The Festag Update Beta


CA KingGobbo
December 11 2018

The Festag Update Beta brings a number of improvements, changes, fixes, and balance changes to WARHAMMER II, along with a major skills update for the Lords and Legendary Lords of the Old World that appear in WARHAMMER II’s Mortal Empires campaign.

Characters of the Old World now get Red Skill Trees comparable to their New World counterparts in WARHAMMER II, plus numerous tweaks and changes to their existing skills, traits and abilities. Character mounts have also been standardised to unlock at specific ranks. These are all detailed below.

Alongside a fresh balance pass for specific battlefield units, the Festag Update Beta also features some important bugfixes, including a fix for a crash that occurred when a Vampire Coast faction owning Pirate Coves was destroyed, and a fix that ensures Exhaustion is applied after a Hero has established a Pirate Cove.

Spectator Mode has also been updated with new functionality. Again, please see below for full details.

Update 22/1/2019: Please see the Festag Beta Update: Updated! blog post for all the latest additions to the Festag Update.


It is highly recommended that you start a new campaign after opting into this beta. Since a large number of skills have been reworked, any points invested in skills prior to the Festag Update are likely to be lost in an existing save game.

We already have an existing beta named public_beta, so to avoid confusion, this will be renamed and we’ll have two betas that can be selected from:

  • norsca_beta – This is for those who wish to remain on the most recent update prior to the Festag update, in order to continue with existing multiplayer save games (which will not be compatible with the Festag Update) or campaigns with existing Legendary Lord skills choices you wish to preserve. This beta was previously known as “public_beta”.
  • coast_beta – This provides the Festag Update, comprising all the new content, fixes, changes and balance updates detailed below.

Instructions for opting into and downloading the update are as follows:

  • In your Steam games library, right-click Total War: WARHAMMER II and select Properties.
  • In the Properties window, select the BETAS tab.
  • Select coast_beta from the list.
  • Total War: WARHAMMER II will automatically update to the Festag Beta Update.

Old World Character Skills Update

Red Skill Tree Update

This major update revamps the Red Skill Trees of the Old World Lords and Legendary Lords in Mortal Empires, adding a host of new skills and updating existing ones to be on par with their New World counterparts. Certain legacy Red Skills have been moved up to the Lords’ Yellow (character) Skill Tree, or have been compressed down into single or double-tier skills now, giving players more bang-for-buck with their skill point expenditure.

The new Red Skill Trees now look like this:

Click to enlarge

Skills changed to single or double tier (those now single-tier have old tier 3 effects applied)

  • Imperial Special Forces (Karl Franz)
  • The Emperors Men (Karl Franz)
  • Heroic Knightly Band (Karl Franz)
  • Majestic Enforcer (Karl Franz)
  • Stronger Than Steel (Balthasar Gelt)
  • New Formulations (Balthasar Gelt)
  • Additional Orb of Sorcery (Balthasar Gelt)
  • Renowned Scholar (Balthasar Gelt)
  • Elite Enforcer (Thorgrim)
  • Fire Support (Thorgrim)
  • Advanced Forging (Thorgrim)
  • Slayer (Ungrim)
  • Slayer King (Ungrim)
  • Dragon Slayer (Ungrim)
  • Daemon Slayer (Ungrim)
  • Black Orc Wrecking Ball (Grimgor)
  • Bigger ‘n’ ‘Arder (Grimgor)
  • Imposing Presence (Grimgor)
  • Vitamin-Shrooms (Grimgor)
  • Earthshaking Order (Azhag)
  • Insane Visions (Azhag)
  • Not Orcy Enuff! (Azhag)
  • Wild Abandon (Azhag)
  • Unholy Fury (Ghorst)
  • Unnatural Toughness (Ghorst)
  • Uncanny Resilience (Ghorst)
  • The Swords of Chaos (Archaon)
  • Chosen of the Gods (Archaon)
  • Abyss Forged Armour (Archaon)
  • The Chosen Ones (Archaon)
  • Knights of the Herald (Archaon)
  • Distinguished Champions (Archaon)
  • Toughened Skin (Kholek)
  • Giant Killer (Kholek)
  • Seismic Shock (Kholek)
  • Unearthly & Anomalous (Kholek)
  • Favoured Son (Sigvald)
  • Marked by Slaanesh (Sigvald)
  • Self-Obsessed (Sigvald)
  • Stylish (Sigvald)
  • Driven by Lust (Sigvald)
  • Born to Serve (Sigvald)
  • Crown of Horns (all Beastmen Lords)
  • Slug-Skin (all Beastmen Lords)
  • Rune of the True Beast (all Beastmen Lords)
  • Man-Bane (all Beastmen Lords)
  • Something Wicked This Way Comes (Malagor)
  • Unholy Power (Malagor)
  • Crowfather (Malagor)
  • Lance of Bretonnia (Bretonnia Lords)

