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Warhammer and RTS games have a long and storied history from Relic’s celebrated Dawn of War series to Creative Assembly’s more recent Total War: Warhammer trilogy. With 40K and Fantasy shining brilliantly in this arena, it’s no wonder that Age of Sigmar is getting the RTS treatment as well. Frontier Developments has been working on the title for a couple of years, officially announcing it during the Warhammer Skulls show on May 25, 2023 – Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin is set to launch on PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X|S.

Featuring a campaign as well as several multiplayer modes with crossplay between platforms, Realms of Ruin brings four factions from the tabletop to life, two of which have been announced so far: the game’s poster-children, the Stormcast Eternals, and the Orruk Kruleboyz, which is just a different way of spelling ‘Orks’ that Games Workshop could copyright. All four factions will be visually and mechanically unique, Frontier said.

Set in the swampy Realm of Ghur, you’ll lead all four available factions through a turbulent and twisted narrative co-penned by bestselling author Gavin Thorpe, who has a long history of writing stories in Games Workshop properties.

In the great RTS schism with the StarCraft/Age of Empires style on one side and the Company of Heroes style on the other, Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin definitely falls into the latter category: Most infantry units are made up from squads with several models, which really do look like their tabletop counterparts have sprung to live, the economy is very simplified, and base-building is kept at a minimum.

In the campaign mission and the multiplayer match we were shown during a recent presentation shortly before the announcement, the players had to fight over resource and victory points on the map, just like in Company of Heroes or Dawn of War. However, players could build a Bastion on these points to fortify them and gain some economic or military bonuses, so there’s a little bit of base-building to be done.

Back at your HQ you can invest resources gained from fighting or resource points into recruiting more units, researching technology, or progressing through the tech tree, which unlocks higher tiers of units and tech – all of that is very streamlined into a few menus, mainly for the benefit of console players. Realms of Ruin uses DirectStep as a control scheme on controllers, which allows console players to quickly cycle through all of their units and around the map.

Frontier aims to establish a rock-paper-scissors counter system to make the game accessible to all kinds of players, though units will also have active and passive abilities. Heroes are on the field during campaign missions as well, bringing another element to the table.

Being visually pleasing, like most Frontier games, Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin will definitely give fans of the tabletop game the same feeling of spectacle and wonder that fans of 40K and Fantasy got from their respective strategy games. Frontier certainly pre-booked time for players to enjoy the spectacle, because from what we’ve seen so far, the game’s speed is quite slow – this, again, is probably for the benefit of console players who simply couldn’t keep up otherwise and to make the game more friendly to casual players overall.

Obviously, we can’t tell at this point how this speed feels while you’re actually playing, so this is something we simply can’t properly judge just by spectating from the outside. It just looks a little bit off at first glance.

Frontier aims to have a regular 1v1 game last about 30 minutes in any case, team matches will probably be a little bit longer.

We’ll get more details around this and many other topics when the first gameplay trailer drops in June 2023 and when it’s time to dive into one of the open beta tests for the multiplayer mode, several of which are being planned to begin soon. You can register your interest in participating on the official website.