A brand new expansion is coming to Total War: Rome II, developers Creative Assembly announced today, four years since the game came out and three since its last expansion. Empire Divided will travel back to the third century for a new grand-scale campaign as the Roman Empire risks collapsing. It'll feature ten playable factions, from good ol' Rome through the goths to Armenia, and bring new problems such as plagues, excess bandits, and cults.
The paid expansion is due later this month and will be accompanied by a free update overhauling expanding Rome II's political system.
Empire Divided will star the Rome, Gallic Rome, Palmyra, Sassanids, Gothi, Saxones, Marcomanni, Armenia, Alani, and Caledones. The first five of those are 'heroic' factions, boasting fancy extras like unique victory conditions, units, and event chains, while others are just there to Totally War.
Banditry is overhauled with the expansion, with different levels of trouble in different provinces, requiring careful attention lest they raid your food too much. Plagues will be rolling around too, harming territories and traveling with armies and trade routes. And the cults of Christianity, Mithraism, and Manichaeism will helpfully construct free cult buildings as you allow followers to settle in your empire, bringing helpful bonuses, but cults will also spread their own foreign culture and disorder.
Launching alongside Empire Divided is the Power & Politics update, which will apply to regular Rome II (and most its DLC) as well as this new expansion. Creative Assembly say it "completely overhauls the politics system and adds a variety of new political actions for your campaign to give a far greater meaning to how you deal with other politics parties and government types." Completing missions and winning battles will help bolster your political position too.
While the full update is due on the 30th, Power & Politics does hit public beta testing for people who fancy a peek now. To get in, right-click on Rome II in your Steam library, select Properties, go to the Betas tab, and select "power_and_politics" from the drop-down menu. The patch notes are in that FAQ too.