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Total War: ROME II – Ancestral Update

July 12 2018

By Ella McConnell

The long-awaited Family Tree for ROME II is here! The free Ancestral Update introduces this community favourite feature along with numerous tweaks, fixes, and improvements to ROME II’s base game and DLCs. The update is currently in open beta to ensure it works for all users before release, and will therefore require you to opt in with details of how to do this below. We welcome any and all feedback – again, find out where you can do this below.

As you may have guessed from the latest what the teams are working on blog post, a ROME II DLC announce will also be coming very soon.

In this blog post you will find:

  • Family Tree Information
    • Intrigues
  • FAQ
    • How to opt in
    • Will opting in break my save games?
    • Should I disable mods?
    • Where should I report any Issues?
  • Patch Notes
    • New Additions
    • Visual Improvement
    • Bug Fixes
    • Battle AI
    • Gameplay Improvements
    • Known Issues

There are also additional patch notes for the Ancestral Update here.

The Family Tree

The Family Tree is a visual representation of the web of character relationships within your faction, and offers the functionality for you to interact with those characters and generate Intrigues, which bring new gameplay options. The characters in your faction can forge strong bonds and alliances with other factions. Marriages can produce offspring, who grow and obtain duties of their own. Characters are born, live their lives, and eventually die throughout the course of a game.

Here’s an example of the Macedonian family tree from the Grand Campaign. The central panel contains members of the player’s family. The panel on the right, labelled Other Nobles, contains characters who are members of the player’s party, but not included in the family. The panel on the left, labelled Important Characters, contains characters of other parties – Ones that may turn hostile in the case of secession or civil war, for example.


Every living, adult character has access to a certain number of Intrigues: actions that can be executed to achieve a variety of outcomes. In the screenshot below you’ll see them in the bottom right corner.

Every Intrigue has requirements such as:

  • Character needs to be a general
  • Character needs to be a politician
  • Character needs to be the faction leader
  • Character needs a certain amount of a specific attribute
  • Character needs a certain amount of an attribute that exceeds the attribute of another target character (for example, the Adopt Intrigue is available if the Adopting character has three more Authority points than the target character’s Zeal)


How do I opt in to the Ancestral Update?

To take part in the Ancestral Update open beta, follow these steps:

  1. Restart Steam
  2. Find Total War: ROME II – Emperor Edition in your Steam library
  3. Right click Total War: ROME II – Emperor Edition and go to Properties in the drop-down menu
  4. Go to the Betas tab
  5. In the drop-down menu under Select the beta you would like to opt into: select ancestral –

Will opting in break my save games?

No. We’ve deliberately worked to ensure old save game compatibility with the update. The game generates a new Family Tree based on the data in your save game, and refunds any skill points you’ve already spent on your Agents, enabling you to spend them in the new skills tree to your preference. Issues are still possible, of course – Please report any that you find!

Should I disable my mods?

Absolutely, yes. Mods are frequently incompatible with new releases and will remain out-of-date until the mod creator updates their mod.

We would like to ensure all the feedback we receive for this beta comes from campaigns played with all mods disabled, so we can be sure that any new fixes we may have to explore are focused on the core, unmodded game, and not a result of out-of-date mods.

Where should I report any issues?

Any issues should be reported in the dedicated Ancestral Update issues thread on the official Total War forums, which we will be monitoring closely.

Additional Patch Notes


  • Agents skills have been completely reworked, rebalanced and are now culture-specific. They now have more actions, some of them having significant new effects
  • Generals’ skills are also now culture specific
  • Skill cards for agents, generals and military traditions have informative pips that show what the skill grants at each level
  • Agent skills have been re-ordered to mimic the order of attributes in the character portrait
  • Reinforcement range is now visible as an area, not only as blinking arrows
  • Technology panels now have sounds
  • In battle, ships in will now be able to leave their disembarking area by shifting in reverse, making room for more ships to land
  • Champions have received a skill that directly buffs the bonus to unit experience per turn
  • Levels 2 and 3 of Agent skills are now unlocked on the next agent level, instead of skipping a level. For instance, tier 1 skills are unlocked on levels 2/3/4, instead of the previous 2/4/6
  • Battle loot implemented in field battles, granting different sums based on the upkeep cost of the defeated army and the action selected after victory
  • Added more variety to generals in Empire Divided
  • Number of household ancillaries has been increased from 1 to 3
  • Number of character traits has been increased from 3 to 6


