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Fixing Total War Attila

Nader Hobballah / March 16, 2015 at 8:00 AM / Gaming, Opinions

I liked Total War Attila it a lot and found it to be a superb improvement over Rome 2. However, as I also stated, all is not well in the late antiquity era. There are numerous issues that I found and have continued to find playing that need to be addressed. The first patch out did quite a lot of subtle improvements, but here are the following things I have encountered that need to be taken care of and my suggestions to certain ones.

Campaign A.I.

-While the campaign A.I. is much better, in many ways, it is overly aggressive now. Case in point, while playing as a horde army, I have found the A.I. to chase me across the map, even trespassing or downright ignoring its own conflicts at home. I would find myself eventually chased down by every opponent I encounter and never able to sufficiently build up my horde or, you know, have fun. This is unbelievably frustrating as it nullifies any efforts to raid or ransack rivals. The A.I. should be modified to chase you OUT of their territory and maybe even conduct incursions into rival borders if you are using them as a base to raid into its territory. This would fix the problem while at the same time adding historical realism without compromising the fun.

-Speaking of annoying A.I. tactics, armies need to stop razing settlements so often. I understand the idea behind it. To deprive a rival of resources or finally subdue or annihilate a stubborn foe. However, the A.I. tends to go overboard, just outright razing settlements most of the time rather than occupy. Large parts of the map become wastelands after a while. It does not help that to recolonize is an expensive endeavor in already expensive circumstances (Seriously, things are very expensive in this game. Cost cut perhaps?), and occupying settlements is risky since you will need to handle the initial loss in food supply and maintenance costs. So your empire will end up, especially when faced with multiple fronts as I was as the Eastern Romans, slowly collapsing as you lose more and more settlements to razing, and while you may see your predicted income go up, your food supply gets hammered and your empire in famine. Do hordes not need to settle at some point?

Great Migrations

The abandoning/razing effect is undoubtedly cool though…

Campaign Map

-Why am I forced to engage a settlement in order for me to move if I am in its area of influence? It just wastes my campaign movement speed and risk a battle I do not want. This should be taken out unless a viable reason can be made for it.

-Having generals in order to form and keep an army is a mistake. It used to be awesome to have a regular army win a great battle and then have a general rise from the ranks. It also makes reinforcing settlements annoying since you need to send ALL of your units including your general to reinforce a settlement and risk exposing that general to an open battlefield if his movement meter is low. I understand it is about limiting spamming troops and having more ‘control’, but if there is a worry that small armies will continuously harass settlements, just up the garrison strength or have attrition penalties for small armies unless the unit is in raid mode.

Raising Forces

Even raising a general is expensive!

-Speaking of raid mode, there is a serious need for guerrilla warfare in this series. I would like to see it implemented somehow, at least in future games. The Penninsular Campaign in Napoleon did a fair job, but a better job can be done. For now, some sort of military research or policy when invading armies or hordes are encroaching in your lands whereby you have them harassed instead of waiting on a leveled up champion to do it for you. This can at least stop armies from just sitting in my lands (something horde armies love to do) and not suffer anything.

Skill Tree

-This needs to be more varied. I like that they went back to Shogun 2, but these need more variation especially between army and navy generals and between generals and governors.

Character Items

Character Items are a definite plus. MOAR plz…

Diplomacy and Politics

-Diplomacy also needs work. The great power trait for instance is too overpowered and makes dealing with factions very cumbersome as nearly all of them will hate you for being successful.

-Another diplomatic problem is subjection and puppet states. I like subjecting states and having puppets, especially since the extra income, troops, and a buffer is very handy, but they tend to break off just as quickly as you put them down. It can get draining and even slightly paranoid to keep an eye on them. At least consider having them break off in the middle of a civil war or when attacking a rival, not a few turns after you subjugate them.

-The Politics system is frankly too integrated into the game to say scrap it at this point. Just streamline it some more though I will be honest, the more I spend time with it, the less I disliked it…but for crying out loud, increase the governor limit at least.

