The Nomad Sorry: Rome II’s Temporarily Free DLC

By Alec Meer on October 22nd, 2013 at 8:00 pm.

No Mads here, please

Look, I don’t know what happened with Total War: Rome II: Total War II Rome. People are upset cos it was apparently a bit all over the place? It’s the first CA game that won’t be showing up on many GOTY lists? I didn’t even play it, I’m rubbish at TW games, so don’t look at me. It does seem like the Creative Assembly are trying to make amends at least – there’s been a steady stream of big fat patches, and now they’re giving out what was apparently (and later will be again) paid DLC for free.

It’s got three new factions in it, and all that entails, it’s called the Nomadic Tribes Culture Pack, it’s out now and it’s free so long as you download it before October 29. Will it help appease those who felt let down by the main game? Of course it won’t, Jake – it’s the internet. It’s certainly the wiser thing to do than try and make money off DLC at this stage, however.

The three new factions are The Roxolani, Massagetae and Royal Scythians, all of which are indeed nomadic and who between them add eight new units to the game, plus assorted buildings, traits, traditions and objectives. It all sounds very substantial on paper, but whether these news lads mean a big shift or just some stat-fiddling in practice is for Rome-savvy types to establish. Here’s a ‘cinematic’ trailer:

So, out now, free until 29th Oct, then it’s going to £5.99/$7.99/€7.49 for the rest of time, or at least until the next Steam sale, after that. Gerrit from here.

, , , .

58 Comments »

  1. SillyWizard says:

    Oy when are we gonna get your $0.02 on Space Hulk?

  2. kopema says:

    Still sixty dollars – and no demo?

    I’ll check back in another year or two, maybe.

  3. BLACKOUT-MK2 says:

    If it’s free I may as well get it. Considering how negatively the game is viewed, does this make me a cheapskate, an enemy of society, or both?

    • Hypnotron says:

      is it possible to add this DLC to your steam library if you dont own Rome 2 (yet?)

      • Premium User Badge Bugamn says:

        I’ve got the GAT V DLC even though I don’t have Saints Row IV yet. I’ve tried the same method with this one and I hope it worked.

        • frightlever says:

          Did you purchase it as a gift?

          • Premium User Badge Bugamn says:

            No, I clicked the “install” button. It didn’t install, but apparently added it to my contents.

      • BLACKOUT-MK2 says:

        Where is everyone getting the idea that I don’t own the game?

    • atticus says:

      I think it makes you a sensible person. I’m getting it now while it’s free, even though Rome 2 sits in my Steam library uninstalled with only 6 hours of playtime, and will be in that state for a long time yet.

      My hope is that; at some point in the future my hatred for this release will be weak enough and the game’s quality strong enough for me to enjoy playing it. And when that time comes I would like it all patched and DLC’ed up.

    • David Bliff says:

      I swear I’m one of the only people on RPS to really, really enjoy Rome II. I was lucky enough to avoid early bugs that have since been addressed, and while I didn’t get some of the city and province management design decisions at first, now that I’ve gotten into the late game I see exactly why the team made the decisions they did.

      Everyone saying Rome II doesn’t stand up compared to earlier games surely remembers how terrible the late-game was in literally every Total War game before this one? The first Rome was essentially broken if played without mods because of squalor penalties to public order that crippled any large empire and literally could not be addressed in a realistic way.

      I get that the AI can be bad, but that’s really always been the case. The army composition for the AI is better since the first couple patches, and if you play a multiplayer campaign where a friend plays as the AI each battle is positively thrilling. I’m at 81 hours and I haven’t finished as Rome yet and haven’t even touched one of the Greek civs, which I’m really excited to do because they were my favorite in the original.

      • Bootstraps says:

        You’re not alone mate, I really like it too. For a while I wasn’t aware of the complaints during the period after it was released because I didn’t look at any forums/blogs etc. When I did get around to reading them, I was genuinely surprised at the number of people who thought it was terrible, although admittedly I was lucky like you, and I didn’t experience any major bugs. I think this is, in part, down to expectation. Having bought “Empire” when it came out and having played my fair share of other shite games over the years, Rome 2 compares favourably. I’ve had a lot of fun with it and its was worth what I paid. That’s not something I can say for a lot of games which have received considerably less negative feedback. Maybe peoples’ standards have just got higher?

