Wage war in the North and assume command of the most storied civilizations in all of Middle-earth history - the Elven and Dwarven armies - or fight on the side of Evil with heroes and creatures that have never been seen in The Lord of the Rings films. Defend or overtake never before seen lands such as Dol Guldur, The Misty Mountains, and Mirkwood as you unleash powerful new weapons and abilities, such as summoning dragons.

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The Woodland Realm

News 39 comments

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Hello there! It's been a couple of months since our last article. Since then, AotR has seen the release of version 5.0 (and 5.1), which added the faction of Dol Guldur. We are very grateful for the enthusiasm with which the community received this faction - from all the kind compliments to a seemingly endless stream of community-made Youtube videos, it's been very humbling!

But now, it's time to focus our attention on what's next...


The Woodland Realm


Overview1

biggerarmy

Why Woodland Realm?


Why indeed. From the moment we announced this faction back in 2017, it's been an occasional cause for misunderstanding: Woodland Realm is the
third Elven faction in Age of the Ring - an obvious redundancy. There's not enough information about Thranduil's realm to make it distinct from Lothlórien, their roster and gameplay will necessarily be very similar, they should be some kind of 'minifaction' instead, et cetera.

On the surface, these aforementioned issues seem legit. The Elves of the Woodland Realm, like those of Lórien, were mostly Wood-elves. They were both led by Sindar lords (at least for a long time), they both lived in the trees, and they both fought against an encroaching evil. Contrast this with Rivendell: an entirely different set of Elves, with a different history and culture, and hobbits!

Obviously, we disagree with this assessment. There's a lot more to the Elves of the Woodland Realm and their allies than meets the eye. In this article, we will broadly introduce the faction as we've envisioned it, with later articles dealing with the specifics of gameplay, units, heroes, and spellbook powers. Themes aren’t just for eight-grade book reports, kids.

Less Wise, More Dangerous


The above adage, stated by Tolkien in The Hobbit (and by Beorn in Desolation of Smaug) has been key in informing the basic design of the Woodland Realm faction. This is reflected all throughout their gameplay: their basic units are Silvan Elves that receive various special abilities, such as
Skinning Knives, which causes basic attacks to deal lingering damage over time, and Thorned Barbs, which briefly stuns enemy units when struck. Silvan Elves also have the Evasion power, which temporarily increases their armor, knockback resistance, and movement speed, which allows them to escape sticky situations and make for the cover of the forest.

Beyond this, the Woodland Realm spellbook is full of ways to annoy, delay, and mess with your opponent. Hidden Sentries places 3 Silvan sentries on a targeted location. The Elves Awoke Them summons a tree that knocks back enemy units and provides stealth. Elvenking’s Road allows the player to teleport units in and out of combat. Elvenking’s Feast summons a moveable feast that provides bonuses to nearby units. Lights Go Out temporarily reduces enemy vision, experience gain, and attack damage.

All this works towards making the Woodland Realm feel very distinct. The Elves of Lothlórien and Rivendell are portrayed as serene, ethereal beings mostly concerned with the protection and preservation of their environment, while the Elves of the Woodland Realm are far more aggressive, militarized, and trickstery.

SilvanElves1

Tauriel is the Captain of the Silvan Elves

SilvanElves2

A group of Silvan Elves plans an ambush upon an outpost of Dol Guldur

Oromë and the Hunt


Tolkien’s Elves being vegetarians is a common misconception! The Elves of the Woodland Realm were known to hunt, as is evidenced by Bilbo and the Dwarves hearing the Wood-elves hunting in Mirkwood, as well as by Tolkien’s description of them: “They dwelt most often by the edges of the woods, from which they could escape at times to hunt, or to ride and run over the open lands by moonlight or starlight …”

We thought this penchant for hunting would make an interesting motif for the Woodland Realm. It’s expressed in various ways: the Hunting Shrine, one of the faction’s two primary resource structures, has the ability to recruit a Feredir - Sindarin for Hunter - a single Elf unit that can hunt for extra resources by killing and trapping creeps and enemy units.

