Warhammer Games for 2019

Battlefleet Gothic: Armada II is a real-time strategy game with the space fleets of the 40k universe. You can choose from the Imperial Navy, Space Marines, Adeptus Mechanicus, Orks, Eldar, Dark Eldar, Tyranids, Chaos, and more. Nearly every faction is represented in the game. There are three story campaigns available, which also have a co-op feature. The multiplayer has both skirmishes and ranked play with 1v1 and 2v2 brackets. The game is being developed by Tindalos Interactive, and published by the familiar Focus Home Interactive.

Release date: 1/24/2019

Warhammer Quest II: The End Times is a turn based strategy dungeon crawler set in the Warhammer fantasy universe. Battle across different regions, settlements, and dungeons with your party. You can select from 12 different heroes to build your perfect party. Warhammer Quest II: The End times is being developed and published by Perchang.

Release date: 1/30/19

Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Champions is one of two card games for Warhammer. Champions is free to play, and set in the Age of Sigmar Era. Both PvP and versus AI options are available in game. You can choose from the four grand alliances: Order, Chaos, Destruction and Death. Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Champions is developed and published by PlayFusion.

Release date: 2/19/19

The Horus Heresy: Legions is the second of two card based games set in the Warhammer universe. Legions is free to play, and takes place during the Horus Heresy era. Build your own Legion of Space Marines as you explore the origin story of Warhammer 40,000. You can play in PvP and versus AI. The game is being developed and published by Everguild Ltd.

Release date: 3/28/2019

Warhammer: Chaosbane is the equivalent of a love child between Diablo 3 and Vermintide 2. This Warhammer game is a top down dungeon crawler, where you play as a – stop me when you’ve heard this – Soldier of the Empire, a melee master Dwarf, and an Elf Huntress. A fourth class is actually kind of new, it’s a high elf wizard instead of the human version. You can play solo or online with up to four players in co-op. The game is being developed by Eko Software and published by Bigben Interactive.

Release date: 6/4/2019

Necromunda: Underhive Wars is a turn-based tactical game with RPG elements. Experience street gang combat set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. There will also be a conquest mode for a more 4x experience. The game is being developed by Rogue Factor, and published by Focus Home Interactive. It will release on PC, PS4, and XBox.

Release date: 2019

Unknown Warhammer Games 2019


According to a recent press release from video game publisher Focus Home Interactive, there are three surprises for Warhammer fans yet to be announced in 2019. The first image featuring Streum On Studio is related to a new shooter game. The second image from Gasket Games is a strategy game, and is being created by some of the developers from Dawn of War and Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak. The final image from Saber Interactive had no other details beyond being a Warhammer IP.

Upcoming Warhammer DLCs for 2019

Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr is on a bit of a rampage, having released 7 DLCs in the first 3 months 2019. These DLCs include cosmetic items like footsteps, small space station type areas to explore, and a special quest that rewards a cosmetic item. Prices range from $1.99 to $2.99 USD. Martyr is another Diablo 3-esque top down experience, but this time set in the Warhammer 40k universe.

Warhammer 40,000: Gladius releases Tyranids upon the galaxy! Play as a ‘nid in this amazing 4x sandbox game, you can click here for my review of Gladius. Releases 1/15/2019.

Total War: WARHAMMER II – The Prophet & The Warlock DLC brings a first to the Warhammer II franchise, LIZARDMEN DLC FINALLY. Skaven also get a new legendary lord and various units. Releases 4/17/2019.

Warhammer: Vermintide 2 – Winds of Magic is the first expansion for Vermintide 2. The Beastmen join the end times, as does another game mode and another difficulty level. Our heroes are given more weapons and more levels to improve their chances of victory. Releases 2019.

REVIEW: The Division 2

The Division 2 launched on March 15, 2019. It is developed and published by Ubisoft. The game is set in modern day Washington DC USA, after the outbreak of a deadly virus that decimated the population. As a Division Agent, you must fight to restore America to its former glory!

The Division 2 is a third person shooter available on PC and Console as a full AAA title for $59.99 MSRP. Additonal monetization is present with cosmetic item purchases from an in-game store. The Division 2 is initially available through the Epic Store and Uplay launcher. Epic Store exclusivity lasts one year, after which Steam sales will begin. It’s a “looter shooter”, and a very close copy of the first Division game. It also plays similar to Ghost Recon: Wildlands.

The game offers solo and co-op gameplay with up to four players, the content scales to the number in your group. PvP content is asymmetrical and can have teams of up to four players. Combatants engage in open world warfare in certain “dark zone” areas that are clearly designated.

