A new developer blog about Total War: Warhammer from the game’s director, Ian Roxburgh, details the mechanics of regional occupation. This, in the first Warhammer game at least, will work differently from prior Total War games.
Creative Assembly seem to be approaching the changes from two mindsets: first, that “paint the entire map one colour” becomes a pretty boring exercise in the latter stages of a campaign, and, second, that the traditional ‘conquer everything!’ approach of Total War bumps into some Warhammer lore problems.
While the first point is one that not all players will agree with, there will be quite a few strategy game fans (myself included) who find little to dispute here:
“I’ve lovingly spent thousands of hours playing every single TW title since then as a genuinely passionate TW fan. Even so, I can honestly say I have rarely finished a campaign to the point where I owned every region on the map. The Victory Conditions – and indeed the very essence of the game – are always over way before that point is reached. By the time you get to the point where you’re capable of taking every region on the map, it tends to become an auto-resolving slog just for the sake of completeness and to ‘tick a box’. There is no gameplay left at this point.”
In Total War: Warhammer, not all regions will be open to occupation by all races. Sometimes, you’ll only have the option to raze (removing the region as a threat) or pillage (earning you gold, and keeping the area around for another raid at a later date).
The post goes fairly in-depth with various Warhammer lore justifications for this. When Orcs and Goblins sweep through the Empire, they don’t do it with the intent to take and hold Imperial capitals. It’s all about destruction and looting. Dwarven fortresses have changed hands between Greenskins and Skaven (not in this first game, sadly), but it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for the Empire to take one and start living underground.
Tension between lore and gameplay will be stretched in other areas (the blog talks about the Empire making a possible alliance with Orcs and Goblins in the event of a much greater, Chaos-shaped threat), but it at least sounds like Total War: Warhammer is trying to strike a reasonable balance.
The game will be released on PC in April.