Et Tu, CA? – Rome II Devs Apologize For Issues

By Nathan Grayson on September 10th, 2013 at 8:00 am.

Total War: Rome II is in for some pretty big changes. Read all aboat it.

Total War: Rome II hardly signals the splintering, screaming fall of Creative Assembly’s strategic empire, but history has shown that over-extension is all too often the beginning of the end. But then, one might argue that pride came before the aforementioned falls, and Creative Assembly – to its credit – seems anything but. In the wake of an angry Internet beeswarm (of which Jim and Adam were a part, to varying degrees), the developer has issued an apology, promising to address complaints ranging from bugs and technical issues to entire swaths of gameplay.

Creative director Mike Simpson took to the creaking strategy’s forums to set the record straight:

“We just wanted to reassure you that we do know it’s an extremely annoying and frustrating time for some of you at the moment and we are working around the clock to sort out those issues that you are having. The first patch has just gone up – it’s not trouble-free we know and are fixing with a hotfix, but there will be another next week and every week after that till the problems are gone.”

He went on to acknowledge issues divided up into three categories: launch, technical troubles/bugs, and gameplay gaffes like balance and AI behavior. While bugs have been annoying and absolutely need squashing, the latter category is especially heartening given that many of Rome II’s most painful problems lie in its half-baked core. Simpson and co are far from blind to that fact, and they’re well aware that there’s plenty of work to be done.

“If you have concerns on the actual features and mechanics, like gameplay balancing and AI behaviour, we do want to hear about them. As mentioned before launch we absolutely intend to support ROME II post-release with plenty of content, further development and comprehensive balancing through-out – and no I’m not thinking of DLC you have to pay for. We have already planned for some very interesting stuff and we wanted to do that with advice from the community.”

As for when CA plans to roll out all these fixes and overhauls, well, that’s where things get a bit murky. Apparently tech issues are getting priority right now, with balance and mechanics taking a backseat until everyone can make it through the front door without getting swallowed up by a spike pit of obtrusive glitches.

Still though, this all at least sounds nice. Will CA actually follow through? Only time will tell. But it’s at least good to hear the developer acknowledge its losses in this battle, still hopeful that it can win the war. What do you think, though? Is Rome II salvageable? Is it a diamond choking on its own rough, or is it rotten inside and out – a sign that Total War needs to go back to square one?

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164 Comments »

  1. kharnevil says:

    Scrap it and start afresh, perhaps we can have Rome: Total War 2 or something…

    • Velko says:

      Total II: War Rome

    • Ginga121 says:

      What I find funny is that these comments all seem to negative to some degree with very little or no positives.

      - Personally the only Issue I’ve had is crashes in battles that have A LOT of units in them. 60-70+. This is slightly annoying but I can still Auto-Resolve the battles to get past that point.
      - My PC is running the game at 30fps on extreme, which is smooth, and it’s no super gaming rig.
      - Yes the AI can be a bit stupid, even baffling at times, but it’s not game breaking. It’s still enjoyable to play.

      It’s a very good game really and while I can understand peoples frustration if it isn’t working for them it doesn’t make it right to bash the game in it’s entirety for a few bugs. I had more issues with Shogun 2′s release than I did with Rome 2′s and I still put hundreds of hours into it and absolutely loved it (still do).

      • dmastri says:

        The AI is most certainly gamebreaking. I’ve got like 60 hours playtime now. I’ve built three massive empires… Rome, Sparta, and Subei. All the while it’s been my inevitable march to victory. I faced precisely one good war in each game: the rebellion. And even that wasn’t that tough, but definitely more of a challenge than the 70% slinger armies I’d faced up to that point because the rebels fielded respectable armies. Speaking of which, why is this even a problem? Why is the AI spamming skirmisher units and how did no one notice this?

        Did I mention I’ve been playing exclusively on Very Hard and the AI, out of all 60 hours of play, has NEVER declared war on me? Not once.

        But let’s get to the real meat and potatoes. They screwed up the real time battles. This is literally the selling point of the series and they fucked it all up. Let’s put a 200man team together to make gorgeous 3d tactical battles and then lets run them in fast forward with a morale system that breaks at the first sign of conflict.

        It’s really so stupidly silly to get wrong the fundamentals on a genre they created and that they’d done successfully in the past. That’s why it’s unforgivable. This isn’t their first rodeo, these aren’t new concepts, it was suppose to be BIGGER and BETTER and yet instead it’s a bunch of steps backwards. I want to grab Mike Simpsons and shake him and ask him “MIKE, WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED”

        Still though, not as bad as Empire.

        • Werthead says:

          “Did I mention I’ve been playing exclusively on Very Hard and the AI, out of all 60 hours of play, has NEVER declared war on me? Not once.”

          On the other hand, I’ve had other factions declare war on me several times, and on several additional occasions my allies have gone into a war and taken me with them.

          “Let’s put a 200man team together to make gorgeous 3d tactical battles and then lets run them in fast forward with a morale system that breaks at the first sign of conflict.”

          A lot of people have been talking about the ‘mass bundle’ tactic so I tried it out early on a few times with massed bunches of hastati. They were roundly slaughtered by Germanic tribesmen. So that didn’t work. I tried it with a ton of veteran legionary units and it did work, although they took enormous losses in the process. This tactic also worked on ROME I and MEDIEVAL II whenever you had a lot of very decent units that had clear qualitative superiority over the enemy you were facing, even when they had bigger numbers.

          So, I’m not seeing a huge difference over the earlier games with that particular issue.

          • Overt says:

            I found the AI to be terrible. Attack a city with 1 or 2 calvary, 3 – 4 hastati and 4 -6 missile troops, and you win without serious casualties.

            Especially with an attack on cities.

            March to the main force towards the city with your skirmishers. Have one or two “bait units”. The remainder of your skirmishers setup in a V (or more like a \___/ ) around the bait. Now, advance your bait to where they are firing on the enemy. They will send one or two melee infantry to deal with them. The bait will auto retreat (skirmish mode is on) and the melee units will chase them a bit and get eaten up by the other missile units. They will do this over and over and over again. The AI never sends cavalry (If it has any, which it often does not). Once you upgrade to units that use fire arrows/javelins, the enemy army’s morale is wrecked in about 5 iterations.

            I only got more creative because this was more boring. I would station units off to the side to do a flank attack…useless. You would use more lives on the flank attack than just letting the AI send one unit after another into the javelin mill. Eventually I realized that 3 – 5 javelin units in a stacked line would do the same thing. Walk all five lines forward until the front was firing on the enemy. Enemy dispatches one unit that chases the missile units who fall back one by one, until the enemy unit is reduced by 30 – 50% and wavering.

            In previous games, you simply could not get away with a large structure of missile units covering each other. The enemy always had cavalry and would eat them alive faster than you could react- it was so bad that in the first rome I would never deploy skirmishers and only deploy missile units behind my melee lines because cavalry would always ruin them if they were out front. In RTW2, no such problem exists. at all.

  2. TekDragon says:

    While this kind of apology is nice, it doesn’t give us any real view into what went wrong. Disturbingly, this is two dropped balls in a row for Sega. Company of Heroes 2 was booted out the door with less commanders than originally promised, a cash shop that was promised as “skins-only” and turned into anything but, and gameplay so imbalanced that tournament play has the Soviets winning every single game without breaking a sweat. While I didn’t think it could get much worse than that, Rome II drops and makes CoH2 problems look like a walk through a rainbow littered meadow.

    • Hypnotron says:

      What happened is that some producer at Sega probably decided he wouldn’t dare tell his boss that the game’s released date needed to be pushed back into Q1 2014 and miss the winter holiday shopping period.

