Total War: Warhammer II
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- You can now aim Wind-type spells directionally by holding left-click.
- Instead of having certain parts of the map locked to certain factions, there's now a system where some land is easy to live on, some is mediocre, and some sucks, varying according to faction. You can still settle on the bad land, but those towns get big debuffs.
- Regional capitals now have eight building slots (from six), and famous cities get ten.
- The Vortex campaign requires you to gather a special resource (which you mostly receive passively for holding certain special provinces) and performing rituals (which spawn deathstacks all over your land). You can go wide, but there's a lot of benefit to having a medium-sized empire, so that you can defend it a little more easily. Build walls everywhere, of course. If one of the AIs beats you to the end, you have a chance to beat them in the final battle. If you do this-- and it's quite easy-- they become permanently unable to win. In other words, it's hard to truly lose the Vortex race, but the AI getting there first is kind of a moral defeat. Anyway, the vortex campaign isn't awful, but it's repetitive, and there's a reason why the DLC factions-- the Tomb Kings, Vampire Coast, and Nakai and Wulfric-- can play on the Vortex map without engaging with the vortex mechanics.
- Mortal Empires has extremely long turn times, even on a high-end PC. Putting the game on an SSD will make a big difference to battle load times (an essential one IMO), but not to turn times. Also, the changes to how habitability works makes the dwarves even more of a terror, and makes playing as the Wood Elves kind of bad.
- For the new factions:
- Skaven have trash infantry backed up by some of the best artillery in the game, plus some decent monsters and skirmishers. They also have a restrictive food mechanic and a tricky system of under-cities that lets them make mini-settlements under towns belonging to others. Also, some of their best units are behind DLC. For this reason, I'd recommend against playing as them first.
- High Elves are the official straightforward noob faction, with easy income, solid melee units, and tons of ranged and monsters. If you play as Tyrion, understand that you've got about 20 turns until the whole island turns into a giant civil war, and that about half your battles across the whole campaign will be against other Helves.
- Dark Elves have lots of flimsy, high damage infantry, backed up by maybe the best basic ranged units in the game. Decent selection of monsters and cav. On the campaign map, they get a lot easier if you jump headfirst into the slave economy. Specialise all your dudes to increase the number of slaves captured, and try to concentrate them all into one or two mega-provinces with maxed-out bonuses to slave income.
- The Lizardmen have tough, brave, high-damage infantry that can dumpster what most other factions field. They also have heaps of monsters, way more varieties than you even need. Rather weak in the ranged department. Uncomplicated on the campaign map.
- Regarding DLC: owning Ham 1 unlocks the big combined Mortal Empires map. All DLC from the first game carries over to the second, although it can be a bit fiddly to unlock it. Several factions have gotten free reworks:
- Dwarves can now craft special items. Also, that Slayer lord got a new start position.
- The Empire now has a loyalty mechanic where it actually works like a disjointed, decentralised country (instead of a bunch of culturally-similar states). You win over the loyalty of the other Elector Counts. They also redid the tech tree. Finally, Gelt got a new start position.
- The Brets had their vow system reworked into something more interesting. I haven't actually played them yet.
- The Vampire Counts got this system where they can revive ancient renowned lords. Also, Kemmler got a new startpos.