Rome II: Total War Sammelthread

LordCrash

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So, ich habe mal einen Thread erstellt, in den wir alle neuen Infos zu Rome II: Total War reinstellen und sammeln können. :]

pontic-royal-cavalry_1500.0_cinema_960.0.jpg


Ich fange mal an:

Total War: Rome 2 expands political system, introduces civil war

The Creative Assembly's Total War: Rome 2 will introduce a detailed political system that will see players vie for power within their faction, according to studio communications manager, Al Bickham.
Where previous Total War games had players perform diplomacy with outside factions, Bickham told Polygon that Rome 2 will add an internal struggle to the campaign game by having players manage their relations within Rome.
"If you play as Rome, then you have to deal with the great families of Rome at the time as well as the senate," Bickham said. "The history was all about who was going to be the first man of Rome. After Caesar became a tyrant and crowned himself emperor, everybody else was like, this is how Rome is now, we're no longer a republic.
"It just created all these power struggles that were more about personal gain and personal power than running an entire culture and society in a way that was beneficial to the people."
"Politics is a way of providing more intrigue and more of an internal struggle."
According to Bickham, both the player and the houses in the senate have an agenda and everyone has a fluctuating level of political power. Players can increase their political power by having the right people in the senate working for them. But this carries its risks, because if other houses within the senate feel that the player is getting too big for his boots, they may raise their own armies and go to civil war. If such a situation occurs, a player's expansion across the world would have to be put on hold while they deal with the fact that Rome is now at war with Rome.
One way to balance the political power is through marriage. Marrying family members into other families can balance the sway of power in Rome. If the player marries into a lesser house, it reduces one house's political capital but increases the other's, having a slightly equalizing effect. "It's a way of saying to everybody, 'Hey, I'm not as big as you thought I was,'" Bickham said.
On top of managing Roman politics, players will still have to expand and conquer territories outside of Rome, perform diplomacy with non-Roman factions and fight in Total War's signature real-time battles.
"Politics is a way of providing more intrigue and more of an internal struggle," Bickham said. "Previous Total War games — Shogun 2 being a good example — you're the faction leader and that's it. But now that faction has teeth that may bite you."
Quelle: Total War: Rome 2 expands political system, introduces civil war | Polygon
 

Mothman

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Ich kanns kaum erwarten. :)

The Creative Assembly wird wieder Großartiges abliefern, da bin ich sicher.
 
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LordCrash

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Three things I loved about Total War: Rome II at E3

Defensive deployables
The battle I witnessed pitted Caesar’s Roman army against the Egyptians, who held the high ground. One tactic the Egyptian army employed was flaming boulders, which were rolled downhill to decimate the Roman legionnaires. These are one of many defensive deployables Creative Assembly has added to help defending armies challenge aggressors. Both Ferguson and Starr also mentioned caches of poison arrows, stakes that impale cavalry, sharp stones to stall enemy advances and hidden fire pits that light front-line assault troops ablaze.
Using these deployables to repel attackers isn’t as easy as it sounds. “If you place them in the wrong place, they’ll be totally useless to you,” Ferguson said. “It relies on a certain amount of common sense from the player.” He also described how using some elements can backfire on the player, citing how war elephants can run amok. “They go completely out of control but get much tougher,” he said. “The result of that is that they can smash through not only the enemy units, but yours as well. And you have to choose if you want to destroy them or not.”
In the case of the flaming boulders, they weren’t always effective. While some crushed the attacking Roman troops, others veered off course down the hillside. But when they worked, they did some serious damage.

More victory conditions
While past entries of Total War have had rigid victory conditions, Rome II will feature three distinct ways to win: military, economic and cultural victories. Any of the three can be achieved on the fly, giving some players the chance to switch up tactics depending on how the ages have treated their empire.
“These aren’t picked from the start,” Starr said. “There’s no pressure. No one ever told Rome, ‘Hey, you only have 200 years. Get to work.’”
The victory options mean more opportunities for the game to fit a specific player’s style. Some players will min/max their way to an economic victory, assuming everything goes their way. In other cases, Ferguson says, the additional victory options will help a player who may feel stuck because of forgotten victory requirements. Trying to control the most territory, but forgot about an obscure island? You may not have to start over if your cultural influence is great enough.
Another element that can affect your victory is the optional Realism mode, where players will be unable to reload save games. Realism mode also limits certain Battle mode user interface elements, like details on enemy units or their location.

Political scheming
Since Rome II is recreating the feeling of running the Roman empire, adding a level of political influence (or political backstabbing) sounds natural. Each faction will have a number of political parties that players can choose to deal with. Rome, for example, will have three families looking to exert influence, as well as the senate with its own agenda. Using members of these parties in your battles will add further power not just to the unit, but to the political party as well. Players can balance this political capital between the different families or choose to favor their own—with all of the consequences that may bring.
“The balance in political power is constantly shifting,” Starr said. “If there’s an imbalance, whether you become too powerful or too weak, you’ll find yourself in a civil war.” And for the other factions, that political balancing act means trying to keep the power you have, without having another group overthrow you.
Players can also spend this political capital to adopt powerful generals into the family, or marry off children to appease groups that are growing dangerously close to influential. Ferguson says that the political system won’t feel like a micromanaging mess, but that the interface will alert you to political events and let you decide to deal with them or not.
Quelle: Three things I loved about Total War: Rome II at E3 | PC Gamer
 
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LordCrash

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Man mag es kaum glauben, aber es gab auf der E3 auch Infos zu einem PC exklusiven Spiel. Im Sega Blog gibt es einen neuen Eintrag, der einige neue Screenshots zeigt, unter anderem auch zum ersten Mal von der Kampagnenkarte. Außerdem gibt es ein paar neue Infos zum Ägyptenfeldzug. Schaut gut aus, ich freue mich drauf.


http://blogs.sega.com/2013/06/11/tot...me-ii-e3-2013/
 
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LordCrash

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Finale Systemvoraussetzungen:


