A Total War Saga: Troy

So this is the Total War game that Epic gave away when it released. I played it then and thought it was just okay. I was disappointed that the game leaned hard into realism. Even the great, mythological heroes like Achilles were all too mortal. Of course, I was coming from playing Total War: Warhammer 2, which I've thought was truly amazing with its vast number of different units, and I've always liked a more fantastical type of experience. I basically played Troy once and forgot about it.

So yesterday I was bored and decided to try it again. And what do you know? Creative Assembly has completely embraced the mythological side of ancient Greece. Your heroes are like demi-gods. Certain locations on the map, once controlled, allow you to recruit special units like Centaurs. And except for the economy, it plays just like TWW2, which I like. Actually, bartering replaces trade agreements and works better with the more advanced economy, which has you managing various resources: food, wood, stone, bronze and gold. Each minor settlement has one of those resources, so you know who to barter with or who to go to war with.

Just so glad I gave it another chance. Of course, Creative Assembly is doing their toxic DLC thing, as usual, putting things behind paywalls that should have been in the game to begin with, but I'm used to that.

Steam reviews are "mostly positive", but from reading through a bunch, it's just random complaints. Other than the DLC, there's no unifying complaint about the game.
 

Brian Boru

Moderator
How does the TBS-RTS duality work? Can you make multiple moves on the strategic map, and then play them out in real-time one after the other? How much tactical control do you have over your forces in the RT battles?

Steam reviews are "mostly positive"
Gets 75% on Metacritic, same score as Fraser Brown's:

Eurogamer says 7.5m people claimed the launch freebie, so I was not alone—should make for a good multiplayer scene.

Huh, when did Epic get a Mod scene?

More at Nexus and ModDb
 
How does the TBS-RTS duality work? Can you make multiple moves on the strategic map, and then play them out in real-time one after the other? How much tactical control do you have over your forces in the RT battles?
TBS-Strategic Map

There's a lot to the strategic map, but it's all really easy to learn and do. If you forget to do anything, the game reminds you before you can end your turn, kind of like Civ 5 does.

So on the strategic map, you have your general(s) and your army. You can have as many generals and armies as you can afford. You decide where they go, if you want them to go anywhere at all. You can move every army every turn if you want to. Armies can be in several different stances, and each one impacts how far it can move. Stances can also impact how tired the troops are if you attack that round or get attacked during the AI's turn (all this is explained in a pop-up box whenever you are changing stances). If your army is in a region you control, you can recruit new troops based on how advanced that region is and what types of buildings you have built there. You can also combine units that aren't at full strength and dismiss units you no longer want.

Also, the strategic map is where you level your generals and your special characters. It's an easy leveling system, but pretty in-depth.

As far as your cities and provinces go, you can issue decrees and build new buildings as the populations grow. There's a chart that shows each building and the buildings that come after and tells you what each building does. Some buildings unluck particular troops, spies or envoys. Some buildings give buffs. Some give you resources each turn. Some buildings make the populace happy or unhappy. If they get too unhappy, a rebel army will appear outside the city. You've got lots of warning, though, so this almost never happens.

To improve your cities and build new and better armies, you have to manage several resources as mentioned in my earlier post.

Also, you can enter into negotiations with factions you are in contact with. You can sign non-aggression pacts, barter for supplies you need, ask them to join you in war, or even try to get them to confederate with you and hand over their cities.

That's not an exhaustive list of things you can do in the strategic map, obviously, but it should give you an idea of the sorts of things you would be doing.

RTS-Battles

First of all, except on the very highest difficulty, battles can be paused as often and for as long as you want.

So I have to talk in generalities here because I haven't manually fought a battle in Troy yet. Whenever you go to enter a fight, you have the option to fight it yourself or have the AI auto-resolve it. I've been in quite a few battles so far, but I pick my fights well, and there hasn't been any need for me to manually fight. If the game says I would win decisively, I don't fight it myself. I only fight it myself if the game says I'm going to lose or if I'm going to lose too many troops. So far that hasn't come up. Some people manually fight every battle. They are pretty fun to do.

