Wu Xing, also known as Elemental Phases, is a gameplay mechanic in Total War: Three Kingdoms. The system is based on the ancient Chinese philosophy that describes the interrelationships of the five elements to view the workings of the world. The Wu Xing mechanic summarizes the rock-paper-scissor balance approach from previous titles, streamlining them into a closed-circuit system that affects every aspects of gameplay (meta).
Elements are properties for heroes, units, buildings and other gameplay mechanics in the game. There are five types of elements based on Wu Xing philosophy, including Water, Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal. Each type of element feeds (assist) one element, and is weak/strong toward another element. For example, Ranged Retinue has water element that assists Spear Infantry (Wood). It also defines which types of unit it is super effective against (Shock Cavalry/Fire), and which types of unit it is being countered (Melee Cavalry/Earth).
How elements workEdit
Wu Xing Elements are uniformly applied to nearly all gameplay mechanics in the Three Kingdoms. And the interactions such as buff/debuff between elements are similarly applied to every mechanics as well.
Here's an example on Wu Xing meta interactions, any word related to Wu Xing is marked with italics.
Zhang Fei is a Vanguard class hero. He's represented by color Red and element Fire. Zhang Fei loves to give out mission that improves military buildings when he's in the court. Zhang Fei's attributes are dictated by Instinct. As a hero with good Instinct, his military building buff will make related cost reduced if he's administrator and the cost is reduced even more if he's the faction leader. Military buildings researched in military reforms will grant Zhang Fei and Shock Cav better capabilities in battle. Zhang Fei's Shock Cav bonus reduced the upkeep cost of the unit type.
|Buildings Type||Government buildings||Economic buildings||Education Trade buildings||Agriculture buildings||Military buildings|
|Reforms||Government||Industry||Education Trade Espionage||Agriculture||Military|
|Unit Type||Melee Cav||Melee Infantry||Ranged Retinue||Spearmen||Shock Cav|
|Birth||Creates Metal||Enrichs Water||Feeds Wood||Feeds Fire||Creates Ash(Earth)|
|Buff||Buff Metal||Buff Water||Buff Wood||Buff Fire||Buff Earth|
|Destroy||Dams Water||Chops Wood||Douses Fire||Parts Earth||Melts Metal|
|Debuff||Counter Water||Counter Wood||Counter Fire||Counter Earth||Counter Metal|
- Main article: Attributes (Total War: Three Kingdoms)
Attributes are properties of a hero that affected by Traits. Each Wu Xing element represents one attribute with corresponding increased effectiveness (buff) for a particular action on the campaign/battlefield.
The five attributes are Authority, Expertise, Cunning, Resolve, and Instinct, which are chosen and colour-coded to match the five elements (Earth/Yellow, Metal/Purple, Water/Blue, Wood/Green and Fire/Red) that all either feed or counter one another.
While in previous titles, buff/nerf are directly linked with traits. In the case of Total War: Three Kingdoms, traits increase or decrease certain attributes of a character. And buff/nerf is connected to the final attributes instead.
|Elements||Color||Attributes||Bonus 1||Bonus 2|
|Metal||Purple||Expertise||Construction Cost||Melee Evasion|
|Wood||Green||Resolve||General's Health||Population Growth|
|Fire||Red||Instinct||Melee Damage||Recruitment Cost|
- Main article: Hero (Total War: Three Kingdoms)
- Main article: Reforms
- Main article: Building (Total War: Three Kingdoms)
Units in Three Kingdoms are classified by its Wu Xing elements, including Earth, Metal, Wood, Fire and Water, though traditional classes of unit such as Melee infantry and Shock cavalry are still being mentioned in the game.
Earth units are mainly melee cavalry. Melee cavalry are armed with swords and shields, so are better able to weather arrow-fire, and deal greater damage over time when locked in melee than shock or ranged cavalry.
Metal units are mainly melee infantry. Armed with swords or axes and sometimes bearing shields, melee infantry are your principle assault troops as they have a good melee charge bonus. They are effective at dealing damage against polearm and ranged infantry but are less effective against cavalry. Non-shield metal units often have high melee evasion, or ranged block-chance.
Wood units are mainly polearm infantry. They're reasonable all-rounders and your principle defensive troops, pike and spear infantry form the backbone of many armies. While they generally do not deal as much damage as melee infantry, they are much better at fighting cavalry, and when stood still, gain the braced and charge reflection VS mounted abilities against frontal charges.
Fire units are mainly shock cavalry. Shock cavalry wield lances, and cause tremendous impact damage. They are therefore best used when charging, and are the best type of cavalry to use against other cavalry. When their charge bonus has faded, they do not deal as much damage over time as melee cavalry, and should be pulled out and cycle-charged to maintain optimal damage output.
Water units are your ranged retinue including ranged infantry, ranged cavalry, and ranged artillery.
Infantry armed with bows and crossbows can damage enemy units from afar, but are generally lightly armored and less effective in melee than other infantry types, and so are best placed behind the front line. They are particularly vulnerable to cavalry, which can swiftly maneuver round the front line to access them.
Bows have greater range than crossbows and are faster to fire, while crossbows have a shorter range and deal significantly more armor-piercing damage. Repeater Crossbows have a faster rate of fire than Crossbows, but deal no AP damage.
the faster a unit is moving, the harder it is to hit. Archers will therefore do a lot more damage to a tightly-formed block of static or slow-moving troops, for example, than they will to a loosely spaced unit of cavalry galloping at full speed.
Ranged cavalry carry bows, granting them the ranged damage of archers combined with the speed and maneuverability of cavalry. Due to their cavalry speed and mass, they can still cause impact damage when charging, though are less effective at this than shock or melee cavalry.
Ranged artillery pieces such as the trebuchet are powerful long-range weapons which hurl large projectiles great distances. They can damage and destroy city walls, bastion artillery, defensive towers and gates, and may be commanded to fire different ammo types. Artillery is extremely vulnerable to melee attack however and should be protected by other units.
|Total War THREE KINGDOMS gameplay mechanics|
|Characters||Ancillary・Attributes・Background・Guanxi・Prestige (Faction Rank)・Legendary・Personality・Resilience・Satisfaction (Title Rank)・Skill・Specialisation・Traits・Unique・Wu Xing|
|Campaign||Assignment・Buildings・Court (Administrator・Council・Family Tree)・Diplomacy (Coalition・Vassal)・Event (Initial Dilemma)・Factions (Leader・Heir・Prime Minister)・Mission (Challenge)・Records・Reforms・Resources・Seasons・Treasury・Undercover Network|
|Battle||Ability (Unit Ability)・Army・Dueling・Formation・Fortification・Morale・Terrain・Siege (Siege Escalation)・Unit (Hero Unit・Retinue)・Weather|