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Total War: Rome II
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 8:39 am    Post subject: Total War: Rome II Reply with quote

(As backwards as that title sounds.)

So I figured rather than posting in the "what are you playing?" thread I'd actually give this a proper place.

I gave in and bought the game despite the criticisms, and made sure to sign up for patch 3 (not officially released yet but available as a beta) since that supposedly fixes a lot of things.

So far I'm noticing pretty poor performance on my computer - I don't have a good gaming PC, but when I can play Tomb Raider with no difficulty whatsoever and really stunning graphics, but the Total War series is too much for my graphics card, there's something wrong there. The graphics are really not anything special in this game.

So far, slightly annoyed by some of the restrictions in this version of the game. You can only have a certain number of armies based on territory, so you can't split a stack to move units around and can't leave units in cities to defend so much. But these are just things to get used to, not problems.


The UI is badly designed in places. I figure I'll point out things as I find them to help out any of you who start the game.

- When forming a new army, you get a window where you pick your general - it shows their name, face, and a star but not much else. The unit details pop up in the bottom left corner when you select one, but again, they all seem identical other than face and name. This is because to see the difference in their traits, you have to mouse over the star below their portrait (in the bottom corner character card, not the "pick a person" window) and read the tooltip. It's the same for spies/diplomats/etc. The first few times I picked a general or agent I did it at random because I had not found this.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Other things the game should make clear but doesn't:

- The total limit on number of armies is determined by Imperium, which is gained by completing missions and conquering provinces. I'm still not exactly sure how. The only thing I saw in-game about it was a "you need more Imperium!" message when I wanted to recruit, with no explanation of what Imperium was.

- The army limit seems to prevent you from placing units in cities to defend, but all cities in fact have a garrison, the units of which are determined entirely by which buildings are in the city.

- You can't besiege a settlement that's under blockade from another faction. But in my case, I couldn't besiege a settlement because I was blockading it. I had to break blockade, attack with my army, then blockade again.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Campaign map has frozen 3 times so far. Have to reload my game, which means going back to the end of the previous turn. Annoying as hell when it always seems to happen near the end of a turn.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 6:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, the joys. Very Happy I'm holding out for at least the Christmas sale (yes, I will actually buy it despite my past travails), but I can already see that these tips will be useful, thanks. Very Happy

Maybe check out the mods...I know I modded Shogun 2 pretty much straight off the bat. Might fix a couple things.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 7:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The latest update to the patch 3 beta has fixed some of the campaign map lag.

As for mods, I installed one mod immediately - a graphics mod that changes smoke and fire effects, removes clouds from the campaign map (they lower fps), and removes certain glow effects from selecting characters (ditto).

I restarted my campaign, which wasn't going great. I was overstretched in the north and my income wasn't high enough. I read a guide that made me a lot more aware of how to manage food, happiness, and money, and restarted based on that.

Second campaign, I have the Italia region entirely focused on producing food to keep me in surplus, while the Magna Graecia cities are losing food but producing wealth. I used two spies and a fleet to go exploring, and have trade agreements with almost 20 factions. (I offer trade to every faction that has a potential trade route every turn, and slowly they build up.) I now have an income of 5000.

The tradeoff is that I focused a lot less on military, I only hold Italia and the two southern cities I started with, but I'm in a strong position to start expanding.



- The main tip from the guide was specialising your provinces. Check what type of cities you have (the first building in each city is the city itself and has a type, Market, Capital, Wine, Grain, etc), if the province has one or more that gives bonuses to Food, then turn everything into food producing tiles. Farms, Fishing Ports, etc, and any other slots into temples that'll consume food and boost happiness.

The higher level food producing tiles reduce public order, the higher level of all other tiles consume food, so you have to balance those.

So long as your faction has an overall 20 food surplus you gain bonuses to growth and wealth (food surplus above 20 gives no additional benefit).

Once you've established these food growing regions, you can make other regions into wealth producers, culture producers, etc, and allow them to run a food deficit. If they drag your overall food surplus under 20 you can disable tax in the worst regions, which will both increase happiness and make the faction food total ignore that province.

Finally, the main reason I had to restart my campaign (other than having tanked my diplomatic standings by not dealing with nations early enough and spending too much time attacking) was that I had built too many military buildings. You just don't need them, especially with the army limits. One barracks for each couple of provinces, recruit armies in particular regions and force march them out to wherever they're needed.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 8:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Honestly, I'm bad at these types of games, I avoid actually fighting the real time battles whenever I can, and I just don't notice the bad AI as much as all these people complaining seem to. I'm fine with the game, mostly.

Hell, I play on Normal difficulty, and if you listened to all the players online who are doing most of the complaining you'd think there didn't exist a level below Very Hard (which is too easy, apparently).
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 4:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hahaha, the hardcore guys always say that. Laughing

For me, the real-time battles are where it's at, but I don't usually have as many complaints as those too serious players.

