The Total War series can certainly be a daunting one for someone looking from the outside in. There are a lot of complicated systems and a ton going on at any given moment. Total War: Warhammer III may be the most complicated of the bunch. No worries, though, check out this Total War: Warhammer 3 Guide for Beginners to get you started.
If you have zero experience with Total War at all or it has been a while, play the prologue. It does a fantastic job of explaining all of the many systems in the game and the basics of how to play a Total War game, as well as the next level insanity Warhammer adds on top. So if you're here to learn the very basic basics, go play that prologue instead and return here before you start your first campaign.
Total War: Warhammer 3 Combat Tips
Combat is by far the most complicated part of Total War, but it is also the most rewarding. With literally hundreds of different unit types in the game, it can be quite daunting. Thankfully, all units fall into some base categories: Infantry (swords and spears), Ranged, Cavalry, Large Units, Flying, Siege Weapons, and Heroes/Lords. Everything will fall into one of those, each unit just has some unique properties to it.
Start with simple formations for combat. The most basic is just to set your infantry up front, your archers behind them, siege in the very back, and whatever else on the sides. When you're starting out, don't get too crazy and just naturally experiment from this basic formation. You can always play that same battle over as a rematch, meaning you can try out all sorts of formations in the same scenario.
The most important thing to remember is to protect your flanks. Don't let the enemy get a free run to the sides of your army and protect your ranged units from an enemy getting to them. If an enemy does, they will be engaged and not shoot down folks for you.
Use the terrain to your advantage as well. It's all mostly common sense, like the high ground being a better place as units tire themselves up climing go to you and your ranged has clearer shots. There are some choke points and other impassable terrain you can use concentrate where the fighting will happen as well. Always take a look around the map for the most beneficial terrain.
How to use cavalry in Total War
Most units will be self explanatory in how you use them, but cavalry is something that a lot of new people have an issue with. Cavalry are just quick hitting units that move really fast on the battlefield. They are not meant to absorb hits or get into prolonged engagements but to challenge the flanks and formations of your enemy.
Use the speed of cavalry to get around armies to expose their weaknesses, take your attack, then get out to do it all over again. A sudden charge on a poorly defended flank, or most satisfying of all their archers, can be the deciding factor in success.
Keep an eye out for any spear wielding enemies, however. They have a big bonus against cavalry and will devastate your units. On the flip side, placing spearmen on likely cavalry attack points is a great way to defend against cavalry as well.
Which units do I recruit?
That's a complicated question largely dependent on the army you're using. To start simply as you learn the game, just keep things balanced. Allow your intuition to guide you. Common sense will get you far.
A quick basic army with infantry, maybe those with shields, up front with some archers behind you is always going to be effective. Making sure you have enough infantry to protect it all is great. Add in some cavalry to spice it up some, and then start picking out some of the more unique units to that faction. Figure out what they do, read the quick breakdowns to find out what that unit is strong/weak against, and build out an army from there.
Regardless of the composition of your army, it is important to fill out all 20 slots of your army right away. This will be immensely helpful in quickly going through early battles as you establish your main foothold in whatever area you are in. You are given the option to auto-resolve some battles (which saves a ton of time) and the game will compare the two armies' relative strength to see who wins. Obviously, more units is the most basic way to have a more powerful army early on.
You will have plenty of opportunities to change up what you have or replace what you don't like over the course of playing, so don't worry about having so many choices available at the beginning.
Total War: Warhammer 3 Heroes and Lords can be game changers
There are a ton of different hero units with all kinds of unique mechanics attached to them. Some may just simply be powerhouse units that can deal out a ton of melee damage or soak up a ton of it. Those have fantastic strategic uses. Send your tank to deal with the enemy's big lord/hero to soak up hits. Some can devastate your units as a one man army.
Experiment with what you have and read all the spells you have at your disposal. Any AoE spells can devastate enemy armies, just make sure to not kill your units in the process too.
Just read what they can do, look through their skill tress, and the potential for those units will become immediately apparent.
Keep an eye out for going up against Legendary Lords, however. Think of those as souped-up heroes with crazy abilities and stats. These are the named characters with unique models that are important to the lore and story of Warhammer 3. You're main lord you start with will be one, too, so make sure to take an extra long look at their skill tree to see what they can do. They likely have some things unique to them that lets them affect the battlefield in a big way.
Total War: Warhammer 3 Diplomacy Tips
Early on, as you get your bearings around the campaign map, take a look at the different factions around you. Take note of who is friendly and who you have to keep an eye on as a potential enemy that will go to war with you in the future. Your neighbors can wreck any plans you have, so keeping some diplomatic relationship is important.
