The Road to Edain 4.0: The Last Homely House
Over the holidays, we showed you the Dwarven fortress and explained our reasons for Edain's return to the fixed building system from the first Battle for Middle-Earth game. Since then, we've been hard at work and are happy to present you our second new castle today:
The Rivendell castle is based on the circular shape of the Gondor fortress, but has a number of unique features to give it a unique atmosphere.
The gatehouse is not only an impressive eye-catcher, but also very hard to conquer: You can build Bruinen wells on both sides to flood enemies who want to gain entry. The remaining walls can be upgraded with towers or side doors.
The rear walls have two covered walkways which the enemy can not climb with ladders or siege towers. This makes them a particularly safe places for archers to rain down a hail of arrows.
To compensate for these additional defenses the Rivendell castle also has its weaknesses: Because access to the walls is granted by ramps instead of stairwell towers, it only has place for seven build plots. This means that Rivendell can erect as many structures as Rohan or the Dwarves, but two less than Gondor, who need that extra space for special buildings such as the marketplace or the quarry. Furthermore, Rivendell has no equivalent to Gondor's wall trebuchets. We've long thought that the lightbringer fortress expansions seemed out of place and took this opportunity to remove them.
The central building of the Rivendell Fortress is the Council Hall. Here you can not only summon the heroes of Imladris, but you can also upgrade it with chambers for its scholars to research the secrets of blacksmithing, military strategy and mystical arts. Over time, this will grant you new options such as better upgrades, new formations and unlocked lightbringer abilities. In addition, you can send Elrond's chief counsellor, Erestor, into different buildings to oversee production and imrpove efficiency. For example, while Erestor is supervising the forge, unit upgrades will be cheaper to equip.
A new economy building for Rivendell is the scriptorium, where scholars are charged with accounting, logistics and organization to generate resources. As a special bonus you can recruit cheaper lightbringers the more scriptoriums you have. Of course you can still opt to grow food as your primary resource to get cheaper cavalry instead, the scriptorium is a new option in addition to the existing economy.
The lightbringers will no longer be summoned at the altar, but in the new Circle of Wise. This building is based on the meeting point of the White Council from the Hobbit movie. We felt it was appropriate to recruit Rivendell casters where the greatest wizards and Elven leaders of Middle-earth gathered.
Beyond the Walls
On the neutral outposts, Rivendell players can put up Dunedain camps. These provide access to cheaper swordsmen and elite archers with long range to compensate for some shortcomings of the core faction.
The Hobbits from the Inn always felt a bit out of place to us: The people of the Shire are a peaceful folk, and Rivendell could hardly call forth an army of them. After all, Hobbits love nothing more than things that grow. And therein lay the solution to incorporate them in a way that is relevant for the gameplay and true to the lore.
In addition to Rivendell's own economy structures, you'll be able to build Hobbit farms on the neutral settlement sites outside the fortress. Those do not give you any discount on Rivendell units, but instead make Dunedain available for less resources. After all, protecting the innocent halflings was one of the Dunedain's motivations for their battles as expressed by Halbarad:
If the farm comes under attack, you can briefly call a couple of shirrifs to arms to repel the invaders.
And while we're on the subject of Hobbits: The new Hobbit movie finally gave us a look at the Rivendell soldiers of the Third Age, after we previously had to use the forces of the Last Alliance. And indeed, the two designs proved to look very similar except for the color scheme. In the next version you'll command the Rivendell troops from the Hobbit, clad in silver armor and red robes.
Only when they are given heavy armor will they revert to their gold armor as we did not want to lose that iconic style element from the faction entirely.
We hope you enjoyed this preview of the Rivendell faction we're building for version 4.0. Please share your feedback in the comments and let us know which faction you'd like to know about next!