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In an anticipation of the next total war historical title whatever the setting is I decided to list so good aspects and negative aspects of prior games especially Three kingdoms that made some huge strides for the franchise before it's unceremonious abandonment.
Lessons from past games and especially Three Kingdoms:
1. Combat / battlefield tactics -First of all I enjoyed the combat whether in romance or records mode. I am really not sure why exactly but the combat in three kingdoms felt so enjoyable, I loved the looks of the units and models for the unique characters although some models could have been improved too. Cavalry charges where satisfying, formations where great, archer fire was satisfying but I wish it could have been more like shogun 2. (Shogun 2 in my opinion had some of the most satisfying archer (and gunpowder combat)). Overal enjoyable combat and models but with additional work for sure. In terms of annimations there could also be future improvements (see Archeons new animations in WH3)
Having also watched the Three kingdoms 2010 series I also appreciate the art direction, and how the combat actually felt like that setting. Also I LOVED the banners and flags on the battlefield.
Combat is especially crucial for enjoyment of a total war game and replayability. For example even though I am part Greek and quite familiar with the Troy setting, I did not enjoy the combat in that game at all and therefore did not play it much
Three kingdoms hands down has the best diplomacy in any total war game this needs to be kept for any new historical title, tweaked for the setting and expanded upon.
Troy's one redeeming quality in my mind was the fact that the barter and resource system was great. As long as CA can ensure that silly exploits can't be done with resources this system could also be adopted in games with a regular currency.
Food and supply lines was and is a huge thing for armies and this can be better represented in Total War games in general.
Three kingdoms also did a great job at this. In the future I would like to have more characters with spying skills in addition to traits but overall the system is great with dissatisfied people willing to turn on their master etc.
Although it is important for all spy actions to work, to create an internal rift in the faction where it splits sometimes works and sometimes does not. Something like this should not be simple to do but it should be clear to the player how to go about trying to do this and similar activities through spying.
Spys should be able to get caught and killed or become double agents as in Three kingdoms, although again this is not working perfectly by any strech but it is a good step in the right direction.
This was done very well in Three Kingdoms but ahs room for improvement. Specifically we need more characters with specific administration capabilities, some that are better at being diplomants, some more suitable as governors etc. The traits help with this but I think more can be added here. In terms of empire management I think we need some more in depth mechanics too. (and I understand the tension with overcomplicating things for new players, but ultimately empire management is a key and fun aspect of the game, for people who don't want to deal with this maybe there can be an auto administration option that can be checked off. (but suboptimal compared to if you did it yourself). (There should also be no clear best choice as a focus somewhere will require you to sacrifice focusing your empire on something else example trade capabilities/ production, vs military quality or espionage etc.) This is done to some degree in Three kingdoms in the Tech tree and when leveling up your faction but more can be done here.
More minor non unique characters can be assigned to an army perhaps in more minor roles such as logistics officers, captains etc that provide various benefits based on their stats
P.S. There are only ever so many Cao Cao's, Liu Bei's, Sun Ce's, Lu Bu's that everyone is familiar with but IT IS ALL RIGHT/ IMPORTANT to have many minor factions or (just less known factions be playable with interesting mechanics) After all CA makes historical games, lure casuals in with the big names but then have a wide variety of fun factions. For example I really liked the amount of factions on offer in Three kingdoms ( Although I also would have liked Han Sui and Zhang Lu to become playable with DLC) and I hope this continues with any future title. See Europa Universalis 4. How many people really knew the history of Brandenburg forming Prussia? But Brandenburg is very popular to its strong military capabilities. More factions in an enjoyable game adds replaybility as we know for WHTW
Next Total War Historical Title should:
1. Have really Enjoyable combat like Three kingdoms and Shogun 2 (NOT like Troy or Rome 2, whose combat was unenjoyable) 2. Have a great diplomacy system like Three Kingdoms 3. Have a great spying system but make improvements as noted above 4. Have LOTS of unique named characters with special artwork that have personalities, desires and relations, specializations and can cause internal issues 5. Have a court system like Three kingdoms depending on the setting and government type. (In a European setting being able to change government type is key (But could lead to internal conflict/rebelions)) Three kingdoms also had the Emperors faction have people with different faction loyalties which was great and I'd like to see more of this 6. Characters should have personalities that benefit you, you need to manage and can cause issues. For example someone very ambitious gaining a lot of power and being dissatisfied could lead to an internal rebellion etc. 7. Have lots of factions and subfactions (For example a European medieval setting could have your army comprised of several noble houses/ dukedoms etc with their own flags/symbols reflected on the battlefield in a historically authentic way). 8. Chose a period/ main campaign map that is interesting and fun. New DLC should enhance the main campaign like in WH mortal/immortal empires or like in Three kingdoms Cao Cao faction update, Shi Xie, Bandit re-work etc (even though that was FLC it was the best part in some cases). DLC can be focused on the main campaign.
Next Total War Title should NOT: 1. Have boring/unsatisfying combat like Troy. (WH suffers from this but makes up for it with it's big models animations) For example see an empire swordsman unit against another empire swordsman unit and you will see what I mean...very poor and unsatisfying combat. 2. Be missing depth in mechanics/diplomacy/spying/resources/empire management/ character traits, skills, relations, desires, shortcoming 3. Be too complex to the point of EU4 or too simple that it is boring (Three kingdoms is way more interesting in this regard than Troy for example). 4. Have too few playable factions with unique mechanics or too few unique characters (For example launch of Three kingdoms was missing too many notable people and still now is missing unique art for important individuals like Lu Su, Lu Meng, Lu Xun and late game people ling Jiang Wei, Liu Shan, Chao Zhen...etc). (Historically relevant should be the criteria, not if person x is known to the average player base because the average person has practically no historical knowledge... have the notable character William Wallace, El Cid , depending on the setting but also some less known people. After all Total War Historical should be just that Historical and it is good to learn something new. Adding a historical blurb for characters in a menu can help people learn about their relevance/ role in history. 5. DLC's should not focus on side campaigns that people don't care about (See 8 princes). Yes learning about 8 princes is nice, but not when you have so much material to cover in actual Three kingdoms first..
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I agree that I think that they need to refine and improve on a lot of things, as they properly should, but I disagree with stuff like how the DLC should be handled, at least to a certain extent.
I think that the DLC should be worked in according to just which big game and the setting we're talking about.
I would say that for an Empire 2, the DLC shouldn't be about different campaigns, but rather expanding and making the main grand campaign bigger and better with bigger DLC packs that actually expand the map and grant a number of playable factions that come with the new territory that's added.
Though with something like a TW: Antiquity, they could and should make different DLC campaigns, I would say different campaigns ranging from the Rise of Persia to the Fall of Rome, with the base campaign being a better version of Rome 2's.
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With an Empire 2 that mainly spans the 1700s, yeah, the DLC should be like 90% focused on making the main campaign bigger and better by expanding it.
But with a Total War: Antiquity, it should have different campaigns that all focus on different points within the overall era of Antiquity. Some of the campaigns could be things like the Rise of Persia and the Twilight of Rome, with other campaigns in between those time periods.
I say that because while I do know that some people would absolutely love a TW campaign that spans from a least after Alexander the Great's death to the fall of the Roman Empire, I do believe that it would be incredibly hard to make a single giant campaign to not become incredibly tedious. So I just think it's better to split them up.
Though with one big exception. The Multiplayer.
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