Back in December, Creative Assembly posted a lengthy apology to players for their recent handling of the Total War strategy series, in particular Total War: Warhammer 3 and Total War: Pharoah. Seeking to smooth down feathers ruffled by overpricing and buggy launches, to pick out two of the biggest fan complaints, the developers offered to – amongst other things – make Pharoah’s first paid DLC pack a free update.
That free update is now upon us, miladies and milords. Available January 25th, it’s called High Tides, and introduces two new playable factions with their own units and gods and some additional campaign mechanics. Here’s a trailer.
“Dark sails on the horizon tell of the coming storm,” reads the blurb. “Drive the Bronze Age Collapse by playing as one of two new playable factions from the Sea Peoples culture with a host of new features. The ruthless Sherden strive only to destroy and sacrifice while the Peleset are on the warpath to establish a new homeland. Dominating the battlefield using the new horde style of gameplay, you can turn the tide and become part of the Bronze Age Collapse.”
There’s a touch more detail on the official FAQ, which describes the Sherden as a bunch of wanton pillagers, seeking always to grow their numbers and keep up the momentum, while the Peleset are a more calculating outfit from Canaan who like to flank people. Between them, they’ve mustered 37 new units, including the Nuraghe Warriors, a type of Sherden infantry who can form a “kelone” or shield tortoise, and the Peleset Oxen Cart infantry chariots, which can seemingly be deployed like APCs to ferry shock troops right into the thick of battle.
The update also adds a Forge Your Own Path royal tradition, available to all factions in the game. This lets you pick between the Path of the Marauder, which is all about winning battles, earning eminence and nuking all comers, and the Path of the Sea Peoples, which lets you modulate the balance between hordes, armies, settlements and tribal outposts so as to tailor the bonuses they offer. The update also introduces five new deities for Sea peoples, and tweaks how they raze settlements and make use of the core Pillars of Civilization mechanic.
Is all this enough of an apology for the apparent clusterchuff that has been the most recent epoch of Total Warring? I suspect Creative Assembly have a ways to go, in the eyes of their more dedicated players.