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Total War: Three Kingdoms

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Total War: Three Kingdoms is Creative Assembly's 12th major release in the Total War Series, set in ancient China in the Three Kingdoms period, it starts in 190 AD. The game uses the 64-bit Warscape Engine that was developed for Total War: Warhammer. The game was released on 23 May, 2019 for Windows, Mac, and Linux via Steam.

Overview

Whilst still featuring the turn-based strategy, factions, campaign and battle-map play familiar from older games in the series, Three Kingdoms aims to be more 'character focused'. Diplomacy has been re-worked and becomes a more important part of the game, relationships between characters are described as 'Guanxi' after the Chinese concept.


Play Modes

Total War: Three Kingdoms introduces two different modes of campaign play, a 'Classic' version based on the Records of the Three Kingdoms which aims for greater historical accuracy, and a new 'Romance Mode' based on the novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms which portrays generals and faction leaders as powerful heroes with special powers.


Campaign Map

CA's Sun Jian trailer showed views of the campaign map albeit with 'in-engine' shots and not 'in-game'. The trailer included this zoomed out view of the campaign map: 3kcampaignmap.png

Invicta Gaming has released an interesting analysis of the trailer here which includes comparisons to real-world maps and comments on the differences/similarities to previous game maps.

Warlords

Generals and leaders seem to be more important than in older titles, and the game includes the ability for the traits and abilities of up to three generals to be used in one army.

Biographical and playstyle details have been released of the eleven legendary warlords you will be able to play as. See full details here.

zoner16 on TWC has provided in-depth descriptions of the historical characters of the time see here.

Cao Cao

In Game;

  • Hero Class: Commander
  • Start Position: Chen - a central position south of the Yellow River.
  • Initial Dilemma: To ride to war and avenge his father's death or to build an empire first.

In History;

In Romance of the Three Kingdoms;

Portrayed as a cruel and suspicious villain.

Gongsun Zan

In Game;

  • Hero Class: Vanguard
  • Start Position: Youbeiping - defensible position to the north.
  • Initial Dilemma: Attack Liu Yu, or ally with him to attack Han Fu.

In History;

In Romance of the Three Kingdoms;

Leads elite cavalry unit, the White Riders.
Joins coalition against Dong Zhou.
Declares war on Yuan Shao for killing his younger brother.

Kong Rong

In Game;

  • Hero Class: Strategist
  • Start Position: Beihai
  • Initial Dilemma: How to use a 'great warrior' who offers his services.

In History;

Liu Bei

In Game;

  • Hero Class: Commander
  • Start Position: Dong Province
  • Initial Dilemma: To help Tai Qian in his fights against Cao Cao or remain neutral.

In History;

In Romance of the Three Kingdoms;

Portrayed as a compassionate and righteous leader, endowed with charismatic potency.
Wields a pair of double-edged swords called shuang gu jian.

Liu Biao

In Game;

  • Hero Class: Commander
  • Start Position: Xiangyang
  • Initial Dilemma: Agree to help Yuan Shao against Sun Jian and Yuan Shu, or ignore Yuan Shao's request.

In History;

Ma Teng

In Game;

  • Hero Class: Vanguard
  • Start Position: Wudu - in the west.
  • Initial Dilemma: Whether to engage in the civil war between the separatist and loyalist remains of Dong Zhuo's faction.

In History;

In Romance of the Three Kingdoms;

Portrayed as a loyalist of the declining Han dynasty.
Participates in plots to assassinate Cao Cao.

Yuan Shu

In Game;

  • Hero Class: Commander
  • Start Position: Nayang - surrounded by powerful warlords.
  • Initial Dilemma: Whether to help Sun Jian by declaring war on Liu Biao or stay neutral.

In History;

Yuan Shao

In Game;

  • Hero Class: Commander
  • Start Position: Wei - relatively safe area with farmlands.
  • Initial Dilemma: Whether to help Gongsun Zan against Han Fu, or give Han Fu refuge in exchange for his lands.

In History;

Zhang Yan

In Game;

  • Hero Class: Champion
  • Start Position: Yanman - in the far northern mountains.
  • Initial Dilemma: Whether to attack Yuan Shao's lands first or northern bandits.

In History;

Zheng Jiang

In Game;

  • Hero Class: Champion
  • Start Position: Taiyuan - remote area in the mountains to the north-west.
  • Initial Dilemma: Whether to join with Zhang Yan or attack him.

In History;

  • Clan: The Zheng Bandits
  • From zoner16's post: Mentioned only in passing in the biography of Zhuo Xuan, who was an official and something of a soothsayer in the Wei court, the women bandits Zheng and Jiang were executed in Dongping sometime after a local official, Liu Zhen, had a dream about a snake growing four legs and burrowing into a gate. Zhuo Xuan foretold their deaths based on the fact that the snake was the auspicious sign of a woman, yet legs are not something a snake should have, therefore the women who were being bandits and upsetting the order of things would be killed.

