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Thread: Rome II E3 Hands-on Impressions (and official CA Q&A)

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    Nobody expects the Senior Member Lemur's Avatar
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    Arrow Rome II E3 Hands-on Impressions (and official CA Q&A)

    E3 report #1:

    Okay so we'll start with my impression of the campaign map. Okay first of all, I think it looks much BETTER in reality than it did in the Cleopatra trailer. For any of those worrying about the scale of the map, rest assured you can put that worry and burry it in the grave yard of thoughts you don't need anymore. Because its MASSIVE!

    So I saw the politics screen

    Note that they said it was a WIP screen, but it looked pretty good, it was certainly more clean than I expected, but I have no idea how that will change between now and release. There are three families obviously, and these are divided in this screen according to their allegiance as far as I can tell. The info you learned in Stratagy informer was pretty accurate as far as I can tell..

    So the big question!

    Generals avatars are 3D active renders, which means they move around (slowly) and make faces while you look around. Ect. There were some interesting things to note, one of which was the variation. Sure some had similar Armour and such, but the faces were quite good looking.


    I saw the differences between the desert parts of the campaign map, and the wilds of central Europe. And WOW! you can tell they have put an insane amount of effort into showing all these differences. Guys, I cannot stress enough how amazing this campaign map is in person. When you all get to use it for the first time. You are going to be totally immersed, and totally bound to the game. You WILL loose whole portions of your life to this game.

    The region system wasn't nearly as pronounced visually as I had expected, however this isn't a bad thing I don't think, as it was still fairly obvious how things are managed. The edicts system and army traditions system made perfect sense, however i will note that the interface is very different from what most of you are used to. So you may have to relearn your order of execute.


    There are new diplomatic options just like everyone else has mentioned, the new rollout that shows you what the AI thinks of you isn't really complicated, not quite like I had expected. But actually I'm sort of happy that it lets you quickly see what you have done so you can know what to avoid in the future. Or how to put something negative to your advantage.


    Now I don't know what hardware they were using, my guess was the integrated video chips in the Intel CPU's from the HASWELL generation. If it was, then it makes some sense. I believe it may have been running at 720P with the graphics turned pretty high up. High at least, with SSAO on. Which is impressive all things considered. I think its going to run fairly smooth!

    The battle

    Okay so now that I've really gotten down and played...4 battles. XD twice with Rome, and twice with Ptolomy. I can say that I am very impressed overall, even in its current state its extremely EPIC!! I mean seriously guys, the combat is pretty awesome, there is more feeling to the soldiers now than there were before. You've got really good sound, lots of cool things to hear!

    In terms of battle speed I would say its about 25% slower than Shogun 2, Sure there was a rush on because we only had like 25 minutes to go through the campaign map and see what it was all about AND hopefully play both sides of the historical battle.

    Now I don't know if this means that you will be able to choose which side you play as in Historical battles. But in this case at least you could. (One was labeled easy, the other was Challenging)


    So during one of the battles I payed attention to the naval units they gave me, and I was definitely impressed. Both by the re-activity of the commands, and the way they handled themselves. BTW some units of ships have two ships per unit, and some DO NOT.. this appears to be mostly for siege based ships.

    The boarding was amazingly fluid, the ramming feels extremely powerful but not ridiculous, plenty of variation in the ships as well they didn't all look the same, at least not up close. Unless the ship is of a different type you likely won't be able to tell the differences from far away. Which is fine. Makes perfect sense. the larger ships of course look like larger ships from far away as they should.


    While this feature isn't finished yet of course, from what I could see of the phalanxes given to me, they act similar to the yari spear wall, where the units try and get in between the spears. The charge went semi threw the pikes, but there wasn't that invisible wall either. Im not sure about how I really feel this looked, It both looked EPIC and it felt very fluid, as did most of the other elements of the battle.

    The animations were very brutal, and down to earth, there was lots and lots of different ones. They weren't kidding that this game will show you some of the most epic sights you will ever experience in a stratagy game. Lemme tell you all right now, your in for a treat!

    Overall the men in the units felt both more unique and individual, while also being able to keep formation, and react to eachother, and enemies, as well as with their environment. This is probably one of the most upfront and stunning improvements with the battles. It felt VERY GOOD!


