On each continent, inactive circles of monoliths exist in seeminly random locations. Over time, these shrines will become active, each dedicated to one of The Eight Virtues. Once a Shrine is active, it will randomly enlighten nearby cities.
Active Shrines will regularly enlighten nearby cities for a limited time. Only while a city is enlightened can the owner build or upgrade a Palace. Only cities with a Castle can be enlightened. The owner also needs to be a member of an alliance to gain and keep enlightenment.
Building or upgrading a Palace requires preparation and a combined effort from an alliance. Building or upgrading a Palace takes vast amounts of wood and stone, becoming more expensive with each level. Common storage buildings will not be able to hold anywhere near enough resources to upgrade a higher level Palace. During the initial enlightenment, the city will gain a permanent and unlimited amount of storage for resources dedicated to build or upgrade its Palace. Every trade transport heading to the city while it is enlightened can choose to dedicate its resources to Palace construction. Those resources will not use the common storage space and cannot be used for anything else once they arrived.
The Palace will be of the same type as the Shrine which enlightened the city. Only one Palace can be built per city and it requires a 3x3 square tile of unused land. A Palace can only be built or upgraded once during an enlightenment. Cities with a Palace look different in the region view, and the level of the Palace is public, available for all to see, as is the level of damage sustained by the Palace.
An alliance has a ranked faith for each Virtue, and a Palace will increase that faith. Faith grants beneficial effects which are similar to those of research, but for every member of the alliance. All Palaces within an alliance contribute to the 8 different collective Faith values for the alliance.
If an alliance manages to build the highest level Palace for each Virtue, the alliance has won and every member of the alliance will become a “Lord of Ultima!” Every member of the winning alliance gets a permanent “Lord of Ultima”-achievement displayed in their player profile, which is visible on every server. The achievement will show additional information about the contribution and effort of that player.
Moongates, when active, link the Caledonian islands and allow transportation for land-based attacks against any continent with an active Moongate. Moongates are open for only a single day before closing, and any troops engaged when the gate begins to close will automatically cease their current siege activities to return home. Moongate enlightenment occurs every 144 to 192 hours (6 to 8 days).