The Road to Edain 4.0: Lothlorien, Part 1
Today we present to you the first part of the long awaited update on Lothlorien. The second part on Mirkwood will follow within the next weeks.
Lothlorien is the faction that has faced the most extensive changes in both concept and design. We’ve completely reshaped the faction, always mindful of capturing the basic idea of the elven realm from the books and movies. Simultaneously we faced the challenge of adequately integrating Thranduil’s woodland realm. With two updates on Lothlorien its supporting subfaction Mirkwood we believe our goals to be fulfilled. With Lothlorien we created a masterpiece since not only does its build-up differ from any other factions, but we managed to integrate facets we haven’t implemented before.
When starting with the overhaul we questioned all our previous concepts concerning this faction. Aside from adjustment to suit to suit the plot-dependent building system the faction needed its own identity. We were no longer satisfied with the Lothlorien of Edain 3.8.1 since it featured complicated mechanics that didn’t really fit together in a harmonious fashion. Instead of fixing only the unit-composition the whole structure of the faction was reworked.
Developing Lothlorien required more conceptual rethinking than any other faction, the reason being that the current buildings had to be aligned with the designs of the books and movies, utilizing a variety of pictures and source materials. Lorien is no city or fortress in a common sense, but rather a uniform complex out of different facets coming together to create something bigger and wholesome. Since we can’t replicate the whole elven realm and are limited to military camps we couldn’t simply recreate Caras Galadhon out of the Lord-of-the-Rings movies. Something unique had to be developed that still captured the basic design.
Our first step saw every former building-model scrapped, enabling a clean new start. Afterwards the faction was built up piece by piece until finally we integrated Mirkwood for which the movie-adaptation of the Hobbit gave us lots of material.
Lothlorien differs in its build-up, structure and gameplay from all other factions. The core of the fortress is a big citadel which simultaneously constitutes the most important and central building of the faction. All strings are pulled from here since it’s not only responsible for recruiting heroes but produces all units and researches faction-specific upgrades.
While all other factions can place a variety of buildings on their respective buildplots Lothlorien gets only 5 plots and 4 different buildings that are linked to the citadel via bridges. They are independent buildings with their own functions, but their basic function and design is a seamless connection to the main building.
Lothlorien does not have any walls in the common sense, but a set of bridges, forming a ring to protect the fortress. The stairs at each hub allow troops to ascend to the bridges and unleash a flight of arrows down on their enemies. The disadvantage of these defences is prominent in the name: They are Bridges. Therefore the enemy can simply run through under them. Just like one of the evil factions deploys heavy walls now one of the good factions has very light defences and a unique system. For the player to be able to defend his fortress the hubs can be equipped with 3 different upgrades:
- Statue (cost: 400): Allies nearby units gain +25% damage und defence
- Lantern (cost: 400): Nearby enemies are routed
- Guard-Platform (cost: 800): Fires arrows on nearby enemies
On maps that don’t have the room for big fortresses, Lorien’s camps don’t have bridges. The plot-count remains the same in order to enable the usage of a cost bonus:
In contrast to the other factions Lothlorien’s buildings serve several purposes at once: They produce ressources, unlock units and research unit-/faction-upgrades. Every structure built unlocks different functions of the citadel. The Borderguard Quarters enables production of the standard-infantry as long as the structure exists. Recruitment is done from the citadel. By destroying the connected building the respective troops are no longer available.
Every building serves as resource gatherer and levels on its own. Additionally every building provides a cost bonus. Since Lorien has less build plots than other faction the bonuses are stacked differently: 2 buildings already provide a 20% bonus, a third provides 40%. Keep in mind that placing 3 expansions of the same kind means you give up one of the 4 buildings available. To prevent them to be easily destroyed they are guarded by 1 archer at level 1 and 2 archers on level 2.
You can choose from the following buildings:
- Borderguard-Quarters: Unlocks Lorien-Swordsmen, Lorien-Archers und Lorien-Spearmen in the citadel.
-> Cost bonus for Standard-Infantry
- Galadhrim-Quarters: On level 2 unlocks 2 Galadhrim and on level 3 Caras Galadhon-Guardians in the citadel.
- > Cost bonus for Elite-Infantry
- Sanctuary: Unlocks singers in the citadel. Enables research of fortress-upgrades.
- > Cost bonus for heroes
- Forge: Researches unit upgrades.
- > Cost bonus for unit-upgrades
The sanctuary provides 4 different fortress-upgrades to compensate for the factions missing functions. The missing well is substituted by an upgrade and the recruitment-rate of the citadel can be increased since you can’t build additional barracks. Additionally the player is enabled to improve his defensive ring with Silverthorn arrows.and conceal units within the fortress through fog.
The following upgrades are available:
- Concealing Fog: All allied units within the fortress are hidden from enemy view.