    My god, this was the most impressive, fun thing to watch ever. Somehow they managed to make them feel extremely smooth, and reactive, both in animations and collateral damage. Arrows, and barbs stick out of their hides! And they go down hard in some cases. massive variation on animation from what I could tell. Almost felt like ragdoll but it wasn't. Much more realistic.

    Of all the things I saw, I think I was most impressed with how fluid, and realistic the battle felt. It didn't take too long, yet it didn't feel too quick either.


    Okay you all are gonna rag on these I'm sure. Honestly I really didn't like it at first. But WOW did it grow on me, I didn't expect that. The unit cards are certainly artistic, and they make sense given the culture. But honestly I thought they may be a bit too bright and contrasty. However It wasn't hard to really tell what your units are using just the cards.

    I actually love the unit cards now, as you play you may have the same thing happen to you.

    I will answer questions now if I can.. Look for my posts along this thread!

    Voice acting

    Everything I heard felt pretty good. Except something about the Egyptian accent really threw me off, at first I thought it was a sound byte from Shogun 2. Of course I didn't think this the second time through. But my initial impression was still inaccurate.

    The battle music, and voice acting was very impressive! Felt like BF3 Vs BF2.. Rome 2 is powerful! And it feels like these people are actually in a battle. Fighting for their lives.

    IN CLOSING: Will and Craig were super awesome to meet in person, and they were very friendly and happy about the game! You can tell that they are extremely excited about Rome 2, so much so they have a hard time containing it. Also, they saw fit to tell everyone who I was. Which was very heart warming, and very cool.

    If any of you get a chance to talk to them in RL, like say at Rezzed. Even if you have to shell out money to get there. Its worth it just to feel the enthusiasm flowing from these guys. Thanks to the Total War Team, Craig, Will, and CA as a whole for providing this experience to those at E3 that were willing to wait to play the game, and thanks for doing such an amazing job on a game that has higher expectations than any other TW Game. So far it looks as if you are going to not only meet the majority of those expectations, but they may in fact raise the bar for the level of game that others will have to make to rise to the level of it.


    E3 report #2:

    Was lucky enough to go to E3 last Thursday and headed straight for the Rome 2 booth. […] I definitely enjoyed the preview of the campaign map and the play-through of the demo battle was quite fun (I played as Rome and was winning when we had to start clearing out for the next group). I'd describe my post-E3 perspective on the game as cautiously optimistic because as much as I've been excited to see what CA has been releasing, it would be premature to judge based on anything other than the finished product.

    Ok enough with the B.S. down to the new info. Will presented the campaign map during my session and I got to speak with Al and Will briefly during the session and after our time was up. Below are a few items I gleaned from those conversations which so far I haven't seen discussed anywhere else:

    -Skill Trees - GONE are the Shogun 2 style skill trees for generals. Instead, generals will incur a series of trait-based bonuses similar to Medieval 2. I don't believe you'll be able to have an option to directly choose traits (like the bonuses you can choose for your legions/armies), rather, like the past few TW iterations the traits will organically become part of your character as a result of their actions. But the skill trees are gone.

    -Family Politics - The campaign preview presented a view of three families of Rome who compete for power and demonstrated a successful assassination of a rival politician. I asked Al if the family-dynamic would be present in all the other factions other than Rome and he noted it would be, although for some factions it might be on a different scale with perhaps two families competing for power instead of three. Will also noted this area is still subject to change.

    -Now for the big one: Tribal Confederacies - CA confirmed these will be a part of Rome 2 among the barbarian factions. Essentially it's a concept where multiple factions band together to fight a common enemy. Personally I think it makes sense to include in the game for some of the lesser-advanced factions in order for them to realistically present a challenge to the military, technological, and cultural power of Rome. That, and it's also historically realistic. The 2 big follow-up questions I wish I had had time to ask were 1) What level of control/influence does the player have over other factions' units within their confederacy? and 2) Are confederacies only possible between major and minor factions or can two of the larger factions (e.g. Suebi & Iverni) join together?

    Apologies if I ended up re-hashing anything that's already been revealed. Echoing the sentiments of others I really thought the CA guys were great and my only regret was that I didn't have more time to pick their brains.