      Instead he prayed to the gods that somehow none of this shit would happen. I’m not saying prayer doesn’t work but…

      * Honestly I’m still mad about Empire TW which was buggy but CA abandoned in favor of moving on to Napolean TW.

      • Great Cthulhu says:

        Sounds very likely unfortunately. And now the devs and QA are working round the clock while the suits who are responsible are rolling in money.

        * Also still mad about Empire being abandoned for Napoleon.

    • distantlurker says:

      Every release of a TW game that I can remember, with the exception of Shogun 2, started like this.

      You’re *mad* to buy ‘em until the first standalone expansion comes out (which I think I’ve said on these forums before).

      CA ship dinosaur poo. It takes a while to turn into the diamond it potentially is.

      • Bweahns says:

        I always wait a couple of months to buy games. The worst bugs get fixed by then and the price drops. I think about the only game coming up I might not be able to resist buying straight away will be The Witcher 3.
        As is I need to play Shogun 2 first. I bought it when it came out and never played it.

    • Werthead says:

      Sega doesn’t have a QA department, or if they do, they don’t do anything.

      By some accounts, Obsidian sent what was essentially a late alpha or early beta of ALPHA PROTOCOL to Sega to be critiqued so they could move into finalising the game. Sega apparently never contacted them about it or paid for any kind of final polish to the game, and essentially released what was an functionally finished but completely unpolished and un-optimised game.

      Sega’s oversight of the Gearbox/COLONIAL MARINES situation also appears to have been non-existent.

      We know what happened with EMPIRE: TOTAL WAR. Allegedly CA moved to an internal QA and testing model after that, which is allegedly why NAPOLEON and SHOGUN II were – relatively – released in a pretty good state. With ROME II we can assume that the game was simply too big for CA to test on a lot of different machines in the time available, or that Sega told them to release now and be damned even though more work was required.

    • Wonderboy2402 says:

      Don’t forget Aliens colonial marines. I am done with SEGA until i see solid reputable reviews of their games after release.

  3. Screamer says:

    I wonder why the sudden turn of events? Last I heard they where trumpeting loud and clear that only 2% of users are experiencing issues :/

    lol scratch that, they are still claiming its only 2% :/

    • frightlever says:

      Bugs are one thing. 2% is still too many people to be affected but bugs can generally be squashed.

      What’s a bit more worrying, and what’s made me glad I didn’t pre-order, is the badly designed map decisions and the way they’ve apparently fundamentally changed the tactical battles. That could be harder to put right.

      Also, what happened to mod support, which was supposed to be getting better. Has there been a significant TW mod since Kingdoms days?

      • bstard says:

        This whole mess, and previous ones like SC, is due to pre-ordering, green lighting, and all that bollocks, in combination with downey customers.

        When people had waited for a proper real reviews before buying, or had waited for this shitstorm to start on the forums, this level of quality of games would have long passed by with some bankrupt developers. It is you, the peasant brain dead customers who pre-order the same crap over and over again who are to blame here. If you forget about those smegged up releases by just a little ‘free’ DLC, if you are tricked that easy, enjoy the 55euro crap you gave the devs a card blanche for. I’m tired of people blaming devs and sales aholes for this, when they thenself are the incentive for this to go on.

        • gunny1993 says:

          It’s like someone took an elegant argument, then let a drunken Daily Mail reader copy it.

          • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

            Ouch!, BUT :oD

          • bstard says:

            Elegance hasn’t been in my family for a few generations.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            Drunken or not, bstard is 100% correct. Well, except for the part where he claims we shouldn’t be blaming the developers and marketing trolls for their involvement.

          • thebigJ_A says:

            So like 60% correct.

    • Mortomes says:

      We are the 2%

    • BobbyDylan says:

      I think it’s because the other 98% have stopped playing. I know I have.

      • atticus says:

        Same here. Steam says 8 hours played, and that’s all I could take.

        I’ve easily spent 1000 hrs in the first Rome including mods, and I don’t think I’ve been eagerly anticipating a game this much since ever.

        Long story short: I broke my no preorder-policy and Rome 2 broke my heart. Looks like some people find some enjoyment in it, to me it’s just a total fucking tragedy all around.

        • MattM says:

          I feel ya, RAGE did the same to me.

        • Ilinx says:

          Same here – wasn’t any one thing, just a general lack of polish overall sunk the experience for me. Ironically, I went back to Empire Total War and am having a blast. That at least gives me hope that somewhere down the line, between patches and mods, Rome 2 will get fixed up.

        • Leb says:

          I was enoying my time.. then the game started hitting a point where it would consistently crash upon asking a tribe to join my coalition.

          Then it started to dawn on me how easy it was and now I feel pretty meh.. going back to EUIV for now

      • ryth says:

        I’ve quit playing as well. About 10 hours total play time. There are no battles to speak of, and the rare one that does happen is over in 2 minutes. The map feels like you’d be holding it flush to your nose if it were paper, and the city building mechanics are byzantine at best (see what i did there?). A pretty huge disappointment all around from a design/mechanics standpoint… and that’s ignoring the fact that it looks horribly dated and the bugs people are encountering.

    • lamontagne says:

      It’s more than 2% of people experiencing technical difficulty. To quote from his post, “At the moment we are seeing 2% of people playing reporting a technical issue.”

      • SanguineAngel says:

        It’s a bit unfair to expect them to fixed something if it’s not reported

      • BrightCandle says:

        I haven’t reported the bugs I have seen, because AngryJoe and others have already shown CA exactly what is wrong. I don’t need to pile in and explain that yes I also see this bug. 2% might be reporting it but the majority of users (80%+) are complaining about the problems. Its disingenuous to claim that only 2% are impacted because its obviously false based on the types of bugs reported.

        • SanguineAngel says:

          oh come off it – 80%? Where are you getting that figure from? They can only count the people who stand up to be counted.

    • Shadrach says:

      2% is a *lot* of people when you figure in the (assumed) sales figures of this game.

  4. Njordsk says:

    They sold us a beta, and THAT, I do not appreciate, especially when the price tag is that high. IA sucks, UI sucks, it’s runs like poo and so on. I’m very disappointed CA.

  5. John Connor says:

    I’m glad the reviews have pointed out how fucked this game is right now.

    Seriously, fuck you CA. Make the game run before you release it.

    • frightlever says:

      And yet nary a raised concern during all those previews, from anyone.

      IGN, continental Eurogamer, PC Gamer all reviewed it at 85+ (taken from Metacritic, so 85% is their interpretation.

      UK Eurogamer and Joystiq were harsher and Qt3 and The Guardian (!) kicked the crap out of it. If I have to turn to the legitimate press for my game reviews then I may as well go back to reading Ceefax.

      • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

        The Gurniad isn’t reliant on advertising from the people they are meant to be reviewing to survive. I think it’s why this lot don’t give an actual score, a clever move really!

        For example an advertising quote from Rock Paper Snotgun could be ‘this game is a blast’ when the original statement in RPS was ‘This game is a blast if you like grating your own glans’. Where if they gave a score this could never happen as the quote would run counter to their given score!

        • Askeladd says:

          What does a score have to do with what a review says? I usually read them and try to make up my mind from different sources which I trust. The score is just there to be the icing on the cake, but everyone that takes scores seriously can’t be helped anyway.

        • Baines says:

          Game publishers don’t have to twist quotes the way that film companies do. Game publishers can simply take quotes from ever glowing previews and pass them off as review quotes, as was done with Space Hulk on Steam. Previews are almost always positive, regardless of the actual quality of a title, after all.

      • ryth says:

        Yea this is a serious issue right here. Why were none of these GLARING and obvious issues (not to mention the bugs) pointed out in the various reviews. Some are touched on, but barely highlighted. Even the RPS review came off as overall positive I thought, and certainly not hard enough on the game from an design perspective.

