Rome: Total War is one of my all-time favourite games.
I’ve played the more modern releases, Empire and Napoleon: Total War, but have never felt the same thrill as playing the original with its poor graphics, inspiring pre-battle speeches and endless playability. Released in 2004, it is still widely renowned as one of the best military strategy games of all time. Even now I can’t stop playing it. Our family bought a copy soon after its release, and my brother and I spent our Saturday and Sunday mornings taking turns on the family computer playing it. We absolutely loved it.
Why then, 14 years later, am I talking about it? Because I’m not the only one still playing. Prince_of_Macedon has been creating YouTube content for Rome: Total War for over a decade, having uploaded over 2,000 multiplayer videos on Total War Games amongst other strategy titles. I got in touch with him to talk about our love for a 14 year-old game and why love playing it so much.
The first question I had to ask was how he got his name. Why did he choose Macedon over other great archaic empires and civilisations? Unlike many people, Prince_of_Macedon spent several days coming up with the right in-game name. Having decided to focus gameplay on Total War games, he chose to honour his favourite commander Alexander the Great, but humbly generalised the title to Prince_of_Macedon because “there was no way I could be like Alexander the Great.”
Prince_of_Macedon has uploaded content for the modern releases from Creative Assembly, Medieval, Empire, Napoleon and Rome II Total War titles, but these are vastly outnumbered by the number of Rome: Total War uploads. Why is this game, out of all the franchise, the one that Prince_of_Macedon loves the most and has created the most content?
“It’s still the best Real Time Tactics game that features my beloved faction, the Ancient Macedonians, after all of these years. Rome 1 is still the best by far. The gameplay is much more distinct than the newer Total War titles…If you like Rome 1 gameplay, then you will also enjoy Medieval II: Total War. Since I’m more of a man of Antiquity, I stick with Rome 1.”
Rome: Total War offers both a multiplayer and single player experience. I always preferred the single player campaigns where you took control of Roman factions or barbarian tribes and sought to dominate the known world by conquering your enemies and owning cities that fund your war campaign. Prince_of_Macedon, however prefers to play against other people, in 1v1s, free-for-alls or in team battles.
“I never really got into Campaign mode for Total War because I had so much fun playing against other humans on multiplayer mode.”
He chooses to avoid campaign gameplay because “I don’t want to burden my viewers with long sessions of base-building when most people get more excited for seeing the battles. Battles are so dynamic, and generally fast-paced in nature. I’ve had long battles in Total War (some reaching an hour in length), but I feel like they’re so much easier to follow and understand than someone building up their economy.”
In multiplayer games the host can choose the amount of money each player can spend on their army, with weaker units costing less than better and powerful units. For Prince_of_Macedon the real enjoyment comes in low money battles where the skirmish phase of the battle can be crucial to getting the upper hand in the fight when the armies eventually collide. Empire and Napoleon: Total War both involve firearms and long range artillery, which means that the action takes place at range rather than in hand-to-hand combat. We both agreed that the unit diversity in Rome: Total War allows for better tactics in-game to force your opponent into a weaker position.
“In a low money battle, cavalry is the most decisive unit in battle. But you still need other units to support. In low money, missiles are generally extremely important. But you can’t fight a missile war effectively without cavalry…The only unit that isn’t really important in a low money battle is heavy infantry. A lot of players opt to skip bringing heavy infantry to battle altogether in favour of just bringing cavalry and archers/slingers.”
Having played the game for over a decade, I asked Prince_of_Macedon the relation between skill/experience compared with the right army composition for a multiplayer battle. “Skill/Experience is definitely more important, but a skilled player can’t work miracles if the armies are too imbalanced. On the other hand, an average player might not know the best way to use a “competitive build.” So I’ll definitely give the edge of skill/experience.”
Another area where we definitely agree is the historicity of Rome: Total War, and it’s one of the main reasons why he’s kept up the passion to create content for over a decade. “The beauty of Rome 1 is that it’s based on history. History is my greatest passion, and that light will never be extinguished from my system!” I studied Alexander the Great for a module in Classical Studies at school so I have my own passion for ancient history which is definitely fed by playing the Rome: Total War campaigns.
We turned to the future of the Total War franchise and what era of history he’d love to see Creative Assembly look at to create a new game.
“I would love to see a period-specific Total War title set specifically on the Punic Wars. Rome 1, despite its greatness, covers too vast a time period of Antiquity. I would also like to see the “Alexander” expansion EXPANDED to include more playable factions online and a wider coverage of the known world at the time.
“In addition, I would definitely love to see another modern Total War set between the 1850’s and 1870’s, perhaps a game that covers the American Civil War in addition to the Franco-Prussian War; the Crimean War; the Zulu Wars; Opium Wars.”
14 years since its release, how long does Prince_of_Macedon think he’ll continue to make content on Rome: Total War?
“I’ll play until I get sick of the game. But let’s hope a new company makes a better Real-Time Tactics game set in this time period. I don’t think Creative Assembly is capable of making this a reality. They’re intent on using the same game engine over and over for Warhammer, Rome II, Attila, etc. It’s not fun, and nobody is listening.”
Rome: Total War has quotes on the loading screens as you load into and out of campaigns and battles. Which is Prince_of_Macedon’s favourite?
“‘A collision at sea can ruin your entire day.’ I always chuckle when I hear that. It’s no like ‘no crap!'”
Rome: Total War is £6.99 on Steam and if you’ve never played this groundbreaking strategy game, Prince_of_Macedon and I highly recommend you give it a try!