I can remember December 25th of 2012 very clearly, and not because the world was supposed to end 4 days ago. It was because that was the day I got Empire: Total War and spent six hours sitting in front of my computer watching the download meter tick past at a snails pace. Every two hours if I didn’t save and exit the game would freeze for ten minutes and crash and I never seemed to be able to finish a campaign, but it was the first Total War game I got into and it has a special kind of significance to me. Years later and I’m out of High School and finishing up my third semester of college. I’m still sitting in front of my computer for six hours, and I’m watching a video about the newest Total War game and struggling to contain my excitement.
I think Total War: Warhammer will be looked upon as a wonderful addition to both Creative Assembly and Games Workshop even though I've had my concerns about SEGA, but it would have been nice to see a Warhammer game where the main antagonist wasn’t Chaos, even though that ship has long sailed and Chaos is our big end-game boss in Total War: Warhammer. For example, lets look at the Skaven.
Total War: Warhammer only takes place in the Old World, a continent full of Dwarves and elves, and giant rat men who inhabit a giant intercontinental subterranean empire that extends in every single direction imaginable in addition to your standard human kingdoms. The Skaven see betrayal as inevitable, and the only shame is getting caught. Their society has been described as ‘a tyranny moderated by assassination’ and the Skaven have managed to get the gold medal in fratricide, which after receiving said award they promptly began top slaughter each other to see which one individual got to keep it. I’ve included a map of their empire laid over a map of the Old World (our campaign map for this most recent Creative Assembly product) just so you can understand the true size and scope of it:
The Skaven believe themselves to be superior to all other races, especially those that live above ground. Which pretty much means every other race in the game. Sometimes they put aside their differences and launch an all-out invasion of the Old World. Twice before, in fact, and both times resulted in widespread death and suffering with untold thousands killed or enslaved that is on par with any Chaos invasion. It would have been interesting to see this replicated, where the AI just comes out of the ground (we know the Dwarves have a mechanic that lets them travel underground, and as Skaven are a subterranean race they would most likely have it as well) and attack your armies after causing massive penalties to moral and spreading plagues that weakened everything and everyone. They’d roam the map late game like the Mongols Medieval 1 and would have been a refreshing change of pace from the whole ‘the heretical forces of the Dark Gods have once again united under one banner and march upon the Empire/Imperium’ theme that we see so often in Warhammer. But remember, just because your High Elves or Lizardmen aren’t in this one, that doesn’t mean they wont be in the sequel.
Total War: Warhammer is planned to be a trilogy and I'm sure we'll get our stand alone game of High Elves fighting Dark Elves and Lizardmen, but it would have been nice to see the Skaven represented in the Old World (which our current Total War: Warhammer game focuses on exclusively). We've gotten Bretons and Beastmen but I'm sure the Skaven's day will come soon.
It's been some time since Leviathans was released, the paid content adding in everything from new species portraits to giant space monsters, and it's generally been well received (including myself, but you can read all about my thoughts on it here) but now that the initial excitement has worn off people are starting to wonder. What's next for Stellaris?
Well, we've got a rough outline of what's coming soon. By the end of the year we'll be getting something called the 'Banks' and 'Kennedy' updates. Now of course, they're being very hush-hush about all of the specifics but we do have a list of what Paradox is hoping to accomplish by the end of the year. Now this list is by no means complete and there's quite a bit left out, but there's enough given to give you a general idea of the direction we'll be going with the game in the months to come.
These are three points that Paradox wants to continually update with every expansion:
And here's a list of what the developers WANT but won't make any promises of giving us:
Now I'm definitely envisioning an EU 4 style setup in the coming years in terms of where some of these expansions are going to go, and I think the modding community has done a wonderful job so far of beating the developers to it in some aspects. We already have something akin to more interesting mechanics for Pre-FTL civilizations in the form of this mod which lets you actually play as a Pre-FTL civilization. While Leviathans might have had its few minor flaws I really do think that Stellaris is one of the best games to have come out of this year, and I think when next year rolls around it'll only get better.