Hi everyone. Since I'm bored and am waiting for the hotfix patch to drop before I start a campaign, I thought I'd have some fun brainstorming ideas for some additional and thematic features I'd like to see for some of the races which I feel need some more love and attention. This is by no means a list of things I'd like to see for WH2, but more of a pipe dream of what these factions could gain by the end of this franchise's life cycle. If any of it can inspire ideas for CA or gain positive feedback from you guys, the fans, then maybe some of these could become reality someday.
The factions I'm referring to are the 2 last WH1 base factions who still haven't received a lord pack and who have fallen far behind the Empire -, Greenskins - and to some extent even Bretonnia reworks.
In this post I will also suggest a few mods that in my opinion tremendously improve the campaign experience and would greatly favour the game if they were part of the base game when WH3 launches.
I will dedicate this post to only one of those two races, namely the Dwarfs. I'll make another post for the Vampire Counts another time. So without further ado, here are my thoughts on what would make the Dwarfs play more into their gimmicks.
Summary of suggestions
1. Grombrindal gains a unique, global reinforcement mechanic and his army is a semi-horde.
2. Karak sieges rework and a powerful, but costly defensive campaign ability called "Seal the Holds".
3. A revamped underway mechanic shared across several races, but only the Dwarfs (and to a lesser extent the Greenskins and Skaven) have additional and unique interactions with it.
4. Ancestral Grudges (ancient and well known Grudges from the lore) tied in with the Book of Grudges mechanic that grant confederation options for the Dwarfs alongside some powerful, permanent campaign buffs.
5. An interactive rune-crafting system.
6. Additional notes on flavour (Nakai and Skaven undercities) and campaign balance (anti-ordertide)
Okay, now let's start off going through each one of them. First comes...
Grombrindal can reinforce dwarfen factions who are fighting for their last settlements anywhere on the map.
I think the simplest form to represent this is via a dilemma that fires up when any Dwarf faction's final settlement is under siege. You should be able to see which Dwarf faction it is and where the siege is taking place. If the player chooses to aid them in the defence, then Grombrindal's army and his ally's will gain buffs to leadership, melee defence and strong vigour for 1 turn. After the post-battle screen, the player will get a second dilemma to decide whether Grombrindal's army should stay in that region in order to keep defending his dwarf-kin. Accepting to stay in a new region gives his global reinforcement mechanic a cooldown of 15 turns.
This would potentially make his campaign playthrough incredibly dynamic and greatly increase the replay value of his faction, cause the player could decide to adventure and enact their vengeance on any part of the map where the Dwarfs have expanded.
Grombrindal should work in a similar way to Gortrek and Felix for all Dwarf factions, if not chosen as a starting faction by the player. If the player starts with any other Dwarf faction, like Belegar, they will gain him alongside a small army as a controllable reinforcement (or AI if they prefer to avoid extra micromanagement) to aid them if they're about to fight the first battle which they'd normally lose. After the battle, the player gets a dilemma to decide whether they want to keep Grombrindal in their faction for 20 turns or not. After 20 turns he will leave your faction to aid other Dawi in need. Remember, this occurrence can only happen every 15 turns. After that, the player can regain him as a reinforcement if they get into a battle where the odds are heavily against them.
If all Dwarf factions are gone but one, then Grombrindal will permanently stay a part of that remaining faction in order to lead his race to victory through the end times. Grombrindal will carry over all the items and xp that he gains from aiding any of the Dwarf factions.
His army should function the same as a horde army that can settle, similar to the Vampire Coast LLs. His army's "structures" will allow him to recruit units and gain battle buffs and abilities for his army.
Karaks rework (Surface & Underground variants)
Karaks should be a unique type of settlement that is recognisable for all factions via an icon next to the settlement name. or simply by viewing the obvious dwarfen architecture. Only these existing and known Dwarf Holds should be touched by this rework. Meaning that the Dwarfs cannot expand their Karaks to territories where none should exist. The only exception to this are the lost holds. Sieging a Karak should be unlike any other type of siege battle. These siege battles should come in two forms, a surface battle, and an underground battle. This ties in with the Underway rework, underground Karak building slots and garrison armies.- Underground building slots and reserve garrison armies.
Similar to how the Undercities mechanic of the Skaven works, the Dwarfs should have the ability to construct underground buildings under their own major and minor settlement Karaks.
These underground building slots should give benefits ranging from giving defensive buffs for the garrison and the Dwarf's settled army (like increased ammo, defence, morale, replenishment, etc.) for both the surface and underground layers of the Karak to varied defensive additions to the lower hold's walls in real-time battles (such as built-in cannons). Additionally, each of these buildings gives several garrison units who can form up a formidable army to defend the underground layer. This is the army that is going to defend the underground siege battles of a Karak. The surface layer is defended by the regular settlement garrison and separate armies as usual.