        • arccos says:

          I’ve always assumed quite a few reviewers get review code before the actual release, and get told that certain bugs will be fixed by release. So they go in assuming the bugs will get squashed, and say little to nothing about them in the reviews.

          If they did say something in the review and the publishers fixed the issues by release, the publishers would likely refuse to give that reviewer future games before release.

          • Baines says:

            Magazines like EGM and Game Informer used to mention stuff like that if a game was a complete bugfest or was otherwise troubled, but for some reason didn’t want to trash the game. They’d throw in a cautious sentence or two about some “issues,” but with a qualifier than they weren’t playing the complete version and that the publisher/developer promised that issues will be addressed. And then would score it on the assumption that the issues would be fixed.

            Of course that generally meant the game was going to be buggy at release, because any game with enough issues to actually get a special mention in the review was a game with enough issues that it wasn’t going to have them fixed by release.

    • Nick says:

      Shame they rarely pointed out how broken every other TW game was on release. What makes it special this time?

  6. Dave Talbot says:

    The AI is nowhere near as bad as people have been making out. In a week of playing I’ve seen it bug out ONCE on the battle map, which for a first week on any PC game is good going, and on the campaign map the complaints seem to be around the AI being incredibly passive and never declaring war (Are these people playing on easy? I’ve tested the difficulty settings from normal upwards and have seen sensible levels of aggression from the AI), rejecting offers for trade agreements etc for no reason, or the AI declaring war for no reason (They’ve always seemed to have a good reason when I’ve checked- I’m at war with their allies, I’ve pissed them off one too many times, or they plain want to expand into my turf.)

    I know it’s a matter of taste, but I like the UI.

    The problem with how well the game runs is everyone will have a different experience, and clearly there are lots of people having trouble running it. I’m not one of them. The game ran beautifully on my machine from the start, and I’m kind of afraid that if CA change anything it’ll bugger it up on my machine! That said, I know I’m not the only one it runs well for, not by a long shot, but the game is clearly not completely optimised yet. Show me a TW game that was at launch.

    I do think the campaign could be a little deeper, though. I’m not a fan of the corridors that artificially limit where you can have your battles and how you can maneuver across the continent.

    I think there’s a lot of exaggeration going on in all the complaining, and couple that with people’s tendency to dwell on the negative and you have it looking as though things are much, much worse than they really are.

    • frightlever says:

      “I’m not a fan of the corridors that artificially limit where you can have your battles and how you can maneuver across the continent.”

      Might as well go back to the Risk board design of earlier TW maps. Presumably it makes things easier for the AI but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

    • battles_atlas says:

      People are probably focused on the negatives because the positives haven’t changed in a decade. Total War had become the RTS equivalent of Football Manager. Though FM usually isn’t a buggy mess when released. I personally haven’t found any real issues with Rome II, but that’s probably because I’ve only played it for two hours, long enough to confirm nothing has really changed, once again. I wish they’d either switch to a longer turn around of games, and/or be a little braver in their design. This bi-yearly reskin has killed my love of the game

      • Dave Talbot says:

        I did skip Empire, Napoleon and Shogun 2 because for ETW and NTWI didn’t have a system that could handle it at the time, and for Shogun, because I had no interest in the setting, I had no interest in the game. So for me at least Rome II is a wonderful return to the series. That’s the problem, though- a lot of people played the hell out of those titles I missed and they are bored of the formula, and as a result aren’t judging the game on it’s own merits.

        I get the feeling as well that alot of the naysayers haven’t played a vanilla TW game in years either, having modded the hell out of them, and that has also skewed their judgement.

      • DrollRemark says:

        Though FM usually isn’t a buggy mess when released.

        Heh. How times change.

    • Askeladd says:

      The reason the people mention only the negative is because they don’t review it but give (in the best case) constructive criticism. They are outraged by the fact that the game has so many flaws that, if they value their time it’s a waste to play.
      There are so many game breaking bugs, but the biggest issue remains the AI. CAI is better than BAI, but that doesn’t mean CAI is good but just that BAI is horrible.
      I can defend every larger settlement with only the garrison against an unlimited number of enemies. I’m playing on Legendary as Macedon and it’s no challenge.

      Cavalery is broken. Some Factions are just too weak or uninteresting. Diplomacy is broken (but also improved in some aspects). I only had a land battle once – one that I found interesting not to autoresolve. Fights are a mess, no real tactical decisions are possible. It goes on and on.

      It puzzles me how people can defend a release like this. Probably the same kind of people that CA is targeting with their recent ‘streamlining’ of their product.

    • DarkFenix says:

      The AI is worse than people have been making out. I started out playing on normal, but it was a joke, so I started a new campaign on very hard and it’s still a joke. The AI has only just started declaring war on me, after I’ve gone full on psychopath on the whole world in general, because I have half the map and more armies than you can shake a stick at. The AI is frankly entirely passive after the first few turns, swapping territory among themselves but that’s it.

      Furthermore the AI is completely incapable of province management, building seemingly randomly in its settlements, resulting in about 90% of their provinces being in a permanent cycle of revolt.

      And let’s not forget army composition, another way in which the AI is pants-on-head retarded. Armies consisting of about 40% ranged units (which courtesy of poor game balance are basically useless), the rest of the army comprising basic militia units. On very rare occasions you’ll find a single elite unit in an army.

      The battle AI is even worse; it’s literally impossible to lose in a siege battle; two units of crappy militia spearmen will rout an entire stack (I did precisely this yesterday) because the AI always just piles through a single gate.

      I could go on for hours about the design and implementation flaws in the game.

  7. UncleLou says:

    Going a bit against the trend here, but I love Rome 2, and have played it already more than I ever played Shogun (which doesn’t say much, admittedly).

    There’s so many neat additions that I like: the idea with the provinces (and since I got used to the UI, I like that as well), the streamlining when it comes to armies (need a general, the simple recruiting), the names and special traits of armies, etc. etc. I also think it’s wonderfully atmospheric.

    A few patches down the road with a few performance improvements, and I can see this being my favourite TW game since Medieval 2.

    • silentdan says:

      I’ve only got like 8 or 10 hours put in so far, but I’m with UncleLou on this one. There may be problems I haven’t encountered yet, but aside from some frame-rate issues that usually go away on their own pretty quickly, I’ve encountered zero things I dislike. The provinces are a welcome relief form the usual micromanagement, the agents seem more versatile, and I don’t have to camp trading ports. I haven’t done much against the strategic AI, but the tactical AI seems alright.

      I’ve had buggy releases drive me mad (looking at you, GTA IV) so I totally sympathize with those who really are unable to play the game in the first place, but once it works, it’s pretty fun. I’m sure there’s room for improvement, but what I read here about Rome II and what I experience when I play it, are very different things.

  8. Lyrion says:

    All this complaining and what for? I haven’t had any problems with the game except that for a coop campaign if I host my friend can’t join, but if he hosts I can join. That is it, no game breaking bugs. Sure the AI is abit stupid, but it always was…

    And if you haven’t bought the game you are in no right to talk about how shit it is since you don’t know, the only thing you know is what you have been reading, and all you have been reading is mostly negative… because you know this is the Internet and people are always complaining on the internet while the rest of the people are just playing the game.

  9. djim says:

    It is salvagable. There is something wrong with the pace and there are a few very annoying glitches (e.g. units default on run) on battles but i have been having fun so far which is all that matters to me.

    • UncleLou says:

      Not that I don’t believe you’re talking about an actual glitch, but just in case: units run if you don’t click at their destination, but pull them into formation with the mouse (unless you press ctrl+pull).

    • Werthead says:

      Also, ‘run on default’ is something the game inherited from SHOGUN 2. You can just hit ‘r’ to make them walk.

      • djim says:

        Select a unit, set it to walk, select another unit, select the first unit again, click on a destination, unit runs. It happens a lot.

  10. Bull0 says:

    I mean, I’m not that disappointed with it, but I only really use Total War games as big toyboxes to set up custom battles anyway. Couldn’t really care less about the campaign map, it’s never seemed very compelling.

    Speaking as someone who works in QA that pace of bug-fix releases mentioned in the quote frightens me – I hope they have a lot of people working on this, and I hope they’ve automated all their shit, otherwise get ready for some rocky times ahead with buggy patches.

  11. SanguineAngel says:

    Well that’s great news and I am particularly glad they’ll be addressing the AI – which is the weakest aspect of the game (apart from not working for 2% of players).

    I really hope that they don’t remove the new features that I am loving but instead improve them. Whilst I am aware that many of the more vocal critics dislike the changes I hope they are concious that many of us quietly enjoying the game actually like the new direction many of the features have gone in.

  12. Rollin says:

    The game itself is actually decent, but it’s basically in an early beta stage. There’s endless embarrassing and technical bugs and it’s simply not ready for use by customers. The campaign map only seems to use one cpu and the graphics only seem to use one GPU (Crossfire support is horrible).

    It’s good that they are working to fix it, but it’s really an epic failure by QA to let this stuff through (or the bosses for insisting it releases early)

    • MattM says:

      It’s never actual QA department’s fault, they log the bugs and management decides to ship anyway.

      • Askeladd says:

        The QA department should switch their jobs with the management then.

      • Baines says:

        Depending on the orders the QA section gets, they may not even be asked to log/test certain things.

        I had a brief period working as QA. I was given a specific list of things the developers wanted tested, which certainly didn’t cover all the issues that I encountered. It has been a while, but I don’t think I was even given a method of reporting those other issues, and they appeared to have no concern for anything outside their list.

    • Sharlie Shaplin says:

      I doubt the QA people missed the issues present, they are too obvious to miss.

  13. SentientNr6 says:

    I have been playing for 8 hours so far and am having fun which for me is what matters most. I had 2 crashes. Annoying yes, but I do believe those will be fixed over time.
    The strategic is sometimes doing stupid things like attacking cities where a big army of mine is standing within striking distance. But this is on normal difficulty and then again the spartans where never big thinkers.
    In a tactical map some cavalry I ordered to attack skirmishers on the other side of town decided to get there by charging into spearman along the way. Then again cavalry always wants to steal the show if you give them a chance.

    So yes there are issues but I do believe those will be fixed over time just as they were with all previous TW games. Even the mighty Shogun II, lets be honest wasn’t perfect on launch either.

  14. greg_ritter says:

    I don’t understand all the hate. I can’t speak for a technical side, it seems that the game hates AMD with a passion. But I’m on NVidia, so it works great for me.
    But the game itself is great. Yeah, there are hiccups, and AI sometimes is retarded, but retarded in a good way, like a bad strategist. But all in all Rome 2 is great. Definitely a contender for GOTY.

    • Plantinum says:

      I have a 5 year old build with an AMD, which was maybe a bit above average at the time, and I am running the game at med-high without much issue

      • Askeladd says:

        He’s talking about ‘ATI’-AMD graphic cards. They did a shitty job optimizing the game is what a folk from AMD/Nvidia (one of them) said about the question if there will be optimized drivers.
        Particularly older hardware seems to be less affected by the performance issues. But that is only what I could gather from uncertain posts on TWC and I have no real evidence other than I can run it too without much problems.

    • Sharlie Shaplin says:

      It’s got nothing to do with people having Nvidia or AMD/ATI. The people being affected have both types of hardware. The game is just very unoptimised. It runs fine on my AMD system in terms of performance.

  15. Stimpack says:

    I have a fear that whatever Warhammer game they make isn’t going to be so good.

    • Loyal_Viggo says:

      Sadly, if this clusterfuck of a game is anything to go by you are probably right.

      If you want a excellent Warhammer experience I recommend Medieval 2 with Kingdoms installed, then download the “Call of Warhammer” total conversion.

      It’s superb, truly masterful. Currently you can play any race except Skaven, Wood Elves and Khemeri (and I think they are in the next mod patch).

      It’s so good that I still play it now over all the other TW games and mods.

  16. Robes says:

    Every Total War game has been a mess from the start. Their apologies kind of ring hollow when they keep making the same mistakes. Personally I haven’t bought this version.

    • foop says:

      Indeed. All of the TW games that I’ve bought at launch (which is all of them, apart from the Original Shogun and Rome II) have been riddled with bugs. They’ve all received the same outraged reaction as well.

      I’d like to claim I didn’t pre-order Rome II because I’ve learnt my lesson, but it’s more because I’m getting old and don’t have enough time to play any more. I’m sure I’ll pick it up soon in a Steam sale.

      • Werthead says:

        From the fans, yes.

        From the press, not so much. EMPIRE: TOTAL WAR was functionally unplayable for vast numbers of people on release, yet it was getting scores like 94% from magazines with nary a mention of any problems, which was ludicrous. ROME II is in nowhere near as bad a state but it’s getting a lot more criticism this time around. Some of that may be down to changes to the actual gameplay (RPS’s review did mention this a bit more than some other ones I’ve seen) but it still seems somewhat eyebrow-raising. Or maybe expecting consistency from differently journalists reviewing games five years apart is just unrealistic?

    • Gap Gen says:

      I think this one seems a little different – from what I’ve heard from people I know, core game systems seem to be broken (building upgrades cripple your cities, certain units are nigh-invincible, there are deep AI issues that means it barely functions on certain levels), which is new – even though Rome 1 and Empire all had huge launch bugs, they were at least playable and worked on a basic level.

      • gunny1993 says:

        I’ve heard nothing of the sort from my friends who have played it

        *sound of anecdotal evidence canceling each other out*

        • Gap Gen says:

          Ha, yes. It’s sort of weird, though, the bugs I’ve heard reported sound completely game-breaking, so it’s weird that some people noticed them and some didn’t.

        • Askeladd says:

          You are only jesting am I right? If not:

          And what if everyone and their mother that owns the game could prove otherwise? Most of the issues are easily replicated, and everyone seems to suffer from it. I came to the conclusion that it’s the gamer that perceives the game differently. Some will find out that building up their provinces only means that half the buildings in their city cancel itself out, which makes the whole point of expanding city mechanics in R2 fall flat to the ground.
          And there are others that are challenged by the AI.

        • Baines says:

          Mind, the same thing happened with SimCity. Some people were posting about how the game was buggy and broken at a fundamental design level, while others posted saying that they didn’t see any issues and they were having fun playing it.

      • Phoibos Delphi says:

        Building upgrades cripples your city? Please tell the people who told you about this “bug”, that they should examine the effects off upgrades before building them blindly because “yea, I know what to do, I´ve played TW Games for years”. If you spam builings (especially high level ones), your province will be revolting in no time.

        I like that concept actually, it makes you think and plan instead of just upgrading everything to the max.

        • Askeladd says:

          There are some buildings that don’t make sense because to counter their negatives you are supposed to build other building which have negatives themselves. Fun fact: Together they become meaningless.
          Also: AI isn’t able to manage their cities and fights against public unrest and famine more than against the player.

          • David Bliff says:

            You’re assuming buildings offsetting one another’s penalties within the same province. Choosing to develop an industrial building which will penalize your public order or food production in a given province requires thinking about offsetting it in other provinces rather than within the same one.

            And it makes sense given how specialized and interdependent the Roman Mediterranean economy was. The Annona system was essentially the backbone of the empire, and it was similarly deliberately constructed around provinces supporting one another economically and in terms of food supply.

        • David Bliff says:

          Seriously. It always seemed pretty flat to me that in previous games there was no penalty to industrialization and rapid development. That’s not how history generally works, nor is it particularly interesting as a gameplay mechanic.

      • Werthead says:

        The city upgrading thing is a bit more work than in previous games, but generally you only have a few building slots (and can take dozens of turns to open up new ones) and can upgrade each building in it along several paths. You have to be very careful because it’s easy to upgrade your badass military production buildings and then discover that you’ve run out of food, as you have to upgrade your food production at the same time. And as the population gets bigger you have to make sure your cultural buildings are also in step so the population stays happy. And you also have to keep an eye on squalour.

        It’s a balancing act but not exactly a new one: the original ROME had a similar system, for starters, though you could upgrade and add new buildings whenever you wanted aside from the main city structure which you had to wait for. The game’s pretty clear in telling you what building has what effect (positive and negative). In actuality, I found this system much clearer than in previous games: fifty turns in and with only a relatively small number of regions under my control (20 at the moment) I’m bringing in 5 grand plus in profit a turn with six armies and four navies fully upgraded to top notch units and no squalour or unrest to speak of.

        You can balls up the cities easily and get yourself into some trouble, but only by not paying attention to what’s going on. It’s actually good that the game has moved away from the previous system of, “Shove a half-decent governor and build a new spear unit in the city whenever unrest starts rising”. And of course you now simultaneously control multiple cities from the same panel, so you can see how they impact on a single province at a time, which is a bit handier.

  17. Melipone says:

    I’ve been following the Rome II build up with anticipation but haven’t bought it yet – perhaps I’ve become a skeptical old fart but I’ve come to expect a beta if I try and play a big studio title the week or so following its release. No excuse for CA, but I just find it hard to get worked up about something like this when it’s been modus operandi for quite a few years now.

  18. limimi says:

    I’m so incredibly confused by the outrage at CA. For one, what Total War games has everyone else been playing for the past forever? Every single one of them was a bugfest at launch, and so far I’ve had a lot less trouble with Rome 2 than I did with Shogun 2 or, sweet mother, Empire.
    Two – it’s a grand strategy game. Simplified from the previous formula it may be, but it’s still a bajillion different systems interacting opaquely. Has any Paradox Grand Strategy been even remotely playable in the first three months of its release? Crusader Kings 2 was pretty solid actually, but it’s the exception, not the rule.

    Some of the ‘streamlining’ in Rome 2 is a freaking joke though, but they are hardly going to patch that out :/

    • Askeladd says:

      So you present the declining quality in game quality on release as an excuse to stop caring about it?

    • Mortomes says:

      EU4 is pretty solid as well, Paradox has improved on their game launches quite a lot since the fiasco that was HoI3

    • Werthead says:

      Interesting question. Clearly, the games shouldn’t be buggy on release and suffer from serious problems that it takes patches and/or mods weeks (if you are lucky) to sort out.

      However, when they are sorted out and/or modded, they tend to be pretty good. Both CA and Bethesda now do this with every release and everyone gets annoyed with them but there’s also a certain level of expectation to it. Sometimes we get our hopes up because they occasionally throw out a game which is pretty good on release (SHOGUN II and NAPOLEON for CA and maybe FALLOUT 3 for Bethesda, or SKYRIM if you’re not bothered about the crappy inventory UI) but then the next one reverts to form.

      Clearly one answer and a valid one is not to buy the game on release. The other is to accept the situation long-sufferingly and wait for the game to get into a good state over a period of weeks or months (which is at least interesting – albeit also frustrating – to see in operation). The other is not to accept the situation and complain about the situation, angrily.

      Anger is – to some degree – justifiable. You’ve just dropped a few hours’ wages on something that doesn’t work as advertised. But CA have done it before, at least three times (ROME, MEDIEVAL II and EMPIRE were in varying degrees of ineptness on release, and for me two of those were in a considerably worse state than ROME II and took a lot longer to fix). I think at some point you have to either accept this is how they’re going to be and deal with it; stop buying the games en masse on release to force them to change their ways (and let’s be honest, this is never going to happen when their latest game sells seven times as many copies at the previous one on launch, as ROME II has apparently done); wait until the game’s been out a few months; or simply stop buying the games, period.

    • Baines says:

      Didn’t Paradox make a big deal a while back about how they were focusing on improving QA and the quality of their titles at launch?

      And it seems like they have actually improved.

  19. Danny says:

    What always irks me is when a company ‘apologizes’ by immediately stating that only a few customers are affected.

    Even if this is the case (and I sincerely doubt CA’s 2% claim), it’s still a childish way of apologizing. It’s one of those ‘I’m sorry, but’ remarks that just rub me the wrong way.

    Take ownership of the problem, acknowledge it and clearly state what you’re going to do in order to solve it.

    • Bull0 says:

      You did read the quotes in the article above, yes? Where CA’s creative director acknowledges people are experiencing issues and says they’re rolling out weekly patches from now on until the bugs are all gone?

  20. L3TUC3 says:

    There are a few design flaws.

    The most obvious and striking to me is the siege mechanics on walled settlements. For some reason CA deemed it a good idea to add a mechanic to burn down gates. Any melee unit can simply run (did anyone mention units run really fast now?) over to the gate, hurl torches, and once enough fire damage has been done the gate will burn down to cinders opening the way inside in a really short time. I find this baffling.

    It entirely negates the need for any of the other siege equipment you can build. You can siege and attack in the same turn! You can even autoresolve with little penalty.

    To add even more weirdness to the whole thing, the battering ram (you know, that thing to bust down enemy gates) is locked behind a research tier. Why is this not available right away? In any case, ramming doesn’t open the gate any faster, and puts units manning it in harms way if there’s boiling oil. The torch can be thrown safely from outside the reach of the scalding hot death.

    If for some reason you do decide to build some equipment, it takes a turn to build a machine, each. This means that you will suffer siege attrition every turn while the stuff is being built. Now that the each turn is a year, the length seems excessive for the little benefit you receive for even bothering. Compared to the torch mechanic, you will on average incur more losses from the attrition than the unit you’re willing to sacrifice on burning the gate. The rest of your units can simply wait outside of the defenders reach and storm in when the deed is done. By the time you have built enough siege equipment for your force, odds are you’re near the automatic surrender mark anyway.

    Galleys are slower, but units pushing it still take missile damage, albeit reduced. By the time they reach a destination they will have suffered about as many casualties as a cheap unit running up to the gate. Ladders are still somewhat useful, if you think the walls are worth of taking. There is currently no way for you or the AI to put enough missile units on the walls to stop enemies from burning down your gate.

    Upgraded settlements do add some additional defenses but gates are no match for the mighty torch. My only theories for the inclusion is that CA wanted to keep an option available for landing naval units to get inside, when the siege equipment fails due to fire damage, or because, in a complete role reversal, the player hasn’t researched the battering ram yet.

    In the end, dedicated ranged siege engines replace all the equipment. At least those make sense.

    • Askeladd says:

      Good explanation of the issue. I only want to add this: Walls are very very weak, a single ballista unit can destroy Your wall with 2-3 salvos, the AI on the other hand is so weak that they send everyone through a single point which makes it very easy to kill them all with the most basic units in pike formation. Which once again proves what Archimedes said: “Give me a stick long enough and a pivot and I shall move the world.”
      In this case the ‘stick’ is sarissa, the ‘pivot’ is the breach and instead of ‘move the world’ lets use ‘kill the enemy’. They even charge me with their ranged units or rather they charge the flag and my failanx is just in their way.

    • Grygus says:

      To be completely fair, you only build one set of siege machines each turn, but at least for some of them (ladders, for example) you get more than one. One turn of ladder-building got me… I think four ladders. So it’s maybe not as bad as it seems at first.

      Not that that matters, because you’re totally right about not needing siege equipment and horrible defensive behavior from the AI.

  21. NoseBagUK says:

    Another one here who is loving the game I’m 50 hours into a campaign and have had two crashes, and once a ship sailed overland to dock on the other side.

    Late game seems a lot better than previous total wars with some big battles, I think maybe in the early game the AI suffers from the fact that there are 100+ nationalities fighting it out, but once the smaller tribes have been crushed it gets better.

    • David Bliff says:

      Likewise. I’m 29 hours in and only on my first campaign (not counting the prologue campaign), and I’m absolutely hooked. I’m just now getting my head around some of the building mechanics – namely that you can’t just continue upgrading your buildings and industrializing endlessly without problems – but it seems that there are much better systems in place in terms of the macro game now.

      Earlier games in the series were essentially just a matter of creating balanced, self-sufficient towns with some degree of economic or military specialization. The fact that you don’t need military recruitment buildings in every single province to replenish your forces is a HUGE difference, since you can simply raise forces in your capital and march them out elsewhere, while saving most of your provincial building slots for agriculture to feed Rome, etc.

      I’ll admit it seemed arbitrary and superficial when I first started playing, but I can really tell why they made the changes they did to building specialization. Especially given the real frequency of revolts as Rome and others expanded in the period.

  22. Ingenu says:

    I’m surprised people keep forgetting that a company is not a brand, but people, some of them leaving means the next game isn’t made by the same team, and depending how good/critical those people were it might very well show…

  23. Advanced Assault Hippo says:

    Rome2 is buggy at the moment but potentially great. Even in its current state I’m really enjoying it.

    Putting the bugs/AI aside, the actual UI/campaign dynamics aren’t anywhere near as misguided as some make out.

  24. DrStrangeLug says:

    I’m quite liking it too. Yes, the enemy campaign turns are too long (surely the far off ones can be abstracted?) but generally enjoying it. I get through a page on my kindle every turn.

    There are problems but this is CA, they’ll fix them. If you’re not happy then why not play something else for a few months and come back nearer Christmas? Kerbal Space Program is really good.

  25. Gap Gen says:

    Mike Simpson is currently pacing round the CA offices, shouting “Give me back my legions of fans!”

  26. Okami says:

    I haven’t encountered any of the design flaws people are speaking of.

    The main reason for this is that the game keeps locking up whenever I enter a battle from the campaign map. The pre battle UI will fade out the battle map appear, sound effects and music will start for the battle and nothing else happens. I can’t click on anything, can’t move the camera, the game doesn’t crash, I just can’t do anything anymore expcept open the task manager and kill the game. Sometimes part of the pre battle UI will still be barely visible on the screen, but usually I’m just left starting at the battlefied and the Start Battle button and can’t do anything.

    The game doesn’t even appear to freeze, since the terrain and weather effects are still running and the game isn’t listed as “not responding” in the task manager.

    The only part of the game I have been able to play was the tutorial and even there this would very often happen. But if I start a normal campaign game (and I have a few) this will always happen.

    Patch changed nothing abou it.

    Oh and don’t get me started on all the scripting bugs in the tutorial campaign…

  27. Yargh says:

    I’ll add my voice to the list of player who have had no problems with the game so far nor have I had any issues with the UI or the game mechanics.

    Not sure I’d feel confident in judging the AI yet, but I’m enjoying myself and that’s the most important factor.

    • Sharlie Shaplin says:

      With a decent army, the AI in open field battles actually seems quite competent, it actively engages you and tries to outflank. Put it near any buildings or fortifications however, and it gets totally confused, as if it’s getting lots of conflicting information so it goes back and forth, cycling between different decisions. The way the game is designed, closed off campign map with funnels between each city, most battles are filled with buildings so most of the time you get the Benny Hill AI routines.

      There is also the fact the campaign AI builds almost nothing but slingers, which makes it easily exploitable. Just bring lots of cavalry.

      • Askeladd says:

        The problem is you rarely have land battles that you just don’t auto resolve. They either run away, or you. Cavalry is bugged, and melee fights with units that normally rely on formations don’t exist. There’s only failanx.

        • Sharlie Shaplin says:

          I played the Iceni, so formations didn’t really matter. Just charge all the enemy units with swordsmen like a screaming blue horde, and then flank with cavalry. :p

          • Askeladd says:

            Or just build an army of noble horse and charge them even faster! It doesn’t matter what troops he has. They are invincible.

            What I meant with formations was the unit cohesion. Roman and Greek armies have units that are highly trained to stay in formation to execute precise tactical maneuvers to break enemy formations.
            Instead they all fight like barbarians and fights become a giant mosh pit of retards. That how 100% of fights turn out right now with infantry involved.

          • Sharlie Shaplin says:

            Yes it’s definitely a problem for the more disciplined factions.

      • Metalfish says:

        Have you seen what war dogs do to those light slingers? They completely negate the roman’s range gap by making skirmishers cack themselves and turn into mobile pedigree chum.

  28. Shadrach says:

    A game is released with bugs, b*tching and moaning, apologies from the devs and promises to fix things.

    So what else is new?

    Personally I will do what I always do with these huge releases, wait six months for fixed to make the game what it should have been on release.

  29. Didden says:

    I’m just surprised everyone seems shocked or something… it’s been this way with CA for a long time now. For me, Medieval will still be the series highlight, sprites and all, it just had a wonderful atmosphere and flavor.

    • Napoleon15 says:

      My favourite as well. Sean Pertwee’s voice acting was so perfect for the game, sneering at the enemy like a violent commoner with his poleaxe. Everything about that game was great, actually. It’s just a shame that it’s a right pain to get working properly on modern computers. Would buy it again if they updated it enough to run without problems, and without touching the rest of the game.

  30. Napoleon15 says:

    I’ve been a fan of the Total War games since Shogun came out, and for me, I think the core gameplay experience is still intact and still hugely enjoyable with Rome 2. That said, it’s shocking how rough around the edges the game is. You’d have thought they’d learnt their lesson with Empire, and with Shogun 2, it seemed like they had. Now we’re back to something that has problems in multiple areas.

    I do wish they’d tweak the battle speeds, though. They seem like they get faster and faster with every release, with armies made up of Usain Bolt sprinters who can run miles in less than a minute without tiring. And then when they clash with the enemy, the fighting is over so quickly that I don’t get a chance to use the cinematic camera.

    • Askeladd says:

      The modding is constantly working on it and there are already mods that introduce more realistic fatigue, charge speed and moral values, which improve battle time. Take a look at TWCenter forums.

  31. Pesticide says:

    the game is unfinished and simply broken in many areas, how they even dared to release this after having shogun2 paving the way to success is beyond me …. someone at the top messed up bigtime and some silly written apology aint gonna save his ass.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nZB-Nn7j1o best AI in total war history ….

  32. drewski says:

    At least you made your ship date, CA! Hope it was worth it!

  33. Freud says:

    It’s a shame they can’t create good battlefield AI. It kills the series for me.

  34. trooperwally says:

    So much rage….

    So they released a beta and called it final. I wouldn’t crucify them for that. I remember when I was a kid thinking “why don’t they just release games sooner?!”. Well, now they do and we pay the price. I’m ok with that. In the last few years my approach to game buying has changed. Rare is it to buy a game the traditional way (game is complete, available, reviewed, bought once, on a disk). Times change. With kickstarter, indiegogo and the rest I’m actively funding the development of games that are literally years away from being fun to play, even though some (Kenshi) have a ‘playable’ version out right now. I think the only major issue here is that they didn’t make it clear that this would be a beta – I’m not legal enough to know if their transgression is severe enough to attract the wrath of trading standards people, I suspect not.

    There are tonnes of fun features in this game and in time it will be a classic. If you don’t want to take a punt don’t pre-order. If you want to support a series/franchise/developer/concept then pre-order at your risk. I did and I’m happy with my decision because I have already had fun with the game and expect much more in future.

