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Kingdom Heroes Developer Blog

Keep up to date with all the latest Kingdom Heroes news directly from the source. Check back often as Aeria Games reveals behind-the-scenes information about its revolutionary new MMO.

Author: KHDevBlog

Blog #3: The Kingdom War: Global PvP, City Conquest, & Siege Engines

Posted by KHDevBlog Wednesday April 14 2010 at 12:35AM
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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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Kingdom War Screenshots (Click to Enlarge)

Meet the Heroes of Kingdom Heroes: Character Roundup #1

Posted by KHDevBlog Friday April 9 2010 at 5:54PM
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Over the course of the past few weeks, Aeria Games has been revealing some of the major characters you’ll come across on your travels in Kingdom Heroes.  Be sure to “add” and “follow” us on Facebook and Twitter, so you’ll be the first to know when a new hero is revealed.
 
So far, we’ve revealed art for Diao Chan, Cao Cao (Wei), Liu Bei (Shu), Sun Jian (Wu), Zhang Jiao (Yellow Turban Rebellion), Sun Ren (Wu), Guan Yu (Shu), and Xiahou Dun (Wei). Who would you like to see next?
 

 

Meet these and other heroes face to face 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 Kingdom Heroes website. To keep up to date with all character reveals, and see more hero portraits, follow us on Facebook and Twitter


 

Blog #2: Leveling, Loyalty, & Leading Your NPC Troops into Battle

Posted by KHDevBlog Friday April 2 2010 at 4:59PM
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Chances are that the first major game feature you’ll come across in Kingdom Heroes is its unique soldier system. I don’t want to spoil too much about the first fifteen minutes of the game, but I will say that the new player experience is very tightly designed and, after a harrowing sprint through a dangerous chasm, it caps off with the gratifying reward of earning your first upgradeable and customizable NPC soldier.
 
Because Kingdom Heroes is built around the concept of large-scale kingdom warfare, soldiers can potentially become a very powerful and important part of the game. When you factor in mounts, siege engines, player ships, guild combat, and city conquest, NPC troops add another crucial element in recreating the experience of being caught up in a massive battle of epic proportions.  
 
 
As you rise through the ranks of your chosen faction, you acquire skill points that you can invest in a variety of attributes. Some of these will determine your character’s overall attack and defense scores, but others, like charisma, will affect your leadership prowess on the battlefield. The greater your command rating, the more troops you’ll have available at your immediate disposal. Additionally, there’s a loyalty subsystem in play that affects the morale and, in turn, the effectiveness of your NPC allies. If you have enough of your soldiers’ respect, they’ll fight that much harder for you.
 
While a fair amount of the high-level content in Kingdom Heroes emphasizes cooperation between players, the soldier system allows you to take an independent approach to the game if that’s the kind of play style you prefer. At the same time, that’s not to say soldiers are strictly for solo players – groups (made up of a maximum of six players) can ally together and combine their NPC forces to become an incredibly formidable and self-sufficient team. Those who collaborate efficiently, effectively, and execute the best strategies will always come out on top.
 
A leader is only as strong as his or her team, so it’s important to complement your character with a custom outfit of soldiers that augment your strengths and/or make up for your weaknesses. There are a handful of subsystems you can take advantage of to suit your individual strategies, including solider classes, unit formations, tactics/behaviors, loyalty, and equipment upgrades. I’ll touch on a few of these features below.
 
 
In Kingdom Heroes, soldiers accrue experience independently of one another. As a particular NPC unit increases in level, he/she/it has the option of advancing along different paths. For example, a lowly Volunteer can ultimately evolve into an experienced Lancer, Longbowman, or Cavalry Archer (see a preview of one of the NPC class trees above). An NPC’s path is entirely up to you, and if you’re the cunning sort, you’ll want to develop your troops along lines that suit your primary character’s skill set.
 
Players can also organize their troops into various formations, allocating exactly where it is they want to position each individual soldier. Every formation has its unique advantages and disadvantages, and, like choosing NPC classes, you’ll want to use a formation that plays to your strengths and guards against your weaknesses. For example, pretend you’re an expert archer with a complete arsenal of unit types – how are you going to organize your troops? You’ll probably want to position most of your units far ahead – perhaps swordsmen or cavalry out in front and pikemen protecting your flanks? The choice is entirely yours to make.
 
If that isn’t more than enough, you also have the option of creating and saving multiple soldier sets for later use, accessible from within the soldier system interface. You’re certain to encounter a variety of obstacles in the game world, and this handy feature can become a lifesaver if you find yourself in a hairy situation where your usual soldier set isn’t ideal for the circumstance. With a combination of a few clicks and buttons, you can call out your specialized squad of reserves and swap them with your primary team of bodyguards.
 
 
Customization is also an important part of the soldier system in Kingdom Heroes. Apart from NPC class selection, players can give their soldiers unique names and outfit them with armor and weapons that their own character may have outgrown. Instead of selling off your equipment at the auction house or a vendor, you actually have a reason to hold onto your old hand-me-downs. Additionally, if you find that you no longer have a use for one your soldiers, you’re free to sell off their services to someone else via the auction interface. 
 
Sound interesting? You can enter the world of Kingdom Heroes and lead your troops into battle 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 the Kingdom Heroes website. To join the discussion and start planning your war strategies, visit the official forums by clicking here.
 

 NPC Soldier Screenshots (Click to Enlarge)

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