Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Mortal Empires, Part VII - Gameplay Changes


It was time to take stock of the new world Creative Assembly had made for me, and to make adjustments.


The Warhammer World. Before it was blown up by Games Workshop.

First of all, no more auto-resolves unless army strength overwhelmingly favors my army. There is a bar which displays relative army strengths, but having a mild advantage is no indicator of victory, as I found out to my chagrin. Winning battles when you have a mild advantage also results in severe damage to your army, which is problematic in the later game when you need to fight two or three battles in a row. Your line units take the brunt of the damage when auto-resolving, even when you win. By contrast when I play in real time the enemy is usually so diminished from skirmisher and missile fire that when they finally contact my swordsmen they are easily rebuffed at little cost to themselves.

Secondly, no more underestimating any faction. If they're the enemy we go after them until they are wiped out before moving onto the next. The Skullsmasherz and the Skull-Takerz have become priority targets, since we begin the game at war with them. I used to let them harass and annoy other factions as they roam the map, but no longer, especially since they burned down Altdorf in the last campaign.


The area covered in the Mortal Empires campaign. Creative Assembly had to squash the map to make it fit.

Thirdly, I can no longer rely as much on mercenary units due to gameplay changes. Regiments of Renown are mercenary units available for hire in the Empire, and they consist of strong albeit expensive units available for hire instantaneously. They are used to immediately beef up an attack or raise a quick defense, as long as you had the gold available. They were exploitable, however, because you could dismiss them in one turn and then have them available for rehire immediately the next. Since the patch these regiments are now harder to unlock, and have cooldowns (typically 10 turns or so) after being dismissed. I used them a lot in the early game to gain a quick qualitative advantage, but it seems everyone else does too, which led to them being hit by the nerf bat by Creative Assembly.

Fourthly, the focus on army building is to now build the best possible stacks for your army. In the past you could get away with mediocre stacks because you could exploit the lightning strike mechanic. In Total War the forces are either mobile armies, or garrisons tied to a settlement. Armies could sit in a settlement to beef up the garrison and take advantage of walls and defenses, or move around on the map. Garrisons are tied to a settlement and never leave it.

Armies that are near each other can reinforce each other (as can nearby garrisons). So you could theoretically make a mass of full stack armies (the maximum size of each army is 20 units) and move them across the map, safe in the knowledge that any army that is attacked will be reinforced by the others nearby. A way of bypassing this is a skill in the general's tree called lightning strike. A general with lightning strike can isolate a single army, effectively bypassing the reinforcement rule, creating a one on one battle regardless of how many other enemy armies are within reinforcement range. This is how Karl Franz takes on multiple armies at a time, by defeating them in detail. Lightning strike can be further exploited as follows. When you attack an enemy army near one of your settlements the garrison sallies forth to help you, creating a two on one scenario. Lightning strike stops the enemy army being reinforced by other enemy armies nearby, but it doesn't stop your army from being reinforced by a garrison. So effectively you are double teaming an enemy army with your own army plus your garrison.

This has been the go to tactic by every Total War player, and this is what makes provincial capitals so important, because they can house large garrisons. The common defensive scenario is to let several enemy armies surround a provincial capital, and then defeat each of these armies in detail by exploiting lightning strike and the garrison. You double team each enemy army in turn, and decimate the enemy one by one.

Except with this new DLC and update, you can't do that anymore. So in the past you didn't necessarily need the strongest army you could muster, because you could exploit lightning strike to get the assistance of a garrison to defeat an enemy army. Post-DLC lightning strike is now a purely one on one affair, meaning that stack quality is now important. The only exception to this rule is in defensive battles. If your army is attacked the garrison always comes to help you. Other armies maybe precluded from reinforcing, but the garrison always sallies forth when an army is being attacked within reinforcement range. As an attacker, however, the best you can do now is one on one.

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing the map, and it looks really interesting!

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    1. No worries! Creative Assembly is promising to complete the map in Total War III, so the combined title in that campaign will be ridiculous.

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    2. Imagine the length of the IA turns! The horror!

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    3. Once you get into the mid game the turn times are similar to the first title, because the factions have winnowed themselves to the strongest dozen or so. But yeah, at the start of the game turn times take FOREVER.

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