Sun Jian

In Game;

  • Hero Class: Sentinel
  • Start Position: Jiangling in enemy lands - homeland is Changsha to the south.
  • Initial Dilemma: Whether to give Liu Biao the Imperial Seal he has requested or decline and make him an enemy.

In History;

  • Clan: The Sun Clan of Wu
  • Style Name: Wentai
  • Positions: Inspector of Yu Province, General Who Routs the Caitiffs, Marquis of Wucheng, Emperor Wulie of Wu (posthumously)
  • Wikipedia Biography

In Romance of the Three Kingdoms;

In the coalition against Dong Zhuo.
Escaped from a battle by giving his distinctive red scarf to Zu Mao
Attempted to keep the Imperial Seal for himself.
Killed in Jing Province after losing a battle against Liu Biao.

Dong Zhuo

In Game;

  • Hero Class: Vanguard
  • Start Position: Chang'an, west of the defensible mountain passes.
  • Initial Dilemma: A series of decisions, dependent on Romance or Records mode -
    • Romance: Conflict over the courtesan Diaochan with Lu Bu.
    • Records: Conflict with Lu Bu over personal differences and the machinations of the minister Wang Yun.
  • Note: Dong Zhuo is not playable until the player either defeats his army in battle or they reach the rank of Emperor in the Grand Campaign.

In History;

New Features

Diplomacy

Diplomacy has been re-worked and is intended to be a more important part of the game introducing concepts such as 'obligations, reciprocity, and trust'.

CA published information about the new system in two blog posts, Part 1 and Part 2, with accompanying videos, Part 1 and Part 2. They claim Three Kingdoms "marks the single most significant redesign of the system in Total War’s history" with the diplomacy model and AI rewritten from scratch.

Vassal status has been expanded with new possible benefits from either owning vassals or allowing your faction to become a vassal of a more powerful faction.

A new diplomatic status has been introduced, 'coalitions' are now possible as well as the usual alliances. Coalitions being easier to enter and less binding on the parties involved. Both coalitions and alliances establish 'friendly territory' that can ease supply and attrition problems.

Region trading has been re-introduced as another possible diplomatic tool alongside food and financial trades.

Discuss the new information on diplomacy on TWC here.

Wu Xing

The game applies elemental/color distinctions based on the Wu Xing five powers philosophy to many standard Total War features. Each character has an associated class which corresponds to a particular element(Commander, Champion, Vanguard, Sentinel, Strategist), five attributes that each have a respective element, and all traits, skills, reforms, units, and buildings have their own associated elements as well.

Benefits of any given element are meant to apply to other game pieces of that same element. For example, a Vanguard (Fire class) will likely have high Instinct (Fire trait) which will boost charge damage, which primarily helps Shock Cavalry (Fire unit type), as well as lower recruitment costs, which benefits the Military Recruitment building chains (Fire buildings).

Note: This system only applies to warlords in the base game. Yellow Turban factions do not operate on the same system.

Guanxi

Guanxi is the system that tracks the relationships between all the characters within the game. Characters can grow to like or dislike each other due to traits they have, events that fire, or personal history between them.

Characters will dislike having to fight their friends and relish getting to fight their enemies. They will like being in the same army and faction as their friends and dislike the opposite. Thus, it will be necessary to manage assignments and recruitment based on who gets along with one another and who doesn't, lest Satisfaction levels fall too low.

CA put out a video explaining this system and Satisfaction below here.

Satisfaction

Characters have a Satisfaction stat that tracks how they feel about their current status within their current faction. If this drops too low, the character will be in danger of leaving or rebelling. Satisfaction is governed by factors like the relationship the character has with their comrades and enemies, their current rank in comparison to their achievements, and the appropriate reforms, among other things.

Espionage

The agent system has been replaced by the espionage system, which allows the player to assign characters to attempt to spy on a faction. If a character is willing, they will wait in the other faction's recruitment pool until hired. After which they will take part in the opposing faction as a standard officer, but also giving the player visibility over wherever they are assigned, while also opening up a range of espionage options.

The espionage options require Cover (a resource specific to each spy) and Undercover Network (a faction resource). Each cost is told to the player before initiating an action, but there is an additional hidden cost that the target faction places depending on several factors (traits, reforms, etc). When initiating an action, the player will then be forced to give this additional cost or risk their agent being discovered if they cannot. If an agent is discovered, they can be captured or escape on their own. If they are captured, they may be executed or returned, but returned spies might have been turned into double agents.