As for the guide, was it frogbeastegg's? (She always did the best TW guides.)

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 7:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's the Beginners Guide by Dark Side.

Only got to play for an hour last night, but pushed north and took over Genua and Medhlan. Patavium has a large army, so I'll be waiting a few turns before I grab that last city. I'm thinking of expanding along the south of France.

Also brought my number of trade agreements up to almost 30. Seems like the more I have the easier it gets to make more. Only about 3-4 factions who refuse to deal with me, the rest have no viable trade routes yet. A faction spontaneously offered to become my client state, but they wanted a big payment from me for it and they were on the opposite side of the map, so I rejected it.

Small problem I'll have later in the game is a lot of my trade agreements were gained by offering a non-aggression treaty. Not had to break one yet, but it'll happen eventually...

I seem to have messed up my research order, because I've gone several turns without being able to build any new building upgrades. My income is hovering around the 5000 level still, but I'm accumulating because of a lack of things to spend on. (I should probably be raising more armies and gaining territory to make use of the cash. I have 3/6 armies at the moment, and fairly low upkeep.)
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 7:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

RE: the real time battles, I guess I just never feel like I have any idea how to play them. I tend to line up my infantry, stick my ranged behind them, and use cavalry to attack their skirmishers and attack their flanks. Which isn't quite right and is very basic. I never know the best way to defend in sieges.

(I liked fighting sieges in Medieval 2. Defending those walls was simple, you put melee units in the spots that would be attacked, you put ranged where they could attack moving enemies below, you won.)
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 4:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Use the skirmish mode to experiment with different tactics for battles, that way you can practice it without interfering with your campaign.

Still, I mean, you've got the basics. Afterall, that's pretty much what they used to do. Very Happy

I like to try and hold onto some high ground, and maybe hide a few units around likely approaches. A few fast units in reserve to hit anybody on the other side who wavers.

(Oh, I do tend to start with my archers in front, and let them fall back behind the lines as the enemy advances too close. Then I send them off to the flanks, because shooting my own infantry when they engage strikes me as a waste.)

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 7:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oddly, after what I said above, I'm starting to think Normal might actually be a little too easy. I'm steamrolling through places with auto-resolve wins that I don't need to fight face-to-face.

Last night I took Patavium to complete the Cisalpina region, then took Massilia on the same turn I defeated the last Etruscan League city. I allowed the Etruscans to live as a Client State rather than control half a province (I have no interest in war with Carthage at this stage), but I'm not sure I should have, as they're not providing any Tribute.

I've secured non-aggression pacts with the three allied factions in the large province north of Cisalpina, and I'm intending to fight my way down through Spain until I border on the Carthage-held (or allied) regions. For some reason I just don't like the idea of pushing north.

Anyway, my point is it seems a little too easy to overwhelm these enemies, and too easy to get trade routes and non-aggression pacts. (I'm up to 31 trade partners.)

I don't want to restart my campaign a third time after only about 30 turns again.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Last night things picked up quite a bit. From Massilia I took Tolosa to complete the Provincia province. I then moved two of my smaller armies into Italia to start recruiting, while my two main armies moved east to Burgidala.

This was a strategic move: I didn't want the Aquitania province as a whole, but the Vivisci, who controlled Burgidala, were allied with the Cessetani and the Cantabri, who control the two northernmost cities in the Iberian peninsula. I wanted Iberia, so I didn't want these guys attacking my back while I was down there.

So, I took a few turns (their armies were stronger than I expected) to conquer Burgidala, putting me automatically at war with the Cantabri and Cessetani.

Meanwhile, the Etruscan League, my client state, lost their only city, Alalia, to rebels. I jumped on the opportunity, and moved one of my newly replenished armies from Italia to capture the city. Unfortunately that meant I then had to keep that army sat in the city for several turns while I waited for public order to pick up.

My second Italian army set out overland toward the Cessetani. They were the easy part - I managed to take their city, Tarraco, with barely a fight.

The Cantabri were tougher. I combined my two attacking armies from Burgundala into one large force - I'd realised they weren't strong enough to keep going - and marched to Aracillum, but the first battle there didn't go too well. They had large numbers, but I was able to gain the advantage by placing half my army behind a hill and attacking their rear after they engaged my infantry line. I won, but I needed time to recover, so I had to withdraw to Tarraco for a few turns. Aracillum fell more easily after that.

While they mopped up the Cantabri, my army from Alalia moved across to Tarraco, and my army in Tarraco spotted an opportunity to the south - Nova Carthago had lost Arse (heh) to the Cessetani. The city had no army inside it, and the Carthaginian armies weren't besieging yet. I marched and took it in one turn. I'm still friendly with Carthage, so their forces all left.

