Content of the article: "Unpopular opinion: The Vampire Counts aren’t as Blessed as everything thinks they are (change my mind)"
So, just to air my own bias. Vampire counts are thematically my favourite faction. As such about a third of my playthroughs have been as them. After so many campaigns, their flaws and downsides have become a glaring splinter under my fingernail as time goes on and the more love the other races receive (not that other races don't deserve love too).
Now just so my position is clear. I'm not saying, the counts haven't gotten a lot of attention, or that they are the most in need of new love (that obviously goes to welfs, beastmen and chaos). My position is simply that sitting as they are now, they don't really shine through, probably in large part because a lot of the love and attention that started the popular conception that they are the golden child happened very early on in the warhammer cycle, and as such have been subjected to old and outdated design philosophy.
So let's start with the metric that everyone acts like is the only, but undeniably most visible, metric of love, legendary lords.
For a while there, the Vampire counts had the most legendary lords sitting at 5, 5 and a half if you really want to count the red duke. But now that figure is becoming the norm for the base (non dlc) races. And on top of that, a lot of the dusty old lords are meagre compared to the shining new lords with their own special mechanics. Warpstone workshops, assassin contracts, Food cooking, Pirate coves, forging all come with DLC lords, now lets look at the Vampire Counts single DLC lord, Helmen ghorst. Nothing. He has no special mechanics over the other vampire count lords, compare that to imrik, a FLC lord. The grim and the grave was the first ever dlc and it shows, but we will get to that later. It's also important that one of the biggest selling points in a lord is their start position, unfortunately, 4 of the 5 lords are all in sylvania, one region away from each other (the Hienrich update I think is arguably one of the best thing they've gotten so far.), really killing the appeal of having so many (but not really that many anymore) legendary lords. Let's move onto
At first I really loved their rework, I love the art it uses and I love that the other bloodlines get some acknowledgement. After the dwarf rework who simply got a reskinned version of the tomb kings forging a whole brand new mechanic made us Vampire Count fanboys feel spoiled.But as time went on I quickly realised it wasn't actually all that great and was only going to get worse. This is for two main reasons, 1) the following free game 1 free updates would blow them away (not that the empire and greenskins didn't need it because they are as well did.) and 2) Legendary lord collection.
Allow me to explain that second one. Anyone who has used the legendary lord recruitment mod will know what I'm talking about. The mod let's you recruit defeated legendary lords from failed factions. Red duke got wiped out? Now I can simply recruit him in Sylvania. It's important to remember that in a community ask me anything CA have said that they want to make that kind of feature baseline in TW:WH3 so that it's easier to play pokemon and catch all the legendary lords for your race. The thing is, just like your bloodline lords quickly replaced your generic lords making them redundant, the legendary lords would replace your bloodline lords soon after. With 5 or 6 armies being led by legendary lords, are you really going to need another one one lord from each of five lines?That's 11 armies, you've long won the game by that point (and if you want all 6 crossbowmen, you'll need to level up all 3 Von Castien boodline lords). The only reason you really have to milk them is if you want to role play a bloodline, which right now, without mods, is really only von carstien. You could argue the necromancers could role play with the nerchrachs, but you'd just be a desperate nerd.And as more Vampire legendary lords are added, the bloodline lords becomes less and less relevant. To be fair, most factions will feel this effect once the mechanic is added to the base game in WH3 and more lords are added to each race, your legendary lords, slowly replacing your generic ones. But at least those factions didn't have a rework wasted because of this issue. The passive bloodline bonuses are great, but they also could of just been new technologies. Lets move onto-
Since the launch of total war warhammer, the Vampire counts have only really been padded out with the corpse carts, and the mortis engine (I don't count the blood knights because they always felt like they were just late for the launch and marketed as generosity. Dwares have a similar problem only getting rangers and a bolt thrower). By Comparison the high elves in a single update got: Silverin guard, rangers, War lions of chrace, Lion chariot and arcane pheonix. Regiments of renown obviously come with the dlc packs but the Vampire counts, like the dwarves are still only sitting on the one dlc, heck they didn't even give them a blood knights RoR (Aborash dlc better come with one I swear). Those of you who have been playing the Vamps to bits since launch, know well their lack of start locations and lack of new units they feel very stale to play.And even though the Vampire