In the case that the upper hold is captured, the underground hold will still remain intact, and will always keep the Dwarf faction alive as long as it remains. So basically, the Dwarfs could lose their surface settlements, but as long as they have their underground strongholds, their faction won't be destroyed. Surface enemies can challenge the Dwarfs in their lower hold, but only the army that's settled in the surface settlement can face them. In order for the player to attack a lower hold, they'd have to click a button similar to the one that you use to raze an undercity if they wish to defeat them entirely, but they'd be at a great disadvantage when facing the Karak's true defenses. Clicking the button will lead to a regular pre-battle screen of the underground Karak siege and its garrison.
Dwarf factions who have lost their surface settlements but have a full underground garrison may click a button on the settlement panel in order to make that underground Karak's garrison go to the surface and challenge the enemy who captured the Karak's surface level. In that moment however, the buildings for the lower level will be destroyed (similar to the undercity's Vermintide or Doomsphere building) and left vulnerable until the dwarf faction rebuilds them and the garrison army that was in it.- Karak Underground Battles
For being one of the factions most known for their defences and near impregnable Karaks, there is nothing that differentiates them from other races in sieges. The Empire has their Forts, High Elves have their Fortress Gates.This really needs to change and is imo their most lacking campaign gimmick.
Karaks should be a true challenge to conquer and give tremendous advantages to the defender, especially when they're underground. Attackers shouldn't be able to construct siege equipment for underground battles.
In a perfect world, every major Karak settlement would have a unique map. But we don't live in a perfect world. For the sake of flavour and variety, I really hope we'd get some variety in the layouts if they ever decide to make Karak siege battles unique. Siege battles happen frequently in campaigns so there's gotta be at least some variety in there. 1-3 map types would be good imo. Modders can always make unique maps for important Karaks.
Now as for the battle...the walls have to be a dangerous obstacle in and of themselves. Stacks of built-in cannons in the walls, burning oil cauldrons or flame cannons on top of the gates, runes that slow down climbing foes or cause other stat debuffs, Grudgerakers that shoot from embrasures at the base of the towers. Capturing the walls on a Karak should be scary.
Again, the only way for an aggressor to initiate an underground Karak battle is to place an army in the captured surface settlement and press a button similar to the one that is used to clear Skaven undercities. Only the garrisoned army on the surface can siege the underground layer.- Karak Surface battles
These battles, though not as challenging for aggressors as it is to fight underground Karak sieges, are still no regular sieges. The walls should still have runes on them depending on the underground structure that's been built and the surface map for Karaks should be different from regular siege maps.
Aggressors can build siege equipment for these battles. Preferably, there should be enough elevations to place the defender's artillery units on and not many buildings to block their projectiles. Kill boxes and deployable traps like mine fields would be awesome for the defenders.
In addition to their uniqueness, the Karak minor/major settlement buildings should give strong defensive buffs and abilities to the garrisoned army. Like a cannon barrage army ability that functions like a wind spell.- New campaign feature: Seal the hold
To seal a hold means to lock the underground Karak and any underway that connects to it. This campaign feature is only possible to enable if the Dwarf faction is on their last remaining major settlement. Sealing the hold makes it impossible to siege the lower part of the Karak. But doing so will lock all diplomacy with the faction and leads to complete vision loss of the surface (unless there are heroes above ground). The hold can stay sealed until the faction chooses to resurface again with their garrison army to recapture the upper levels of the Karak, but this ability has a 50 turn cooldown after resurfacing and gives high public order penalties if the faction resurfaces too soon.
Reconstructing The Underway
For the longest time, people have been very vocal about their dislike towards the implementation of the underway mechanic; at the very least, due to the way its been distributed across several factions. I'd argue that the only factions for which it truly makes sense in its current form are Alith Anar, Skaven and to some extent, the Beastmen.
No other race should have this teleportation stance. It makes it boring and there's room to make the underway an actually physical and interactive feature on the campaign map that several factions can compete for and use as a means of travel, but the dwarfs are the only ones who can reconstruct it and have expanded interactions with it. Here's how it could work.- Interpretation of the Underway
The underway doesn't come in the form of a building, but as an interactable landmark that exists on certain parts of the map where it makes sense based on the lore. These landmarks are basically entrances/exits to the underway that allow armies to travel from one point to another, as long as the right conditions are met. These landmarks would be mostly concentrated across the World's Edge Mountains, but there can be isolated Underway landmarks in other mountainous regions of the Old World, for example: Brass Keep, Kraka Drak and a region or two in the Darklands and the Gray Mountains. PrussianWarefare and Vandy have already made a fantastic mod which has sort of brought this idea to life. https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1862159556&searchtext=underway- How to travel via the Underway
There are two requirements in order to move armies via the Underway. Armies may travel vast distances using the Underway, as long as they have control of two (or more) regions with the Underway landmarks in them and if the passage is cleared and repaired by the Dwarfs. The only races who bypass these requirements are the Greenskins and Skaven. They can travel the underway freely, unless these paths are fully upgraded by the Dwarfs.
