THRONES OF BRITANNIA – Steel & Statecraft Update
Today we’ve released a new update for A Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia. The Steel and Statecraft update builds on some existing mechanics and also address some player feedback from the last update.
Among other things, the update implements a new Political Difficulty option. We understand that some players like to challenge themselves with political manoeuvring, while others prefer to stay away from such back-stabbing. You can now tweak this area of the game separately from Campaign Difficulty. The politics system is also undergoing some other changes, particularly in the events that come about as the result of political actions.
Here are some more highlights of the changes that have been made.
The purpose of Estates was to add challenges in managing a kingdom where each noble is playing the game of intrigue, looking to grab more power and land for themselves. However, the system didn’t have as much impact as we’d have liked, which is why Estates have received a rework to better represent a king granting land to his more important lords, thus ensuring their devotion to the crown. With the power of land ownership comes a responsibility for the owner to properly tend to his holdings – each Estate will offer a positive effect if given to the proper lord, or a negative one if the noble is not suited to presiding over such lands.
The nobles in turn do not sit idly, hoping for deeds to fall in their lap. The Estate Desire traits, which characters previously gained, have been replaced with requests, directed towards the crown in the form of missions. Every so often a lord in your faction will ask to be granted Estates, offering a reward in return. But if you deem the noble ineligible or sense malicious intent, and you ignore their request, their loyalty will start to waiver.
We’ve added more weight to managing your Estates, and to help with that we’ve reorganized the Estates interface. Each lord will list the effects that they provide from Estates they own. Moving Estates around has been made easier – clicking on an Estate will grant it to the selected character on the left. Beware, however, of dealing with Estates that are not in the king’s possession – nobles are quite attached to their lands and will rarely part with them without repercussions.
Traits depict the story of each character; their upbringing, their personality and the events that have occurred in their lifetime. Sifting through each character’s history can be cumbersome, which is why we’ve stacked traits into groups. Each trait group is now represented by a banner, with all effects of the traits within listed underneath. Clicking on a banner will list all traits within that group, giving a detailed account of the noble’s qualities.
As mentioned previously, each trait group will list how it affects a character’s Estates. The group with the most traits will be marked with a large yellow icon, showing the lord’s dominant characteristics and what effects they grant to the noble’s land ownership.
Recruitment in Thrones of Britannia is chance based, similar to the way in which mercenaries worked in previous titles. While it’s an interesting challenge to build armies with imperfect composition and size, it has downsides too, such as elite units appearing scarcely, and losing your painstakingly assembled army can be a devastating blow to your campaign.
We’ve replaced this chance-based system with cooldowns. When a unit type is recruited, there’s now a set number of turns before another becomes available. This retains the sense of choice limitation, but rewards planning and removes the random punishment of not having enough units simply because they didn’t appear in the recruitment pool.
The time it takes to build a full army can be lengthy, so recruitment events have been added, granting a quick supply of units to help with defending territories, or adding a helpful push to your conquering.
Buildings, technologies and faction mechanics have all received new effects to improve the recruitment times of units. We’ve also eased the unlock requirements of military technologies, to make meaningful choices in army management more accessible.
Book of Traits (Trait Browser)
With the added importance of character traits, we believe there is more purpose to managing your characters, seeking their best development. All traits present in the game are now listed in the Book of Traits along with the condition of their acquisition.
The details of a trait will be locked until the player acquires that trait for the first time. (We still want players to experiment and discover traits on their own, but unlocked trait information will now be readily available).
The Book of Traits is persistent between campaigns, allowing players to hunt for a specific trait in a later playthrough.
Buildings & Settlement Maps
Villages are getting a second, alternative building path straight from level 2. This should give players the opportunity to fine-tune their economy through minor settlements. The existing paths are vastly unchanged (safe for some minor balance tweaks) for an easier transition.
We’ve also created some new buildings that will feature on all settlement maps (both major ones and villages).
