I’m a big fan of empire building strategy games, starting first with Age of Empires II when I was around 8 yrs old, followed by many others.
I went from RTS (real time strategy) to turn based strategy with Civ Revolution before moving onto Medieval II Total War and Empire Total War. This changed everything.
The Total War series, if you’re unfamiliar, combines in depth management of your region/kingdom/empire with real time battles, which are quite frankly awesome to play, giving you that feeling of being an army general. For me, the collaboration with Games Workshop to take a series traditionally based on real history into the fantasy realm was a masterstroke.
Here are 10 reasons you might want to give Warhammer Total War a try.
1. There’s a whole world of lore to take in
If you’re a casual player who isn’t interested in the lore, the good news is you can still really enjoy Total Warhammer and there are bits of the overarching history and of course faction identities drip fed to you in just the right quantity.
If you are interested though, there is a massive amount of history, politics and culture to learn about. If you didn’t know, Warhammer is a tabletop game that has been around for decades (not to be confused with its older brother, Warhammer 40K – set in the same universe) with army guides and novels of varying quality published in Warhammer’s Black Library. Personally, I just use the wiki!
2. Accessible to new players, a fresh experience for existing ones
For anyone new to total war, Warhammer is as good a game to start with as any, though you may find there’s something missing when the monstrous and flying units aren’t at your disposal in other games! If you’re a fan of fantasy especially, it could be that Warhammer Total War offers you that special something.
For existing Total War players, you get similar dynamics in terms of expansion, trade, diplomacy, resource management and building progression but this all takes place in a fantasy world with all the scope this brings. You aren’t confined to a real time period and so everything just feels so much more creative.
When it comes to battles, there’s still that same rock, paper, scissors element; swords are good against pikemen, pikemen are good against cavalry etc. In addition to this though, there are new categories of units and endless possibilities as a result, which really does keep things fresh. This brings us on to number three…
3. Tons of unique units
I love the other total war games, but sometimes things feel a bit… samey? You have to go off the technology of the time period and the armies can only give you very slight variations on basically the same unit types.
Warhammer blows this out of the water. For a start, there are loads of different types of monstrous unit in the game. Huge mutated rats, necrosphynx, Carnotaurs and Stegadons (yes, dinosaurs) giants, dragons and many more. You’ve also got flying units, which bring completely new tactics to the battlefield. If you’ve ever thought a cavalry charge would look pretty awesome complete with a dragon bearing down behind it, you’d be correct.
4. A faction to suit every playstyle
The creative possibilities and the introduction of new unit types gives the factions a huge amount of scope for unique playstyles, which should suit every preference. For example, the Vampire Counts don’t use ranged units, but they command endless hordes of zombie cannon fodder and fast units to break at the enemy quickly, causing fear and leadership debuffs.
Bretonnia, a sort of medieval Frankish-Britain hybrid, rely mostly on elite cavalry, whilst the Dwarfs are slow but sturdy and prefer to stay put in fortified positions, with high armour and melee defence stats. The Dwarfs are perhaps the best race to start with as you don’t need to micro manage the battles much; by contrast with the Wood Elves you need to be constantly repositioning your units and harassing the flanks.
You can play as the Tomb Kings – heavily influenced by Ancient Egypt with huge, formidable constructs. Or how about Norsa – the Vikings of Warhammer, complete with war mammoths and the influence of the Chaos Gods. Or how about the Vampire Coast – undead pirates that make for a completely unique campaign.
There are several + races and dozens of factions, so you’re sure to find something you like and that suits the way you want to play.
5. The Games and DLC are now often discounted
Warhammer is usually featured in steam sales and the games and DLC often come down to as much as 66% off. There are two base games – Warhammer and Warhammer II. I would advise you to get both if you can, so that you can play Mortal Empires – a combination of the maps of both games which results in a much bigger, all encompassing experience in which every faction competes in the same campaign.
If you’re only going to get one, I’d suggest Warhammer II purely because it’s more polished, looks better and contains the fan fave Skaven race – ratmen that use warpfire technology, corruption and any sneaky way they can think of to obliterate their enemies.
