Report article RSS Feed The Road to Edain 4.0: A Dwarven Stronghold

Introducing the Dwarven stronghold and announcing our return to the starting castles and fixed plots of the first Battle for Middle-Earth game, this is the final of our three news posts detailing large overhauls of core gameplay aspects coming for Edain 4.0, our biggest version yet.

Posted by Lord_of_Mordor on Dec 29th, 2012

The Road to Edain 4.0: A Dwarven Stronghold



Happy Holidays, companions of Edain!

With the previous two updates, we've brought back a number of basic elements from the first Battle for Middle-Earth in Edain. Our search for a more rounded economy led us to the conquerable economic build plots. This in turn made the neutral outpost redundant. From that, we developed the idea of replacing ​​the problematic inn and beacon with a second type of build plot which the player can occupy in order to build faction-specific support structures.

After these steps, one question naturally arose: How far do we want to go in our return to the first installment of the BfME series? 

The original game used a completely different construction system: Structures were not built freely by mobile porters, but players instead began the game with a walled fortress or a military camp. These bases offered a limited number of build plots to construct your barracks or other structures. If you wanted more building more building space, you had to move out and conquer the neutral plots distributed on the map. 

The sequel removed these bases and gave players the freedom to build any structure they wanted in any number at the location of their choice. This is the established standard in strategy games and opened up quite a few new strategies. However, this system was also responsible for some of the most persistently frustrating gameplay and balance problems, such as the dominant strategy to surround the enemy's base with walls and towers to wall him in. Or to cluster so many defenses in one place that they became impossible to penetrate. Or building wells on the frontlines to heal units faster than the enemy could damage them. All of these are fun at first glance, but ultimately are detrimental to the game's health - mainly because they make the flow of the game static and greatly reduce the role of field battles. 

The predefined fortresses with their limited number of build plots offered the players comparatively less freedom. However, they ensured that every game would see dramatic siege warfare: Archers rained down arrows from the parapets, Orcs and Uruks stormed the walls with ladders and siege towers and rams pounded on the gates. This infused every skirmish battle with pure movie atmosphere. 

And because the player could upgrade his fortress in various ways, but was at the same limited in the number of defenses he could construct, the siege battles could be designed in a way to be exciting for both sides. In this area, the sequel could never reach the original walls: With walls your men couldn't even walk on and the possibility to build up towards a critical mass of impenetrable defenses, sieges were rarely interesting to play and never atmospheric. 

We took a long time to weigh the pros and cons of each system. Eventually we came to the conclusion that the advantages of the predefined castles from BfME I reign superior. Although it differs from strategy game standards, it is much closer to the spirit of The Lord of the Rings. The most important battles of the War of the Ring were siege battles. And while almost every strategy game offers free building, almost none feature exciting siege battles. We have therefore decided to bring back this unique feature of Battle for Middle-Earth in our mod. 

In plain English, this means that captains of Gondor and Rohan now command these imposing castles:


You can garrison the walls with archers and upgrade them with towers, catapults, banners and side gates. On the inside, the various castles offer between seven and nine sites for regular buildings. You can also build economy structures within the fortress so that you are not starved completely at the very start when you have not yet taken all external build plots or when you are temporarily pushed back into your base over the course of the game. Nevertheless, the player who controls the outer plots commands a substantial advantage and no general should cede them to the enemy without a fight. 

Evil factions like Mordor and Isengard are instead aggressors, and their camps are much less strongly fortified: 

Mordor Base Isengard Base

However, they can build frightening war machines such as siege towers, ladders and mines to storm every bulwark. 

But of course Edain has many more factions that the original game. We couldn't simply port over the existing castles and call it day. No, it was clear to us that if we took this step, we'd also have to create new strongholds. The enormous effort this would require was one of the main reasons we had shied away from this undertaking in the past, even though we are all huge fans of the original game.  For version 4.0, we finally decided to tackle the matter with all our energy. Here's what we came up with for the Dwarves...

