Very long wall of text warning ahead; I'll have a TL;DR at the bottom, but if you really want to get why I feel the campaign goals are going the right way you sort of need to read the meat of the text xD
In TWW1, there was only one way to win. You had to destroy factions X, Y, Z, etc, control provinces X, Y, Z, control X amount of regions and at the end of it all defeat Archaeon and the Chaos Warriors; this was pretty long, gruelling and grindy and you generally already knew you had the campaign completed by the time you were half way there.
Then they introduced Vortex campaign, which was a step in the right direction, but still grindy. Basically, collect X scrolls and complete 4 rituals along the way at set thresholds, all of it finished by a final Vortex battle. This campaign had two problems the way I see it. First, the campaign it self was to long. Second, the rituals summoned attackers and also allowed other competing factions to summon attack forces to attack you when you performed said rituals, and they could all spawn anywhere so you never bothered doing the first ritual until you had such an advantage that you already knew you could conquer the world. At which point you had to start first ritual, hit end turn for 10 turns and fight whatever showed up, then do next ritual, rinse repeat, up to four times. Then after like 50 turns of hitting end turn, you would finally get the vortex battle, which was fun, but you were so powerful by this point you had a full stack of highest elite army and the fight was so so challenging.
Then came Tomb Kings and the campaigns started getting better. TK goal was to find five books of Nagash and which would lead to a final battle. The good part about this was that to get the books, you just kinda played. You didn't have to be OP to get them, and not all the books required fighting to obtain them. The books were spread around the map, and each book you got gave you a unique benefit, making obtaining the books actually worthwhile at the early stages. Once you got the five books you needed to capture the black pyramid of Nagash and after that you needed to trigger the final battle and the final battle was HAARD! Like proper hard. The campaign could be completed in your pace, there were no downtime and it was a fun experience from start to end.
Then came the Queen and the Hag DLC which was a step back as it was just another Vortex campaign (though the lords and units were amazing addition by all means).
The next race pack was Vampire Coast and their campaign followed the same teaching, but the campaign goals were widely different. Their goal was to kill a giant sea leviathan and ressurect it so they could control the seas. To do that, they had to find a magical harpoon that was enchanted to kill the leviathan. The enchantment had dulled over time though so you have to re-power it by obtaining a three magical sea shanty. Each sea shanty however was only known to a pirate crew each. So you would have to find these three pirate crews. To do that, you had to become infamous - basically, by killing, raiding, sacking, razing and also killing other pirate crews for their pieces of eight (basically there were 8 other pirate crews out to seas that when you defeated you got a piece of eight, and each piece of eight would unlock one regiment of renown), you would increase in infamy score. Once you reached certain levels of infamy those pirate crews would come for you. You would fight them, and if you won, you got the shanty. Once you had all three shanties, you could do the final battle. The final battle would happen under seas in an airpocket cave and you would have the leviathan swimming outside of it (never interacting with you cus, well.. it was huge beyond words - like, one of its claws were the size of a dragon in the game) and it would summon monsters for you to fight and eventually a dark elf would show up to try to steal the prize so you have to fight him, then you would fight more of the leviathans summoned monsters and if you managed to hold out for 10 minutes at the third phase of the battle (pretty hard fight!) you would get rewarded by a cinematic of you getting in your ship, and hitting the leviathan with the magical harpoon.
then they took another step backwards and released prophet and the warlock, which is a REALLY cool DLC with really cool units and LL's, but the mistake they made was to make these two new lords follow the Vortex campaign.
But after that, they released the Hunter and the Beast which went back to making unique campaign goals for each of the lords, introducing an Empire lord and a Lizardmen lord, which each of their unique campaign goals. Markus Wulfhart campaign goal was to find four unique hunters in the jungle to join his expedition and achieve 100 imperial acclaim (he is on a expedition to conquer the jungles of lustria for the Empire and would get imperial supplies every now and then, faster while he was conquering more, slower if he wasn't; but if he was conquering more he would have to face native rebellions and stuff and it was just consistently exciting and fun and on the edge, really well balanced campaign), and at 100 imperial acclaim he would no longer loose acclaim and would get full access to all his tech and units and would need to do the final battle which was killing Nakai- Nakai being the other lord in the game ! so it's like a perfect head to head campaign.
Nakai on the other hand was a lizardmen horde army who when he conquered cities, he would give them to an vassalaged NPC lizardmen faction, who would build temple cities, and temple cities would give Nakai powerboosts. Nakai would need to hunt down the 4 hunters of Wulfhart, kill them and then eliminate wulfharts faction, followed by a final battle.
And the next DLC now seems to be even more head to head focused, with a dark elf lord and a skaven lord fighting over a demonic entity that is currently possessing the dark elf lord.
TL;DR: Thats why I think the campaigns have just gotten better. They've become more personalized, more condensed, removed downtime, removed the "darn, I know i've won, but I have to still grind this out for X turns/X regions conquered" and made everything in between full of stuff to do, as well as making each campaign play uniquely from each other.
This is of course only my opinion, but I whole heartedly feel the campaign's are just getting better and more fun. I am so excited to see Bretonnia on the Vortex map and I look forward to finding out what Repanse unique campaign goal will be.
Total War: Warhammer