I wrote before about my enjoyment of Total War: Warhammer 2, and how while basically a reskin of the first game, its a reskin worth the $60 price tag. Today I’m going to talk about how the DLC is also worth buying.
DLC in TW:W2 (and TW:W1 DLC, that can also be used in the second game) basically comes in two flavors. The cheaper ($8 or so) of the two are Lord packs, which give you new main characters for existing factions. The more expensive ($18) DLC are armies, which give you a new faction and all the trimmings that go with them. Both work for me, especially lately. Bonus points for the developers here: even if you don’t own the DLC, the new stuff will appear in your game, you just can’t play as the new lords/armies. So even if you don’t buy a DLC, the devs spending time on it still gives your base game more variety, which is very nice.
One of the things that got better in TW:W2 compared to the first game is variety. In the first, all of the Vampire main characters started in the same spot, so really the only difference between who you played was some character-specific stuff and the starting units. The same was true for most (all?) other factions. Not great, and really limited replayability. In TW:W2, things are different. Most lords start in very different locations, which means you get to experience the early game of a faction against different enemies. You get to see how, for example, Skaven deal with elves using early-game units compared to dealing with orcs or the undead. It really, really feels like playing a different faction, even though it uses the same overall units, mechanics, and map.
Now to the DLC. The Tomb Kings army is fantastic, not only because it gives you a new army, but one that mechanically is radically different from all others. Tomb Kings don’t pay to buy or upkeep units, instead all but the most basic units have a hard cap, one that can be increased via buildings. This is huge for two reasons. One, it encourages you to actually use all 20 slots in each army at all times, even if you fill them with fodder units. Two, losing said fodder no longer feels bad, since replacing them is free (beyond the turn or two to recruit them). That ‘feels right’ for the army; leaders of the undead would throw cheap skeletons in waves at the enemy, not really caring if they are lost.
This also means that gold is used only for upgrading towns, and here again the faction is very different. While with most armies you get a decent chunk of gold per turn, Tomb King income is far more limited, and their buildings tend to be more expensive. This means you will likely have plenty of towns with empty slots or buildings that can be upgraded, and ‘what’ to upgrade is suddenly a much bigger choice. Even more so because of the unit restrictions mechanic; each time you build a building that, say, allows you to recruit skeleton archers, you also increase the overall cap on how many you can use. This means that its actually beneficial to build the same army buildings in multiple holdings, something that isn’t really true for other factions. And because Tomb Kings also have some nice utility buildings, every slot in a town is suddenly a much bigger choice on what to build. I love that.
Another DLC worth mentioning is one from TW:W1, “The King and the Warlord”, which adds a new dwarf and greenskins lord to the game. I’ve not played the dwarf yet, but the greenskin lord, a goblin, is really interesting. You start far from the traditional greenskin starting point, and you can only recruit goblins until you recapture your traditional home, far to the east. The lord gives large boosts to goblin units, so an all-goblin army isn’t actually terrible, and you get to see some of their units, like fanatics, really shine.
What I’m really enjoying about the DLC is the starting spot; you are surrounded by Dwarves, the Empire, and to the south, the Wood Elves. Dwarves the goblins can handle, and they do very well against the Empire, but the Wood Elves just shred you. Their ranged attacks murder your own archers, they run faster than most your units so you can’t catch them and force melee, and their melee units are often much better than your own. Oh and they have big ass Treemen that your poor little goblins can’t even scratch. Right now I’m avoiding the Wood Elves as much as possible, or when they come into my territory, hope for an ambush to surround and murder-zone them. That works, usually…
So yes, I’m very happy with Total War: Warhammer 2, and continue to throw money at it willingly.