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A retrospect on Warhammer 2 base game and DLC & the negative impacts of their design

snnnffrknlinsnnnffrknlin Registered Users Posts: 92
Warhammer 2 is reaching the finish line so let's review the DLCs it created.

First I would like to bring up the first change that CA did on their DLC model, all the way back in Warhammer 1.
"Call of the Beastmen" was the first race pack DLC and came with a fresh new race aswell as a new campaign. We loved the race addition and disliked the new campaign.

Then came the Woodelves and the same thing happened. We loved the race and disliked the campaign. Which laid the groundworks for the best change for DLC packs to date. Increase the ammount of Legendary Lords from 2 to 4 and focus the design on creating a unique campaign playstyle for the new races.

This lead to the two best DLC additions to Warhammer 2. Rise of the Tomb Kings and Vampire Coast. It really is the best example of feedback being registered and acted on for a positive result.

So let's take a look at how the current DLC and main game practices end up(In my opinion) harming the game.

Lord packs & unique campaign mechanics

It all starts with the base game itself and what it gives us. A brand new Vortex campaign with 4 unique races whom each have 2 Legendary Lords. The Vortex campaign also has unique mechanics such as gathering a resource for the vortex ritual. This was really brilliant in my opinion since it gave the player incentive to sail across the map to stop other factions from conducting their rituals. Each race also had unique race-mechanics such as food(Skaven), slaves(Dark elves) and influence(High elves) etc.

Then the first Lord packs starts to pop up. A new Legendary Lord for two of the races and some new units. And here starts the first problem. These two new Lords each have their unique campaign mechanics, on top of the normal race-mechanics.
I don't have a quote from CA, but I assume this was done to make their campaign feel unique. This is a major issue in my opinion because some of the mechanics they added were f%&¤"#g spectacular. I have never tried a more fun army ability than the Skaven nuke. The sound and the look were all top notch, and only Ikith Claw can use it.

There is no need to do that. The Skaven Nuke could absolutely be added to the other Skaven factions and there is probably some mod that does just that. However that leaves us with a much desired oversight from CA on campaign balance. They did not balance the other Skaven factions to have nukes. And I think they should have. They shouldn't be as adept at it as Ikith(since he is the nuke guy), but they should have access to it. If the Skaven nuke is hard to get for the other Skaven Lords it shouldn't off-set balance.

Ikith's workshop is also an example of something that would benefit Skaven as a whole.

Then later on came Deathmaster Snikch and his missions. These missions adressed much of the slack from the lack of good agent actions from ALL the factions. But only Snikch gets them. Granting vision over provinces, starting revolts, stealing items from settlements and much more. Again EVERY faction needed something like that, but only one gets access to it.

Another great one is Eltharion's ability to capture enemy Lords in battle. That ability should have been universal because it is a fantastic addition to diplomacy.

Even Malus Darkblade's mechanics could be added to the Dark Elves as a whole since you could get the option to choose to be a vessel for the daemon. The point is that there was no need to make this exclusive. Personally I believe that balancing a good starting location and adding unique missions is enough for a Lord campaign to feel unique. You don't need exclusive campaign mechanics aswell.

For future Lord packs please add campaign mechanics that are designed for the entire faction, not just the new Lord. We already enhance the faction as a whole with new units, but we should also do it on the campaign map.

Vortex Campaign

It is a wonderful campaign that gives you the option to play Warhammer in a unique way. I also think it has issues such as that it doesn't really put time pressure on you, since you can just defeat whatever faction makes it to the vortex first. The idea of the campaign itself is excellent though and I would love to play it as Empire. And that's were we hit the first issue. It is only for Warhammer 2 and not for Mortal Empires.

I keep wondering how much resources went into this campaign. How many hours of design, coding and playtesting went into this? And it's unplayable in Mortal Empires......
Warhammer 1's campaign was almost directly transferred to Warhammer 2 in the form of Mortal Empires. But what will happen to the Vortex campaign? Is all of that effort just going to end up in the bin? I understand that this ship is probably too late to turn around, but this should be a very important lesson for the next trilogy project. Try to let the campaigns add on each other so that nothing goes to waste.

If this is indeed the case that the Vortex Campaign is thrown away... Warhammer 2 has just turned into "Call of the Beastmen". Yes, it's core races are fun, but when you own Warhammer 3 do you really want to play the Vortex campaign? Do you have to buy an extremly expensive base game just to get access to a big map? You pay for the Vortex campaign, but it will feel partly wasted. I have been on this ride since the start, but for people just hopping on, I don't know if I would reccomend buying Warhammer 2 if you have 3.

In short: Warhammer 1 added to Warhammer 2 in the form of Mortal Empires since you got Warhammer 1's campaign. Warhammer 2 did not really add that much to Mortal Empires since the Vortex campaign was not included.