  • Minimum:
    • OS: XP/ Vista / Windows 7 / Windows 8
    • Processor:2 GHz Intel Dual Core processor / 2.6 GHz Intel Single Core processor
    • Memory: 2GB RAM
    • Graphics:512 MB DirectX 9.0c compatible card (shader model 3, vertex texture fetch support).
    • DirectX®:9.0c
    • Hard Drive: 35 GB HD space
    • Screen Resolution: 1024x768



  • Recommended:
    • OS: Windows 7 / Windows 8
    • Processor:2nd Generation Intel Core i5 processor (or greater)
    • Memory: 4GB RAM
    • Graphics:1024 MB DirectX 11 compatible graphics card.
    • DirectX®:11
    • Hard Drive:35 GB HD space
    • Screen Resolution: 1920x1080

Quelle: Rome II Recommended Specs - Total War Wiki


Persönliche Anmerkung: 35 GB Platz auf der Festplatte??? Holy Hell, da lohnt sich mein VDSL aber mal wirklich..... :P
 

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  • Recommended:
    • OS: Windows 7 / Windows 8
    • Processor:2nd Generation Intel Core i5 processor (or greater)
    • Memory: 4GB RAM
    • Graphics:1024 MB DirectX 11 compatible graphics card.
    • DirectX®:11
    • Hard Drive:35 GB HD space
    • Screen Resolution: 1920x1080
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LordCrash

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So, den letzten Tag des Anbebots auf Nuuvem noch genutzt und mir Rome 2 für 29€ vorbestellt. Freue mich schon wahnsinning darauf. :)
 
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LordCrash

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LordCrash

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Unter Total War: ROME II Campaign Map Planner könnt ihr alle im Spiel wählbaren Fraktionen auswählen und eure Eroberung der antiken Welt Schritt für Schritt auf der interaktiven Weltkarte planen und eure ambitionierten Pläne mit anderen teilen! :)
 
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Angry Joes E3 Interview:

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LordCrash

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Rüstungsvariationen für Elefanten.... ;)

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LordCrash

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Rally Point 15

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Total War: Rome II Preview: saving Capua

01 August 2013 • Story by Fraser Brown

romeheader.jpg

Italy is a hot mess of warring factions, invaders bash at the gates of Roman towns and the plebs are causing a ruckus. Total War: Rome II’s prologue, ostensibly a long tutorial, throws players into a war against Rome’s neighbours, the Samnites. The goal: rescue a captured Roman VIP and, along the way, carve off a nice chunk of Italy.

After fiddling around with it for an hour in Rome itself, a code was thrown my way, and I’ve been messing about with burly men in skirts and knocking down walls for a few weeks. So it’s pretty much been like a long Saturday night in Glasgow.

Rome II begins the way it intends to continue: with a huge battle. Capua is under siege, a veritable horde of angry Samnites are attempting to crack the walls and get into its gooey centre, and I’ve got to save the day with a few untested units. It is a dramatic opening sequence, with screaming men charging out of woods to assault siege engines, a perilous river crossing and a desperate attempt to halt the enemy advance beneath Capua’s towering walls.

Rome’s quite the looker - enhanced by a plethora of tiny details from the abundance of flora and vegetation to units that seem like they are made up of individuals - with different armour and a large range of animations - rather than faceless, identical soldiers.

rome1.jpg

Locked onto a unit of spearmen, I follow them as they ram into the enemy line. The camera shakes as they speed towards their foes and as they slam into that mass of shields and men, the din of metal striking metal and shrieking, dying men is absolutely deafening.

Though this initial battle deftly showcases the impressive cinematic nature of Rome’s scraps, it doesn’t shy away from being tactical affair. Battles still boil down to a game of rock, paper, scissors (spears beat horses, horses beat skirmishers etc), but more attention has been given to how one commands their army. Zooming out as far as possible, the map changes to a tactical display revealing the entire battlefield with units represented by colour-coded blocks. From this position, selecting troops, doling out new orders and checking enemy positions is substantially easier.

With the battle won and Capua saved, I find myself staring at the campaign map. It’s a gorgeous expanse of snow-capped mountain ranges, verdant plains separated by forests, and growing settlements. From there, armies are recruited and moved, research is embarked upon, economies are planned, edicts are passed and all-important wars are started.

Samnium might have been defeated once, but that wasn’t going to stop its armies pouring out of the south in an attempt to capture Rome. To protect the road north, I position my victorious legion on a path that cut through a forest - the only route the enemy could take. My force is a tad small, however, so adding more units to it is a necessity. They might also be using wooden swords, so I should probably rectify that.

rome2.jpg

Recruitment is an extremely simple affair in Rome. Units are added by selecting the army and then the preferred unit from the list of available ones, defined by the buildings in the nearest city. Although they take a turn or more to be recruited, there’s no need to wait from them to travel from the barracks, as they instantly appear in the army they moment they’re recruited. Not only is this convenient, it means that individual units won’t be stuck on their own, slowly making their way to the main force, vulnerable to attack.

Most units require technology to be unlocked and buildings to be constructed before they can be recruited. Two tech fields, each with three trees, can be researched, representing civic and military ideologies. The military ideology encompasses army management, tactics and siege warfare, while the civic ideology is split up into the economy, philosophy and constructions trees.

Adding new buildings to a city requires physical expansion, limiting what can be constructed and inspiring specialisation. To ensure the survival of my increasingly large army, I pop over to Capua and expand the city limits and make room for a workshop where new armour and weapons can be crafted. New city walls sprout out of the ground and tiny buildings fill in the space within these fortifications - it’s like watching the opening credits of Game of Thrones

With preparations made, all that’s left for me to do is select a stance for my army. Stances are integral to army management and provide significant bonuses. The raiding stance increases income, for example, limiting the costs of fielding an army, and it increases the men’s morale while upsetting enemies. Being the last line of defense against an invading force, I place my troops in the fortify stance, where they gain a large defensive bonus and a lovely new fort. Fort Fraser, I call it, because I’m not blessed with a great imagination.

Forts don’t just add defensive structures, they also give players an actual target to defend. Much like a town, forts have victory points at their heart, and if these points are captured by enemies, the victory counter is rapidly reduced and the battle is lost.