counts roster may be mostly filled out, I think it's inevitable CA is going to make more and more new units, working alongside games workshop. I'd love to see some more actual vampire units on the field other than just blood knights. Vampire coast handled this pretty well with depth guard. It's a small unit that can't make a nice defensive line by themselves so you only want a couple of them for their niche role. You could have a unit of blood dragon duellists, maybe the unit is only 8, like aspiring champions, perhaps they really only excel at killing high armour large single units like a sphinx.Whilst we are on the topic of units, small side note. Does anyone else end up finding themselves rarely using the black coach? It's one of my favourite models and I always tell myself to use them more before I reach the end game. But the fact that it's building is tier 4 means I can't resist saving a little more money for the forbidden library and vampire crypts as they give me a money return. As such I only end up recruiting them late late game for flavour and role play. The black coach building either needs more incentives or its units should drop down a tier. Also, move hexwraiths back down a tier please, they suffer a similar problem against blood knights and their building (or let corporeal units move through walls).Moving onto
Vampiric corruption (Note: this is getting into what could be future updates and I don't want to derail the conversation from simply saying Vampire Counts aren't as blessed as the community still thinks they are. But I already wrote this out)A lot of this criticism can also apply to chaos corruption. Vampiric corruption stops the player from expanding too fast. Your armies disintegrate moving into new territory but the trade off is that the enemy gets attrition if they come onto your territory, giving you a defensive advantage to balance out your offensive disadvantage. Only, that's not really true. CA can't really be bothered to program the ai to plan around attrition so instead they just made the ai nearly immune to attrition. This just leaves the player at a disadvantage, not playing as the Vampire counts but attacking them? Their armies don't have to worry about attacking you in a corruption free zone but you but you have to worry about attacking in a corruption zone. Playing as the counts? Your enemy armies don't have to worry about corruption in your zones but you do in theirs. Either way you cut it, it's a mechanic that unfairly works against the player in a non fun way. There's also public order to deal with, this faces a similar problem, especially as difficulty scale up, you lose the option to send agents into neighbouring provinces to stir corruption and rebellion because the ai just gets a public order buff, restricting your strategy options. But that's part of a larger discussion about how CA handles difficulty and challenge poorly.If CA did a second revamp on all the factions I hope they address corruption. I don't know how practical this is, but perhaps instead corruption could have a night time effect. In the Vampire wars Vlad used magic to create an unnatural darkness over Altdorf and block the sun. CA decided to not have a night battle mechanic in WH which leaves Vampires very awkwardly walking around in the sun with the exception of a few quest battles. What if high vampire corruption changed the battlefield lighting to night time. It could have a mechanic effect of reducing the accuracy of ranged units, which wouldn't really affect the Vampire counts (perhaps give sylvanian crossbowmen a night sight training trait?). That way the Vampire counts have more defensive advantages and would be thematically appropriate. It also explains why they deteriorate when attacking in sunny uncorrupted regions.
I won't go into anymore indepth examples of what could be done in the future. But here are some quick examples: Copy the loyalty mechanic from skaven and dark elves (Vampires are super schemy and almost always have ulterior motives), Secret covens in enemy human settlements, the ability to grant blood kisses to turn a human faction into a vampire vassal. Hopefully we'll start getting some more paid dlc lords rather than flc lords, even though these days flc lords are better than all of the current VC lords.
In summary, I hope I've convinced many of you that the Vampire Counts aren't the golden child anymore. Again, they aren't in the worse spot. If I had to rank factions most in need of updates: Chaos, wood elves and beastmen are the most in need of major overhauls. After them, I'd say the dwarfs and the Vampire counts (both these factions need some more interesting campaign mechanics and more importantly, fresh units), followed by a small update to norsca, updating their hunts and giving them another lord that doesn't start in norsca. Then I'd probably swing back around to empire for a new lord. I dunno if the wh2 base races need a re visit but is I had to pick one from there I'd say the high elves need a small redo of their influence mechanic to make it more interesting.
Disagree? Got some ideas for new VC mechanics? Comment below.
- Suggestions for future revisits to the Vampire Counts
- Barrow Legion – An overview
- Is Norsca late game/end game bad or am I overseeing something?
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