E3 2015 Day 2 Recap – Battleborn, Total War: Warhammer, and SWTOR!
Quite a while ago – December 6th of 2012 to be exact – Creative Assembly and Games Workshop announced a joint project: A trilogy of Warhammer games in the style of Total War. Very little about these games has been presented or seen, but on day two of E3 2015 we had the pleasure of viewing a ten minute in-game recreation of the historic Battle of Blackfire Pass. Although we couldn’t take any pictures or video footage of the battle, we can describe it and all of its elements.
“Bigger, cooler battles. Who could ask for more, really?”
In previous Total War games it was typical to have a couple thousand of units facing off against eachother in the end-game, but Total War: Warhammer takes it to a whole new level with many, many thousands of units in play at the same time. Creative Assembly has been limited by both technology and realistic army sizes of various time periods before, but now they can go all out and have several thousand units on a side. The Battle of Blackfire Pass is known as a critical event between the Humans and Dwarfs against the Orcs and Goblins, and the sheer scope of the battle can be finally realized and played in real-time with full unit control.
In the battle we witnessed many types of units in play: Grounded, Mounted, Seige, Special/Single, Leaders, and Flying Mounted units (presumably reserved for leaders, but we’re not sure). Here’s a quick run down of the units we saw interacting and fighting with eachother (32 in total, so far):
On the Human and Dwarf side:
– Karl Franz on his Deathclaw
– A Celestial Wizard
– A Warrior Priest
– A Witch Hunter
– Empire Swordsmen
– Demigryph Knights
– Reiksguard Knights
– A Helstorm Rocket battery
– A Helblaster Volley Gun
– A Great Cannon
– A Steam Tank
– A Luminark of Hysh
On the Orc and Goblin side:
– Grimgor Ironhide and Da Immortulz
– An Orc Shaman
– A Goblin Shaman
– Goblin Spearmen
– Goblin Wolf Riders
– Forest Goblin Spider Riders
– Orc Boyz
– Orc Boar Boyz
– Savage Orcs
– Black Orcs
– Arachnarok Spiders
– Orc Warbosses on Wyverns
– Three Goblin Doom Divers
As far as we can tell, all units displayed contextual animations for dodging and attacking other units – for example, the Goblin Shaman’s large AOE attack (Curse of Da Bad Moon) caused individuals within a Empire Swordsmen unit to be flung around and killed while a Giant can kick or slam individuals from a group, weakening the group as a whole. We witnessed many special units on the field use their abilities, so it seems that all special units can use their abilities on command and after cooldown, which is a change up of the typical Total War formula where only a few leader units can use abilities and unique attacks. The unit movement and fighting animations looks like it has been reworked from previous Total War titles and are very cool. We wonder how many units are going to be added to the 32 total that we saw.
Even in it’s current state, Total War: Warhammer looks visually impressive with the size of the battlefield and number of animated units interacting with one another. As explained during the presentation, it wasn’t possible to have battles on active lava fields before due to real-life historical accuracy, but battlefield conditions and mechanics can be reworked now that a fantasy setting is being used. We can only imagine which enchanting locations will soon be places of war. Compared to battlefields in previous Total War games like Shogun 2, Total War: Warhammer’s Battle of Blackfire Pass locale is far larger, more active, and certainly as detailed, if not more so.
“D A B O Y Z are back in town.”
During the presentation it was briefly mentioned that terrain conditions and weather will play a role (as expected from the history of both franchises) and battlefield victory conditions will change depending on the situation, such as in sieges and ambushes.
Though we did not see any of the campaign map or HUD interface, camera movement and zooming seems very smooth and on par with previous Total War installments. Technical requirements and specifications are also unknown at this time, but we anticipate that they’ll be hinted at or revealed during the next big gaming and press event.
It’s important to note that everything we saw and described is from an alpha-level build of the game, and everything is subject to change. Mechanics from Warhammer, such as morale and condition checks won’t necessarily be completely migrated into the Total War battle simulations intact; things will change over time.
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