Creative AssemblyRelease Date:
May 24, 2016Platform of Record:
The latest installment of the Total War series moves to the fantasy world of Warhammer. The playable factions in the vanilla version are Empire (humans), Greenskins (Orcs and Goblins,) Dwarves, and Vampires.
For those unfamiliar with the TW series and where it's gone, it's a series focusing on melding turn based strategy and real time strategy/tactics together. They have thrown more and more city/province/empire management into the mix via construction choices, tax/income settings, happiness, and production in recent games (and occasionally made efforts to then simplify it) as well. What you end up with is a game that has allows you to manage cities, army composition and movement on a turn based map spanning multiple cities/provinces, with battles being resolved on a realtime map with several military units (units, in this case, meaning you can select a single unit composed of e.g. 60 archers and issue it an order. You don't control the individual person, rather the group of persons as a whole.)
Each game has changed (either for refinement or to add/remove whole mechanics,) some aspect of this formula to varying degrees of success. In TW: Warhammer, the biggest immediate differences in mechanics are:
- All factions have their own unique units. There is no more sharing of a common set of "basic" units with just a few faction specific ones
- "Heroes" make an appearance. They are, for all intents and purposes, the traditional special unit (i.e. ninja in Shogun) except they can be attached to your army and fielded during battle. I imagine this was their way of adapting the tabletop mechanic of having an army with multiple "HQ" units, where one is your actual commander and the other is simply a very expensive powerful unit.
- Faction specific traits. The one I'm aware of is that Orcs have a "fightiness" bar, which measures discontent among your army if you do not engage in battle or raiding over a certain length of time, and eventually results in attrition (loss of units due to desertion, in-fighting, starvation, or etc.)
- Flying units, which so far I've only seen attackable by other air units or ranged units
Overall, the changes to armies makes army management and style interesting. Orc's fightiness ensures that Orc players will be more aggressive, or else risk constantly trying to defend with weakened armies. Sacking, but not occupying, cities and conducting raiding parties (a "stance" for your army,) also helps to build fightiness. To contrast that, the brief time I spent playing as Dwarves was less aggressive and more focused on pinpoint attacks and maneuvering only when needed. It's made this aspect of Total War quite fun and presents a host of nuanced possibilities
City management comes by way of the typical interface: you have a certain number of "slots" per city (but now the possibility of multiple cities per province,) that all add up to the totals for that entire province. It allows distributing your capabilities across a province for defensive, resource, or other purposes. Overall, not a whole lot has changed here, other than now provinces can be afflicted by corruption instead of just by discontent.