I’d rate this game a medium level of commitment. It took me 33 hours to hit max level, which is about an hour per level. MMORPGs always have a gear treadmill, and this game is no different. Outside of the PvP side of things though, you can stay competitive without much min-maxing. You can just focus on collecting which gear set combos you want, which will probably take a little grinding. Luckily this is a buy-and-play title, so no monthly subscriptions to keep you tied to the game.

The music and sound effects are pretty standard. The music is the same as Division 1. Gunshot sounds are fine, very realistic sounding. Enemy chatter is a little repetitive, but entertaining. It breaks the immersion (in a funny way) to hear the gang members complain about you “healing”. I doubt that’s ever been something said in a combat situation ever in the history of the world. I feel like this is lazy writing, or at least rushed to fit into the voice actor’s timeline.

Graphics in The Division 2 are incredible. The environment is where this really shines. The fallen cityscape looks fantastic, and the random weather effects are on point.

The Division 2 is a third person shooter with a cover mechanic. The cover system is very important to surviving. Your traditional “looter shooter” where you kill tons of mobs and loot tons of weapons and gear, then socket it up for maximum effect. You run around in a persistent open world, fighting small-to-medium groups of enemies. Some enemies patrol, others protect objectives. The “dungeons” are seamless too, part of the open world.

Progression in the game is based on gear level. All your gear is averaged out into your gear score. Loot drops a few levels around your current gear score, which incrementally increases your score with each upgrade. There is a huge variety of weapons, tech abilities, and specializations at end game that offer huge variety in playstyles.

Loot, glorious loot! Loot drops aflood from the heavens in this game. The cosmetic drops are a little stingy, but the stat gear is plentiful. On a positive note, The Division 2 has a rare benefit of being able to loot the cosmetic items sold in the store. There’s an enormous amount of different weapons, including some fun stuff like Thompson machine guns. More are planned to be added too.

I like the seamless world. You don’t get the MMORPG feel of “dungeons”, all the content just feels like a steady stream of consciousness. Your rhythm is only interrupted if you get caught by a wandering patrol. Which leads to another great point, the world feels alive. Patrols are not only random, but they can travel considerably long distances. The (foul) language adds to it, as well as the graphics. It’s a great sandbox to play in.

One of the best features in The Division 2 is the ability to play the game with any amount of people. Solo, two, three, or a full group of four. The game scales to the number you have, not a number you need.

The UI is incredibly clunky. Digging in to see your weekly clan progress for example is buried 3 menus deep. The little ! notification icons are super annoying. It’s sometimes hard to find which item has the little ! tag, which indicates it is un-clicked. There is no clear all feature either, so you have to continue digging and manually click off each notification. Otherwise you’ll have constant unread notifications on your main menu. Additionally, daily/weekly mission-quests have to be manually assigned. I’ve missed assigning them more than once only to have to repeat the activity. Going through the UI is definitely a low point in the game.

There are also a fair amount of one-shot kill possibilities. If you’re a solo player, or not communicating well as a team, you can be surprised easily. Additionally, the cover mechanic can get frustrating. Clicking to leave a cover point, or trying to double-click to dodge near a cover point, can sometimes feel “sticky” and totally ignore what you intended to do.

The scaling system is a final complaint of note. You can group up with players of varying levels, but the current scaling isn’t viable. The lower level players rank up towards the highest level player, but are still not tough enough to handle the content. It takes very few hits to drop a low level player, especially when the level disparity is greater. It’s still an improvement over the first Division game, and once it gets fixed, should actually turn up in the pro column.

The Division 2 has a ‘World Tier’ system to designate difficulty. This system feels kind of pointless as you can crack all three in maybe 4 hours, less if you have a higher level friend that can drop you spare gear. You progress through ‘world tiers’ by completing two invasions then one stronghold. The strongholds have gear level requirements, forcing you to farm them and the invasions until you reach the needed gear level. It’s not really a good or bad thing, World Tiers just don’t seem to have any other purpose than a timesink. This isn’t really a complaint as it doesn’t negatively impact gameplay, it’s just an odd way to handle managing difficulty in my opinion.

All in all, I feel mostly positive about The Division 2. After seeing a pretty unimpressive announcement at E3 last year, I wasn’t hopeful. I like The Division 2 more than I thought I would though. Logging in and running around with friends, vacuuming up loot is really fun. The Division 2 sets a number of “next gen” bars for other games to hurdle, and I look forward to seeing them continue to push the bars ever higher as the game moves foward. The open world is truly a great accomplishment from both a visual and technical perspective. I think the biggest issue to work on is the level scaling for grouping different level players. Otherwise, I think The Division 2 has a bright future in store. I look forward to checking out Tidal Basing Stronghold, the big 8 player raid in the Invasion: Battle for D.C. update that launches today.

