Total War: Warhammer 3's latest slice of DLC, Shadows of Change, is coming soon, on August 31, but among the game's community this has not been cause for celebration; rather, it's being treated as a threat thanks to a price increase and an explanation from Creative Assembly's Chief Product Officer, Rob Bartholomew. It looks like this means waaagh!
Shadows of Change is a Lord Pack rather than a full expansion, but it isn't directly comparable to previous packs, given that it features a trio of lords this time: The Changeling for Tzeentch, the Jade Dragon Yuan Bo for Grand Cathay and Mother Ostankya for Kislev. Since it's a slightly meatier offering, a price increase isn't all that surprising, but the extent of the increase has been.
The new DLC, with its current 10% discount, will set you back £17.99/$22.49. This means you'll be paying the same as you would for the last full expansion, Forge of the Chaos Dwarfs, which introduced a new race and a bevy of new mechanics. Shadows of Change promises some intriguing additions, especially with The Changeling's trickster cults, but there's no denying that it doesn't boast the same value as an expansion.
While the DLC is not out for another two weeks, Warhammer 3 players have already made their displeasure clear by bombarding the game's Steam page with negative reviews, claiming that the DLC is a "rip-off" and "anti-consumer".
Bartholomew offered an explanation in a blog post yesterday:
To get right into it: our costs are up. Unfortunately, that means that prices have to rise. We know any increase is going to be tough, which is why our prices have remained fairly stable over the past few years. The downside is that any increase today is going to be more noticeable.
There’s no good time to increase prices, and we have not taken this step lightly. However, this is the business reality of supporting WARHAMMER III and ensuring we’re able to offer the years of extra content that are currently planned.
That said, we do need to challenge ourselves to ensure that this cost still offers good value. Ultimately, that’s up to each of you to decide and we’ll keep trying to balance that. Of course, we want more people to play, we want to continue to deliver content you’re excited to see, and we want to do that for as long as we can.
He ended the post with a plea: "Finally, we need to ask you again to stop directing abuse at individual team members. Frustrated as you may get, these are human beings who spend many hours representing you and your voices within the studio. All of our work gets easier when they are treated with respect." It's unfortunate that he even needs to ask this, but it's often the case that individuals who have absolutely nothing to do with the business side of things face the brunt of players' ire.
The post has not gone down well. Over on the Total War subreddit, players are treating it like a threat, claiming that Creative Assembly is holding the game hostage and making "veiled threats". It's all become quite dramatic. "Remember they need us more than we need them," said one player, in a post that also threw around the word "blackmailing". Nowhere in the statement was it implied that Warhammer 3 was going to be killed off, and DLC continues to be an optional add-on, but this reaction speaks to the anger that the price announcement has inspired.
Even Baldur's Gate 3 developer Larian Studios has been dragged into the furore, with one of the most upvoted posts on the subreddit comparing both companies' approach to updating their games. Baldur's Gate 3 has been out for two weeks.
With the DLC's arrival imminent, and Total War: Pharaoh coming in October, Sega and Creative Assembly may need to find a way to claw back some goodwill soon.