WARHAMMER III Immortal Empires Arrives With New Champions of Chaos
Warhammer The Extended Edition
Plenty Of Direction And Cutting Too
Warhammer III Immortal Empires becomes available today, which fans of the series have been waiting to check out. Like Mortal Empires before it, this new campaign mode incorporates everything from the three games into one huge campaign map. That took more than just a few stitches to accomplish. The lighting and map effects have also seen a revamp as well.
Along with the free Immortal Empires update comes the Champions of Chaos DLC. This adds four new Chaos Legendary Lords and also adds Be’lakor as a playable Lord with similar mechanics to the other four. This gives you a chance to play a slightly different Chaos campaign, not dependant on camps but actually able to take over cities, to a point. While you do need to purchase it, you don’t need it to play Immortal Empires.
- OS: Windows 10 64-bit
- Processor: Intel i5/Ryzen 5 series
- Memory: 8 GB RAM
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti/AMD RX 5600-XT
- DirectX: Version 11
- Storage: 120 GB available space
Total War: WARHAMMER III – $79.99 CDN
Total War: WARHAMMER III – Champions of Chaos – $21.99 CDN
To play the Immortal Empires Campaign you also need …
Total War: WARHAMMER – $71.99 CDN
Total War: WARHAMMER II – $71.99 CDN
DLC is not required to play Immortal Empires, but all DLC content you own will be applicable in campaign
“Immortal Empires is the biggest strategy game campaign ever created, combining the numerous factions and expansive maps of Total War: Warhammer, Total War: Warhammer II and Total War: Warhammer III. It also contains each game’s respective DLC factions, from the ravenous Vampire Coast to the skeletal Tomb Kings. “
Far More Than You Ever Saw In The RPG!
The old pen and paper Warhammer Fantasy RPG mostly took place in the Empire, not least of which because setting foot outside the walled cities was a great way to suffer a horrible death. That might have been your best case scenario, as there are fates much worse than death awaiting you. With the first Total War Warhammer game we got to see the New World of the Empire, as well as other well established realms such as the Dwarven Kingdoms, the Vampire Counts and of course, the Greenskins; expanded upon with DLC released after the game.
The second expanded into the unknown western Old World, with Elves both High and Dark, the remnants of the Lizardfolk Kingdoms and others. Total War offered you a chance to play a campaign specific to those environs, but also offered something very unique for owners of the first game. You could play a mode called Mortal Empires, on a map composed of both games, including all the playable races and DLC both old and new.
With the release of Warhammer III, it was assumed by fans that the same thing would take place. However, thanks to the odd placement of Kislev on the map and the need to stitch the Chaos Wastes together, this took Total War a little longer to achieve. They did indeed manage it, and you are now able to roam from one side of The Fated Place to the other, doing whatever the race you chose does best.
Ogres In Strange Places
The list is incredible, with up to 86 different Legendary Lords to chose, from the 13 different races available to play when you include all the DLCs. The Legendary Lords each start in different locations and in Immortal Empires that mix is significantly more varied than in the previous campaign. If you have the Ogre Lords DLC from Warhammer III you can chose to play as Skragg, who happens to be squatting in the lands of the Border Princes. He is hungry for more than just their lands.
The new Vampire Count runs an undead caravan through the mountain passes between the New World and Cathay, looking to spread undeath throughout those lands. You will notice a lack of the Realms of Chaos, for in the Immortal Empires campaign, you do not have to worry about portals appearing nor a mostly dead bear god. That doesn’t mean Be’Lakor is gone, he is one of the Legendary Lords of the forces of Chaos, and hangs out north of the lands of the High Elves.
Total War also designed lore for each new Legendary Lord as well as unique quests and dynamic end-game scenarios to keep things interesting. They also realized that not many campaigns, short or long, were ever completed. The amount of effort to win on the combined worlds made the end game tedious. They’ve simplified the victory conditions, with the long campaign focusing on wiping out certain factions in addition to the provinces you need to win the short victory. They will still take you a long time to do, but it shouldn’t be quite the same marathon.
Immortal Empires Is Mostly The Same …
The map is huge, as with Mortal Empires, the new continent is compressed somewhat in Warhammer III Immortal Empires. The provinces are all mostly still there but the geography has been altered to mesh with the existing map. The same is true throughout all three continents, to try to make it a little less mind boggling while still retaining an epic scope.
A new sea lane mechanic is incorporated into the map to allow you to traverse to distant provinces without having to march your army manually. There are three sea lanes at static locations on the map, entering one with a hero or army will disable those units for a few turns, before they are available to control again at the far end of the sea lane. This makes getting from one side to the other much quicker and gives you interesting options if you are close to one and looking to expand in a different direction.
The processing of turns also seems to have benefited from some optimization, at least in the beginning of the game. It does tend to slow as more of the map is revealed to you. This is rather important as the game starts with almost 300 active factions. This quickly changes as empires rise and fall, on their own or because of your actions. As you start the game, you can choose to disable some of the new victory conditions if you so desire.
Corruption has been modified to fit better with the unique game play of Immortal Empires. There are new ways to deal with encroaching corruption as well as spreading it.
Multiplayer Mayhem Finally!
The previous two Total War Warhammer games offered limited multiplayer battles, where you could pit two or more armies against each other just like in the good old tabletop wargame. This was quite sad, as the multiplayer campaigns in the other Total War franchises were very well done. You and a number of people could play the grand campaigns together or head to head, and the mostly supported mods as well.
Immortal Empires finally brings proper multiplayer support to Warhammer III, letting you play three custom campaigns or the full map. The three new campaigns give you a chance to try your luck against Chaos, handle a small political problem in Cathay or find out what’s rotten in Kislev. They offer a smaller map, less races to choose from but will be easier to manage than a full campaign.
You can team up or go free for all with up to eight players total in the multiplayer version of Immortal Empires, I did not have a chance to test this during the beta so it will be interesting to see how well implemented it is. You should expect a number of patches over the coming weeks as it is a safe bet there are still some balancing issues to work out between the races from the Old and New Worlds.
In order to play multiplayer, only the host is required to own all three Total War Warhammer games. Those that join can play the full Immortal Empires map but are limited to the Legendary Lords and races which they own, that content can’t be borrowed from the host. It is a very smart move on Total War’s part, as it would be difficult to convince others to purchase three games at the same time. It might certainly have an effect on their DLC purchasing habits however.
The Champions Of Chaos
The second DLC for Total War Warhammer brings in four brand new Legendary Lords as well as turning Be’lakor into one as well. They can be played in both Immortal Empires and Realm of Chaos, though they have a completely different story line which does not directly involve Bear Gods. This will give those that have already played through Warhammer III something new to try out as their champion seeks to enter the fabled city of Zanbaijin to perform a ritual to tip the balance of power in the realms of Chaos in their patron’s favour.
The mechanics are similar to those introduced with the forces of Chaos in Warhammer III, with Nurgle, Tzeentch, Khorne and Slaanesh all spreading incompatible corruption to the lands they occupy. The skill trees of the four Lords are similar, and the troops they use will be familiar to those that have played. They do each have unique features to their faction, so that the troops of Azazel of The Ecstatic Legions are immune to psychology while those of Valkia the Bloody gain an extra 20% movement after winning against an enemy army.
The Lords are able to occupy a city and build a single building in them along with the main structure, helping you spread Chaos to neighbouring lands. However in the North are several cities are considered Dark Fortresses and those can be fully occupied with proper buildings and upgrades. In addition, if you take over a Dark Fortress that happened to be occupied by Norscans, the remnants of that tribe will become your permanent vassals.
While you can recruit from a Dark Fortress your Lord is also able to recruit troops immediately, depending on their availability. You can look at the recruiting button on your army to see what troop types can spawn in this province as well as the percentage chance of one appearing. If there are any available you can recruit them immediately, after paying for them of course. No need to change stance, and you are able to move after recruiting. There are also certain troops which will spawn in limited numbers depending on what Chaos Boons you have active. Regiments of Renown are also recruited in this manner, with four new ones to try out.
The Power Of Chaos Grows
Along with your Legendary Lord and Heroes levelling up, there is another mechanic to improve your Heroes. They can gain boons by their actions during battle or on the campaign map which will slightly increase their effectiveness. These depend more on the type of hero than to which Chaos God they follow. After the hero gains some experience, you are able to dedicate the hero to one specific Chaos God. Doing so resets all the points you have put into the Lord, drops their level by 50% but also grants a significant increase in power. The boons depend on the type of hero and which Chaos God they are dedicated to.
Your regular troops can also benefit from something similar. Once they gain enough experience you are able to upgrade their weapons and eventually even remake them into a more powerful type of unit. It is worth keeping those Chaos Marauders alive as you can eventually upgrade them to far more useful troop types.
Souls Are The Currency Of Power
Once you have won a battle, there is a new game mechanic you need to consider. Instead of using captives to heal your troops you can sacrifice their souls to Chaos. The number of souls you have captured is shown at the top and they can be used to grant boons to your Legendary Lords. The boons range from a certain number of powerful troops being available to you through to providing experience to your troops each turn. There are two families of boons to chose from as you unlock them by going up levels. The ones on the outside of the rim are specific to followers of your daemonic patron, while the ones in the inner ring are available to all four new Lords.
These Gifts of Chaos not only require a certain number of souls to unlock and add to your character, they also cost a certain number of souls per turn. The Chaos Gods must be constantly fed so you are forced to fight frequently, and balance souls versus other needs. There are many more differences between the four new Lords and Be’lakor in the Champions of Chaos which you can explore in more detail at Total War.
Is Joining Forces With Chaos Worth The Cost?
The DLC content for the Total War Warhammer series has been both plentiful and quite good, for the most part. The Champions of Chaos DLC is one of the good ones. It not only brings in five new playable Lords but it also adds depth to playing as Chaos, leaving encampments to the Beastmen as it should be. It also adds a brand new campaign to give a new experience for those who have already played through The Realm of Chaos campaign, and want to experience a different adventure in the new continent.
As you may have surmised, owners of the original Chaos Warriors Race Pace from the first Warhammer Total War will be getting a free update today. It will update the mechanics of those Chaos forces to match the new style of play if you want to revisit the original again. At some point in the near future Total War will release a free Marked Chaos Warriors DLC for the first game which will add three new Warriors of Chaos variants, Nurgle’s receive great weapons, Slaanesh gains Hellscourges and it’s halberds for Tzeentch. Those marked with Khorne’s symbol will remain with the original troop type from the DLC.
As for Immortal Empires? As it is free there is no question it is worth the investment, assuming someone you know has all three games and is willing to play multiplayer with you. If you don’t already own the previous two games, it is unlikely you bothered to even read this far. On the off chance you did, while it is a steep investment to purchase both previous Warhammer titles, let alone all three at once, it gives you an unparalleled way into the world of Warhammer. Keep an eye out for sales, as limiting yourself to playing only those races which came with Warhammer III is no where near as much fun as being able to choose from most (or all) of them.
Thanks goes to Total War for providing a review code to unlock some of the DLC I hadn’t purchased to test in Immortal Empires, as well as access to the closed beta. I’m off to see if an Ogre Lord can swallow a Dwarf whole, or if they have to chew a bit first.