Total War: Rome Remastered is, for the majority of the gameplay, almost exactly the same as the original Rome: Total War from almost two decades ago. While most of the graphics have been updated with increased texture fidelity and upscaling to 4k, most of the actual mechanics have been untouched.
That is except for one new addition: the Merchants. These are new agents available in Total War: Rome Remastered and echo the Merchants found in Medieval 2: Total War. If you didn’t play that game and haven’t encountered the Merchant agent before, here’s everything you need to know about how they work and how to use them effectively. But as a quick but important note: Merchants might even be a little bit broken in Remastered.
Merchants Generate A Small Amount Of Income Per Turn
Merchants are very simple and work much like they did in Medieval 2: Total War (one of our favorite Medieval strategy games of all time). You train them (you need a Market building in your City or Town) and send them out into the world to look for Resource nodes, marked on the map with a little image of a pile of wood, a pot of wine, or whatever resource is common in that region.
Leave your merchant next to the Resource node and they will generate a small amount of income per turn. This scales with the overall level of the Merchant, which is boosted by either surviving a rival Merchant’s buyout or by successfully outpricing another faction’s Merchant on a nearby resource.
So, the basics:
- Merchants can be trained at a Town or City with at least a Market building present
- Merchants act like other agents (Diplomats, Spies) and can move around the map
- Resource nodes are represented by icons on the map (Wood, Stone, etc)
It should also be noted that resources are relevant to the area. There’s a lot of wine and pottery in Northern Italy, for example, but you won’t find any wine in the wooded wilderness of Southern Britain.
How To Make More Money With Merchants In Total War: Rome Remastered
This was always a big problem with the Merchants in Medieval 2: Total War. No one really bothered with them because it didn’t seem like they made much money. However, with the proper strategy, Merchants could turn into absolute money-generating powerhouses. There’s a similar strategy that works well in Total War: Rome Remastered.
Things to keep in mind:
- Merchants have no upkeep costs, everything they generate is pure profit
- Each city can train up to three merchants
- Sending out an army of Merchants is a bit like utilizing Priests in Medieval 2… pretty strong!
The Further Away A Resource, The Better
It seems like Feral Interactive took the mechanics of Medieval 2’s Merchants and slotted them right into Rome Remastered. This makes sense: the games were originally designed on the same engine. That means any tips and tricks you had for Medieval 2 will work here, too.
- Resources that are far away from the empire typically generate more coin
- Resources that are very uncommon near your empire also generate more coin
That’s to say if you send a Merchant down the road to a nearby settlement and leave him there for 40 years generating coin from wood (when there is wood literally all over your empire), he won’t make as much coin as he would if you sent him halfway across the world to buy and sell expensive (and rare) dyes.
Merchants Can Now Establish New Trade Routes
This is a fresh mechanic that is brand new to Rome Remastered. Merchants can now establish new trade routes that didn’t exist before. For anyone who previously played Rome: Total War, you’ll know that Trade was completely busted in terms of gold income. That hasn’t changed, and now Merchants can complement a larger trade network.
My Merchant Keeps Getting Bought Out, What Do I Do?
It’s no use sending a freshly trained Merchant all the way to Northern Africa to secure a load of ivory if he doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing. Merchants spawn with an (almost) random amount of experience, although city-specification and market-level do have an impact on how strong your Merchants begin.
Weak Merchants will be bought out. Constantly. This was a big problem in Medieval 2, but there is a way to work around it. A strategy that developed on Medieval 2 also works on Rome Remastered, it turns out.
How To Level Up Your Merchants In Rome Remastered
The best way to strengthen your Merchants quickly is to move them in periodic stages across the map. Don’t stay in one location for too long. Spend a few turns here and there on resources of different types. Merchant experience is worked out by distance traveled and the types of resources being sent back to your empire.
Once you reach the ideal merchant spot, something like Ivory in Africa, or Dyes across the Egyptian Empire, your Merchant should be at a high enough level to stand his ground against any nearby Merchants looking to buy his business. This obviously works in reverse as well: if you’re playing as Egypt, sending a Merchant across the world to Britain to look for Furs is the equivalent.
General tips for leveling up your Merchants:
- Move your Merchant to different resources every 10 or so turns
- Keep a goal in mind: unique resources that are far from your empire make the most coins
- Keep an eye on Merchant traits: like Medieval 2 there are Traits for Merchant effectiveness
- Once your Merchant is a high level, you can send him to buy out other Merchants and generate extra coin
- The game will now spawn Rebel merchants who are often low level and good candidates to attack with your own Merchants
- You can place Merchants inside cities as well as on resource nodes, large cities can provide a decent amount of experience
Overall, Merchants shouldn’t be ignored in Total War: Rome Remastered. If everything goes to plan, like it often did during Medieval 2 campaigns, you can have an army of Merchants generating thousands of coins per turn. Better get practicing, because Merchant management is going to fill the next couple of months until Humankind is eventually released in August.
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Harry Alston is a writer based in the UK. He was once number one in the world on Call of Duty: Black Ops and now spends his days chasing that past glory.
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