Empire: Total War DLC And 1.3 Patch

By Jim Rossignol on June 22nd, 2009 at 8:51 pm.


Empire’s new 1.3 patch is out, and will update via internet fairy dust when you relaunch Steam. The fairly chunky list of changes and fixes can be read here. The patch includes fourteen new units to replace generic unit types for specific factions in the game. There’s also DLC up on Steam, the details of which are here. The micro-expansion unlocks fourteen elite units, including US Marines and Russian Gardes à cheval, whom, it is noted, “were selected not for their soldiering ability but more for their relative attractiveness to Catherine the Great.”

They’re bringing sexy (horse)back.

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113 Comments »

  1. Vinraith says:

    I’m more than a little concerned that the whole idea of paid DLC for extra units is 1) the reasoning behind encrypting the normally modable map and unit files and 2) means that said encryption isn’t going to be removed. For me, the strength of the Total War games has always been their modability. I spent more time playing Rome Total Realism and Europa Barborum than I ever did the (somewhat silly) vanilla game. Similarly with Medieval 2 and the Stainless Steel mod. If Empire isn’t modable in this sense, and is never allowed to become so, I can’t see bothering with future Total War games. That’d be a real loss, as the TW engines have allowed for some truly spectacular historical war gaming up until now.

  2. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    Fewer generics, more faction-specific units might not be strictly historical but certainly helps spice things up.

    But while multiplayer could certainly use the variety, I’m not sure that anybody’s actually there.

  3. Jim Rossignol says:

    Yes. I can’t see DLC being particularly popular.

  4. Viskernus says:

    “This update includes the implementation of multi-threading in the game for multi-core processors and many optimizations that will also help increase performance on single core machines. Players will see huge benefits through increased frame rates particularly in land and naval battles.”

    If someone could report on how “huge” these performance increases are that would be great, I’ve been holding off on the game due to the demo’s remarkably terrible performance for me, even on the lowest detail levels.

  5. MWoody says:

    So, the game is still largely broken (the AI can’t effectively mount naval invasions, among other things), and they still haven’t released a feature promised to be out a month after release (coop campaign), but they’re already selling DLC? *sigh*

  6. The Hammer says:

    I love that pun.

  7. Serondal says:

    Bring sexy (horse)back now!I demand it!

    Bring sexy back? I don’t understand?

    Sexy will be gone and he’ll bring it back!

  8. Mike says:

    In related news, there’s a cracking Empire: Total War game diary going on over here right now – http://www.sekritforum.com/storybook/degeen – it’s just finished its first chapter, and it’s coming along really well.

  9. Hunam says:

    For the life of me I just can’t get on with this game. I have up on it first because of bugs and poor performance, but also because of the lack of challenge even on the hardest settings. I found once I had a tactic for both land and sea I could just use them exclusively to win every battle even when I was outnumbered.

    Came back to it today and even with the patch for multithreaded processing and instead of just having a terrible frame rate, it swings wildly from decent to terrible frame rate based as far as I can tell, the alignment of the planets. I did just yield and lower the settings to medium, but now it just looks like a giant smudge :(

    This is my first Total War game and I’ve really not enjoyed it at all. It’s a shame too as I was really excited by the demo and the strategy map initially, but it just feels too limited and light compared to traditional RTS games and games like Civ.

  10. Pidesco says:

    Those units really aren’t worth the money.

    Why aren’t improvements to the AI and troop deployment in battles already here?

  11. Dominic White says:

    So, were all the glowing reviews for Empire (including those by RPS staff) wrong? I’ve seen nothing but searing hatred for this game all over the net. Constant cries of it being utterly unplayable, the worst in the series, broken in a thousand different ways, etc..

    Or is this just the Total War fanbase in action? I recall finding out that ‘Creative Assembly fan’ is an insult among the Total War community. Hostile doesn’t begin to cover it.

  12. ACESandElGHTS says:

    From Mark O’Connell
    “We’ve worked on implementing the multi-threading in the game for multi-core processors and made many optimisations that will also help increase performance on single core machines.”

    Well, to paraphrase Team America: World Police — [Eurasian Gaming Community], Fuck Yeah!

  13. Plinglebob says:

    I didn’t like Empire because, even though the changes to the map were great, I hated the combat. Watching 200 soldiers shoot at each other while sneaking horsemen round the back of the enemy lines is not as much fun as watching 200 sholdiers charging at each other. If they made a Rome II or Medieval III using the new campaign map I’d be a happy bunny.

