Thank you to everyone who joined us on Discord last week for a discussion about the new War for the Throne event coming up on September 12th! We pulled out a few questions to sit down with the designers, project leads, and artists on the KvK development team to go into greater detail.
We’ll cover your mechanical questions about the new event before zooming out to discuss matchmaking philosophy and incorporating your feedback into features.
Q: Will we have the ability to abdicate a Seats of Power?
Yes, we removed that limitation when we introduced cross-kingdom SOP Takeover mechanics to the event. Abdication can now be a part of your strategy when planning for war across the Narrow Sea.
Q: Can you assign titles while on a different kingdom than the held SOP? Or if the teammate is on a different kingdom than you?
You assign titles as normal during KvK, regardless of your location or the location of the teammate you are granting the title to. Keep in mind that if those were usurped SOP titles (gained from taking a Seat of Power on an invaded kingdom) they will be stripped when the Across the Narrow Sea event ends and everyone is sent home.
Q: For this event will the number of bannermen still come into play when taking over a Seat of Power? Or can anyone take any seat?
The bannermen requirements for Seats of Power are unchanged. That said, KvK affords us the opportunity to change rules for specific events, and feedback is always welcome.
Q: Do you officially endorse smack talking? (re: cross-kingdom chat)
Just as Cersei sent out that famous missive commanding Jon to come to King’s Landing and bend the knee, we expect rivals to call each other out with civility and decorum. When in doubt, refer to our existing guidelines for how to conduct yourself in-game.
Q: For the new KvK Pawn, how many shards are required to unlock it?
The Conqueror Pawn is the new exclusive reward for KvK War for the Throne. It takes 5,000 Shards to unlock the first variant. For the 9/12/20 War for the Throne weekend, any player who owns a 2.5 star or higher Seat of Power at the end of the War for the Throne: Across the Narrow Sea event will earn enough Shards to unlock at least one pawn variant (payout amounts are detailed in our September update here.)
We started working on this idea right after the initial Kvk Invasion format was completed in May. It was part of a larger response to feedback that the event should be more rewarding.
The Conqueror Pawn is intended as a status symbol, and our artists explored a few different concepts before landing on the final piece you’ll see this weekend. We think they nailed it, and can’t wait to see armies marching across the Combat Map with the new flair!
Q: What are the heaviest weighted metrics used to pair kingdoms for KvK?
We take a number of things into consideration, but Account Age and Kingdom Age are currently the most heavily weighted metrics. We’ve found these to be the best overall indicators of compatibility in data, and have also seen that reaffirmed by players. In the past when we’ve deviated from age as the guiding factor in favor of other activity indicators, those pairings are consistently the most heatedly discussed and questioned by the community.
This may not always be the case. As we merge more kingdoms, the range of account ages across a kingdom becomes more varied, and we’ve heard more and more player requests for certain kingdom matchups based on the competitiveness of major alliances or players, over any other factor.
Anytime we share matchups, we love seeing all the discussions in the community with different thoughts on how to define a ‘competitive’ vs ‘compatible’ kingdom for these choices. We evaluate this ourselves after each run, so nothing is off the table. We just want to make sure we’re always considering the larger picture and balancing that with individual experiences.
Q: Are these matchups a good indicator of merge matchups in the future?
Generally speaking, yes. KvK match ups should indicate what kingdoms are compatible. However, overall population size and composition also play a role in those decisions, more so than they do with KvK matches.
Q: How do you feel about rematches?
We currently try to avoid direct rematches to provide new experiences for each event. We do have a limited pool of Kingdoms to choose from though. If we want the most compatible matchups for players, we are forced to dip into that small pool and rematches can happen.
We've heard from some players who were very interested in the idea of intentionally scheduling rematches. While that’s not currently planned, the odds are fairly good that you will eventually face a kingdom again. We’ll keep intentional rematches in mind as something to discuss down the road.
Q: What kind of testing has been done on this new feature and are we the beta testing group?
This is not a beta test and all eligible post-merged kingdoms will be receiving the event September 12th. KvK was designed from the beginning as an iterative event mode, meaning we planned to keep releasing new content for the mode.
War for the Throne in particular is made up of a number of smaller features that were started after our May Invasion release. All of these pieces were tested internally for months, previewed individually to smaller audiences before being combined at scale to form the event you’ll be seeing this weekend.
Q: What kind of player feedback or requests have the most impact on development?
The most impactful feedback is what I like to call positive negative feedback. By this, I mean that it is critical but insightful, and with the intent on making the game more fun to play. Short snippets of snark generally assume everyone has the same understanding of the game as you. Long re-design manifestos tend to be very personal to one individual’s opinion. The really great feedback is specific, relatively short, relatively plain, and most importantly intended to improve the experience for players at large… not just the person giving feedback.
It’s important to get the feedback at the right point in development too. Our community team is gathering feedback and sharing it with us daily. If we’re already deep in development, it doesn't mean we can’t change course, but it can lead to long delays.
Q: What things can be easily changed about events?
This is a simple question with a complex answer. My favorite.
Things like timing/scheduling, to an extent reward balance, and event buffs can be changed more easily. Still, any changes made late in the process are always risky. We try to be as forward-looking as possible when incorporating feedback, which is why it can sometimes feel like the iteration process takes a long time. You may see a scheduling change immediately while acting on another piece of feedback that takes months of reworking and testing.
Ultimately it’s less about what is easy and more about what we think can have a strong positive effect then next time we run an event. Even the ‘easier’ stuff to change is dangerous when an event is in flight. Is it worth doing the quick thing if we predict it might lead to different growing pains down the road? Should we take a year to play around with something if players are unhappy now? We try to find the middle ground, be careful how much we change from the norm in a single pass, and evaluate after each change to make sure we’re on the right path.
With that in mind, we did have a few more ideas for KvK production that didn’t make the cut this time. Scheduling changes are still on the table, so we welcome any suggestions on that front after you check out the latest updates in War for the Throne.
Thank you to everyone who takes part in the feedback loop that makes that possible- whether you’re chatting on Discord, commenting on Instagram, or sharing your own videos on our Facebook and Twitter - we are listening, and so glad to have you in the Game of Thrones: Conquest Community!
War for the Throne launches this weekend on September 12th and we can't wait to hear what you think of the new changes! We’ll be looking for you on the battlefield.