The Road to Edain 4.0: Create a Hero
shortly before the release of the demo-version we want to show you an update about a feature that we considered to be impossible to reintroduce in the game for a long time: The custom heroes.
Due to technical reasons we had to remove this feature in the past but thanks to the change to the fixed building plots we could reintegrate the custom heroes again.
Obivously we insisted on improving and overhauling the whole system.
The custom heroes
The central point of custom heroes has always been to add those heroes to the battle for middleearth that the player is missing and providing the opportunity to complement the factions by unique heroes. And with that the problems related to Edain already start. While there were only two magicians in the original game, being Gandalf and Saruman and it thus made sense to create another magician, there already are all five Istari implemented in Edain (no matter whether as a permanently recruitable hero or as a temporary summon in the spellbook). Leading another magician into battle seemed highly unfitting to us. Because of that we decided to remove the magician-class.
Of course we know that the magician class wasn't just related to Istari but also to those magicians of the black numenoreans followed Sauron, like the Mouth of Sauron. Because of that we want to provide you with a possibility to create your own Servants of Darkness, who are gloomy warriors that execute the will of Sauron with an iron fist.
There are two sub classes:
Army Commanders of Carn Dum are merciless warriors, that strike down their enemies with skill and cold steel
The Black Numenoreans are the highes servants of the dark lord and know all about the dark arts as well as about the use of sword and shield
Regarding abilities they not only possess melee-skills to boost their direct damage but also skills to lure their enemies on to destruction. More information follows in the course of this update.
Another change includes the Men of the East and the South. Because those were just differentiated by their name but used the same model, we summarized them under one sub-class to add another sub-class: the Hasharii. The Hasharii from the eastern and southern lands are trained assassins, that are masterly skilled in handling illusions and deceit. Thus there are also femal heroes at the evil factions.
Furthermore we renamed elves into Defenders of the Woods and used that change to add a human sub-class, the Ranger. We didn't want to have this important category missing in the custom heroes.
We also changed the attributes. In the basic game there were the following five attributs: armor, power, health, heal rate and vision. A closer look at those categories raises some questions.
To what extent does on even differenitate between armor and health? They both raise the durability of the hero, only that you can see the inlfuence of lifedirectly in game while armor is something that is there but can't be directly seen by the player. This raises the question what's the use of more life for the player if the regeneration stays the same and thus causes the hero to regenerate much longer. Also the use of the word magic for the ordinary increase of the attack damage seems weird, because the player thinks that it power only strengthens the abilities. While the last category seems interesting for factions without good scouting possibilities, at least in the basic game, but with Edain 4.0 every faction will have enough scouting possibilities, thus making a simple increase of the range of sight unatractive.
Because of that we restructered the whole thing, leading to the following attributes for custom heroes:
- Strength increases the damage dealt by normal attacks and by abilities
- Resistance increases the life-points and the rate of regeneration
- Perception enables gaining experience faster
- Willpower lowers the reload time of spells and abilities
- Perspicacity increases the range of sight and the range of bows
By that we think that the player has to take a much more interesting choice of which attributes he wants to give his heroes.
What was said before can also be applied to the abilities. The custom heroes were desgined to complement the existing heroes and especially the elves were missing some of the most powerful heroes (Cirdan, Celeborn, Gil-Galad). So it was understandable that there were many abilites that were connected to magic. Despite that there were also abilities at other factions that were just copies of unique abilities of other heroes. Just think about Theoden's Glorious Stampede, Aragon's Athelas, Glorfindel's Starlight, Elrond's Whirlwind and Gandalf's Word of Power. Each of those abilites immediately make you think of the corresponding hero. For some of those abilities it was enough to rename them, for others we decided to remove them completely. As a trade-off we tried to add new abilities that fit the role of the class much better. In the following we will present you a selection of these new abilities:
Across all classes:
*Counselor - The hero is appointed as a royal counselor, custom heroes have -15% costs of recruitment.
This passive ability is designed for a cooperative play togerhter with other custom heroes. The more custom heroes are in play, the mightier the ability gets.
