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Warrior Kings: Battles Preview

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| Strategy in Gaming | Posted: Jul 27, 2003 4:00 am

Set in a fantastical medieval world where small Kingdoms struggle for supremacy in a chaotic land of knights, and demons, you are the ruler of a new kingdom, born from the ashes of a once mighty realm. To resurrect this realm to its former glory you must forge order out of chaos by uniting the fragmented lands into a single, mighty empire under the rule of one warrior king - you.

 

But first you must secure your own kingdom. Build castles to master the land, harness and exploit your resources to build and sustain your economic power and military strength, research new technologies, such as gunpowder and Greek fire, use spies and mercenaries, priests and merchants, ships and engines of war, to outwit and force your foe into surrender. Make and break alliances as you see fit, use formations and battle tactics to achieve victory - send your cavalry around the flanks of the enemies army, control the high ground to dominate terrain, lure the enemy into ambushes, destroy the massed knights of your opponent with pikemen and archers! You will also have to master the skills of siege warfare to triumph as you send catapults and siege towers against the enemy, and watch as your troops swarm over the walls and storm the enemies' city, all in full, glorious 3D.

 

However, there is one final twist on the path to victory for a Warrior King: you must choose the path you follow carefully: will you take the Pagan, Renaissance or Imperial route? Will you follow a rigid monotheism, building upon the power of the church to call down Acts of God upon your heretical foes, or will you embrace the Pagan side and summon mighty creature from the spirit world to enslave your enemies? Or will you reject those paths, and choose to concentrate on Renaissance technology, and use gunpowder, bombardment, musketeers and mighty engines of war!

 

CAMPAIGN STORY

 

Conquer or Die!

 

Many years have passed since Artos brought unity and peace to the lands of Orbis, as told in the events of Warrior Kings. He founded a dynasty that lasted 100 years, but the last Artosian ruler was assassinated by a fanatical zealot, bringing to an end years of stability. The ensuing struggle for power destroyed the fabric of the Empire, and it has collapsed in on itself, wracked by civil war, famine and disease. The Empire's death throes sent shockwaves of instability across the world, sucking down neighbouring nations into a terrible whirlpool of cataclysmic ruin.

 

Orbis has been plunged into chaos, and war has raged across the land like the fires of hell. This anarchy has even spread like a plague across the seas to the Empires of the South and East. Everywhere, the Empires, Nations, Kaliphates and Kingdoms of Orbis have collapsed in on themselves, breaking down into Baronies, Provinces and City States, where each man's hand is set against his brothers' in a terrible, bloody battle for survival and supremacy.

 

You are the ruler of a small province, the last remnant of a once mighty nation. To survive, you will have to 'Conquer or Die!'

 

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

 

Warrior Kings: Battles maintains the excitement that made Warrior Kings a leading RTS. It is a stand-alone title that adds a new strategic and tactical dimension to the series.

 

WKB comes complete with a full skirmish mode, boasting a proficiency of computer AI not yet seen in an RTS product. AI Generals build a functioning economy, offensive/defensive armies, correctly control formations, and intelligently probe your defenses, looking for your weak points. AI Diplomacy, a major new feature, makes you think you are playing a human opponent(s), giving a new depth to single and multiplayer internet gaming.

 

For those who like an epic RTS, WKB has a large strategic Campaign that allows the player to battle through the land of Orbis choosing their own path and defeating a variety of AI generals along the way. Players have to conquer new territories, increase the size of their armies, and gain new technologies before finally capturing the fortress-like city of Telemagna.

 

In addition a new multiplayer battle mode allows players to choose their own armies, and fight them against any combination of human or AI opponents. Unit limits and time limits can be set to give the player full control over the length of game played, as well as Capture the Flag and other fast pace action modes.

 

USP's

 

An amazing and seemingly-living medieval fantasy world awaits... and to conquer it will take all the cunning, resourcefulness and tactics you can muster.

 

Can YOU craft war and tower above the competition like Warrior Kings Battles does?

