Total War: Arena Impressions
Total War: Arena is a massive multiplayer free to play game where teams of ten players each command their own armies within a large scale war. It's all about balance and strategy as players attempt to flank, defend or control portions of the map. It's a nice hybrid taking the core system from Wargaming's World of Tanks and combining that with the gameplay of Total War. This is almost too perfect of a match as World of Tanks has a solid progression system and it applies well within the unit rankings. Within the game there are currently three core factions including the Romans, the Greeks and the Barbarians.
Each of these factions has a number of heroes from iconic moments in history and that helps build a more realistic battlefield. There's a good attention to detail within general play as well with very realistic formations and combat. The game does provide customization options as well for your various troop types. You can get everything from standard pikeman infantry to cavalry or even ancient artillery. Each tool of war has advantages and also disadvantages that can at any time drastically change the tide of war.
Focusing on battles, these arenas of conflict are massive and exciting. It's always been a great concept of having ever larger selections of units and to see it unfold is beautiful. With so many separate armies engaging one another any small change in war can make a difference and it really helps to see groups working as one. Some might move to flank, others will defend key points across the historical maps and another player might focus on artillery support. You get a good amount of variation here as well since each faction provides different benefits within their troop rank and it's all about finding what works best. I found great joy in watching a couple last troops get pushed forward and then see a cavalry charge finish them off from the opposing direction.
I got to see a number of matches in play with some high ranked units and to get a good idea of the progression/unlock system. This was all displayed during my time at Pax West 2017 and I was very happy with the results. I like RTS, I enjoy history and seeing this combination between Total War with Wargaming's free to play structure is satisfying. There's a lot of complexity here for the strategists and I'm sure this will be one of those games to watch out for. Being a free to play in closed beta at the current moment, Founder's Parks are available and eventually the game will launch as a free title with no window of release being mentioned.
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