This is a sub-mod for the Age of the Ring 7.2, a mod for Battle for Middle-Earth 2: Rise of the Witch-King.
The current version is for Age of the Ring 7.3.1.
I want to thank and credit the following people for helping me:
Please, if I've forgotten anyone let me know.
It's been almost a year and a half since the release of Realms in Exile 0.2. And even though a long time has passed, I've continued to work constantly on it. Today's post will be about how this mod came into being and catching up on how development is going and what I have planned for the future.
Age of the Ring is the best mod I've ever seen, it has taken my favorite game of all time to places that I didn't even imagine it could go. But the Age of the Ring (AOTR) team has a vision for it, and they are dedicated to maintaining their mod as close to the lore as possible, and I have great respect for it. But that also means that some of the fans' favorite ideas cannot be implemented into AOTR.
My initial idea began with implementing Arnor into AOTR. It was something that the devs had to put an answer in their FAQ on AOTR's wiki because of how often they were asked if they would ever put the North Kingdom in the game. I also found it strange that there were no sub-mods for it given the long history of Arnor mods out there. So Realms in Exile 0.1 was created. Arnor was very OP and had its artistic flaws but it was there. In 0.2 it was improved and more stuff was added to other factions like Erebor and Gondor.
Internally, Realms in Exile is called FS Edition (if you peek at the code you will see it). It means Fan Service Edition. What I mean by that is that I'd favor more fun and memorable things of the movie over the lore. For the sake of... fun! That is the reason why I brought Azog back and put in the Army of the Dead for Gondor, the White Council, and the Eagles and Béorn for Erebor as spells exactly how it is shown in the movies.
But you may ask "This is all stuff already in 0.2, where's the new stuff?". Well, as I said it's been a long time since the release of 0.2 and I wanted to give an overview to people who might be new to the sub-mod. But now let's proceed to what will come in our next version... 0.4!
And now you ask "0.4?? Wouldn't it be 0.3?". Yes... It would. However, things happened. My plan for 0.3 was to introduce my namesake, Annatar in the sub-mod. It was talked about in the AOTR server and it was somewhat controversial. Some people really liked it and some people were worried that Realms would become the "new Dagorath" because Annatar is based on the Second Age. You need not worry, it will not.
Despite the idea looking cool on paper, I'd have to create many new assets to put these ideas to fruition. I was very constrained because I had no 3D modeling skills and I couldn't get anyone on board to be a 3D artist for Realms. So started messing around with 3ds Max 8 and later on with Blender and I'd say I was able to accomplish acceptable results:
To make things even cooler, Trench Dog was kind enough to play Annatar as a voice actor! And he looks and sounds awesome!
Here's some more of Annatar's sub-faction:
This new sub-faction was somewhat ready months ago. It underwent many buffs and nerfs until it was in a playable state, the reason I did not release it was because 8.0 was released around the same time and I was as excited as every one of you to play it. Also, it would be like trying to release a B movie on the same date as the new Avengers. It also meant that I had a whole lot of new stuff that I would need to implement. Nobody would want to play Realms without all the new stuff that 8.0 brought (such as Haradwaith) and it takes a lot of work to merge two different versions together. So I decided to postpone the new version until I adapted 0.3 to 8.0.
And so I did. And when I thought I was finally ready to release it, the AOTR devs surprised us all again with the advent of the new Adventure Maps. They did it, they finally did it! They created Arnor for AOTR (and Durin's Folk, Dorwinion, Rhûn, Durin's Bane, Angmar and so much more...). And once again I arrived at another crossroads. What was I to do with my old Arnor? Just scrap it? I had to think for a long time about it until I decided to keep as close to AOTR as I could. So kept their take on Arnor and filled the gaps it missed as a whole faction with stuff that I made (such as heroes) and some tweaks here and there.
And I didn't just adjust Arnor (or Arthedain if you prefer), I also implemented as sub-factions Dorwinion, Rhûn, Durin's Folk, and some of Battle of the Five Armies as well. This means that you won't need to generate maps to play with those factions and it also means that you can have matches like Dorwinion vs. Woodland Realm for example. There was so much new stuff that I decided to name it 0.4. To conform with these new additions I had to rename some factions and this is what they are called now:
Gondor -> Dúnedain.
Erebor -> Durin's Folk (Oakenshield sub-faction has more of an Ered Luin feeling now).
Woodland Realm -> Rhovanion (WR + Dorwinion).
Haradwaith -> Wicked Men (Haradwaith + Rhûn).
Dol Guldur -> Nazgûl Realms (DG + Angmar).
Misty Mountains -> Wasn't renamed but now includes the following sub-factions: (Bolg + Azog + Durin's Bane).
Rivendell -> Eriador (Rivendell + Lindon).
Well, it would be boring if Annatar didn't have an antagonist from his own timeline wouldn't it? This article is long enough already, so I will wrap things up here. I will make some exclusive posts on the Realms in Exile Discord server, so make sure to join there to be able to see them: Here.
For now, that's all folks!
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