Here's every graphics setting in Total War: Warhammer 2 PC benchmarked and tested for the Frames Per Second performance hit. Using the chart below you can find out just how demanding each setting is. Along with this, we've given priority scores based on how important we believe it is to enable these graphics options.

Total War: Warhammer 2 isn’t a sequel in the traditional AAA sense. It’s a standalone (albeit huge) expansion more than anything, meaning it looks much the same as the original and runs in the exact same engine. As we found in our Total Warhammer II benchmarks though, there is a performance dip compared to Total Warhammer 1. You may, therefore, have to tweak few graphics settings in TW:W2 in order to achieve the same desired frame rate as the original.

Total War: Warhammer 2 System Requirements

For the benchmark results below we used an MSI GeForce GTX 1070 Gaming X 8G, an Intel Core i7-5820K processor, and 16GB DDR4 memory.

Total War: Warhammer II Graphics Options Performance Breakdown

The further right the bar goes, the more demanding the graphics option is. We've split this into two separate sections - the RTS Battles and the Campaign map.

Total Warhammer 2 Graphics Settings

Texture Quality

Texture quality affects the resolution of Total Warhammer 2's textures. The higher the texture quality, the more VRAM used on your graphics card. Set this too high and the game is likely to crash or become extremely choppy.

Performance Impact Battles - 3/5

Performance Impact Campaign - 1/5

Priority - 3/5

 

Shadow Detail

Nice and straightforward this one. Shadow Detail increases the resolution of shadows in Total War: Warhammer II. Set to ultra and they will appear crisp and sharp, rendered for each individual unit. Set to low and they won't appear at all. This makes a massive impact on the overall visual quality of TW2. 

Performance Impact Battles - 4/5

Performance Impact Campaign - 4/5

Priority - 4/5

 

VFX Detail

This is largely a graphics setting which effects all the hocus pocus magic we love about Warhammer Fantasy. Turning the VFX detail up will help with special effects such as crackling spells, but it also plays a hand in rendering explosions and fire in Warhammer 2. 

Performance Impact Battles - 3/5

Performance Impact Campaign - 1/5

Priority - 3/5

 

Tree Detail

The tree detail graphics setting in Total War: Warhammer 2 is pretty literal. The higher you set it, the better the trees and other vegetation appear. This option can also affect the distance at which trees are rendered in at a higher level of detail. 

Performance Impact Battles - 3/5

Performance Impact Campaign - 2/5

Priority - 2/5

 

Unit Detail

Again, the unit detail graphics setting in Total War: Warhammer 2 is literal too. Units are the beating heart of Total War's battles, and if you want them to look better, this is the graphics option you need. It will also affect the distance at which units switch from low poly to high poly as you get closer. 

Performance Impact Battles - 4/5

Performance Impact Campaign - 1/5

Priority - 4/5

 

Depth of Field

An effect similar to Motion Blur, Depth of Field distorts anything which is out of the player's focus. It's designed to replicate human vision. Focus on a specific unit and the periphery will begin to blur out of focus.

Performance Impact Battles - 3/5

Performance Impact Campaign - 3/5

Priority -1/5

 

Screenspace Reflections

Screen Space Reflections impacts the reflections of objects on water and other wet surfaces. Without this enabled it looks as if an object is just cut off when it meets the water's surface, but when enabled you see a realistic reflection. The amount of usage you'll get from this in Total War: Warhammer 2 will vary. For the most part battles don't take place near any vast expanses of water, although there are more benefits to found in the overworld. 

Performance Impact Battles - 5/5

Performance Impact Campaign - 5/5

Priority - 2/5

 

Fog

Turning up the Fog setting in total War: Warhammer II provides more realistic volumetric fog which swirls and has differing densities in different areas. 

Performance Impact Battles - 4/5

Performance Impact Campaign - N/A

Priority - 2/5

 

Anti-Aliasing FXAA

TW: Warhammer II comes with a bunch of post-process anti-aliasing affects such as FXAA and another undisclosed form of antialiasing available in 2x - 8x variants. Both forms of antialiasing work by blurring the edges somewhat, leading to a slightly more indistinct image quality. The upside is that AA reduces the shimmering effect of jagged textures in Total War: Warhammer II. This is very noticeable in both the campaign map and during battles. 

Performance Impact Battles - 2/5

Performance Impact Campaign - 1/5

Priority - 3/5

 

Anti-Aliasing 2x

Performance Impact Battles - 5/5

Performance Impact Campaign - 4/5

Priority - 5/5

 

Anti-Aliasing 4x

Performance Impact Battles - 5/5

Performance Impact Campaign - 5/5

Priority - 4/5

 

Anti-Aliasing 8x

Performance Impact Battles - 5/5

Performance Impact Campaign - 5/5

Priority - 3/5

Texture Filtering

A gaming staple by now, Texture Filtering affects the sharpness of textures towards the edge of screen. Textures you're looking at straight on will normally look fine, but when you look at them from an angle they can look blurred and messy. Texture Filtering, or Anisotropic Filtering, sharpens these textures up and leads to a cleaner image. 