    • Askeladd says:

      That’s your approach to this issue, that is not mine and not the one of many many other people – particular fans, that had hope after the release of Shogun 2 for the series. You’d think that they’d make the best TW game ever with a 40% larger budget than any other TW game in existence, with more than a decade of accumulated knowledge in their niche.
      This failure only got possible because Sega knew the pre order numbers. I’m pretty sure that’s what happened and it explains the blatant lies and hype they fed everyone over the last months.

  35. Askeladd says:

    If some of you are interested in the ‘retardedness’ of the release state Angry Joe’s review is out.
    He shows the most annoying ones but only about 1/3 of the current problems this game has.
    It’s also funny as hell.

  36. BrightCandle says:

    RockPaperShotgun needs to write an article about the sorry state of the games review industry. Just 3 reviews on metacritic seem to have come from people who played the game, the rest lavishly gave the game high ratings and praise despite its truly sorry and obviously mangled release state. While RPS listed the flaws many of these other reviews didn’t mention a thing.

    It all smells of Cheeto’s and since everyone everywhere reviewed the game you have a list of the corrupt bribed sites right there on metacritic.

  37. fredc says:

    I’ve had no crashes or graphical problems so far (mid range ATI card and pedestrian AMD quad core) and rather like it.

    Only bug I’ve seen is a client state maintaining a naval blockade of a rebel city for about 100 years and the game won’t let me attack the city from the land side while the blockade is active. Which makes no sense from a historical or gameplay perspective.

    Compare this to Empire and Napoleon where I had the common self-corrupting save game and CTD issues which took about two years to actually fix.

    As someone who will never buy an iD game after RAGE, I understand how folks must feel to find the game unplayable. At least, unlike iD, CA is apparently working hard to patch it and appears to give a proverbial.

    I don’t even mind the galactic turn length (only reached about 120bc so far…). It’s a game with a different strategic scope than Napoleon, Empire or Shogun and the AI turn length is comparable to the patched, DLC’d Civ 5, which of course only deals with maybe 7 or 8 AI players and not the complexity of Roman europe’s many tribes and kingdoms. Unpatched day 1 Civ 5 was much worse, and the actual Civ engine also slowed to treacle for me. I tend to click end turn and then go do some chores, get a cup of tea or something and then come back to it.

    Admittedly I haven’t got to the late game yet, but as Rome I have yet to see the supposed “constant slave revolts” and there’s very little micromanagement to do. I have had a food crisis combined with a mass barbarian assault which required a lot of dismantling and careful reconsideration of my build strategy, but that’s a feature not a bug.

    I think some of the objection to Rome II is people assuming that this will play just like Shogun I, Napoleon or Shogun II (admittedly more complex) in terms of the conflicts all being set up at the start, the scope of the game and how you approach the strategic layer. Unlike Napoleon, it doesn’t push you into immediate large scale conflict and just give you a list of control points to achieve by end of game. You can go for Civ-style alternative victory conditions, which are permitted by the more relaxed nature of the strategic game.

    I admit the tactical AI issues go over my head, as I never play TW games on high difficulty anyway. So yeah, they often let you pucker them with javelins (javilii? javillae?) and are possibly even less mobile and proactive than previous AI enemies. I do prefer the FotS mix of melee and awesome gupowder units and thought the AI was better there. The battlefields and better soldier animations are nice however, and I like the new line of sight rules.

  38. Earl-Grey says:

    I’ll just be over here playing something else until The Creative Assembly announce Total Warhammer 40000.
    You hear me, Sega?
    You hear me, Creative Assembly?
    DO. YOU. HEAR. ME?
    Please?

    • SanguineAngel says:

      Apparently they do – since they’ve acknowledged the problems and a desire for change and have pledged to enact those changes

  39. fredc says:

    I’d also just add to the above that PC gamers who bother to comment on line (contrast RPS’s own measured review and follow up article) seem to be in a state of hyperbolic perma-rage these days. I get the rage from folks who can’t run the game because the wrong kind of leaves (i.e. wrong kind of ATI card) are on the tracks.

    But the turn length is a bit long or you can’t figure out what “authority” does and suddenly people want CA’s entire staff and their dogs strung up and heads on pikes around the Carfax.

    Is this a generational thing? Because I’m old enough to remember when games weren’t patched and if you paid for a newly-released Darklands (especially outside the continental US) your chocies were listserv, a dial-up BBS or just sobbing into your cornflakes. Nowadays, unless you bought an iD software product apparently, shit mostly gets fixed. I’ll take that and day 1 DLC over “well that’s not going to work no matter how often I re-write CONFIG.SYS”.

    • Riithi says:

      The core of the game is the real-time 3d battles, which just don’t offer any challenge or enjoyment..
      So yeah, it’s like Streetfighter/Tekken where you can win by just pressing a random button repeatedly.

      Added problem is that TotalWar is a niche game that scratches a special itch no one else delivers, so us junkies are over-reacting ;)

  40. BloatedGuppy says:

    I just did what any sensible person does with a buggy, screwed up Total War game. I modded it. And while the basic early mods do nothing to attend to performance issues or outright missing features, they’ve gone miles to turn what was there into an entertaining experience.

  41. The Random One says:

    I read the headline as Et Tu, California. Which I guess might be the title of a potential Red Hot Chilli Peppers rock opera.

  42. mike2R says:

    Its in a reasonable state, and I suspect if I’d stuck to my resolution to keep the hell away from discussion forums on the subject, I’d have been perfectly happy playing it – since I do seem to have avoided the hardware specific issues.

    Having read up on all these bugs that I’d probably have missed for a considerable period playing purely on my own, I can see them, especially the strange passivity and decision making on the campaign map. And since I’ve got a good fort going in Dwarf Fortress at the moment, I’ve gone back to that to wait for a few patches. I really don’t feel its the human rights issue that some people are making out though.

    Then again I really don’t understand the amount of emotion people invest in these sort of complaints anyway. Personally I play games to have fun, and if I’m not having fun I’ll do something else. If I wanted to get upset about the injustices of the world I’d probably be doing something else, like find any of the million worse things going on at the moment than the release state of a computer game.

    As for people getting upset at other people for buying a computer game that doesn’t meet their standards. Please go take a look in the mirror, and yell “I AM BEING RIDICULOUS” at yourself until you think of something worthwhile to do.

    • Sharlie Shaplin says:

      On the Steam forums they have their pitchforks and torches out, ready to destroy the whole gaming industry. Anyone who even tries to say anything slighty positive, is instantly attacked as a corporate schill or fanboy. It’s quite disheartning.

      • gunny1993 says:

        I rate the quality of a forum by the amount they use fanboy, erroneously or otherwise. It doesn’t seem to have caught on here …. yet

  43. Boosterh says:

    Just going to throw my 2 cents in. I have to say that I like a lot of the new things they did on the campaign map, especially the three stat system for agents, but I do think that this could have stood even a month’s extra polish, just to work out the most obvious issues: the easily burnable gates, the AI building unsustainable settlements (I understand that AI programming is difficult, but how hard would it be to just give the AI a dozen-twenty templates and build orders that are actually functional, and let them pick from those?), the really weird unit disparity(barbarian ballistae out of tier two buildings? some factions have three or four simple upgrade chains, and others have a wealth of unique units?), and so on. As much as I love the game, those are the bits that annoy me. Not the wonky AI, or the endless drives, because those are longstanding issues that are slowly improving, but the little things, that should have been picked up in QA and polished out, but someone decided to just throw it out anyhow.

  44. Jimbo says:

    I like what they’ve done with city / province management (removed stacks of totally pointless micromanagement). I don’t like what they’ve done with army/general micro-management or the dumb cooldown powers in battles (the opposite).

