Thursday, April 12, 2018

Howdy, folks!

Jack here and today we'll be discussing a refresh to the Eternal Kingdoms of Crowfall®. We've been hinting at vassals and other updates coming to EKs for a little bit, and decided it was time to give you a more detailed update on how these systems will work. The first iteration of vassals will be just bare-bones; the goal is to test functionality first before we make it pretty. That means there won't be a lot of user interface and there will undoubtedly be some bumps in the road, but it was important to us to get the system out and ready for testing before we spend time making it polished and player-facing. We're also excited to get this into your hands so you can start building amazing collaborative cities.

This update will also include improvements to the camera and controls when placing a building or asset. You can use the scroll wheel to change the zoom of the camera, Q and R to rotate the item, and WASD keys to move the item. Mouse movement will also orbit your camera around the piece, so you can get a good look at it from all sides. Buildings will snap to the grid by default to make it easy to line up your walls, but you can hold the Shift key to toggle off the snap-to feature and enable free movement.

First, let me define some basic terms we'll be using. Most of you are likely familiar with these, but I want to make things clear enough that even someone brand new to Crowfall will be able to understand.

Eternal Kingdoms
Often, we shorten this to EK. This is your individual, persistent world. Each account has the ability to create one personal EK. You can then fill this world with parcels, buildings, statues, and other decorations, set it to public or private, toggle PvP on or off, and (soon) grant other players permission to place items. For more detailed information, we have an EK FAQ here.

Some EK-related items are available for purchase in the Crowfall Store. It’s important to note that these buildings and parcels may only be used in EK’s, not in Campaign Worlds, and may be crafted in-game by players who have the necessary skills and resources.

Parcels are individual, contiguous areas of land. They are made out of “cells” that can be arranged to look like Tetris pieces when viewed from the top-down perspective of the map. By default, a brand new EK will have two parcels: a temple and a crypt. These parcels don’t allow for player structures, so you will need to collect (or craft) one or more stronghold parcels if you want to build a castle, city or market. Stronghold parcels come in several sizes and shapes, everything from a village to a shire to a capital city. Each parcel has a different shape (and different terrain layout), and has a different “building capacity” for how many buildings you can place there. The person who placed the parcel is the parcel owner for that particular piece of land, and has administrative rights over that land.

World Grid
This is the map of your Kingdom, a grid of cells upon which parcels can be placed. Each EK's world grid is 20 cells across by 20 cells down. Parcels can be pulled into your inventory (as parcel deeds) and placed in the world using the EK tool, accessed via a button on the frame of your inventory menu when logged into the EK.

Crowfall Citadel Final

Within the EK system, there is a simple hierarchy of administrative ranks that will determine what privileges a user has in that Kingdom.

Login Rights
These are the basic rights granted to players within an Eternal Kingdom.

This is the rank of a new person who enters an EK for the first time is considered a "visitor". They don't have any permissions other than moving around in the world and interacting with the players, NPCs and objects found there. Note that only a PUBLIC Kingdom will have visitors; private Kingdoms only allow entry for those who have been invited.

If you have been invited into an EK, you are considered a citizen there. This means that you can login even when the world is private, but the rank carries no other privileges or rights.

World Building Rights
In addition to the above, there are three levels of administration that determine who can add assets to a Kingdom:

The monarch is the owner of the EK. This is the person who created it, and they have full administration rights and are the final arbiters of this world. They can grant the rank of noble to anyone on the Allowed Players list. There is only one monarch for each EK.

Given this rank by the Kingdom's monarch, nobles have parcel-placement rights. They can access the Kingdom Editor tool (though only one person can use this tool at a time), have the ability to place parcels, and can drop buildings within the parcels they place. As the owner of that parcel, they can select vassals from the Citizens List (i.e. the invited players) and allow them to place buildings collaboratively. A noble can place, own and manage multiple parcels in a Kingdom.

A vassal is an invited player (citizen) who has been given building rights on the parcel of either the monarch or a noble. They can place and move buildings on that parcel, but they cannot place their own parcels. Each parcel has a maximum number of vassals, dependent on its type. A player can be a vassal of multiple different parcels, owned by the same or different parcel owners.

Every parcel has a weight limit, or a limit to the number of buildings and assets that can be placed on it. We call these counters “building tokens”. We’ve actually had this system in place for some time, but they were all set to 99 until we could implement the Vassal system. Now that it's here, parcels will only be able to hold a certain number of assets (buildings, statues, etc.) and the number and size is dependent on the type of parcel. To illustrate this idea: a city stronghold parcel can hold more and larger buildings than a village. Makes sense, right?

Tokens come in several sizes (XS, S, M, L, XL) and two types (building and defense). Building tokens are exactly as they sound and are tied to the buildings that can be placed on that parcel. Defense tokens refer to defensive structures like walls, towers, and gatehouses. If a parcel offers five large building tokens, then only five large buildings can be placed there.