Skills Moved from Red Tree to the Yellow (Character) Line

  • Brass-Lunged (Empire Lords  – except Karl Franz)
  • Hold the Line! (Empire Lords)
  • Blessed Holy War (Volkmar and Arch Lector Lords)
  • War Eternal (Volkmar and Arch Lector Lords)
  • The Work of God (Volkmar and Arch Lector Lords)
  • Lord of the Deeps (Dwarf Lords)
  • Obstinacy (Dwarf Lords)
  • Brass-Lunged (Dwarf Lords)
  • Tunnel Boss (Greenskin Lords)
  • Bellower (Greenskin Lords)
  • Betta Night Sneakin’ (Skarsnik, Night Goblin Warboss and Goblin Great Shaman Lords)
  • Nastier Squigs (Skarsnik, Night Goblin Warboss and Goblin Great Shaman Lords)
  • Savage Riders (Wurrzag)
  • Real Savage Boyz (Wurrzag)
  • Aura of Dark Majesty (Vampire Counts Lords)
  • Dark Pact (Vampire Counts Lords)
  • Hearts of Iron (Chaos Lords)
  • Voice of the Dark Gods (Chaos Lords)
  • Voice of the Dark Gods (Beastmen Lords)
  • Fuelled by Blood (Beastmen Lords)
  • Blood Lust (Beastmen Lords)
  • Rain of Spines (Wood Elf Lords)
  • Shifting Winds (Wood Elf Lords)
  • Virtue of Empathy (Bretonnia Lords)
  • Lionhearted (Bretonnia Lords)
  • Basic Training (Bretonnia Lords)
  • Aspiring Knights (Alberic)
  • Champions of Bordeleaux (Alberic)
  • Blessed Water (Fay Enchantress)
  • Secrets of the Grail (Fay Enchantress)
  • Voice of the Dark Gods (Norsca Lords)
  • Juggernauts of the Sarl (Wulfrik)
  • Fervent Creatures (Wulfrik)
  • Primordial Masters (Throgg)
  • Cyclopean Fiends (Throgg)

Miscellaneous Skill and Trait changes:

  • All Beastmen Lords now have the 4 skills: Crown of Horns, Slug-Skin, Rune of the True Beast, Man-Bane
  • Wood Elf red tree skills: The Eye of Kurnous, Sight Beyond Sight, Call of the Woods and Howl of the Forest have all been moved out of the red skill tree and are now separate from other army buffs
  • Increased Ghorst Unique skill unlock rank to rank 12 (up from rank 6)
  • Changed all Lord Personal Combat skills to be 2 tier skills instead of 3 (all factions) – (Heroes are unchanged)
  • Defeat Mannfred trait Moonslaker (-50% from Vampiric attrition) now only applies to Lords army instead of factionwide – so it can no longer be stacked to make all armies immune to Vampiric attrition
  • Karl Franz Leader of Men skill now +50% aura size (up from 25%)

Changed Vampire Count Bloodline Lords Skills

The Unliving Host

  • Effect was: MA, MD, Speed and Charge for Zombies Skeleton and Crypt Ghouls
  • Effect now: MA and MD for Zombies Skeleton, Crypt Ghouls and Grave guard

