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The fear in your belly as army upon army of steel-encased demonically influenced warriors and twisted demons and monsters head towards your lands, burning and razing all before them, is daunting. To say the least.
So you want to be a hero and face Chaos. ... So you faced Chaos and became a hero.
Battling Chaos is fairly nerve-wracking and losing two units just from Hellcannon fire adds to the lip-biting. Facing powerful and relentless Chosen and Chaos knights with a few spear soldiers and some random cavalry as all the troops that you could muster in time and hoping that a teaspoon of courage and a boat-load of desperation will prevail are fairly average emotions during the Chaos invasions.
But, once you have survived the torrent of Chaos and the matching confusion and disarray it cast your lands and economy into, you realise that Chaos is only the most obvious enemy. It is not, in fact, the greatest threat to the Old World. It is only the mid-game challenge. You will have a mixture of early troops, mid-tier troops and some late-game units, but nothing like the armies you will have and have to face after defeating Chaos.
Once the Warriors of Chaos faction is destroyed, the true enemy of the world is shown: The treachery of the “good” races. -
I am always pleasantly surprised at how well the CA team can make a thematically beautiful game if there is a narrow or strong focus driving the overarching design. By way of examples: Attila and Shogun 2. Both have strong, thematically coherent designs and have fairly emotive or evocative story lines for sandbox games.
Given the Warhammer intellectual property, they had to cast the new game within a fairly good framing theme that would, firstly, give the reason for playing the game and inform so many of the design elements of the game, from menus to maps. This is basic game design but, if done well, unifies all elements of the game.
So, now that I have played the game plenty of times, I inevitably begin to analyse the game’s more thematic aspects. I like a good story, and I initially thought that the TWWH game was a bit on the short side.
It did not take 200 turns to get to what I thought was the “Attila- / Realm divide -moment” of the game: The coming of the Warriors of Chaos.
Chaos had to be battled valiantly and I reveled in the diplomatic accords and the broad alliances formed in defence against the Chaos invasion.
But where was the abject terror of them steadily coming towards you as each faction scrambles to save their own hides? In Attila, preparing for the destroyer was everything and meant the difference between beating back the Huns and thriving in the new lands or barely surviving in a landscape ruined by war and fire.
And so, duly and dutifully, I prepared my forces for the coming of the Chaos Warriors, steeling my nerves for the difficult battles. Alliances were forged and cemented, wars deferred, old grievances set aside.
All was done to fend of the greatest threat to existence. Obviously.
The clashes, the ambushes, delaying tactics, the desperate defences, the strategic withdrawals and the counter offensives. All done with a single-minded focus and perseverance.
The final army, small and diminished. The bated breath exhaled as the final dark warrior is laid low. An age of peace.
I had beaten Choas. And started to wonder whether they were too weak.
Then, with stunning perfidy and reckless speed, alliances – vows solemnly written on parchment as if set in stone – are cast aside with the ink still wet. Exposed backs are stabbed and territory, long coveted, quickly seized.
As soon as the single unifying front of Chaos Warriors and Norscan factions is removed, the true destroyer of the Old World – the true end times – arise. Not even Tzeentch can plan such as what lurks in the darkest recesses of the souls of all sentients.
As soon as Chaos is gone, the true End Times arrive. The Old World finally knows total war.
TL;DR: In TWWH, preparing only for Chaos is to miss the real end game.
Thematically, the Warriors of Chaos and End Times events, especially the level of betrayals and wars that erupt after the WoC faction is destroyed (the latest patch increased this), are there to show that Chaos is only the most obvious evil. It is not the greatest evil. The end of Choas is only the start of the wars in the Old World.
I thought it was fairly neat and fitting. Well played CA writers!
There is no time but the present. – S:TW Hojo, R:TW Brutii/Germania/Alemanni(BI), Med2: Venice, S2: Oda, R2: Julia/Boii/Suebi/Lusitani, Attila: Geats/Garamantians, WH: All factions VH, Wood Elves on L. TWWH2: Lizardmen, Dark Elves, Skaven, Khalida, High Elves, Vampirates. ME: Khalida, Vampire Counts, Carcasonne