So when the battle screen opens, all your units are spread out before you. There is unlimited time at the beginning for you to move them wherever you want within your selected area. So, for instance, you can put cavalry units on the flanks and archers in the front. I'm not sure about in Troy, but in most TW games you can also set different formations for the units, like if you want them bunched together or spread out or arranged in a certain way. Once you have everyone where you want them, taking into account things like elevation and cover (if the terrain allows it, you can hide units from the enemy then surprise them with a charge against their flank or completely encircle them), you start the battle.

Your units will do diddly squat unless you tell them to, but you can have various units set to do certain things, like having your archers fire as soon as the enemy is in range, or putting a ranged unit in skirmish mode (they'll try to avoid melee). Basically you tell each unit where to go and how fast. You tell them when to rest, when to charge, when to use any special abilities (Your hero or special character may have them), when to stop shooting, when to retreat, etc. You basically manage the whole thing.

During the battle, units take attrition and their morale changes. Maybe they are doing well and are uplifted. Maybe things are going poorly and they are thinking about turning and running. Same thing for the enemy. Their general is a mythical hero like yours, but if you can take him out, the morale of the remaining forces will be terrible, same thing if you can do simple things like flank and attack them from behind.

All the different types of units are better or worse at different things. To the best that you can, you want to put them in good situations. If they don't have armor piercing damage, don't throw them up against heavily armored enemies, etc.

And if you've never seen a Total War battle, they are amazing. Every single soldier is there doing his/her thing: fighting, running, shooting, marching, whatever. You can have thousands of soldiers on the battlefield at a time, and you can zoom in and watch what each one is doing if you want to. I love it.

There's a lot to battles, and it can be overwhelming at first, but pausing solves all problems. They are a lot of fun once you get the hang of them, and there's nothing like being far outnumbered and pulling out a victory. Or you could do what some people do and auto-resolve every single battle.
 
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Kaamos_Llama

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@BrianBoru I'll add a couple of thoughts to Zeds post. Rock/Paper/Scissors with archers, cavalry and infantry is at the basics but theres a lot more. Some units are fearsome or cause terror which can cause routs out of nowhere turning flanks around, other units like spears have lows stats but bonuses to melee of defense vs large or infantry to counter cavalry.

Units have different levels of charge bonus that are added to their base attack and damage for a certain time after they hit the front line and send units flying all over the place. If they stay in sustained combat too long they might start to get dragged down. Heroes can enable special abilities to improve morale or provide other passive bonuses to other troops in the area as needed, or some work at all times. Stamina plays a part too and base statistics drop as units tire during a battle, or if youve force marched on the campaign map to get somewhere you might start tired.

It is overwhelming to start but you can pause at any time and check whats happening like @ZedClampet says, but also give orders while paused, including clicking and dragging lines so that a unit approaches in an arc to flank or surround, double click to charge and walk to save stamina while positioning.

One downside is at the highest campaign difficulties its possible or even necessary to cheese by creating 'doom stacks' that trick the auto-resolve algorithm in letting you win with minimum losses every time, or even just walk and blob 20 of the exact same units straight into anything the enemy has and easily win amongst other 'strategies'. You can avoid this by simply not doing it and EDIT: NOT EDIT playing at maximum hard difficulty with balanced armies and having fun.

I would have thought Total War would have been a great match for you from what youve said about RTS games in the past
 
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One downside is at the highest campaign difficulties its possible or even necessary to cheese by creating 'doom stacks' that trick the auto-resolve algorithm in letting you win with minimum losses every time, or even just walk and blob 20 of the exact same units straight into anything the enemy has and easily win amongst other 'strategies'. You can avoid this by simply not doing it and playing at maximum hard difficulty with balanced armies and having fun.
He's not going to play on maximum hard difficulty, and I don't recommend it even for experienced players. The AI cheats so much that you can't even hobble their production lines, which takes all strategy out of going up against the top powers in the game. It doesn't make the game so much harder as it makes it annoying. So long as they have one city left anywhere on the map, they can crank out the armies (with any units they like) at incredible speeds. I used to play TWW2 on this difficulty until I realized it was causing me more anger than enjoyment simply because it defied logic so much.