Beginner Tips for Vermintide 2

My relationship with Vermintide has been interesting to say the least. I hated it initially. Playing with high-level players who liked to grab all the grimoires made my e-life miserable, and I stopped playing it for several months. Once I was able to feel my way around the game at my own pace, I grew to love it. I pieced together a few strategies that have really improved my game. I went from lowest performance on the scoreboard, to playing the carry quite often. I want to share what I’ve learned with you now, so you too can go from ZERO to HERO like me! And so we can improve the performance of the average pug.

Stay together. STAY. TOGETHER. Now say it out loud! I cannot tell you how many times I have facepalmed when a member of the group runs off solo, then gets surrounded and swarmed. Then the team dies trying to reach and revive them. Never be alone! On the rare occasion you need to split the group, split into pairs. The game isn’t meant for solo play whatsoever, so don’t try to be a lone hero. Use the buddy system! This is especially challenging with PuGs, but just calmly plead your case in chat and it’ll go over better than abusing your caps lock. Watching each other’s backs is a core part of the gameplay.

Vermintide is all about the swarms. The best strategy to handle said swarms is to fight them at a choke point. Wait for them under an archway, or at the dead end of a cave tunnel. In the middle of the street, you can be attacked from 360 degrees. When you drag those skaven swarms to a choke point, you only have to worry about 180 degrees. It’s even more beneficial if you can keep your back to a wall, but a little team coordination can assign defenders to the rear if need be.

Don’t do what I did. Use the materials from breaking down your unused weapons! These materials are only useful if you, y’know, use them. Fighting with underleveled weapons can make things unnecessarily difficult for yourself. Figuring out which weapons you are good at can be a little difficult, just play with a weapon for several games before deciding if you like it or not. Changing game-to-game doesn’t get you a good average performance. When you’ve finally settled on something, keep crafting your weapon of choice with each new level. Tinker with upgrades and rerolls too. Additionally, don’t keep a big inventory of weapons you don’t want or need. Break them down regularly to give you an idea of just how many materials you have at your disposal.

Learn to block, dodge, and riposte. This alone, more riposte than anything, improved my performance the most. Kerillian with the glaive is the character I learned on, but it translated onto my Kruber main just fine. To riposte, when you want to do a push, keep your attack button/key held down during the push. You’ll riposte after the push is complete, attacking your target before you resume blocking. This helps thin down the hordes of enemies even while you’re on the defensive. This single-handedly increased my experience more than anything else. All of these take a little practice, so play on lower difficulty until you’ve mastered them. Once you do, it’s like a whole new game!

Now you’re ready to face the Warhammer end times once again! It’s all about basic things, but I overlooked these things in my eagerness to get into the game itself. It was the drastic improvement after doing these things that really motivated me to write this. It’s easy to miss the forest for the trees with game mechanics sometimes. Hopefully now though, you can keep swinging and not miss anything!

Warhammer 40,000: Gladius – Relics of War Review

A Warhammer 40k Strategy Sandbox Game

Back in November 2018, I was looking for Warhammer games to play for my Twitch stream Christmas event. I recalled Gladius had released earlier in the year, but also recalled it was a turn based, 4x game. Generally speaking, there are very few 4x or turn based games that I like, Stellaris being one of the 4x exceptions. Turn based combat turns really break up the flow of the game for me. My viewers love some strategy games though, and the Steam reviews for Gladius were great. I thought it was worth taking a chance on since it was also a Warhammer 40k game, so I contacted the publisher Slitherine games, and was able to get a key. Boy am I glad I did!

I fell in love with Gladius immediately. The things I find tedious about 4x games are non-existent, and the gameplay flows very well. Warhammer 40,000 Gladius is basically a 4x sandbox game. There is no preset campaign, but there is a questline option that nudges you in a general direction. You can toggle it off and do your own thing if you so desire, but it is a bare bones questline. I find it pretty helpful though, and enjoy following the the ‘story’ as it unfolds. Gladius is very much a play your way kind of game. The map settings are highly customizable, down to how many terrain obstacles you want. Other examples of settings include map size, wildlife density, resource density, allow/deny certain DLC, biome density (various biome choices per map), and much, much more.

Gladius is streamlined for combat, and it really shines in its presentation. The units look absolutely phenomenal, and the animations are fun to zoom in and watch. I particularly enjoy queuing up several units quickly, and watching their movements and attacks unfold without pause. The soundtrack fits really well, and adds to the grimdark ambiance. Much like the Warhammer 40,000 universe, this game is all about war. There is no diplomacy, and nothing to keep your bolters and chainswords silenced for long. The turns happen very quickly, though I imagine that is in large part because I play against AI. This means no waiting on AFK players on the enemy team! I just have to wait for AFK players on my own team…

My experience in Gladius is with both Space Marines and Tyranids. I’ve played several multiplayer games with 4-5 people, and it has been very stable. I’ve played exclusively versus the AI and find it quite adequate. To this point I’ve clocked over 20 hours in the game, and I’m still ready for more! Keep this in mind as you continue reading.