  • Added MSAA anti-aliasing
  • Added “Clouds shadow” option to shadows
  • Added an option for near the camera objects fading (on/off)
  • Added “Hide dead bodies” option, so dead units can vanish even on higher graphics settings
  • Added “Hide foliage” to the graphics options and made that shader functionality toggleable
  • “Hide foliage” option has a shortcut set to Ctrl+F by default
  • Added “Terrain noise” to make distant terrain look less flat.
  • Improved building LOD distances for Extreme/Ultra to be really extreme and ultra (x3 times greater)
  • Improved shadow quality & performance.
  • Heavy rain weather VFX in battle now occasionally replaced with stormy rain weather (with lightning flashes)
  • Ships now render in water reflections
  • Reduced terrain and grass reflectivity in rainy weather
  • Improved night lighting of units. Torch light is now animated and casts shadows on higher settings
  • Improved river shader in battles: shallow river water is more visible, won’t vanish when near the camera, specular and shadows improved
  • Trees on the tactical view are no longer very obviously rotating towards the camera
  • Rivers have been optimized to not render past a certain distance


  • Changed the AI to now recruit more suitable units in campaign
  • Added Numidian Spearmen Assault Dieres to eastern naval garrison lvl 2 group
  • Corrected many instances of units with mismatches between their weight and caste
  • Fixed the Palmyrene Top Recruit technology (Empire Divided Campaign) to correctly apply its bonuses to all new land unit recruits
  • Fixed Kushite Archers and Kushite Royal Archers to now correctly receive bonuses from effects applying to missile infantry
  • Fixed all Empire Divided bodyguard units to correctly receive bonuses from different effects
  • Added Theban Hippeus unit to the Boiotia League custom battle roster
  • Missile Range bonuses now actually work!
  • Fixed a few cases where the player can get stuck in the Prologue campaign
  • Fixed a few cases of improperly rotated settlement battle tiles
  • The “Status Quo” achievement can now again be obtained

Battle AI

  • Fixed an issue that caused units to cluster together when climbing ladders on walled settlements
  • The AI will no longer zealously guard the capture points in unwalled settlements
  • Fixed an issue that sometimes caused the AI to never attack a walled settlement
  • Fixed an issue with pathfinding that sometimes caused units to rapidly move in different directions
  • Tweaked the AI behaviour to better assess and exploit players’ tactical weaknesses, such as gaps in defence lines or an unprotected general
  • Shield Wall, Hoplite Wall and Testudo will not be broken by the fast-move command and will move in formation to the target until they reach change distance
  • When siege units and mounted units (cavalry, chariots, camels, elephants) are making a naval assault they will deploy on the ground, instead of disembarking from ships, similar to Total War: ATTILA

Gameplay Improvements

  • Female cursus honorum grants attributes at higher levels
  • GC Iceni start their campaign having military access with Dumnonii
  • Starting loyalty has been decreased for all difficulty settings (0 on Easy, 0< on higher difficulty)
  • The political traits Militarist and Expansionist have been nerfed, granting less loyalty
  • A different version of the Family Tree, called Chain of Command, has been added to the Caesar in Gaul campaign. It contains fewer intrigues
  • Start-pos characters have been rebalanced in all campaigns – many more were added, both historical and created for gameplay purposes
  • New encyclopaedia page for Agents, available on right-click
  • The Family Duty trait now disables character skills

Known Issues

  • Loading legacy save games will refund less skill points than expected
  • Start-pos family trees for campaign other than Grand might have missing characters, names or links between characters
  • Some start-pos characters might be labelled as members of another party when they are not expected to be
  • When a new character is generated, the message about a daughter coming out of age is displayed in error
  • Children from diplomatic marriage with another subculture will be displayed as belonging to player’s own culture
  • Events sometimes occur more often than expected.
  • The game may crash when clicking on the “Controls” button on the Campaign map when playing the Empire Divided campaign

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