Total War: Warhammer
|Total War: Warhammer|
Timothy Michael Wynn
|Platform(s)||Microsoft Windows, Linux, macOS|
|Genre(s)||Turn-based strategy, real-time tactics|
Total War: Warhammer is a turn-based strategy and real-time tactics video game developed by Creative Assembly and published by Sega for Microsoft Windows via the Steam gaming platform. The game was brought to macOS and Linux by Feral Interactive. The game features the gameplay of the Total War series with factions of Games Workshop's Warhammer Fantasy series; it is the first Total War game not to portray a historical setting. It is the 10th title in the Total War series and the first title to be released in the Total War: Warhammer trilogy.
Like previous titles in the Total War series, gameplay unfolds both on a scale of kingdoms in a turn-based strategy campaign, managing cities and the movement of armies, and on a smaller scale in real-time tactics skirmishes and sieges, managing the movement and actions of individual units and characters within an army during a battle. The player controls one of several fantasy factions, each with their own units, characters and abilities. These include Dwarfs, Human factions, Greenskins and Vampire Counts at launch, with more added as paid downloadable content.
Total War: Warhammer was largely well received by critics, and sold over half a million copies in its first few days on sale.
Total War: Warhammer is a turn-based strategy game with real-time tactical battles between armies. While previous Total War games feature historical settings, Warhammer introduces the fantasy setting as well as characters from the Warhammer universe. These characters, which include monsters, warriors, and heroes, are controlled by the player or computer.
The game begins with the ascension of Karl Franz as the newly elected Emperor of the Empire and the recent turmoil that has occurred with a civil war uprising and the counts of the empire resenting his rule. His task is to unite his fractured kingdom and assert his dominion before challenging the other realms surrounding them and bring peace to the Old World. This peace is challenged by the eternal grudge of the Dwarfs towards the savage Greenskins, and the Vampires ruled by the Von Carsteins in far-flung Sylvania attempting to lead an undead army west and seize the Imperial throne. Yet in the north the Chaos horde rides and seeks to destroy everything in its path corrupting all that stands in its way of domination.
Total War: Warhammer featured four playable factions at launch, including the Empire (humans), the Greenskins (orcs and goblins), the Dwarfs and the Vampire Counts (undead). The Chaos faction, made up of evil humans and monsters, was available for free to those who pre-ordered or purchased in the first week of release and subsequently available as downloadable content (DLC). The Bretonnians, another human faction, are available since February 2017 for the Campaign, Skirmish and Multiplayer. Each faction has access to their own unique units and a campaign element, a new feature for Total War. For instance, the Greenskins faction features units such as Trolls and Giants and has the "Waaagh!" system, which pushes the player to always be on the warpath.
The campaign map is similar to that featured in Total War: Attila, the primary difference being the bigger changes in physical terrain and climate as one moves from a particular point in the map to another. The campaign map spans from the Chaos wastes in the north to the Greenskin-infested badlands in the south and from the Great Ocean in the west to the Dwarven realms in the World's Edge mountains to the east.
While Total War: Warhammer is built around the Total War system of city and unit building, army manoeuvring and diplomacy with other factions, it has numerous new elements that differ from previous Total War games. In addition to those already mentioned, they include the ability of agents to participate in battles to give your army an edge; a wider variety of animations, with 30 different types of skeleton and body types compared to only five or six previously; flying units such as dragons, which make use of the new animation capacity; corruption is now caused by the presence of Vampire Counts or Chaos armies, rather than internal factors; the renaming of Generals as Lords - they now fight as individuals rather than embedded within a bodyguard unit, and can be upgraded via skill and equipment trees to boost both their own and their army's power; and the addition of a quest mode which tasks players to complete missions and battles to receive unlockable items and abilities. One of the most significant new elements, however, is magic. Different factions have different amounts of access to the various "lores" (types) of magic, with some, such as the Dwarfs, having no access whatsoever. Units with access to magic can turn the tide of battles - their abilities are far more powerful than any available to battlefield units in previous games.
In December 2012, publisher Sega announced a partnership with Games Workshop to develop multiple titles for the Warhammer series. Sega tasked The Creative Assembly, the creator of the Total War series, to develop the titles. The first game in the series was set to be released "beyond 2013". At the time of the announcement, Creative Assembly had five titles in development, which included 2013's Total War: Rome II and 2014's Alien: Isolation. On January 13, 2015, the game was leaked through an artbook called The Art of Total War. The game was teased in a video released by The Creative Assembly to celebrate its 15th anniversary. However, the game was not officially announced until April 22, 2015, in which Sega released a cinematic debut trailer for the game. Total War: Warhammer is set to be the first title in a trilogy, with expansions and standalone titles to be released in the future. Total War: Warhammer was due to be released for Microsoft Windows on April 28, 2016. However, on March 3, 2016, Creative Assembly announced that the game was delayed to May 24, 2016. The Linux version was released by Feral Interactive on 22 November, 2016 with the macOS version following on 18 April, 2017.
The Chaos Warriors downloadable content (DLC) was the first DLC to be released for Total War: Warhammer; it was made available to purchase alongside its initial release and was included for those who preordered the game. This was widely criticized by the gaming community and from Warhammer fans in particular, with Creative Assembly, the developer of the game, stating they were "disheartened" by the reaction. On April 29, 2016, it was announced that the Chaos Warriors DLC would be available for free for a week after its release.
A number of post-release content packs have been announced and released for the game, consisting of a wide range of DLCs and campaign packs. Five DLC packs have been released in 2016 (excluding the pre-order bonus). The first of these to be released was the Blood for the Blood God DLC which adds blood to the game as well as a charge bonus for units in battle. This was followed by Call of the Beastmen, which adds the Beastmen faction. This is made up of men corrupted by chaos and mutated into human-animal combinations and includes new units such as the Minotaur. The mechanics for the faction are similar to that of the Chaos Warriors in that the player controls a horde. This means the faction's armies and settlements are combined, making armies essentially moving settlements. Beastmen also have a "Brayherd" mechanic which is similar to the Orcs' "Waaagh!". This "Brayherd" mechanic allows the player to raise an extra allied computer-controlled army for free upon raiding and winning enough battles. The next DLC to be released in 2016 was The Grim and the Grave which adds a new mechanic called "Regiments of Renown". This mechanic adds units to both the Empire and Vampire Counts, who can be raised as mercenaries based on the player's highest level Lord. It also adds two new Legendary Lords.
On October 20, 2016 The King and the Warlord was released, bringing with it new battlefield units, quest chains, and two new factions: the dwarf Clan Angrund and the Crooked Moon Tribe of goblins, two perennial enemies. In addition to this, the DLC also introduced two new legendary lords as well as new elite Regiments of Renown. This was followed on December 8 by Realm of the Wood Elves, which introduced the Wood Elves as a playable faction in the game. Unique compared to other factions, the Wood Elves may occupy any region on the map, which they must do in order to obtain the resource amber, upon which much of their infrastructure is based. With a new and full army roster which focuses primarily on powerful yet mobile units, the Wood Elves also possess two new legendary lords and a number of new faction-specific mechanics. Their in-game victory conditions are based on protecting and upgrading the wonder known as 'The Oak of Ages', which is situated in the centre of their territory.
On February 28 2017, Creative Assembly released Bretonnia DLC: a faction composed of humans from a nation in the Warhammer setting that neighbors the lands of the Empire, patterned on historical feudal France and chivalrous knights, and a gameplay focus on heavy cavalry. This DLC was free and was initially reported as the last one released for the game.
On August 10 2017, Creative Assembly released the Norsca DLC, adding the distinctly Viking-inspired human faction as a playable race. It was offered mainly as a pre-order bonus accompanying the upcoming sequel Total War: Warhammer II, but could also be purchased as a standalone item.
In May 2016, Creative Assembly announced that mods and Steam Workshop's features would be supported. Creative Assembly have developed several mods that were released alongside the game, while players can create their own mods through official mod tools. In September 26, 2018 an expanded limited edition version of the game titled Total War: Warhammer: Dark Gods Edition was announced on the official site which included Warriors of Chaos, Bretonnia, and Norsca along with the four core races. 
Total War: Warhammer had generally favourable reviews from critics. It has a score of 87/100 on Metacritic. IGN awarded it a score of 8.6 out of 10, saying "Total War: Warhammer brims with exciting ideas, awesome characters, and delightful units and faction mechanics." GameSpot awarded it a score of 9.0 out of 10, saying "It's a triumph of real-time strategy design, and the best the Total War series has ever been." PC Gamer awarded it a score of 86%, saying "If you find real history a bit bland compared to glorious nonsense made up by strange British people then Warhammer is the Total War for you." Game Informer awarded it a score of 8.75 out of 10, saying "the series has never felt so fun...Total War: Warhammer is one of the best Total War games I've ever played." The Guardian awarded it a score of four out of five stars, saying "Total War: Warhammer has done the best it can do with the legacy Total War engine, and is also a loving tribute to Warhammer."
Total War: Warhammer is also the fastest-selling Total War game, selling half a million copies in the first few days on sale. As a promotional contest for the multiplayer online battle arena game Dota 2, Warhammer-themed community created cosmetics for playable characters in that game were released in September 2016.
Total War: Warhammer was designed to be split into three parts, the initial game being the first episode. The second part titled Total War: Warhammer II was released on September 28 2017. No release date for the third part has been announced.
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