    One final note, all credit to a couple of fellows who posted on TW forums last year contemplating the Tribal Confederacy concept. Legiontdfan ( and Deadly Rabbit ( While this might have been a feature the devs thought to include anyway, it's cool to see CA listening to the community.


    And here's the official post-E3 CA Q&A:

    Q: Why are animations so over-the-top when men are hit by chariots or artillery?

    These animations aren’t final – we’re currently in the process of toning them down to have the right balance between visual impact and realism. There are important gameplay reasons why it might be necessary to indicate that something’s gone very wrong for one of your units, especially when you are zoomed out, but we also need to balance that with the need to maintain a degree of immersion.

    They will fly less high in the finished game.

    Q: Are Chariots and Artillery over-powered?

    The above effect will over emphasise the impact, but it’s important to note that not every solider knocked over by those units’ attacks are killed; a proportion will get back to their feet. These units, and others in the game, are important disruption weapons alongside the direct damage they do. Such attacks are important to use strategically, slowing, demoralising and disrupting the formation of enemy units, causing follow-up attacks to have greater effect.

    Q: Does every battle have a capture point?


    Most battles in ROME II are either normal field battles or open sea battles. These do not have capture points or baggage trains. Ambush battles don’t have capture points either.

    Capture points for cities have been present in all Total War games since “Rome: Total War”. Larger city battles in ROME II now have multiple capture points as this increases the skill and tactical requirements for attacking and defending cities while allowing the use of elements of stealth and surprise, rather than previously where sides could just camp in the centre of the city. Smaller cities will have one, and are likely to be first type of siege battle encountered by most players at the start of the game.

    Additionally, the new feature of Baggage Trains (the capture point type you saw in the E3 footage) occurs in battles where an army is attacked while it is in Forced March stance on the Campaign Map. This represents the army being caught while on the move and so being more unprepared for battle. This disadvantage balances out the advantage of being able to move further in a turn and means that players need to judge their strategy more intelligently when selecting this stance. Conversely, as an attacking player, you would do well to time the interception of Forced Marching enemy armies to take advantage of their additional vulnerability.

    Also, where there are land and naval forces combined in a battle, the defender’s baggage train will be present to prevent any remaining defending navies winning a battle unrealistically by hiding out at sea, waiting for the battle to end or the attacker to give up, while remaining attacking land forces are unable to reach them from the land.

    In this particular instance, the attacker has the disadvantage of time in which to capture the defender’s baggage train, but the tactical advantage of picking the battleground in the first place.

    Placement of the baggage train will vary from battle to battle, while still being in the defender’s deployment zone. Both sides will be able to see exactly where during the deployment phase.

    In whatever form they appear, Capture Points are not instant wins. They have a timer on them that allows for any reasonably astute player to react to the situation.

    The defence of the baggage train was a genuine issue for armies of the ancient world. Losing your supplies, spare equipment and possessions was a disaster that led to some of history’s most catastrophic defeats.

    Q: Are you going to change the unit cards?

    No, we have no plans to change the unit cards. When you’re hands-on in battle, we find the new card design to be particularly useful for identifying which unit is which in the heat of battle. You should reserve judgement on their effectiveness until you’d had an opportunity to use them. Needless to say, in the thousands of hours of testing so far they have proven their worth.

    We like them a lot as their style is in period for our game and the Romans were rather fond of mimicking the art of other cultures, including Greece.

    Q: What is the multiplayer element of ROME II going to be?

    ROME II will contain traditional TW multiplayer modes such as versus battles (1 to 4 players per side, 2 sides) and 1v1 campaigns (co-op or versus), there will be some additional features added in here including a neat MP battlefield selector which we will be talking about soon. However, the Avatar Conquest mode from SHOGUN 2 will not be returning in ROME II; we believe we can create a much more compelling persistent multi-player offering for Total War that will appeal to multi-player fans with Total War: ARENA, and we’ll be bringing you more on that at a later date (get involved with the beta for ARENA here).

    Q: Will there be blood DLC in ROME II?

    Possibly, but it won’t be in the core release due to the age rating we want to adhere to for Total War games, which we intend to be in line with all previous releases. There is the option of potentially doing a DLC down the line, as we did with Shogun 2, but at the moment we don’t intend to talk any further about this before ROME II is released.