Performance Impact Battles - 3/5

Performance Impact Campaign - 3/5

Priority - 4/5

 

Water Detail

Water doesn't look hugely detail in Total War: Warhammer 2 which ever graphics settings you put it on. Ultra is obviously preferable, but it doesn't have a hugely detrimental effect on the fps.

Performance Impact Battles - 3/5

Performance Impact Campaign - 1/5

Priority - 2/5

 

Grass Detail

Appropriately enough, this affects the visual quality of plants, grasses and other assorted fauna. It works well in conjunction with Tree Detail for more immersive looking environments. Without grass detail up high, the battlegrounds can look a little flat and bland.

Performance Impact Battles - 4/5

Performance Impact Campaign - 2/5

Priority - 3/5

 

Terrain Detail

The main impact of terrain detail is in terms of draw distance. The higher you set this, the greater the distance at which objects pop-in. During Total Warhammer 2's battles this setting also has an impact on general geometry  Most of the strain will be on your CPU for this one. 

Performance Impact Battles - 1/5

Performance Impact Campaign - 3/5

Priority - 2/5

 

Building Detail

The main impact of building detail is in terms of all buildable structures, along with fortifications on battle maps.. The higher you set this, the greater the distance at which objects pop-in. Most of the strain will be on your CPU for this one. 

Performance Impact Battles - 0/5

Performance Impact Campaign - 0/5

Priority - 3/5

 

Unit Size

Not the physical size of each individual unit, but rather how many NPCs are present on-screen for each battalion. Turn it down to Low and the number of NPCs in a unit shrinks to just a dozen or so, while Large balloons the unit size up to hundreds. This is the graphics setting you need if you want to experience Total Warhammer 2's largest battles. 

Performance Impact Battles - 2/5

Performance Impact Campaign - N/A

Priority - 5/5

 

Porthole Quality

Almost totally negligible in the grand scheme of things, Total Warhammer II's Porthole Quality merely affects the unit portraits in the UI. If you're really, really struggling, switching this to 2D may help although it's unlikely.

Performance Impact Battles - 4/5

Performance Impact Campaign - 1/5

Priority - 1/5

 

Resolution Scale

Edited by Felix - Resolution Scaling is used in Total Warhammer 2 to help weaker systems gain access to the game. With a simple slide of the resolution scale bar you can instantly turn down the graphics resolution on the game screen. This can be either in battle mode or on the campaign map. The game looks pretty nasty when you use it but in effect you are dialing down the resolution of the game without having to go to your monitor settings to request this. And so the results mean you can tweak play with this dial if you have an underpowered PC. 

For this option alone the graphs above show the sort of positive impact to Frame rates. I appreciate this might not be all together clear at first glance of the graphs but when they were made the author didnt realise this scale was only down sliding. Where you can lower the resolution from 100% down to 50% which adds lots of frames per second instantly at the cost of the games look. But most people playing this will likely do all they can to leave this slider alone.

Priority - 0/5

 

Unlimited Video Memory

Whether you'll get any use out of the Unlimited Video Memory toggle is down to the specifics of your system. If you leave it off, the graphics in-game will automatically scale down during scenes of high-intensity in order to maintain a steady frame rate. With it turned on, TW:WII's visuals are permanently locked.

Performance Impact Battles - 0/5

Performance Impact Campaign - 0/5

Priority - 0/5

 

Vignette

Almost definitely the most point graphics option in Total War: Warhammer 2, all Vignette does is add a blur effect to the outermost edges of the screen. Barely noticeable and arguably not even worth the estimated 1% cost to your frame rate.

Performance Impact Battles - 1/5

Performance Impact Campaign - 1/5

Priority - 0/5

 

Proximity Fading

Again, not really a graphics option that has any bearing whatsoever on performance, if Proximity Fading is toggled it simply makes units go transparent when you zoom right in on them, rather than going invisible. Whether you use this or not in Total War: Warhammer 2 is totally down to your personal preferences. It shouldn't impact your frame rate. 

Performance Impact Battles - 1/5

Performance Impact Campaign - 0/5

Priority - 1/5

 

SSAO

SSAO, or Screen Space Ambient Occlusion, is a technique that approximates the contact shadows where two or more objects meet.  It's quite a subtle feature but it certainly lends an additional layer of depth and realism to Total Warhammer 2's environments. SSAO is most prominent on buildings and the campaign map. 

Performance Impact Battles - 5/5

Performance Impact Campaign - 4/5

Priority - 3/5

 

DX12

DirectX 12 is of course Microsoft's latest graphics API. It provides no discernable visual improvement over DirectX 11. In theory, it should provide better performance by offloading more tasks from the CPU to the GPU. It's current implementation in Total War: Warhammer 2 is in beta form, yet as you can see it's definitely not worth enabling unless you're extremely CPU-bound. 

Performance Impact Battles - 5/5

Performance Impact Campaign - 5/5

Priority - 0/5

Total War: Warhammer 2 PC Performance Report