Dwarven FortressDwarven FortressDwarven Fortress
Dwarven Fortress

This proud fortress of Durin's folk will be a formidable obstacle to even the most determined invaders... and while the Dwarves were the first of Edain's faction to receive an unique castle of their own, they will not be the last.
 
Another advantage resulting from the new system is that if we no longer have to take free building into consideration, we can greatly improve the playability of fortresses with narrow space like Minas Tirith. We can place build plots just like in the regular bases and program the AI how to use them. In addition, we have found a way to ​​finally get the AI to close the gates before an attacking army. Fans of epic siege battles have a lot to look forward to in Edain 4.0!

Of course, many other game mechanics will have to be altered as a consequence of the new fortification system. We look forward to your input here. Let us know which aspects you believe must be considered when making these changes and where you think further adjustments will be required. We are also curious which other elements of the first BfME you would like to see in Edain, and which elements of BfME you would like to see preserved throughout these changes.
 
Furthermore, we'd like to assure you that even while much will change, the core of Edain will remain in place. Our goal is unchanged: To provide you with the best possible Tolkien experience through a diversity of units, deep and interesting heroes and extensive attention to details from both books and films (including The Hobbit!). And we are confident that version 4.0 is a right step in this direction. 

We could go on and on about what you can expect in version 4.0. For example, there will be smaller camps with less fortifications on maps which simply can't accomodate larger castles. In addition, we are working on further improvements such as a new unit counter system. But that is beyond the scope of the update, and much of it still lies ahead of us. But because we want to work hand in the hand with the community on the future direction of Edain, we chose to give you this first look into what is to come now rather than later. We hope you enjoyed what you saw and look forward to your feedback! 

Finally, to adress the one question that seems to be on everyone's mind: We are resolved to finally make Edain 4.0, with all its sweeping changes, the version of Edain's debut with full English text. To that end, we have enlisted the community's help in our German forums in order to advance the translation, and because many users have lent a hand we have made significant progress. If you are fluent in English and German and would like to contribute, drop us a message!

We have an exciting year before us...

Post comment Comments  (0 - 50 of 94)
Seyneck
Seyneck Dec 30 2012, 5:20am says:

"full English text"

Awesome! Great job guys!

+27 votes     reply to comment
xlucidx
xlucidx Dec 30 2012, 12:12pm replied:

Oh man, I got excited just with that line.

+6 votes     reply to comment
souske22
souske22 Dec 30 2012, 5:57pm replied:

Those words..they gave me an eyegasm! Now I just have to fish out my BFME 2 Disks and go through the horrors of Origin again..

+5 votes     reply to comment
Guest
Guest Jan 7 2013, 5:20am replied:

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Gepo
Gepo Jan 26 2013, 12:40pm replied:

ohh the horror of Origin D: I feel with you man, have had problems with that a couple of times myself -.-

+1 vote     reply to comment
Guest
Guest Oct 13 2013, 7:31am replied:

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Cauliflower_Face
Cauliflower_Face Feb 18 2014, 2:32pm replied:

Yeah thats what I did. I had the Collecters edition of BFME 2 when I was 7 but my brother dropped it and it broke, and so I lost my favourite game at the time. But then I learnt how to torrent. And now I'm just waiting for this amazing mod to be finally made!!!

+1 vote     reply to comment
PredatoR_TR
PredatoR_TR Dec 30 2012, 5:38am buried:

(buried)

You are killing our freedom at gameplay. If I wanted to play with that limited gameplay, I would play BFME 1, not 2...

You should do two options before starting the game. with free building style and with fortress style if it is possible to do. Otherwise, IMO lots of people wouldn't choose to play edain 4.0.

And pity that old versions dont have english version...

-12 votes     reply to comment
xlucidx
xlucidx Dec 30 2012, 12:13pm replied:

Limited gameplay? It forces you to reconsider tactics and building placement.

I personally always liked BFME1's build plot system for that reason alone, you had to think before you built up your keep.

