Total War: Three Kingdoms lets players command some of the most iconic figures of Ancient China’s history, from master generals such as Cao Cao to legendary warriors like Sun Jian. The presence of these colourful characters on the campaign map is more significant to your strategy than any previous Total War, as this new video on Three Kingdoms explains.
Esports Legend Paul “Redeye” Chaloner guides us through the nuances of Three Kingdoms’ “warlords” – the faction leaders who players can control in pursuit of China’s Imperial throne. There are twelve warlords to choose from, each of whom has a very different approach to both strategic campaigning and battlefield tactics.
In the video, Creative Assembly discuss the differences between three warlords – Cao Cao, Liu Bei, and Sun Jian. “These three factions become the three Kingdoms,” says Simon Mann, senior designer on Total War Three Kingdoms, “The Kingdoms of Shu, Wu, and Wei.”
Each of these warlords comes from a very different background. Liu Bei, for example, lives a simple life as a sandal weaver before he takes up the sword to fight for the legacy of the fallen Han dynasty. Cao Cao, meanwhile, is a former cavalry officer who turns his understanding of command to his advantage when civil war breaks out.
The backgrounds of these warlords affect more than their characterisation. They determine how these individuals approach war and strategy, which in turn lends players a wide range of possibilities for how they want to play a Three Kingdoms campaign. “Cao Cao, as the master manipulator, will have his ‘Credibility, which is his unique resource, which he grows as the campaign goes on and can use to coerce people in diplomacy,” says Peter Stewart, writer and narrative designer on Total War: Three Kingdoms.
Sun Jian, on the other hand, is the type of general who prefers to get stuck into battle. Using his own unique resource called Heroism, he can raise satisfaction levels among his troops as they watch their general throw himself into the thick of battle. “The more he fights, the more he gets personally involved, the better you will see his campaign progressing,” Stewart points out.
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Beyond these key powers, each warlord has many other unique facets to them which make them stand out amongst their peers, such as special items and background abilities that have a general effect on their campaign. Perhaps most importantly, they also bear specific personality traits that further define their overall character.
Some of these are inherent in a warlord from the outset, while others are gained as the campaign progresses and the events that transpire impact upon the warlord personally. “So Liu Bei, for example, he’s kind, he’s charitable, he is benevolent, he is a good person. And this comes across in the traits he gets as a character,” Simon Mann explains.
Watch the full video above to find out more about who these warlords are, and how their personalities will enhance your unique experience of Total War: Three Kingdoms.