||State of the Crusade
Even though I’m on Twitch almost every week, it’s been quite a while since my last newsletter (the one in Orkish Low Gothic). As promised, this week I’ll update you on the details of the Territory Control system and how exactly the battles on the ground are going to be integrated with the Strategic Layer.
The battle for Arkhona’s territories is ongoing and involves thousands of players. So how does the player experience this? When you login and pick your character you appear in the faction-specific social zone. From there you can approach the Strategic Map and view the state of the war for Arkhona.
If you want to fight, you have a few choices about how to go about it:
Any of these options will get you into a battle just starting or in progress. Simple enough, but how do battles begin?
- TO ARMS! – If you’re not picky, just hit this button.
- MAP – Find the point that interests you and deploy.
- WAR PARTY – Join or create a War Party to stick with a group for this session.
- Note that if you’re the leader of a War Party, it’s up to you to handle the other two options for your squadmates.
When a battle first appears at a location on the Strategic Map (either because a fight just finished there or a Territory Control change caused it to open up) there is a brief period of time where only Commander characters can join. This phase determines the attacking faction as well as the Warlords - if no Commanders join then someone else can volunteer to be the Warlord in a subsequent phase.
Flow then proceeds to the Assignment Phase, where anyone from the participating factions can join. After a pre-defined period of time, or once all the slots have been filled, everyone that has signed up gets sent to the battlefield for the Setup Phase. This is an opportunity for each side to strategize and coordinate – squads are assigned while the Warlord picks his powers and sets waypoints for each group.
Finally, the battle properly begins. Defenders always want to hold out as long as possible, but there are different goals for the Attackers depending on location:
Upon reaching a resolution, the battle ends and everyone gets their rewards. If the attackers completed their goal, then this changes the Strategic Map, possibly resulting in access to a Stronghold or a shift on the front line.
- INDUSTRIAL OUTPOSTS – Following the pipes and comms lines, the Attackers must take a series of points from the Defenders leading up to a central station.
- DEFENSE OUTPOSTS – In order to smash through these heavily-fortified checkpoints, the Attackers push forward, taking positions and destroying anything that gets in their way.
- CIVILIAN OUTPOSTS – Taking refuge in bombed-out cathedrals and government buildings, the Attackers must capture points from the Defenders and hold them to increase their influence.
- STRONGHOLDS – The Defenders are under siege with a limited number of reinforcements. As they hold their walls, gates and chokepoints, the constant onslaught of attackers forces them to fall back deeper into the base where the command station lies.
Territory control is just a means to an end, as there’s no reward for holding all the Territories. Instead, the focus is on advancing your faction’s progress in the current Campaign.
Campaigns occur regularly for a week at a time with both ongoing dynamic events and scheduled ones. Each faction has their own set of objectives for the campaign, and factions with lower populations may see fewer objectives or simpler ones. At the end you are judged by the objectives you completed compared to those you were given – no one faction ever “wins” a campaign.
Objectives can be related to simple capture, but they can also fundamentally change how you play. For example, as an Ork you may have an objective to destroy Imperial Relay Towers. The Space Marine faction will have an opposing objective and dynamic battles will pop up all over the continent for Ork and Space Marine players to participate in with a completely different ruleset tied to the new theme.
Even the outpost and stronghold battles can play differently as part of a campaign. In a bid to take the Western Territories, Abaddon might call in a favour from the dark gods and open a rift there, causing all battles in that area to take place during a warp storm. Or the Eldar Craftworlds might declare the Governor’s Palace a priority target and give more resources to their warlords there.
On top of the location-based encounters and campaign objectives, Commanders can deploy Command Vehicles to a territory that become targets for the enemy factions. The presence of these vehicles add additional powers and options to players of the same faction fighting there, and if the enemy wants to kick them out they can trigger a special battle to attempt to destroy them.
And finally in addition to the battles on the continent there are island territories that open up during peak hours. By controlling these zones, you can secure additional resources for your warlords anywhere on the planet.
That’s already a lot of war right there, but remember that this is what just what we’re planning for the initial implementation – as the tech matures we’ll open up entire territories for massive-level conquest. Arkhona is a living battlefield and we aim to add enough variety and dynamism for it to last for years to come.
Lead Game Designer
Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade