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An article exploring the upcoming Adventure Factions in the next version of Age of the Ring

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You may have heard rumblings of Adventure Factions if you're present in the Age of the Ring Discord. This article explores just what they are and what you can expect from them in the next release.


What are Adventure Factions?

Adventure Factions are special factions that can only be played on certain maps. For instance, in the next version you will be able to play as Gondor on an Adventure: Arthedain map, and see the Gondor faction transformed into a full-fledged Arthedain faction. We call these Adventure Factions, whereas the standard factions will be referred to as Skirmish Factions.

Why don’t you add these as full factions?

In BFME2, there is a limit of 11 playable factions that can be added to skirmish, because factions that go over this number are not able to receive AI and thus would not be a proper addition to our roster. Additionally, creating a full Skirmish Faction requires a lot more work: these Adventure Factions, while unique, are largely based on existing factions and are generally smaller in terms of the scope of their faction plan, thus requiring less work overall. That doesn’t make them less fun to play, however.

So which Adventure Factions are you creating?

We’ve actually already created one that you can play right now! In the currently released version, you can choose Gondor on the Adventure: Blackroot Vale map, and see it changed into a Grey Company-inspired faction, full of Dúnedain Rangers and Oathbreakers. For the next version, however, we’re adding a few more. The ones that we are ready to reveal are discussed below.


Adventure: Arthedain

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The last remnant of the North Kingdom, Arthedain valiantly attempts to stem the tide of evil washing out of fell Angmar. King Arvedui, scion of Westernesse, fields his steel-clad armies, glittering beneath the sun as it sets on his kingdom…

Arthedain forgoes Age of the Ring’s traditional unit roster progression of basic to mid to elite units; instead the Dúnedain are at the forefront for the entire match. Unit progression in Arthedain instead depends on keeping units alive so that they gain new effects to their Blood of Númenor ability. These effects include passive healing, permanent resistance to fear and terror, and a variety of buffs and debuffs to nearby friendly and enemy units.

arthedainarmy

The faction has two specialised structures: Malbeth’s Study and the Arnorian Embassy. Similarly to Rivendell’s Library, Malbeth’s Study is Arthedain’s central hub for faction-wide upgrades, for instance Vision of the Seeing-stone which enables Arthedain Watchtowers to purchase Eye of Amon Sûl to temporarily spy on the enemy. Blades of Westernesse is the Study’s final tome, permanently equipping all Dúnedain units with weapons that deal magic damage and additional damage against Undead units. Whilst Arthedain’s standing army consists solely of Dúnedain, they can temporarily call for aid via the Embassy - players can upgrade the Embassy to receive Aid from numerous allied peoples: the Shire, Lossoth, Tribes of the Gwathló and Rivendell.

Arthedain is a kingdom that stands alone against Angmar: its fellow kingdoms of Cardolan and Rhudaur have long since fallen to the Witch-king’s armies. Arthedain’s permanent hero roster reflects this with its meagre size: Arthedain can recruit Malbeth the Seer, Prince Aranarth and King Arvedui. Arthedain has access to several additional, albeit temporary, heroes via the spellbook; summoning Círdan the Shipwright, Glorfindel and Prince Eärnur, as well as gaining access to Elrond once it captures the One Ring. In his capacity as Ring Hero, Elrond does not actually possess or use the Ring, rather he is intended to arrive as part of his effort in aiding Arthedain’s survival so that subsequently the Ring can be destroyed.

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Arthedain’s spellbook is a combination of reworked Gondor spells and brand-new additions. Aid from the Havens summons Círdan the Shipwright. Star of Eärendil is a new spell that ranks up units by one level, synergising well with Arthedain’s units gaining access to new abilities as they increase in level. Their final tier spells, Elf-friends of Old and Southern Allegiance, summon a powerful hero leading an army: Glorfindel leading Noldor infantry, and Eärnur of Gondor leading Gondorian cavalry.

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Adventure: Angmar

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The dark domain of the Witch-king, Angmar has gathered under its control hordes of orcs and hillmen. Worse yet, it is said the Witch-king commands the deadly cold itself, along with a dread legion of wights…

Angmar is heavily based on the Dol Guldur faction, which proved to be a remarkable blueprint for an Angmar faction that has little to nothing in common with RotWK’s Angmar. This lack of common identity with vanilla Angmar is something we wanted to emphasise, seeing as most of the team doesn’t particularly love the old faction. Dol Guldur felt the most appropriate faction to base AotR's Angmar on rather than the more tribal Misty Mountains and vanilla Angmar, which is now key to some of Haradwaith's features.

Dol Guldur’s core mechanics - Dark Presence (now Shivering Presence) and Slow Decay - are present in Angmar as well, featuring new frosty buttons and effects. Dol Guldur’s focus on Great Spiders has been changed into a focus on Wargs and Trolls, and it has received a new subfaction of Hillmen of Rhudaur, recruited from a brand-new structure.

