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Thread: al Qamar's review on Warhammer (multiplayer coop campaign - completed campaign)

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    Default al Qamar's review on Warhammer (multiplayer coop campaign - completed campaign)





    Intro


    So here it is!


    The first official fantasy based Total War game, the first featuring a native 64bit engine and also the first one to support the latest DirectX 12 3D API for Windows based computers.
    Most still aren't aware that they are allowed to upgrade to Windows 10 for free till summer 2016 (without later dues) but also can switch from 32 bit to 64 bit for free anytime. I've written a small thread about this on TWCenter (http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showt...ration-advices)

    Instead of writing a full length review about every tiny bit, I rather post this review as a quick to read review considering all pro's and con's I have found compared to Rome 2. I am aware Rome 2 is not the predecessor of Warhammer, but this is actually the latest TW game I've played before Warhammer.

    This review will cover my experiences from a still running a MP coop campaign played with some minor cosmetically mods. So far played 31 hours and 103 turns.

    Settings:

    My friends faction: Greenskins
    My faction: Dwarves
    Battles: Fight battles
    Difficulty: normal / normal
    Graphics: Maxed out, 1080p, except AA

    Applied Mods:

    Chaos please wait: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfile.../?id=691279367
    Conquer anywhere and diplomacy by Dresden: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfile.../?id=687689947
    Less OP Agents: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfile.../?id=693592647
    Olympian Cam Waaagh! Edition: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfile.../?id=691803600
    No AI Public Order Cheat: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfile.../?id=691979636
    Proper Battles by kam2150: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfile.../?id=691006940
    Improved Flags by Noif: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfile.../?id=690002238
    Larger Units: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfile.../?id=690309019




    Technical stuff

    Pro's:
    -> optional DX12 support, this comes exclusively for all users that already migrated to Windows 10. You should consider to upgrade for free until end of July 2016. Quite all GPUs on the market do support DX12 natively but this doesn't mean they will all benefit from this in a similar manner. CA announced a cooperation and optimization for AMD graphics, which might end up that Nvidia pendants won't benefit a lot (refer Tomb Raider DX12). But at the end of the day we will have to wait till the DX12 beta has ended and the patch will be made publicly available.

    -> 64-bit support: Which sounds old to geeks is a long demanded and new feature to the Total War series. Finally, the game is able to allocate more than 3.5 GByte system RAM and also the graphics card video RAM without near limits in the future. The great thing about this, is that the game is already able to take up all advantages.

    While playing the campaign the consumption of system RAM varies from 4-6 GByte and the video RAM seems to be pre-allocated to its extend (4GB for my graphics card) on the campaign map, except in battles.

    -> performance: 64-bit support and DX12 both do not grant more performance as a matter of course, but more as an additional matter of optimizations made. CA recently announced a blog post where they thoroughly describe the technical advancements. And so far I can tell all of them deal out.
    Warhammer seem to have the best multicore support of all TW games so far, because the BAI and other CPU based tasks have been separated into 2 threads so at least for me 2 of 4 cores are permanently under fire, resulting in an acceptable framerate of 20-50 fps with maxed out settings (AA off) at a 1080p resolution, quite in opposite to Attila.

    -> Really huge battles: Even in really huge battles like 4v2 or 4v3 with nearly all full stack armies the game remains quite playable performancewise.

    Quite intentionally I have turned off AA as the aliasing isn't really bothering at my screen size (27 inch) and resolution (1080p). Some may say that an average framerate around 30 fps is unacceptable for a GTX 970, hence I try to look on the bright side of life and compared to Attila it is a breeze on same settings.



    Game and gameplay

    Pro's:
    -> Battle AI is the best I've ever seen. It makes very logical and foremost quick moves. This circumstance results that I rejoiced to play huge battles (40v40 or more). The more units you'll have under control and the AI as well, the more you'll notice that you need a lot of timing and precision. Surely moves can be anticipated but this would even happen in a human vs human battle.

    The Battle AI, imho, is the true gem of Warhammer. Challenging, quickly responding, carrying out coordinated attacks, and moves that you would expect from every human player alike as soon there is an opportunity to find a breach or isolated unit. This includes so far correct usage of units and counters.

    -> Campaign AI: also this one seems to be a bit smarter and it will keep you busy for sure. Of course it is a bit easier in a coop campaign than playing on your own as you can merge your forces. So far I haven't experienced moves of the AI that were completely brainless as often happened in Rome 2.

    -> Chaos comes a bit too early for the taste of most (mods available changing the event times), however it is a welcome and strong addition to the game, as most as it does not only affect the player but also the AI itself. And it really does. In our campaign Chaos and its infected Norse tribes capturing one city after another from some helpless AI folks, some other have enough forces to resist. It is creating baseline tension and additional task as soon you get involved.

