Total Gore – Livestream Reveal For Total War: Arena

The Creative Assembly are clever to tap into that Awake-At-4am-Watching-Deadliest-Warrior market; their free-to-play 10v10 strategy game Total War: Arena [official site] looks the next best thing to my nights contemplating whether John Cena could win against a ninja.

The first in-game trailer has arrived ahead of a livestreamed event this afternoon where The Creative Assembly will show off the first live gameplay as community members throw down, with a commentator and a few developers as the icing on this Twitch cake.

I’ll be honest with you, I kind of forgot this was even a branch in Total War’s family tree. A quick flip through the RPS Info Tome says the game was first announced way back in 2013. They pitched it as a sort of cross-history fighting game where teams of 10 control up to 1500 fighting dudes each – in other words, a brilliant kind of madness must fuel it. As Jim said at the time, there are some similarities to World in Conflict’s multiplayer. Lead designer James Russell described it as Total War’s online multiplayer battle arena. But Creative Assembly has kept it all relatively under wraps, in fact the game is still in alpha two years on.

Perhaps creating a game in which cavalry fight Spartans is like ageing wine. You’ll soon find out as starting at 5pm CEST today (that’s 4pm UK time, or see it in your zone here) you finally can lock your eyes on the first ever livestreamed match of Total War: Arena. The whole thing can be found on Twitch. It’s going to be a fight to the death between the developers and community dudes, livecasted via the dulcet tones of eSports commentator Leigh ‘Deman’ Smith.

There’s no word on when Arena may get its official launch. Closed alpha is currently only available in Europe, with servers planned to come State-side at some point. If you fancy checking it out for yourself, you can sign up here.

16 Comments

  1. Jdopus says:

    It’s pretty awful honestly.

    I was initially interested, but they’ve entirely removed all of the intricacies of controlling a formation of units that exists in the main Total War series.

    You can’t change formation, basically your only control option is an attack move and the only direct impact you can have on battle other than flanking are hero abilities which can be activated on certain units but which are mostly locked (Along with a linear upgrade tree) behind a massive grind/pay-to-win wall.

    You start out only with basic militia units and are matched up against people with far more advanced soldiers. It’s like a moba with an out of game grind AoE:Online style.

    It’s early in development, but what I saw didn’t impress me at all.

    • JS says:

      Yes, that’s pretty much my experience too. So far, this is very unimpressive. But maybe it will appeal to the Facebook/Mobile/Free to play crowd.

    • BobbyDylan says:

      I agree. And the appeal of the TW games is to feel like an awesome general. It’s pretty hard to do that when your window-licking teammates get all their units killed or go AFK.

    • Colwolf77 says:

      – Initially excited imagining all the possibilities for total war multiplayer mayhem!
      – Read comments.
      – See the words ‘pay-to-win’.
      – Sad face :(

  2. Ethaor says:

    It’s quite bad honestly.

    The rpg element is quite nice and having to only manage 3 units on a 60 units battle is an interesting change of pace but damn has everything been dumbed down to no end…

    That’s not total war at all. It’s plain old shallow “move & attack” str game. It’s leagues behind the MP battles of the TW games in terms of graphics, gameplay and tactic. The total war player base is absolutely not the target audience. It’s like selling dominoes to GO players.

    Besides, being 10v10 players, it is very hard to find 10 players willing to coordinate and play together as a team, which can be frustrating. Not that the shallow gameplay leaves many options for tactics..

  3. Stellar Duck says:

    Free to play?

    That killed what little interest I had in it. But then, after Rome 2 the chances of me ever buying a Total War game again are quite slim. :(

    Also, Scourge of War kinda ruined the combat for me.

