The game begins in 190 AD, in which the once glorious Han dynasty is on the verge of collapse. The new emperor, Emperor Xian, enthroned at the age of eight, was manipulated by the warlord Dong Zhuo, whose oppressive rule leads to chaos. New warlords rise and form alliances to start the campaign against Dong Zhuo. With each warlord having personal ambitions and allegiances constantly shifting, the champions that emerge from the ever lasting wars will shape the future of China.
Set in the Three Kingdoms period, players control one of the game's twelve factions, who must eliminate other factions, unify China and become its ultimate ruler. These factions are led by warlords, including Cao Cao, Liu Bei, and Sun Jian. In siege battles, players command both infantry and cavalry units. All the units featured in the game are divided into different retinues, with each led by a powerful general. The player can deploy up to twelve generals into the battlefield at once, and players will only have access to the units that the generals can recruit. The player wins a siege battle when all the opponent generals are killed or the central point of the city is captured.