The eighth and final faction for Total War Warhammer 3 at release is a bit of an anomaly. Up until this point, Creative Assembly has revealed the Russian-inspired Kislev and the Imperial China-inspired Grand Cathay, both of whom face off against the arrayed armies of each Chaos god – Nurgle, Khorne, Tzeentch and Slaanesh – with the Ogre Kingdoms stomping around and causing a ruckus as a pre-order DLC bonus. Where could they turn to for one final race? Well, why pick one Chaos god when you can have them all?
Daemons of Chaos is the final race, a kingdom built on Chaos undivided and with no specific allegiance to any one side. Leading them is the Godslayer himself, transformed into a daemon prince after being swayed to the side of evil in the narrative set up for Total War Warhammer 3, and then swayed once more to seek power and dominion over the world for themselves if you select them for the campaign. We had the opportunity to play the first 50 turns of the campaign with this faction.
As you might expect, Chaos undivided gives you access to units from all four Chaos armies, but while they might be combined, they’re not totally unleashed without restriction. As you spread your influence across the campaign map, conquering settlements gives you a choice to devote them to one faction or another. That then defines the buildings you can construct and upgrade, and by extension the units you’re able to recruit to your army.
Just as your armies can draw from all factions of Chaos, so too can your Daemon Prince, in a sweeping create-a-daemon customisation mode. He might have been human once, but these days the Godslayer comes with horns, wings, a tail and a little loin cloth to protect his daemonic modesty. As you win battles, capture settlements and more, you’ll earn Daemonic Glory, both for Chaos as a whole and that you can dedicate to a particular Chaos God. This in turn pushes you down a character progression tree that unlocks new body parts that you can swap in and out at will, enhancing your hero with stat buffs, new abilities and more.
There’s over 500 billion body part combinations, though obviously you’ll lean toward the parts that will further your particular play style and have the better stats. Eventually, you’ll level up enough that you can devote yourself to a particular Chaos god and unlock their very best parts. It’s a compelling twist on the character growth, and I’m sure it’s one that will be rather popular.
Meanwhile, the main campaign plays out the same as it does for all the other races in the game. As a god dies in captivity, each race seeks to turn the situation to their advantage, whether that’s freeing the god or dealing the killing blow in order to steal its power for themselves. Each roar of desperation rips open portals to the Chaos realms that are siloed off toward the top of the world, giving all the races the chance to dive in and fight to defeat one of the champions in the pitched Stronghold battles that were revealed last year. You’ll need to be quick, because everyone will be racing to strike first and snatch the progress through the overarching campaign’s goal.
With just under a month to go before release, Daemons of Chaos might just be the perfect faction to play as for fence sitters and fans of Arthas’ heel turn in Warcraft 3. Now, do I want a tail that’s spiked? Or one that will bite my enemies with teeth?