Luckily, the Samnites didn’t have a hope in hell of breaking my defensive line. Placing my troops just behind the lip of a hill, not only were they invisible to the enemy, I had the higher ground. And, as Obi-Wan teaches us, that’s a good place to be. The Samnites slowly march through the marshlands, becoming increasingly exhausted, and just when they spot my units, my cavalry thunders out of the forest on their flanks, crushing their skirmishers.

All of these victories have given my general and his men an abundance of experience, so it’s time to go on a wee spending spree. Generals can learn new abilities that inspire or otherwise affect their troops, like improving their combat ability, as well as ones that impact their civil governing skills, making them better governors. Their entourage can also be increased, though these are not Hollywood clingers on. Siege engineers, witches, enemy turncoats - there’s a long list of folk eager to enter a general’s household and augment their skills.

Legions can be similarly customised with army traditions improving their melee skill, making them better skirmishers, speeding up their movement speed and what have you. Several traditions can be adopted by an army, and if they should fall in battle, another force may take up their banner and carry these traditions on. I opted for a boost to my legion’s skill at simply hacking things with swords, getting one step closer to making my specialised killing machine.

rome4.jpg

A few battles and a conquered town later, and I was planning my first amphibious assault. Surrounded by mountains, my target was only accessible by sea. Instead of constructing vessels, I just move my army into the ocean and it automatically turns into a fleet of transport ships. Targeting the coastal town, the battle begins with my fleet gently bobbing in the sea.

Most of my ships make it to the beaches, but one lags behind the rest and is rammed by a Samnite vessel, halting its progress.

Projectile’s launched by the opposing ship’s troops pepper my vulnerable men, and before it can make landfall the deck is covered in corpses. The battle ends in yet another victory for the Romans, but not without significant losses.

Before long, I was at the gates of the Samnite capital. My sneaky little spy informed of their defenses and poisoned the enemy general, so all that was left for me to do was bring my battering ram to bear and finally end Samnium’s hold over central Italy once and for all.

rome5.jpg

Capitals have far more defenses than the average town, but they also have multiple victory points, giving an army more options for entry and conquest. My battering ram, surrounded by my legion, slowly made its way under an imposing aqueduct that ran straight across the map. The battlefield was covered in thick fog hiding our movements from the enemy, so when the first defender fell from the walls, that was the first the Samnites knew of our presence.

My men poured in through the destroyed gate in column formation, one of the many formations that can be switched to on the fly, quickly surrounding the surprised enemy. The main forum, dotted with statues and surrounded by temples and civic buildings, was quickly filled with a sea of armoured soldiers, and within minutes not one Samnite was left standing. Rome was victorious, and the prologue came to a close.

Despite being a short, more directed campaign than what will be provided by the meat of Rome II, the tutorial does a sterling job of teaching the basics while giving a distinct sense of place through its historical nods and the final cutscene containing stirring, if slightly cheesy, oratory. It feels familiar, both to the original Rome and Shogun 2, but appears to build on that solid foundation by adding a greater level of cinematic flair and a deeper tactical and strategic experience. After playing the prologue several times now, it’s safe to say that I’m going mad waiting for the full game.


Quelle: Total War: Rome II Preview: saving Capua | PCGamesN
 
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Why Total War: Rome 2′s army traditions system is so exciting

Wes Fenlon at 02:00pm August 1 2013

28192TWRII_Naval_boarding-610x343.jpg

In 61 BC, Julius Caesar levied Legio X Equestris, a legion of several thousand fighting men who fought with distinction in his campaign against Gaul. They were disbanded in 45 BC, shortly before Caesar’s assassination. In the ensuing civil war, the 10th Legion was raised again and fought for Lepidus, Marc Antony, and finally Emperor Augustus.

Over that 20-year period, thousands of men died or retired as veterans with lands they had helped conquer in Gaul. Equestris’ individual legionaries are not remembered by history. But as a unit, Legio X Equestris were instrumental in Caesar’s conquest of Gaul. Creative Assembly wants to give every army in Rome II: Total War a similar legacy, to make them more than masses of faceless troops.

And here history and gameplay merge in a really exciting way: as an army accrues victories, it will also accrue traditions, transforming a generally skilled army into a highly specialized one.

Every upgrade system in Rome II—from the revamped military and civic tech trees down to the abilities of generals, agents and armies—encourages specialization. On the macro level, military and civic developments are now divided into three subcategories (management, tactics and siege for military, economy, philosophy, and construction for civic) you can hop between at will. Teching for naval superiority or a strong farming economy, for example, is much more direct than it was in Shogun II: Total War.

28186TWRII_Battle_Formations-610x343.jpg

But army traditions are what have me most excited for Rome II, and not just because the historical basis behind them is really cool.

Traditions have the potential to completely change how battles play out by the end of a 20 (or 30, or 40, or…) hour-long Rome II campaign, because traditions outlive the poor legionaries who die earning them.

As you might expect from Creative Assembly, Studio Communications Manager Al Bickham explained the army tradition system with a historical comparison. “Think about the 101st Airborne,” Bickham said at a recent preview event for Rome II. Remember Band of Brothers? He’s talking about those guys: “They’re all about their small unit tactics and being in enemy territory and working, effectively, guerrilla warfare. That’s what they do. They do that really well. They’ve done that for the last 100 years, right? That’s what [the system] is all about.”

In Rome II, traditions extend the upgrade system used for commanding officers to whole armies. But that system has been reworked, too. Instead of progressing a general through a tech tree as he levels up, you now assign one skill at every level (with a cap at level 10).

Previously acquired skills can also be leveled up in place of acquiring new ones. If you mainly use your generals to rally and inspire troops, focusing on those abilities will make them horse-mounted masters of morale.

In Shogun II, you could specialize generals by choosing a path through the tech tree, but you’d probably be wasting a few points along the way. Rome II simplifies choosing the abilities and buffs commanders bring to the battlefield. The same system also applies to Rome II’s agents.

28184TWRII_Battle_battleLine-610x343.jpg
And where armies previously just grew stronger and gained morale with experience, they’ll now gain their own set of specializations in the form of traditions for siegecraft, cavalry, and infantry types. Bickham detailed an example:

“I’ve spent six of my possible 10 points as an army’s been leveling up in siegecraft and heavy infantry. Those guys are going to be city smashers, you know? They’re going to be really good shots and very damaging with their onagers and ballistas and scorpions and stuff. I’ll have those on my front line doing my city bashing for me.”

