We got to check out the Champions of Chaos DLC for Total War Warhammer III, as well as the beta for the upcoming Immortal Empires update. Honestly, if you’re like us and thoroughly chomping at the bit for one more turn of Fantasy-meets-Strategy, this is probably going to be a big content drop for you, with 4 new legendary lords, new gameplay and plenty of returning faces via the Immortal Empires Beta.
It’s no secret that Total War Warhammer III is already an excellent game, without much need for mechanical improvement- so with this Lord pack, Creative Assembly’s main challenge is more about what can you do to keep the game fresh,
Does the DLC pull if off? Or is it just a Tzeentchian switch? Read on and find out
Just Chaos Things
It’s a safe bet that at least half of Warhammer fans have some sort of interest in the Ruinous Forces of Chaos- demonic forces of corruption that exist across the Warhammer universe. Why wouldn’t you? They’re the stuff of heavy metal covers, with distinct personalities based around a pantheon of decadence, violence and more.
However, there’s a surprising amount of depth to Chaos- you rarely if at all see the actual Gods themselves. What you’d usually see are the Greater Daemons or the Daemon Princes- beings who’ve devoted their entire souls to the dark forces. With Champions of Chaos for Total War Warhammer III, you’re given the perspective of a new batch of Legendary Lords- Champions of the dark lords, people in the process of being corrupted by the ruinous forces.
I really like how this shows up in the gameplay. In the campaign for Valkia the Bloody, you’re set up to be allied with Marauders: also known as the exact type of people who would be corrupted by the forces of Chaos. Sure enough, their tech tree allows them to start brandishing the gear of Khorne’s chosen.
Unlike the base game’s campaign, the Champions of Chaos have their own story going on in Total War Warhammer III. They’re collecting souls to curry favor with their dark Gods, which can be used to buy upgrades as well as eventually lead to Chaos Rifts.
As with most things related to the Total War: Warhammer series, I really like how well Creative Assembly have captured the flavor of the Warhammer series. With the Champions of Chaos, their bond with the Dark Gods is represented primarily through the Gifted Units. While your forces are mostly made up of humans devoting themselves to Chaos, the Gifted Units are pure Daemons themselves- sent to reward you for your loyalty to your dark masters.
While they aren’t the only way to acquire Daemons, they’re certainly the fastest way to get them. Units like the Chaos Furies are extremely powerful, especially in the early game when some factions might not be properly equipped to deal with them. The main downside is their cooldown- you only get a re-up of Daemons every three turns, so if you’ve no means to produce them otherwise don’t rely on them too much in case they die.
Like A Mini God
One thing that I really like with the Champions of Chaos is that they definitely feel on different power levels compared to the rest of the Chaos factions in the game. Unlike the Daemon Prince in the Chaos Undivided campaign who is basically slinging Daemons left and right, the limitations on Daemons with the Champions makes them feel much harder to flood a board with.
The fact they also sport the key characteristics of their main faction is definitely a cool point, though- Valkia, for example, sports the Khornate Bloodletting ability, giving her army bonuses if they fight every turn. Similarly, the Slaanesh faction has bonuses for seduction and Tzeentch sports powerful magic and cunning tricks to mess with your opponents.
It pretty much feels like the perfect union of strict licensing and good game design- there’s no doubt you’re playing a Warhammer game since everything all the units do just feels so on-brand.
Immortal Empires Beta
One other feature we got to check out was the beta for the long-awaited Immortal Empires game mode. A continuation of the Mortal Empires game mode in previous game, this mode lets you bring all your previously-installed factions into Total War Warhammer III, to create an amazing experience. Honestly, the backwards-compatibility of the Total War Warhammer series has always been one of its high points, and considering just how much grander Warhammer III is compared to its predecessors, it’s no wonder so many fans were looking forward to this one.
For my own run, I had to represent the best faction- the Tomb Kings, Egyptian-themed undead off to reclaim their lost empire. Unfortunately, if what you were after was watching your favorite skeletons claiming the soul of Ursun for themselves, you’re in for a disappointment- instead, the campaigns you do get are closer to their original games, with factions like the Exiles of Nehek being more about getting old relics than anything to do with chaos.
That’s not to say it’s not fun though- Total War Warhammer III has a lot of great ideas going on under the hood, and being able to dramatically bolster its roster size with all the factions of previous games is a huge plus to anyone who likes Warhammer III’s bigger maps but wants a non-Chaos faction to play as.
Similarly, some of the older factions like Vampire Courts and Lizardmen did get changes, to better attune them to the revised mechanics of the most recent entry, so it’s not like any character whose key mechanics were messed with between was going to face problems as a result.
There’s a lot to love with the new content coming to Total War Warhammer III via the Champions of Chaos DLC. As one of the many Chaos fans, having another new way to interact with the mythology of the faction is always a blast. After all, they’re true to their overall Chaos God, but still provide enough of a breath of fresh air that you know you’re playing a new army, not just a reskin.
That being said, it definitely does feel like this Lord pack is lacking if you’re not Chaos-inclined- it could be argued that maybe having the Lord Packs be split up between two Chaos and two other factions might have been better for faction loyalists, since it might feel like there’s something in there for everyone.
Complaints like that totally melt away once you get into Immortal Empires though, since the game literally explodes into a treasure trove of content from then on. That’s not to say Immortal Empires is perfect, though, since the whole Total War Warhammer experience sits at over 200gb, an absolute luxury that not every super fan can afford.
Still, you probably knew all that going in if you’re any kind of Total War Warhammer fan- the game has made no pretenses about being the largest in the series, and this update is more about rewarding those who played the game with more new features to discover. One thing’s for certain though- watching innocent vikings ally with the exact kind of daemons your youth pastor would have warned you about is pretty much the kind of direction the series needed next.
Game reviewed on the ASUS TUF Gaming F17. Review code provided by SEGA