Kingdom Lifecycle – May Update

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Welcome to the May update for our Kingdom Lifecycle initiative!

We revealed our proposal for the Stake Your Claim event in our last update. This is an event that will shake things up on older kingdoms and refresh competition. In the past this was tackled through traditional kingdom merges, however for kingdoms that have already gone through that process several times we want to create a novel experience that also addresses population-driven performance issues.

In this update, we will

  • Review the latest phase: Wireframes
  • Share more details of the Stake Your Claim event
  • Address some commonly asked questions we heard from the community after our last update

Let’s get started!

Wireframes Phase

After the completion of a design proposal, there are several other steps before implementation can begin. Today we’ll be focusing on an essential one: Wireframes.

If you were trying to build a piece of furniture, the proposal/spec would be your instructions and the wireframes would be your pictures. It’s essential to have a shared visual blueprint that everyone from engineering to QA can use as a feature is built. Good wireframes make sure we’re all working towards the same goal and prevent wasted time and miscommunications as disparate disciplines tackle all the pieces that go into the final product.

Wireframes are built by our User Experience (UX) Designers. If you’d like to learn more about what UX, an interview with some of our UX team can be found here!

Framing an Event

Now that we understand why this phase is so important, let’s jump into some of the Wireframes built out for the Stake your Claim event!

(In progress work. All information subject to change/not representative of final product)

One of the first things we identify is what is new vs what we can reuse. Being efficient in game development has many benefits. It saves development time (no need to reinvent the wheel for every feature!) but also helps to reduce the overall size of update files players have to download and optimizes loading times for assets on screen. It also helps us have a consistent visual language that is familiar and easier for players to understand.

We wanted to build this new element of the Kingdom Lifecycle as an event, allowing us to utilize the existing event panel to share information and the Upcoming Event panel to give players a heads up that it is coming. We can also utilize existing progressive UI to reward players who participate!

(In progress work. All information subject to change/not representative of final product)

Another piece of tech we can reuse further to demystify this critical moment in a kingdom’s life is the Message Center. We want to reiterate and expand upon the information provided in the event description by sending players Raven notices at crucial points during the event.

However, we sometimes run into things we shouldn’t reuse and want to change when creating these wireframes.

(In progress work. All information subject to change/not representative of final product)

Our original intention was to teleport the way we already do in-game. Teleports are a familiar item, and KvK event teleports share some of the kingdom-hopping mechanics we needed. However, some additional work would’ve been required to adjust accordingly to this new feature. So we decided to go a more straightforward route, making an action that would be available from the event panel. You can view this in the new wireframe down below!

(In progress work. All information subject to change/not representative of final product)

These are just a few of the wireframes created by our UX designers.

There are many other places that will need to be updated that we wouldn’t want to forget- like what happens to your kingdom number in your settings panel when you’re hopping around kingdoms? Can you communicate with the other kingdoms in Kingdom Chat? How would it look to communicate with your allegiance when spread across several kingdoms? 

It is the job of a User Experience Designer to anticipate these pain points before we implement, so they can be worked into planning. Our Quality Assurance team is also a great resource in identifying asynchronous elements that need to be addressed before we release to players.

With our blueprints in hand, our engineers (server and client), UI, and System Designers can confidently work through the Implementation Phase of the development. ( Which has already started! Woo hoo! )

Closing Questions

Before we wrap up this month’s development update, we wanted to address some of the most frequently asked questions we’ve heard from our last update.

When can we expect to Stake Your Claim to be previewed? 

We are committed to releasing this event when it is ready, and not rushing out a quick fix. We want to make sure the solutions we provide through this initiative will have lasting positive impacts on the game and community for years to come.

As such, we currently are not tied to a hard deadline for a playable version of Stake Your Claim. This is a big event that requires a lot of work, not only creating new code but digging into the old. We are working towards having a playable preview Q3 of this year. Please keep in mind that this is always subject to change based on the needs of development to arrive at the best solution. We will keep you all in the loop of any changes!

Will merge ever happen again for players after they participate in a Stake Your Claim event?

Yes! Kingdoms who participate in Stake Your Claim will be eligible to continue merging. Our hope is that this new event will be an additional element of the kingdom lifecycle that can alternate with Kingdom Merges, not replace it entirely. We want this to be iterative, and make sure we take your feedback into account once we begin previewing the Stake Your Claim event.

How old does your kingdom have to be to participate in a Stake Your Claim event?

The current intent is that this will be an event for older kingdoms that have merged several times. However, Stake Your Claim timing will ultimately be determined by overall kingdom health metrics (and player interest!)

Will you actually split 1 kingdom into two instead of 2 into three etc.? We don’t want to split up with the same people.

We’ve taken this feedback into consideration, as most players don’t see the value in this specific split proposal. Our number one goal is to create a fantastic event, and we want your thoughts and opinions on its creation.

Next Steps

As we begin our first steps into actual implementation, we expect we will have more news the closer we get to starting some viable previews. 

In the meantime, we’re excited to hear your thoughts so far!

 Let us know in our Discord what you’re thinking in the #kingdom-merge channel. Do you have any concerns we haven’t addressed yet?  Let us know!

Thanks for reading and for playing Game of Thrones: Conquest!