As for doom stacks, there aren't crazy OP units in Troy like in TWW2 (I don't have the $25 DLC with the monsters in it--not sure about those units). Troy is more tightly balanced and useful doom stacks are going to be much harder to create, and if you manage to create one in one spot, it's going to leave you vulnerable everywhere else because you are only going to have so much bronze through most of the game, which is what you need to pay the best units. I only have about 30 settlements now, but I can't come remotely close to creating a doom stack, as only three of those settlements create bronze (edited those numbers, which are kind of rough estimates). Also, other things being equal, the AI seems to favor well-rounded armies when determining who would win an auto-resolve.

Another note is that eventually you should be keeping your armies in groups. I've seen a lot of TWW2 players who go through armies like they were potato chips because they only sent one army everywhere. Even TWW2 doom stacks get wiped late game if they are by themselves. I send at least two armies on any offensive, and that's just at the beginning of the game. Late game I'll be sending bigger groups of armies together.
 
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As far as stamina goes, probably everyone manages it differently. For me, stamina is best managed from the strategic map by not putting your troops in "March" stance, which should really be called "forced march". As long as you don't do the long marches, they should start the battle "fresh".

In the battle, having them run everywhere is very bad. You can change the default from "run" to "walk", and you should really only have them run in emergencies or at the last bit of a charge.

But for the most part, once the battle starts, it is what it is, as they say. They have to do what is necessary whether they are tired or not, so I don't really pay attention to it. Some people, like my son, will hold some units out at the beginning of a battle so he can bring fresh units in later, but there is high risk in doing that. For me, it's better to try to overwhelm various points in the enemy line right at the beginning so you can start lowering their morale. For that I usually need everyone fighting.

Oh, and once a unit gets tired in battle, they probably are going to stay tired for the rest of the battle. Trying to get them out of combat and rest them is a waste of time.
 
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Just to clear up something because Troy is kind of confusing. There are three game modes:

Historical: Heroes are strong but normal men. All units are based on reality.

Truth Behind the Myth (this is what I'm playing): Heroes (generals) are extremely strong and can fight by themselves. Mythic units are interpreted as special human units. For instance, giants are actually just big and strong humans. Minotaurs are specially trained units of especially strong warriors who wear bull skull helmets, etc.

Mythological (this requires the $25 DLC): The gods play an active role. Giants are actually giants. There are harpies, griffons, etc.
 

Kaamos_Llama

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Jan 31, 2020
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He's not going to play on maximum hard difficulty, and I don't recommend it even for experienced players.
Just re-read my first post, worded itwrongly and edited it. I dont think its possible to play at Legendary difficulty without cheesing all to hell is what I meant to get across.

The AI cheats so much that you can't even hobble their production lines, which takes all strategy out of going up against the top powers in the game. It doesn't make the game so much harder as it makes it annoying. So long as they have one city left anywhere on the map, they can crank out the armies (with any units they like) at incredible speeds. I used to play TWW2 on this difficulty until I realized it was causing me more anger than enjoyment simply because it defied logic so much.

Agree with all of this, brought it up because if you check out people on Youtube like Legendoftotalwar a lot of what you see is them playing on legendary banging doom stacks against the AI and cheesing sieges and impossible battles. The game doesn't have to be like that at all. Hard difficulty and below is winnable without cheese, at least in TW Warhammer. Some campaigns harder than others.



As for doom stacks, there aren't crazy OP units in Troy like in TWW2 (I don't have the $25 DLC with the monsters in it--not sure about those units). Troy is more tightly balanced and useful doom stacks are going to be much harder to create, and if you manage to create one in one spot, it's going to leave you vulnerable everywhere else because you are only going to have so much bronze through most of the game, which is what you need to pay the best units. I only have about 30 settlements now, but I can't come remotely close to creating a doom stack, as only three of those settlements create bronze (edited those numbers, which are kind of rough estimates). Also, other things being equal, the AI seems to favor well-rounded armies when determining who would win an auto-resolve.
Fair enough, I base most of what I said around TW Warhammer 1 and 2. Got excited because Total War.