    The unit traditions etc. are neat, but they should be determined by things the unit has actually done, not just whatever the player chooses (which rapidly becomes a chore anyway). A unit should become siege experts by winning a lot of sieges, not because I decided they are siege experts.

    • Weed says:

      I agree. The random choice of experience or traditions is just weird and quickly becomes a chore.

      I am lucky in that I have not had any music or graphics issues, but I am experiencing a lot of the other game numbing issues described here.

      And am I missing something or is the AI turn supposed to take 2 to 5 minutes (this on an i5 quad core).

      I have to play in windowed mode so that when the AI take so long to make its moves, I can read other articles about how not ready Rome 2 is for public consumption. I think I turned off the option to show AI moves.

      And pardon my ignorance on TW games. I only played the original Rome before this one, because the antique setting of Rome is the only arena/setting that holds interest for me.

  45. NotToBeLiked says:

    They added many, many good ideas to the game, like the provinces, army stances, city building, garrisons,..

    But the base game is utterly broken. On any difficulty setting the AI is dumb as a brick both in the strategic and the tactical part. Attacking a fortified city with a 4000+ size army inside, with ONE unit and no siege weapons; during battles just standing there while being peppered with arrows, or running against wall for an entire fight doing nothing….
    Balancing is a joke. I have an insane surplus of money, food & order: the three things you are supposed to balance against each other.

    Either there are a whole lot of bugs that make this things happen to SOME people but not everyone (unlikely), or there are a whole lot of people absolutely blind fanboys to this game.

  46. JohnnyPanzer says:

    I have very few issues with it, but I think has to do with my playstyle. I’m not competetive at all and I have never, not once, derived pleasure from how challenging a game is.

    I play sandbox games, and I play them to create a story for my self. I always set the difficulty to the lowest possible setting, to make sure it wont interfere with my story-telling, and I constantly save/load when I don’t like the outcome. And it’s not just when I loose a battle, because half the time I’ll reload the game because I won a battle that I felt would have been more epic as a loss.

    So, for me, Rome II is their best game so far. Legion traditions and more RPG elements than ever before makes it an absolute treasure box for me, and I couldn’t care less about the AI. I’ve spent more than two thousand hours on the total war series so far, and I have never even considered the quality of the AI in any of the games.

    But that’s me…

    EDIT: I should also mention that I don’t mind the long AI turns, as I spend the time writing down statistics, battle reports and background stories for my generals. And that’s another thing this game does better than any of the other TW titles: the record keeping. When I saw the detailed records the game keeps over each legion, I almost came in my own mouth.

    In Empire (My second favorite TW game after this one) I would spend probably half the time writing stuff down and making up names for my regiments. I have more than 600 hours logged in to that game on steam, and that’s only two campaigns. I also have about 150 pages of stats, death tolls, regimental records and battle reports.

    Aww, man. Now I’m drooling. I better get back to the game…

  47. Misha says:

    Wow. So many comments already and this one is going to get buried because it’s more than 24 hours old. But that’s good. That only goes to show how many people care about the TW franchise, and don’t think that CA and Sega aren’t aware of that. They’re not going to let Rome II be the one that buried a franchise that has been making millions for years through negligence.

    Money talks, and when you’re talking the kind of money that the TW IP commands, it talks very loudly indeed. They didn’t get to this point by completely ignoring their customers’ concerns, so take heart.

    The thing here is expectations. When you have a franchise that’s been going on for as long as TW has, you quite reasonably have high expectations for the next release. But the latest release is still the latest release. Not making excuses here, just trying to point out the obvious.

    When some indie company releases a game that looks like it was coded in the 80s but nobody had ever thought about it before, everybody is going nuts about how perfect it is because they had no expectations. It’s just a good game and, hey, whatever imperfections there might be are OK because they’ll either be fixed or hey, NEW STUFF! Innovation!

    Not so with an old franchise.You always, and quite understandably so, want the next sequel to be perfect, or at least more perfect than the last. While at the same time demanding new options and features unknown in the previous releases that were left out because they couldn’t make them perfect back then. But now they should, dammit. We want new bells and whistles, and we want them to work flawlessly out of the box because… Because I guess.

    It ain’t going to happen. It never happened in the past, so I really don’t know why everybody keeps demanding that the NEXT time it will be different or we’ll damn well scream and stomp and bang our sippy cups because they damn well betrayed, betrayed us!

    We all know, at least those of us who’ve been around long enough, that there is no such thing as a perfect release. I have never, not once, seen a forum for any new game, no matter how much fun it was, not filled with threats about how somebody ought to sue the company making this obviously illegal crime against humanity.

    That’s not saying that we should all just shut up and be grateful, because we certainly shouldn’t, feedback is important, but it’s utterly unrealistic to demand that a triple-A release is everything everybody ever wanted it to be. It’ll be something to somebody, and some other thing to somebody else, but nobody can perfect their game until the rubber meets the ground and feedback is received. That goes for every other product too, by the way.

    And then there’s the “don’t pre-order” chant. I actually agree with that, although I must admit that I pre-ordered for this particular game. Not because I expected it to be perfect, I knew all along that it couldn’t be, but because I knew that I would buy it eventually no matter what because it’s my favorite subject matter ever so I might as well. Also, I knew that, seeing as how old the franchise is and how hugely important the name of it is to Sega’s bottom line, it would get fixed.

    But there’s another aspect other than “when you throw the money at a company for a product that hasn’t even been released, just how exactly do you expect them to give a hoot about how finished it is upon release? They have your money already, don’t they?”

    That is true, but the other aspect is that when a company says “you can pre-order now and it will be released in September”, just how likely do you think it is that they’ll push past that release date when 200,000 people have already paid for it?

    You think the outrage, OUTRAGE at “yet another game pushed out the door before it was finished” that we’re hearing right now is anything? Just imagine the cries of religious war that would be posted on forums if CA had said “sure, you guys already handed us $12 million for a game in September, but we’re not quite done yet so you won’t have it until October.”

    It would make the Middle East look like a minor issue of misunderstandings.

    Should they be more realistic about release dates? Sure. Have you ever been a project manager? If so, have you ever had an even remotely clear idea as to when your project would be finished? No, I’m not talking about the “deadline”, nobody who has ever worked in project management, and I have, has ever met that one. Stuff just keeps popping up. You try, of course you do, but you can’t predict the future.

    So put yourself in CA and Sega’s shoes. They issued a deadline of September because they had to issue one. That’s the nature of the beast. Should they have said October, November or December instead? Sure. That’s easy to say now. They took in a lot of money from people like myself who pre-ordered, and I really shouldn’t have because I contributed to the problem by doing so, and now they HAVE to push something out the door in September, no matter how many unforeseeable complications might have popped up between then and now or they would be positively crucified, and for good reason too.

    So I think pre-ordering should be a thing of the past. It’s exacerbating the problem, and I solemnly vow to never do so again.

    In the meantime, I’m confident that CA will continue to work on finishing off Rome II because why wouldn’t they? They’d start making zombie games instead?

  48. Dave Rubix says:

    I haven’t experienced many of the issues other users have within graphical issues up until recently i hadn’t had a single issue in around 17 hours gameplay, but i the ai which many people seem to say has been too passive on the last two campaign saves all factions immediately declare war on me regardless of anything else i haven’t come into contact in any shape or form with half of them that have declared war and the relationship column with most of the countries I’m at war with says very friendly has anyone else had anything like this as at the minute its Sparta vs the known world

  49. dmastri says:

    They issued a 2nd statement/apology on their forums outlining their plan to fix everything and stating that going forward they are considering an open beta prerelease to iron things out. And apparently their previous way of developing these games was “not compatible” with an open beta. What does that mean?

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