The Road to Edain 4.0: The Misty Mountains
Long have you been waiting for some news, so we want to reward your patience. During the last few weeks we focused our efforts on one particular faction of the Edain Mod: The Misty Mountains.
Up until now the Misty Mountains were a cluttered and mostly unpopular faction. It conflicted with the lore of the books and didn't have much movie atmosphere either, making do with many made-up heroes and others that were simply out of place - the spiders of Mirkwood and Shelob, for instance, were much closer allied with Mordor. Prior to the Hobbit movie, we accepted these issues as simply born out of necessity (after all, we couldn't just take away everything from the faction) - partly because it was one of the least popular faction within the team as well and we never had the motivation nor any inspired ideas to rework it entirely. So we only expanded the generic vanilla faction, which in itself wasn't really well thought out anyway.
However, with the release of the Hobbit movie and the sweeping changes of version 4.0, we decided to finally go all in and took the time to completely rethink the faction and rebuild it from scratch, while drawing some inspiration from the Hobbit movie of course. We hope that these changes will lead to a exciting and graphically interesting faction.
While overhauling the Misty Mountains, there were many issues to think about. How can a diverse faction, spanning so many different Orc realms and wild creatures, be depicted while still keeping the gameplay focused? Is there a way to combine the unique movie designs of all creatures? What are the key characteristics that distinguish this faction from others? During those past weeks, we always tried to keep these questions in mind.
So far the Misty Mountains were supposed to be a gathering of all wild and dark creatures of that massive mountain range, a much more loosely coordinated but no less deadly force of Evil than Mordor or Isengard. We tried to keep this basic premise, but decided to center the faction even more closely around it's best known inhabitants: Orcs.
That, amongst other things, is why we decided to remove spiders entirely from the faction, since they never really allied or fought with Orcs from the Mountains. Instead the player will be able to call upon the Orc Dwellings of Moria, Gundabad, and Goblintown. Each of them will offer specialized units and strategies, so if the player wants to unleash the factions full potential, he has to command over all of the Misty Mountains!
When we first announced the changes of Edain 4.0, many fans were worried that the fixed build plot system would be too restrictive. Keeping your concerns in mind, we decided to implement a unique variation of the system for the Misty Mountains, which will allow free construction to an extent in order to reflect the faction's identity and offer an interesting playing style.
Unlike the factions we have shown you so far, the Misty Mountains are only partially bound to fixed places. You will be able to spread them nearly everywhere across the map, with the help of pioneers. These Orcs function a bit like the old porters and can dig a tunnel to either Moria, Gundabad or Goblintown freely anywhere on the map. These tunnels function like the fixed outposts of other factions, providing three build plots around them for the structures of their specific faction.
Your starting base is built around a Passageway to Moria and offers four Buildplots. We decided to set Moria as the core faction for two reasons: They are the most iconic faction since The Fellowship of the Ring, and they provide the cheap hordes of Orc warriors that are central to the Misty Mountain's strategy.
There will be three Buildings to choose from for Moria:
- Ransacked Mine: generates resources (price reduction for buildings)
- Ruin: recruits Goblin Swordfighters, Archers, and Drummers.
- Troll Cage: recruits Trolls
The outer Buildplots can be fortified with Barricades manned by archers.
The Design of the Moria Outpost was taken from the movies, with the Orcs living in the ruins of a Dwarven stronghold. Finding the right balance between recognizable yet reasonable amounts of dwarven architecture was harder than we thought.
The Entrance to the Passageway can be used to recruit heroes of the Misty Mountains, as well as the aforementioned pioneers. The pioneers will have a cheap price and can be sent to any suitable place on the Map to set up a new Passageway to one of the three Orc Dwellings. Doing so will cost resources as well, with increasing prices per passage: 250 for the first, 1000 for the second, and 4000 for every other Passageway. This was done to better control the number of outposts a player might build - after all, the Misty Mountain outposts are not limited by the number of plots on the map, so we had to implement another limitation. Nonetheless, it is possible to build an unlimited number of structures in theory, so you enemy will have to be always on his guard to stem the encroaching of wild Orc hordes onto his territory.
All Passageways are interconnected so the player can quickly move his units across the map by entering the underground passages. They will work like the original resource Tunnels, but with a unit capacity of 10 and an "evacuate all units" button. You will have to make some hard decisions here, as the tunnels are both your base of operations and a powerful offensive weapon. Do you build them safely behind the lines to protect your own structures, or do you build them closer to the enemy to surprise him with a host from the deep?
If the player decides to build another Passageway to Moria, he will receive a smaller version of the main base with only three Buildplots and the same building options.
Gundabads Design is based upon the original Buildings of the Wild faction, with some improvements. We kept this general design because we though the rough rocks and metal spikes were fitting for Gundabad and because they're the only faction we haven't seen in the movies yet. Their base is inspired by the barren and rugged lands of the North.
There will be three Buildings to choose from for Gundabad:
- Treasure Trove: generates resources (price reduction for upgrades)
- Sentry Tower: defensive building.
- Orc Cave: recruits Gundabd Swordfighters, Pikemen and Wargriders.
Gundabad will be the only Orc Stronghold to supply you with Sentry Towers, which can be helpful for securing narrow passes. It will also offer you cavalry and heavy infantry, as an alternative to the weaker Goblin hordes.
The third available Dwelling to choose from. This dominion had a great design and "architecture" in the movie, but was dificult to implement in the game. Aside from the sharp reddish cliffs and wooden stages, the Town was seen mainly underground. There were no real buildings that could be used as barracks or the like. So we decided to do the only reasonable thing and make it a feature. There is a way, to turn parts of the maps floor invisible, which we used to let the buildings of Goblintown reach below the ground and into the bottomless depths.
There will be three Buildings to choose from for Goblintown:
- Goblin Pit: recruits Goblin Pillagers and Sappers.
- Slave prison: generates resources (price reduction for Trolls).
- Loot Hoard: researches upgrades (not yet implemented in the pictures).
Take a look at this video, to see all of the above mentioned concepts ingame.
Each of the Orc tribes offer different tactics, so you have to decide how you want to play: Do you begin with cheap warriors to thwart your enemy in large numbers? Do you focus on pillaging resourcen early on and and sneak attacks on the enemies castle? Or do you go for strong but expensive Orcs with calvary support? All those elements will play a part in the game, since the enemies weakness will of course vary depending on its faction.
Our overall goal was to turn the Misty Mountain into a loose and decentralized faction, a coalition of wild creatures infesting the land, not bound to any single place or leadership.
Naturally the neutral settlements on the map will also be of use for the Misty Mountains. Capture them to build wild Creep Lairs of Orcs, Wargs or Trolls, with the Troll Lair being the home of Tom, Bert and Bill. These lairs provide tribute in the form of resources and can also recruit units. This is meant to ensure that the Misty Mountains have enough recruitment structures even early in the game, where you haven't built many tunnels yet.
If you capture an outpost, you can build the larger Lairs of Giants or Dragons, granting you access to the most powerful predators of the Misty Mountains. Camps and Castles will be used to build another Passageway to Moria, similar to the main base.
With this new concept, the Misty Mountains faction allows numerous new and interesting ways to play, benefited by its unique building mechanic (combining the best of Battle for Middle-Earth I and II) and the great movie designs. But of course wether our ideas will work as planned or not, will be decided by you, the players.
Stay tuned for a second update in the coming days, showcasing the heroes, units and spells of the Misty Mountains in more detail. Until then as always, we hope that you enjoyed this preview and would like to read your opinion and feedback in the comment section!
Your Edain Team