Open For Business – Wartales: The Tavern Opens! DLC Review


A worthy and apt addition to War Tales. This mini-game-like DLC not only provides practical support to your mercenary group, but also gives players a pleasurable reprieve from their usual gallivanting. Players will also be happy to find a substantial amount of customization, and find that the progression balance of the tavern in parallel with your troop feels spot on. It's certainly worth the purchase.

The tavern has become a ubiquitous symbol in the adventuring/fantasy landscape. It’s a jolly place where you’ve probably found yourself winding down with companions and catching up on the local gossip — but have you ever considered running a tavern? Well, there’s plenty to unpack with the logistics of operating a medieval business, as Wartales developers Shiro Games shows us with their latest add-on to their mercenary sim game. Grab a foamy ale, pull up a creaky stool, and let’s discuss the prospect of you breaking ground on your own tavern, while perusing whether this entrepreneurial DLC is worth the coin.

When you start a new game and make your way to the nearest city, Stromkapp, you’ll find a Derelict Tavern that you can purchase for the bargain price of 1 crown. Unlike the previous DLC, this isn’t a new area or type of exploration, it’s something that you can take part in wherever you’re exploring. It’s also completely optional; if managing a tavern isn’t on your agenda and mercenary work is all you want in a play through, then you can ignore the entire system.

war tales taver dlc review buying tavern
Not the best merchant, selling property for one coin

As soon as you make the purchase, you’ll clean up the place, name the establishment, then be inundated with menus requisite to getting the whole place rolling. The devs do an adequate job in this department: every menu is clearly labeled with explanations of what you need to do, and why. If you’re ever feeling confused, you can hover over a part of the menu and a tooltip will usually populate to clarify.

We won’t go over all the different menus (as that would be boring, and triple the size of this review), but rest easy knowing that there will be plenty for you to customize. You can personalize the food and drink menu, pick the staff, create a unique layout of the tavern with myriad equipment, and even sabotage competing businesses. Additionally, as the tavern owner, you can pore over the property’s business sheets to see how it’s performing.

war tales taver dlc review menus
Don’t micromanage the brewers, they’re doing their best

What is really satisfying about this is that the customization results in different outcomes. You can set up your tavern to cater to wealthy patrons, or more working-class clientele — with both having pros and cons. These costs and benefits not only affect your tavern’s bottom line, but also make you feel like you’re giving your business a brand. You might under-hire security to make your restaurant more appealing to the less savory factions, or maybe you want to splurge on a nice floor to attract nobility: the choice is yours.

As with any RPG, how a system evolves over the course of a play through is important, and the Tavern DLC does a good job in balancing its progression. At the end of each day, you’ll receive a shift report that lets you know how the tavern performed, and if anything remarkable happened. As the reports come in, you start to understand how the tavern itself is improving, just like your band of mercenaries.

war tales taver dlc review shift report
Dopamine increases with higher numbers

The staff will level up, allowing for more food items to be on the menu, or different types of drink; the business itself will gain prestige, which unlocks more equipment to use in the layout; and when you move onto a new region, you’ll be able to transplant your tavern to a bigger and better location. There’s even a cool way in which the base gameplay is connected to your tavern: you’ll unlock new recipes with your knowledge, and those can then appear on the tavern’s menu.

While I’m sure that there are optimized ways to set up the tavern to be the best it can be, this doesn’t break the game. The reason being that the currency used for operating the tavern, copper coins, is different from the krowns used for your mercenary group. You are able to convert the tavern currency, but it has diminishing returns — each time you cash out, you get fewer krowns for every 100 copper coins you exchange — so it quickly becomes more difficult to justify subsidizing your troop at the expense of the tavern.

war tales taver dlc review exchanging coins
I started getting pennies on the dollar for my conversion rate

This mechanic is implemented really well because the beginning of the game is where new players will likely make mistakes and need that bit of cushion. More experienced players, however, might hold out for a better conversion till the latter parts of the game, when they know they’ll need it for certain regions.

Another interesting way of viewing it is the DLC has a similar purpose for both the player and the devs; it helps the main operation financially. For the former, it can keep the mercenary band afloat, and for the latter, it brings in funds for the studio.

At the end of the day, this DLC is a more akin to a mini-game inside the larger game, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Having small diversions to break up the regular gameplay loop is satisfying. The only time that these kinds of side endeavors can hurt a game is when they feel out of place. Luckily, managing a tavern in a mercenary group simulator is about as fitting as it gets.

For what it is, this DLC does a lot to enhance the player experience in Wartales. It isn’t massive by any means, but the new features and tavern system is integrated well into the game, and doesn’t feel half-baked. All the different characteristics of the tavern, and aspects of managing it, help the game’s immersive qualities, while also ameliorating its world-building. In my opinion, it’s certainly worth the purchase for fans, and gives newcomers even more reason to pick up the title.

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Kelson H.
Kelson H.

Kelson is a spud head from out west. He is most happy when holding a milky tea with too much honey and playing a sprawling role playing game or reading a fantasy novel. His video game tastes vary but his main genres are looter shooters, RPGs, and real time strategy games.

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