Total War: Warhammer 3 is making sieges cool again

Incorporating and expanding on defence mechanics found in Attila, Troy, and Three Kingdoms, Warhammer 3's sieges sound like fun

A Cathayan city, set against the Great Bastion, is seen in Total War: Warhammer IIII

Total War: Warhammer III is bringing a lot more than new factions to the strategy games table when it comes out next year. The long-awaited siege overhaul is going to make battles for walled cities and even minor settlements much more interesting than they’ve been in the Warhammer series to date, bringing in the more complex urban combat mechanics found in Total War: Attila, Three Kingdoms, and Troy, and adding its own unique systems as well. The upshot is that the fight’s not over once the walls have been breached – instead, that’s when things get interesting.

Developer Creative Assembly has published a new video and blog that both go into some welcome detail on the overhauled siege system we’ll find in Total War: Warhammer III. As the blog explains, the overhaul has two major components. First, there’s map design – cities in Warhammer III have more open areas and narrow alleyways, with multiple elevation levels that can be connected with overhead bridges.

Inside the walls of a city or settlement, you’ll find ‘dockable’ pieces of terrain. Like the crenelations atop city walls, ranged units can be attached to these and use them as cover whilst firing upon invading units.

However, as in some of Total War’s historical games, defenders will also have the opportunity to control the flow of battle once the walls have been breached by building towers and barricades within their cities. These will use their own new resource system, and they take time to set up and tear down – so you’ll need to think carefully about whether you can afford to move a wooden barricade to another street as the gibbering hordes of Tzeetch are pounding on the walls.

The biggest new spin on buildable structures in Total War: Warhammer III is that they’re tied to several key locations in the city. Each one has several predetermined build locations where you can construct fortifications and static defences like artillery. You can tear down structures to refund their build cost, but you won’t get anything back if they’re destroyed by enemies, and they’ll all be destroyed if the enemy captures the location they’re tied to.

Here’s the video:

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Creative Assembly says that the goal for all these changes is to make sieges more dynamic and interesting. Rather than devolving into messy combat blobs once the walls are breached, Warhammer III’s siege structure is meant to encourage defending players to set up fallback positions, which should lead to multi-stage battles within the cities.

You’ll also find these systems at play in battles for minor settlements, which appear to have gotten quite a bit of attention in Warhammer III. Rather than playing out on modified land battle maps, fights in minor settlements will take place on their own set of new maps that feature many of key points and features of larger city sieges, just without the big walls around them.

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The blog post also get into the way Cathay’s Great Bastion works, both in terms of campaign strategy and tactical battles. Playing as Cathay, you’ll need to hold and fortify the Great Bastion, and while you’re doing that, the daemons of Chaos will be busy preparing to tear it all down. On the battlefield, the Great Bastion works as a nigh impregnable fortress, featuring loads of buildable locations and fallback positions for defence.

When the Total War: Warhammer III release date arrives early next year, we’ll be excited to defend the walls.