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Arma 3 deploys hybrid multiplayer mode Warlords today

More games need NPC minions to boss around

Arma 3 might be in the tail-end of its time, but there's life left in the old military sandbox. Today, Bohemia Interactive rolled out Warlords, a free new multiplayer mode based on fan-favourite Capture The Island. Two teams (or one against AI, or just a solo player, even) start in bases on opposite sides of one of Arma 3's big maps. Between them lie towns and bases populated by neutral enemy NPCs. Clear out camps, capture territory and gain resources to spend on new units and push further into enemy lands until one home base falls. A trailer for the new mode is below.

Capture The Island has long been one of the most popular multiplayer modes for the Arma series, largely due to it equally supporting drop-in/drop-out casual play and more serious squad tactics. Each player gets up to nine AI units under their command, making for some potentially very large encounters when multiple squads collide over a contested point. You can see a full developer breakdown of the Warlords mode here.  Warlords debuts with five maps if you have vanilla Arma 3, and another two scenarios if you own the Apex expansion, plus editor modules to make more.

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Unlike some Capture The Island variants, Warlords trims things back a bit for accessibility's sake. There's no base-building (if your faction's HQ goes down, game over) and no artillery either, so players need to clear out each stronghold properly, instead of just shelling them and sweeping out the survivors. There's a fast-travel system which servers can disable if they'd rather things be more realistic, allowing players to get back to the front lines. Squad tactics, team level strategy and plenty of AI troops to fill out the battlefield too - all the best bits of Arma, arguably.

Arma 3 still remains a very well populated game, and while major development has wound down, Bohemia still have plans for it. The Warlords update also includes a new weapon pack, created by Bohemia folks in their free time. While due for release later this year, there's still no sign of Bohemia's final piece of free single-player DLC, an open-world scenario called Old Man that takes place after the main game's story. I've also heard rumblings of more DLC produced by third parties, although don't quote me on that. Between Bohemia and modders, Arma 3 isn't going anywhere soon.

The Warlords update is live for Arma 3 now, and you can find the full patch notes here.

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