Dev Blog #3: The Kingdom War: Global PvP, City Conquest, & Siege Engines
City conquest, guild warfare, player ships, siege engines, combat mounts, NPC troops – all these features, and more, come together on an epic scale during a “Kingdom War.” For those unfamiliar with Kingdom Heroes, a “Kingdom War” is a recurring, global, player-versus-player (PvP) event where guilds and factions battle for control of cities, villages, ports, strongholds, and territory. The results of a war can have potential ramifications for the entire game world – realigning boundaries, shifting control of resources, altering faction economies, and tipping the scale of power from one kingdom to another.

Imagine, for a moment, riding towards a major port city in the distance. Your guildmates, along with an entire legion of NPC soldiers, march at your side, guarding your flanks. As your army approaches the massive, fortified walls of the city, the fog begins to clear… and past the tattered banners along the citadel, you catch sight of the enemy on patrol.

Suddenly, an alarm sounds – you’ve been spotted! The city guards hurdle towards their posts and fire off a barrage of burning arrows and projectiles at you. You fight through the flames, mowing down a squad of straggling defenders on your way to the gate. Your remaining guildmates aren’t able to push their way through. They bunker down and call out their ballistae and catapults.

The enemy spies the siege weaponry at their door and summons their defenses to the gate. You’ve drawn them away from the coast – the plan is working! You give the signal and a fleet of ships, manned by an allied guild, darts out from the fog, laying waste to the unmanned ships stationed at the docks.

This is just a sample of one of numerous situations that can take place during a Kingdom War. There are a variety of territory types that players can capture in the game, and each point of interest is vulnerable to different approaches. When sizing up the competition and planning an attack, the most astute commanders will have to take into account the strength and specialization of a particular city’s defenses, its terrain and surroundings, the reputation of the guild in control of it, the overall power of its affiliated faction, guild alliances, and a host of other variables.

While there’s nothing stopping you and your buddies from rampaging through Kingdom Heroes, attacking everything in sight, you may want to keep a close eye on alliances, events, battle reports, and the ever evolving political landscape of your chosen server. Why’s that, you say? The Taiwanese version of Kingdom Heroes is full of guilds plotting with and against each other on private message boards, planning their strategies before every Kingdom War. If you want to run with the best of them, you better prepare accordingly and bring your “A” game when the time arrives.

So, you may be wondering – apart from expanding your empire, what’s the advantage of capturing points of interest and participating in a Kingdom War? Although we aren’t ready to completely spill the beans on this particular topic just yet, we can say that there are a number of mechanics constantly in play that offer players plenty of incentive to go out and make war; among these are battle merits and spoils from the taxation of territory.

In Kingdom Wars, merits are earned when one player defeats another player affiliated with a rival faction (provided the player is above level 10). Multiple players can team up and ambush other players (along with soldiers, ships, and siege weapons), but only the player who initiates the attack will earn credit. Players that kill higher-level players and have lower death counts will receive even greater rewards. The more merits a player has, the higher his/her rank within a faction.

Once a guild comes into possession of a player city, the leader can become its administrator. Apart from city building, upgrades, resource management, and investing in defenses, an administrator can set salaries for his/her guild members. These salaries are earned from taxes that are levied on NPC merchants operating within a territory. As a result, some cities – locations that are frequented by the most players (e.g. ports, towns at major junctions, villages bordering faction capitals, etc.) are more valuable than others. Of course, there’s always a danger that if a greedy administrator is overzealous in taxing his/her city merchants, players will travel elsewhere to purchase their goods.

In previous developer blogs, we’ve discussed player ships and non-playable character (NPC) soldiers. Although both of these features can play an important role in city conquest, siege engines are far better suited for the task. There are a handful of siege weapon types in the game (e.g. ballistae, catapults, battering rams, etc.), each with their own specialties. Some are built for mobility and rapid assault, some are better suited for close combat, and a couple others are unmatched in terms of their sheer amount of firepower. All are virtually indispensible if you want to effectively break through a powerful city’s defenses and breach their walls.

Are you ready to take up arms for your empire? You can make your mark on the world when Kingdom Heroes begins Closed Beta in late Spring 2010. To be among the first to sign up for an early glimpse of the game, visit the official website. To join the discussion and start planning your war strategies, head on over to the official forums by clicking here.
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