• Viking Gatehouse
• Viking Long Hall
• Viking Turf-roof Hall
• Viking Drinking Hall
• Viking House 1
• Viking House 2
• Viking House 3
• Viking House 4
• Anglo-Saxon Chieftains House
• Anglo-Saxon Great Hall (under construction)
New Major Settlement Maps
Since siege battles in Thrones of Britannia have been popular, we’re making two brand new settlement maps, one based on Bebbanburg Castle, and the other on The Rock of Cashel.
• Map 1 - based on Bebbanburg Castle (used in-game for Bebbanburg and Eidenburg)
• Map 2 - based on Rock of Cashel (used in-game for Caisil and Grianán Aileach)
Last but by no means least, we’ve made a couple of changes to help out Modders. Most notably, the Recruitment window can now accommodate any number of custom units (with a scroll-bar). Also retail pack files now contain exported binaries for all basic UI components, in addition to the already existing composite templates.
And That’s Not All…
The update features improvements to lots of other areas of the game, including updates to battle AI, performance optimisations, visual improvements, UI enhancements and more.
A Total War™ Saga: Thrones of Britannia
The year is 878 AD, the embattled English king Alfred the Great has mounted a heroic defence at the battle of Edington, and blunted the Viking invasion. Chastened – but not yet broken – the Norse warlords have settled across Britain. For the first time in nearly 80 years, the land is in a fragile state of peace.
Throughout this sceptred isle, the kings of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales sense a time of change approaching; a time of opportunity. There will be treaties. There will be war. There will be turns of fortune that become the stuff of legend, in a saga that charts the ascent of one of history’s greatest nations.
Kings will rise. One will rule.
Thrones of Britannia is a standalone Total War game which will challenge you to re-write a critical moment in history, one that will come to define the future of modern Britain. With ten playable factions, you must build and defend a kingdom to the glory of Anglo-Saxons, Gaelic clans, Welsh tribes or Viking settlers. Forge alliances, manage burgeoning settlements, raise armies and embark on campaigns of conquest across the most detailed Total War map to date.
Choose your strategy
The Grand Campaign offers multiple routes to a glorious Victory; aggressively expand your territory through force of arms, acquire renown through construction, advanced technology and influence, or complete a series of unique objectives based on your chosen faction’s history. Once completed, steady yourself for a significant late-game challenge and the final, Ultimate victory condition.
Explore and conquer the British Isles
From the snowy highlands of Scotland to the orchards and meadows of Kent, push back the fog-of-war and unveil the extent of Anglo-Saxon Britain. Varied towns, cities and rural settings inspire a host of different battlefield environments. Experiment with the strategic opportunities afforded by newly capturable minor settlements. Throttle your enemies’ trade routes and coax them out of strong, defensible positions.
Viking warlord or Anglo-Saxon king, define their legend
Each faction will face a series of unique events and branching dilemmas, often based on authentic historical events and issues of the time. Embark on Viking expeditions, manage the Anglo-Saxon peasant economy, each faction feels and plays differently. Carve out unique roles for your King and Nobles, customise their impact by making meaningful choices about their development and determine how their story will unfold.
‘Classic’ Total War gameplay refined
Includes many updates to core Total War mechanics - such as provinces, politics, technologies, recruitment, dilemmas and much more - designed to make your experience more immersive and more meaningful.
Playable factions, cultures and kings:
Thrones of Britannia will include ten playable factions, from five cultures, with a summary below.
The Anglo Saxons – West Seaxe and Mierce
When Roman rule in England concluded, new kingdoms of Germanic stock coalesced in the counties now known as Northumbria, Mercia, Wessex, Essex, Sussex, East Anglia and Kent. The peoples of these regions came collectively to be known as the Anglo Saxons.
