Total War: Warhammer 3 is the latest installment in the beloved RTS series and is easily one of the most anticipated releases of 2022. Ahead of the game’s full launch in February, I had a chance to learn about Total War: Warhammer 3 from the team at Creative Assembly. I also got to play a few hours of the game’s campaign myself.
A realm in peril
Total War: Warhammer 3’s campaign, titled Forge of Souls, will bring about the conclusion of the trilogy. Within the Realm of Chaos lies a dying god, one that both Mortals and Daemons are desperately pursuing. Regardless of which side players choose to command, there will be a plethora of options and avenues available from the earliest moments. This is thanks to the variety of playable races and their respective traits.
The Grand Cathay are a noble people with disciplined and intimidating armies. Newly introduced in Warhammer 3, the Grand Cathay has an interesting Campaign Mechanic in Harmony. Every aspect of this race is aligned with Yin and Yang. Keeping a balance will reward players with bonuses, while an imbalance will lead to some pesky penalties. The Grand Cathay are proficient in melee combat and have powerful missile units.
Four of the playable races are sub-factions of the Chaos Gods, in the Khorne, Nurgkle, Slaanesh, and TZeentch. The Khorne are drawn to destruction and destroy settlements in the name of collecting skulls for the Blood God. The Nurgle honor the Plague Lord by spreading disease across the world, their Cyclical Buildings mechanic allows their settlements to grow over time, only to eventually die out.
The Slaanesh are a hedonistic people that can use Seduction to recruit members of other armies and force others into submission. They grow their numbers by raiding settlements and summoning armies. The Tzeentch are all about manipulation and trickery, able to push and pull the powerful Winds of Magic across their territory.
Total War: Warhammer 3 is launching with more playable races than any previous game in the series, giving players an array of options in how to approach the robust campaign.
There are several improvements that Warhammer 3 is looking to make over its predecessors, all of which put the player experience at the primary focus. Campaign Multiplayer can now support up to 8 players instead of the previous 2. Instead of having to wait as each player takes their turn individually, everyone will be able to take their turns simultaneously, allowing for a much more streamlined experience.
As players make their way through the game, they’ll notice new tactics and strategies available to them. You can now create Outposts in enemy territory, allowing you to recruit members of their army to join your ranks. When fights break out in a multiplayer campaign, players can help swing the battle by assigning their own forces to join a side in battle.
In addition to the standard 8-player version of the original Campaign, there are other dedicated co-op experiences for players to dig into in Warhammer 3. Something Rotten in Kislev is a 3-player campaign that tells the story of when the Dark Powers invaded The Motherland. In Darkness & Disharmony, up to 6 players will travel to the Grand Cathay to deal with the fallout of the disappearance of the Dragon Emperor and the Moon Empress.
Total War: Warhammer 3 has some new rulesets up its sleeve to shake up strategy and offer players a fresh challenge. With Storm of Magic, battles that take place in the non-Khorne Chaos Realms will see modifications such as unlimited magical reserves and access to special Cataclysm Spells.
Domination Battles are also a new addition in Warhammer 3. This multiplayer-only mode sees two teams of 1-4 players fight to control areas of an arena map, claiming objectives and destroying enemy forces. It’s an excellent way to hone not only combat, but conquering strategy.
Survival Battles return and once again offer a multi-stage battle that’s narrative-based and dynamic in the way it challenges players. Tasked with capturing three different points on the map, waves of increasingly difficult enemies will attempt to thwart the player. Capturing points rewards players with a currency that can be used to build better defenses against the onslaught of foes.
An ambitious conclusion
Total War: Wahammer 3 is tasked with both providing a satisfying end to a widely beloved trilogy, while also offering enough to make it seem like a unique and worthwhile addition to the series. The developers are looking to execute on both by giving players more options than ever, while making sure the overarching narrative doesn’t fall to the wayside.
This preview is based on an early build of Total War: Warhammer 3 provided by the publisher. The game launches on February 17, 2022.
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