Red Diplomacy

You will be seeing A LOT of red as you grow more powerful…


-An annoying issue I found that has actually lost me battles or at least caused me greater casualties has been roman units in testudo reforming by themselves instead of staying in line. FIX THIS!

-Armies should not be paper tigers the moment their general is either assassinated beforehand or during battles. As much as I enjoy being saved at the last minute by killing the opposing general, when it happens to me I realize how all my tactics and stratagems become irrelevant when in the end, just kill the general that always likes to charge in. Unit composition, experience, and formations should still matter.

-Unit A.I. still has issues of course. In one instance, a unit of men started forming a singular line…it was odd.

Odd Unit Movement Singular Line

Hannibal would be most displeased…

The Sassanids

-The Sassinids are the ‘easy’ big guys to play. They do not have nearly the frontiers to defend and have puppet states ready to go. Playing as them is great. Playing against them though is tedious, especially when their armies are composed of Armenian spearmen who have unbelievable morale and fighting power. So my suggestion is to one, tone down Armenian spearmen and two, give them a big threat. You know historically they did face several nomadic invasions, give them one or two of those on their eastern and northern borders to keep them in check.

Sassanid Heart

Mess-opotamia indeed…

The Huns

-Now these guys need some serious tweaking. Yes they are supposed to be the big threat. The game is named after its leader, after all. However, there are certain things that make them frustrating to face against.

-First and foremost, there needs to be a better mechanic than Attila dying multiple times before finally leaving. It is never consistent and actually hard to tell if you are beating him. Sometimes an assassination works and he is dead and other times I strike him down twice in battle and there is no feedback from the system. Until he dies, the Huns will keep respawning and it would not be SO bad if the units they had were not overpowered.

-Which brings me to my second point, Hun units are OP, specifically the Chosen Uar Warriors. I noticed these guys while fighting a river battle and using the classic chokepoint tactic. What I was stunned by was how these guys kept fighting till the absolute end. There was a single man left in a unit and he kept chasing my guys.

Chosen Uar Warrior River

The Rambo of Late Antiquity…

However, my real problem came when playing the Eastern Romans and they attacked my city. I faced three armies so I thought it best to do the tried and true tactic of urban combat that I have always done against horde sieges from previous games. I would create chokepoints and rely on my advanced infantry to hold the line and my missile and artillery units to hit their tightly packed troops. Instead my infantry got torn apart by the warriors.

What happened? Not only did these guys have excellent morale, but I later discovered that they have a +20 attack bonus versus infantry. That makes no sense especially in light of the fact that Roman infantry have historically been the superior fighters and even from a gameplay standpoint, they need to be superior in order to have a chance against so many threats. This unit needs a serious nerf or at least tone down that bonus.

I had to stop playing as the Eastern Romans despite surviving remarkable odds throughout my campaign because I realized that even with my upgraded and experienced infantry, I could not stop these guys even in siege battles and of course I had to watch as they razed my settlement and caused a famine in my already squeezed empire from battles with the eastern factions and barbarian incursions elsewhere. Which sucks because they have some great units and I had many great battles with them.


This is one of my primary complaints. Things are already expensive enough in Attila, but navies are one of the most cost-inefficient items in the game. A professional navy should not have fear an army overseas. What is the point of a navy when an army can do the job for them? Make navies less costly and/or more powerful so that I can stop getting raided by barbarian and horde armies so easily.


Not one navy was given on this day…

So these are the things I have encountered and would like to see fixed or implemented. Total War Attila is still a fun time when it works. I just hope to see it work better and more often.

So what do you think? Are these good fixes? Are there others not accounted for? Tell us below in the comments section.

Nader Hobballah

I am the current manager of the video game review page The Murfreesboro Pulse. You can check out my work over there. I enjoy PC games in general. I also delve into consoles from time to time.