Why Eternal Kingdoms Are More Than Player Housing
When you introduce something new, explaining that unique vision is sometimes difficult. That's where I'm afraid Crowfall is sitting with the Campaign Worlds and the Eternal Kingdoms. My friends and I have discussed the Campaign Worlds many times, and sometimes it just hasn't clicked. But I don't feel like that's anyone's fault, really. It's just that it's a fairly new concept and needs to be broken down into familiar terms.
Luckily for eager fans, ArtCraft explained much more about both Campaign Worlds and Eternal Kingdoms in recent articles on the official Crowfall site. While Campaign Worlds are large, detailed areas where you play most of the game, Eternal Kingdoms can be considered a smaller version akin to player housing where you can spend your time crafting and socializing. But the developers want to make sure to drive home the point that these aren't only social lobbies as you'd find in other MMOs.
Every account starts off with its own kingdom that your character can rule. Aside from crafting and playing the economy, you can also explore your Kingdom's map and even fight enemies, but on a smaller scale than you'd find in the normal Campaign Worlds.
And while these sound like a lot of fun to those who want to play the game in that way, you can also completely ignore your kingdom and focus on the other Campaign Worlds all day long. It's just up to you.
So, how does your Eternal Kingdom grow? With time and resources, you can turn a blank canvas of land into a bustling metropolis of shops, crafting hubs, and even keeps. But in order to gain those resources to build those structures and expand your kingdom, you will need to either venture out into the dangerous campaign lands or make friends with someone who will. This, right here, is a mechanic I'm most excited about, because it enhances the roles of people and groups who would rather adventure and those who would rather craft, allowing them to work together for the greater good -- for king and country!
I plan to play as mostly a crafter, but I know several people who don't want to lay a hand on a hammer or sewing needle. I make friends with those people; they gather the resources I need, I make their armor and weapons, and we're all happy. Of course, the best materials will only be available in the most dangerous campaigns, so I certainly want to make friends with the baddest of the badasses. It only makes sense.
As for the size of your kingdom, the layout and measurements are straightforward. The smallest unit of measurement is called a Lot, which measures eight meters by eight meters. A Superlot is five by five Lots. A Cell is five by five Superlots, and a Supercell is five by five Cells.
Still with me? Good, because the Kingdom itself can be up to five Supercells by five Supercells. So when ArtCraft says that Kingdoms are small compared to Campaign Worlds, you can see that Kingdoms are still quite large.
So now you have different-sized buildings and developments that you want to plop down in your kingdom, and each one has a different footprint. The example given in the Eternal Kingdoms FAQ is a blacksmith shop that is six Lots in size and a dwarven keep that could be as large as seven Cells. You arrange each development in a Tetris-like configuration after you purchase that parcel with in-game resources or from the web store.
So you start out with what they call "wild" cells with no game function, develop them by purchasing parcels and building structures, and your kingdom can then support hundreds or thousands of other players concurrently (if you choose). We're not talking about instanced housing here; your kingdom will become part of the greater world.
Now, the parcels themselves fall into two categories: stronghold and resource. The Tetris-like shapes of these parcels are determined by what is needed to support the primary structure. So if you have a large castle in the middle of your stronghold parcel, there will need to be several other terrain squares surrounding it to support such a large building. And when that building grows and evolves, the number and shape of surrounding terrain squares will change accordingly.
This system means that you can't just have two dozen buildings right next to each other like a SimCity industrial area because the resource squares will be needed to support those buildings. "You will see 'pockets' of civilization buffered by farmland, rivers, forests and mountains," the FAQ describes. "The larger the stronghold, the larger the buffer."
And that's the basics of how Eternal Kingdoms will work, but I highly recommend reading through the entire FAQ for more detailed information on using the Parcel Builder, the benefits of placing certain buildings in certain areas, upgrading buildings and parcels, ruling your kingdom, setting titles and permissions, collecting taxes, and much more. I'm sure I'll focus on one of those more advanced features in a future article.
So you can see how the Eternal Kingdom could be considered a metagame of its own, especially since ArtCraft says that it is only a small part of the whole game. If everything else comes together (economy, player market, resource gathering, guilds, etc.), I can see myself spending most of my game time in my kingdom, with many or even a few players alongside me. After all, it’s up to us to decide how big or small our Eternal Kingdom is.