New from Total War Warhammer is the discussion on settlements and the power or corruption of your your influence. Here is the latest on Total War Warhammer.

via Total War / Creative Assembly
Like many game mechanics, the building trees and all the different variables that keep your settlements running have changed a lot from what you may be used to from previous Total War games. After all, the Warhammer Fantasy Battles world is far more dark, mystical and war-orientated than any historical era on earth. Keeping that in mind, the main thing we really wanted to break away from some of the negative side-effects of the building system in previous Total War games and focus on the things that are really important.

The Warhammer Fantasy Battles world is based around conflict and most things you can build in your settlements benefit your war effort either directly, by allowing you to recruit more and better units and being able to defend your settlement better, or indirectly, by giving you more income or dealing with (or spreading) the influence of Chaos or the Vampire Counts.

There are now five levels of buildings available to construct. At the core of a settlement is the main settlement building, representing the settlement population and basic infrastructure. Before you can construct a higher level building, you will need to upgrade the settlement building itself. Upgrading the settlement also gives you an additional slot to construct buildings in and some juicy extra stats based on your Race.

Settlements are grouped into provinces, with a province capital protected by tall walls and towers and some more vulnerable villages in the countryside. The province capital can reach the highest upgrade, level 5, while the villages are limited to 3 levels each. As a result, you’ll likely want to build the income-generating buildings and lower-level recruitment buildings in the minor settlements – which are much more vulnerable to attack – and reserve the province capital slots for the high-end stuff.

Unfortunately, the settlements are not the only thing growing. The insidious Vampire Counts and the ever increasing influence of Chaos will leave their marks on the lands as well. As these races get foothold in a region, their unholy corruption leaves nothing untouched.

Empire province before corruption

Empire province after the corruption

The Dark Gods of Chaos feed off the terror their forces inflict. As such, the devastation that Chaos armies in conflict upon the mortal realm is more dreadful in nature than a roving band of brigands would when they burn down a village, as the land itself is blasted by the Chaotic forces. In places, the earth cracks open, revealing molten rivers of hellfire. Magical energies swirl around, mutating and deforming everything they touch. For instance it’s mentioned in the Lore that the Kislev city of Praag was razed by the forces of Chaos in the distant past. Few dare to speak of the maddening horrors that were found amongst the cursed ruins.

Not only will the landscape change, but people living near a source of Chaotic influence risk being corrupted as well. They will start hearing voices in their heads, tempting them with dark promises or driving them to madness. Forbidden cults will spring up and formerly law-abiding citizens could soon be at each other’s’ throats.

There are also plenty more mundane threats to your peaceful cities. There are roving Savage Orc warbands making your life miserable. Norsca (a nonplayable AI opponent) may gather a fleet of raiders and attack your coastal settlements with little warning. Every time you fail to defend a settlement, it will be seriously damaged. You'll lose an entire city level, downgrading or demolishing many of your buildings. Your foes may even leave some things behind that you'd rather not have, and in the worst case, the entire settlement may be wiped off the map completely.

There is great variation in the selection of buildings available to each Race. Greenskins for example have a very condensed building tree mainly focussed around recruiting units and heroes. They don’t care about natural resources, they just want a good fight. The Empire on the other hand is quite a bit more civilized. Like previous Total War games, there are strategic locations where they can construct buildings that yield natural resources, which you can trade with your allies to generate additional income. Dwarfs have an extensive tech tree to boost many of their income-generating buildings with later in the game, while the Empire does it the other way around in that having certain buildings allows you to research specific new technologies.

Scattered throughout the Old World are many locations of particular interest, where you can build some very unique buildings. Middenheim is famous for its Great Temple of Ulric, and Nuln for its Gunnery School. Mount Gunbad is sitting on the only known deposit of the rare mineral known as Brightstone. The Warhammer Fantasy Battles world is full of these little pieces of flavour, and players can expect to find a whole host of them in Total War: WARHAMMER.

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