Rome II tracks the history of each army, listing wins and losses and years in service. Armies can be renamed, and whatever symbol you set as their standard will appear on the legionary character models. And if that army is slaughtered to the last man, the traditions they bled for aren’t lost.

“Say you have the 13th Legion,” Bickham said, referencing a legion he took into battle at the Rezzed game conference last month. “The 13th Legion cops it. They all die. You can go back to one of your cities, you can recruit a new general, you can give him the banner of the 13th Legion, and you can recruit a new army along with that new general under the banner of the 13th Legion. Get all those traditions back. The whole idea is it’s a symbol of the traditions of a fighting unit…The standard, what that army represents, is always there.”

28190TWRII_Campaign_Technologies-610x343.jpg

By endgame, using the right army in the right battle will be key, as even green troops can strut onto the field with 10 traditions backing them up. Bickham’s city smashers, for example, could be torn apart by a heavily trained legion of cavalry. But losing an army of seasoned troops shouldn’t spell disaster, either.

“It’s no longer about–putting it in the context of previous games, armies were stacks of troops, and you just kind of mashed troops together, and you’d add more, and you’d build the stack,” Bickham said. “I think by the end of the game you’ll have some incredibly experienced guys you’ll be really attached to because you’ve crafted them over time. They’re like macro RPG characters made of thousands of men.”


Quelle: Why Total War: Rome 2's army traditions system is so exciting | PC Gamer
 
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Rage against the machine: Total War Rome 2′s brutal AI

Stace Harman explores the lengths that the AI of Total War: Rome 2 will go to in order to crush you and speaks to The Creative Assembly’s James Russell and Pawel Wojs.

Total-War-Rome-2-banner.jpg

The visual spectacle of hundreds of soldiers clashing on the battlefields of Total War: Rome 2 is certainly a sight to behold.

Surveying the ebb and flow of tiny troops from a distance offers a sense of the huge scale of the battles, while focusing the camera on an individual soldier offers a wince-inducing close-up view of the action.

On a previous visit to The Creative Assembly’s motion capture studio, I gained some insight into what it takes to create the animations that bring those battlefields to life, as well as discovering that Roman Legionnaires are partial to a bit of YMCA.

However, looking the part is only half the battle and so, this time around, I decide to leave the spandex suit at home.

After several hours with Rome 2’s prologue missions, I sat down with lead game designer James Russell and lead battlefield artist Pawel Wojs to discuss siege mentality, difficulty levels and how the AI adapts from fighting on the open expanse of rolling fields to the close quarters of a burning city.

“For cities it’s a real big challenge, so much so that we’ve designed a new AI for sieges,” explains Wojs. “All the streets and squares and points are highlighted to the AI and they use them to flank, block and establish defence points.

“We’ve given ourselves a crazy problem to solve because most games script everything, even other RTS games are based on set missions, whereas we’re pretty much sandbox so our AI has to look intelligent and behave in every single situation it’s placed in.”

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Check out these new interviews from the game’s recent press tour and some campaign prologue gameplay.

For the most part, the AI responds appropriately to the challenges I present to it. There are tangible advantages to be gained from utilising the terrain during a skirmish and to manoeuvring to attack an enemy unit from the side or rear. The AI understands these factors and so occasionally tries to disengage from a head-on conflict to regroup on higher ground.

Likewise, I pay dearly when a rush of blood to the head sees me order my Roman cavalry to cut deep into the exposed flank of a company of Samnite soldiers and then chase down the stragglers as they break. It’s a gleeful moment until my cavalry becomes isolated from the main body of my army and the enemy AI quickly moves its spearmen to block the riders’ return path.

It feels like the AI is constantly evaluating the battlefield and reacting to my strategy (or lack thereof), which ensures that conflicts are much more than just two sides hammering chunks out of one another until the strongest wins. However, Creative Assembly acknowledges that there’s still room for polishing.

This was particularly evident during the prologue where some AI actions occasionally failed to trigger and my commander unit felt particularly vulnerable, which rendered his area-of-effect ability largely redundant as I had to keep him away from the frontline.

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Reacting to the player’s actions is just one element of the AI’s decision-making process. Balancing its perceived intelligence at higher difficulty levels is an essential factor in presenting an AI challenge that feels both difficult to overcome but remains fair.

Traditionally, strategy titles have relied on conferring buffs upon the AI to increase the challenge they pose and while Russell admits that a degree of this is “inevitable”, the Rome 2 lead designer also highlights a range of other factors that contribute to the AI’s behaviour.

“There’s actually an element of penalising the AI at normal difficulty and removing some of those penalties at higher difficulty levels,” said Russell. “We also make sure that, with something like the visibility system, the AI has to navigate the battlefield in the same way the player does and so send out scouts to find its way.”

Russell went on to explain that it’s once a computer-controlled opponent has the lay of the land and has assessed the strengths and weaknesses of a player’s army that the AI’s behaviour will vary depending on difficulty level.

“There’s a difference between flat-out difficulty and AI aggression but they’re correlated, right? Fundamentally, you want the AI player not to let-up on higher difficulty levels but sometimes you get weird counter-intuitive things going on.

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“For example, if you attack an army it makes a judgement about whether you’re going to win that battle. If you’re more powerful than it then we actually have this situation where the higher the level of the AI the more likely it is to retreat, if it can.

“That’s much like a human player would, but at the same time if you’re playing on Easy then you don’t want the AI constantly running away while you’re trying to beat it so on easier levels it’s less likely to retreat.”

I’ve now spent around eight hours with Rome 2’s prologue and am encouraged by the fact that, aside from the very first one, none of the missions feel like a hand-holding exercise. The game is quick to hand over the reins and, once it’s introduced you to some of the primary features of the campaign map, it leaves you to your own devices.

This means experienced players won’t feel mollycoddled and new players have the chance to properly understand the consequences of their actions and formulate customised strategies, rather than just following a succession of banal instructions.

