The year is 270 AD. A string of inept emperors and usurpers vying for power has led the Roman Empire into near-total economic collapse. This is its gravest crisis yet.
Eager to capitalise on Rome’s instability, barbarian tribes gather like a storm on the borders, to plunder the riches of civilisation.
To the east, the Sassanids set out on a grand conquest that culminates with an assault against Roman lands. They are held back only by a staunch defence led by Palmyra. Queen Zenobia holds fast – but for how long?
The once-glorious legions are forced to assume a defensive posture as their strength wanes; time is not on Rome’s side. However, there is yet hope. Aurelian stands ready to take the reins in Rome, though the task he faces seems insurmountable…
Will you unite an Empire Divided, and return Rome to its former glory? Or will you become the arbiter of its final downfall?
Culture: The Divided Roman Empire
Faction leader: Aurelian
Faction leader: Gaius Tetricus
Faction leader: Queen Zenobia
Culture: Germanic Kingdoms
Faction leader: King Sigeric
Faction leader: Cannabaudes
Faction leader: King Burkhard
Culture: Eastern Empires
Faction leader: Hormizd
Faction leader: Narseh
Culture: Nomadic Tribes
Faction leader: Nikanuur
Culture: Britannic Celts
Faction leader: Segovax
Five of the ten playable factions in Empire Divided are classed as Heroic factions. These are Rome, Gallic Rome, Palmyra, the Sassanids and the Gothi. Heroic factions have grander and more elaborate victory conditions, and unique named faction leaders who cannot die in battle.
Heroic factions also have their own flavourful and bespoke event-chains, representing the tales of these characters’ lives, which bring bonuses to their abilities and enable the player to make meaningful choices regarding their development and that of their faction.
New events, dilemmas and missions
Empire Divided brings a host of new events, dilemmas and missions, both general and faction-specific, to introduce new challenges, benefits and period flavour to your campaigns.
This period of reduced governmental authority fosters the spread of Banditry. Each province now has a variable Banditry level which increases with the size of your domain and the presence of certain local buildings. Banditry can be reduced with the presence of armies, generals and special buildings. As Banditry grows, food levels fall, threatening faction-wide shortages. High provincial Banditry can also trigger special Bandit events to occur.
Devastating diseases were commonplace in the 3rd century. When a plague hits a settlement it hampers growth, impacts public order and reduces income. Diseases can move between neighbouring territories, spreading with army movement and along trade routes. Sanitation buildings can prevent plagues from erupting and spreading, and key technologies can improve sanitation factionwide.
Alongside the more established religions, many cults sprang up in the 3rd century. These are represented by special building chains that can be constructed by any faction in any settlement. Three different cults are available in the game: Christianity, Mithraism and Manichaeism.
A cult building may be built for no cost, as its construction represents your empire permitting disciples to settle within your territory. This makes cult bonuses relatively easy to obtain, though cults spread foreign culture, bringing disorder into your provinces. In order to remove a cult building, a significant expenditure is required and a public order penalty is incurred required as this is considered persecution. Careful consideration of a cult’s benefits and disadvantages is required but, if used correctly, they can become a powerful tool.
Generals’ skill have been overhauled, and now allow the player to customise and specialise their characters in the disciplines of Recruitment, Combat, Strategy, Governance and Maritime Proficiency.
All technology trees have been restructured and redesigned to reflect the time-period and each of the game’s culture groups. Moreover, technologies in Empire Divided don’t represent scientific or technological breakthroughs; rather they represent the measures taken by rulers to deal with specific problems facing their empires. In this way, they help to tell the story of each faction’s journey through the period. This is especially true for the Heroic factions:
Alongside the existing unit rosters from ROME II, Empire Divided introduces a number of unique and signature units for every faction. Each faction features its own variant style and unique take on the classic Roman look and feel, with Aurelian’s Roman forces bearing the closest resemblance to the classic template. Unique Roman units are: