Total War: Warhammer III looks to be Creative Assembly’s magnum opus. As the final installment in the grim-dark fantasy trilogy, following its well-received predecessor, the studio is no doubt looking to go all out, especially with the announcement trailer hinting at Grand Cathay, transforming the already massive Mortal Empires campaign in Warhammer II even bigger.
With all that being said, CA is known for cutting or removing features for the sake of streamlining the franchise, and while streamlining isn’t inherently bad, and in some cases, actually beneficial, WH2’s grand campaign and mechanics leave a lot to be desired. This especially rings true after the company’s latest historical release, Total War: Three Kingdoms, overhauled diplomacy and grand campaign mechanics to be among the best in the series.
Here’s hoping these 5 features from previous games make it in Warhammer III and bring the series to new heights.
5. Diplomacy from Three Kingdoms
As aforementioned, the diplomacy in 3K is outstanding. For the first time in the franchise, players can finally engage in diplomatic deals other than trade agreements and worthless military alliances. Coalitions, military alliance AI actually being proactive, better war coordination targets, paying and getting paid gold/food per turn, trading territories, knowing why a deal will or won’t succeed, all of these are a far cry from the objectively atrocious system in older titles.
While WH3 having 3K’s diplomacy is practically a given, given that A Total War Saga; Troy features it, CA can go even further beyond. With the number of races and different cultures in this universe, dealing with different factions can become just as varied and unique as the actual battles in the series. Dealing with the Tomb Kings, who greatly respect strength and large empires, can be a completely different experience than dealing with, say, Wood Elves, who often don’t wish to concern themselves with issues outside of Athel Loren.
WH2’s diplomacy is already a little like this, but it still uses the old system of forcing the player to play a game of incrementally increasing a gold payment while the chance of success remains on “Medium”, which makes it all but pointless.
Coalitions, which debuted in 3K, can make WH3 campaigns feel special, as completely different races can engage in a non-binding agreement to help each other with shared enemies, which will no doubt include Chaos. Imagine the Empire forming a coalition with the Greenskins or even Skaven. It can make each and every campaign unique and that much more special.
It’s been a hot minute since naval battles, which were last featured in Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia, appeared in the franchise. Often lambasted by fans due to clunky mechanics and boring gameplay, naval battles were completely cut from Thrones of Britannia onward, despite Warhammer, Three Kingdoms, and Troy settings having a large focus on water.
Warhammer has the Vampire Coasts, and Black Arks of the Dark Elves, the most well-known battle of the Three Kingdoms era was the Battle of Red Cliffs, which was a naval battle, and the Greeks were known for their navies, and with Troy taking place in the Mediterranean, which is like half water, naval battles still being missing is a bit of a question mark.
While it is true that naval battles in pre-gunpowder games are a bit boring and clunky, and there is an argument to be made for 3K and Troy not having them, WH3 will have no excuse if it doesn’t feature naval battles. Games set in gunpowder eras, like Total War: Empire, Napoleon, and Fall of the Samurai, have naval battles that are widely beloved by fans, largely due to the spectacle and pace of battles when grand ships are actually firing cannons at each other instead of fire arrows on little wooden boats.
Not to mention, along with the aforementioned Dark Elves and Vampire Coasts, the possibility of Nippon being added in, which is known in-universe for having the strongest navy in the world, WH3 not having naval battles, and reverting to the compromise of coastal/island battles would be a grand tragedy.
3. Cavalry and Infantry Buffs
WH2 is a lot of fun, no question. Magic, dinosaurs, tanks, giants who throw rocks as “artillery”, man-sized rats with Gatling guns, the diversity of the game is unrivaled.
However, missiles and ranged options are a bit too strong and dominant. As it stands on higher difficulties, there’s little incentive to use infantry or even cavalry as certain factions, as factions like High Elves simply spam Sisters of Avelorn.
This isn’t true across the board, as factions like Empire utilize a good amount of combined arms, but that’s largely due to the Empire’s extremely lackluster missile units. Infantry often simply don’t do enough damage to justify bringing them along, and cavalry is hard nerfed across the board compared to previous games, where even a Reiksguard charge can feel like a wet noodle. This is a wild contrast from the cavalry in previous games or even in 3K, where horses reign supreme.
Yes, it does make sense that cavalry would be weaker in a universe with tanks, giants, and Necrofex Colossuses, but that doesn’t mean my Reiksguard should get a clean charge into the flank of Greenskins, do no damage, then rout due to their shoddy combat stats.
2. General Speeches and Banter
Another thing these games are known for is the characters, larger-than-life heroes and villains clashing with each other. Karl Franz, Balthasar Gelt, Ikit Claw, Morathi, Vlad von Carstein, these characters are brim-full of personality and character. However, outside of quest battles, they don’t have any unique dialogue outside of their movement and battle quotes, which is a huge missed opportunity that has to be suggested on this list.
A return of general speeches, which were last seen in Total War: Shogun 2, would be appreciated. It’s already somewhat in the game as the aforementioned quest battles feature the faction leader giving a speech and context for the battle, with the infamous line “Welcome to Estalia, gentlemen” coming from Gelt in one of his quest battles. However, sticking them onto quest battles only is a shame, and hearing, say, Franz rally his troops against Chaos, Skaven, or Greenskins would make for a phenomenal experience.
Another avenue would be to take a page from 3K’s book and implement character banter in battles. A lot of the characters in Warhammer know and despise each other, so it wouldn’t feel out of place.
1. Siege Rework and Battle Maps
If you’ve played WH2, you saw this coming for our list of 5 features that should be in Warhammer III. Sieges, as it currently stands, are not great, to say the least. Buggy interactions between climbing the walls and entering gates, having only one avenue to attack from, archer towers with ungodly range, AI that stands on the walls and gets bombarded with your artillery, magic users on flying mounts being able to solo entire battles, the whole experience is just a mess.
They initially reworked sieges for Warhammer to be simpler for the AI, but all it did was infuriate the players and make them an absolute chore. Every battle basically plays out the exact same, on offense and defense, and with the number of sieges you have to fight, it really begs for a complete overhaul.
Taking a page from the Siege of Tor Yvresse from The Warden and The Paunch DLC or the sieges from Thrones of Britannia or Attila would be a great step. Street to street fighting, tight spaces, traps laid inside the settlements, settlement destruction mechanics where the more damage a settlement takes, the more disheartened the defenders get, all of these mechanics combined with new siege maps that give players more than just one wall to attack can completely turn siege battles around.
Battle maps are another thing that needs some work; while the background of the areas is beautiful and stunning, it’s just that, the background. Battle maps are often just a square plain, often with very little inclines and declines in elevation, but usually nothing more, a huge step down from maps in other games like the second Shogun or Attila.
A lot of the quest battles feature great maps with unique environments and usage of inclinations and forests, but, just like general speeches and the aforementioned Siege of Tor Yvresse, they’re stuck in quest battles.
That’s it for the 5 features in Warhammer III that will hopefully appear. Is there something you want to be implemented? Let us know in the comments below.