First of all, we thank all of you who follow us and play our mod, we hope it will live on for a long time! We always try to bring something new with each update and this is what we were working on so far!
I will present you these changes with the help of the lovely faction icons made by WK.
More specific stat changes you can read in this changelog.
Realm of Angmar
- Barrow Wights:
They have been changed and become a much bigger threat than before. More suited for siege warfare and attrition battles. Very fragile to cavarly charges.
- New reskins: Orc band, Snaga band, BlackWatch Legion, Guardians of Carn Dum, Gundabad Guard, Witch-Realm Hammerguard, Witch-Realm Pikes and Scourge Raiders. Angmar Marauders, Angmar Halberds and Snaga Stalkers.
- Witch-king for Witch-Realm Inquisitors.
- Cave trolls:
They have a proper model which comes right from bfme2 game! Boromir will be proud!
- Cave trolls Drummers:
Work exactly the same as Mordor's cousins, but more fitting for misty mountains armies along with the new Cave troll model.
- New reskins for Black Uruks of the mountains, Bolg's champions and Cave trolls.
- Hobbit slingers:
Nothing to say about the best snipers in Middle Earth. Their rocks never miss their targets, specially when it's an orcish head.
- Isengard ballista is exclusive to Isengard and have better stats and effects than others ballistas. It's crew members are also pretty resilient to archers.
- New reskins: Snaga javelins, Uru-Hai raiders, Uruk-Hai archers, Uruk-hai pikes Uruk-hai crossbows, and Uruk-hai infantry.
- Warchief's retainers:
Extremelly tough bodyguards of the Khandish hordes. Not only can they fight toe to toe with other factions elites, they also possess an area buffer for morale.
- New general
- Gwaith-i-Rochdor are now a proper knight type unit! Very heavily armoured knights with a great charge and melee stats.
- Imladris Riders and Noretirno Cavalry armor upgrade.
- New reskins for Mounted Numenorean Shieldguard, Numenorean Shieldguard and Olog Hai and Troll officers.
- Armor upgrades for Temple executioners and Temple Inquisitors.
- Reskins for Wardens of the White Tower, Wardens of Minas Ithil and Axemen of Lossarnach.
- Armor upgrade skin for Axemen of Lossarnach .
- New reskins for Harbingers of Castamir, Castamir Legion and corsair units.
- New reskin for Galadhrim Pikes.
- Hasharii stalkers. (they are all whamen now!)
- Serpent greatsword officer for muhad units.
- Khazadum Warriors armor upgrade.
- New reskin for Dragonslayers.
- Necessary skeletal changes applied for the new troll overhaul (Olog-hai and Cave trolls).
- Improved skeleton and weighting for troll drummers.
- Troll drummers and Olog hai now have a improved animation distance. No more slow weird walking.
- Halberds range is reduced, they no longer have the reach of a pike unit.
- Zombie animations for barrow wights, thanks to BOTET team.
- New front page.
- New factions' icons by WK.
- All UI cards for units by TheCoweringComa.
- Cleaning, Naming of the units and stats presentation in unit's short description by Stefan.
Our beloved Jmonster on Faction Balance
I think one of the biggest challenges balancing Third Age: Reforged has been walking the fine line between lore and gameplay and by extension managing the expectations of both the mod team and the players which are finely wound up in these two. Let me explain: I make sure to watch every Reforged video I can. I sift through YouTube comments, read feedback on the discord, engage with players about a pretty broad spectrum of topics etc and a couple things that really stood out to me early on were that A.) people are really passionate about the mod, and B.) everybody (and I mean everybody!) has a different idea of what a given race, or faction should look like in terms of overall aesthetic and of course gameplay. When I first started helping out with the mod I was one of about 5 people working on factions. The developers had a fairly clear idea of how they wanted a given race to play and that was the direction we went in. As more races and factions steadily became available to the testing crew we started to see glimpses of how those players envisioned how they should play, which we would take into account (and still do) and measure this feedback against the lead developers wishes when considering further changes that brought us farther and farther away from the prototype stats we began with at square one. Finally, as more promotional material like battle replays came out we started to hear voices from the community at large who didn't yet have access to the new stats giving us their take on the state of the mod. Thus, from this three fold cacophony of voices and opinions patch .95 was synthesized. We're now on patch .96.1 and the mod has already come a long way from the great strides made in .95, but the juggling act between how players and designers think the mod should play is still quite the challenge. Many people want their favorite factions from the source material to be, in their mind, suitably represented in Third Age: Reforged and are very vocal about telling us what is the best direction to take a given race or faction. Obviously the end goal is to make a game that people want to play, but since I've largely taken over responsibility for balancing all 21 factions as a whole, there are also my own personal intuitions on top of the wishes of the dev team to take into account. For this reason I try to engage with the community and be as transparent about my decisions so that the community, even if they don't agree, can at least see the logic behind why things are as they are.
In short, the team wants to make a fun, balanced game but our ideas of what constitutes the former doesn't always line up with that of the community or even the testers. So there's an inherent conflict that's present in most balancing decisions that gets made and the ultimate outcome is usually that someone, somewhere is a little bit let down by the direction that's decided upon.
Which is okay.
I think it's a natural consequence of working with an IP as large, beloved and well known as Tolkien's Middle Earth. While the road toward 1.0 has been long and sometimes frustrating, finding a way to strike that balance between gameplay and lore has been very rewarding for the team and the community and together we've made (in my obviously unbiased opinion) the best Lord of the Rings strategy multiplayer experience that you'll find anywhere.