Beyond this, we have extrapolated the idea of Wood-elves and their hunt into a special veneration of Oromë, the Huntsman of the Valar. Oromë is ever-present in the faction, from the spellbook’s Great Hunt of Oromë, a targetable power that causes enemy units to lose armor and have their ability timers reset, while granting friendly units recharged ability timers and the ability to temporarily trample enemy units, to the Fortress’ Tribute to Oromë, which unlocks the Horn of Tauron power, which when activated causes enemy units to lose armor and flee in terror.

Oromë is also part of the connective tissue between the two main cultures of the Woodland Realm faction - Wood-elves and Woodmen. The Rohirrim revered Oromë, and so it makes sense that their Woodmen cousins were also familiar with him. This familiarity is expressed by the Woodmen Hunters’ Mark of Béma power, which causes targeted units to temporarily receive more damage from Woodmen arrows.

GrimbeornWoodmen1

Woodmen gather near Grimbeorn's House


Celtic Influences


It’s no secret that Tolkien’s Elves were, in part, inspired by Celtic myths. In The Hobbit, we see a white deer as Thorin and company enter Mirkwood - which, according to Tolkien scholar Douglas A. Anderson, usually prefigure an encounter with beings from the Otherworld [in Celtic tradition]. We have expanded upon this notion and incorporated several other clear Celtic-based entities into the Woodland Realm, most notably the Druids of the Oaken Order. First taught by Radagast centuries before the War of the Ring when he detected the evil presence in Dol Guldur, these Men, learned in the hidden truths of the natural world, serve as spiritual and political leaders to the Woodmen of the Anduin Vale.

We have also extrapolated the white deer from the book, combining with the spirit-like white stag that appears in the Extended Edition of Desolation of Smaug, to create the second of Woodland Realm’s final spellbook powers - A Sign of Good Fortune - which summons an invulnerable White Stag that strengthens and supports your units.

Another small nod to both Middle-earth’s more obscure figures and Celtic tradition is Frumgar, son of Frumgar, Champion of the Anduin Vale - a descendant of a mighty Dragonslayer. Frumgar is summoned as part of the Spears of Framsburg power, and is surrounded by a small force of Éothéod Riders.

GildedGuard

The Gilded Guard of Lasgalen ride ferocious Elks into battle


Druids1

Radagast meets with a group of Druids of the Oaken Order


Frumgar1

Frumgar honors his ancestors by slaying a dragon

The Elvenking


The Elvenking has ever been a far more relatable character than most of the other Elves we’ve come to know throughout the history of Middle-earth, especially those that remain in Middle-earth at the end of the Third Age. He is wise, yet not counted amongst the Wise members of the White Council. He is just, but bears personal grudges. He likes gems and beautiful things, as well as drinking wine and feasting. In the Hobbit films, his character was embellished to be a bit more haughty, resentful, and - dare I say it - sultry than he was in the book, all beautifully portrayed by Lee Pace.

Right from the start, we knew that Thranduil the Elvenking was going to be a very central figure to the faction, possibly even more so than the Necromancer in Dol Guldur. Thranduil is the ‘faction leader’ hero, and is presented as an isolationist, wealthy warrior-king that wants to protect his people and kill his enemies. His Renowned Warrior power is amongst the greatest ‘blademaster’ type abilities in the mod, growing stronger with each level. His None May Enter ability allows him to block off a part of the map to create a chokepoint, while his Memory of Mordor power surrounds the Elvenking with a cadre of memories-taken-shape that deal damage to everything within their range.

Because Woodland Realm does not possess a standard heavy armor upgrade, we have given Thranduil a leadership that boosts armor, as well as his Love of Silver and Jewels power, which upgrades targeted units with Sindarin Armor, permanently increasing their armor.

Beyond his status as a faction leader, he is also very present in the spellbook, where a whole row of spells is dedicated to his authority as Elvenking: the previously mentioned Elvenking’s Road and Elvenking’s Feast, as well as Elvenking’s Patience, which removes enemy units’ leadership and stuns them for a short time, and Elvenking’s Decree, which causes targeted friendly units to collect resources upon kills and have increased movement speed.