    -> tech tree: speaking for the tech tree of the dwarves it is very logic, aiding the concept and while there are mods reducing the research time by a half, I am satisfied with the vanilla values. Approaching the tech tree is now a lot like in Civilization, where you'll find prerequisites and even subtrees. Cannot tell if it is somehow balanced for each faction though.

    -> retainers and hero upgrades: They are really a lot of fun and a hero (general) can have lot of them and you can also transfer them to other heroes in a helpful matter of time (1 turn) without having them nearby.

    -> Music and Sounds: Who would have thought this? The music is really good in Warhammer in my opinion, at least far better than in Rome 2. Every faction seems to have their own tracks and even after many hours it doesn't get bothersome. Also sounds of units seem to have much more variation, perhaps one benefit of having more RAM available aswell.

    -> Routing units as in Rome 1 / Medieval 2: No longer you will see lines of units routing, like depressed Lemmings. The mechanic to routing is Rome 1 / Medieval 2 grade! It is really great to have this mechanic back. Units will recover if not completely shattered.

    -> Unit cards: They look really great, pretty most everything you can want!

    -> UI: this a lot better looking and organized than in Rome 2

    -> special (mission) battles / general speeches: My mate has to do some special battles that are introduced with a cinematic like sequence and great general speeches. Oh well, Orkish is actually hard to understand. Funnily, Dwarves seem to have a scottish accent.

    -> faction specific positive and negatives: e.g. drawves do not have cavalry, face penalties when growing a too strong faction, penalties / attrition from foreign corruption. Greenskins have less issues with such penalties but suffer from the fact that they need to be kept busy with raiding, besieging or fighting, otherwise suffer from attrition aswell.


    Mixed:
    -> Graphics in Warhammer are actually not that great. Many people complain about animations or missing details on units. But hey we still have modders, at least for units and details. I don't like the coloring of units
    Another reason why I am not satisfied with the graphics, is that in battles you can hardly separate your units. I am still in the opinion that Rome 1 was the best game to achieve this. Either due it's easy unit colouring scheme and then because you did not lose too much details when zooming out.

    Warhammer suffers from an effect that people in forums describe as black ant effect, and if you look at some screenshots you will get the point quick enough. For the dwarves it is actually hard to separate your units from each other even when zoomed in.

    Spoiler for Black ants effect






    -> Sieges: Siege maps look beautiful and are filled with awesome details, hence they become repetitive. Imho all changes made like 2 usable rows on the walls, assault mode (you cannot attack from several sides), removal of torches (hehe) come handy to support or conceal weaknesses of the AI. In siege battles just in my opinion, the AI could have been a bit more reactive and aggressive as it has quite nothing to lose. Often enough you find powerful troops like shock cavalry sitting inside the town while your units pass the streets just in front of them.

    Spoiler for Pictures of Sieges













    Con's:
    -> Buildings follow the same scheme as in Rome 2. Too less options and bland imho.

    -> no naval battles

    -> no family tree

    -> no worldwide seasons but region based

    -> no sandals /sarcasm

    -> Unit sounds and general speeches are not localized

    -> Encyclopedia: this one is still useless imho, and could change the state of being so, if CA would finally integrate a context based help. If you right click on a unit or building it should open the regarding article instead your ending up in a cumbersome webpage, have to select your faction every time again etc etc. It cannot be so hard CA to hand over variables to this external process. How about using trigger files if not possible otherways?! At least it is no "slow pedia" anymore like in Rome 2.

    -> Agents: They are pretty cumbersome at all: Even with an according mod it is near to impossible to have a chance to kill other agents and the fact that the Chaos events will spawn agents corrupting your back lands and so the public order is another thing that is just nasty while it feels more like a burden than a mechanic. If agents could be blocked more efficiently or assassinated the same way they would be a great aid. Most of the time I end up using their passive skills for a region. There are also some weird mechanics. While an agent can remove Vampire and Chaos corruption in foreign regions, it cannot do the same for your own.

    -> Chaos and Vampire corruption are basically a good idea and addition, but the removal of both of them is too slow in my opinion. I would not want to wait literally 100 turns to remove other influences, plus buildings for dwarvesí costs loads of money with only minor effects as well.