Another note is that eventually you should be keeping your armies in groups. I've seen a lot of TWW2 players who go through armies like they were potato chips because they only sent one army everywhere. Even TWW2 doom stacks get wiped late game if they are by themselves. I send at least two armies on any offensive, and that's just at the beginning of the game. Late game I'll be sending bigger groups of armies together.
IIRC around 3/4 is usually enough. Played a good amount of campaign in TW Warhammer and then moved on to almost all MP in the second game. I didn't really like the Vortex campaigns I tried as much as the originals.
 

Brian Boru

Moderator
Well you two are going to have a lot to answer for. Getting me all excited like that, so that I downloaded and installed after your first two posts. Corvo from Dishonored cast a really evil eye my way, so I had to tell him it's all your fault—needs must, take care of #1, and all that. You should be ok tho if you keep a Stack of Doom in reserve.

I would have thought Total War would have been a great match for you
Certainly sounds like it, a cross between Civ and RTS. My main problem with recent RTSs is they're all RTTs—the strategy got nerfed and it's all let's get into the battle straight away. The Pause should take the hectic out of the RT and the Strategy layer is, well, strategy.

you could do what some people do and auto-resolve every single battle
You can do that in Civ too, but I never do—I'm all about minimizing losses, which the AI rarely does well. But of course in first playthru(s) while learning which button does what, I might well do that. The battle space sounds like what Amplitude do in Endless Legend and Humankind, so I'll definitely want to check it out.

He's not going to play on maximum hard difficulty
Huh, what? Where's you get that idea?
I don't recommend it even for experienced players
Oh well, alright, if you insist…

not putting your troops in "March" stance, which should really be called "forced march"
There goes my Alexander the Great fantasy.

Historical: Heroes are strong but normal men. All units are based on reality.
That'll be my kick off then, save learning the more exotics for later.

@ZedClampet @Kaamos_Llama Thank you both for the great info! Now to see how quickly I can forget it all :D
 
"Emergency" post for @Brian Boru

In the game, when you press "Esc" and then select "Save", one of the options on the save menu is to select "Incremental auto-saves" or something along those lines. I strongly suggest that you click that box. What this does is make a unique save file after every turn instead of just keeping a single save file. On a few occasions through the years (including just a few minutes ago), I've had TW games crash and corrupt the latest save file. If you aren't doing incremental saves, then you have to go back to the last time you made a manual save, if you even thought to do a manual save. You could lose your entire campaign or a bunch of turns without the incremental save.
 

Brian Boru

Moderator
"Emergency"
Muchas gracias, that will undoubtedly save me grief.

40GB download
That's the whole game, around same for me for a fresh install.

Tutorial

So I ran the tut, did the 2 battles there. Mostly in 'What's this button for?' mode. Finding the camera control wonky—but fairly sure the camera is fine and I'm wonky. UI is fairly different to anything I've played, so will take some time.

The battle space sounds like what Amplitude do in Endless Legend and Humankind
Wow, very impressed with the battle space, far beyond Amplitude's version. A whole countryside freely available, with no restrictions on maneuvering, no squares or hexes. Once I get the creating Groups thing sorted, could be very interesting.

Odd that we were winning the battle easily, but I found a band of cheesed off soldiers hightailing it in disarray. I guess each unit/squad is affected individually, rather than buoyed or distressed by the overall situation.

Do archers or javelineers ever run out of ammo? They seemed to be blazing away merrily the whole time.

Strategic map I didn't pay much attention to, so nothing to say on that for now.
 
Odd that we were winning the battle easily, but I found a band of cheesed off soldiers hightailing it in disarray. I guess each unit/squad is affected individually, rather than buoyed or distressed by the overall situation.
They are affected by a lot of things. The overall situation is one of them. If their general is nearby it can make them happy. A number of things. But if they, personally, are getting slaughtered that will have the biggest impact of all. But each unit has their own "Leadership" score. Some units will fight to the death. Some will only stay as long as things are going well for them. Of course, most units are somewhere in between those two.