+9 votes     reply to comment
JokerReturns
JokerReturns Jan 13 2013, 6:49pm replied:

ME 2 I always like BFME1's build plot system :)

+2 votes     reply to comment
Klevdude
Klevdude Jan 17 2013, 2:57am replied:

It's fun to build custom bases, just put a restriction on how many farms you can have? I for one like to use both gamemodes. So also think it better to have two choices. like the RJ Rotwk mod.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Valannos
Valannos Dec 30 2012, 5:39am says:

Everythings sound great ! And thank you for the upcoming English translation !

+11 votes     reply to comment
yavuztezcan
yavuztezcan Dec 30 2012, 6:00am says:

CAN'T WAIT !!!

+12 votes     reply to comment
cenkiss
cenkiss Dec 30 2012, 6:18am says:

Why are you turning back to bfme and limit our options? There is nothing positive about this kind of buil plot? As the man before me said two different options for free build and castle style is better.

0 votes     reply to comment
Förster44
Förster44 Dec 30 2012, 8:05am replied:

There are many positive things about it, especially the feeling (and that is one of the mod's very foreground aspects) it brings. The team stated that there will be no option for it because it is a firm decision of the mod's future. Although it might be possible to place special build plots freely, but that is unconfirmed ;-)

And after all, it is "just" a change to the building system - not the only "feature" of BfME 2^^

+4 votes     reply to comment
saruman_the_wise
saruman_the_wise Dec 30 2012, 11:17am replied:

i agree with forster and the positives are far greater then the cons keep going with this edian team for it is a wonderful idea of course there will be 1,2,4 or 10 people that will disagree with it but there will always be as long as the mod lives awesome idea keep going with it and you are awesome edain team high five :)

+10 votes     reply to comment
cenkiss
cenkiss Dec 30 2012, 12:18pm replied:

And what is that feeling? Can you explain to me? Why should i be stuck to one point in map? Why should not i build my castle where ever i want? Why should not evil ones build walls( Isengard and mordor has huge walls in the story)? This is just a hindrence to evil factions. I think you are just being nostalgic about bfme 1.

+1 vote     reply to comment
saruman_the_wise
saruman_the_wise Dec 30 2012, 4:55pm replied:

in the end it does not matter what you think or what i think at this point the edain team has said that e4 will be bfme style and no builders

0 votes     reply to comment
Skylarapas
Skylarapas Jan 9 2014, 9:10am replied:

Come on! BFME 1 gameplay was a nice innovation on RTS! And you don't have to be stuck in one point! On the other hand you were stuck in BFME II because apart from the Outpost or the inn there was nothing else! You just create an army and attack the enemy base. No drama, no anticipation nothing at all. Even Multiplayer became boring at some point. No! This is the just great!

+2 votes     reply to comment
Guest
Guest Jun 10 2014, 3:11am replied:

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Romestamo
Romestamo Dec 30 2012, 6:18am says:

English translation and bfme1 building system, This is simply amazing.
I hope that you delete spells as earthquake, otherwise the walls will not make sense if your opponent destroys half base with one click.

+16 votes     reply to comment
PredatoR_TR
PredatoR_TR Dec 30 2012, 6:24am says:

if you won't give us two options for free to build and fortress type of game, at least you need to make fortresses bigger and FREE TO BUILD inside the fortress.

+9 votes     reply to comment
The_Whaler
The_Whaler Dec 30 2012, 7:51am replied:

I agree, Love this stuff, but we need more space and freedom!

+4 votes     reply to comment
emptyDnik
emptyDnik Dec 30 2012, 6:37am says:

Love this update XXD!!! Can't stop imagining (if this word exists lol) how angmar and goblins camp will look ;). And I always liked the feeling of bfme 1 WAY more than the succesors ( I didn't even like this glittering effect these games have cause in my opinion it stole the great atmosphere the first game had..) so im happy with the changes! Also many thanks for the English translation!!

+5 votes     reply to comment
Captainobvious
Captainobvious Dec 30 2012, 7:00am says:

If I can make any suggestions, it will be increased HP of those walls.

Here will be no point in this limited strongholds if a section of wall will not be able to withstand fire of 3 catapults for at least 30 seconds.

