I know the meaning for this section of the forum is to mainly suggest new things or show solutions to possible problems you find one thread at a time, but I feel I have so much to say about the game that it is easier for me and alot less spammy for the forums if I just summed it all up in one big review post.
Now, theres gonna be a bit of a warning before you continue reading. Theres a ton of stuff I want to talk about and I tend to lose myself in endless iterations of describing something, so this will likely turn out to be a long read. Also, I tend to swear alot. Now, I know the forums have those little hearts of whatever but lets not fool ourselves, we all know what they mean when looked at in the context of a sentence. So if youre among the few ppl on the internet who get butthurt by some basic foul language, I kindly ask you to turn away now - for your own sake. I also never touched the tabletop version of warhammer. I had my past experiences with DoW and probably spent a good 50h or so getting familiar with lore and units of the universe, whether it be by reading wikis or watching youtube videos but my personal experience with warhammer so far was not too deep. I also expect there to be mild story spoilers for the campaign.
With that out of the way, I want to start off by applauding CA for the game they created. The game feels very different than any total war game in a long while but has somehow managed to retain the total war feel and enhance it. The way each faction plays completely different, be it in the campaign or mp, each with their own strengths and weaknesses and unique features is very refreshing and after 600h of rome2 and attila respectively a very welcome sight indeed.
The game has massive potential and I cant wait for the 2 follow ups. That being said though, there are quite a few shortcomings here and there that I dont want to simply ignore.
Lets start off with the most basic thing here - the campaign itself. Where in S2, R2 and Attila it took me probably some 30h+ to finish one campaign, I have already finished the campaigns for all 5 factions in TW:W in a mere 50h total. That is WITH the legendary victory or whatever its called now. That is really short and somewhat disappointing. Now, I understand this is supposed to be the biggest total war ever with all 3 titles released and all that and I wouldnt mind, had I not payed the full 60€ price tag for what I got. thats 50h of campaign gameplay before things start getting a bit repetitive. Compared to Attilas 30 bucks and what 150h? 200? Sure, you could argue they were all human factions back then and all played relatively similar and I would somewhat agree with that notion but even so you would probably still get some 100h or so with all those different factions(not accounting for dlc factions) before it starts getting boring. Playing as a horde, as a hopelessly overstretched roman empire, the turtle sassanids or a fledgling germanic kingdom could all be a very different experience. Here we have that but more fledged out but it somehow manages to shorten the campaign in comparison while I managed to pay more than before.
The streamlining of buildings is another thing that bugs me a bit and is possibly part of the cause for the short campaign. I dont really know how I feel about it to be honest. I somewhat hated having to micromanage all my cities in past titles since R2 with PO, immigration, income, taxation, sanitary buildings, corruption, trade and other things all to be balanced out to be able to sustain a province and leave it by itself without it revolting on me 3 turns later. Especially with the **** climate change that was implemented rather poorly. Not having to worry about that is really refreshing and cool and I was very happy about it at first. Now though... Im not so sure anymore. It significantly takes away from having to figure out a way to keep your stuff balanced and happy. Every minor settlement looks the same for me here, race doesnt even matter. The settlement structure itself, the watchtower/city walls thing for walls and a big enough garrison force, the weaver/shiny stuff/workshop/gallows building and as the last either the available resource or if there is none the PO building instead.
The game also indirectly forces you to do that as your general income is very low and as the empire, with the entire map occupied by me and every city leveled to max and built towards max income, I could not afford to have more than 7 decent armies without going bankrupt really, really fast. Now convert half of those provinces into provinces dedicated to recruiting troops and man will I get surrounded and get my head bashed in from all sides because of the lack of military force. There is absolutely 0 diversity in buildings and province management across all the factions as this problem is inherent to all of them, save for chaos. Sure, they are all reskinned and have different names but thats about how far it really goes. Its a shame, really.
Also, what the **** happened to taxation? I can now only choose to tax a settlement or not tax it. What happened to low taxes, high taxes etc? I understand it doesnt make sense for the vampires dark magic and the chaos warriors favour of the gods or what have you but wouldnt it make sense for the empire/dwarfs to be able to tax their populace in different manners and for an ork warboss to claim a bigger share of the loot the trible has collected? This is of course a minor thing compared to some other things mentioned here but I thought it was noteworthy at least.
Oh and while we are already on the topic of provinces and cities. There are no minor settlement maps? Really? I understand it would have taken a bit more effort than in the past because now you would have to create entirely different art assets for all the different factions but man, you could have only created 2 maps for each faction and repeated them all over again and youd have gotten away with the effort excuse in my book. No minor settlement maps at all is a huge disappointment in my book. For both mp and the campaign but mainly for the campaign.
Oh yeah and siege battles... Oh boy. Those are just... I understand why you did it. Because your AI is **** and apparently you still havent found a way to make it smart enough to utilize all of its tools at an acceptable level where it doesnt show that its stupid as **** anymore. Having those fancy zones for the cities that you showed off way before launch is a good approach to fix that and that is the only reason youll get away with this in my book. Theyre still a huge disappointment and there is no tactical and strategical variety, as varied as the settlements may look for the different races. The defender will always have the advantage aswell so theyre quite **** for mp too. You can just charge out and tie up the enemy infront of your walls while your archers will give supporting fire free from harm done by enemy cav. The flying units are the only saving grace here but they wont make much of a difference from what ive seen so far. I really, really, really hope that this is not just it and youre sitting down saying to yourselves "we are done with that" but rather try to find a way to expand on it and make cities larger again in one of the later 2 iterations that are supposed to follow.