Hero of the free peoples:
*Glorious banner - For some time the hero rises a Banner, that heals nearby allies and regenerates troops.
*Defensive position – For 30 seconds the hreo and allies in his vicinity gain +75% armor but become -25% slower
This both are abilities that further emphasize the character of the heroes of the free people as leader and defensive fighters.
Defender of the woods:
*Thorn of vengeance – The hero shoots a magic arrow that damages heroes and knocks them down.
*Windwalker – For 20 seconds the hero moves drastically faster
*Death eye – For 20 seconds the hero shoots his arrows 50% faster
*Ambush – Some rangers/elves appear tn the designated target area that attack enemies in immediate vicinity and vanish afterwards
After ultimately removing the magical abilites of the elves, we finally could extend their core identity as agile long-range combatants. We also took this as a chance to reimplement some of Thranduil's old abilities that aren't used anymore.
Preserver of the mountains:
*Oil/light a fire – The hero spills some oil for some time that can be set on fire afterwards.
*Throw an Oil barrel – The hero throws a barrel filled with oil at his enemies that explodes, deals damage and sets the ground on fire
*Forge weapon – The hero forges the weapon of an allied hero, yielding him permanent +10% attack
It always seemed weird to us, that dwarves are able to overrun all their enemies over long distances. Because of that we swapped the Overrun-ability of the dwarves with the Spill oil-ability of the trolls, because they never really occurred to us as very fire savvy creatures. Dwarves in contrast are very skilled with fire and come to terms with it a lot better than other factions. Similarly the oil barrel meshes better with the dwarven heroes. The last ability might seem familiar to some of you, because it's the old ability of the twins. But as they don't have this ability anymore, the Dwarven-CaH is the perfect spot to retain that ability.
Servants of Darkness:
*Morgulblade – The hero deals damage to an enemy unit, poisons it for 10 seconds and turns it into a Barrow-wight after its death.
*Dissent- Enemy units in a small target area battle against each other for some time.
*Deathbringer – the hero's steps are followed by death. Enemy units in his vicinity have 20% less attack and defense
*Well of Souls – The hero sacrifices the souls of chosen allies to regenerate his own life by their sacrifice.
*Curse enemy – Extends all recharge timers of the designated enemy hero's abilities
*Soul Anguish – The armor of ALL nearby units is reduced by 100%, thus making a single hit often deadly.
And many more.
As you can see, the Servants of darkness have an arsenal of abilities that's worthy of their name.
Servants of Sauron
* Warg-ambush - The hero lets loose some wild wolves in a small target area, that launch at any nearby enemy. Enemy units and heroes will be slowed down while the ambush is in effect.
*Orc rush - The hero orders some black Orcs to temporarily wrestle an enemy hero down to the ground. For a short amount of time the enemy hero will be immovable and will be attacked by the Orcs.
*Armies of the depth - The hero summons new Orc-warriors from the depth. For a short time all fallen members of nearby hordes will be replaced by new warriors in the chosen barracks or citadel.
Warriors of the south and east
* Trained assassin - The hero moves 10% faster and takes 10% less damage by enemy heroes (passive)
*Prepare an ambush - The hero orders a group of Hasharii to observe a certain area. The Hasharii are cloaked and invisible on the radar.
Two very fitting abiliites for the fight against other heroes. Note that the second ability is the only possibility for custom heroes to permanently increase their walking tempo, if they can't ride.
*Assault – Enables the hero to overrun his enemies for a longer time
As said before this seemed to be a more fitting ability for a big troll instead of a small dwarf.
Of course we finally tried to integrate the custom heroes into our new balancing scheme. They will no longer be as overpowered as in the basic game, but more in the medium strength level, i.e they are stronger than scouting heroes but weaker than heroes like Gandalf, Aragorn, Galadriel or the Witch King. In the future we have more plans regarding the custom heroes and surely will expand their abilities and adjust them to actual events.
We hope you enjoyed the insight into the revisions of the custom heroes and are looking forward to your feedback.
Your Edain Team