The Road to Edain 4.0: The Misty Mountains, Part Two
Now that we've shown you the basic direction and new building system of the Misty Mountains, it is time to take a closer look at their units and heroes..
As mentioned in our previous update, we re-evaluated all available units, removed those we deemed no longer necessary (such as the spiders) and sorted the remaining ones into the three different Orc Dwellings. Our goal to ensure that each unit has a unique and valuable purpose for the faction and that each Dwelling contributes something meaningful to the faction. We also wanted to allow you to form your own gameplan through the order in which you assemble these three realms and on which ones you focus most. You will have to choose your playstyle wisely in order to combine the specialties of all three Orc Dwellings in the best possible way.
Moria will grant you cheap and agile Goblin Warriors and Archers right from the beginning of the game, to put pressure on the enemy early on. The Drummers will boost their powers, so that they can still be of use in the later game. All three units will be available in the Ruins and generally kept their previous designs. However, we have removed the old spider banners since that connection never made sense and replaced them with a torn Balrog symbol instead - if anything, this seems the most likely monster for the Orcs of Moria to put on their banner.
Cavetrolls can be bought at the Troll Cage and used either for siege or to break the enemy line.
Gundabad deploys heavy infantry and Wargrider cavalry for your armies. These Orcs will replace the old Uruks (formerly Half-Trolls) and offer an alternative to the cheaper hordes of Moria. Their design is taken from the Wargriders from An Unexpected Journey, with muscular bodies covered in leather and bones. The Gundabad Fighters, Lancers and Wargriders can be recruited in the Orc Cave.
Goblintown provides specialized units that don't excel in combat, but provide different advantages in both early- and lategame. Their main focus lies on disturbing the enemy indirectly, through plundering and other longterm bonuses. You can recruit Goblin Pillagers and Sappers from their Goblin Pit.
Pillagers are able to steal ressources by attacking enemy buildings, similiar to Dunlendings. They aren't particulary strong or well armed, but will boost your own economy while disrupting the enemy's.
Sappers are a new siege weapon of the Misty Mountains, their counterpart to Mordor's siege towers and Isengard's ladders. They can quickly dig a tunnel from their position to a nearby point, bypassing foes or walls and creating an entrance for your units into an opposing castle. These tunnels are not only connected to each other, but also to a network of all tunnels you own, including the tunnels in your base. However, a symbol will appear on the ground shortly before the exit erupts from the ground, giving the enemy a small window to prepare for your arrival. Furthermore, a group of Sappers will disappear after they have dug into the ground and the tunnel will have few hitpoints and collapse after a short time - use your sappers carefully!
We hope that this innovative way to besiege a castle will lead to many new tactics and possibilities to surprise your enemy with the Misty Mountains. Check out this video to see the Sappers in action:
There were some minor changes made in the Spellbook. The 5p Spell to summon a creep lair was removed since you'll be able to build those lairs on the neutral settlements. In its place, "Tainted Land" moves back up to a 5p Power, and "Scavenger" returns as a passive 10p Spell, granting you passive gold whenever you kill an enemy.
The Spiderling Summon also had to be removed of course. In its place, you'll be able to unleash Onslaught from Below. This power will create a shaft in the ground, releasing a constant stream of Orc Warriors from all three Dwellings. As with most summoning spells, both the shaft and the summoned warriors will only remain for a short while. However, you get considerably more units than from a regular summon - to balance this out, the enemy can stem the tide by destroying the shaft prematurely.
When we rebuilt the Misty Mountains from the ground up, we also decided to finally do away with all the invented heroes and bring the faction closer to the books and movies.
But this again meant that we had to streamline the hero roster and 'sacrifice' quantity for quality. We decided to remove Shelob, Buhrdur and Drogoth from the faction. Shelob had to go because all spiders were removed. Buhrdur and Drogoth were discarded because not only were they entirely made-up, they also shared the same role of area damage dealers - a role that was also occupied by Smaug. We couldn't find a way to give all three of them radically different yet useful abilities (especially between two dragons), so we decided to keep only Smaug and make him more central and relevant as the faction's unique destroyer. With Buhrdur gone we will also be able to expand the relevance of Tom, Bert, and Bill as the faction's Troll heroes. However, their primary role will be tanking instead of damage.
Furthermore we also decided to remove the Coronation System, where one Orc hero could be choosen as the great king of all Orcs. It was created way back as an attept to focus the faction in some way. Now we want the three Orc Dwellings to act independently, but complement each other gradually. The Coronation would appear as an unintuitive addition, and wasn't directly supported by lore anyway. The only hero who ever united all the Misty Mountains was Bolg, so we decided to simply use that as his unique role within the faction. You can still customize your playstyle by choosing which Orc dwelling to focus on and in which order.
So instead we decided that each Orc Dwelling should have its own leader to support their troops. In designing them we were inspired by the Hobbit movie as well as the different identities of our three Orc Dwellings, because we wanted the new heroes to fit with their playstyles and strengths and support them accordingly.
