Claim proposal.
- Vixey, a Senior UX Designer, then uses that proposal to create wireframes that engineers can use in our next phase of development.
- And then there’s Community- Tabris and Bumblebea, who take in player feedback across all our external channels (Discord, Social Media, Email, etc) to share it with the internal team. (We’re also the ones writing this post. Hello!👋)
Keep in mind, these are just the folks who were interviewed here for the blog- there are many more people involved in this initiative but these interviews are a great place to start if you’re interested in the process of game development!
Last month we announced we were headed into the Ideas and Evaluation phase. After having identified the root issue and the goals in the previous Investigation phase, we were ready to figure out what method would be best to accomplish those goals.
There are often many different routes you can take to accomplish the same goals in game design. We asked the community to weigh in on what is important to you to help narrow it down, and these were the most commonly voiced themes among that feedback:
- Lack of transparency/player agency going into how merge pairings are decided.
- Lack of predictability into when a kingdom will be merged.
- Inconsistent game performance after many merges, particularly during combat.
- Excessive competition for nodes and creatures on the combat map.
This feedback is our compass in terms of what ideas we choose to pursue to address the underlying issues.
The latter two bullets will be addressed through the management of kingdom population. The first two bullets really speak to our players’ desires to have more say in the direction of their kingdoms, and so we’d like to give that a shot!
Phase 2: Ideas and Evaluation
With a greater understanding of the issue and its causes, and taking your player feedback into consideration, we’ve solidified the following goals:
- to do our best to make sure kingdoms have a healthy competitive balance.
- a stable population size that won’t exacerbate performance issues.
- to let friends remain with friends as much as possible.
- to give players more of a voice in what kingdoms they will end up on.
And with that, let’s jump right into our Proposal! As always, this is subject to change as it is in the earliest stage of development it can possibly be in.
The Winning Proposal
Our designers take all the information we’ve outlined here and create a Proposal (Thank you Cruxx!)
Here are the key details of the winning proposal – Stake your Claim.
Keep in mind that this info is subject to change as development evolves and we hear more from players.
Stake your Claim
- An event exclusive for older kingdoms that have matured to the point where normally kingdom merge would take place.
- The goal is to divide players into separate kingdoms, creating a new landscape of kingdom politics and power dynamics and rewards.
Players will be allowed to choose the new Kingdom they wish to migrate to during the event, and will not be able to return to their old kingdom.
An Example of how this migration might work:
- 1 Kingdom splits into 2 Kingdoms
- 2 Kingdoms split into 2 Kingdoms
- 2 Kingdoms split into 3 kingdoms
So if the event came to your Kingdom, what could you expect?
- You will see the ‘Stake your Claim’ event appear in your events panel.
- All Seats of Power (SoPs) will permanently lock on your Home Kingdom.
- All SoPs on your new Kingdom will unlock on an accelerated schedule.
- An Event Timer would tick down until your Home Kingdom ‘de-merges’
- During this time, players could teleport to any of the new kingdoms created for this event.
- Once you teleport to a new kingdom, you could teleport to any of the other new kingdom(s) created, but not back to the kingdom being ‘de-merged’.
- While the Stake Your Claim event is active, players on these new kingdoms would fight for SoPs that are on an accelerated opening schedule.
- If a player has not chosen a new kingdom by the time the timer reaches zero, they will be migrated to one of the new kingdoms at random.
Those are the broad strokes of our base proposal! We are now going into the next phase which is Wireframes. These are the ‘bones’ of what the event will look like in-game, and define the user experience of interacting with it.
We will have more to share, including the results of the Wireframes phase, in our next update so stay tuned!
In the meantime, we’re excited to hear your thoughts on the proposal so far!
Let us know in our Discord what you’re thinking in the #kingdom-merge channel. Any particular things you like or dislike about this potential event? Would you have any concerns we haven’t addressed yet?
We’re always happy to take feedback, and we’re already looking into feedback our Player Council ambassadors have pushed forward.
Thanks for reading, and for playing Game of Thrones: Conquest!