As someone who has spent an embarrassing amount of time staring at virtual maps, my knowledge of geography leaves much to be desired. While I may not mistake Africa for a country, I certainly wouldn’t be the first choice for a pub quiz team when it comes to geography. Despite my lack of geographical prowess, I do find joy in manipulating maps in strategy games like Total War. The latest expansion for Total War: Pharaoh’s has caught my attention, introducing new territories that resemble Mesopotamia and Aegea. These additions are part of a larger rework of the campaign experience, which includes the introduction of 80 new units spread across four factions, as well as adjustments to 70 existing units in Mycenae and Troy.

The press release for the expansion promises enhancements to the strategic campaign layer, including the Dynasty system, which adds elements of mortality and succession to faction leaders. In the battle layer, players can expect to command over 80 new units for the Mesopotamian factions, along with tweaks to 70 reworked units in Mycenae and Troy. This comprehensive update brings to mind the speculated ‘Immortal Empires’ feature from Total War: Warhammer, which combines game maps to create a larger gameplay experience. It’s a logical move to integrate existing content into new expansions, especially when enhanced with fresh elements.

The decision to drop the ‘Saga’ label from Pharaoh’s caused some controversy initially, as players questioned the pricing of the game, considering its scale compared to other titles in the series. However, subsequent updates and the release of this expansion as a free content have helped to regain player confidence in the game. Personally, I have always had a level of respect for Pharaoh’s, even if I didn’t find it as enjoyable to play as other Total War titles. With a bit more development time, the game could have reached its full potential. It’s worth noting that the continued updates and expansion of Total War titles show a dedication to improving the overall gaming experience for players.

Looking back at my school days, I can’t help but feel a pang of regret for not paying more attention in geography class. Maps have always fascinated me, and the prospect of exploring new territories in games like Total War: Pharaoh’s is an exciting prospect. Perhaps if I had listened more attentively to my geography teacher, who had an uncanny resemblance to Jesus mixed with the Jeepers Creepers monster (leading to the nickname ‘Jesus Creepers’ among my classmates), I would have a better grasp of geographical concepts today. The expansion of game worlds, especially when offered for free, highlights the endless possibilities that gaming can offer in terms of exploration and discovery.

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