 

Epic and unparalleled 3D real-time strategy gaming, immersing you in a fantastic medieval world without comparison

 

Extensive improvements on the award winning Warrior Kings, with new levels, troop types, and game modes

 

Advanced AI like no other strategy game! Computer opponents probe your defenses and find weaknesses like real humans

 

Large strategic campaign with 22 missions and 50 varying AI generals - offering over 40 hours of single player gaming

 

New "Valhalla" mode; build an army and take it to the battlefield against your rivals, without the worry of resource gathering. Complete a 30-60 minute game in single or multi-player mode

 

Infinite play offered by the new Skirmish mode - play against 50 AI generals, all with their own personalities, strategy and history

 

Terrain that matters! Strategically exploit the beautiful, realistic 3D hills, forests, valleys and mountains.

 

Dynamically evolving game path. You decide which path to follow - the church with her crusading Knights, the elder gods, with their demons of destruction, or the technology of the renaissance scientists - each with different unit types and abilities

 

Use real military formations and tactics to conquer on the battlefield: perform flanking manoeuvres, ambush and destroy massive formations using pikemen, archers and cavalry

 

Highly advanced GUI enables intuitive play with positive visual feedback. This means less time clicking on units to see what is going on and more time laying down game wining strategies. Complexity increases with experience.

 

Active/Passive LAN/Internet, play with up to eight players a game (human and AI). Participate in on-line tournament matches. Play full on multi-player games

 

Over 35 building types

 

Over 60 different types of unit

 

Stunning animations

 

Pick-up-and-play for a wide market demographic

 

- Familiar initial functionality

 

- Simplified resource system

 

- Simplified building system

 

- Simplified control of large numbers of units (formations and commands)

 

Structured Game Experience Development

 

- Evolving game path. All players start on an equal footing, but they can evolve their development along three different paths

 

- Depth of game increases with time

 

Internet Play

 

- Up to 8 simultaneous players (human and AI)

 

- Home network, office server or Internet play (an independent server assists the game but is not essential)

 

- Extra sneakiness as all players start equal (neither good nor evil) and as the play develops you do not know what your opponents are going to be.

 

- Proprietary system robust against most latency issues.

 

 

GAME FEATURES

 

Focus on Skirmish

 

WK: B AI gives you a similar experience to playing a real human opponent. Black Cactus have implemented a comprehensive skirmish game to allow the player, or players, to fight against our numerous AI generals.

 

Black Cactus have been disappointed with skirmish games in other products and wanted WK: B to give a much better game. The key philosophy for them was honesty - WK: B AI wouldn't cheat. No free upgrades, no omniscience, and no extra resources. It has to collect its own resources, build defensive armies, build raiding parties, assemble strategic forces and manage its economy just like you would. But most importantly, it has to scout out its opponents; it doesn't 'know' where the player is. Once it finds you it will probe your defences and attempt to identify weak spots in your fortifications and will exploit any imbalances in your armies. The AI will also be diplomatically active and will attempt to forge alliances to maximise its chances of winning.

 

The 50 different AI personalities all display different characteristics and will give the player a much more genuine experience. When the player has defeated these, they can create and fight their own AI's.

 

Focus on Campaign

 

The Campaign game is based in the land of Orbis set 100 years after the end of WK. Instead of doing another plot-based campaign the player must conquer Orbis in a strategic game, with the eventual goal of taking Telegmagna, the seat of the Empire. The player can choose their own route of conquest and each of the 22 territories has their own challenges and rewards.

 

Focus on Valhalla

 

The Valhalla mode is a quick battle game that allows you to jump straight into the action if you haven't got time to play for hours. In this mode Black Cactus have removed the economic element and instead the player purchases their army from a selection of famous Orbis regiments and employs them to hold flags and defeat either the AI or other human players.

 

Focus on Tactics

 

Tactical gameplay has scarcely been exploited in the RTS genre, where it is still commonly the case that merely the largest side wins. WK: B is based on combined arms principles. Light Cavalry defeat Heavy Infantry, Heavy Infantry defeat Heavy Cavalry, Heavy Cavalry defeat Light Infantry and Light Infantry defeat Light Cavalry. This challenges the player to balance their own forces while constantly attempting to exploit any imbalance they observe in their opponent's force. A smaller, smarter army can easily defeat a larger one.

