For the past two decades, British game developer Creative Assembly has spearheaded a resurgence in real-time strategy (RTS) games, following the success of previous award-winning titles in the genre such as Warcraft, Age of Empires, and Command & Conquer. Starting with their launch of Shogun: Total War in June of 2000, Creative Assembly has since gone on to develop and release more than twenty titles in their “Total War” series.
The series’ most recent installment, Total War: Warhammer 3, saw its initial gameplay trailer released this past May and was immediately met with a buzz of excitement from fans. As the third game in the “Warhammer” sub-series of Total War, the game’s setting, story, and characters will take players on a tactical journey through Games Workshop’s Warhammer Fantasy fictional universe as they build their army’s forces to fight back against the never-ending onslaught of the four Daemon Princes of Chaos and their vile followers.
While those who own races from the first two “Warhammer” Total War games will have those same races unlocked for multiplayer battles in Warhammer 3, the game brings with it a handful of fresh races that have been confirmed fans can unlock and play as.
Here are the six new playable races announced for Total War: Warhammer 3:
One of the only two human races announced for the game, Warhammer’s Grand Cathay is a kingdom far to the east in the Warhammer Fantasy fictional universe’s official map, bordering the Eastern Steppes of the Chaos Wastes to its north and the Ancient Giant Lands and Ogre Kingdoms to its west.
Modeled loosely after Imperial China, Cathay’s military might is composed of, “innumerable…exotic warriors from all across the realm, including fierce hill people, strange warrior-monks and well-disciplined armies supported by heavily armoured warriors and ornate cannons.”
Cathay’s military also boasts a number of powerful wizards and other magic users, making it an overall versatile first pick for players looking to gain a strong start in their Warhammer 3 adventure.
Whereas Grand Cathay is modeled loosely after Imperial China, the Kingdom of Kislev – otherwise known as The Realm of the Ice Queen – in Warhammer Fantasy’s fictional universe is the northernmost human civilization remaining in the universe’s “Old World” and is based more off of Medieval Russia in its architecture, clothing and weapons style, as well as the attitude of its citizens.
Defined as, “a land covered in wide-open steppes and thundering icy rivers, where lonely villages stand isolated in the empty wilderness, while mighty cities rise from the landscape like great islands of stone,” Kislev’s harsh climate and frequent violent skirmishes with bordering factions makes it a place where only the strongest of both body and will can survive.
The Kingdom’s infantry are some of the toughest humans in the Warhammer Fantasy universe’s roster, and their cavalry consists of the best horse-riders of any human civilization; both of which will be desperately needed for players looking to utilize Kislev’s tenacity in their fight against the vile Chaos Princes and their worshippers to the north.
A quick aside; never in my life would I have thought that I could write an article that included the mantra of Khorne’s followers, so here it is: blood for the Blood God; skulls for the Skull Throne!
Khorne is the first of Warhammer Fantasy’s fictional universe’s four Chaos Gods, or, “or entities whose power derives from the darker emotions and deepest psychological drives of the various intelligent species” within the Warhammer series. As the daemonic deity of murder, wrath, and violence, Khorne, the blood god, is war made manifest. He is often referred to as the strongest of the four Chaos Gods by raw might alone, and his followers are some of the most feared fighters in the game’s universe for their savage bloodlust and berzerker-esque courage both in and out of battle.
If leading Khorne’s forces of mighty Bloodthirster daemons and metal-clad Juggernauts into battle sounds like it’s up your alley, then look no further than taking control of the blood god’s armies to start your Warhammer 3 campaign once the game releases later this year!
What Khorne craves in violence and blood, his daemonic brethren, the Chaos God Nurgle, seeks in disease and despair. As the daemonic deity of decay, destruction, and death – amongst other domains – Nurgle is as much a master of manipulation and corruption as he is of spreading his plague through his pox-riddled worshippers.
Unlike the other Chaos Gods, the Master of Pestilence actually revels in being followed and worshipped, as his daemonic powers also include the realms of acceptance, compassion, empathy, and rebirth, albeit these more light-hearted domains still lay under the guise of the rapturous undeath his forces find themselves perpetually trapped in.
For players looking for a less blatantly violent approach to their Warhammer 3 experience (as one may find taking control of Khorne’s forces), taking the reigns as one of Nurgle’s trusted generals and leading his armies of Plaguebearers, Nurglings, and Great Unclean Ones into battle could prove a more tactical gaming experience for diehard fans of the RTS genre.
As the Chaos God of pain, pleasure, and pride, Slaanesh and his hedonistic followers may not seem a force to be reckoned with at first glance. But when you take into consideration that his greatest rival and archetypal opposite is the blood god, Khorne, the extent of Slaanesh’s greed and pursuit of physical perfection makes him and his followers alike deeply feared throughout Warhammer’s in-game fictional universe.
Often depicted as androgynous, the Prince of Pleasure guides his worshippers to act upon whatever fleeting desires or whims they may have, using his Chaos magic to turn them into graceful warriors who harbor deeply cruel and selfish intent. Despite being the youngest of the Chaos Gods, Slaanesh is also responsible for the schism between Warhammer’s two elven races in the universe’s lore and routinely taps into numbers of Dark Elves to bolster his forces in battle.
If your play style is fitting of a daemonic army consisting of warped beings possessing unholy beauty and a dazzling-yet-overwhelming fighting style, Slaanesh’s armies will be a fantastic first dive into the world of Warhammer 3.
Last, but certainly not least, the Changer of Ways is the Chaos God of change, sorcery, and other twisted magic, making him a master of manipulation in all its forms. The extent of his deeply convoluted schemes holds no bounds, and his association with magic and sorcery only further expands Tzeentch and his worshipers’ dark toolkit in the daemonic deity’s pursuit of knowledge. Tzeentch’s interests in history, destiny, and plots only further add to his ambition.
What makes Tzeentch so threatening to the mortal races of Warhammer’s fictional universe is that, unlike the other Chaos Gods, the Great Conspirator is not often content with simply observing the threads of fate unfold and is known to regularly intervene in the affairs and lives of others if he believes there is gain to be found in doing so. True to his name, he possesses no true material or corporeal form, as he is constantly changing and shifting. Though he is also known to grant the desires or wishes of those who pray to him, the Architect of Fate is not beyond granting those wishes in the most twisted way possible.
For players who are more inclined to take down their foes through complex scheming, or who are simply looking for more of a magic-heavy and strategy-focused RTS challenge, look no further than Tzeentch’s evil sorcery-wielding armies in Warhammer 3.