  14. Wallace says:

    DLC for separate campaigns, like those in Kingdoms, might go down better, but new units just seems like a repeat of Oblivion’s horse armour.

  15. Nicolas says:

    @Plinglebob Learn the location of the melee button!

  16. Dreamhacker says:

    Aces&8′s: Oh, the community is very much inbred and conservative, but they’re good people. Mostly.

    RTW is still all the rage to the modders, but there’s a big, huge and silent majority of gamers who recognize ETW as the best entry in the series and who know to appreciate CA’s efforts, but who dont go broadcast their opinions on forums.

    Also, M2TW was hated and flamed for a long, long time. Now the former haters are enjoying their LOTR-mods and wondering what they were thinking.

    Oh, but don’t tell them I said this, they take their community seriously!

  17. Pidesco says:

    @Dominic White: It’s really kind of flabbergasting how so many reviews managed to ignore the fact that the AI can’t do naval invasions in a game about naval empires. And that’s just one of the many AI issues with Empire.

    Also, the battle terrain and units entrance points doesn’t reflect the battle’s and armies’ locations in the campaign map.

  18. Vinraith says:

    @Dreamhacker

    In a lot of ways that makes it all the more a shame that there can’t BE any major mods for Empire, don’t you think? Or is it your opinion CA will eventually come to their senses and open up the game once the DLC sales period is over?

  19. DMcCool says:

    Dominic White, what you are experiancing is just the normal internet fanboy outlook on games. 99% of everything you read about anything is hate-fuelled bile; the bitter people that didn’t enjoy a game and want to be sure no-one else will are the ones who do almost all the posting. All those smug people who expect sequels to be made exclusively for them and when they differ in any way from their expectations act like the developers should come up with a public apology. Just don’t let it get to you.
    Empire Total War is every bit the game all the critics said it was. Actually, putting aside the console war obsessed so-clearly-bribed mainstream sites, I always find the critical response for games so much more trustworthy and honest than what you get from forums.

    /rant

  20. Clovis says:

    I picked this up for $25 on Steam. I immediately ran into a game crashing bug whenever I would hit ctrl-m to merge my troops. I hope this fixes that, because I do that after almost every battle. I know that I should do this “by hand” to get uber-experienced soldiers.

    I have a multi-core processor, so I hope I see improvements.

    Paying for DLC that is mainly new units seems ludicrous for the PC market. If I want new units I’ll just download them from the crazy people who spend hours creating them for free. Except apparently there had been an effort to stifle this creation? Well, that’s just awful. Anyone paying for DLC like that is bad and they should feel bad.

  21. catska says:

    Oh how the tables have turned. I like how there isn’t much of a fuss in the newspiece about DLC for ETW, but the PC purists on this site have been bitching and moaning about it on the consoles for ages. Guess you’ll have to check off ‘FREE DLC’ from your ‘reasons PC gaming beats everything ever’ list.

    Also, Empire is broken as hell and is one of the buggiest pieces of software ever released.

  22. Pijama says:

    I will make an effort to NOT swear the bloody lot of them because I really loved Shogun and Medieval.

    Here we go.

    So, they slap the whole “Works best on Core Duo” thing at every game, but wasn’t optimized for it. Now they slap several units for it, encrypting modding that could potentially enhance this much further, for the sake of protecting their interests in bloody DLC? And the bugs? Mega pirate navies? The British Empire and their total inability to fight a war in the continent? OR BUILD A NAVY, to begin with? Trade ports being pretty useless?

    They sold us a beta.

    *fuck.*

  23. unclelou says:

    DLC for separate campaigns, like those in Kingdoms, might go down better, but new units just seems like a repeat of Oblivion’s horse armour.

    It’s something like 20 cents per unit, and they’ve included just as many new ones in the patch for free as they have in the DLC. I really don’t see the drama, I must say.

  24. A-Scale says:

    It’s very difficult for me to resist buying this game for $25, but the sheer number of complaints about bugs and troublesome AI is keeping me from it. Shame.

  25. Legendary Teeth says:

    Just to chime in on the positive side, I thought it E:TW was pure awesome. I didn’t run into any bugs or anything. Seeing my hordes of line infantry backed by artillery stomp anyone who dare oppose me was pretty sweet.