 

To control the battlefield the player will have to exploit terrain, height and cover. Taking the high ground enables your scouts to see further, your archers to fire further and your melee units greater shock value. It is a huge modifier to combined arms and intuitively deepens WK: B's tactical gameplay.

 

Focus on Formations

 

Formation fighting was an intrinsic part of medieval warfare; as such it makes up a major part of WK: B. On one level, units moving in formation is a very attractive visual aspect of the game but much more important than that is the depth that it adds to the game play.

 

Formations are not simply about battalions of soldiers being in pretty shapes, they describe the role you wish your units to perform. Formations also allow the units in it to share damage and experience. The men at the front will share damage with the men in the rear, letting all of them take far more punishment than they would out, of formation.

 

The relationship between formations is one of the keys for success. Your formations of archers can defend pikemen against the enemy, and will maintain this relationship even during the battle. These factors give the player a real, tangible benefit to putting units in formation. Therefore the larger force won't always defeat the smaller force.

 

There are three basic formation types - move, attack, and defend. Units will adopt formations based on their weapon type and the formation order.

 

Column - the fastest moving, but weakest formation

 

Line - for bringing maximum weapons to bear

 

Orb (pikemen only) - all round defense but static

 

Wedge - assault, good damage but low defence

 

The player can easily control hundreds of units with a few button clicks thanks to the formations and many advanced interface features.

 

Focus on Terrain

 

Obviously the 3D terrain looks superb, but more importantly it affects almost all other aspects of the game.

 

In battles, units charging downhill will have an advantage against units that are downhill. The higher archers and siege weapons are, the further they fire and the more damage they do.

 

The fact that your units move more slowly uphill makes the placement of all resource buildings very interesting - you could put a manor on top of a hill, giving a defensive advantage, but it might slow up the gathering of resources.

 

Certain terrain types are barriers to all but specialist units, but these specialist units have weaknesses in other areas. For instance: only Scouts can climb cliffs, but Scouts are poor in combat.

 

The important point is that this provides depths of game play from which an advanced player can extract advantages but a less experienced player need not worry.

 

Focus on the Economy

 

The economic part of any RTS provides the engine that drives the game and acts as a catalyst for emergent gameplay. Collection of resources and the direction of their consumption impacts on economic growth, the creation of units and the good health of your armies.

 

WK: B has three resource types - food, materials (wood & stone), and gold. All of these are important but the player must be shrewd in collector (peasant unit) allocation in terms of what to 'boom' in and when to do it.

 

Building placement is a major influence in economic efficiency, as is peasant allocation. Black Cactus provide the player with clear information as to how their peasants are allocated.

 

In addition WK: B soldiers are linked to the economy, requiring food to stay healthy. The straightforward implementation of this feature follows Black Cactus's ethos of simple yet deep.

 

High Degree of immersion

 

Historic basis for the military model

 

Historically based troop and economic units

 

Fantastical units based on medieval mythology

 

Historic feel to the buildings and landscape

 

High level of integrity and consistency throughout the game

 

State of the art 3D world with naturally weathered landscape and visually impressive polygonal characters.

 

Race advantages

 

Unlike other RTS games Warrior Kings doesn't have 'races' chosen at the start of the game. Instead WK: B offers a unique non-linear upgrade tree, allowing each player to choose their own path. There are 3 main paths and 6 possible outcomes. Each path has its own strengths and weaknesses and a perceptive player will observe his opponent's choices.

 

Imperial

 

Favours those who prefer to fight a defensive game, laying wait for the enemy to commit their precious resources, then crush them with a mighty thrust. The Imperial race is mainly made up of high cost strong units. Once you have reached the higher levels of enlightenment you may seek assistance from the One God.

 

Pagan

 

A primitively based aggressive race that is more suited for those set on taking the battle to your enemy. The Pagan race consists of relatively low cost weak units that you will have to pile into the fray. However, once you have been completely seduced by the Pagan path you will be able to summon all sorts of chaotic demons from the depths of the earth to carry out your wishes.

 

Renaissance

 

The race of the sciences and those set on developing strategy. The renaissance race has all sorts of contraptions available to them, unlike the Pagan & Imperials ability to bring down acts of God or summon demons, the products of technological advance are not short lived, but remain with you.

 

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