Call of the Night

  • Effect was: Speed and Charge for Fell Bats, Dire Wolves and Black Knights
  • Effect now: Speed and Charge for Fell Bats and Dire Wolves

Waking Dead

  • Effect was: MA, MD, Speed and Charge for Blood Knights and Grave Guard
  • Effect now: MA and Armour for Blood Knights and Black Knights

Carriages of Death

  • Effect was: WS and Charge for Black Coach, Corpse Cart and Mortis Engine
  • Effect now: MD and Speed for Black Coach, Corpse Cart and Mortis Engine

Dread Knights

  • Effect was: WS and Charge for Black Coach, Black Knights, Blood Knights, Corpse Cart, Hexwraiths and Mortis Engine
  • Effect now: WS, Charge and Ward save for Black Coach, Black Knights, Blood Knights, Corpse Cart, Hexwraiths and Mortis Engine

Mount Unlock Ranks

The Character Ranks required to unlock mounts for Lords and Heroes have been standardised across the board. Please note, these are general Rank standardisations; certain characters may deviate from this standard for balance purposes.

Melee Lords/Heroes

  • Light Armoured Steed – Rank 4
  • Armoured Steed – Rank 7
  • Chariot – Rank 10
  • Flying Mount – Rank 12
  • Large Vehicle – Rank 16
  • Large Monster – Rank 18
  • Flying Monster – Rank 18

 Caster Lords/Heroes

  • Light Armoured Steed – Rank 7
  • Armoured Steed – Rank 11
  • Chariot – Rank 14
  • Flying Mount – Rank 16
  • Large Vehicle – Rank 20
  • Large Monster – Rank 22
  • Flying Monster – Rank 22 

Spectator Mode

Spectator mode now features some additional functionality:

  • AI can now be added to the game.
  • Spectator hosts can now invite players into their game using the invite button.
  • Host spectator will now be able to use the spectator controls.
  • Players now connected to spectator host can now see ready status of the host.

