Wartales: The Tavern Opens DLC Adds A Tasty Business Sim To The Tactical RPG

Wartales The Tavern Opens DLC
Reviewed On
Steam (PC)
Available For

Last year, long before Baldur’s Gate 3 finally clawed its way out of early access, developer Shiro Games released its unique take on the RPG genre with Wartales. An incredibly deep game with over 200 hours of content, Wartales offers players an RPG that is fully centered around tactical combat and company management.

Players in Wartales are charged with recruiting an entire company of mercenaries that can include all kinds of ranged and melee fighters, trained wolves and bears, and even pack animals and warhorses. Although you start off with only four people in your company, that number can rapidly expand as you play (and will need to) as each county presented on the generously large world map gets increasingly more difficult as you adventure. By mid-game, most mercenary companies will probably contain 12 or more fighters.

In addition to just taking on quests and fighting, Wartales requires players to properly manage their troop. That means making enough money to pay the troop’s wages by taking on jobs. And it also means having enough food to feed everyone, either by purchasing dishes at taverns or, more likely, by buying raw materials and having a good cook in the company to prepare great meals. All of which means that while having a bigger troop makes you more powerful, it also means you will have to work harder to support everyone. It’s a formula that works, and Wartales earned 4.5 GiN Gems (of 5) in our original review.

Since its release, Wartales has been updated a few times, including with a pirate-themed DLC called Pirates of Belerion which added a new section to the map and some new combat mechanics, characters and gear. That DLC was priced at $20 and seemed perfectly suited as an extension to Wartales. Now, a new DLC has released called “The Tavern Opens!” and at first it might seem like a little bit of an odd addition. The DLC is also budget priced at just $12 on Steam, but even so, it does appear to be a bit out of place inside a tactical RPG.

The DLC begins with players receiving a letter about an opportunity in Stormkapp, which is one of the first towns you will encounter right in the center of the map. Once you arrive, you will see an empty building. When you go inside, a salesman will offer you the chance to buy what is actually an abandoned tavern, all for the low, low price of just one gold piece. Once you do, the DLC really begins.

Now, just so you know, unlike other dedicated tavern or business sims, the tavern in Wartales is not managed in real time. Instead, time advances for your tavern each night that your party rests out in the main game world. As such, while the DLC works for established players who no longer need to rest as much thanks to endurance skills, things are probably going to go much more quickly for those just starting out or doing a replay. Your new tavern also has a completely different money system since you invest in your business (and all the patrons pay for their drinks and food) using copper coins. This completely separates tavern budgeting from that of your mercenary company. However, once you collect enough copper, you can exchange some of those coins for the normal gold currency your party uses, and the tavern can get quite lucrative to the point where it can eventually become a main source of income for your party.

You can manage your tavern whenever your party is in the camp menu, no matter where they are in the world, by clicking on the new mug of ale icon. Managing your tavern is pretty easy. You need to buy and add furniture and lighting to support the comfort of your patrons. And then you need to hire staff to work various jobs in the tavern like cooks, brewers, bouncers, tavern keepers, bards and thieves (who steal extra copper for you from unsuspecting patrons). Staff can come from your party, which is a great way for benched characters to earn professional experience, or you can hire civilians from town who will just work in the business but can’t transfer over to your adventuring party. And unlike the trading outposts, you can also assign your animal companions to the tavern, so if you want to have a bear or a wolf acting as a bouncer, well, I doubt too many rowdy patrons will argue with that.

You also need to set your menu and prices. This is done by looking at the costs of an item and then setting the sale price, and it is influenced by the cook’s skill as well as other factors like if the ingredients are on sale or scarce that week. Depending on the level of prestige of the tavern (which you earn slowly over time if all goes smoothly), you will have different groups of people like bandits, lords or farmers who may or may not be attracted to your establishment. Serving foods that are favored by the kind of customers you want at your tavern is a key to more profit and growth, as is providing enough security so that those groups feel safe in your establishment.

Once you have all of that set, you simply go back to your main camp and have your mercenary party rest. The tavern will do its thing at the same time, and you will get a report in the morning about what sold and what didn’t, how much profit each employee generated and if any special events happened that night. You can use those reports to tailor your offerings to improve your tavern. Eventually, you will even be able to expand operations and buy bigger, more established taverns, including a massive one inside the grand city of Gosenberg.

The sooner that you are able to establish your tavern in the game, the more quickly that it will become a valuable asset. In the early game, the 200 or so gold you can earn each week from a successful tavern (when you transfer the copper coins over) is going to be invaluable. But it does not take too long before you are able to earn thousands of gold coins per week out of your investment, which might even be more than your adventuring party is earning.

While it may seem a little odd at first, The Tavern Opens DLC perfectly fits into Wartales with its emphasis on good management practices. Those who efficiently run their adventuring party should find it both fairly easy and also enjoyable to expand their empire into tavern ownership. The DLC does a great job of adding similar but also unique content to the core title and can be a real joy for those players like me who really like the management side of Wartales. It’s also quite rewarding to see your humble little dirt-floor shack grow into one of the biggest and most impressive establishments in the realm. All that makes the new Wartales tavern worth the $12 and one gold piece price of admission.

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