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So I’ve been jumping between game 2 and 3 quite a bit now and I think I nailed down the three main reasons as to why WH2 is more fun than WH3. Obviously there’s balance issues and missing features and bugs that I will not mention here, instead I will try to focus on gameplay only. I think it's also fair to say that a warhammer game without the classic warhammer races will of course never truely feel right and that is also part of it. With that said lets get into the three main gameplay issues of WH3.
-Increased game pace: As we all know the difficulty has increased in WH3 much thanks to the improved AI, this is of course a good thing however the game pace have changed as well yet the tools for responding to these new intense situations has not improved at all, in fact they are worse than ever. Units are much slower to respond to orders and they often forget their orders as well. This was an issue that occurred somewhere around the Grom the Paunch update in WH2 as well however to a much less intense degree. Response time and order amnesia is much worse in WH3. Units rotate in slow motion in WH3 as well, which is just ridiculous. It’s extremely hard to respond to a flank attack in WH3, yet because the much smarter AI we have to be prepared to adapt to these situations much more often. This is forcing us to constantly pause the game instead of playing real time which is not a fun way to play the game and is also an issue for intense multiplayer landbattles.
New settlement mechanics even further forces us into quick decisions and intense micro for obvious reasons making quick response time even more important. There is one new feature in WH3 that tries to help us adapt to the new battle pace and that feature is to place ranged units behind melee units when clicking and dragging out a placement. This is a good feature however this need to be further improved upon. We need to get a list to go along this mechanic with some premade unit formation options, making units be placed with more space between each other and chevron formations making units safer against cluster fire and spells. This was not as much of an issue in WH2 because we simply had more time to respond and place our units however we preferred.
-Too many settlement battles: We are all aware of this issue but it is a gameplay issue so I will list it as well. One of the main complaints of WH2 was that there were too many settlement battles yet in WH3 they made the odd decision to increase these battles even further by making an outpost battle trigger in every single outpost whether it has defensive walls built or not. This is a huge mistake. Whether you like the new settlement battles or not they occur way too often, slowing down the campaign tremendously, encouraging us to auto resolve battles rather than actually play the game.
-Bad game mechanics: Even though the battle pace has increased the campaign pace however has tremendously slowed down and part of that is the new game mechanics. Currently the best way to play the campaign is to not expand, just sit in your town and wait for the chaos rifts to trigger so you can quickly respond to these events. Money is easy to get in WH3 (with all the new factions) So you don’t need a big empire to support your armies, making expansions even less important. Worst however much be the Orge camp mechanic. For some weird reason Ogres have a double upkeep to maintain, gold and food. Now they are foodies so I kind get what they were going for however ogres eat their enemies in battle so it should be more likely for humans to starve out in the field than it is for an ogre so it’s kind of silly. However it’s not the lore I have an issue with it’s how to maintain your food income. When starting a new ogre campaign you can’t expect your ogre camps or outposts to maintain your army upkeep. You need to straight away go into enemy territory, build an ogrecamp and then just stand next to it and raid for the next 40 turns, it is important that you stand next to it as well in order to protect it from enemy armies and that’s it. That’s the ogre campaign. You will now get enough food and gold to both maintain and upgrade your ogre camp so it can protect and sustain itself. Up in till then you’re stuck there doing nothing except cash in and upgrade your army. I don’t know what CA was thinking when designing this. Skipping turns is not playing the game, the more turns we have to skip the more obvious it is that the campaign has an issue.
I think it goes without saying that this is not the case for any campaign in WH2, in WH2 you expand from turn 1 with every single race, even the wood elves. Sure the wood elves don’t need to maintain the settlements that they occupy but they still need to take them in order to get growth for their capital buildings making their campaign engaging and fun. Sitting on my hands is a terrible mechanic.
I think CA needs to address all three of these issues if the game is to ever become better than WH2. That said this is far from the only issues with the game but these are in my opinion probably the most important ones as they will decide our overall experience in the game. After that they can focus on things like adding a chat, addressing the insane game balance and reintroducing old features like spell browser in multiplayer lobby etc. I really hope this will reach them and they will consider this feedback.
Now, my experience being the attacker is not bad either, the enemy stacks in choke points, making area spells and big units like soul grinders extremely strong.
Currently on like 10 provinces in my Nurgle Campaign, I have expanded non stop while also going for the souls.
I recommend The Strategy Professor, thanks to him I've been expanding non stop in all my campaigns while also winning the souls race.
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Landbattles are still the best type of battle for any total war game because most of your strategic decisions are made with unit placement and flanking and no other map will give you as much freedom in your decision making as a landbattle.
All unit types will also perform at their peak in landbattles, making any unit type potentially relevant. In addition to this the new AI also works best for landbattles. In sieges and outposts the computer will spread too thin to defend themselves. Winning outpost battles is not the issue, the computer does not know how to take advantage of the towers but we do, making it too easy to win any defensive battle with OP towers (because they are OP).
By the end of the day it's not about whether it's possible to win these battles, it's about whether or it's fun or not, how it affects the general gameplay and how it limits our strategic decisions. It is a strategy game after all.
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