The same thing happened again when I spotted the Turdetani held a relatively weak Qart Hadasht to the south, an initially Carthaginian city. I marched and declared war, and that's where my game ended for the night.

Next step is to try and grab Qart Hadasht before one of the Carthaginian factions has a chance to win it back, and to attack the Galleaci at Brigantum to complete the Tarraconensis province. After that it'll be the Edetani in Numantia, hopefully completing the Cartaginensis region, so long as I succeed in Qart Hadasht. I'm not entirely sure how much territory Carthage and its allies hold in the southeast of Iberia, so I don't know how far I'll push beyond that.

Edit: Ah, dammit. I forgot about the Balearic isles, which Nove Carthago hold. I won't be able to unite Cartaginensis without attacking them.

Edit2: Argh. I was wrong about who owns what. Numantia is controlled by Libya now, a client of Carthage. And Nova Carthago attacked and took Qart Hadasht on the turn change before I could attack it.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heh. So I declared war on Libya, then immediately made peace with Carthage (they were eager to accept!). So now I'm still at war with Libya, Libya is still a client state of Carthage, but Carthage isn't joining the war.

Rushed very quickly through the northeast of Spain then down into Lusitania, capturing it all. Captured Nunentia from Libya then made peace with them (their only other territories are back in Libya, north Africa).


State of the Empire, turn 57.

Sparta volunteered itself as a Client State, I happily accepted. I may have too many active armies, as for a brief while (until I lost 50% of two armies in a battle) my upkeep was higher than my tax income. I have had to start carefully managing food in provinces to stay positive.

My trade income is higher than all other sources by this point. Trade route increase in value over time, and I established a lot, early.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2013 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, I attacked Carthage.

I figured I had three strong armies in southern Iberia, so it was worth at least trying to grab a few settlements there then make peace. Didn't work out that way. My 20-stack army steamrolled through the two empty Nova Carthago cities (then squashed a tiny rebellion), while my other two armies steamrolled just as easily through Carthage and Nova Carthago's cities in Baetica. They had no armies in the region. And they refused to make peace.

So, I was forced to continue the war. I had been building an army to head north and attack one of the small Gaul factions there, but there was a friendly faction already at war up there, and I had a lot of upkeep, so I redirected that army down to Sardinia, completing that region with ease. That army then continued south and hit Carthage itself - which turned out to also be undefended. With Carthage taken, the remaining Carthaginian cities rebelled, leaving nothing but a few small ships sailing around the mediterranean.

Back when I was starting this war, I had sent my fourth army from Iberia back to Rome. While there I filled it up to a full stack, upgraded armour and weapons, and sailed across the sea to Illyria. Sparta had been at war with Daorsi since before I took Sparta on as a Client state, and the Daorsi were winning, so I decided to move in and tip the balance back in my own favour. That full stack took their capital in Illyria and moved on into Thrace and Macedonia.

My three remaining armies in Iberia were by this point no longer occupied, and I began transferring them. The full stack headed east, to join in the war in the Balkans. The other two headed to Carthage, arriving just after the city fell. Somehow I hadn't expected the entire faction to disappear when I took the capital.

In the power vacuum created by the fall of Carthage, the north African factions swept in quickly. My armies were only able to grab one other city from the region before they got to it. Not wanting to ruin my relations there just yet, I left it at that.

Sparta, meanwhile, had gotten itself another enemy in the Odrysian Kingdom. I was asked to join in. Refusing would have cost me them as a Client state, while accepting gave me the opportunity to complete the Thrace province, so I accepted.

I moved a brand new army with a very talented general (result of an Intrigue) over to help out, and moved my army from Carthage also. In the end, the new army, which was small, just sat in Naissos to hold it against any attacks, while the two stacks already in the region managed to finish off the Kingdom. My Carthaginian army arrived too late, but is now in position to hit the last Daorsi town.

The remaining armies in Africa didn't have much to do, but luckily one of Sparta's cities, Lilybaeum in Magna Graecia, rebelled, and I was able to move one of those armies up to grab it from the rebels.

Next steps: Use my two armies in the centre to take out Syracuse and finally unite Magna Graecia under my control. Then I'll consider attacking the factions that have taken the two other cities in Africa. In the east I'll take out the Daorsi, and then target the Delmetae to connect my empire along the coast and complete Illyria.

I guess I've still been underestimating just how easy this game is. I've not had to fight a single battle on the field in the last 20+ turns.

State of the Empire, Turn 76

Settlements held: 35
Provinces held: 9
Trade partners: 31, I think?
Client states: 1 (Sparta, down to 2 cities)
Allies: None (Sparta is allied with Athens)
Enemies: Daorsi, one small fleet of Odrysian Kingdom that'll die next turn.

