I’ve adjusted my morning routine over the past few weeks. Instead of playing Sudoku, reading a short story, or sneaking in for a bit Apex Legends Before work I drank my coffee while staring at this:
It is a map of the Warhammer fantasy world in Total War: Warhammer 3. Since June 28, developer Creative Assembly has been adding more of these colorful symbols to the map once a day in advance Immortal Empires DLC that combines all three campaign maps and every playable faction from the strategy trilogy into one massive brawl. These icons represent the starting location for each Legendary Lord – the playable leaders in each of the 19 factions in the series. At the start of the DLC there are 86 Lords to choose from.
Immortal Empires is a ambitious DLC.
And a Lord’s starting location is a big deal. This not only affects the geographies they’ll have to contend with, but also the factions they’ll face in the early rounds of the campaign. Take Helman Ghorst, for example, a leader of the Dracula-inspired Vampire Counts faction. Its starting location is represented by this white shield with the blue rose on the shore of the Sea of Terror. This location tells us that it will fight not only against the demonic hordes of Nurgle as they pour southwest from this isle, but also against the ranks of the ogre kingdoms as they march north from the mountains. Ghorst must also contend with High Elf forces along the coast to the west and the armies of Cathay to the northeast. That’s four factions with four extremely different mechanics, strengths, and weaknesses.
Tomorrow will mark the final reveal in this launch location news cycle, and honestly I think I’ll miss hearing about those reveals every day. I’ve been visiting the Total War subreddit every morning for the past few weeks, and it’s been a blast reading player reactions as to whether or not the Southlands – the large continent in the lower half of the map – will be an absolute Shitshow, or the news that Creative Assembly has placed the dwarf leader Grombrindal directly the next to the Dark Elf Malekith in the northwest corner of the map. If you’re a football fan, that’s the equivalent of the NFL moving the New York Giants to the AFC East so they have to play the New England Patriots twice during the regular season. It changes everything.
As an unexpected by-product of this morning routine, I’m obsessed with Warhammer Fantasy history. That encounter between Grombrindal and Malekith? It is basically the grudge game to end all grudge games. Grombrindal is rumored to be the vengeful spirit of a legendary dwarf who returns to punish Malekith for instigating the War of the Beard back then and causing the deaths of thousands of dwarves (as it is in Warhammer Plural). (Warhammer is so dumb. It’s like So Stupid. And it goes in the pants.)
Total War: Warhammer 3 Players are often as curious about the narrative context of these starting locations as they are about their gameplay implications. For the past two weeks, the Total War subreddit has been awash with proper names that made absolutely no sense to me until I snaked my way down the Warhammer Wiki rabbit holes and learned more. Finally, I needed to know why everyone is obsessed with Nagashizzar Fortress. And while I was at it, I Absolutely Read about Skarbrand’s banishment from the Blood God’s domain. This rat man’s name is Queek Headtaker? Sign me up the fuck
Although it may be rough around the edges when it launches in August, Immortal Empires can’t come soon enough. I am eagerly awaiting details on the Warriors of Chaos revamp and am already planning my first foray into the vast world of the DLC. (Actually, Grombrindal is the only choice, but Lokhir Fellheart’s new location above the Jade Sea is enticing.)
Also, it was a blast to immerse myself in the sprawling, strange, never-ending story of one of the greatest fantasy worlds out there. I love strategy games because their systems give players just enough context to come up with stories of their own, and it’s a testament to Creative Assembly’s craftsmanship that they can inspire such a large community to place a few PNGs every day. I’m sure I’ll want to learn infinitely more about Warhammer lore once I actually get my hands on the DLC.
But for now this card will have to do.
https://www.polygon.com/23218936/total-war-warhammer-3-immortal-empires-starting-positions-release-date-beta I’m obsessed with Warhammer lore leading up to Immortal Empires