    -> Diplomacy must have been implemented with a mindset of cruelty by the developers or with simply too less balancing and passion. I really hope this gets fixed either by modders or CA.
    Me playing as dwarves and do not have even good relations to tribes of my own, nor having one freaking trade route nor I can make decisive deals. In our coop campaign, the sword seems to be the only option of diplomacy. I would have wished much more here. The main issue seems to be faction based disgrace and a to narrow minded AI. As an example: If the Empire has no negative feelings about me and I am offering a trade agreement to them where I would gain +330 gold a turn and them +1100 gold a turn, while chances of success are declared as moderate, why does the AI decline this worthy deal, even then when I am adding up gold to change their minds? I donít get it.

    Spoiler for Campaign map & starting positions







    Conclusion


    26 bucks paid for Warhammer including the playable Chaos faction turned out as a great deal for me. Iíve spent 31 hours so far in this coop campaign on normal difficulty, which does not appear too easy. Most of all as the battle AI is really good regardless.

    I have no tie to the Warhammer universe at all, so please donít ask me about typical TWC things like realism, historical accuracy and immersion. Subjectively, all feels about right. The few big drawbacks I see in Warhammer are those described in the conís, and I really hope for a patch or more to address them.

    Hope this is not blasphemy for Warhammer fans: Playing Warhammer feels a bit like playing Medieval 2 with Third Age mod based with new graphics and enough gameplay and performance improvements and changes.

    Given the fact that Iíve intentionally bought to the game for testing and benchmarking only, and from the start declined the setting would inspire me at all, you might have noticed that Iíve got infected by this latest iteration of Total War.
    If you get inspired by fantasy worlds, if you can get it at a good price and donít mind a pressure of DLC spam in future, you can have a lots of fun playing Warhammer.




    Post campaign impression and overall rating



    Now that I have finished the first coop campaign I am not so sure about the replayability of Warhammer, at least not in a coop campaign on the same difficulty. Here is the summary.

    Warhammer is a great game, performant and overall stable (6 crashes with no impact due proper autosaves, kudos to CA here). It made a lot of fun to play except the easy late game.
    When I would be ask to rate Warhammer on a scale from 0 to 10, I would give it a fair 7 so just slightly worse one compared to the majority of users on Steam and metacritics.
    Last edited by alQamar; June 02, 2016 at 12:23 PM. Reason: removed typos, post campaign additions, overall rating
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    KAM 2150's Avatar Artifex
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    Default Re: al Qamar's review on Warhammer (multiplayer coop campaign)

    Very good review Also thanks for using my combat mod
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    Default Re: al Qamar's review on Warhammer (multiplayer coop campaign)

    You're welcome KAM2150. I should have mentioned that vanilla battles are extremely fast paced especially when you have to handle many units and reinforcements. Your mod makes it is much easier to keep up with the pace of the AI and gives more opportunities (for the player and AI) making some more strategic moves instead of rush and clash.

    After a while there are some more things I forgot to mention about the pro's in gameplay:

    - unit collision is a bit better than in Rome 2, just sometimes units will loose their formation a lot (unit cohesion).
    - It seems like some developments made in Arena like bloobing avoidance, pull through avoidance seem to be implemented in Warhammer aswell. But it is actually hard to tell as I haven't played Arena for a longer time.
    - of course the old hammer and anvil still applies to break the morale, so far Warhammer has nothing revolutionary to offer in terms of battles, with a small exception to flying units. It is actually nice how they implemented them

    Spoiler for flying units





    Last edited by alQamar; May 31, 2016 at 12:54 PM.
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    Default Re: al Qamar's review on Warhammer (multiplayer coop campaign)

    for who already have DX12 ready GPU and seeks performance improvements, there is any reason for upgrading to W10 ? does the patch even if on beta (DX12) brought any improvements? just curious.....
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    alQamar's Avatar Citizen
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    Default Re: al Qamar's review on Warhammer (multiplayer coop campaign)

    Hi Ataegina, basically DX12 should bring more performance but this does not come for free. Same as switching from 32bit to 64bit it needs proper code optimization to achieve advantages.

    As said in the review, the 64 bit optimization seems to be done right. Just as an example the recent Tomb Raider got a DX12 patch which did not well on Nvidia cards. And at least for me I switched back to DX11 for better performance. This sounds odd but thats how it is currently. At the moment I we can just wait for the patch and see how it will work out for AMD and Nvidia GPU owners. Looking back to Shogun 2, where they introduced DX11 Nvidia did not look bad at all, even though CA also worked together with AMD for optimizations. So far I have no data about how much improvements, foremost measured in frames per second DX12 will bring for Warhammer.