        • Gormongous says:

          For me, the problem with Total War: Rome II wasn’t the bugs. Instead, it was three things, all intentional decisions on the part of the designers:

          1) Tons of options with no depth. What comes to mind first is the “province” system, which is just a decentralized city from the previous games, but this is also the case with the agents and generals, who have massive (but flat) skill trees that give 5% bonuses here and there without ever adding up to a coherent whole. Experimentation is discouraged mechanically, yet it is impossible to plan ahead with a character build without trial and error, because…

          2) Nonexistent documentation. I’m not for or against change in a franchise, but if you radically overhaul how settlements, armies, politics and so on function in the sequel to a game in a long-running franchise, you better have a manual that covers everything. The one that came with the boxed version was eight pages, four if you don’t count the parts in French. It’s okay, we have the “Total War Encyclopedia”! Right, except the vague and incoherent entries are missing any explanation of the new stats system, the mechanics for trade, and a dozen other basic systems that dictate the entire game experience. The documentation is particularly necessary because of…

          3) Pointless gamification of preexisting systems. Why is there a capture point in the middle of many battles? Why are many basic unit tactics now abilities on timers? How does the political system work for non-Roman factions? Why do all these things now have numbers attached to them, which the player can force up and down without any real effect on gameplay? I started out with 93% influence as Macedon. Over time, it dropped down to 43%, with me being unable to stop it, but nothing happened when it hit there. Nothing changed for fifty years, until suddenly an event-scripted revolt broke out in 164 BC. No amount of reloading could change that, even though there was zero change in the political situation between turns. In many cases, control is taken away from the player in order to orchestra more “fun” and “exciting” experiences, which often aren’t fun or exciting at all because of the three reasons mentioned.

          So yeah, I think it’s a failure of a game, although people can find a good time anywhere and I don’t begrudge them that.

  4. GenBanks says:

    I hope the Kingdom of Armenia gets its own DLC!

    I don’t think it’s just CA who release an initially prolematic game and later resolve many of the issues (admittedly leaving behind a trail of bitter people). Civ V kind of had the same issues, it wasn’t buggy but people complained a lot that it lacked content, depth and balance. Those people don’t complain so much anymore. Even Empire TW is pretty well tolerated now, and still has quite a lot of players.

    • Zenicetus says:

      A year from now, the game will probably be in about the same “good enough” playable state as Civ 5 was, a year after its release. It will have to be, if CA/Sega wants to make any additional money with paid DLC. However, Rome 2 was much more of a disaster on initial release than Civ 5 was, and it’s still more of a mess after a few patch cycles than Civ 5 was, after its initial round of patching.

      A year from now it will look a bit different. Right now I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone but a die-hard TW fan, who knows what they’re getting into, based on past experience with CA. It’s kinda, sorta, playable… depending on what you’re willing to ignore.

    • Premium User Badge bills6693 says:

      I think, at least for me, the biggest problem was in design decisions and not in the poor quality release. Bugs can be patched out, but major design decisions won’t be.

      I feel the fact that they’ve basically simplified the game on the strategic scale, and they’ve made it more ‘arcadey’ in the battles, to the extent of activatable ‘abilities’ to magically make your soldiers more efficient, and super speedy soldiers who are running so fast because they can’t’ wait to get to the mosh pit of death.

      • fish99 says:

        Did I hear something about unlimited ammo for archers too?

        • frostay says:

          What? I’ve never seen that at all.

        • soldant says:

          Nope, all missile units have limited ammo.

          Though unlimited ammo has been an option in some (all?) of the previous TW games…

          • fish99 says:

            Thanks. Good to hear.

            Twas just a random post I read somewhere, obviously by some ill informed individual.

      • Werthead says:

        The marching speed was slowed down a fair bit in Patch 3, it made it quite a bit better.