Faction Leader: King Alfred
As the dominant Anglo-Saxon kingdom of southern England, the forces of West Seaxe – or Wessex in modern English – provided the isle’s primary resistance against the incursions of the Great Heathen Army. From the capital city of Winchester, Wessex conquered lands in Surrey, Sussex, Kent, Essex and even Mercia. Alfred’s dogged defense of the Danish invasion laid the foundations for Wessex to unite England under one ruler for the first time in 927 AD.
Faction Leader: Ceowulf
From its capital city of Tamworth, the kings of Mierce – known now as Merica - ruled the area now known as the Midlands. At its height, Mierce stretched from Northumbria in the north of England to Kent, Sussex and Wessex to the south. In 877 AD, the Great Heathen Army seized the eastern part of the kingdom to form the Danelaw, or East Engle.
The Gaels – Mide and Circenn
Gaelic culture initially developed in Ireland, their society built around a system of clans and chieftains. They raided and traded with Roman settlements, and by 878 AD had expanded from Ireland to inhabit much of Scotland.
With the influx of the Vikings, some raiders settled in Gaelic lands, becoming the Norse-Gaels. The Scottish Gaels would absorb the Picts to become the Kingdom of Alba – essentially setting the blueprint for modern Scotland.
Faction Leader: King Flann Sinna
Mide lies at the heart of Ireland. Not just geographically, but politically, intellectually and spiritually. Many High Kings have risen from Mide, and its current ruler, Flann Sinna, aspires to that title.
With many fellow Irish factions nearby, Mide is in a position to potentially bring the disparate clans together, and usher in an era of Irish prosperity. However, threats are never far away… the Vikings of Dyflin have settled to the east, and their power and influence are growing. Will Mide strive to keep the uneasy peace? Unite the clans in a war against these Norse settlers? Or find some other route to supremacy?
Faction Leader: Áed mac Cináeda
Circenn was in origin Pictish, but became more heavily influenced by the Gaels and other peoples over time as they were driven away from the relentless Viking raids. 878 AD marked the end of the Viking invasions, but Circenn’s troubles were far from over. While she had a firm hold over the eastern coast of Scotland, many threats still exist – both within and without.
Scoan, the capital of Circenn, was once home to the legendary Stone of Destiny, said to bestow divine strength on her people. Where the stone now resides is a mystery, but if clues can be found, surely the Stone’s recovery would be an adventure worth undertaking…
The Welsh – Gwined and Strat Clut
The Welsh Kingdoms descended from the Celtic Britons who occupied much of the island of Britain from the Iron Age, into and beyond its Romanisation in the First Century.
Ironically, the term ‘Welsh’ derives from the Anglo-Saxon term for foreigner, ‘wealas’, which they applied to the native Britons. The Anglo-Saxons flourished and many of the old Brittonic kingdoms began to disappear.
Faction Leader: King Anaraut
The people of Gwined have some claim to the title of 'true Britons', having been driven to the far west by invaders who now call themselves ‘English’. Renowned both for their bardic arts and their skill with the longbow, the Welsh of Gwined thrived under the leadership of Rhodri Mawr.
Rhodri kept Gwined largely free of Vikings and other invaders while expanding its borders. Now he is gone and his lands are divided.
Faction Leader: Run
Strat Clut is a kingdom of the Old North that can be traced back to the Fifth Century and the Celtic Britons. The realm was formerly based at the fortress of Alt Clut but driven out by a Viking invasion in 870. The current King Artgal was taken captive and reportedly killed in mysterious circumstances. The kingdom reformed further into the valley of the River Clyde under the leadership of his only son Run.
The Great Viking Army – Northymbre and East Engle
In 865 AD, Ragnar’s sons led the Great Viking Army and made landfall in East Anglia. Over the next 15 years the Vikings ranged high and low, from Wessex to The Clyde, conquering towns, claiming victories and suffering their share of defeats until the Battle of Edington in 878 AD, where its leader Guthrum met his match in the young King Alfred and his West Saxon army. Bested in the field, his forces retreated in disarray to a nearby fortress. Flush with success, Alfred’s men gave chase and laid siege. After a fortnight of starvation, the invaders surrendered.