If the Vortex campaign was actually an addition for Mortal Empires and the Gigamap, I think it would be a more attractive option for buyers. Also the replayability of the game.

I really hope that Warhammer 3 will add some unique campaign modes for the Gigamap, so it's something more than just a really big map.

Comments

  • BastileanBastilean Registered Users Posts: 2,303
    You make many very good points. On the other hand, I look at the way CA does the game development to marginalize data debt, and I have to agree with the current group and the current goals there isn't enough value in making a bigger more robust game. For a more robust 4x experience, I am personally looking forward to Master of Magic in 2022.

    Firstly, having unique campaign effects and abilities for certain races or certain leaders make those leaders unique and special which sells and is attractive in it's own right.

    Secondly, adding those abilities and features to everyone won't write itself. It's a lot of work to do one. Imagine doing all of that again for 50 or 60 subcultures. Remember when CA went back and did a cool UI for the Sisters of Twilight? Also, every time you add a feature you add a liability that it won't feature correclty or play nice with the other unique features. You are also adding a likelihood that the AI will not manage the features provided adequately given unique factions.

    Worse yet, you risk making everything homogenous.

    Trying to make everything available to everyone would drastically add to the debt CA owe and complicate the need to make the campaign balanced and fun to play.

    I think Ikit was fine. The reality is that everyone receive ratling guns and those are the kitties pajamas.

    With that said, I think CA should try to look ahead at what they will produce and try to add more unique features to the starting Lord's because when every DLC lord has the starting lord features AND their own it does start to feel like the base game lords are old cheese, which is the fartherest from the truth. Base game lords are the capstones of each faction, and should receive the respect and unique features to support that experience.

    I believe we got this with many of the latest WH1 faction updates, and look how CA shared the runes quests among leaders. That doesn't mean Thorek doesn't have some unique aces up his sleeve, but that's a good compromise of shared and unique powers.

    All that said.... I do think CA should look at the most interesting unique features and consider adding them to all the factions if that's a reasonable choice. Good post.
  • snnnffrknlinsnnnffrknlin Registered Users Posts: 92
    Thanks for the comment, but I do disagree on a lot of your points.

    "Firstly, having unique campaign effects and abilities for certain races or certain leaders make those leaders unique and special which sells and is attractive in it's own right."

    This is ofcourse dependant on our own tastes, but I think that unique and well designed starting locations make up for that. I don't believe Empire is one of the most popular factions simply because they are humans. They have an amazing roster and an incredibly fun starting posistion. They have a lot of options. Replicate that and I think costumers will be happy.

    "Secondly, adding those abilities and features to everyone won't write itself. It's a lot of work to do one. Imagine doing all of that again for 50 or 60 subcultures"

    For many of the abilities we are talking about the faction itself. For example Skaven Nuke for all Skaven, so you can knock off a factor of 10 here.

    "Also, every time you add a feature you add a liability that it won't feature correclty or play nice with the other unique features"

    I mean this is why they have designers in the first place. Avoiding this is literally their job.

    "You are also adding a likelihood that the AI will not manage the features provided adequately given unique factions."

    The AI doesn't manage it well now. You can easily make the Skaven nuke waste their nuke if not nuke their own units. Besides if the Taurox AI could use the rampage mechanic well, we would all be losing our games. It is simply way too strong.

    "Trying to make everything available to everyone would drastically add to the debt CA owe and complicate the need to make the campaign balanced and fun to play."

    There is no greater debt that CA has made for themselves than the lack of proper diplomacy. Perhaps even greater than siege battles because the strategy side of the game is downright lacking. We know they can do better because they have done better. I did not play Three Kingdoms, but it has more functioning diplomacy(from what I've seen) than Warhammer.
    As for balance, just look at the two latest DLCs. Balance was a complete joke. The hardest thing to do with the Sisters of Twillight is lose. You get artillery capabilities on a flying unit that has one of the highest speed values in the game. They can also fire regular missiles and are capable in meele, all for the lovely upkeep of 200 gold.

    Taurox was an even bigger joke since you wipe out entire factions in a single turn. And you don't even need to use the rampage bug. Just the mechanic itself is ridiculous.

    I knew there was something that I forgot to mention in the original post and it is power creep. It's gone out of control now and has removed the last bit of strategy that was left in the game. It's absurd.

    "Worse yet, you risk making everything homogenous."

    Again, I think a unique starting location and good mission objectives will circumvent this. I play Morathi a lot, but never Malekith and they are not that different. Starting locations matter.
    Also, for a lot of these campaign abilities we are talking about the same faction recieving them. I am not saying make Dark Elves play more like the Lizardmen.


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