  5. Gormongous says:

    Speaking in purely Machiavellian terms, this is a very smart move by SEGA. Faced with a critical bomb and knowing the opprobrium that EA received for its Sim City DLC, they release their first planned piece of non-release DLC free for the first week. People who’ve stuck with the game will be pleased to get something for nothing, while people who’ve quit won’t care, and SEGA still stands to make money on the DLC if the game’s reputation ever recovers as a result of this and other actions.

    It’s still a silly reskin faction pack for a mess of a game, but the business sense is there.

    • mulberry says:

      Agreed also thanks for the new word “opprobrium”

    • Shadow says:

      “People who’ve stuck with the game will be pleased to get something for nothing, while people who’ve quit won’t care, and SEGA still stands to make money on the DLC if the game’s reputation ever recovers as a result of this and other actions.”

      You forgot to say people who are still on the fence will feel pushed to buy the game now because otherwise they won’t get the free DLC, and may not like that feeling. That’s me, at least, but why else make it only temporarily free? Machiavellian indeed. Just like they tried to entice me to pre-order with that Greek States pack.

      • Gormongous says:

        Yeah, that was me, with the Greek Culture pack.

        What a mistake. I haven’t felt this burned by a game since Dungeon Siege 2.

    • xfrog says:

      A smart move was also to hype up their game, tell lies and sell it for a huge price while using Steam for safety, where no one can get a refund.

      • Loyal_Viggo says:

        At least in Europe soon anyone using any digital distribution service has the legal right to resell software, meaning you can sell the terribad ones.

        For the moment steam is contesting the Europe-wide ruling but a German consumer group has taken them to court, obviously steam will lose as its law, then steam et al will be forced to either stop selling games in Europe or proactively let people sell on their digital content.

        • airmikee99 says:

          While Steam may lose the court case and EU customers will be able to sell their used software licenses, it also means that developers will be able to put so much DRM onto the games to ensure you can’t use the license after you sell it that you may not want to go through the hassle anyway. And considering the ruling was made in July, 2012, and no progress has been made, I wouldn’t be surprised if this issue takes another couple years to get sorted out.

  6. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    Oh, I think it could win a spot on a few GOTY lists. You know, in the right category. It’s going to have some stiff competition from Aliens: Colonial Marines, though.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Nah, there is a difference between aiming high with a complex strategy game of a type nobody else is making, vs. aiming for a low bar like a basic shooter, and failing.

      What’s happening with Rome 2 is disappointing. What happened with Colonial Marines is downright embarrassing.

      • wrcromartie says:

        Well stated. Also, I’d say Rome 2 is starting to approach the aspirations…it didn’t seem like Colonial Marines ever had the intent of following through on the crappy release.

  7. Lex says:

    I won this game a few weeks ago in a competition and as a fan of empire and especially medieval 2 I was quite happy about it… its still waiting to be played. Somehow I’m not that eager to due to the feedback it got … but free content is always welcome. Some day I’m sure I will try it out \o/

  8. morbiusnl says:

    you know gerrit?

  9. Premium User Badge Rizlar says:

    I believe the title should read: “U Nomad, Bro?”

  10. BobbyDylan says:

    Great…. moar factions.

    Cos the wait between turns isn’t long enough.

    • Zenicetus says:

      I can’t go back and check since I already installed the DLC pack, but I think these three were already in the game as AI factions. Like the Seleucids before them. The DLC just unlocks them as playable factions, and adds a few new unit types and buildings. So it shouldn’t affect the time between turns.

    • Werthead says:

      After the patches, the end-turn time is now well under a minute, and less than 1/3 of what it was when the game came out. To be fair, they did fix this in the first patch, and it’s gotten better with every one since then.

      Apart from Patch 5, which has broken the game completely, of course.

  11. Wonderboy2402 says:

    Classic Creative assembly has done poor releases but months of patching and DLC packs that ultimately turn into a fun product. The problem this time around was it was in a REALLY god awful release. But RTW2 release was nearly as bad as Empire total war was.