If you have quite a few hostile factions around you, finding a quick ally to set up a defensive alliance with will be super helpful. If someone goes to war with you, your ally will join in and help fend them off, hopefully. Having those allies can sometimes deter enemies from attacking as well, so identify who you think will be the most helpful and get a deal made early.
Trading in Warhammer 3
Trading is a quick way to boost your income in Warhammer 3. Using the quick deal option in the diplomacy menu, you can see the factions you can immediately trade with right away. Get those set up, because it's basically free money you'd be missing out on otherwise. Make sure to periodically check back for available trading partners, as that will open up the more you explore the campaign map.
Reliability is Important
Let's say you plan on going to war with some faction. They are in your way or have some land that you want. What if they are your ally you have an established alliance with? Well, you could just go to war with them and take whatever they have if you want. If you do, your reliability will take a hit, however.
If your reliability is low, factions will not want to deal with you -- at least, it will make it much more difficult to get a deal done. Over time, it will return (assuming you don't betray anyone else), but it will take a while. Make sure to weigh the options carefully.
Total War: Warhammer 3 Building Tips
All factions have their own unique set of buildings but use the same mechanics to grow out your empire. Warhammer 3 is all about war, right? Well, maintaining armies takes a ton of money, so making sure you have a robust economy is very important.
Warhammer 3 Income Tips
Trading, as explained above is important, and the value of your trade is affected by the trade goods you have on offer. Some of your settlements will have unique resources on offer, like timber, furs, gold, etc., so make sure to construct the buildings that produce your resources. The more unique resources you have to trade, the more money you will get via trade deals.
Some buildings will just generate income themselves, but pay attention to any that mention increasing a certain percentage of income generated by a certain building, resource, etc. As you gain more settlements over the course of a game, those buildings become more and more valuable as you will many of the same types of buildings throughout your empire, so something that affects a percentage increase steadily grows as your empire does.
Another quick way to get gold early on is to go out and fight enemy armies. There's usually something around, and you are awarded gold for victories and can choose to get even more if you want. It's a good way to get a quick influx of cash for whatever you might need, like the next upgrade for a building.
Warhammer 3 Growth
Growth is also incredibly important to building your empire. Plenty of buildings affect your growth, and getting those set up immediately will let you build more things later on. Growth leads to a bigger population, and upgrading the main structure in a settlement requires a certain population level. The amount of buildings slots you have go up and the level of upgrades available for structures you already have are all tied to that main structure's level, so upgrading it is vital.
The more growth you have, the bigger your population will be, which will allow you to increase your income, unlock more powerful units as you go forward, and more. Growth is the biggest factor in progression. More powerful units are locked behind upgraded buildings or those only buildable at certain settlement levels, and the only way you can get those buildings is through upgrading a settlement through its population growth.
Warhammer 3 Campaign Objectives
The campaign map in Warhammer 3 is a chaotic one, and there's some things that may not be readily apparent. The objective is to gather the four souls from the realms of chaos, but there's some things you should know before you go in.
First, only your main lord you start the game with can actually enter the rifts to get into the realms of chaos. Make sure they have all of your best units and a full 20 stack of them before you go in.
The rifts are only open for a limited time, so you need to get in one as soon as possible. On top of that, it is a race to the soul, as only one soul per realm every time a rift is open is available. So, if you're making your way through the Slaanesh realm and someone beats you to the soul, you will just get kicked out and have to start all over again the next time the rifts open.
Going into rifts or the portals fond within those rifts will take all of the movement for your lord that turn, so make sure to move them around to whatever you want before then.
Land of the Plaguelord (Nurgle)
The attrition of your army is no joke here, so don't even try to move around without being in the encampment stance. Yes, that will make it take forever to get through the realm, but it is the only way your army will survive in the end.
Realm of the Sorcerer (Tzeentch)
When you defeat an army here, you can choose to have a sigil revealed as a reward for winning in addition to all the other things. Definitely take this option, as knowing which teleporter goes where is very helpful. Each area within the realm also has a spot you can use to replenish your army completely (or reveal more sigils), so make us of that as well.
Dark Prince's Realm (Slaanesh)
Mostly straight forward, just make your way down the concentric circles to the center. Remember that going into a portal will end your movement that turn.
Every time you go down a circle, Slaanesh will make you an offer. You can take it and be removed from the realm, but don't think they are free. You'll have some penalties, like a permanent increase to Slaanesh corruption or something like that. Just know ythere may be some unforeseen consequences the offer doesn't mention.
Blood God's Domain (Khorne)
If you've ever heard or read "blood for the blood god!" this is who they're talking about. For Khorne, you just need to kill as many enemies as fast as possible to be deemed worthy of trying to get the soul. There are some spots on the map you can pick up some good weapons to equip to a hero or lord, so those may be worth checking out. Note: you lose those weapons when you leave that realm.
Hopefully you found this helpful and good luck out there!