Edain Mod 4.5: The Spellbook of Mordor
Greetings, companions of Edain,
Today we want to present to you the second overhauled spellbook:
Mordor already had many cool and unique spells, but we still decided to remove three old abilities and add two entirely new ones. Furthermore, all the existing spells have of course been reordered into the new trees and quite a few have been revised in the process.
You can read more about the new spellbook structure in general, including the new long-term and short-term strategic trees, in our first Edain 4.5 Spellbook Update.
In the first row Mordor has lost a very popular spell in the form of Tainted Land. Why did we cut it? First off, for the same reason Gondor lost the Heal spell: It may be popular, but we want to promote faction diversity and get rid of spells that show up in several spellbooks.
There was a further problem with Tainted Land, however. The problem with this kind of spell is that if two players both have one (for example, Lorien's Elven Wood) they cancel each other out. Whoever uses his land spell first loses its effect if the opponent then uses his own area effect spell to cover the same area and basically paint over it.
That leads to many games where these spells are bought but never used since both opponents are waiting for the other to fire off theirs first. By making land spells more of a rarity, we hope to see them used more frequently and promote other, more interesting counter methods like trying to move the battle to another location.
Thus, the starting spells for Mordor are “Eye of Sauron” and “Banners of the Black Land”.
1. Eye of Sauron:
This spell has always been cool and unique, but we didn't like that it was mainly used as a simple (yet very powerful) combat boost, with its scouting capabilities falling by the wayside. Compared to other spells like Rallying Call (pure combat boost with lower duration that can't be moved) or the ravens (can be attacked) it also felt overly powerful. Thus, we decided on a new effect:
Reveals stealthed units. Enemy units can't gain strength under Sauron's gaze and gather no experience. Enemy heroes gather half the experience. Allied units become fearless.
This way, the three applications of the spell feel more evenly matched: Scouting, denying enemy experience or removing fear. This should incentivize players to move the Eye around more, depending on the needs of the situation. Reducing enemy XP may not be as powerful as a straight-up damage boost, but it can be very handy for a faction that likes to drown the enemy in cheap and expendable units. Under Sauron's gaze, you can do so without feeding your foe experience points.
2. Banners of the Black Land:
While we always liked the old Endless Hordes spell in theory, it was a little bit on the weak side - which was made more complicated by one very specific difficulty. It isn’t a spell that is easy to balance, because it also affects the Nazgul Hero Battalion. We couldn't change this for technical reasons, but it meant we can't simply buff it to replenish more fallen Orcs with each use - because that would mean it also restores more Nazgûl to life, becoming possibly overpowered in the late game. We didn't want it to be spell about making elite units invulnerable, but about constantly repleneshing your serves of cheap cannon fodder. So now there is a new spell with a new effect:
All Orc Warriors of Mordor, Dol Guldur and Minas Morgul gain banner carriers. Does not affect archers or spearmen.
The spell still rewards the player for having masses of Orcs and ensures that your fallen are constantly replaced, but doesn’t affect the Nazgul in any way. It also solves the issue that it was never worth it to actually pay money to give your free Orcs banners, because why not just recruit new ones for free? Now you can also give them banners without cost. As this grants you a long-term advantage, it fits well into the first row of the left, more long-term-oriented side of the spellbook.
The "Reinforcements of Rhûn" and "The Terror of Cirith Ungol" spell now make up the second row, both unchanged. Shelob was a good fit for the right side of the spellbook, being a powerful short-term offensive spell. The Rhûn reinforcements are weaker, but stay permanently, helping Mordor's goal of building the largest army in the game.
No longer necessary is the arrow volley for Mordor. We thought that next to these very unique spells a simple area damage effect didn’t fit very well. Furthermore, it was also a duplicate spell that was much more at home in Lothlorien than Mordor.
Here you can see the only entirely new spell for Mordor. It positions itself between three already well-known spells ("Reinforcements from Harad", "Call the Horde" and "Darkness"):
Summon Overseers: Summon five Orc Overseers who can combine themselves with Orc units to permanently strengthen them.
The overseers weren’t used as much as we’d like for two reasons. One, you always had to choose between recruiting them or just using your barracks to train more Orcs, and more Orcs usually won out. Two, players felt that if they used Overseers, they had to train one for each of their Orc hordes and manually combine them, making them very cumbersome to use. However, this was never our intention. Overseers were intended to be rare, elevating a couple of hordes above the rest. Now, Overseers are summoned for free through the spellbook and thus automatically limited in number. We hope this will make them a more integral part of Mordor's gameplay.
No spell can fit better for Mordor as its central spell than “Sauron's Deadliest Servants”.
Since the whole concept of Mordor in Edain revolves around Sauron and his power having direct influence on the power of his servants, it was very fitting for them to be strengthened by the central spell. We also feel the upgraded Nazgûl are important enough that they shouldn't be confined to one of the two trees. The spell also counts as one of the tasks for Sauron's expansion of power now, granting the Dark Lord a levelup.
The final spells haven’t changed as well. Sorting them into the two trees wasn’t as easy as one might think because both grant permanent, long-term effects. However, Grond was the clear choice for the offensive tree, acting as a finisher to bring down even the best defended fortress.
We hope you are excited about the new spellbook and we look forward to receive your feedback.
Your Edain Team