There’s also the opportunity to tackle optional senate missions and capture cities before constructing improvements and researching technologies to bolster the efficiency of your empire and armies.

Just don’t expect to have it all your own way and know that for every political coup, daring raid or savvy tactical manoeuvre that you execute, Rome 2’s AI is actively plotting to counter your successes and limit your conquests, both on and off the battlefield.


Quelle: Rage against the machine: Total War Rome 2′s brutal AI | VG247
 
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Rome II: Total War’s upgrades, tweaks and familiar rhythms

Edge Staff at 02:00pm August 1 2013

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Part of the fun of Total War is the freedom of heading back to a well-realised period in history and rewriting the hell out of it: having the Gauls control the entirety of Italy, for instance, or turning Britain into the northern tip of the far-reaching Carthaginian Empire. It’s a slight shame, then, that we have to stick to the historical script while playing Rome II’s prologue campaign. This involved tutorial chronicles the rise of a domestic power in Italy: Rome has to quash the rival city state of Samnium before starting its campaigns throughout the rest of the globe. While the narrative shackles slightly chafe – especially when we’re introduced to the sprawling, but boundary-encircled campaign map – the prologue campaign tries to atone for this with the injection of more character drama than you can find in the game, courtesy of a Mark Strong-voiced protagonist. It also functions as a fine (though, we expect, probably not entirely reliable) history lesson while efficiently introducing some of Rome II’s more significant upgrades.

Chief among these is a much more naturalistic treatment of sightlines. You’ve always had a godlike view of the battlefield, of course – this a realtime strategy game, after all – but now you’ll find yourself less omniscient, only able to see enemy units if one of your own clusters of soldiers has a direct view of them. Anything can break a sightline – a hill, a forest, a city street – and this means that scouting and environmental awareness have become a much more crucial part of the game. In one battle, we have to move a unit to the top of a hill before we can see the gigantic Samnite army coming. In another, we use a forested ridge to hide our soldiers in a village before descending upon an undefended piece of Samnite siege equipment. This subtle, but potentially far-reaching tweak can be felt most keenly when attacking cities – battles throughout the streets are more claustrophobic and more tactical now, as you can be ambushed by the city’s defenders while also using their own buildings and walls to sneak auxilliary forces past them.

Elsewhere, however, the game plays according to the familiar rhythms of Total War. The prologue campaign ignores the delicate political intricacies of statecraft. There’s no diplomacy nor any of the internal power battles that will define the Roman factions in the main game, focusing instead on the practicalities of waging war. We learn how to train new units, for instance, a streamlined process in comparison to previous games. The unit types available for recruitment within a region hinge on the buildings and structures you’ve established in that region’s city. Once you’ve built the requisite building (stables, say, for cavalry) you can generate the new unit within the legion itself, rather than recruiting it and then marching it over to the bulk of your forces. This is part of a focus on legions as singular powerhouses, rather than smaller groups of soldiers, that will see you adding traits to armies as they gain experience, potentially allowing specfic legions to specialise in certain forms of warfare.

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It’s hard to get a firm grasp of the nuances of combat during the prologue missions, stuck as we are following the tutorial’s relatively strict instruction, but the overall impression is of, well, Total War. Since the first Rome, Creative Assembly has been iterating upon such a solid foundation in its combat mechanics that tweaks and new additions (which in Rome II’s case include improved simulation of weight and impact as well as combined naval and land battles) can’t help but feel iterative. And since we’re engaging in semi-scripted warfare – placing cavalry where we’re told, achieving specific objectives – it’s also impossible to judge the extent to which Creative Assembly has improved its traditional limiting factor: underperforming AI.

Beyond the teasing boundaries of the prologue campaign lies a world map rich in variety – the perfect contrast to Shogun 2′s relative cultural uniformity. There’s something ideal about this period of history for Total War – the cultures of the time were distinct enough in tactics and technology the period feels prebuilt (with a few balancing tweaks) for a strategy game. Rome II’s factions can be subdivided into three groups: the Greco-Roman factions, the Eastern ones, and the Barbarians. As well as very different unit types, the three types will play a very different campaign game. Barbarians can form confederacies with other tribes – joining forces to become a kind of giant meta-faction – whereas Greco-Roman and Eastern forces will be limited to the more traditional ally-or-subjugate options when dealing with other states.

Presentationally, Rome II provides precisely the kind of minute detail you want to find when zooming in on a campaign or battlefield map. Total War’s campaign map, which has evolved from its rudimentary origins to richly complex 4X game of its own, looks more dynamic this time around. Much of this is entirely cosmetic – birds flying over Vesuvius make only for pretty screenshot material – but some changes have more strategic impact. You can literally see cities expand, their walls encroaching upon the surrounding countryside, as you invest in them, a subtle tweak that should make it more immediately readable which cities are a faction’s most valuable holdings.

As the prologue campaign draws to a close it finally opens out, letting us formulate our own plan for wiping out the remaining Samnite cities before eventually destroying Samnium. It’s a small taste of the tactical freedom that the main game looks set to offer, though when the full game’s released we’ll probably skip a second playthrough and head straight to Total War.


Quelle: Rome II: Total War's upgrades, tweaks and familiar rhythms | Features | Edge Online
 
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Fear and loyalty play a 'massive role' in Total War: Rome 2

By Megan Farokhmanesh on Aug 01, 2013 at 9:00a @Megan_Nicolett

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In the heat of battle, the fear you inflict on enemies and the loyalty you inspire in allies will play a "massive role" in The Creative Assembly's upcoming strategy game Total War: Rome 2.

Speaking with Polygon during an event in San Francisco, studio communications manager Al Bickham explained how the game's system would work. Many a great battle has been won or lost on the basis of morale, and players will need to tap into that notion to be successful. A group of soldiers will not mechanically fight to the death, but flee to see another day. During our time with the demo, we came to know the sour taste of defeat as a result of that fear.

"Generally speaking, if a unit of 200 men lost 10 or 15 percent of its number, those guys are going to get scared and run away," Bickham said. "It's quite a good tactic on the battlefield to aim for morale breakage, rather than simply killing everybody. Individual fights are over quicker, and then you can reform your forces and be more effective because you've got greater local superiority. You've got more forces against the next unit that you fight. Morale is absolutely key to battles."

