On Early Adopter Bonuses and Post-launch Support
Today we’re going to look at some of the upcoming news on the Early Adopter Bonus for Total War: WARHAMMER II, and some of our thinking behind our plans for future additional content for the game after launch.
Rob Bartholomew is our Brand Director here at CA, and he sketched out some thoughts in this week’s blog.
Here at CA we’re ramping up for an unprecedented period of releases. If you’ve been following our “What the Teams are Working on” blogs you’ll know that we’ve been beavering away on a lot of different games for a while now, and you’ll also be familiar with our long-term plan to release more content and have historical and fantasy games sitting alongside each other.
We see a lot of people concerned that because we’re releasing two fantasy games in a row, we’ve forgotten about history. Not the case I can assure you. In fact we currently have more historical releases planned in the next twelve months than fantasy.
But right now, we’re about to reveal the Early Adopter Bonus for Total War: Warhammer II, keep your eyes peeled for details this week. In advance of that, I thought we’d talk a bit more about our thinking behind it and a little of our content plans for the future.
On Pre-orders & Early Adopters
We’ve spoken before about how more people playing the game at launch is massively important to us, and early adopter bonuses for people who put their money down early or in week one are very much worth us rewarding. We can spend marketing budget on advertising the game in a great many ways, but one of the best, for us and for players, is in creating extra game content.
Five years back we stopped doing pre-order content that was broken up between retailers. Now, nothing is exclusive to a single retailer and you can always get all the available content. We also listened when people complained that they couldn’t get the DLC unless they pre-ordered, so now we offer it for sale once the early adopter period is passed. As with the first Warhammer, this will be one week after Warhammer II’s launch.
We’ve also been looking at the nature of our bonus content too. We certainly want it to be worth having; novelty hats aren’t much of a reward for putting your hard-earned cash down early. But there’s also the concern that people will see it as cut content (to be clear, it never is) or perceive it as too essential to the core game to be considered an extra.
Of course we saw this with Chaos Warriors for Part 1, and we’ve thought long and hard about that. We think we’ve got the balance better this time, but we’re always looking to improve the nature of the offer. Better stuff means more people playing at launch and, as we’ve said before, it would be a shame for early adopter and pre-order bonuses to go away as that would be less game content overall.
What we’ve done is take on board the criticism of our earlier DLCs, and Chaos Warriors in particular. The early-adopter Race Pack that we’ll reveal this week will be more along the lines of the content in Bretonnia than Chaos Warriors. So, legendary lords with unique start positions/factions, lots of new units, plus unique, flavourful and strongly differentiated Race mechanics. All of which is designed to increase the replayability and distinctiveness of the new Race.
Putting a load more in makes it more costly to make of course, but don’t forget that if you’re planning to pre-order Warhammer II then whatever the price when it goes on sale you’ll get that content for free.
Don’t forget that this Race will be added to the game as AI-controlled opposition and there’s free-LC alongside this release, so expect the Old World to be pretty refreshed even if you don’t get the new DLC.
We’re also doing something new by making bonus content for a game that’s already out, and releasing it before Warhammer II launches. We think that might be interesting, so we’ll be watching carefully to see what you make of it.
On DLC for TW:Warhammer II
For part two of our trilogy, we’re planning on supporting the game well past launch, with a programme of paid for and free content. The New Content Team have already started work on designs for some great Lords Packs, and I’m personally looking forward to the first big Expansion that will add a whole new race.
We called these big DLCs ‘Campaign Packs’ in the past, with Call of the Beastmen and Realm of the Wood Elves, but we’re heard the feedback that players would prefer larger rosters instead of the mini campaigns that came with these.
So the biggest change we’ll be making with the first large DLC for Warhammer II is to swap out the mini campaign for two more additional Legendary Lords, for a total of 4 playable Lords in the pack. These four will each have their own factions, unique start positions, quests-chains, epic gear, benefits and playstyle… the whole nine yards. They’ll be playable in both the Eye of the Vortex campaign and the forthcoming combined campaign map, if you also own Warhammer 1. So twice as many play-through opportunities than before. We’ll be watching closely to see if players think this is a good trade.