Total War: Rome 2's Desert Kingdoms expansion launches next month, brings four new factions

Creative Assembly has announced that Total War: Rome 2 will receive a Desert Kingdoms Culture Pack on March 8th, bringing with it four new playable factions. A free Female Leaders update will be made available to all players on the same day.

The Desert Kingdoms expansion follows on from November's Empire Divided DLC - the first major expansion for Total War: Rome 2 since 2014. Desert Kingdoms' headline feature is, of course, it's four new factions: the Kingdoms of Kush, Saba, Nabatea, and Masaesyli - all native to the deserts of Africa and Arabia.

"While culturally similar, each faction boasts unique new unit rosters which offer different military strengths", says Creative Assembly. Each faction features new building chains and technology trees, and comes with its own unique Faction Traits.

Additionally, all four new factions share the same Cultural Traits, providing a bonus to morale in desert battles and bonus income from agriculture, as well as incurring a penalty to research rates. Full details of each new faction can be found on the game's Steam page.

Total War: Rome 2's free Female Leaders update, meanwhile, adds historically significant female characters to all campaigns and across all factions.

Cleopatra and Teuta will become fully playable as faction leaders and generals, with their own custom visuals and voice-over. Prior to the addition of Queen Zenobia in last year's Empire Divided expansion, Total War: Rome 2 featured no female leaders or generals - something the free update aims to remedy, while still being true to the series' historical roots.

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"In some cultures, like Rome and Greek", says Creative Assembly, "women can only serve a social/political role while in other women can be generals and fight alongside men." For those cultures where women can't hold public offices, there's a new "Cursus Honorum" path "that follows the increase in "behind-the-stage" political influence of women."

The update also introduces Dilemmas - special events that "portray the trials and tribulations associated with women coming to power in ancient times" where traditions and prejudice stand in their way. "Such events," says Creative Assembly, "allow the player to recruit a female leader or gain some other bonuses from parties that would oppose such a decision".

Additionally, faction leaders of opposite gender can now marry as a diplomatic action - significantly strengthening the relations between the two factions - and the basic marriage action now has "political implications".

Total War: Rome 2's Desert Kingdoms expansion and the free Female Leaders update will release on March 8th. Desert Kingdoms will cost £6.99.

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