For my Game Design class, we chose a game made with Unity and I chose a game that recently entered its Beta stages. This game is a medieval styled survival/building game known as Reign of Kings.
What were the game’s apparent design goals? Did it succeed at those
goals? Why or why not?
It appears the primary goal of the game would be to become king, and be able to enforce the taxes you place on the people. Guild wars are also a goal, as multiple guilds are likely to be fighting for the throne. You also need to build in order to protect your power, as you cannot survive long without a base. The game succeeded at these goals, as you see strongholds dotting the map, trebuchets firing into walls, and you constantly hear the horn of someone claiming the throne and becoming king and setting the tax high.
What were the mechanics? What was the play experience? What is the
relationship between the two? Did you find any strategies that were exploitable? Did the game seem well-balanced?
In Reign of Kings, you have to find food and water and build a home, and you are often forced to unite with others to ensure your survival and rise to power. You can mine dirt, clay, stone, iron, and oil to build, and craft armor and weapons with wood, bone, stone, iron, and steel. You can pretty much build whatever you want, including torture and execution chambers, feast halls, living spaces, and armories. You can construct a trebuchet and take the fight to someone’s castle, or you can set up ballistae at your own base in order to defend it from raiders. Finally, you can bring an army up to the throne to enforce your claim, or you can sneak up and take it through stealth.
The play experience is great for some, less so for others. For example, if you’re lowly freshspawn newbie walking through the forest, trying to collect wood and stone to build your house and fuel your fireplace, someone is actually pretty likely to come in full steel armor and decapitate you with a battle-axe, or play golf with a war-hammer and your head. Now, say you’re a professional vigilante who disapproves on someone picking on the new and weak. You see this murder take place, and because you have a superior computer (and maybe a group of friends with you) you are able to chase this guy down and either kill him, or capture him and put him in a cage.
Most of the time, if two with equal skill are fighting, the victor is usually the one with the better armor and weapons. Furthermore, if you’re new and your guild only has one base and it gets besieged and taken over, you’re going to have a bad playing experience. From what I’ve seen, this happens to most new players. There’s also constantly getting captured and put into a pillory or gallows, waiting to get executed, or being starved to death in a cage.
If you’re king and nobody has done it already, you can build a wall around the throne area in order to protect it from enemies. In fact, on one of the maps, you can put an ownership crest below the bridge, preventing anyone from being able to build on it except for yourself. The crest is extremely hard to get rid of, so it’s easy to keep the area under your control.
I don’t think the game was balanced very well. If there are extremely strong guilds already controlling parts of the map with lots of resources, it’s hard to obtain those resources without joining those guilds. Also, a fresh spawn with just the starting driftwood club and no armor has nearly no possible chance against a guy with full steel armor, especially if he’s the king.
What kinds of interesting decisions (and uninteresting ones) were you making
throughout the game? What do you feel was the competitive differential of
Several times I have to decide whether or not I want to kill a random guy mining. Most of the time I resist, but sometimes I lure an infected villager over to him or her so it attacks them. Other times I have to decide whether I want to bring a one-handed weapon and a shield into battle, or a two-handed one. I also have to decide whether or not I like a certain person, or support them if they are king (this often depends on how high they set the tax percentage).
The competitive differential was definitely that it was medieval themed. Rarely have I ever seen a multiplayer medieval themed building/survival game. In fact, this may be the first I’ve seen.