An ultimate feature - option in launcher to play with or without them. But that can be leaved until you finish current plan ;)

+4 votes     reply to comment
Edward_Windsor
Edward_Windsor Dec 30 2012, 7:18am says:

I hope that the team will allow upgrading the central keep for the good factions, just like they plan to leave the evil fortresses upgradable. For example, I've seen the Denethor balcony for Gondor - I really hope it's an upgrade and not a permanent feature. The fortress upgrades are among the cool things in bfme 2, so I really hope that Edain will not throw them away.

Let us also hope that announcing the English translation will reduce the questions about that matter :)

+6 votes     reply to comment
Elbareth
Elbareth Dec 30 2012, 7:44am says:

Will any evil factions get walls?

+7 votes     reply to comment
Lord_of_Mordor
Lord_of_Mordor Dec 30 2012, 10:51pm replied:

We plan to give Angmar a walled fortress, yes.

+3 votes     reply to comment
-ASM-
-ASM- Dec 30 2012, 7:48am says:

Very Good!!!)

+3 votes     reply to comment
Edward_Windsor
Edward_Windsor Dec 30 2012, 7:49am says:

One thing that I would like to see for Lorien - lush terrain and no walls. A Lorien fortress should make the surrounding area green and beautiful, because there is nothing sillier than having a mighty mallorn tree in the middle of Mordor. The walls should be replaced by sacred trees and archer platforms.

+5 votes     reply to comment
Lord_of_Mordor
Lord_of_Mordor Dec 30 2012, 10:52pm replied:

We agree! Lothlorien will likely be an exception among the good factions and have a base without walls.

+6 votes     reply to comment
Vengefulnoob
Vengefulnoob Dec 30 2012, 8:00am says:

Why not have both systems? In history, most of a castle's populace lived outside the walls and farmed, so why not here too? You can have the strong fortress, but then just one porter to construct a few free buildings outside of the area, and if these are destroyed, then you can run back to the fortress.

+8 votes     reply to comment
gijt5
gijt5 Dec 30 2012, 11:20am replied:

this would be a good idea, one stronghold with main buildings and some buildings you can build outside

+4 votes     reply to comment
Klevdude
Klevdude Jan 17 2013, 3:04am replied:

I agree!

+1 vote     reply to comment
Drakeer
Drakeer Dec 30 2012, 8:24am says:

BFME1 building system with Edain mod gameplay improvements, simply amazing.

+6 votes     reply to comment
voidessence
voidessence Dec 30 2012, 9:40am says:

Big spectacular battles on the field, that's all I'd like to have from a new release. Sieges are fun, but aren't the most spectacular part.

English = thank god.

+5 votes     reply to comment
ApornasPlanet
ApornasPlanet Dec 30 2012, 10:10am says:

Awesome! I loved BFME1 build style and I never liked the free building in BFME2. This is a great change!

+4 votes     reply to comment
soulscammer
soulscammer Dec 30 2012, 10:28am says:

Is this a definitive gameplay style on the maps? Or can you select like BFME1 style maps with the fortresses and BFME 2 style maps with the free building :) It's not I don't like the fortresses and new gameplay, it's really great! ^^ But having both gamplay styles at your desposal would make the mod even more epic than it already is :) Altough making the economy depens on build plots is, for my part, a great idea in both "tyles" :)

Looking forward to 4.0 :)

+3 votes     reply to comment
Venoxxis
Venoxxis Dec 30 2012, 10:37am says:

looking good, however im not sure about that change...
The base feature is sometimes great, but it also limits variation of battlekinds.

Good factions with fortresses would be ok, but for the evil ones, this is not a good idea. Those mud circles never ever fascinated, not even in sum1. They looked more like some kind of stop-gap feature created for the evil factions. All in all i dont think its a good idea to bring them back.

Also regarding "Nebelberge" (Whats the en name therefore?) THIS DOES ABSOLUTLY NOT FIT.

