Eternal Kingdoms are coming!

Eternal Kingdoms are coming!

There are two pillars that drive Crowfall®: the Eternal Kingdoms and the Campaign Worlds. These are two halves of the same whole, designed such that each of them feeds into the other. Let’s begin with a quick refresher.

Campaign Worlds are where the action happens. These are persistent, full-featured MMO servers designed to act as a massively multiplayer strategy game that plays out over a period of months. Each server has a unique map for thousands of players to explore, capture and control. The “countdown timer” associated with each campaign, combined with the dynamic nature of the world itself – shifting constantly as factions vie for control -- should give every session a feeling of weight and impact.

At a macro-level, the best resources come from the Campaign Worlds – with a built-in risk/reward mechanic that ensures the most valuable (and plentiful) resources only come from the most dangerous worlds.

Eternal Kingdoms are player-run worlds/servers where the world owner, or “monarch”, has ultimate control. The monarch serves a number of roles, including:

  • Creator, with the power to literally drop mountains and valleys, rivers and forests,
  • Ruler, with the power to recruit vassals, build cities, banish players and dictate the law of the land (PvP rules, etc.)
  • Administrator, with the power to carve up the land into provinces and hand control to the most trusted of vassals, to banish players and to bring the world on or offline as he or she desires.

You may be the monarch of one kingdom; however, you may be a vassal of unlimited kingdoms.

The first version of the Eternal Kingdom system is about to come online, so here are some details on how it will work. It’s important to note that not all of these features will be available during the initial tests of the Eternal Kingdoms. Additional features will be introduced over time as testing progresses.

Eternal Kingdom Rollout

As with all major features, we are rolling out the Eternal Kingdom system in phases.  We start with a small subset of our players, then expand the rollout as the system becomes more stable (and feature-rich!)  As usual, we will start with Pre-Alpha 1 test group, followed almost immediately by the Pre-Alpha 2 test group, then the Alpha 1 test group, etc.

Public, Private and Shared Eternal Kingdoms

The first iteration will allow the monarch of a world to set it as Public or Private.

  • Public worlds allow anyone to enter (except for players on the “banned” list).
  • Private worlds only allow the monarch (and players on the “vassals” list) to enter.

The monarch has control over both the vassal list and the banned list of players for the world.

Vassals (and, of course, the monarch) have the ability to drop building(s) in the world. The monarch has the ability to remove these, which will send them back to the player who dropped them.

For this first version, the Kingdom Building tool (which allows for the placement of parcels on the world) will only be available to the monarch. In subsequent phases, we will open this up to vassals and give the monarch administrative control to determine who can drop what and where they can drop it.

Eternal Kingdom Start-up and Shutdown

Additionally, each world will have a time limit, i.e. how long it can be active during a given 24-hour period. We are initially setting this window to one hour of play (not necessarily contiguous; you can boot it in the morning for 15 minutes, shut it down, and then boot it again for 45 minutes that evening) per real-world day, per server.

We are being conservative at this point because we want to make sure operational costs don’t spiral out of control. Once we have a better handle on costs (and player concurrency) of these worlds, we’ll adjust these windows as necessary.

Creating an Eternal Kingdom

In the Crowfall lobby, players will now see the World list broken into two tabs: Campaigns and Kingdoms.

The Campaign tab will continue to show the same Campaign Worlds list that we’ve been hosting for the last few months (Sorrow, Mourning, Misery, etc.)

The Kingdoms tab will now show a list of player-owned kingdoms that are set to Public (meaning anyone can enter them) or private kingdoms of which you are currently either the monarch or a vassal.

Players with the appropriate entitlement can create a new kingdom, name it, set it to be public or private, and (once created) fire it up or shut it down. The kingdom will initially consist of a single parcel (one cell in size) with a Divine Temple at which players will spawn (and respawn). To add to the kingdom, the monarch should boot it and login to access the functionality for placing both parcels and stronghold assets.

You will be able to place the Forts, Keeps and houses (Cottages, Manors and Villas) you own on your account, but you will not be able to build anything from scratch during this testing phase. Using these buildings during the playtests will not permanently consume them. They will return to your account at the end of the testing phase, you will be able to use them again in future phases of testing and they will be there for you when Crowfall launches. (Note that you will not need to consume your pledge package to access your buildings for this phase of testing.)

Vassal and Banned Player Lists

In order to manage your kingdom effectively, monarchs are given two lists that they can manage:

  • Vassals: These are players who have the right to enter the kingdom when it is online and set to Private and to drop buildings and other assets in this world.
  • Banned: These are players who are exiled from your kingdom and cannot enter it when it is online whether it is set to Public OR Private.

Eventually, we will expand this functionality to give monarchs more precise control over the building rules, but this should be enough to get you started!

Logging into a Kingdom

To log into a kingdom, simply access the list of available (and currently online) kingdoms, select one and click “Login”. Note that in order to enter a private kingdom, you must be either the monarch or a vassal of that kingdom.

EK_UserTool_Preview

Kingdom Building Tool

Once logged into your kingdom, you can access the Kingdom Building tool using a button at the bottom of your Inventory menu. Currently, only the monarch will be able to use this feature.

All player kingdoms will initially begin with a single one cell parcel and will be limited to a maximum grid of five cells by five cells (or 1280m by 1280m).

The Kingdom Building tool will allow the monarch to drop, move and rearrange the parcels of your kingdom. These changes will not take effect in the world until you hit SUBMIT.  Note that parcel deeds will be granted via the Entitlement Import system, and then must be transferred into your inventory via the Spirit Bank as outlined below.

Building Placement

The first step will be to enable building placement for monarchs.  Next, we’ll open it up for vassals, as well.

The edges of the parcel will be shown with a particle effect (a “wall of light” will delineate the parcel boundaries).  To drop a building, it must be placed completely within the confines of the parcel.

Tokens

Every building has a SIZE designation. To keep it simple, these generally fit into categories: X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, etc.

Every parcel has a “token limit” for each category.  A farmland is intended to be sparse, and can only host smaller structures.  A city is intended to be dense, and can host much larger structures. Basically, we set up individual limits for the number of buildings, props and decorations of a given size that you can place on each parcel.

Entitlements

In the lobby you will find a button that allows you to pull your entitlements, i.e. the contents of your pledge package(s), into the game.  A few notes about importing these entitlements:

  • Not all entitlements will be available immediately. We are still building a lot of these assets, and we will allow you to claim them as the art is added to the game.
  • Some kits or bundles (such as stronghold kits, which contain a collection of palisades, castle walls, towers, etc.) will be partially available. You’ll be able to redeem them, but you’ll only be able to claim some of the items that they will eventually contain. In some cases, we are also “pre-attaching” elements that we intend to eventually allow you to attach (like merlons on the top of castle walls).
  • Claiming entitlements will NOT burn them permanently! At various times during this testing process, we will need to wipe the game database, including all kingdoms. This is a normal, and inevitable, part of game testing. When this happens, we will reset all of the entitlement flags so that you can claim them again in the following test.
  • We will (of course) let you claim them again after we launch!
As an additional note: once you claim an entitlement or a bundle in the playtest, you will not be able to gift that entitlement or bundle to another account until the next wipe! Also note that breaking a bundle to redeem any of its contained items will mark the whole bundle as redeemed. In other words, once you have committed these items to the game, that becomes their new home, at least until the test concludes.

 

TL;DR

 

Exciting times! Our first round of kingdom testing is right around the corner. There is a LOT of functionality here, so as always you can probably expect it to be pretty bumpy at first – but we’re incredibly excited to begin testing this foundational part of the Crowfall design, and we look forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback!

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