The Great Goblin does not only got his movie look, but also a revised skillset. We really liked our previous concept for him, but it needed a little tweaking because many of the units he used to summon were now regular Goblintown units.
- Rank 1 (passive) "Master of all scavengers": The Great Goblin commands the hordes of Goblintown. His abilities can be used anywhere on the map. Activating an ability grants him experience. As long as the Great Goblin is alive, all Pillagers and Sappers can temporarily summon a second Orc horde to support them.
In Addition to his wide-reaching influence, his presence enables all Units from Goblintown to summon an extra Orc horde for 30 seconds, every 3 minutes. This should allow the Pillagers to deceive and surprise the enemy in numbers.
- Rank 4 "Front Porch": Creates a Tunnel at target location that is connected to the Passageways.
This is again intended to encourage the Orc's aggressive playstyle and allows them the element of surprise. Unlike the sappers, this tunnel can be summoned at any range, however it is not small enough to be dug inside an enemy's base. That way, their roles do not overlap.
- Rank 7 "Massive Raid": For a short time, double all damage and armor for all Goblintown units on the map. Pillagers steal twice as many resources during this time.
- Rank 10 "Plunder Cart"
This iconic ability stays the way it is, summoning a cart that gathers the loot of fallen enemies. It's not only fitting, but also quite useful.
The Moria Chieftain is a rework of the old hero Gorkil - however, he will only use his design while taking on a completely new role and identity. We thought Gorkil's model was well suited for a leader of Moria, but his invented and his spider-based abilities no longer fit the faction. Instead, we based the hero on the Chieftain of Moria who, according to the books, wounded Frodo in the chamber of Mazarbul (this role was given to the troll in the movies). His role is leading the legions of Moria into battle, calling upon a neverending stream of Goblins from the Deep to keep up the onslaught.
- Rank 1 (passive)"Chief of the hordes": With every attack, the Chieftain has a 10% chance to summon a horde of Goblin Warriors to his side. While using the bow, every arrow shot has a 5% chance to summon a horde of archers instead.
- Rank 2 (with sword) [i]"Skull Totem"
Plants a skull totem that empowers nearby Orcs.
- Rank 4 "Sword/Bow Toggle"
- While using the bow, Skull Totem is replaced by:
"Trollslaying Arrow": The Moria Chieftain shoots a gruesome arrow at any monster, causing it to deal 90% less damage for a time. Can also be used on your own monsters.
This ability gives the Misty Mountains a countermeasure against giant creatures, like the superior Trolls of Mordor and the Fell Beasts. The possibility to shoot the arrow at your own Trolls can be used to minimize the collateral damage of their dying rage.
- Rank 7 "Call for reinforcements": New warriors are awakened in the pits and sent out. A chosen tunnel temporarily replaces fallen units of nearby hordes.
- Rank 10 "Vast Legions": Temporarily doubles the chance of summoning Goblins through attacks. While the ability is active, the Moria Chieftain will summon stronger warriors, with heavy armor and forged blades.
An Unexpected Journey presented a challenge to us by introducing Azog as an antagonist. We always strive to bridge the book and movie versions of story and unite the best of both worlds. Azog was an obvious pick for a new Misty Mountain hero, especially since that faction could really use more heroes with movie flair and charisma. And we knew that many players were looking forward to playing him in Edain. Others, however, raised valid concerns: Azog was a clear violation of the lore and had actually been long dead at the time of the Hobbit.
We found a simple compromise solution when we realized that our other two Orc heroes, the Great Goblin and the Moria Chieftain, both had no names and went only by their titles. We decided to use the design and abilities of the Gundabad Orc leader from the movies, but only use his title, 'The Defiler'. As a nameless leader of the Gundabad Warg Riders, he was a valid hero without
contradicting the lore outright.
In many ways, the Defiler fills the roles that Gorkil used to, leading your cavalry and hunting down heroes.
- Rank 1 "Mount/Dismount Warg"
- Rank 1 (mounted) "Warg Leap": The Defilers white Warg leaps onto the enemy, knocking down nearby units and heroes.
This ability won't deal direct damage like Gimli's Jump, but can be used to rush the enemy and disrupt their lines on a short cooldown.
- Rank 1 (on foot) "Powerful Strike": The Defiler knocks down an enemy unit or hero with a single strike of his mace.
- Rank 3 "Brutal Scouring": Execute one pack of Warg Riders to motivate the others. Warg Riders close to the executed pack will temporary gain +50% Attack and +10% Speed.
- Rank 8 "Warg Ambush": The Defiler releases a band of Wargs and Warg Riders that wildly attack all enemies in an area. The surprised enemy units and heroes are slowed by 20% during the ambush.
This will summon 10 Wargs and 10 Riders for 15 seconds in a medium-sized aera. It is especially effective against lone heroes because all units will swarm that one target.
- Rank 10 (mounted) "Bring me his head!": Temporarily paralyzes an enemy hero and sends out a group of Gundabad Orcs to attack him and bring the Defiler a trophy.
- Rank 10 (on foot) "The scent of fear": The Defiler viciously strikes an enemy hero, dealing heavy damage. Nearby enemy units get paralyzed by the fear for their leader.