Reviews

Reviews so far have been intriguing with PCGamer describing it as 'ambitious, beautiful and confusing'.

Three Kingdoms Cover Art


System Requirements & Release Details

Total War: Three Kingdoms was released for Windows, macOS and Linux on May 23, 2019.

System requirements/recommendations were posted on the Total War Blog.

PC MINIMUM SPECIFICATIONS (INTEGRATED)
Expected around 25-35 FPS on campaign map and in a 1v1, 21 units vs 21 units battle, default graphics preset set to “Low”, running at 1280×720

  • Operating System: Windows 7 64 Bit
  • Processor: i7-8550U 1.80GHz
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Video Card: Intel UHD Graphics 620

PC MINIMUM SPECIFICATIONS (DISCRETE)
Expected around 25-35 FPS on campaign map and in a 1v1, 21 units vs 21 units battle, default graphics preset set to “Low”, running at 1280×720

  • Operating System: Windows 7 64 Bit
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 3.00Ghz
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Video Card: GTX 650 Ti | HD 7850 1GB VRAM

PC RECOMMENDED SPECIFICATIONS
Expected around 45-55 FPS on campaign map and in a 1v1, 21 units vs 21 units battle, default graphics preset set to “High”, running at 1920×1080

  • Operating System: Windows 10 64 Bit
  • Processor: Intel i5-6600 | Ryzen 5 2600X
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Video Card: GTX 970 | R9 Fury X 4GB VRAM

PC 60 FPS+ SPECIFICATIONS
Expect 60 FPS+ on campaign map and in a 1v1, 21 units vs 21 units battle, default graphics preset set to “Ultra”, running at 1920×1080

  • Operating System: Windows 10 64 Bit
  • Processor: Intel® Core™ Intel i7-8700K
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 | NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060
Total War: Three Kingdoms Portal
Total War: Three Kingdoms

Factions:

Wei | Zhou | Yan | Heishan | Qi | Chu | Shu-Han | Liang | Wu | Zhong | Song | Tai

Characters:

Cai Mao | Cao Cao | Dong Zhuo | Gongsun Zan | Guan Yu | Han Sui | Huang Zhong | Huang Zu | Kong Rong | Li Damu | Liu Bei | Liu Biao | Liu Cong | Liu Qi | Lu Bu | Ma Chao | Ma Teng | Sun Ce | Sun Jian | Sun Quan | Sun Ren | Taishi Ci | Xiahou Dun | Xiahou Yuan | Yu Du | Yuan Shao | Yuan Shu | Zhang Fei | Zhang Yan | Zhao Yun | Zheng Jiang

Character Types:

Champion | Commander | Sentinel | Strategist | Vanguard

Units:

Ji Militia | Ji Infantry | Heavy Ji Infantry | Sabre Militia | Sabre Infantry | Axe Band | Spear Guard | Heavy Spear Guard | Archer Militia | Archers | Mounted Lancer Militia | Lance Cavalry | Mounted Sabre Militia | Sabre Cavalry | Crossbowmen | Heavy Crossbowmen | Trebuchet | Jian Sword Guard Cavalry | Jian Sword Guard | Raider Cavalry | Peasant Raiders | Repeating Crossbowmen | Heavy Repeating Crossbowmen | Peasant Band | Spear Warriors | Mounted Archers | Azure Dragons | Jade Dragons | Yellow Dragons | Onyx Dragons | Pearl Dragons | Defenders of Earth | Protectors of Heaven | Cataphracts | Heavy Cataphracts | Heavy Mounted Archers | Mounted Crossbows

Faction Units:

Xiliang Cavalry | Heavy Xiliang Cavalry | Tiger and Leopard Cavalry | Heavy Tiger and Leopard Cavalry | White Horse Fellows | White Horse Raiders | Mercenary Infantry | Mercenary Archers | Mercenary Cavalry | Qiang Marauders | Qiang Hunters | Qiang Raiders | Black Mountain Marauders | Black Mountain Outlaws | Black Mountain Hunters | Fury of Beihai | Thunder of Jian'an | Infantry of Jing | Imperial Defenders | Rapid Tiger Infantry | Warriors of the Left | Warriors of Ye | Defenders of Hebei | Hidden Axes | Fists of the Bandit Queen | Yi Archers | Yi Marskmen

Gameplay and Features:

Reforms | Traits | Units

Total War: Three Kingdoms - Yellow Turban Rebellion

DLC Factions:

The Yellow Turbans of Runan | The Yellow Turbans of Yan | The Yellow Turbans of The West

Units:

Faction Units:

Gameplay and Features:

On the forum: Three Kingdoms Discussion | Three Kingdoms Review | Three Kingdoms Mods | Mod Workshop
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