Morale can be manipulated in many different ways. Cavalry units, for example, have a special move that acts as a temporary morale modifier. Their hits hurt because they're "tearing through screaming, bellowing and blowing the horns," Bickham said.

"A war elephant ... is much more terrifying than a man in a loin cloth with a stick."

"If you want your army to hold fast, you keep it in formation," Bickham said. "If a unit has its flanks exposed, it doesn't like that. It's naturally going to be more worried. If you, like the Romans did, line your troops up in nice big blocks like that, their morale is going to be much more solid."

Even the kind of unit matters — and in some cases, it's more obvious than others.

"A war elephant charging toward you is much more terrifying than a man in a loin cloth with a stick," Bickham said.

If players want to lend their troops emotional strength, it's a good idea to take a general into battle. Generals come with a natural radius of morale boosting, and their presence can help steady a shaky troop's hand.

"If he's just behind the troops, going ‘Onwards boys!' [he's boosting morale] and they're all within his radius," Bickham said. "They'll all gain a morale boost of some kind — a greater or lower level depending on the general's stats."

Like any RPG character, generals will level up; players can then shape them as they like. Some stats will improve their fighting skills or defense, while others increase their ability to encourage their soldiers. Finding the right balance for your playstyle will be a key part of battle, Bickham said.

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Boosting morale isn't the only thing players need be aware of. Their relationships with allies will be clearer than ever before thanks to the game's diplomacy system, Bickham said. It's a key part of tracking an ally's loyalty and their overall opinion of you. Using the game's diplomacy interface, players will be able to quickly check the relations panel to view their past actions. This accounts for all battles fought, factions spoken to and much more — all things the AI will judge your relationship based on. If a player has attacked a faction the AI is rallied against, it will like you. If you've traded with the AI's friends, it will like you. Those situations all work in the reverse as well.
"[The AI] is doing something for a reason," Bickham said. "And we haven't always shown the player those reasons. Now you can see why. It's like, ‘you're getting too big, I'm worried about you.' There's a reason why it's broken its trade agreement and attacked you. It gives you a good level of transparency about how the AI feels about you."

For more on Total War: Rome 2, check out our interviews on the game's political system and the challenges political conflict posed.

Quelle: Fear and loyalty play a 'massive role' in Total War: Rome 2 | Polygon
 
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Total War: Rome II fans will revel in detailed maps, smarter A.I., and elephants climbing the alps (interview)

August 1, 2013 6:00 AM, Dean Takahashi

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Strategy game fans will be delighted to get the biggest Total War game yet on Sept. 3. After years of waiting, fans can expect a big game in Sega‘s Total War: Rome II, which combines a turned-based strategy campaign akin to Civilization with real-time brawls between the armies of the ancient Roman empire and its foes.

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We got another preview of the game last week and talked with Al Bickham, the communications manager for Sega’s The Creative Assembly studio. He told us what to expect about the combined strategy and tactical focus and just how smart you can expect the enemies to be. We played a few battles, and it was a small slice of what is in the full game. This game feels epic in its scope and visceral in the way that it depicts the vicious hand-to-hand combat of swords, spears, and horses.

The scale of the The Creative Assembly’s ambition is huge. It has more than 700 units, compared to just 50 in Total War: Shogun 2 from 2011. The campaign map is about four times larger than the previous game, depicting every territory from Scotland to the Horn of Africa. The A.I. makes better educated guesses about how to counter your expansion strategy, he said. And when your armies meet on the realistic map, the conflict zooms in on the forces as they engage in a real-time tactical battle.

“It’s been a titanic effort,” Bickham said. “We crossed our own personal Rubicon.”

Total War: Rome II captures historical periods like Hannibal’s wars against Rome, but once you take control of it, you start making your own history.


Here’s an edited transcript of our interview with Bickham.

GamesBeat: Tell me some of those stats about how big the world is.

Bickham: The campaign map is about four times the size of Shogun II’s. It stretches from Portugal, the coast of the Iberian peninsula, over to Afghanistan, and then north to south it’s from the northernmost tip of Scotland to the Horn of Africa. It’s pretty big. In terms of factions, you have nine playable factions across three cultural types: barbarian, Greco-Roman and Mediterranean, and then eastern kingdoms as well, which have a very different look and feel, very different units to field.

We have around 700 battlefield units to recruit, including mercenaries. Wherever you are in the world, even if you’re not back in your home territory, you can always recruit mercenaries, which will be relevant to the local area. If you’re playing as one of the Germanic barbarian tribes and you’ve conquered your way down to Africa, you could hire some war elephants or camel riders. By comparison, we had only around 50 units when Shogun II initially released, and they were all very similar, because of course it’s a single culture, with just a few minor variances. It’s big.

The important thing is, it does sound a bit daunting. “How am I going to deal with all that?” But you can play a game of Rome II just in one little corner of the world. Just because you’re playing campaign doesn’t mean you have to conquer the whole campaign map. We have a number of different victory conditions to reflect that. You can still have military victories where you conquer a certain number of territories. But we also have two new victory types as well. You can play for a cultural victory. You can try to flip other cultures to follow your own and conquer through cultural expansion. You can also play for an economic victory, a series of economic milestones you have to get through. That introduces a different method of play for Total War, which has always been about conquest.


GamesBeat: Does it feel like laying a Civilization game over that military element?

Bickham: It’s about bringing a sense of variety, giving people more interesting choices to make. Any strategy game — any game, really – is about presenting the player with a series of interesting choices and challenges. We wanted to broaden that with Rome II.

It is still a Total War game. You might want to play for cultural victory, but you’ll still fight battles. You still have diplomacy to deal with. Enemy factions will still say, “I don’t like the way you’re expanding like this. I’m scared of you. I’m going to knock you down before you get too big.”

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GamesBeat: How granular is the strategic map? If two armies meet, will you go to battle in a tactical map that is an accurate reflection of where they are on the strategic map?

