Steam and Total War Games
It was announced that ETW and future games will be working with STEAM, and that a STEAM account will be required to activate and play your ETW retail version. You will also have the option of downloading the game directly via STEAM.
All you need to know about TW Games and their usage of STEAM
First, please read the following link for info on Steam as it will help explain what Steam is and how it works:
FAQ (for ETW but valid for all other steam games)
Q: Will I need to be on-line in order to play Single-Player on ETW?
A: You will need Steam running in order to run Empire. You can run Steam in off-line mode, so you only need to be on the internet once during installation and from then on you do not; unless you want to play Multi-player of course, which will again require you to be on-line.
Q: Do I have to launch Steam separately every time I want to play ETW?
A: The game launches itself through Steam. This means that you don't need to launch Steam separately. If you start the game and Steam is not loaded, the game will load Steam automatically and start up.
Q: Will Steam be malicious like SecuROM and include a rootkit that permanently infests a computer's hard-drive until reformatting?
A: You can uninstall Steam whenever you want, though you won't be able to play Empire if you do that.
Q: What is the extent of online activations? Once forever on one machine, or every single time every time on one machine?
A: Empire gets tied to your Steam account. No limits beyond that so you can uninstall and reinstall it as many times as you on as many PCs as you want.
Q: Will Steam drain system resources at an alarming rate? Does it use those resources even when the game is not open?
A: Steam will be using system resources whilst Steam is running, however it consumes very few system resources, even less than MSN Messenger. Check out this link here for more details.
Q: Should Steam remain installed on my system regardless of whether I still have the game installed or not?
A: No, you can choose to uninstall Steam when you uninstall Empire, if you want. You will need to install it again, if you re-install ETW, though.
Q: What if I buy the game on DVD and then buy a new computer and want to play it on that one instead? How do I authenticate it? Is the "authentication" connected to my Steam account?
A: If you buy a computer, you install the game, log into steam, and you're ready to play. You can log into your steam account from any computer in the world. The game's authentication is tied to your Steam account, not to the disc.
Q: If I lose the disc after authenticating, can I download the game through Steam instead, without paying for it again?
A: If you lose your disc, you can download Empire through Steam for free.
Q: What if my account disappears, gets stolen or anything, for whatever reason, is the disc useless then?
A: If your account gets hacked or disappears, you need to deal with Steam, they'll sort it out for you.
Q: Would a Steam-free pirated version of this game be safer than the retail version?
A: Not at all, pirated games will do more damage to your computer. Steam has its problems but is far less likely to harm your computer.
Q: Will mods work ok, since ETW works with Steam?
A: Both retail version of Empire and version downloaded from Steam will be the same, so all mods will work with it. Problems that have occurred with mods and Steam with previous TW games has been because of mod makers not having the Steam version and so not easily being able to make their mods compatible. With empire as all versions have Steam there won't be that problem.
Q: What if Valve decides to shut Steam down?
A: Steam is a complete cash-cow, there's no reason why it should be closed down. Also, Valve has promised (as it has been said many many many many times before) that they'll release a patch that disables Steam from all games if they ever want to close the service down.