Each gamer starts the game with a family of ten family members of three generations. Gamers have to choose a race for their family and select a family name from a long list of surnames that historically matches their racial culture. Gamers can select first names for each of the family members and select different races for spouses. They can complete the process by selecting a birthday, birth-month and a birthplace for each character. Next, gamers can edit the facial and body features of the grandmother, grandfather and the spouses of their two children. The game will calculate the appearance of all the other family members based on genetics. The family data and appearance is now complete.
Gamers have to choose with which of the family members they wish to play. A free to play gamer has one character unlock, a pay to play gamer has three unlocks, and all gamers can purchase additional unlocks. Once a character is unlocked, a gamer can add a personal biography for that character.
Gamers have to choose a nationality for their family before they can play. There is a choice of 152 nations. The gamer has to take into account that the daylight hours of their chosen nation suit their online hours best, or else they will play mostly at the game’s night-time. Once the nation is chosen, a city needs to be selected for the family residence. A family is always able to move their residence to other nations and cities, but with moving comes upheaval and expense.
Gameplay begins in the family home interior. Commoners live in a townhouse, nobility in a mansion, and family homes can be upgraded, customized and decorated. All family members that are not at work or travelling can be found in the home, engaged in their usual routine. At a bed in the family home, an inn, a ship cabin or an owned location, the gamer can switch between playable characters. Additionally, locked family characters can be employed in the family business in managerial positions, replacing expensive staff.
Different noble titles are held by individual family characters, but their spouse shares the same title. The youngest generation of the family are unwed and can be married, creating a way to gain titles, inheritance and forge a lasting bond between different families.