    Q: Will there be a BETA or demo for ROME II before release?

    There will not be, no.

    Q: Why does Julius Caesar change into a horse when moving on the campaign map demo?

    This is an animation to indicate quick movement across the campaign map, which we find preferable to a ‘Benny Hill’-style fast walk. This is subject to change for the final release.

    Q: Will there be a hotseat multiplayer campaign?

    No, the hotseat feature hasn’t been present for a number of Total War games. There will, however, be a 1v1 multiplayer campaign – both co-operative and head-to-head.

    Q: Why is the battle in the E3 demo so fast?

    The Battle of the Nile features a lot of fast-moving units, such as chariots and cavalry. This has an impact on the perceived overall speed of the battle. We’re still tweaking the final foot-speed of units, but we’re happy we’re close to final. It is also worth saying that the battle was chosen to fit within the time we had available with journalists at E3, which is often all too brief. Overall you can expect to experience longer battles on average.

    Additionally, we are constantly testing and updating the distances between deployment zones depending on the size of the engagement, while constantly adjusting movement speeds for armies. All of which can have a significant effect on how quickly or slowly battle is joined.

    Q: Why aren’t there any minimum or recommended specs available yet?

    There are, our current expected specs are listed with retailers at the moment; these are subject to change as the game is optimised. Our intent is to get the minimum spec as close to Shogun 2’s requirements as possible. When the specs are finalised we will post them on the TW Wiki.

    Q: If I pre-ordered the game before the Pre-order bonus was announced, will I still get the Greek States Culture Pack?

    Yes, as long as your retailer is participating in the offer. Check with your retailer if you have any doubt.

    Q: How cool are the Iceni?

    The Iceni are extremely cool. In test, the first ever properly completed game of Total War: ROME II was accomplished by the Iceni by way of cultural victory.
    Last edited by Lemur; 06-18-2013 at 16:26.
    "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them ... well, I have others." — Groucho Marx

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  2. #2
    Senior Member Senior Member Barkhorn1x's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rome II E3 Hands-on Impressions (and official CA Q&A)

    First of all thank you for detailed information. You seem to be not too swept up in the hoopla. Well just a bit perhaps.

    Now on to Craigie's comments:
    1. The flying soldiers, over powered artillery will be tuned down "a bit" = I am calling BS right here as he puts so many qualifiers around his statements that we can all interpret this item the way we want to. I have seen this movie before - we think he means going from the present 11 down to 6. He actually means going from 11 down to 10 - sigh.

    2. Control Points = Glad to read this and I am more than satisfied with the explanation - and like the penalty for forced marchers caught "on the hop".

    3. Unit cards = Sorry they're awful - no matter how "useful" they may be and I'm guessing that they will be the first item modded. And that bit about the Romans copying the Greeks? Please. They didn't copy - or steal! - Cretian/Myceanan era pottery but the later more realistic stuff.

    4. Fast battles = Yes, I can see CA speeding things up for the limited attention span crowd that makes up the gameing media. Hope they do slow things down tho'.
    "Après moi le déluge"

  3. #3
    Nobody expects the Senior Member Lemur's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rome II E3 Hands-on Impressions (and official CA Q&A)

    Quote Originally Posted by Barkhorn1x View Post
    You seem to be not too swept up in the hoopla. Well just a bit perhaps.

    I'm just passing on legit info when I find it.
    "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them ... well, I have others." — Groucho Marx

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    Senior Member Senior Member Barkhorn1x's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rome II E3 Hands-on Impressions (and official CA Q&A)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lemur View Post

    I'm just passing on legit info when I find it.
    Ha! I thought that post was your hands on notes.
    "Après moi le déluge"

  5. #5
    Nobody expects the Senior Member Lemur's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rome II E3 Hands-on Impressions (and official CA Q&A)

    Newish info from IGN (with a bit of commentary by lead campaign designer Janos Gaspar).

    Total War Rome 2: How To Lose Friends and Assassinate People

    Reaping the benefits of a sharp sword and a sharper tongue.

