Learn everything you can before you set out to unify China.
In a mainline Dynasty Warriors game, you play through a semi-historical adaptation of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms and unification of China, taking charge of legendary officers and cutting through entire armies with ease.
However, in the Empires spinoff games, you forge your own unification of China. They combine the fast-paced battles with a deep strategy mode that, among other things, sees you managing the diplomatic, militaristic, and mercantile aspects of your chosen kingdom. In the ninth installment of the series, this is called Conquest mode.
Updated May 28, 2022 by Ryan Bamsey: Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires is a game that you'll likely come back to time after time – its gameplay is compelling and the conquests are just long enough to fill up an entire night of fun. We've added more pointers to this guide for newbies and those who need refreshers alike.
When you begin a campaign in Conquest Mode, you will be prompted to choose a campaign and a character within that campaign. There are eight different campaigns in the game, with seven corresponding with different historical events in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms timeline. A final campaign with no historical counterpart allows you to pick any officer in the game.
Depending on the campaign and your character, you will have different powers and roles in the game.
It is possible to cycle through these positions (and more positions besides, such as Prime Minister and Emperor) through promotions and relinquishment.
While your choice of character will affect which weapons give you the biggest bonuses, there is nothing stopping you from experimenting with any other weapon type in the game! Try out various weapons until you find ones that you really enjoy, and then consider picking characters that are better at using them in your next Conquest.
War Councils occur every six months and dictate the kingdom's direction for the next half-year. The Ruler of the kingdom will have to do two things:
You only have input on the Kingdom Policy if you play as the Ruler yourself. A Kingdom Policy comprises four points put into four separate categories: Domestic Affairs, Human Affairs, Diplomacy, and Military Affairs. Officers in the Kingdom will carry out autonomous political commands according to the weights of the points allotted to each category.
Kingdom Objectives are chosen from a list of possible goals generated at each War Council. The Ruler is first prompted to select an invasion target, though they are not required to do so at every War Council. They then choose some goals.
For every goal met within that six-month period, you will receive a certain amount of Merit based on the goals set.
If you join a new kingdom as a new officer, the kingdom will have a War Council in the first month after you decide to join. If you begin a campaign within a kingdom, there will be a War Council within the very first month.
It is possible to influence a kingdom's goals even if you aren't a Ruler. If you are General rank or above, you can counter a Ruler's announcement of objectives with your own, and there's a chance that they will take your suggestion instead. If you are a Ruler and one of your subordinates suggests their own set of Kingdom Objectives, going along with them will increase your relationship with that officer.
Each month, you will have to choose a Political Command. You can use only one command per month, and once that choice has been made, you cannot revoke it. Commands come under six categories:
Use these commands wisely to meet your goals and react to what happens on a grand scale.
This version of Dynasty Warriors does away with the usual method of improving your equipment. Instead of collecting weapons of various ranks, you will instead collect non-descript Artifacts of various ranks. These are equipped to your characters and will then change your weapon to suit the rank.
Since you don't collect weapons with randomly generated skills anymore, you now have to get used to the Gem system. You collect Gems as you play the game and use them to modify your Artifact, which in turn affects the damage you do – in type and power.
For more information on the equipment system in this game, check out our in-depth guide here.
In addition to Artifacts and Gems, you will also have to equip Secret Plans for your character. These are small-scale abilities that you can swap between battles to customize and empower your officer depending on your playstyle. There are Secret Plans that grant you elemental attacks, some that grant powerful buffs, and some that heal you and your allies.
Invasions are how Rulers conquer China – they will take a force of soldiers into another region and attempt to take it by force. Invasion battles are made up of two distinct phases:
In the first phase, the goal of the battle is to take bases from enemies by defeating soldiers within them. In addition, this is when you'll be trying to enact your Secret Plans to give you an edge and disrupting the enemy's Secret Plan to prevent them from gaining the upper hand.
You will work with your allied officers to spread out over the map to take the enemy's bases before they can effectively reconquer them. The important bases to aim for are the Weapon Bases where Catapults, Rams, and Siege Towers are built. These will all attempt to gain you access to the castle in their own ways.
In battles, you may be able to make other officers carry out your orders with the Individual Commands section of the main menu. You can use this to make sure certain objectives get fulfilled and you spread your officers out efficiently. You can only order officers around if you are their ruler or if you have a close relationship with them.
Once you have unabated access to the castle by destroying any set of gates, the Decisive Battle phase will begin. In this phase, the enemy commander will spawn with full health, and the only goal is to defeat them. They will spawn in the center of their castle with plenty of soldiers and officers around them, so learning how to deplete their health quickly is the key to success.
When an enemy kingdom attempts to invade a region, it is possible to defend that region with a Defensive Battle. If you do not hold them off with a battle, the Defense Level of the region will be reduced by 15. If a battle would take the region's Defense Level below zero, the invaders will take the region.
Defensive Battles are quite similar in structure to Invasion Battles, but you are the ones defending a castle this time. In these battles, you must make sure your commander does not fall – this is far easier when you're playing as the commander.
As in Invasion Battles, the goal of the first phase is to trigger a Decisive Battle, using Secret Plans to help you. In these battles, there are two different ways to initiate this phase:
Once you have met either of these requirements, you can make a beeline for the invader's base and defeat their commander for a quick end to the battle.
If you get caught unawares and have little power or few officers, meeting either of these requirements might end up being an impossibility. You must only wait out the invasion for 15 minutes in these cases. If your commander survives this long, you will win the battle.
Going on a Stroll will take you to the open-world map of China from Dynasty Warriors 9, where you can explore the entire country and visit the different castles, settlements, and landmarks. You never actually have to do this when Strolling, however. You can instantly Talk with any officer currently available on the Stroll through the main menu, and you can access the Shop from the Political Commands menu at any time.
The main point of going on a Stroll is to Talk to officers. This way, you can increase your relationship with them, attempt to recruit them, or trigger scenes in which you may be given gifts. This is also the only place where you can trigger marriage or sworn sibling events in the game.
You will be able to see if a Stroll will trigger any events by looking at the Officer list in the Political Commands menu. Any officers that currently have events associated with them will have exclamation points next to their rank and be brought to the top of the list.
Interacting with officers usually costs Action Points during a Stroll. You will have only three to work with at the beginning of the game. You get more Action Points per Stroll by unlocking higher tier Titles, with six Action Points being the maximum.
NEXT: Games To Play If You Loved Dynasty Warriors
Ryan Bamsey is an Evergreen Editor at TheGamer. He loves games, baking, and manta rays, and has a degree in clinical psychology that he has never used. You can contact him at email@example.com.
Learn everything you can before you set out to unify China.