Total War Warhammer 3's Changeling campaign sounds like a game-changer

If you're bored of doing mundane things like "conquering settlements" in Total War: Warhammer 3, it sounds like the legendary lord being added to the Tzeentch roster in the upcoming Shadows of Change add-on might be for you. The Changeling is a shapeshifting daemon who, based on the latest Creative Assembly blog post, plays a totally different Total War.

We've seen other armies toy with infiltration mechanics before, particularly the skaven and Slaanesh, but it sounds like The Changeling leans in even further. After defeating a settlement, he's got the option to insert a trickster cult, seemingly returning it to the owner as you would after sacking a town. Only not, because from then on the cult can either work to funnel money to The Changeling while spreading propaganda to influence diplomacy, or encourage corruption throughout the region until reality has weakened enough for daemonic armies to come through. 

Either way, Creative Assembly notes, "the Changeling loves chaos. When a faction has learned to trust him, he may opt to self-destruct his secret buildings and deploy his own armies, spawn rebels at the border or plunder the settlement without ruffling too many feathers."

The Changeling can also perform Schemes on the campaign map, the example given of "taking the form of Mannfred von Carstein and commanding his thralls to perform a ritual at Castle Drakenhof". The end goal of Schemes is working up to a Grand Scheme that's essentially a quest battle that "showers the Changeling with special rewards and campaign-changing consequences."

The Changeling's Schemes have effects on battles as well as the campaign map, Creative Assembly says: "He can use the resources gathered from Schemes to assist in battle and throw off the opponent’s strategy with wildcard spells and abilities. Take down Orion's forces as Orion himself while levelling the battlefield with Skaven Doom-Rockets for some unexpected destruction, or acquire Khorne's Chainsword and use it against him!"

The Changeling's shapeshifting manifests as the ability to appear as anyone he's allied with or defeated, taking on their stats and abilities. His armies include cockatrices that can petrify enemies and vomit acid, a beastman subtype called tzaangors, and a gigantic monstrosity called a mutalith vortex beast that drags around a ball of pure Chaos to damage anyone nearby. Which is less subtle than the rest of The Changeling's vibe, but I guess everyone has to go loud at some point.

Shadows of Change is also adding a legendary hero any Tzeentch faction can recruit called the Blue Scribes. It's actually two heroes in one, a pair of daemons who ride a flying disc covered in tomes and scrolls from which they cast spells. One of the two writes down spells as they find them in their piles of paperwork, while the other reads over his shoulder "to check his accuracy". They've basically put a sub-editor in Total War and I couldn't be more pleased. The Blue Scribes have access to a random set of spells that gets reshuffled whenever a spell is cast, and power up if someone casts a spell near them. They sound suitably chaotic to me.

Shadows of Change also adds new legendary lords and their accompanying factions to Kislev and Cathay: Mother Ostankya and the Jade Dragon respectively. You'll want to be sure of playing all three to get your money's worth, as the DLC costs $25 (or $22.50 with a launch discount). Shadows of Change will be out on August 31.

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.