Oh, and we also emphasize his fabulousness by giving him a variety of costumes!

Thranduil1

Thranduil poses with his Treasury


Thranduil2

Thranduil fights an incursion from the Misty Mountains


Thranduil4

Once upgraded with Sindarin Armor, the otherwise green and brown

Silvan Elves receive a very different look


Color Palettes, Visual Motifs, and Day Drinking


Finally, we decided upon several visual markers to easily make Woodland Realm stand out on its own, not just from the other Elven factions, but from every faction in Age of the Ring.

To this end, we decided to portray Woodland Realm in autumn - its many trees full of red leaves, and red leaves all in and around the open-spaced structures - which we decided would be made of wood, and mostly built upon ancient stone ruins from Oropher’s time, when the Woodland Realm was far larger and more cheerful, before the Elves retreated further inwards towards the underground halls of the Elvenking. These dwellings are typically not meant to be permanent, but rather temporary settlements, used on occasion when needed.

We’ve also emphasized their love of feasting and wine - there are very few structures you’ll find that don’t have a barrel or more as well as a couple of bottles of wine stashed away!

GalionWell1

A Well of Wine surrounded by Vineyards, Galion, and several battalions of drunk Elves


Buildings1 1

The Royal Barracks and the Hunting Shrine



We’ll go more in-depth on Woodland Realm units, heroes and spellbook powers in later articles. For now, we’ve still got a lot of development to do!

Until next time,
The AotR Team

Carrock

Bonus image of the Carrock!


Age of the Ring Version 5.0

Age of the Ring Version 5.0

News 39 comments

We have released Age of the Ring Version 5.0, featuring our new Dol Guldur faction and much more.

The Fortress of Dol Guldur

The Fortress of Dol Guldur

News 15 comments

An article showcasing a special fortress map to be included in AotR 5.0.

Mordor in 5.0

Mordor in 5.0

News 24 comments

We're changing up Mordor quite a bit in the next release. Read on to find out the details.

Spells of Dol Guldur

Spells of Dol Guldur

News 8 comments

An indepth look at Dol Guldur's spellbook. Not a joke.

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Comments  (0 - 10 of 95)
finweoftirion
finweoftirion

This Mod is Amazing Guys!
My only gripe at this point is the sound track of the main menu is all evil and intense now. I get what you're doing with theme of each update keying in with the new faction;
While I greatly admire the attention to detail. I really miss the original BFME2 menu screen with animation of the Argonath on a loop :)
Also maybe there could be an option to change the theme of the menu screen based on the faction you prefer?
I'm using Lorien at the moment it would be cool have that epic backdrop of the Golden wood and the ethereal sound track to smoke some cones to while I get my head the game XD

Thank you for keeping game alive all this time!
You guys rock!

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JoyRaider
JoyRaider

jak mám spustit toho witchkinga ? poztahoval jsem všechno co to po mně chtělo a mám tu jen nějakej login a ten asi nereaguje nebo co, tahle stránka je nepřehledná, nechápu proč mě tady pořád straší ten AotR když chci obyčejnej Lotr war of the middle earth, tak mají rovnou říct že tady vedou jenom mody a základní hru si najděte někde jinde

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Guest

Hello everyone, I used to play bfme 2 a long time ago, being a lotr fan as well as a Warcraft fan (RTS) this was a dream come true. I remember playing this game for hours just on one skirmish match and loving ever seccond. Can anyone point me to the right download for the full game and required patches. Thank you in advance

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dunedaincaptain
dunedaincaptain

Hey! Here's a link to a guide:

Forums.revora.net

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Guest
Guest

Unpopular question. Does this work on pirated version because i don't want to support EA and same people don't even work for them anymore.

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Mjjstral
Mjjstral

New SAGE Engine Modding discord server for LODR BFME and C&C games: Discord.gg

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ralph777
ralph777

anyone have a 1.09 version game.dat file? I can't play it in this version without this file.

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ralph777
ralph777

never mind, I fixed it.

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