Campaign Changes and Fixes

  • Fixed a crash that could occur when a Vampire Coast faction owning Pirate Coves was destroyed.
  • Fixed a rare end turn crash.
  • Fixed a crash that could occur when Beastmen Brayherds changed stances.
  • Fixed a crash that occurred when a building was changed while a settlement panel was open.
  • Fixed a crash that occurs when loading back into the campaign map from Tyrion’s Sunfang quest battle.
  • Fixed a crash that could occur when triggering the Chaos challenger spawn when playing as Norsca.
  • Fixed a crash in multiplayer campaign that occurred when one player unlocked a Vampire bloodline when the other player was playing as a non-Vampire Count race.
  • Luthor Harkon no longer has +2 to pirate crew recruitment.
  • Count Noctilus’ Lord of Dread trait is now applied to Rotting Promethean Gunnery Mobs.
  • Count Noctilus’ -1 turn for Necrofex Colossus recruitment now applies when recruiting  via Noctilus’s ship and global recruitment.
  • Khazrak’s +3 recruit rank for Bestigors now correctly applies factionwide.
  • Malagor’s diplomacy bonus with other Beastmen is now +30.
  • Morghur’s -60% upkeep for Chaos Spawn now correctly applies.
  • Morghur’s Shadowgave trait now gives +8 melee defence rather than melee attack.
  • Orion’s 20% upkeep for cavalry now correctly applies.
  • Fixed the following factionwide effects not applying to Ship armies:
    • Harkon’s Man-o-War skill: +1 recruitment rank for Vampire Fleet Captains
    • Noctilus’ Master of the Dreadfleet skill: +2 Lord recruit rank
    • Cylostra’s Conjuration Through Hate skill: +2 recruitment rank for Mourngul Haunters
    • Pirates’ Rest building effect: +1 Lord recruit rank
    • Fleet Enforcement Admiral Office position: +3 recruit rank for Heroes and Lords
  • Exhaustion now correctly applies when establishing a pirate cove with a hero.
  • Fixed agent success chance becoming 100% when the actual chance fell below 0%.
  • Vampire Coast lord skills that require unit rank 7 now apply their effects correctly.
  • Vampire Coast army skills should now apply correctly to Regiments of Renown.
  • Gunnery Wight’s Gunsight skill now increases missile damage rather than weapon strength.
  • The Converted, Centuries and Command technologies for Vampire Counts now correctly apply their bonuses when recruiting via the Legendary Lord’s ships.
  • The Converted technology now provides +5 tank for heroes recruited via a Legendary Lord’s ship.
  • The following Greenskin technologies now also apply to Savage Orcs: Betta Arrer ‘Eads, Beasts of Burden, Black Orc Bellow, Betta Bowstrings, Massive Choppas.
  • Vampire Fleet Captain skill Kidnapping Assault Garrison action changed to Assault Units.
  • Vampire Fleet Captains now have The Hunger ability.
  • Bone Giants now gain buffs from Arrows of Asaph skill.
  • Blood Dragon skill Ordo Draconis now correctly reduces Blood Knight recruitment time.
  • Removed hidden duplicate skills for Von Carstein Bloodline Lords.
  • Vampire Counts tech Serve in Life or in Death now correctly gives +15% income from Repression buildings.
  • Lokhir Felheart will now be immortal if confederated.
  • Wurrzag no longer has +30% upkeep for Savage Orcs after confederating with him.
  • Black Arks will no longer lose their buildings upon defeat in battle.
  • Sisters of Slaughter can now be recruited from Black Arks.
  • Capturing or sacking a region with the Third Book of Nagash will no longer spawn a sea storm in the region. A sandstorm should spawn as expected.
  • Norscan technologies Blockading the Vampire Coast and Secrets of the Deep now use the correct icons.
  • Fixed a Bloodkisses exploit that allowed rapid generation.
  • Added Non-vampiric attrition immunity to Sylvanian Crossbowmen and Handgunner units.
  • The following Beastmen factions (and their associated Brayherds) now have Chaos Wastes attrition immunity: Blooded Axe, Manblight, Ripper Horn, Shadowgor, Skrinderkin, and Stone horn.
  • Fixed attrition immunity for certain attrition types when in stances.
  • Reduced the public order penalty when capturing a settlement on easy difficulty.
  • Fixed certain High Elf Mage Hero mounts not equipping in campaign.
  • Prophetess now correctly gains her Royal Pegasus mount.
  • Damsel Barded Warhorse skill has been removed.
  • Removed links between any mount skills that had them.
  • Fixed various instances where sea encounters could spawn on land or could not be attacked.
  • Fixed an issue where treasure maps could point off the map.
  • Fixed an issue with one of the treasure hunting puzzles having two solutions.
  • Puzzles will now display correctly when playing in colour blind modes.
  • Adjusted the Skaven and Dark Elf loyalty dilemmas to trigger less frequently.
  • An event message is now received stating that the treasure hunt failed when lords and heroes are unsuccessful with their attempts to dig for treasure.
  • The Amanar Rises event message shown after completing the campaign will now have the appropriate text displayed within the event message.
  • Fixed a rare instance where event names could be renamed when changing resolution.
  • Sartosa and The Awakening can no longer be upgraded to tier 5 when occupied by Wood Elves.
  • Fixed an issue where the Vampire Fleet Captains provided in level 3 garrisons would not have their spells.
  • All factions now have a garrison in Galleons Graveyard.
  • Athel Loren now has a garrison when owned by Dark Elves or Tomb Kings.
  • Skavenblight and Hellpit now have garrisons when owned by Bretonnia.
  • Bloated Corpses should no longer grant kills without dying in the autoresolver.
  • Fixed an issue whereby armies that spawned would sometimes not interact correctly with loyalty, certain effects and offices correctly.
  • Beastmen and Chaos should no longer be able to occupy Albion.
  • Galleon’s Graveyard can no longer be flooded or raided by Beastmen.
  • Vampire Coast ships in encampment stance on sea will no longer show models that should be limited to encampment stance on land.
  • Skin Wolf Werekin and Shaman Sorcerers will no longer show as Exalted Hero and Chaos Sorcerers in the Recruit Hero screen.
  • The Red Duke now displays animations correctly on the campaign map.
  • Cylostra Direfin’s porthole should now display correctly on all graphics settings.
  • The objective arrow will no longer show as a yellow square when the diplomacy screen is open.
  • Pirate’s Rest now correctly shows +1 Capacity for Gunnery Wights on the building information panel.
  • The price of pirate cove buildings now displays correctly.
  • Kemmler’s -50% upkeep for Necromancer heroes now works correctly.
  • The Lahmian Bloodline -50% upkeep effect now correctly shows on the amount shown on the hero’s information panel.
  • Various text and typo issued fixed.
  • Music on campaign will trigger more responsively to campaign actions.