0 votes     reply to comment
[x]Max
[x]Max Dec 30 2012, 11:56am says:

Hi, firstly I just want to say great job on the mod, looking forward to 4.0
I would just like to make a few suggestions, just small things I think would make the game more enjoyable and fun:
-Bigger maps would improve several gameplay elements, from army deployment to general exploration and feeling of adventure. Bigger maps would also allow for slightly bigger and less cramped fortresses which I think makes unit deployment frustrating.
-Only allow walls and buildings to take damage from siege weapons such as catapult, rams, ballistas... Seeing battalions of soldiers attacking the buildings sword to stone is slightly ridiculous.
-Allow the options for different unit formations in a groups of battalions, for example, archers in the back, swordsmen in front, cavalry in on the sides. like in total war games.
-The option to give or lend resources to an ally.
-Have you considered expanding the resources in the game to separate coins into a few different resources which would give different uses. Wood, Stone, Ores and Coins would be a good option because they are not too many but still seem to improve the economic balance and the importance of territory control such as forests, mines...
-One last suggestion to expand on territory and outpost control would be to add the territory separations and control points to the minimal, similar to the system in company of Heroes: I1-games.softpedia-static.com
-One last thing, I know you do not give release date estimates but do you think you could point us towards which month version 4.0 will be released on, thank you! :)

+3 votes     reply to comment
[x]Max
[x]Max Dec 30 2012, 12:06pm replied:

-one more thing, the dwarf fortress looks great, but I think you should change the colour and texture of the ground to something slightly darker, maybe gravel like, similar to isengards but not as extreme, I think the contrast between the grass and the fortress makes it look slighly out of place.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Förster44
Förster44 Dec 30 2012, 8:23pm replied:

Your suggestions are good, but some of them are not realizable for the following reasons:
- Bigger maps are possible, but with a linear increasement of the map, the game starts lagging in an exponential way, so it is a nice thing for sure, but too expensice, unfortunately.
- Different resources are not possible to insert due to engine limitations, wood is the only "other" resource it knows and is able to know, and even this one ends in the one resource (to rule them all) ;-)

+1 vote     reply to comment
ironmaidenman22
ironmaidenman22 Dec 30 2012, 11:58am says:

all good to hear lad.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Bmv500
Bmv500 Dec 30 2012, 12:32pm says:

Very Good :)

+3 votes     reply to comment
saruman_the_wise
saruman_the_wise Dec 30 2012, 2:39pm says:

cery awesome

+2 votes     reply to comment
Gothmog_Balrog_lord
Gothmog_Balrog_lord Dec 30 2012, 3:29pm says:

HI! this my first post and I want to say thank you for this formidable mod!!!!

+3 votes     reply to comment
deathteam15
deathteam15 Dec 30 2012, 4:04pm says:

I admit I prefer the freedom of BFMEII, perhaps it would be possible to make the BFMEII build style an option? Then you could please both ends of the community...if it were not for the translation, I would stick with the current version...

+1 vote     reply to comment
Gnomi
Gnomi Dec 30 2012, 4:58pm replied:

Nope, the problem is that we would have to do everything twice - two different maps, two different concepts, etc.
Additionally the balance will be mad efor this version - everyone who play the other version will start flaming because of the bad balance.
And many people are against big changes... but in 90% of the cases people keep playing the mod and a few months later they like the new things. This also happened when we introduced the new lorien and isengard style. (many people flamed us and said that they will never play edain again... they did and loved the systems and the same people are telling us now that we are stupid to change something as the isengard system was so unique and good^^)

Last but not least the MP would have big problems... we already doesn't have so many players for the MP - if we would give them 2 different versions it would take ages to find someone to play with...

+1 vote     reply to comment
Prince_of_Ithilien
Prince_of_Ithilien Dec 30 2012, 4:12pm says:

Will you be able to rebuild the walls? Or like in Bfme 1 will they be destroyed until you rebuild the entire camp/castle?

+1 vote     reply to comment
Gnomi
Gnomi Dec 30 2012, 4:54pm replied:

As said int he other comment area:

In Bfme I you were able to rebuild walls as soon as they were destroyed - we will handle it exactly the same. You can repair them, rebuild them and when you build a new fortress they will be there from the beginning.

+3 votes     reply to comment
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