While the main development of AotR's factions is done (of course, the RotK campaign is still coming, as is at least one additional Adventure Faction...), we are continuing to finetune the overall balance of the mod, taking note of the competitive scene's feedback to 8.0 and the data gathered through replays and tournaments. As a result, we have decided to make a number of significant changes to the Rohan faction, to increase their viability.
Rohan suffered from too little flexibility in the early game - dooming them against certain factions - as well as poor late game army composition that made it hard for them to keep up with what other factions could do. These changes are meant to address that.
Though disadvantages in faction design are often intentional, they can be overwhelming. Rohan's core design includes the use of numerous buildings to gain access to its full roster and upgrades. In the case of access to Yeoman Spearmen, however, we realized that this made adapting to the enemy too challenging. As a result, we have moved Yeoman Spearmen to Rohan Farms and Windmills, where they will be recruitable in the same way as Rohan Peasants - making them much easier to access.
Additionally, Peasants have had their movement speed increased (at the cost of some of their tankiness), making them more useful and reliable.
The Draft spell has always been of vital importance to any Peasant-centric strategy. However, outside of this, the spell has no use, meaning that it falls to the wayside entirely should a player not use Peasants, as well as once a player transitions to stronger units later in the game. To address this, using Draft will now grant all units (mapwide!) a small armour boost, making it have a use through all stages of the game.
Additionally, we have changed the Draft Tower mechanic substantially. It can now summon various permanent battalions in an area around the Draft Tower, but every summon now costs resources. This gives Rohan a unique option to quickly deploy units in a chosen area, allowing surprise attacks, supporting of larger engagements, or for sudden defence. Note that it can still summon Peasants for free - these are temporary and will appear right next to the tower.
Erkenbrand is now available as a standard hero in Rohan's roster, no longer locked behind the Horn of the Westfold power. Additionally, the Westfolders are locked behind Erkenbrand, making them much more readily available. Rohan needed more relaible access to a late-game swordsmen unit. This change also makes the Horn of the Westfold spell much less important, allowing a player to explore more of the spellbook while playing.
To balance this change out (together with the Yeoman Spearmen's new accessibility), we have increased the cost of Rohan's Barracks, as it now grants access to elite units only (as well as to nerf access to upgrades, which at times felt a bit too easy to obtain).
Doorwardens have always been a 'combo horde' - a horde consisting of both spearmen and swordsmen. This is a concept that works best when the faction's roster supports full alternatives (such as Misty Mountains having access to both an elite combo horde as well as strong swords and spears), which wasn't the case in Rohan. To that end, we have changed the Edoras Doorwardens to a spearmen unit - but one that can be permanently switched to swords if the player desires. This gives Rohan access to a proper elite spearmen unit while not removing the fantasy of the sword-wielding Royal Guard-type unit.
We have decreased the stats of Halifirien Archers to match their status as mid-game archers, and have increased the stats of Rohirrim Archers to solidify them as late game archers. This better emphasizes Rohan's cavalry theme by making the mounted archers a main source of ranged damage.
The Boar of Everholt has long been the subject of debate. Design-wise, we did not want to lose its unique mechanic where it would attack both friend and foe, but we also felt we needed to mitigate this risk. To that end, the Boar now spawns a Hunter's Trophy upon death (represented by the Boar's body remaining on the field for the duration). This debuffs enemies and buffs allies in its vicinity, thereby softening the risk and increasing its positive value. In addition, the Boar will now only travel a certain distance around its initial summoning spot, so it won't be compelled to leave the area the player wanted it. Rohan's units will also receive less damage from the Boar's attacks, should they be targeted!
And that's all for now.
The Age of the Ring Team
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