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Stronghold Warlords (SHW) is an upcoming installment of the Stronghold main series, dated to be released in 2020. It is the fourth member of the mainline Stronghold Series.
Stronghold Warlords is set to play in the vast territory of Eastern Asia, featuring four nations (but not limited to): the Chinese, the Japanese, the Mongols and the Vietnamese.
Emphasis continues to be on the sim aspect of Stronghold, managing castles and building armies, while keeping an eye on the economy and the everyday lives of the townsfolk. You can build various fortifications, industrial buildings and recruit units of wide varieties.
Graphics are re-designed and the user interface has been polished. Resources and the popularity panel are now permanently shown, selected units get a dedicated screen showing attack and defense values.
The Warlords systemEdit
The Estate system is redesigned, elevating to a new level of strategy.
The world map is divided into estates, each of them now represented by a Warlord, who each bear one personality aspect. All of them have their own benefits and traits, making them economically and diplomatically different (for example, the Horse is more economy-based, while the Pig is more military-focused). Warlords can provide benefits for their owners and their capabilities can be furthered by spending Diplomacy points for one-time actions. Diplomacy points can be earned through government buildings, like embassies.
Recurring features from earlier gamesEdit
- The Scribe returns to give remarks once again about events and happenings.
- Strong walls: a multiplayer option, which makes walls impervious to infantry attacks
- Estates (separate from Warlords' estates)
- Fear Factor
- Two classic units: the siege tower and the ladderman
- Single-player campaigns and multiplayer maps
- Gunpowder-type tower engines, units and traps
- New raw materials: saltpeter, gunpowder, silk, mulberry leaves
- New food types: tea, rice, vegetables, pork
- New weapon: lance, axe
- Housing quality (affects popularity)
- Turret-type towers
- New units from various Asian cultures: Vietnam, Mongolia, China, Japan
- Paved roads (increases worker efficiency)
Stronghold Warlords has been worked on since 2015, after the release of Stronghold Crusader 2. Initially, Firefly Studios had been hinting that a new Stronghold game is in development, however did not proceed on revealing information until much later.
In 2018, Firefly revealed that this particular game had still been being worked on, under the codename 'Stronghold Next', which spawned a series of insider and Q&A videos on YouTube, granting insights into the development process, the studio and most importantly, sparking a connection with the fanbase. Since then, the studio has been uploading videos addressing nostalgic moments, featuring community maps/mods and interviews with various staff members.
In June 2019, the next game has been revealed as 'Stronghold Warlords', which was shown a first footage from pre-alpha stage and an official intro as well, to the audience of E3 2019. Both videos highlighted the new addendum, the Warlords system that defines this particular sequel, along with the new Eastern Asian setting.
By September 2019, Stronghold Warlords entered alpha stage. Graphics have improved, while gameplay has smoothened. Various gameplay aspects were shown in great detail on the demo map.
At PAX East 2019, Firefly set up gaming booths with an alpha demo of Stronghold Warlords, where participants could play a 15 minutes long survival mode-style mission.
Connection with the community Edit
Firefly Studios operates their own Discord server, where it is possible to discuss various Stronghold-related topics, both of Warlords and existing games. The team also collects feedback, while also drip-feeds information about Warlords once in a while (usually not long before an official video is published). Every member can choose to join one of three empires: The Mongolian Horde, The Japanese Shogun or the Chinese Dynasty.
A series of community challenge called "MetaGame" is on-going on the server. Each group is facing a war situation, commanding a legion of troops. The group's army must be collectively commanded and group members have to make essential decisions, which affect both the status quo and the army itself. Individual members can earn money from working, committing crime or robbing other users (crime and robbery may involve fines as well). Each option can be done once every 12 hours. The votes deadline usually after a few days.
The current round of MetaGame concludes in the end of February 2020. The winning group will be rewarded a (not yet published) version showcased at New PAX East 2020, while the other groups obtain a copy of the 2019 September Survival mode Alpha demo.