Bickham: More so than we’ve done in any game before. We have a new terrain map hidden underneath the campaign map as you see it in the turn-based part of the game. The terrain generation system looks at any point on the map. When we have a battle on the map, you’ll see that landscape reflected. It’s essentially a giant battle map under the campaign map. When you dive in there, you’ll fight over that bit.

The next turn, you might fight another battle that’s only a couple of miles away from the battle you just had. You’ll see the same terrain features in the distance. If you’re fighting next to the Pyramids, you’ll see them on the outfield of the battle. If you fight a bit further down the Nile, you’ll see them in the distance. It’s incredibly detailed, incredibly granular, the way we generate battlefields based on where you are in the world.

We’re bringing that into multiplayer as well. It’s one of the exciting things about multiplayer matches. You have a representation of the campaign map in multiplayer, even if you’re just playing one-on-one with a friend or someone online. The host can click on that map and it will generate a battlefield from that part of the campaign map. If you find a really cool battlefield there, you can mark it as a favorite and save it for later. We’ll provide a set series of battlefields in multiplayer, but you can also go and find your own.


GamesBeat: Is there a trick to that? Instead of creating an entire battle map underneath there, are you generating sections of it and reusing some things?

Bickham: Certain parts of it are auto-generated. Things like shrubbery, foliage, that sort of thing. The key is the height map, the terrain map underneath that tells you where mountains and lakes and things like that are.

The whole thing has been an enormous amount of work. This is the most ambitious thing we’ve ever done. We’ve changed or improved so many of the core systems. Veteran players are going to be pleasantly surprised, I think, by how much more there is.


GamesBeat: How smart is the enemy now? What sort of behaviors do you see when you’re facing off against the A.I.?

Bickham: There are two strands to the A.I.: faction A.I., or campaign A.I., and battle A.I. On the campaign front, we’ve made some changes to the subtlety with which the AI reasons about the allies and opponents around it. It looks at relationships further away from itself. It looks at its opponent’s allies and its allies’ opponents. It draws a clearer picture of what’s going on in the world and makes more reasoned judgments – who it’s going to conduct war with, who it wants to make alliances and trade agreements with.

On the battle side, the big challenge has been—cities are very different. We have streets and alleys and big squares in the middle of cities and walls that you have to knock down. Since the original Rome, the AI has undergone a number of major revisions over time to improve the way it fights. Right now, if you play Shogun II, you’ll see that it’s in a good place. The AI does smart stuff in battle. It knows how to flank you. It looks to counter units with the right units.


GamesBeat: That was one of the flaws in past games, I thought. You could almost always defeat an A.I. unit by using two of your own to flank it. I rarely saw them do that to me.

Bickham: Right. That’s a core tactic of this kind of ancient warfare stuff — if you send the right unit up front that can stick around and hold the enemy long enough to hit it in the flank. Now, the AI looks to protect its flanks much better. If it has a bunch of infantry in front, and you’re obviously sending your cavalry around the flank, it’ll look to bring its spearmen out and protect the flank, because of course horsemen are very ill-advised to run at men with long sticks that have pointy ends. [laughs]

The way the player can exploit the landscape around him has changed, because we have a line of sight system. If you’re very cagey about the way you move your troops through terrain, you can hide them in woods now. If the AI doesn’t know it’s there and you set that up early, you have a flanking force. You draw the AI in with your main army and then send your flanking forces in. That’s going to be a good challenge for the AI.

We’ve thrown in a designed element of gutsiness as well. If the AI did exactly the right thing every single time, you wouldn’t be able to win. We introduce a level of variance. Some battle AI are more gutsy, more aggressive. Some are more defensive. It looks to make the best use of its forces, all the time.

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GamesBeat: Are you able to fight inside cities now? I remember mostly battling in the fields before.

Bickham: Oh, very much. Siege battles are a big feature in Rome II. Shogun II was very castle-based — it was all about sieges – but we had a limited number of castles. We have a tremendous variety of sizes and shapes of cities here, in different cultural and architectural styles. The variety of city battles is great – everything from tiny settlements up to capital city headshot battles like Carthage or Alexandria, colossal cities with kilometers of high walls and fixed-emplacement onagers and catapults and things like that.

Here’s where we’ve had to do a lot of work with the AI, because we have to teach it how to deal with streets and capture points and line of sight. Going back to the original Rome, we had city battles in that. But what the AI would do is, if it couldn’t defend the walls, it would just pull back to the main square in the center of the city and it would turn into a big mosh pit.

Now the gameplay is more cat-and-mouse, because we have a variable number of capture points in each city. A smaller city might have one. A big city might have three. If you have to capture the majority of points and hold them for a certain period of time, that makes the game different. You have to think about the balance of where you put your forces around the city. You might send some fast-moving units to nip off one capture point, and then send the bulk of your forces to really solidly fight for and hold another point while denying it to the enemy.


GamesBeat: You can go into the soldier’s-eye view now. Is that more fun? Will you notice different things?

Bickham: One of the things we’re trying to do is push at both ends of the scale spectrum. We have this enormous world with so much choice and variety and cultural variance, but right in close, when you use the unit camera, you’ll see the extra detail, a much greater variety of combat animations.

During Rome II, we built our own motion capture studio. Before, we used to rent places out. We had a tiny little space at the office where we could do some limited motion capture. Having our own facility with 56 motion capture cameras trained on up to five guys fighting in the same volume has meant we can just massively increase the amount of animation we put into the game.

We’ve got 700 different unit types, so we need to have relevant matchups going on. A swordsman facing a pikeman – from a phalanx unit, say – they’re going to fight in a very specific way. We need to think about that. When they all run into the phalanx, some of them are just going to run right on to the spears, and you’ll see that in the game when you’re up close. We’re supporting the fact that we’re letting people get up close and have that incredibly cinematic experience.

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GamesBeat: One of the things I always have a problem with in Civilization is that there’s too much building. It seems like there isn’t as much of that here.

Bickham: It’s balanced, really. Building is an important part of the game because it’s how you win. You increase the ability of your cities to output more advanced troop types or produce coin to increase your trading power. But it’s not quite the same thing as Civ.