    Spoiler for offtopic Windows 10 thoughts
    Upgrading to W10 brings a lot other improvements under the hood of the OS that are really worthwile compared to W7 and W8.1 (remember that W8.0 is not supported anymore). I have posted a list about prominent improvements once on TWC but I cannot find it at the moment. I have collected very good experiences at work (around 20 installments) and in home enviromments (around 55 installments), in the last 2 years, that also include time being part of the open Microsoft Insider Program. From what I've seen the "anniversary patch" will bring a lot of improvements for those that are still on the 10586 build (November upgrade) or might be still hung with the build 10240 (original release). It is really good to see that all parts of the OS, from UI and usability improvements to underlaying features, are being constantly developed. This also happesn a lot with the help an strong and active community. The developments are rolled out for free and instead of releasing a new OS every 2 years, and as well know quite every second release of Windows was really worth to bother with.
    With Windows 10, MS successfully copied the strategy of Apple's MacOS, which does also grant free upgrades and major releases for the customers. If you have a look into the Steam stats the adoption of these free upgrades with MacOS or Windows 10 are really used by many of the users.
    Last edited by alQamar; May 31, 2016 at 06:55 PM.
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    Default Re: al Qamar's review on Warhammer (multiplayer coop campaign)

    Good review, mate. I've been pleasantly surprised by what I've seen so far. Certainly the most polished release with the best optimized game from CA I can remember.

    The gameplay and mechanics are fun and appropriate given the fantasy context. Depth seems to have been sacrificed in many areas to diversity between factions, but I can live with that.

    There are plenty of things which work pretty well in this game that I would definitely not like to see carried over to the next historical game, but overall I think CA have done a stellar job with this and I hope it brings a load more fans to the franchise.

    Battle speed is once again ridiculously fast, so I look forward to checking out KAM's proper combat mod for some decent pacing.

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    alQamar's Avatar Citizen
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    Default Re: al Qamar's review on Warhammer (multiplayer coop campaign)

    Thank you very much for the praise Fredrin Glad you also liked my review as you like the game. Once I read your answer I had to think about the outcome of our well known surveys and it really feels like CA has considered the results for Warhammer and Attila. More possibly they just are aware of the complaints and suggestions raised in their official forum.

    There are plenty of things which work pretty well in this game that I would definitely not like to see carried over to the next historical game,
    Can you please elaborate this?
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    Default Re: al Qamar's review on Warhammer (multiplayer coop campaign)

    good job, very nice review; I hope to see more similar serious and honest reviews in the next future
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    Default Re: al Qamar's review on Warhammer (multiplayer coop campaign)

    Quote Originally Posted by alQamar View Post
    Thank you very much for the praise Fredrin Glad you also liked my review as you like the game. Once I read your answer I had to think about the outcome of our well known surveys and it really feels like CA has considered the results for Warhammer and Attila. More possibly they just are aware of the complaints and suggestions raised in their official forum.
    It would be nice to think they had some impact - at least, as you suggest, in distilling many pages of feedback and complaints into a format that the devs found easier to work with. Certainly I see some correlation between the main areas of concern that were highlighted in the results and what changes we've seen have been made both to content/features and presentation/community management.

    Bart CA, who I believe is quite senior in their Comms team, mentioned that the surveys were definitely something they were aware of and was even kind enough to send over a draft of the one I have lined up for Warhammer to the SEGA market research team so they could give feedback on question composition. Hopefully not naive to think that shows some interest in the results.

    There are plenty of things which work pretty well in this game that I would definitely not like to see carried over to the next historical game
    Quote Originally Posted by alQamar View Post
    Can you please elaborate this?
    Well, for one, I would like to see a complete overhaul of the real time battle side of the game. Fantasy (with the addition of magic) has seen even greater emphasis put on actions, spells and abilities, which are great for the fast-clicking micro aspect of the game.

    In my opinion, that has also come at the expense of classic tactical elements like maneuvering, formations, height advantage and the kind of considerations you would typically find a historical general factor in to their decision-making. I would like to be made to think much harder in the next History title, as opposed to feel it is primarily my reflexes that are being challenged. This has been needed for a long time, imho.


    The other thing I'd like to see done differently (but not entirely differently) is faction diversity. I have to be careful when I make this point because I think the difference between races in Warhammer is one of its crowning achievements and I think the devs deserve full credit for realizing each one as faithfully as they have.

    However, I think this may have come slightly at the cost of empire management and how deep an experience this provides. Presumably, in the next historical title, there will not be the need to portray 16 radically different races - they will all be human and based in the same historical period, so there is more scope for overlap between them. I thought many of the more annoying elements of empire management from previous games (such as squalour and food) were streamlined out to good effect in Warhammer, but in the next historical game I would like to see more creative versions of these features put back in and designed in a way that made them enjoyable to manage.