    The Total War series has never struggled to convey its epic subject matter. Accompanying the announcement of each new game in the long-running series are myriad screens and videos that depict hundreds of soldiers cleaving bloody carnage on battlefields throughout history. Clearly, The Creative Assembly has chosen a fitting name for its most prized and famous franchise; one that cuts right to the heart of what the franchise is all about.

    Of course, any fool can wield a sharp stick and so, as the series has grown in stature, ambition and complexity, so too has the quieter, more devious side of the war effort. It’s unsurprising, then, that diplomacy and administration are vital facets of Total War: Rome 2 and that the title further broadens the scope for effective empire governance and canny politicking with a host of new micromanagement tools.

    Some of these build upon the family, agent and faction elements of 2004’s Rome: Total War, while others are borrowed from more recent entries in the series. However, many are brand new and are aimed at facilitating your choice of graceful diplomacy and spiteful double-dealing both at home and abroad.

    Central to improving your effectiveness around the negotiating table is a wealth of new statistical information about rival faction leaders. It’s now possible to tell at a glance how a leader feels about your past decisions and whether they approve of the way you have conducted yourself in your dealings with them, their allies and their enemies. The system is similar to that found in Civilization 5, with each significant action given a plus or minus score that is intended to make it easier to predict the AI’s longer term reactions to your decisions and make transparent the reasons for their own actions.

    As you would expect, there have been some significant visual improvements made for Rome 2 and while some are merely cosmetic, others provide tangible gameplay benefits. Buildings in cities and settlements are now identifiable on the campaign map, which makes it easier to assess the bias of the city and the disposition of its leader. This, in turn, helps you to size-up how the metropolis is likely to respond to honeyed words or blunt threats.

    While a militaristic society is more likely to resist your polite offer to subjugate it and so require a show of force, a more religious or cultural-focused settlement might accede to your request that it become a vassal or client of your empire. The benefits you reap by making a city a client is a steady income in the form of tributes, which helps to fund your ongoing expansion on other fronts. However, such an arrangement is a two-way street and so you’ll be expected to provide protection to that settlement in times of need.

    “Whether you forge alliances with cities, make them your vassals or conquer them by force, it all adds to your overall victory points,” explains Rome 2’s lead campaign designer, Janos Gaspar. “However, sometimes it’s nice to create a ribbon of buffer states at your border that are on friendlier terms with your enemy and so use them as a defensive zone.”

    Putting the AI to such use is a smart way to effectively manage your borders, especially as your empire grows and your have multiple fronts to manage, but you shouldn’t expect such devious behaviour to pass unnoticed. Your allies will be keeping a close eye on your politicking elsewhere and will rebel if they feel you have no interest in their long-term wellbeing. If that happens then you might have to quash an uprising by diverting forces that you’d earmarked for more important warmongering in order to deal with former friends.

    Further complicating your quest for world domination is the fact that it’s not just your foreign policies that are under scrutiny. If you play as Rome or Carthage you’ll also have to contend with powerful families within your realm who will be quick to judge how well you are guiding your mighty empire. Should your interests run contrary to theirs for too long they will be all too willing to take drastic action, as Gaspar explains.

    “If you are a perfect democrat and are able to give the right army commissions to the right families, keep the senate happy and unify families through strategic marriages then you can avoid civil war.

    “However, if you accumulate too much power or influence then Rome becomes distrustful and starts to view you as a would-be tyrant. Taken to an extreme the other powerful families might want to dispose of you. Likewise, if you make bad decisions and are you’re no longer powerful enough to lead Rome they might ask ‘could you die please?’”

    Choosing how to deal with possible attempts on your life, keep the senate happy and quash potential rebellions will require cunning, guile and a keen mind. Evidently, if you’re to triumph in the arena of total war, you’ll need to do more than just stab men with pointy sticks.
    Last edited by Lemur; 06-19-2013 at 17:18.
    "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them ... well, I have others." — Groucho Marx

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    One of the Undutchables Member The Stranger's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rome II E3 Hands-on Impressions (and official CA Q&A)

    i hope client kingdoms will now have to rebel in order to lose the client kingdom status, instead of simply terminate the agreement like a peace treaty or an alliance, as if its that easy :S

    We do not sow.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Rome II E3 Hands-on Impressions (and official CA Q&A)

    What are the chances they actually were running the game on integrated graphics, even if it is Haswell?


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