You have those elements, culture-increasing elements. With cities, it’s pretty obvious what all the buildings do. You build a training ground or a barracks, you know it’ll produce troops. For each of those buildings, there’s an upgrade tree. On top of that, most factions each have a unique building type or building chain. If you play as the Spartans, they get to build the Monument to Leonidas. When you see those building options, you want to dig into them, because they bring interesting benefits to your faction. That particular building gives tremendous bonuses to the experience gain of your hoplites, the Spartan warriors.


GamesBeat: Do the various campaigns hold very closely to history? Or are some of these more fictionalized?

Bickham: I would say this of any Total War game. We put the player at a historically accurate starting point. The game starts in 217 B.C., around the time of the Punic Wars – Scipio and Hannibal and all those great battles. It’s an amazing period for drama.

Once the player starts the game, everything becomes counterfactual very quickly. You’re carving out your own empire. You might say, “No, I’ll just trade with Carthage. I’ll take Rome east and conquer the Greeks and hit the Parthians and Persians.” The flow of history changes as soon as the player gets his hand on the tiller.

We always say, if there is too much tension in some part of the game between history and gameplay, then gameplay wins. We’re making a game and a game should be fun to play. So we don’t slavishly follow history, but we remain as authentic as we can. We do an awful lot of research. The unit types and the armor they’re wearing, the fighting styles, those matchups between a spearman and a swordsman or an elephant and a chariot, we look for historical authenticity when we balance the abilities of these things against each other.

Just like any Total War game, you choose a faction to start. You might choose the Gauls or Rome itself or whoever, and you have a geographically authentic starting point. But things quickly change. We aim for authenticity in everything we do, but it’s up to the player to change history as they see fit.


Quelle: Total War: Rome II fans will revel in detailed maps, smarter A.I., and elephants climbing the alps (interview) | GamesBeat
 
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The Art of War: Hands-on with Total War: Rome 2

Although Rome 2 introduces new levels of politics and treachery, there's nothing quite like a spear to the face to prove a point.

By Stace Harman on August 1, 2013 at 10:30 pm

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In a recent introduction to the more civilised side of Total War: Rome 2 we looked at how diplomacy and manipulation can win you allies without a single drop of blood being spilt. We also explored the benefits of effective territory control and learned how to discern a willing trade partner from an arrogant ambassador.

All useful stuff, but honeyed words and devious machinations will only take you so far and while the pen can indeed be mightier than the sword, nothing proves a point quite like a gladius through the gullet.

Playing through the opening hours that form the prologue of Total War: Rome 2, it’s apparent that there are many reasons to mount your enemy’s head on a spike and an even greater number of opportunities to do so. City defence, border expansion, senate missions and civil insurgence must all be effectively managed as the prologue teaches you to tend to military affairs both at home and abroad.

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The opening level puts you in charge of a well ordered but inexperienced company of soldiers. They are led by Tribune Gaius Fulvius Silanus, a commander of a grain store who is more accustomed to defending his rural outpost during minor skirmishes than charging headlong into battle. Nonetheless, it is up to Silanus to march his men to the aid of his compatriots who are under siege by a vast number of Samnite soldiers.

As you might expect, this first mission is a hand-holding exercise designed to teach you the basics of battlefield management and troop control. However, there are a number of fundamental concepts introduced here that form the basis of more complex strategies later on. The advantages of moving troops quietly through a forest in order to ambush an enemy or of maintaining the higher ground during a skirmish are key lessons that you’ll draw on time and time again.

As the prologue progresses, these early lessons become an ingrained part of your battle strategy. Manoeuvring individual legions to outflank an enemy is often more effective than spamming them head-on with your entire force. Conversely, leaving your own flanks undefended can easily result in you snatching humiliating defeat from the jaws of certain victory.

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Unsurprisingly, the fewer casualties you take during a conflict the better, but not just for your own sense of pride. Replenishing an army can be an expensive business and so a poorly managed skin-of-your-teeth victory can prove almost as costly as outright defeat. In this way, Rome 2’s economics extend into battlefield management as a smarter victory means more money to spend on improving your armies rather than simply propping them up.

A host of technologies, edicts, and city improvements can further enhance your army’s combat prowess. These cost money and time to come to fruition and so it can be beneficial to accept one of the many optional missions set by the senate to help boost the coffers. From the very beginning, Rome 2 advises patience and warns that recklessly rampaging through the campaign map can leave you overstretched and exposed to counterattack.

Likewise, out on the battlefield it can be tempting to thunder over a hillside to sweep aside enemy skirmishers with your cavalry but you must be mindful of the spearmen that might be lying in wait just out of sight over the crest of the hill. Even very early battles have the potential to ebb and flow as you gain ground before ordering a tactical retreat to regroup. It’s immensely satisfying to enact a battle plan and emerge with minimal casualties due to cunning rather than because of sheer force of numbers.

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As armies and their commanders survive multiple battles they gain bonuses and traits based on their actions. Experience points can be spent to boost a commander’s authority, cunning or zeal, which brings with it a suite of unique abilities. Similarly, attributing a Tradition to a legion allows it to specialise in training accomplished skirmishes, artillery experts or formidable fighters. This further individualises your army, informs your battle tactics and strengthens your connection to your troops.

Politicking plays a major role in Total War: Rome 2 but Creative Assembly is also ensuring that a keen mind will serve you as well on the battlefield as it does in the senate. Ultimately, brute force will win you a battle or two but it’s cunning and guile that will better serve you in the long run as you seek to further the glory of mighty Rome.

Quelle: The Art of War: Hands-on with Total War: Rome 2 | games.on.net
 
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Al Bickham of Creative Assembly joins Maxwell McGee to show off the Prologue of Total War: Rome II.

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Sehr gutes Interview mit Spielszenen, sehr empfehlenswert (englisch):

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LordCrash

LordCrash

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TE
LordCrash

LordCrash

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Dynamisches Städtewachstum in Rome 2:

BRed-NTCYAAzCYN.jpg
 

Mothman

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Das sieht alles so großartig aus. Ich freu mich riesig. Und wenn ich Glück habe, bekomme ich sogar in der Release-Woche Urlaub. :)
 
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