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    Default Re: al Qamar's review on Warhammer (multiplayer coop campaign)

    well since we've until 29 of july to upgrade for free (W10) i guess i will wait for the feedback. but i hope that if there is improvements, it won't be like 2-3fps because if thats the case isn't worth the trouble to change to w10 for full dx12.
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    Default Re: al Qamar's review on Warhammer (multiplayer coop campaign)

    Intersting review, though it seemed somewhat gushing on the AI. I find it hard to believe it`s that good. I`ve played TWs a lot (every single game) and when they`ve praised AI like this, it`s never that good. I think Shogun 2 did the last best AI in my view. You seem very forgiving of sieges too, I can`t see why. It`s only laziness from CA to make the effort why they made sieges so bad and cut down.

    Also, I use Win 7, I changed from Win X after my suspicions on how much Microshaft likes to download info from my pc without telling me about it. Sure I may be forced back to Windows X eventually, but not as long as I can avoid it.

    Your view seemed less than objective in my view.

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    Default Re: al Qamar's review on Warhammer (multiplayer coop campaign)

    Humble Warrior, battle AI is the best there ever was in a TW game. Sure, it sometimes is a bit wonky, but it is miles ahead of anything we had before. And this comes from a person who made a lot of posts and even videos on how bad the AI was in previous games.
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    Default Re: al Qamar's review on Warhammer (multiplayer coop campaign)

    Quote Originally Posted by Humble Warrior View Post
    Intersting review, though it seemed somewhat gushing on the AI. I find it hard to believe it`s that good. I`ve played TWs a lot (every single game) and when they`ve praised AI like this, it`s never that good. I think Shogun 2 did the last best AI in my view. You seem very forgiving of sieges too, I can`t see why. It`s only laziness from CA to make the effort why they made sieges so bad and cut down.

    Also, I use Win 7, I changed from Win X after my suspicions on how much Microshaft likes to download info from my pc without telling me about it. Sure I may be forced back to Windows X eventually, but not as long as I can avoid it.

    Your view seemed less than objective in my view.
    I can understand your point Humble Warrior, but you should know me that I am not easy to convince. The AI is really good and it is finally good! Just now I had to play on slow motion again because I wasn't able to handle all 40 units at once so properly while the AI flanked, used missle cav mortars etc correctly, it even stopped firing the mortars to avoid hitting own units and started again as soon they routed. If that is not clever, what else.

    You are right that the "AI improvements" are announced and discussed for every title of Total War but this time, no big announcement (remember that poor boy from the Rome 2 video) from CA and it worked.

    Windows 10 has got a lot of flak quite like every Windows before. But you can customize all privacy related things in detail. It is not the fault of the OS if people do not read and apply settings. This is same for Windows, iOS or most of all Android. None of them are saving your privacy and data by default.
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    Default Re: al Qamar's review on Warhammer (multiplayer coop campaign)

    Hi everyone, thanks for reading the review and your comments. Now that I have finished the coop campaign I feel that I have to add some more impressions to the review in the OP.


    The Game and Gameplay:

    Mixed:
    -> The Chaos invasion was not that strong in normal difficulty, the most damage was done through the nothern tribes but Chaos itself only provided little and comparatively weak armies for the late game.
    -> Despite the Chaos invasion the lategame suffers from being challenging and you really miss something exceptional. I had a turnbase net income of 14,000-18,000 gold a turn (48k a turn overall without army costs) so literally more than I could have spent. Every other AI faction except Chaos more or less suddently demanded Non Aggression Pacts, or even Alliances or submitted themselves as vassals. This means in the late game we all had approximately 3 opponents: Chaos and the two norse tribes, and a Vampire count with just one hold left.

    I do not rate this as a con because it is very similar to previous Total War games, at least Rome 2, where's a certain point of no return for the campaign AI and you as a player just either buy the world or steamroll anyone with more or less ease.
    So then I really missed something at the end but it is not like I got served something different in Rome 2 in the lategame so I was not too annoyed about that. I think also other games favor similar situations, especially the Civilization series.

    -> while I liked the sieges and the new design that you can put one unit to the outside and inside on the top of the wall they got repetitive aswell. BAI in sieges is okay but not that good as the BAI in battles.

    I have spent about 49 hours in this coop campaign, and it took about 140 turns to win the game finally and even destroy Chaos. At the moment I am not tempted to play another coop campaign very soon, and hope for some patches and further improvements.


    Spoiler for some pictures of the campaign map


    Magic winds


    Distribution of Chaos corruption


    Distribution of Vampiric corruption



    Growth


    Public Order



    Diplomatic state




    Spoiler for The mother of all fights, not! - Battle for Chaos Desert








    Last edited by alQamar; June 02, 2016 at 12:22 PM.
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