- Safe Refuge: All allied units within the fortress are slowly healed.
- Silverthorns: The defensive archers are equipped with Silverthorn Arrows.
- Defenders of Lothlorien: The citadel recruits troops 50% faster.
The Sanctuary unlocks singers within the citadel, whom we want to keep after internal discussion since they portray a lot of feeling and were always well received within the community. But we removed Nature Mages, Animal Whisperers and Vine Dressers. In our opinion Lorien had too many complex singular units. In general we tried to get away from such units since they stress the attention of the player and are difficult to incorporate into the army-system while their abilities and roles can also be taken over by heroes. We focussed on the most popular of these units within Lorien, which were the singers.
The Forge provides unit-upgrades for the faction. We’re adhering to our previous concept by not incorporating heavy armor. You can research Forged Blades, Silverthorn Arrows, Longbows and Banner Bearers. To compensate for the lack of heavy armour Lorien’s Blades are now twice as powerful, meaning fully upgraded Lorien-Swordsmen overall match the respective infantry of other factions. Another change was made to the Lembas Bread upgrade of Lorien’s units. Instead of being an active ability it now provides passive healing to be unlocked at level 2.
Banner Bearers normally only substitute fallen units within the horde. With Lembas the troop itself is healed. Therefore it’s less effective in direct combat but allows a Hit&Run;-strategy enabling Lorien to withdraw and replenish their losses for another strike faster than their enemies can recover.
Both Quarters unlock the recruitment of units in the citadel. The roster has also undergone change since the old Border Guards were removed and the Hero-Unit of the faction will no longer be the Mirkwood Archers. The Border Guards did not fit their previously assigned role – swordsmen that are also effective against cavalry, therefore rendering standard-swordsmen useless while being difficult to manoeuvre. We decided to include standard-spearmen. It’s not that far-fetched that Lothlorien can manufacture spears. Cavalry on the other hand will not be introduced since our team decided that the Lothlorien has to get along without it.
Galadhrim will retain their weapon-switch, the Standard-Troops get access to an ability on level 1 which allows them to perform quick assaults and manoeuvres:
- Borderguard-Patrol: For 15 seconds the elves of Lothlorien move 25% faster.
The new hero-unit are the Caras Galadhon Guardians which are limited to 3 hordes. They are excellent archers and may equip Elven Cloaks and Silverthorn Arrows that knock back enemies. They also take over the functions of the obsolete Mirkwood Archers while belonging to the Lothlorien and therefore emphasizing its status within the faction. This seemed more fitting to us.
The unit is based on Galadriel’s and Celeborn’s bodyguards which are briefly shown in the movie:
The settlements can be fitted with either Mallorn Trees or with Ent-Moots. The Ent-Moot grants access to siege weapons, the Mallorn Trees remain resource buildings but can be improve by different upgrades:
You can still only choose one effect, so the player has to decide on a tactic and link the chosen bonus to it. Every improvement has its own advantages. The following upgrades are available for the Mallorn Trees:
- Border Guard Spypost: Doubles the line of sight of the Mallorn Tree.
- Swirling Fog: Allies around the tree are concealed.
- Protective Ward: Enemies around the Mallorn Tree suffer a 20% armor penalty.
- Spell of the Dark Queen (Perequisite: Galadriel accepted the One Ring): The Mallorn tree deals damage to nearby enemies.
The Spellbook has undergone some changes too. Manwe’s Breath was replaced by Rivendells Swirling Fog, since in our eyes the camouflage-function fitted Lorien better while the blast of wind thematically suits Elrond’s ring Vilya.
The Beornings are now located in the spellbook as a second tier spell. The team concluded that they have no higher significance within the faction and are a perfect pick for an interesting spell. Additionally the Arrow Storm will be available again since it’s very important for Lorien to have an offensive spell that can still be countered. The Arrow Storm fulfils these criteria.
The last change concerns the 3rd tier. Radagast, the brown Istari can now be found here. It’s been long discussed by the community and the team came to the same conclusion: The Spellbook is the right place for this figure from the Hobbit.
We didn’t want to create a Standard-Summon so we came up with something unique and completely new:
If Radagast the Brown is unlocked the player gains access to 3 different forms of the Istari in the Spelbook-bar. These are Radagast on Foot, on his Sledge or on his Eagle. Every form has its advantages and disadvantages.
We were looking for a possibility to satisfy a variety of preferences. This setup doesn’t remove any of the previous elements of Radagast and everybody has a free choice.
All these changes can be observed in a short video:
We are very satisfied with the overhaul of Lorien and hope that you enjoyed this update. With the new concept being unique and full of feeling Lothlorien does no longer have to hide behind the other factions.
A comprehensive announcement on the integration of Mirkwood will follow soon. It will also feature a short insight into the changes to the general concept for heroes of Lothlorien.