    • Loyal_Viggo says:

      What continually impressed me about CA is that ever since Shogun TW they have generated and maintained excellent customer and brand loyalty to a generation of gamers who grew up with their products. I loved TW strategy so much, Shogun, Medieval 1+2 and Kingdoms… so much time spent waging Total War…

      Then with Rome II they took all that goodwill, that trust, that faith in CA and just shit all over it by releasing the horrifically messy, buggy, diluted, neutered, poor-man’s strategy that is Rome II… and they lost more than one lifetime customer I’m sure.

      The self-destruction of the TW brand continues, one shit product at a time now with this… *thing*… the next offering.

      Only if the upcoming Total Warhammer was $10 in a steam sale for the Gold Game of the Decade Edition with all fucking DLC would I ever buy CA again, and even that is a push when you have fan made Warhammer total conversions already that are superb.

      • Vin_Howard says:

        Question: how many TW games have been good/working-as-intended at release?

        • brotherthree says:

          Rome 2 was so much more than a buggy release though – they neutered so many aspects of the game in favor of “a streamlined easier to play/get into” approach. For every step Rome 2 advanced the genre, it took 2 or 3 back.

          (no family tree – forcing players to have generals lead armies – political features that added almost nothing to the game itself – removing trade-able ancillary cards between family members/factions – removing the ability to create “older” units – completely fucking terrible AI… I could really go on here)

          Basically they took their middle finger in favor of “garnering a larger market share” and to “appeal to as many new players as possible” and other marketing mumbo jumbo.

          The writing on the wall is plain as day – CA wants cash cow games that are easy to make and have large appeal – hence this jump into the “Mobile Devices+ Free2Play” bandwagon bullshit.
          They no longer want, or care to make niche strategy games that have depth as well as complexity.

          If they continue down this road, they deserve to be punished by consumers in my opinion.

          • BlueTemplar says:

            Then adding too much depth and complexity doesn’t work that well either : look for instance at Sword of the Stars 2 (aka “Total War in Space, the sequel”) : forcing the players to have an admiral and a command ship in every fleet, and only moving fleets by using specific missions makes for too much micromanagement in a game supposedly focused on tactical battles first (then it might have worked if we had better tools to deal with it).

  4. Veeskers says:

    For a game where every player commands their own little squad in a larger old-timey field battle I would highly recommend playing “commander mode” in the Napoleonic Wars expansion for Mount&Blade.

    Not without its problems, but certainly unique and fun and not constrained by any f2p/pay-to-win antics like this thing predictably appears to be.

  5. Press X to Gary Busey says:

    Not that I think regular Total War players were ever the target demographic for this but Free-to-play is guaranteed murder of any interest I may have.
    It’s the same as back when MMO was slapped onto everything – Too many compromises to the gameplay, IMO and random PUG’s devolve into chaos most of the time (acceptable in shooters but not in something that demands tactics/strategy).

    Plus obnoxious people because of that reason – I remember when I started playing World in Conflict’s multiplayer and some people taking the game way too seriously. I even got a hate-PM after one of my first match by someone telling me to kill myself because I used my tactical aid points instead of transferring them to his nuke pool…

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  7. Greg Wild says:

    A shame this sounds so bad from the comments – I was pretty interested in how this turned out.

  8. Loyal_Viggo says:

    What continually impressed me about CA is that ever since Shogun TW they have generated and maintained excellent customer and brand loyalty to a generation of gamers who grew up with their products. I loved TW strategy so much, Shogun, Medieval 1+2 and Kingdoms… so much time spent waging Total War…

    Then with Rome II they took all that goodwill, that trust, that faith in CA and just shit all over it by releasing the horrifically messy, buggy, diluted, neutered, poor-man’s strategy that is Rome II… and they lost more than one lifetime customer I’m sure.

    The self-destruction of the TW brand continues, one shit product at a time now with this… *thing*… the next offering.

    Only if the upcoming Total Warhammer was $10 in a steam sale for the Gold Game of the Decade Edition with all fucking DLC would I ever buy CA again, and even that is a push when you have fan made Warhammer total conversions already that are superb.