Total War

I really like 8 Princes… but it makes me sad.

Content of the article: "I really like 8 Princes… but it makes me sad."

Took it for a whirl again today as Sima Ying to check out the Nanman corner of the map (and fantasize about future playable Zhang Lu/Liu Yan)

Eight Princes actually has a lot going in it that I like. The problem is that I would like it in another time frame. And that kind of… defeats the purpose of the DLC so this will never happen.

To put it into context, let me explain how I won an 8P campaign as a pacifist… in a Total War game. As Sima Ai, I played extraordinarily passively. My goal was basically to dig into Changsha and max out my reforms for an achievement run. I ended up forming a powerful central plains coalition with Sima Yue and began producing so much wealth that I could buy territory from my neighbors (Anything less than -30 can be bought with gold alone) and that I could also start vassalizing them.

Because of the way the Alignment system worked, plus manipulating the Empress' Favor, I was able to maintain amicable relations with most everyone. Then the Emperor fled to me and I became Regent. Neat. I absolutely LOVE the four-way options the 8 Princes dilemmas present. In the main game, most options are either false dilemmas (destroy siege equipment for free or for a cost?) or have such minor effects like strengthening bonds that you don't even care.

But each dilemma in 8 Princes actually had consequences. Do I build one alignment over the other? Do I go for the extra gold at the cost of displeasing the Empress? Do I start a war that I might not want to get dragged into?

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The biggest of these dilemmas is to decision to replace the Emperor or continue as regent indefinitely. Not long after I made my choice, Sima Wei's entire alliance declared war on my entire alliance. I sent a single army up to him, defeated it… and then noticed that not only will he accept peace, but he'll be my vassal with some gold to grease the palms.

So then I annexed him and won the campaign through about 90% diplomatic maneuvering.

100 turns, 5 wars- all of them defensive. Snagged the 'win a campaign with no defeats' achievement this way.

This sort of thing, I think, is only possible in the 8 Princes campaign because of the Alignment system and the excellent dilemmas. It really allowed the revamped diplomacy system to shine and made capturing and entreating the Emperor a meaningful decision instead of a quick prestige boost.

And I want all of this to be in the main game. I want to be able to shape the 'leadership culture' of my faction the way you can in 8P. Cao Cao would clearly go deep into Mind, while Liu Bei would go into Spirit and Lu Bu into might. Yuan Shao would go into Wealth. Now further imagine Cao Cao getting the same kind of dilemmas for his ownership of the emperor- having the girdle edict and other such decisions play out with consequences instead of a small notice that you gained a 10 turn bonus to public order or something. Imagine playing as a warlord who doesn't control the Emperor and then you get a smuggled edict asking you to rescue him.

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Things like that.

But then… adding all of these features into the main campaign would render most of the 8P DLC moot, wouldn't it? And that's why I'll never get my wish. 🙁


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