The Total War franchise has always been a creature of small, iterative changes. Since Rome: Total War, the core experience has been fairly consistent, with each game introducing new systems, mechanics, and detail to make each historical period covered feel more authentic. Now, however, you’ve caught us daydreaming about Total War: Warhammer 3.
The first official game to jump into Games Workshop’s classic fantasy setting, Total War: Warhammer, represented one of the most significant departures from the core formula. Though the basic structure is the same, the introduction of powerful hero characters, giant monsters, destructive magic, and a wide range of distinct factions makes the experience markedly different. Total War: Warhammer 2 introduced a new kind of campaign, a fresh selection of factions, units, and many quality-of-life upgrades over its predecessor, such as the ability to combine the campaign maps from both games.
In July 2018, Creative Assembly dropped some not-so-subtle hints that Total War: Warhammer 3 is in pre-production. Though we still don’t have a Warhammer 3 release date, or many details at all for that matter, we thought we’d put together a list of the things we’d like to see from a new installment to the seminal strategy game series.
This is an obvious one, but nevertheless essential. That said, Creative Assembly is starting to run out of Warhammer factions – at least the ones that had full Games Workshop model ranges. Ogre Kingdoms is the most notable absence, a faction of cannibalistic monsters from across the eastern mountains. Though the Warhammer 2 Norsca DLC dabbled with the idea of a monstrous faction with Throgg and his chaos-worshipping trolls, this would be the first faction to rely so heavily on large units. It would be a unique, but fun, challenge.
From there, the Chaos Dwarfs are the obvious choice – they haven’t had an official Games Workshop book since 1994, but Forge World has produced models for them for decades. Araby, an Arabian-Nights-style faction, is another possibility. Though not fleshed out as much as others, they’ve been referenced in official materials, and even had a Warmaster army.
CA could also expand on some of Warhammer’s minor races. Kislev, Tilea, and Estalia are all currently in the game, but they use the same units as the Empire. If those factions were enhanced with some new units, mechanics, and unique Lords, they would be worthy additions to Total War: Warhammer 3.
Proper naval battles
Naval battles were first introduced in Total War: Empire – the 18th-century installment – and have featured in every game since. Until the original Warhammer, that is. Originally, all naval battles in Warhammer and Warhammer 2 were decided via the game’s auto-resolve system – which, as any experience Total War player will tell you, is not always accurate or fair.
When Total War: Warhammer 2 Curse of the Vampire Coast DLC released, this was changed so that naval engagements were resolved as land battles ‘on a nearby island’. While it was an improvement, it was a far cry from the epic seabound conflicts of games past.
With Total War: Warhammer 3, Creative Assembly have the chance to introduce full naval combat. Just imagine it – a ramshackle Beastman battleship, stuffed to the gills with monstrous Cygor hurling boulders at other ships. Sleek, maneuverable High Elf fleets clash with heavily-armoured Dwarven dreadnoughts. A Lizardman floating temple trades devastating spells with a hoard of Skaven raiding ships. The possibilities are tantalising – although we have sort of seen it already thanks to this Total War: Warhammer 2 naval battles mod.
More diplomacy options
The Warhammer universe is a perfect fit for the Total War games, perhaps more so than any historical setting ever could be. Why? Because it’s all war, all the time, baby. None of that diplomacy, state-building, social and political change, and other boring nonsense for nerds: it’s just a load of angry, murderous factions beating the snot out of each other forever. This could be why the diplomacy options in the Warhammer games have been much more limited than in previous entries. You can’t trade settlements with allies or in peace agreements, you can’t arrange political marriages, trade hostages, or spread religious beliefs.
If this was an intentional decision, limiting diplomacy in this way was a good one, but perhaps things went a little too far. The lack of ability to trade settlements, for instance, means that you’re constantly having to monitor your allies to make sure they don’t grab something you want. If an enemy razes one of your cities, your allies might just jump in and recolonise it.
If they do you’ll never get it back unless you declare war on them. So it’s usually better to not bother calling for their aid when a war begins. In peace agreements you can’t sweeten the pot of a peace treaty by offering a settlement or two, and you can’t demand more land from a defeated foe. The ability to abandon an unwanted settlement would also be welcome. Though diplomacy should naturally remain more limited than other Total War titles, Total War: Warhammer 3 should expand your diplomatic options.
Short Challenge Campaigns
Specific factions Total War: Warhammer 2 factions are designed to be more difficult than others. Skarsnik, the goblin warlord of Karak Eight Peaks, can only recruit goblin units until he retakes his capital. Crone Hellebron, mistress of Har Ganeth dark elves, must regularly sacrifice hundreds of slaves in order to avoid prohibitive faction penalties.
However, these are long-form campaigns that take dozens of hours to complete. A nice addition to Total War: Warhammer 3 would be short-form, limited-size campaigns that pose a smaller scale, but refreshing, challenge each time. For instance, you could have a campaign based on the border between Kislev and the Chaos Wastes, where the player has to hold back the Chaos Hordes as long as possible with limited resources. Or a Necromunda-esque campaign where the Skaven and the Empire battle over a large city.
Hammer time: The Total War: Warhammer monsters we want next
And that’s what we want to see added to the famous series ahead of the Total War: Warhammer 3 release date, whenever that decides to turn up. Creative Assembly boasts a track record of making small but worthwhile improvements with each new entry, so we’re confident that at least some of our wishes will come true. In the meantime, we’ll just have to start yet another Warhammer 2 campaign, we suppose.