Any army can then travel between these connected regions using the underground passages that were created by the Dwarfs long ago. Moving from a region to another via this system will make the travelling army susceptible to interceptions from nearby enemy armies.
The Dwarfs are the only faction who can clear, repair and upgrade the Underway in order to restore it to its former glory. The Underway upgrade system for the Dwarfs can can be a panel that opens up by clicking an icon next to a region's name (or on the map) that contains the landmark for one. This panel shows an image of the underground passage, with 4 different parts of it that are in disrepair and teeming with enemies. These parts are represented by slots, similar to building slots, which can be interacted with.
Here's a rough and basic idea of what the UI for the underway could look like1. Clearing
: Players can choose one slot at a time to clear them of enemies. Clearing a slot is something akin to a quest battle where they can face Greenskins, Skaven or even undead. Every remaining slot that needs clearing represents the power/tier of the enemies the player must face if they wish to clear one. If the players clears their first underway slot, they must face four low tier armies. On the second slot they have to face three armies, but some stronger units are sprinkled in the enemy forces. On the third slot they face 2 armies, but now they consist of more mid tier units; and on the final slot, they will face only one enemy army, but they consist of many late game units and no early game units. A player can only use the army that's settled in the settlement to clear the underway. If the player isn't playing the Dwarfs, the AI will clear the underway automatically at a later point in the mid game. This can be a global event similar to "The Age of Discovery" event.2. Repair
: After all four slots of an underway passage are cleared, the player can begin to repair these damaged slots. Repairing one will be very costly and while repairs are being done, the player must defend their landmark region otherwise the repair process will be interrupted. Repairs cost 12000 gold and take 15 turns to finish and +1 recruitment time for miner units. During the time that the passage isn't upgraded, any race can use them to their advantage as long as they have the regions that connect the underway entrances together.For example if the Empire controls Brass Keep and Karak Ziflin, and if those two regions were cleared before by Dwarfs and not upgraded, then they can use it to travel between these two zones (so overall, it's very unlikely to happen in your campaigns, so for those who don't feel comfortable having a subway station under their empire, they barely need to worry). Naturally any race that isn't adept at fighting under ground is more susceptible to interceptions.3. Upgrade
: Each of the four slots can be upgraded once in order to become a secure and locked passage for the Dwarfs. Upgrades take 10 turns and cost 10000 gold and once again increase the recruitment time for miners +1 turn. But once all these upgrades are complete, the passages are locked to all other races. Let's say, even if the Vampire Counts have access to Karak Ungor and Karak Kadrin, they would not be able to travel through the underway if the Dwarfs had upgraded all slots in these passages beforehand. The only races who can damage these upgraded passages are the Greenskins and Skaven.4. Destroying the upgrades
: Greenskins and Skaven can access the underway panel too, but they cannot repair nor upgrade anything. They can only choose the upgraded slots they wish to damage. Just as the Dwarfs can interact with the four slots to clear, repair and upgrade them, the Greenskins and Skaven can "clear" the upgraded slots and fight the battles in the same manner that the Dwarf player does to clear them. The only enemies these two factions would have to face are the Dwarfs. Remember, every region that has the entrance to the underway (aka. these landmarks) will have their own slots. So if Grimgor controls Black Crag, the slots of that region are in disrepair and he cannot start anything with it. If he captures Barak Varr and Barack Varr's slots were fully upgraded, he'd have to damage the four dwarfen upgraded slots before he can travel freely between Barak Varr and Black Crag.
Now I just wanna say, this mechanic existed in Shogun 2: Fall of the Samurai in the form of Railways. So CA is perfectly capable of returning this feature if they find the time, money and passion to do it.
This one is pretty straight forward. Basically, in order for the Dwarfs to have an additional and more linear method of confederating their fellow kin, there should be ancient grudges that the player will have from the start of the game. These are all well known grudges throughout the lore and belonging to various Clans that exist in the Old World (excluding Kraka Drak).
Settling the grudge of another Clan will give the option to confederate them. For example, if Thorgrim were to capture Karak Eight Peaks and kill Queek and Skarsnik in battle (as long as they are still alive in the campaign), he'd get the option to confederate Belegar's faction. If he were to kill x armies of Grimgor's 'Ardboyz, he'd gain a confederation option with Barak Varr.