Battle Changes and Fixes

  • Fixed a crash that could occur when a player tries to connect as a spectator to an ongoing battle and then trying to host a battle afterwards.
  • Added Battle of the Eternal Tides map to Custom Battle.
  • Cylostra Direfin’s Slaughterer of the Deep ability now works correctly.
  • Female Vampire Fleet Admirals now have Skirmish.
  • Female Dreadlord animations should now play correctly in the Mengil’s Manflayers rogue army.
  • Fixed a large number of cases where deployment zones were the wrong way around.
  • The buildings outside of the playable area in The Awakening siege map will no longer float.

Miscellaneous Changes and Fixes

  • Improved total memory allocation use when using DX12.
  • Various localisation issues fixed.
  • Capitalised the “I” in “Infamy” in the Race Attributes section for all Vampire Coast factions on the Lord selection screen, making them literally playable again.
  • Added port icons next to mentions of port in the help text.
  • The help text regarding how Lokhir Fellheart acquires Black Arks has been updated for clarity.

Unit Balancing


  • Green Knight: Hit reactions ignore chance from 0 to 50, knock interrupts from 0 to 50, +20 ap melee damage, +10 base melee damage.
  • Pegasus Knights: increased mass from 700 to 1000.
  • Knights Errant: +4 charge bonus
  • Defenders of Fleur-de-Lis: +4 charge bonus
  • Grail Relique:  Icon of Devotion-ability’s effect range changed from 40 to 55 meters.

Dark Elves

  • Kharibdyss: is now aquatic.


  • Thane: now has access to Master Rune of Slowness in multiplayer.
  • Master Engineer: no longer has access to Master Rune of Slowness in multiplayer.


  • Mortar: -50 cost
  • Flagellants: increased Strength of the Penitent-ability’s physical resistance effect from +12% to +15%.


  • Krimson Killerz: +20 men on Ultra, +150 cost, -5 armour, -1 health per entity, -1 charge bonus, -2 ap melee damage, +0.6 melee attack interval, tweaks to splash attack characteristics.
  • Azhag: can now equip the Spider Banner in multiplayer.

High Elves

  • Alastair the White Lion – Dragon mounts: added Siege Attacker.


  • Bastiladon (Solar Engine): slightly improved accuracy of projectile.


  • Marauder Ice Wolf Chariots: can now run at 95 speed.
  • Marauder Champions: +4 health per entity
  • Marauder Champions (Great Weapons): +4 health per entity, +2 run speed.
  • Kihar the Tormentor: added siege attacker
  • Fimir (both): added siege attacker
  • Fimir Balefiend (both): added siege attacker


  • Plague Monk Censer Bearers: +1 melee attack

Tomb Kings

  • Tomb Scorpion: Hit reactions ignore chance from 0 to 40, knock interrupts from 0 to 40, mass from 3000 to 2400, -2 melee defence, added Siege Attacker.