There is plenty of free DLC so make sure you snap all of it up, aswell as any of the paid DLC that takes your fancy. None of it is essential to enjoy the experience and I would suggest it’s just nice to have the option once you’ve played a few campaigns and want something new, once you already enjoy the game. I will point out that Tomb Kings, Vampire Coast and a few of the less popular races are unlocked with paid DLC but you still have (if I remember rightly) 9 free races with at least 2 legendary lords to play as each – hundreds of hours of gameplay before you buy anything.
As I mentioned above, most of the DLC will be on offer at some point. You can also get some good deals on places like CDKeys.
6. No two campaigns are the same
One of the beauties of this game is that every game is unique. Different rivals will be more successful depending on the AI choices each time and the way you want to play. Sometimes as you play through you won’t go for world domination and it might be more enjoyable to create your own objectives – for example establishing pirate coves in major ports as Vampire Coast, eliminating all the Dwarfs from the mountains as the Greenskins, or developing a Bretonnian trading empire, getting rich through diplomacy.
You also have your own objectives given by the game if you want to play through them on mortal empires, or with a more focused story in the single game campaign (eye of the vortex in Warhammer II).
7. Hours of Replayability
If you play as the same faction with the same legendary lord, on the same difficulty, you’ll still have a unique experience. With all the possibilities though, this game wills give you such incredible value for money. I’ve had this game a couple of years, and have played it for at least a few hours a week when I’ve had chance since building my PC a few months ago – and there are many legendary lords and whole factions I haven’t even played as yet.
Things never get boring because there’s always a completely different way to play – something I find isn’t the case with some of the other total war games.
8. It’s as relaxing or as frentic as you want it to be
Warhammer Total War is a great game for relaxing at the PC, with a drink and maybe some snacks. The turn based nature means some older PCs or those with a slower processor might have a short wait between turns as the game progresses, although most will handle it fine. In the campaign map, there is no time limit and you can take your time planning your moves if you wish. Turn the difficulty levels up and every mistake is brutally punished, stepping up the concentration levels required.
The same can be said for the real time battles; you can set the difficulty lower for a more forgiving experience (though you can’t be a complete idiot and breeze through it) aswell as pausing the game or putting it into slow motion mid-action to assess the battlefield.
Keep the action running and turn the difficulty up and you need to be prime Napoleon with your battlefield skills to triumph. It’s possible to adjust the campaign and the battlefield difficulties depending on how you want to play – I have both on the standard setting which I find challenging enough while still being able to chill out whilst playing.
9. There’s a massive online community of fans and the developers care about them
Warhammer is Creative Assembly’s most popular total war game, with millions of players. If you’re somebody who likes watching YouTube videos discussing the game or forums etc. there’s an overwhelming amount of content.
Part of its continued popularity is down to the developers and the work they put into the game, coming out with excellent DLC packs every few months to keep things fresh and making endless quality of life improvements and fixes should any problems arise. They actually listen to the fans and take on board some of their wishes, aswell as improving on any new features after listening to feedback. They’re fully open to modders too, and you can find alot of cool mods in the steam workshop you can use in the game.
10. Warhammer III is due out later this year
It’s a great time to start playing Warhammer Total War and becoming familiar before the release of Warhammer III later in the year, which looks incredible from the limited amount of info released so far. Because the games are on offer a lot at the minute too, you can get them for a bargain and get those hours in before the release of the final instalment. Mortal Empires is gonna be huge!
Announced so far are 4 Chaos races, the Russian inspired Kislev (complete with polar bear cavalry!) and the China inspired Cathay, of which little is known so far. Rumours suggest the preorder bonus could be Chaos Dwarfs or Ogre Kingdoms – both of which will probably feature in the full game at some point.
It’s a great time to become familiar with the other factions before even more arrive soon!
I hope you enjoyed my Total War: Warhammer feature. Let me know what you think, or whether you already play. Thanks for reading.