  26. unclelou says:

    Yeah, same here. Never crashed for me, performance is great, and the AI is a lot better than Medieval 2′s ever was before they hired some of the modders many, many months after the release.

    I burned out on it a little bit a while after its release, but that was after a long campaign that took me more than 80 hours.

  27. Rich_P says:

    I really see no problem with the DLC in and of itself, but why encrypt so many of the game’s vital files, especially since TW has a wonderful modding community? Like Vinraith, I expect it has something to do with SEGA wanting to be the exclusive provider of new units…

    I decided against purchasing this for $25 since I’ve yet to fully play RTW or MTW2. Rather clever of them to release new DLC after a huge sale though.

  28. Serondal says:

    After playing M:TW 2 and seeing how bad the support was for that game I decided not to touch this one. Looks like I turned out to be right :P My calvery STILL don’t charge right in M:TW 2 , unlike in Rome:TW where even the light calvery totally destroy everything in their path when used correclty (running down a hill into enemy flanks, the freaking horses leap and bound into the enemy ranks and totally destroy them. Was even able to destroy phallanxs like this by baiting them with archers and foot soliders that normally could not defeat them then charging them with light calvery from behind)

  29. Heliocentricity says:

    Didn’t get empire on the sale mainly on the piece of crap mod support. Every total war game i ever got into had major issues mods fixed or had major issues mods couldn’t fix due to hard coding things.

    Creative Assembly know better than to pull that move so its all on sega. Handy hint, mods add value, leave the dlc to the consoles.

  30. Tei says:

    DLC is modability for consoles. Consoles need DLC’s because don’t support freedom. So you can’t install whatever you want (like new maps and monsters, or whole new gameplay … mods). Since consoles can’t have mods, have DLC’s.
    Having DLC in the PC market mean the modding community will be killed, most probably /stabed in the back over the night.

    PC games don’t need “DLC” parts. Need a dev SDK, and a editor, to let the users make his own expansions. And since professionals can make better expansions than hobbyist, the professionals can make big EXPANSIONS to games. Something a hobby team will never do. A horse armor? a hobbyist guy can do one in a night, maybe a new island in a week.

    Can DLC and modding live togueter? hope so… but It don’t really make much sense. In a world where a hobbyist can enable 2 campaings of L4D to play on VS, why would Valve make that a paid DLC? Even if microsoft try to extort Valve to do so?

    And why sould PC games support modding? because is the strong point of the “platform”. Other platforms can’t have modding. So having no-modding on the pc and not a central market mean the worst of the Console livesystem, withouth the best of the PC livesystem.

  31. jonfitt says:

    I missed the 50% off sale, I checked this morning but was too late. Bugger.
    Out of bitterness I’m not going to buy it now until it drops to $25. Perhaps by that time it’ll be a Gold pack including all the DLC…

  32. h4plo says:

    I had a good go of Empire at release, completing my first-ever campaign in a TW game (after playing the previous two) as the Prussians. The campaign map performed rather poorly, though, but I did love the hell out of the game, although I’d rather see Medival III or Rome II.

    Also: Piss on you, DLC.

  33. Serondal says:

    I’d love to see a Shogun 2 or a Rome 2. Aside for the poor support for Medival 2 I don’t really care for this time peroid war wise. Lining up in rows and popping each other with extremly inaccurate weaponry is boring to me. I was to see people hacked to pieces and arrows sticking out of corpses.

    I’m not saying it is a bad game or a bad idea for a game, just saying the concept doesn’t appeal to me. If we’re going to fight with guns I’d rather skip ahead to WW 2 or maybe a modern game but I don’t think TW would do well with that sort of thing.

    I would be interested in seeing a total war game based in China set in Romance of the Three Kingdom type setting, the story is just begging for TW treatment after being abused by Keoi for all his years more or less making the same bastard game over and over again (they’re almost as bad as EA with all these sports games hehe)

    Or maybe a war game set in the ancient world, but I figure that might get boring unless they made it extremly brutal hackign each other with stone axes and pointy sticks.

  34. Mad Doc MacRae says:

    RTW is crap, MTW is the best.

  35. Dominic White says:

    Just a reminder that the DLC is £2 for 14 new unit types. It’s maybe not amazing value for money, but it’s not Horse Armor either.

  36. jonfitt says:

    To me DLC seems to mean: stuff we’d have given away a few years ago, but not enough to justify an expansion.