Using one of his mounted abilities will also put the corresponding ability on foot on cooldown, so choose carefully which effect you need more!
We purposely left only Bolg as a named hero and choose descriptive names for the other orcish heroes. Lorewise it seemed appropriate to use (given) descriptions and not rely on invented names. After all, descriptive names are quite casually used in the books, like the Witchking, Treebeard or Goldberry. It also backs up Bolg as the only leader great and feared enough to have a name of his own.
This also underlines Bolg's unique and special position in the Misty Mountains. As the warlord who led the Orcs to the Battle of Five Armies, his various passive abilities will boost every Orc and have significant effects for the complete faction.
Since there are only unconfirmed rumors about his depiction in the movies, we intentionally designed him mainly after his canonical character: A great leader and unifier of the Orcs.
- Rank 1 (passive) "Banners of the Mountains": The iron fist of Bolg disciplines the wild hordes. Allows every horde to buy Banners.
Unlike other factions, the Misty Mountains don't research Banner Carriers at the armory - we felt this didn't fit with such disorganized rabble. Instead, Bolg will allow you to equip your troops directly while he is on the field, breathing discipline into his hordes.
- Rank 3 "Unbound Wrath": Bolg and all Banner Carriers in a large radius temporary deal damage in an area and knock down enemies.
- Rank 5 "Creatures of the Night": Bats will swarm above Bolg for 60 seconds, increasing his range of vision, revealing invisible units, and weakening nearby enemies.
Although we tried to focus the faction around Orcs, we still wanted to implement some of the various monstrosities of Middle-Earth.
- Rank 7 (passive) "Take Formation!": Discipline is beaten into the warriors. All Orc hordes form ordered battallions, gaining +25% Defense.
Here's where an old mechanic of the coronation system survived. We didn't wanted to loose this impressive change from chaotic crowds to formed ranks, so it stayed with Bolg.
- Rank 10 "Uruk Bodyguards": Bolg calls his huge Bodyguards to the battlefield, to surround and protect him.
This new ability will merge the hero with a battallion of powerful Uruk Swordfighters, amplifying the practical damage being dealt and shielding him from attackers.
The three brutes will be implemented as regular heroes with a complete skillset. They will be tough to kill and deal area damage. You will control their Leader Bert while the other two follow him around, similar to the Angmar Hero Drauglin and his Beast. We choose this implementation over the old troll horde because it allowed us to give them more interesting abilities and let them keep their level after death.
- Rank 1 "Devour": Eats a unit, to regain health.
We kept this ability from Buhrdur, since it fit even better with these three greedy Trolls.
- Rank 3 "Stone throw"
- Rank 5 "Stewpot": Set up a pot of stew that heals nearby units.
- Rank 7 "Squash 'em to Jelly!": The Trolls plunge onto their enemies to squash them.
- Rank 10 "Troll Hoard": Tom, Bert & Bill bury their treasures, digging a hoard they will defend to the last breath. They gain +300% Armor near the hoard.
Attacking the Trolls in the vicinity of their hoard is futile, the enemy has to either destroy it first or lure them away.
The Golden Dragon will take up a central role in the faction. Therefore he will be recruitable from the beginning and be available permanently, just like other high-end heroes. His old Tribute System captured his greedy character very well, but made him too complicated and expensive to recruit in most skirmishes. This in turn lead to Drogoth, a made-up character, being the most present Dragon in the Misty Mountains. We felt this place should rightly belong to Smaug, so we decided to correct this situation in favor of the canonical Dragon, the Chiefest and Greatest Calamity of Middleearth.
Smaug's abilities while flying:
- Rank 1 "landing"
- Rank 2 "Fireball"
- Rank 4 "Wing Blast"
- Rank 7 "Fire Flight"
- Rank 10 "Incinerate"
Smaug's abilites on the ground:
- Rank 1 "Flying"
- Rank 2 (passive) "Dragon Breath": Smaugs Firebreath opens Gates and even burns garrisoned units.
- Rank 4 "fearsome roar": Nearby enemies flee before the mighty Smaug.
- Rank 7 "Fire Flight"
- Rank 10 "Hypnotic Gaze"
Naturally since Smaug can be directly recruited, he needs a new bonus for when the player gives The One Ring to him. Additionally Shelob won't be there as a secondary Ringhero, so Smaug has to satisfy the player with tremendous powers.
How exactly Smaug will benefit from the One Ring is still in development. That's were we need you: We'd like to hear your ideas, how you would approach the Ringhero of the Misty Mountains, and what abilites and powers Smaug should gain in your opinion. We gathered some ideas of our own, but we'd appreciate every input on the matter!
All those changes, subtle or huge, are meant to offer a better playing experience with the Misty Mountains. The faction will showcase some of the greatest orcish Strongholds of Middle-Earth and lets you command this feral alliance of dark creatures. Especially the new hero roster and the specialization of every single Orc Dwelling should improve the faction from its former 'too unorganized' mess.
We hope that you enjoyed this preview and would like to read your opinion and feedback in the comment section!
Your Edain Team