Under the terms of his capitulation, Guthrum was baptised into Christianity and he and his men were allowed to return to East Anglia and settle – provided they kept Alfred’s peace, of course.
Defeated, but never humbled, the Vikings seethe with an all-consuming rage. One does not cage the wolf without consequence…
Faction Leader: Guthfrid
When the Vikings arrived in Northumbria in 867 AD, they took the city of York – or Eoferwic, as was – for their stronghold. And what a bastion it was, with its formidable Roman walls still standing strong 700 years on. King Aelle of Northumbria attempted to wrest the city back from the Danes, but was captured during the attack. In retribution for Aelle’s execution of their father, the sons of Ragnar made an example of him with the horrifying Blood Eagle ritual.
Northumbria remained under Viking control and, after the battle of Edington and the subsequent treaty of Wedmore, a portion of the Great Viking Army marched back to Northumbria, to settle under Alfred’s peace.
Faction Leader: Guthrum
Forming the bulk of Britannia’s south-easterly coast, East Engle was the staging-point of the Great Viking Army’s invasion, and the region where many of its warriors settled after the Battle of Edington. Under the rule of the Danish leader Guthrum (or Æthelstan, to use his adoptive name by Alfred) it would ultimately come to be known as the Danelaw.
Yet still, some fight remains in the Danes of East Engle. One does not shed the mantle of glory and become a landsman overnight.
The Viking Sea Kings – Dyflin and Sudreyar
After nearly a century of escalating raids, the Vikings left an indelible stamp on Britannia, altering the course of its history forever. Not least of all culturally, as many smaller bands of Vikings had settled around the isles prior to Alfred’s defeat of the Great Viking army.
These smaller factions traded an existence of ceaseless conflict for a new life in Britannia, establishing their own petty principalities, intermarrying and ultimately becoming part of the warp-and-woof of Britannic life. This mingling of cultures, so emblematic of British history, helped create the rich melting-pot of attitudes, beliefs and language that has made the isles and their people so unique.
Some Vikings never truly settled however; their designs were grander, their hunger for conquest and greatness unquenched. These Sea Kings would continue their bellicose work, heedless of any decree from England’s upstart ruler…
Faction Leader: Bardr
Dyflin was a major port town on the east coast of Ireland, and the site of Britannia’s largest slave market. It was a major site of Viking occupation, and was ruled until 873 by the Viking lord Imar, often associated with Ivar the Boneless, a son of the legendary Viking warlord Ragnar Lothbrok. Viking raiders had wintered there as early as 840 AD, so their association with the region had been a long one, and over time their customs began to take on a more Gaelic flavour as the slow process of integration took its course.
By 878 AD however, Imar’s son Bardr was firmly established on the throne. Would this ambitious Viking ruler seek to seal a lasting peace with the surrounding Gaelic factions? Or return to the ways of Ragnar, and pursue a path of bloodshed and domination? It is hard to ignore the calling of one’s warrior-blood…
Faction Leader: Eirik
To the west of Alba lies Sudreyar, the Kingdom of the Southern Isles. Comprising the southern Hebrides, these scattered islands were sparsely populated and, bearing the full brunt of the Atlantic weather, were not lands suited to the less-hardy.
Like much of Britannia, these islands saw increasing Viking contact from the 8th Century. Prior to this period they formed part of the Gaelic kingdom of Dalriada, until they fell under Viking control. Over the next century, Scandinavian occupancy took on a distinctly Gaelic flavour (and vice-versa), particularly after 872 AD when Harald Fairhair became king of Norway, and his former opponents flocked to the area.
Materially poor, but offering an excellent base for those of a nautical bent, the isles of Sudreyar are a perfect staging-post for raiders and explorers.