Each parcel has a specific set of tokens, which are by default assigned to the parcel owner when that piece of land is placed. The parcel owner can then transfer a number of those tokens to vassals of that parcel, allowing that vassal to place and move their own building(s) of that type and size on that parcel. The parcel owner can also reduce the number of tokens available to a vassal at any time.

Crowfall HamletHouses Watermarked

As stated before, the first version of the vassals system will be only the core elements. This means you'll need to utilize slash commands in chat to access the available features. We'll add some fancy UI to go along with this soon, but we wanted to get it in your hands as soon as possible.

Here's a handy list of the commands and what they do (along with some commands that are already available).

These currently-available commands are:

• /ekinvite <player> - This adds a player to the Allowed Players list, meaning they'll have access even if your EK is private.
• /ekban <player> & /ekunban <player> - This manages the Banned Players list.
• /eklist - View the Allowed Players list.
• /ekremove <player> - Use this command to disconnect a player from your EK and demote them to vistor status.

And here are the commands that will be available through the vassal system:

• /ekaddnoble <player> - This adds the player to the Noble list.
• /ekremovenoble <player> - This removes the player from the Noble list.
• /eklistnobles - View the Noble list.
• /ekaddvassal <player> - This adds the player to the Vassal list for the parcel you're standing on, up to the maximum for this parcel.
• /ekremovevassal <player> - This removes the player from the Vassal list of the parcel you're standing on.
• /eklistvassals - View this parcel's Vassal list.
• /ekchangetokens <player> <type> <size> <count> - Change the number of tokens assigned to a vassal on the parcel you're standing on. Size is SX, S, M, LG, XL, and type is building or defense.
• /eklisttokens - View a list of players who have been assigned tokens for the parcel you're standing on and how many for each player.

Keep in mind that a player's username must be typed exactly as it's seen, including capitalization. If you wanted to make me a noble of your Kingdom, typing /ekaddnoble ace_jackal wouldn't work. So make sure you're using /ekaddnoble ACE_Jackal when you want to let me build in your EK!

The target player does NOT need to be logged into the game for you to grant or revoke their rights!

As with any new system, there will be some questions that will inevitably go along with this. Here are some initial answers that may help you understand the system a little more.

Who is the "parcel owner"?
The player who places that parcel into the world is considered the parcel owner.

Can a monarch also be the owner of any parcel they place?

Who can move and remove parcels?
Monarchs can move and remove any parcels placed in the world. Nobles can only move and remove parcels that they own.

Who can move buildings in a parcel?
Buildings can be moved by the building owner, or the parcel owner of the parcel in which they are placed. The parcel owner will be able to move any standalone building on their parcel, but this doesn't change the building's ownership. They can also eject a building, which will transfer it back to the owning player's Spirit Bank. The vassal that owns the building can move or remove the building at any time.

Who can remove buildings from a parcel?
The building owner (vassal) can pick up a building, putting it back into their inventory as a deed.

The parcel owner (noble) can eject it, sending it back to the building owner’s Spirit Bank.

What happens to attachable items when a building is moved or removed?
Attachables like stalls, crafting tables, and decorations will move right along with that building!

What happens to parcels or buildings that are ejected by someone higher up the chain than me?
That parcel or building will be transferred back to the parcel’s or building owner's Spirit Bank. If there isn't room, your Bank will be in overflow—making some items inaccessible—until you move something else out of it.

What happens if I was a noble or vassal who placed a parcel/building/defensive structure and the monarch banned me?
Any items that you owned and placed in that EK will be automatically ejected and returned to your Spirit Bank.

Who can wake up an EK?
Currently, only the monarch can wake their Kingdom, but in the future we plan to allow nobles to do so, as well.

What causes my EK to shut down?
An EK will go to sleep if there are no players in the EK. Eventually, this will be modified so that if there are vendors with wares to sell in the EK, it will stay awake longer (Watch for more information about this change in a future update).

This is a significant step forward in the development of Crowfall as it marks the first time we’re opening up the ability for players to collaborate to build cities, castles and markets. The underpinnings of this system will also allow us to support the more dynamic Campaign types (i.e. worlds like the Dregs that allow for free placement of buildings and defenses in strongholds).

This first version of the Vassal system allows a hierarchy of administrative permissions for Eternal Kingdoms, allowing guilds and friend groups to start building their own cities, towns, and markets. The interface is still coming – but if you can handle a few slash commands, we’d love to have your help trying out these new systems and giving us your feedback.

As always, check out the discussion thread to let us know what you think or if you have any additional questions.

See you in game!

Jack Kirby
Utility Infielder, ArtCraft Entertainment

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