When it comes to DLC for the Total War: Warhammer series, Creative Assembly typically develops one of two types: either the DLC adds a completely new race, or it bolsters already existing factions. The Queen and The Crone is in the latter camp, adding two new legendary lords and several units to the sprawling strategy game. But in contrast to previous DLC packs, The Queen and The Crone feels hollow, changing little in how either of the two featured factions play.
This lord pack is centred around the High Elves and Dark Elves, specifically the rivalry between the royal Alarielle the Everqueen and the sadistic Blood Queen of Har Ganeth, Hellebron. They have a long-simmering rivalry in Warhammer lore, and focusing a DLC on their relationship is a good premise.
The dichotomy between the two lords is made evident by how each of their campaigns play out. Alarielle’s is defence oriented, as she seeks to try and reclaim the conquered territory on her home continent of Ulthuan. She suffers penalties if even one territory is occupied by the enemy, which is an interesting mechanic until the late game when there is little motivation to leave home once you’ve conquered all of it.
By contrast, Hellebron’s campaign is engaging from beginning to end, as she seeks to capture two capital cities in order to uncover the secrets of eternal beauty. Her signature campaign mechanic, Death Night, confers buffs each time slaves are slaughtered by the thousands, with its ever-increasing requirements forcing you to go on the offensive, which plays well to the Dark Elves strengths.
Outside of the two new leaders, The Queen and The Crone adds two new units, and one new hero and lord for the High Elves and Dark Elves, respectively. And while they are fun additions to their respective faction’s rosters, with the Sisters of Slaughter being my new favourite unit in the game, it is a notably small number of new units added. They also don’t create new roles or tactics that you can use on the battlefield, unlike the units added in past lord packs.
I can’t help but look at this DLC and be disappointed. It’s not that The Queen and The Crone is particularly bad—on the contrary, I think the things that Creative Assembly have added are well made—it’s that it feels non-essential in the grand scheme of the game. Where the last DLC, Rise of the Tomb Kings, felt innovative and unique, this one feels like the developers played it too safe. Diehard Warhammer fans will likely enjoy the new campaign mechanics, but for everyone else, this is a DLC that doesn’t offer much.
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