I've run into serious money problems recently. Running five large armies (and one small) and a few small fleets, and having tax switched off in a lot of provinces, left me with a huge upkeep cost that was higher than my tax income. I'm still making 10-14k per turn thanks to trade, but the number of settlements being upgraded - especially new conquests that have to be converted - is meaning I quickly run out of money each turn.

I'm planning to keep myself to these 6 armies for now, and expand, while trying to convert some buildings until I'm generating a better food surplus (I finally noticed that the region I was using for military in Iberia had a food bonus town, so I need to convert that and convert some other province to military). Then I can turn tax back on in a few regions, and bring my income back up to where it should be.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 4:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Damn you Murrin. Very Happy

I can wait. I can damnit. Very Happy

Does sound like normal is a bit easy if you don't have to fight manually...can you scale campaign and battle difficulty separately?

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 7:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I think you can switch battle difficulty at any time. Campaign difficulty can't be changed once you start.

It is pretty easy on Normal. Don't know how much upping battle difficulty would help - the AI is just not very aggressive and doesn't build large armies or use them well. It's taken until now for some large factions to start emerging, because they're not killing each other.

I know what'll happen if I play on a higher difficulty, though - with lower income bonus and lower public order bonus from difficulty (2500 and +10 on Normal), I'll struggle to keep my provinces from rebelling.

I'll still give it a go - I'll probably try Carthage on Hard once I've won this campaign.

*

I'm really learning to like the new garrison and army limits stuff. I can be fairly confident leaving large areas of my empire undefended, knowing that I can force-march an army across the map in 4-5 turns if it's needed.

Having a few large standing armies and using them strategically does add something, rather than just having stacks of units divided up everywhere.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 10:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quick update:

State of the Empire, Turn 85

I took out Daorsi and Delmatae. Then I noticed the last town in Pannonia was a grain town, so I attacked the Aestii to take it. They're a large faction but spread out, and only connecting to me in one place.

I'm poised now with 3 armies ready to attack the 3 cities north of Italy, in Raetia et Noricum. These three are allied to each other but haven't expanded and are relatively weak. I plan to take the full region fast, and just suffer any rebellion that occurs.

I finally took Syracusae, only to discover it was a grain town, which would have been very useful to know about 80 turns ago. Nevermind. I've spent almost every turn today rebalancing my buildings and regions, and my empire's much healthier financially now.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2013 4:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm Murrin wrote:
Don't know how much upping battle difficulty would help...


Well, I love the battles, so for me it means more challenging ones, without being swamped by the AI on the campaign map. (Well, in previous games anyway.)

Gonna go read up on the limits...sounded annoying to me, but you make an interesting point.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2013 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Limits:

You start able to make 3 armies, 2? fleets, and 1 of each agent, IIRC. Your main faction window has a big progress bar called Imperium, which goes up as you conquer territory and complete missions. Each time you reach a new section of the bar (each bit is larger than the last) the limit increases.

I'm currently on the 3rd level, with a limit of 9 armies, 6? fleets, 3 of each agent. I'm not sure if the fleet limit is what I've written or the same as armies. In any case, if I wanted armies that are useful I wouldn't be able to financially support using all the way up to the limit.

Given that all your cities have a garrison that depends on the buildings there (all higher level buildings give at least some peasant type troops, many give better), you don't need to keep an army in every area unless you're being attacked heavily.

The main thing the system gives is flavour. All armies/fleets must have a general/admiral, and they're standing armies that continue even after the general dies and is replaced. The army has its own experience bar that allows it to gain "Traditions" that improve its abilities, and even if it's fully destroyed you can revive it with a new general and retain the Traditions. Generals have their own experience and traits that you lose when they die.

So you wind up with a small number of armies with a lot of experience and history, and you march these armies to wherever you most need them. It feels a little more realistic. And it works. It means you have to think about who you're maintaining friendly relations with and who you're at war with, so that you know which regions are safe and don't need an army nearby. And if anything surprising happens, you can switch on "Forced March" for a while and move them rapidly across the map (you can't attack in Forced March mode, and any enemy attack is automatically an ambush).
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2013 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Something I keep thinking but forgetting to write about:

The DLC. What really bothers me about having to pay extra to unlock certain factions as playable, is that in the past (and bearing in mind I've not kept up since Medieval 2) the Total War games have been very open to the modding community, including the ability for modders to change the playable factions. There have been mods that unlock every faction in the game as a playable faction. There are mods that overhaul the units, starting zones, and all of that.

The fact that they would now lock factions away for DLC means they must have put in hard coded systems to prevent them being unlocked by modders. Which makes me wonder what else is now locked and unmoddable.

Can someone create an entirely new, custom faction, give it all the units of, say, Sparta, and give it Sparta's starting cities? I assume not. But how do you stop that specifically, rather than just preventing a much wider range of customisation? I can't think of what they must have done to lock it unless they've completely prevented a whole range of mod types just to protect their new DLC income.
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