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Is Warhammer 3 Free on Steam?

The short answer is no, Total War: Warhammer 3 is not free on Steam. It is a premium paid game that normally costs $59.99 for the standard edition. However, there have been some limited-time promotions that have made it free to play or discounted for a brief period.

Free Weekend Event

In March 2023, Creative Assembly held a free weekend event for Total War: Warhammer 3 on Steam, opening up access to the full game at no cost. This gave players a chance to try out the epic strategy game and its Realm of Chaos campaign for free from March 9-13.

After the free weekend ended on March 13th, the game is back to being a paid title on Steam. This was a promotional event, not a permanent transition to free-to-play.

Is Total War: Warhammer 3 Permanently Free?

While free weekends make the game temporarily accessible to everyone, Total War: Warhammer 3 is not a free-to-play game. It is a premium title developed by Creative Assembly and published by SEGA that normally costs $59.99.

The free weekend in March 2023 was the only time the standard edition has been available for free for everyone on Steam. It was a limited-time promotion, not a permanent change to a free-to-play model.

Steam Sale Discounts

While not entirely free, Total War: Warhammer 3 has seen discounts during major Steam sales events.

Most recently, during the 2023 Lunar New Year sale in January, the game was discounted by 20% off its regular $59.99 asking price. For patients gamers on a budget, these Steam sales provide an opportunity to pick up the game at a reduced price point.

Based on past trends, we can expect to potentially see Total War: Warhammer 3 discounted again during the next major seasonal sale on Steam, such as the Summer Sale or Winter Sale later this year. But the full free weekend promotion is unlikely to be repeated frequently.

Free with Xbox Game Pass

An alternative way to play Total War: Warhammer 3 at no additional cost is through the Xbox Game Pass subscription service. Warhammer 3 is included in Xbox Game Pass for PC, so subscribers can install and play the full game as part of their membership.

However, this still requires paying the monthly or annual Game Pass fee. If your membership expires, you would lose access to Warhammer 3 until resubscribing to the service. It also requires downloading games through the Xbox app for Windows, rather than directly through Steam.

But for existing Xbox Game Pass members, it provides a way to enjoy the epic fantasy strategy game without paying the $59.99 retail price. Just keep in mind it‘s tied to an active paid subscription, not permanently free.

Why Are Warhammer Games So Expensive?

For gamers new to the Warhammer franchise, the premium prices of the digital games and physical miniatures can seem overly expensive compared to other entertainment properties. Why does this dark fantasy world come with such a high cost of entry?

Highly Detailed Miniatures

A major portion of Warhammer‘s appeal lies in the incredibly detailed miniatures representing each unit. These are not cheap plastic toys – they are intricately molded and cast using premium materials and specialized manufacturing techniques that result in stunning level of detail that brings the characters to life.

This level of quality and craftsmanship doesn‘t come cheap, driving up the production costs that translate to higher prices for the finished miniatures.

Niche Market Audience

Unlike mass market franchises like Star Wars or Marvel, Warhammer caterers to a more niche audience within the gaming community. It lacks the mainstream penetration to achieve huge production runs and economies of scale that could lower costs.

As a product targeted at a smaller demographic of hardcore hobbyists, each unit sold has to account for more of the underlying production and development costs. This contributes to the higher price point.

Licensing Costs

Game studios must pay hefty licensing fees to Games Workshop for the rights to produce Warhammer video games. These licensing costs inevitably get passed along to consumers in the form of higher prices.

Given the smaller niche audience, the publishers have to recoup the licensing costs across fewer total units sold.

Manual Assembly and Painting

Warhammer miniatures come unassembled in plastic pieces that must be clipped from sprues, glued together, and hand painted by the owner. This required manual fan effort also factors into the higher costs compared to pre-assembled and pre-painted action figures or toys.

Premium Brand Image

Through brilliant marketing and branding, Games Workshop has built Warhammer into a premium brand that consumers are willing to pay top dollar for. This cultivated brand image allows them to command higher prices that fans will pay for the quality and status associated with the IP.

Are Any Warhammer Games Permanently Free?

While the core Total War: Warhammer games are premium paid titles, there are occasional opportunities to score some Warhammer video games for free:

  • Epic Games Store: Epic periodically offers free game promotions, including Warhammer titles like Warhammer 40,000: Gladius. But these are time-limited giveaways.

  • Prime Gaming: Amazon Prime subscribers can claim free Warhammer games through Prime Gaming (formerly Twitch Prime) like Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus.

  • Xbox Live Gold: Occasional Free Games with Gold promotions will include Warhammer games like Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide.

But these are all limited-time free game offers tied to specific services. There are no Total War: Warhammer games available permanently free. Ongoing access requires purchase or a subscription like Xbox Game Pass.

Free Content Updates for Owners

While Warhammer 3 itself is not free, existing owners have received some major free content updates adding value to the core game:

  • Immortal Empires: This massive campaign DLC combines the maps from across all three Total War: Warhammer games and adds new Legendary lords. It was added as a free update.

  • Champions of Chaos: Free Lords Pack DLC adding new Legendary hero units like Azazel and Valkia the Bloody.

  • Blood for the Blood God III: Unlocks blood and gore visual effects for free that are otherwise paid DLC.

So while the base game still costs money, Creative Assembly is providing meaty expansion content to existing players as free updates.

The Bottom Line

While temporary free promotions let everyone sample Total War: Warhammer 3, it is ultimately still a premium paid title rather than free-to-play. Fans seeking ongoing access will need to purchase it or use Xbox Game Pass.

But once you own the game, you can look forward to major content updates like Immortal Empires added over time as free DLC. So you get continued value from the initial investment.

For the epic scale battles, detailed units, and fantasy lore, Warhammer fans have shown willingness to pay the premium price of admission. And based on the glowing reviews, they are getting plenty of enjoyment for their money. But occasional discounts or free weekends help make this critically acclaimed strategy experience more accessible to try out.



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.