Do archers or javelineers ever run out of ammo? They seemed to be blazing away merrily the whole time.
Yes, they run out of ammo. Each ranged unit has an "ammunition" score, which gives you an idea of how long they can go. You don't typically run into ammo shortages in short/medium length battles.

Poor Guido just screwed up our co-op game by accidentally clicking the "abandon settlement" button on the Spartan capital and then getting run over by a couple of enemy armies. Told him not to worry about it that I wanted to start over anyway ;)
 
The problem with Total War games and mods is that every DLC breaks the mods.

I just offered to gift the latest DLC to one modder if he would update his mod. The game was hampered a bit in the modding scene because it launched half-finished, so I may end up creating my own mods. I like mods that give boosts to both the player and AI equally, so that it speeds up the early game and generally means everyone can have more armies and be more aggressive throughout the entire campaign. So far I've only found one mod that does that and it's out-of-date. Actually, most of the mods are out-of-date.
 
Er… so not 3 months then? Or lotsa weeks, with many a sleepless night thrown in?
Nope, a morning because you took a wrong turn first.
Ya, ok…

So what's involved, editing XMLs?
Yeah, not 3 months. Actually, I made a second mod in about 15 minutes. Of course, I'm just editing game behaviors. I'm not making the Amazons topless and adding boob physics like a proper Skyrim modder.

So I could have gone faster on the first one if I had looked a couple of things up first, but basically I downloaded a program called RPFM. I used it to set up a mod (just a few clicks) and to be able to read the game files, and then I wandered around game files and databases for an hour looking for what I needed. After I found the right database, I added it to my mod. It had about 4500 entries in it. I used the RPFM search feature to isolate about 300 of them that I wanted to change. Then I copied and pasted those into a spreadsheet and changed them to what I wanted. I deleted the other 4200 entries and then copied my 300 entries and pasted them back into the database. (a ton of info was in this one database. If I didn't delete the entries I wasn't using, that would have interfered with other mods that used those entries. In fact, the second mod I made used this same database, just different entries, so even my own two mods wouldn't have been compatible with each other) After pasting my changes back into the database, I saved it and that was it. That was my mod.

I didn't technically need the spreadsheet. I could have changed them all in RPFM, but that would have taken a lot longer. Each of the 300 entries had several numbers that needed changing.

I tried to upload my mods to Epic and Steam, which you do through the Total War Launcher, but it didn't work, and I'm not sure why. I think maybe it's because I didn't use the official Total War modding tool (assembly kit). I may have to open these mods up in that and resave them before I can upload them. But in the meantime, I just put them on a flash drive and gave them to Guido, and we used them in our game this afternoon.
 

Brian Boru

Moderator
Wonderful :)

I didn't technically need the spreadsheet
I use spreadsheet for cleaning data I get from outside—or any data which needs rejigging really, a SS is a wonderfully versatile tool for such stuff. Excel is my hammer, so I try to make every job be a nail—best piece of single-user software MS has produced.

Hey, I remember that! Oh wait, that's what a disgruntled forum guy told me one time… RTFM :D

Looks like quite a project. I'll pass tho, since it's Rusted…
 
Figured out why the mods weren't uploading. I just needed to add a picture. I've decided not to upload them, though, because I doubt I will want to edit them every time a new DLC is released.
 
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The Pause should take the hectic out of the RT and the Strategy layer is, well, strategy.
I find myself playing most battles in Warhammer 2 in slow motion and I still have units die unnecessarily because I forgot about them. It doesn't help that units in melee have a hard time getting out of it, so even if you tell a unit to walk away from a fight, they usually get stuck and keep fighting.

Which is why I enjoy playing the game in co-op a lot, as you can give some of your units in a battle to your friend to control and I love micromanaging just a few cavalry/monster units.
 

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