Imagine sailing down a narrow river at top speed, relentlessly pursued by a larger, more powerful vessel. Your friends desperately try to fire off a barrage of arrows from the mounted crossbows aboard your deck but they aren’t any match for the heavy cannon fire wreaking havoc all around you. You’ve pushed your ship to its breaking point – it can’t move any faster. Suddenly, explosions tear through your vessel and some of your crewmates are flung into the violent, crashing waves. A feeling of utter terror takes holds of your heart – the main mast is about to collapse!
Without a doubt, one of the most exciting features that Kingdom Heroes has to offer is its innovative player ship system. Never before in an MMORPG have multiple players been able to collaborate together aboard the same vessel. While other games limit one player to one ship, or, at best, allow multiple players aboard the same ship but offer no cooperative gameplay, Kingdom Heroes breaks the mold and takes player ships to the next level.
In order to purchase a ship and start your career on the high seas, the first thing you need to do is assemble a crew of players and formally establish a guild. You’ll have to pass a certain level requirement and spend some coin to make it official, but once you’ve gathered your trusted team of seasoned sailors, all that’s left to do is to select your first vessel, get on board, and set sail.
Because ships are tied to the guild system, it’s the guild leader’s responsibility to purchase, upgrade, and organize all related naval affairs – including assigning ranks and permissions to his/her guild mates. Of course, any guild member can still chip in towards costs if they desire – and it’s probably best they do. As a guild grows in stature and if they acquire enough resources, they can eventually add more ships to their fleet and become the terror of the high seas.
There are a variety of ships with different crew sizes, gun types, and features for players to choose from. The smallest of these vessels can hold a crew of seven, while the largest offers stations for up to eleven players. Although you aren’t required to have a complete crew on board to use a ship, if you aim to put up a good fight against other player vessels, you’ll probably want an experienced navigator at the helm with a full complement of seasoned gunners, repairmen, and raiders.
That’s right – raiders! Even if your ship is occupied by a player at every station, you can still have additional players walking the deck. If they have ranged combat abilities, they can fire off their arms or spells across the water at other players. Even better, if your ship gets close enough, players can jump off the deck and land on board an enemy vessel. Miss, and you can climb up the backside of a ship and get up close and personal.
In addition to player-versus-player (PvP) combat on the high seas, ships become incredibly useful when conquering and defending extremely valuable port cities. Because all regions of the world map are accessible by water, ships are the fastest form of travel during a Kingdom War. If your faction (and your guild) has a dock in its possession, ships become an efficient and effective method of transporting allied guilds off to war.
You can take to the seas in Kingdom Heroes when the game begins Closed Beta in late Spring 2010. To be among the first to sign up for an early glimpse of the game, visit http://kingdomheroes.aeriagames.com. To join the discussion and start planning your war strategies, visit the official forums by clicking here.
Player Ship Screenshots (Click to Enlarge)