A World Betrayed: Lu Bu’s faction mechanics
Lu Bu’s entire campaign in Total War: Three Kingdoms – A World Betrayed hinges on Momentum. This is a pooled resource that decreases by one point each turn at lower levels and two points at higher levels. At 10 points of Momentum, you gain the bonuses seen below:
It’s an extremely powerful feature that keeps Lu Bu’s armies in tip-top condition, all while ensuring that his officers remain loyal. You’ll earn Momentum via the following actions:
- Defeating officers in battle with Lu Bu’s army = 1 point for each officer.
- Defeating officers in duels with Lu Bu’s army (stacks with the above) = 1 point for each duel.
- Razing a captured settlement (similar to Dong Zhuo’s mechanic) = 5 points.
As mentioned, Momentum passively drops each turn, but it can also be used actively:
- Inspire Loyalty = done via your court panel; increases satisfaction for 10 turns; costs 1 point.
- Inspire Commandery = done via assignments; improves construction and replenishment while negating corruption for 5 turns; costs 2 points to initiate, not per turn.
- Coerce (similar to Dong Zhuo’s mechanic) = done via the diplomatic panel; adds more diplomatic weight to your proposals; costs 3 points.
- Annex = capture a settlement without a fight; done via right-clicking on a settlement and selecting the option; the cost is variable depending on the settlement level.
This is a post-battle option which adds a bit of replenishment while making your units tired once the fight commences. The main draw, however, is that it instantly resets your campaign movement points. This option is available to all armies in the faction. Others may have been told not to pursue Lu Bu, so it’s Lu Bu who’ll end up pursuing them instead.
Additionally, Lu Bu players will need to take note of the Personal Victories mechanic. Its levels rise for every character defeated in battle and do not decay over time. For each point, your post-battle loot income increases which definitely sounds good. Unfortunately, it also lowers officer loyalty and diplomatic relations while increasing prestige:
- Officer loyalty drops are 1/2 of your points earned.
- Diplomatic penalties are 1x of your points earned.
- Prestige earned is 2x of your points earned.
This is a double-edged sword. The more you fight using Lu Bu’s army, the angrier your officers and rival warlords would get. Momentum can offset this malus for your officers, but you’ll find yourself constantly at war with other leaders because of this mechanic.
Similarly, the prestige increases are additive for every turn. It’s even possible to reach King rank (and declare yourself emperor) within a couple dozen turns if you keep winning. This will lead to moments when you’re unprepared for the struggle against contender kingdoms. On the flip side, you do get lots of court positions to keep your officers happy.
Lu Bu becomes the most muscular Pokémon collector in the Han Dynasty’s history thanks to this feature. Similar to Sun Ce’s Legacy of Wu ambitions, the Greatest Warriors tally tasks you with beating up a who’s who of Three Kingdoms era luminaries. Unlike most of the Legacy of Wu ambitions, however, the Greatest Warriors mechanic is generally a solo effort. You only get credit if Lu Bu is part of the army that gets the victory against these officers.
Each officer provides a particular permanent faction-wide bonus and completing a set even leads to better rewards. There are, of course, a handful of issues. First, you don’t get the credit if an officer has joined your faction via recruitment. For instance, I had already defeated Cao Cao when Xu Zhu appeared as a free officer. I employed him and I didn’t get the completion.
There’s also another requirement where you need to defeat Zhang Liao in battle. The funny thing is that Zhang Liao is part of your faction already in Total War: Three Kingdoms – A World Betrayed. As mentioned in our official review, it seems as though you’re expected to ignore or banish these unique officers so that, by some random chance, you’d end up fighting them down the line. One design improvement I could think of is having an event where Lu Bu “spars” with a general who’s already part of his faction. That way, you technically still “defeated” them.
Lastly, you need to beeline for specific characters, often redeploying Lu Bu all over the campaign map if you need those perks. If a faction gets destroyed by someone else, or if a character is killed accidentally, you won’t be able to “catch (and punch) them all.”
Note: Lu Bu also has the Mercenary Contracts feature available to bandit-type factions. This lets him be employed by other lords in their wars with their respective enemies. Players are also allowed to initiate these proposals or even present counter-proposals to a target (attacking your previous employer instead). This mechanic will be locked if you decide to become someone’s vassal. Anyway, since this mechanic is more in-line with the bandit reworks in patch 1.5, we’ll discuss it in our Yan Baihu guide.
Lu Bu’s unique officers and units
Lu Bu retains the use of Xiliang Cavalry and Heavy Xiliang Cavalry. Both are instrumental in any Dong Zhuo campaign, though they’re quite expensive. Still, the costs may offset just how strong these units are. When you combine this with the “Guerrilla Deployment” skill and “cycle-charging” Lu Bu can decimate entire armies within seconds.
As for unique officers, Zhang Liao’s still around. Gao Shun and Chen Gong now have unique portraits and models, too. Gao Shun is actually extremely useful to have once you have an imperial court. Chen Gong’s “Trusting” trait, meanwhile, leads to penalties for espionage.
In any case, all of these mechanics make Lu Bu an absolute powerhouse in Total War: Three Kingdoms – A World Betrayed. So, without further ado, let’s talk about how his campaign plays out and what events you can expect.