As the red mist descends on Augustus and the End of the World begins, I'm going to step back and talk about some of our new features one at a time, starting with Elite Empires.
There will always be the cream of the crop, the best of the best, the leaders pack, the Elite. We feel you should be rewarded, encouraged and decorated for this achievement. So we will shower you with gilt, and provide you the finest things, for a price.
Top players will be recruited into the Elite. The roads are truly paved with gold as your Empire enters a golden age of prosperity. With this promotion comes access to more powerful units and buildings, for a price of course. Always with success comes cost; to quote a favourite author of mine, "On the heights, all paths are paved with daggers".
Elite in the Classical Age
The first thing an Elite Empire will notice is that their promotion comes with a definitive ranking. It's important to know who is who among the whoms, so all Elite players will be ranked on a leaderboard accessible to all players. While this prestigious listing brings recognition, glamour and glitz, it also brings the mob, for now they know where you live. So remember to fight for ranking among your peers, but beware the hungry mob at the door.
Your Settlements and garrisons will be highlighted in all their glory as the pinnacle of society, full of rich treasures to loot. At this point we have chosen not to make Elite players attackable, but it is something we considered and haven't ruled out for the future. First we want to see how angry the mob is before removing the gilded gates.
Elite in the Feudal Age
As the Elite you get access to the best; your buildings and troops are stronger, but they cost more to build (although troop upkeep is the same for most units). Your citizens have richer tastes and expect to be treated as if they are in the best Empire in existence.
As an Elite player you will not be able to request aid or purchase help from third parties. You are among the strong and must stand on your own two feet, proud and tall.
Elite in the Industrial Age
The exact mechanics of promotion and demotion are centred on Culture, and have a few hidden details. If the Societies deem your Empire as a possible candidate, you will be informed you are eligible for promotion to Elite status. If at the end of that period you manage to impress, then you are promoted into the Elite. Once in the Elite, however, if your Empire starts lagging and losing its lustre, then you are put on notice. You have a set timeframe in which to improve matters, or you will be summarily demoted from the Elite.
We are currently racing to get this live, and I would love to give a date but cannot at this point. Our current sprint ends on Tuesday 13 September, at which point we will know if we can push some of the new features live, including others I will be detailing soon. I wish you good luck in the fight for survival; as you build your Empires we are working hard to build 8Realms.