The point is to give the player a more surgical method of gaining the option to confederate other Dwarf factions without having to declare war on them if they wish to control their regions or having to grind Greenskins and Skaven over and over.
Not to mention, some ancestral Grudges can grant small but permanent campaign buffs that can stack up till the late game.
And the most powerful buffs are reserved for reclaiming any of the lost holds. Karak Ungor, Mount Gunbad, Ekrund, Black Crag, Eight peaks, etc.. Claiming each one of these Karaks will grant a much more powerful and permanent campaign buff. These buffs can range from economic ones to boosting your army's strength and affecting your diplomatic relations with other factions. All of these ancestral grudges are simply additions to the Book of Grudges mechanic.
Quite honestly, I feel like the easiest way to implement this is via integrating it into the already existing dwarfen crafting system, simply by adding an additional column which is dedicated to runes. Runes should function the same way as banners and can be tailored to specific units, heroes or lords.
- These runes can grant stat increases, new skills or grant attributes to regular units. Infantry units can gain a regular trait like "stubborn" which makes them have strong vigour as long as they stay in melee. Ungrim's slayers trait "Journey's End" can get buffed to lower the HP threshold down to 25% from 50% for the passive to be disabled. You can see where this goes.
- Lords and heroes can gain abilities to buff their personal prowess in battle and give small buffs to allies around them.
- Dwarf Lords can gain "blessed" runes dedicated to one of any of the ancestor gods. These function the same as one-time use army abilities. Valya's blessing for example can grant a mapwide heal to all Dwarfs for 10 seconds. Grimnir's blessing could be a concentrated high ap-damage AoE spell. Lucky Spade's Overhaul gives Dwarf Lords these army ability blessings as talents and his interpretation of these blessings are a lot of fun, but I feel they'd fit much better in a rune-crafting system.https://steamcommunity.com/workshop/filedetails/?id=1334469565
- Rune Lords can gain access to powerful and destructive offensive abilities via runes tailored only for them. I'd rather Rune of Wrath and Ruin becomes an offensive AoE ability that has a light slow effect on enemies over what it is now, and instead Rune Lords can gain another Rune that can have the heavy slow ability that W&R is right now.
- Factions should have thematic base recruitment slots to simulate their race's population decline or growth. All factions have a base recruitment of three slots. I feel the campaign balance would shift positively if these slots were dynamic depending on the faction. There is a fantastic mod, made by TheGreatKazzan, that simulates this. https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1869566791
The mod itself gives a good description of what changes are done to each faction but I will give a simple summary of it here.
1. Dying/long lived but slow to reproduce races should have a harder time to build up their armies
2. Hyper militarised/industrialised factions or those who're known to have a high population count should have it easier to create full stacks.
This effectively hampers the Ordertide in the majority of my campaigns and has made my campaigns as the High Elves and Dwarfs a lot more challenging and rewarding.Nakai's army and the Skaven
- In the case of Nakai, I feel like he would greatly benefit from the same suggested mechanic as Grombrindal. They're both very similar in the sense that they're almost a force of nature. They are both wanderers and appear anywhere where their people are in desperate need. It would also enhance his Mortal Empires campaign experience if you're tired of slogging through Norsca or don't wish to swim all the way to Lustria.
- Just as the Dwarfs have their underground Karak slots, I feel like the Skaven should have the same for the very well known Skaven strongholds like Skavenblight, Hellpit, Crookback Mountain, Karak Azgal, Black Chasm, Under Altdorf and Karak Eight Peaks. These are some of the places with the heaviest presence of Skaven underneath the surface, and taking them out should not be easy. This also makes it harder to extinguish the ratmen even if they lose their surface settlements.
Going below Skavenblight shouldn't be for the faint of heart. And each of these underground building slots will also give varying defensive buffs and a dangerous garrison army to defend it and potentially rise up to retake the surface.
I also feel that razing an undercity is currently extremely lacklustre and has no true consequences. So here's what I'd like to see.
After paying the cost of removing the undercity, the AI or player must face the denizens of the undercity that will rise up to challenge the surface owners. Their army composition will depend on the buildings that were constructed in the undercity. I feel this would add a lot more decision making and weight to dealing with undercities.
In addition to capturing a settlement that belonged to a Skaven owner, there should be a 50% chance that an undercity will spawn underneath the captured settlement. That undercity will belong to the Skaven faction that lost its surface settlement to their enemy.
Nanu has made an amazing mod that does exactly this and I think it would fit perfectly into the base game. As it currently stands, there's little point in building the patrol building, but this would incentivize the player to construct one especially after conquering a Skaven settlement. https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1940123416&searchtext=undercity