Total War: Rome II Receives Free Ancestral Update Today

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Jul 12, 2018
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Creative Assembly is a studio I’ve always had a lot of praise for. If it isn’t due to the fact that their games tend to be of a high quality (Total War: Warhammer II) then it’s also because of the support they give their games. This is even truer when a title doesn’t meet expectations.

Nothing exemplifies this more than Total War: Rome II. When it initially launched the game featured a myriad of issues from bugs and crashes to generally broken AI and balancing. Creative Assembly, understandably, wasn’t happy with this. Fixes came fast but the real treat came one year after launch in September 2014. The Emperor Edition was released as both a standalone edition or as a huge, free update to all players.

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Close to five years after launch Creative Assembly are still providing free updates to players. Today brings the beta of the Ancestral Update, which provides a staggering number of updates, upgrades, fixes and new features.

This includes, but isn’t limited to, the Family Tree feature which has been placed within Rome II. These members of your family tree, as well as other characters, will also have intrigues that they can perform, having a variety of outcomes in the game.

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In addition to your family, there are the aforementioned other characters. These generals, nobles and governors can be affiliated but not a member of your family, or actually a member of a completely different family and turn against you in the case of a civil war.

There are a number of other visual upgrades, bug fixes and more, which will be listed below:

New

  • 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

Visual

  • 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

Bugfixes

  • 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

You can opt into the beta of this update very easily, using these quick 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 –

The full details on the ancestral update can be found here

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