Time for some cons, and there are a few. The slider on your faction Research bar is sort of invisible. It’s the same color as the menu, so it’s really hard to find. If this bothers you too, you can just use your mouse scroll wheel. Took me an entire campaign to figure that out! A more obvious pain is the volume control. Bolter effects sound great, but don’t scale smoothly with the camera zoom. They are incredibly loud unless you zoom out to a point where you can’t appreciate the animations as much. A final complaint would be that game saves are voided with version changes. Since I don’t play a lot of large scale strategy games, this is something new for me. I’ve lost my first two Space Marine campaign attempts, only having the game for as many months. Admittedly my streaming schedule isn’t the most conducive to finishing games quickly.

The quick game pace in Warhammer 40,000 Gladius, and the truly remarkable graphics, are the big sellers for this game in my mind. The one big wishlist item I have would be a camera lock, so I can watch the enemy turn unfold in rapid succession without any mouse or keyboard work required. It’s a pretty near perfect game, and something I hope Proxy Studios, the developer, builds on. The game itself retails for $39.99 MSRP, and DLC ranges from $4.99 to $14.99 for in-game DLC. There are wallpapers and other type DLCs available as well. Gladius has completely changed my outlook on 4x and turn based strategy games. I would definitely hold it up as one of the best Warhammer 40k games available in 2019.

I’m Excited For The Epic Store But…

Recently, Epic Games, makers of the Unreal Engine, unveiled their online digital games store. This store aims directly at the ever popular Steam, and takes a pretty hefty swing with it’s ultra-generous profit sharing for developers. If your game is developed on Unreal Engine, it’s even more generous. At a glance, this is good for developers and gamers. It’s good for developers because money. Just how good for gamers it will be is the big question. The over arching ‘competition is good for the consumer’ mantra certainly applies, but right now I wouldn’t call it competition.

Epic Games has a long road ahead of them. They have a lower user base, a smaller library of games, and almost no ‘features’ to offer. This is certainly to be expected at the beginning of any new online store front. So far Epic Games is offering free games every two weeks for next year. This is good for gamers because they get free games, and it’s good for Epic Games and developers because it brings people to the platform. Several games are also launching exclusively on the Epic Games Store, the biggest title so far being Ubisoft’s The Division II. Given this type of progress is taking place, I’m inclined to believe their progress will continue. But. The longer their improvements take, the worse it becomes for gamers.

Customer review systems aren’t easy to implement. You need something that’s flexible, and that can change over time to reflect major patches and content changes. Only being able to rate a game at one point in it’s development is a minor help at best. This is best illustrated by the ‘review bomb’ practice. Games get review bombed because developers did something their customers didn’t like. If the reason has merit behind it, the review bombings will continue until conditions improve (For example, adding in microtransactions a month after the game launches). If the reason is petty or temporary, the bad reviews will fade away pretty quick, or gamers can take the time to read the negative reviews and judge for themselves whether to continue their purchase or not (For example, unstable servers on launch day for a massively multiplayer online game).

Thankfully Steam has two categories, a lifetime rating, and a shorter-term rating. I think this is a good system to deal with review bombs. I personally have played games despite review bombs, although I’d say that most of the time I have regretted it later. Epic Games will need to come up with at least as good a system, if not copy it completely. Of course if they do copy it, they’ll get raked over the coals, so there’s that too.

Personally, I think Epic Games will add a customer review system to their store. They’ve made lots of good decisions with Fortnite and the Unreal Engine. I think they understand the value of a customer’s opinion. Not having a customer review system would just be so colossally anti-consumer that I think they would either be brow-beaten into it, or outright fail in their endeavor. I want them to succeed though. Steam has been pretty stagnant as far as innovating. Not that they don’t offer a good service, I just feel like they could do a whole lot more. I’m not against Steam either. Goodness knows I’m tired of downloading new launchers, but if Steam and the Epic Games Store push each other to improve, I think it’s a win for everyone.

Update

I recently found this quote from an Epic Games Store representative. Apparently, user reviews will be implemented only if the developer opts-in.

I think this is an incredibly bad sign. What will stop a developer from opting in only if they’re getting good reviews? Opting out when they’re about to implement micro transactions? This literally has no upside for gamers, and gives no incentive for developers to be fair. I’m going to have to think long and hard about whether I want to support this platform in the future.