    Shameful display.

    I and I think alot of people were lead to believe lessons had been learned on polishing after Shogun 2. So personally I felt like it was a huge step backwards from what the series has built itself on and also misleading.

    But CA is working hard to patch the game up to a acceptable standard and these free DLC is nice reward for early adopters (if not a bit desperate as I think they may have been planned as paid DLC from the start).

    • Grygus says:

      I agree that Fall of the Samurai set the bar on polish pretty high. But they made some controversial changes that the fanbase wasn’t going to like, such as swapping out the family tree for a political system with serious design/implementation problems; at this point, I’d say the remaining bugs and AI problems are actually secondary to design decisions when it comes to fan discontent.

      The Seleucid DLC was always going to be free. The Nomad one was never going to be free, and in a week it won’t be anymore.

      • Trashcanman says:

        As long as the AI cannot even handle sieges properly I’d say the game has a very long way to go before any bugs and AI problems become secondary.

  12. dmastri says:

    This was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It’s not the bugs and performance issues.. we can expect patches for that. It’s all the piss poor design decisions. Complete garbage.

    Here’s a fun video that shows why the real time battles are absolute crap because unit formations are totally FUBAR: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_evgnzSZTvI

    How can you release a game 10 years later and have it be worse in almost every way than its predecessor?

    • Premium User Badge Kong says:

      Thank you Sir for the video.
      This article made the tickle appear again. This strange thing that wants me to buy Rome 2. Your post killed the nasty bugger. Who knows what might have happened after my next bacchanalia, returning home in jolly mood but with weakened mind. Much obliged.

    • Werthead says:

      In ROME every unit had a guard formation, which meant that untrained peasant rabbles could hold formation just as well as elite hoplites or praetorians, which was rather unrealistic. In ROME II high-level units (or units with discipline-related traits) hold formation whilst lower-level ones will blob due to inferior discipline.

      I don’t think this solution works very well, and it doesn’t help that, like a lot of ROME II’s features, it goes rather unexplained even in the manual and developer commentaries, but there is method – if questionable – in their madness.

      • Redcoat-Mic says:

        The trouble with that is as the game currently stands it’s better to have an undisciplined rabble verus professional, disciplined formations.

        This is because the rabble blobs out and envelops the formation and attacks it from it’s flanks and even behind.

        • David Bliff says:

          …what? The base morale on non-professional units is insanely low, and they’ll rout so easily. I mean, sometimes the battle odds prediction bar is off because it puts too much faith on rabble units, but if you actually fight the battles a professional army will virtually always stomp a non-professional army. And I mean this in human vs. human battles, not versus the AI.

  13. SanguineAngel says:

    Oh excellent! I am thoroughly enjoying Rome II and this will be a nice little bonus for me! Cheers for the tip!

    • Loyal_Viggo says:

      Next tip… never sit down with a light-bulb in your back skyrocket.

  14. SuicideKing says:

    The game has to be playable for the DLC to make sense. I was denied the pre-order DLC after a false claim by my retailer that it wasn’t offered (the fuck?) so i may download this.

    Though i’m really not going to start another campaign, to find out 280 turns later that the game can’t progress anymore.

  15. 2helix4u says:

    Ah, Rome 2 isn’t all that bad, but then it was more or less what I expected and I am a big Total War fan. Slightly updated, shinier Rome with modern streamlining problems and a shitty release. I’m actually very glad they reached too far rather than making something like Shogun 2 again, which was excellently polished but shallow and limited compared to Medieval, Empire or Rome. According to Steam I’ve played 47 hours of it, so I’m getting my money’s worth.

    With the Steam Workshop now out you can fix a lot of the nitty gritty stuff. More units for boring factions AI that actually schemes etc.

  16. TheTingler says:

    “The Nomad Sorry”? I think your headline pun machine needs a little juice, guys. Not only is the reference not in any way related to the article or game, it’s not even a good pun. And that’s something that will not stand.

    • airmikee99 says:

      CA is offering free DLC as an apology for past issues.

      “Sorry” is synonymous with “apology”.