What you absolutely nailed in my book is the unit variety. R2 and Attila both suffered from having various absolutely useless units in all army rosters and from the inherent problem that cheap units were being replaced by more expensive ones in the campaign and you had no way to field cheap fodder armies. Here, every unit(or well, almost every unit) has its uses and its unique situations its gonna be good or **** in. There are natural counters for almost everything and its very much rock paper scissors but without completely negating tactics and flanking. The factions, like I mentioned earlier, feel very unique and their rosters reflect that quite nicely in battle. The fact that VC have no ranged units and the dwarfs have no cav are nice and welcome challanges and make for great scenarios and awesome ways for you to try n adapt to it.
Something that was rather disappointing on the other hand was the storytelling. There were clear attempts here and you could see it with the quest battles, the quest texts and the speeches given in those battles. Unfortunately, wether due to laziness or time constraint you never followed up on it and while what we have is rather good and feels very refreshing and at times downright awesome, it overall feel short of what I came to expect from it after completing the first few quests. This is something that, again, I hope youll expand on in future iterations. And not just on new factions, as you did in attila, but also for the old ones.
Then theres the music. Let me put it this way. In Attila you learned from your failure in R2 and in Warhammer you expanded upon your success in attila and created what I believe to be your greatest musical masterpiece of the TW franchise so far. Launching the game for the first time, panning across the map and listening to the different themes and listening to all the various different themes while in battle was amazing. I havent grown tired of it yet and Ive already put near enough 80h into the game in total. (yes, I need to get a RL FAST) Its absolutely amazing and if you keep this up for future factions, im confident therell be great stuff waiting for us there.
The scenery in general aswell. Man, I love panning across all the different battle maps and just staring at all the details you put in there. From some floating rocks in the chaos wastes to some dwarven ruins and structures in the mountains all the way to orc villages and totems in the badlands or even just some very nicely placed mountains within the empire territory. It all feels very natural, not just like someone put it there for the sake of it. In terms of immersion in general you guys did an amazing job. Most of the stuff placed in the game does not feel out of place or useless at all. It all feels very much alive, like you are just a visitor there.
Map design in general is very well done. Gone are the days of R2 and Attila where you ended up spawning on some mountain while your enemy was all the way down at the bast of it or the other way around. That always made for such frustrating experiences. I feel that this time, thanks to manually crafting those maps by hand instead of having the procedually generated by the game you did an amazing job and also did the mp community a massive favour. It was such a pain in the ass in past titles to find a balanced map somewhere to battle it out with a buddy. Man, you always had to look for so long or already have your **** bookmarked. And if you had a great location but forgot where it was, chances were you wouldnt find it again. Well, not anymore. Congratulations, you nailed this one perfectly.
In terms of unit balance, I think its overall ok. For mp aswell from my personal experience so far. Ofc you guys had to pull the **** tagmata cav on us all over again, this time with the demigryph knights but I guess thatll get adressed as fast as the tagmata cav did. Apart from that, there are some spell chains that are really useless compared to others and generally vortex spells seem to be rather useless when compared to direct damage spells. They go off in a random distance, direct dmg doesnt. They have a chance to hit your own stuff(not that it matters atm), direct dmg doesnt. They both cost about the same. And thanks to direct damange spells not scaling with unit sizes atm(whereas health does) you even get the chance to one shot generals on lower unit sizes when using direct damage spells. Im ok with the fact that spirit leech etc can kill your generals in 3 casts on high unit size. Magic is supposed to be powerful and youre supposed to keep your general protected. Doubly so as VC and Orcs. But vortex spells are just useless. Id rather go for the buff of +30 something melee attack on my own guys AND the debuff of -15 or so armour on an enemy unit rather than casting one vortex spell(which will cost the same), do no damage to the enemy AND run the risk of disrupting my own line because **** you why not. Overall magic definitely has its place and feels relatively balanced though. Just needs some tweaks and the damage scaling for unit sizes and itll be ok.
Also, I find it sad that I have to point this out and actually applaud you for this as this should more or less be a thing that ppl shouldnt even have to talk about but... Ive only crashed twice in my 80h and have seen very few bugs. So...good job, I guess? Judging from TW standards this was probably the most bug free launch Ive seen from you guys in a long while if not ever.
While I have listed quite a few grudges I have with the game, overall id definitely recommend it. In fact, I already have. It has its flaws. It has its minor problems and its questionable design decisions(wether due to actual decisions or time constraint remains a mystery to me) but the potential for the future 2 titles is there, the atmosphere is near perfect and its a very fun game albeit a very dumbed down game for total war standards in some respects. Most definitely the most enjoyable TW game Ive played to date in any case. Keep up the good work.
Thanks for bearing with me and hats off to whomever actually bothered to read all of this stuff. Also, this ended up being alot shorther than I had originally thought. I probably forgot half of what I wanted to say half way through and will have to add it later. Knowing me, I most definitely will.