    It’s especially irksome to hear they’ve locked out mods so that they can charge for the sort of thing modders knock out for free.

    Does anyone know if the 14 patched units are new models or just renames and stat tweaks?

  37. Vinraith says:

    @Dominic

    I’d agree that the DLC isn’t a terrible deal for that price, but if it’s actually responsible for the encryption on normally modable files then its real costs are insidious indeed.

  38. Serondal says:

    Did they ever fix the AI in M:TW II so and the pathing for the units in cities? The worst enemy in a city battle was the pathing for the AI not the enemy! IT was impossible to get them to go down the right roads in large cities and sometimes they would just LEAVE the city for no reason no matter what I could do and then reenter in another entrance and go to where I told them to go instead of walking 4 feet to get there O.o

  39. Jimbo says:

    I think it’s pretty lazy to dismiss all criticism of Empire as fanboy ranting. That game had plenty of genuine problems at launch.

    The AI being incapable of putting an army on a ship is a pretty big deal in a game called Empire. If you played as Britain you could never be attacked at home. Ever.

    A significant percentage of players repeatedly ending up with corrupt campaign saves is also a legitimate gripe.

  40. Oak says:

    How disappointing. I’d been hoping the “Special Forces” silliness hadn’t gone over well and we’d see a proper expansion pack sometime this year.

  41. Scundoo says:

    No mention of making the AI any less “Dumber than Dirt” eh?

    As for their extra units, they can keep them. Just make the game modable as they’ve been promising (i.e. lying about) for years and you will get all the extra content you can handle from modders.

  42. Krupo says:

    I was all excited to see “new patch” (and still am), and then saw DLC. Grr… DLC bad. But ooh, new units. And source of amusing RPS pun!

    Then I look at the units. Only one special unit for Poland and scads for Russia and Prussia. Go to hell then – my Polish army wiped Prussia off the face of the earth (fun bug: seeing one of those historical “news reports” about Prussia after you’ve done this), and now Austria will feel Polish wrath over their attempt to recreate the infamous “partitions”.

    Russia’s next to fall, unless the Swedes start getting uppity again.

  43. Serondal says:

    Those dang Swedes! You know when your countries greatest gift to the world is meatballs (tiny ones at that) that you’re not trying hard enough.

  44. Eschatos says:

    Where the fuck is the multiplayer campaign?

  45. Andrew Dunn says:

    Great patch, and very worthwhile DLC.

    I definitely hope to see more mod support for Empire in the future but the standard game gets a lot of undeserved flak, and CA are supporting it admirably no matter how shaky it was on release.

  46. Gap Gen says:

    Given that I took the best part of a year to finish a campaign (total map conquest) in both Rome: BI and Medieval 2, I suspect I will be playing this game for a very long time…

  47. cjlr says:

    meatballs, pssh… Sweden’s greatest gift to the world is Paradox.

  48. Wooko says:

    Seriously I really hate it when the community does this, I’ve played total war games from the beginning, Empire has the best AI by far, I mean seriously it’s better than the best of the modded AIs for medieval 2, the AI responds intelligently in battle and it does some really surprising(good) things in pretty much every battle, also in every game I’ve played the AI have coped fine with naval invasions, okay so they dont do it all the time, but when they do they dont just come with 1 trash unit like in medieval 2, although I can understand the frustration with slightly messed up naval invasion in this era.
    Cut CA some slack, they put out a fantastic game and it seems all the community can do is complain constantly, and really the DLC pack is what? 2 quid? Seriously people, whats wrong with you?
    The only actual real problem I had with Empire total war ever has been low framerate, but it was fine after I disabled depth of field (I think it trebled actually) am I just lucky or something?
    I hate to make myself out as a fanboy or something but I’d just like people to be reasonable.
    ./endrant :D

  49. aufi says:

    needs MP campaign.

  50. Taillefer says:

    @Wooko
    Most of those complaints were before the patches. Naval invasions weren’t in at all, originally. And the AI in general was horrendous, I’m not sure how much has been fixed.

    Pre-patch had the pre-requisites for an AI declaring war as simply “If I share a border with the player, declare war on them.”. And the real-time battles had either rushes, or barely moving units. I was convinced people were preferring to think they were unbeatable, super-strategists instead of admitting they were simply winning against a terrible opponent. Maybe some didn’t suffer these issues, and that’s great. But many people are saying they did because, you know, they did.