Vampire Coast

  • Deck Droppers (all): -10 flying speed, reduced turn speed.
  • Deck Droppers (Handguns): -2 ammo, slightly reduced accuracy, -2 ap projectile damage, -1 base projectile damage.
  • Deck Droppers (Bombers) & Salt Lord’s Scuttlers: +2 ammo
  • Zombie Gunnery Mob (Bombers): +5 charge bonus, +2 ammo, +4 melee attack, +40 number of men (on ultra).
  • Zombie Gunnery Mob (Handcannons): +50 cost, +40 number of men (on ultra), -8 base projectile damage, +8 ap projectile damage.
  • Animated Hulks: +25 armour, +4 melee defence, +10 leadership
  • Gallows Giant: projectiles no longer expire before reaching max range.
  • Shadewraith Gunners: -100 cost
  • Death Shriek Terrorgheist: +0.5 entity height, entity is now 57% wider, so a bigger target and harder to pull out from melee.
  • Luthor Harkon – Death Shriek Terrorgheist: now uses the same entity size as the regular Death Shriek Terrorgheist (previously used a dragon-sized entity).
  • Luthor Harkon: removed All Hands Hoay!-ability In multiplayer battles.
  • Aranessa: removed Hornswaggle-ability in multiplayer battles.
  • Vampire Fleet Admirals (all): removed Hornswaggle-ability in multiplayer battles.
  • Cylostra Direfin – Rotting Leviathan: Added Siege Attacker.

Vampire Counts

  • Terrorgheist: +0.5 entity height, entity is now 57% wider, so a bigger target and harder to pull out from melee.
  • Blood Dragon Vampire Lord (all): removed Undeath Resurgent-ability in multiplayer battles.
  • Blood Dragon Vampire Lord – foot: -5 armour, +100 cost
  • Blood Dragon Vampire Lord – Barded Nightmare: -10 armour, +100 cost.
  • Blood Dragon Vampire Lord – Hellsteed: -5 armour, +100 cost
  • Blood Dragon Vampire Lord – Zombie Dragon: -8 melee defence, +100 cost
  • Red Duke – foot: +100 cost, added Frenzy-ability.
  • Red Duke – Barded Nightmare: +100 cost, added Frenzy-ability.
  • Red Duke – Hellsteed: +10 armour, +100 cost, added Frenzy-ability.
  • Red Duke – Zombie Dragon: -4 melee defence, +100 cost, added Frenzy-ability.
  • Vampire (Shadows) – Hellsteed: +10 armour
  • Vampire (Vampires) – +10 armour
  • Lahmian Vampire Lord – Hellsteed: +10 armour
  • Lahmian Vampire Lord – Zombie Dragon: added siege attacker.
  • Necrarch Vampire Lord – Zombie Dragon: added siege attacker.
  • Von Carstein Vampire Lord – Zombie Dragon: added siege attacker.
  • Wight King – Skeletal Steed: +10 armour
  • Isabella von Carstein – Hellsteed: +10 armour
  • Mannfred von Carstein – Hellsteed: +10 armour

Wood Elves

  • Treeman: Hit reactions ignore chance from 0 to 70, knock interrupts from 0 to 70.
  • Orion: +10 melee defence
  • Wildwood Rangers: +4 leadership
  • Wardens of Cythral: +4 leadership



  • Helm of Discord: -10m effect range.


  • Red Ruin (Ungrim): changed to unlimited uses, duration from 50 to 35 seconds, +9 cost in multiplayer, added recharge in melee condition.
  • Axe of Dargo (Ungrim): -16 ability duration, -90 ability recharge, added recharge in melee condition.
  • Master Rune of Slowness: changed to -18% movement speed, removed charge bonus effect.


  • Spider Banner: increased tier to uncommon, +82 cost, added 30m effect range.
  • Get on Wiv’ It (Azhag): removed charge bonus effect, added +8 leadership effect instead.
  • Gitsnik (Grimgor): -18 ability duration, -90 ability recharge, added recharge in melee condition.

Wood Elves

  • Horn of the Wild Hunt (Orion): +3 duration, removed speed effect, +36% charge bonus changed to +54% charge bonus.


  • Denizens of the Deep: +4 seconds recharge time.
  • Drowned Dead: +1 power cost.
  • Drowned Dead Upgraded: +1 power cost
  • Invocation of Nehek: -1 seconds duration.
  • Invocation of Nehek Upgraded: -1 seconds duration.