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The Witch-king is the centrepiece of our Angmar faction: sporting a new model, brand new 2D art and abilities, as well as being a new AotR ring hero. Substituting the Necromancer for the Witch-king, a well-established sorcerer in the books, was a no-brainer, and the result has been very fun to use ingame. A terrifying battlefield presence summoning forth deadly frost and undead minions, he is a worthy substitute for his master in Dol Guldur.

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In addition to the Witch-king, Angmar has received a full roster of new heroes. Among them are Úlf the Váldúgr, a berserking Hillman leader filled with the spirit of the wolf, Nauroth, Spawn of Carcharoth, a giant black-maned warg, and Gorg the Wicked, a nefarious chieftain of the Snow-trolls. Cargást, originally a Dol Guldur hero, has moved across the Misty Mountains and serves the Witch-king also.

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Angmar’s spellbook consists largely of ice-cold variations of Dol Guldur’s spells with a couple of new things thrown in. Chill of Angmar summons a stationary patch of frost populated by White Wolves that buffs friendly units and debuffs the enemy, Orcish Allegiance summons two hordes of Gundabad Warriors, Corrupted Mammoth summons a reanimated mammoth that wreaks havoc upon the enemy, and Northern Storm conjures a snowstorm that moves across terrain and knocks enemies back.

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Adventure: Dorwinion

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A land ruled by trade guilds and merchant princes, Dorwinion finds itself threatened by the armies of Rhûn despite its naive desire to remain uninvolved in the War of the Ring. The Blue Wizards gather their allies and King Brand sends an army, all in an attempt to repel the Easterling horde and stay Dorwinion’s destruction.

Dorwinion shines a spotlight and explores the Eastern cultures of Middle-earth that play supporting roles in existing factions: Dorwinion itself, King Brand and the Bardings, Frumgar’s Éothéod, Woodmen of the Vales of the Anduin, and the Avari tribes that dwelt in Rhûn. Its unit roster consists of Barding and Dorwinion soldiers as its main infantry for the majority of the game, whilst supported by various Woodmen and Beorning units from the Lodge. The Warriors of the Kinn-lai, seen previously as inn units, play an essential role in the late game in addition to two brand new Rhûnic units: the Istari Acolytes, disciples of the Ithryn Luin, and the Kinn-lai Masters, Avari Elves skilled with both swords and bow.

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Blue Wizards, Rómestámo and Morinehtar, have been frequently requested to make an Age of the Ring appearance in some capacity; they serve as the focal point of Adventure: Dorwinion. Fully voice acted and with brand new abilities, the Ithryn Luin are Dorwinion’s dual faction leaders that empower the player’s forces whilst hindering the enemy’s, just as they disrupted Sauron’s forces in the East. Rómestámo’s ability set is more support-oriented: healing friendly units whilst debuffing nearby enemy units, setting enemy cooldown timers to just used and stunning enemy units with powerful magic. Morinehtar is more proficient in combat, capable of dispatching numerous enemy units by temporarily enhancing his own strength and throwing the Spear of Oromë to disperse enemy hordes.

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Trade lies at the heart of Dorwinion, which is reflected by the faction’s brand new fortress. Dorwinion’s fortress uses unique art and can be upgraded with various guilds to enhance its own resource production, replenish units with the finest Dorwinion reds, discount unit upgrades and finally hasten the production of all Dorwinion units for a short time.

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Dorwinion’s spellbook is largely a combination of Erebor and Woodland Realm spells, with a few totally new additions mixed in. The faction may use the Rhovanion Alliance spell, summoning a random configuration of battalions from around the Rhovanion region of Middle-earth. It also gets access to the King Under the Mountain spell, which summons King Dáin Ironfoot and two battalions of Khazâd-uzbadul.

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The question we've been asked a lot lately is whether or not there will be more Adventure Factions than the ones we've outlined above. The answer to that question is yes. However, we are not ready to reveal what those will be just yet.

Happy playing,
The Age of the Ring Team

Comments
RabbiRadagast
RabbiRadagast - - 6 comments

hihi

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Guest
Guest - - 698,702 comments

This is All i Want !!!

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Bollivar
Bollivar - - 157 comments

(buried)

This will be potential for Numenor and Suouthron (Rings of Power), right?

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DúnedainRanger
DúnedainRanger - - 954 comments

no

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Guest
Guest - - 698,702 comments

I count two good factions and one evil one so far, so "logic" (i.e. wildly grasping at straws) dictates an evil faction should be among the ones not yet mentioned. I guess Rhûn would be a fan favourite, a faction of evil Men similar to Haradwaith. I personally would like them to be more like the good factions with a focus on ordinary fighting units, instead of the monsters and sourcery that most evil factions lean heavily into.

Other than that, I can't come up with any immediate good ideas. A separate Hobbit faction would be a little too weak and redundant with Rivendell, never mind that warfare is quite un-Hobbit-like anyway. We've already got Elven factions out the wazoo, so either there's nothing more to explore there, or the mod creators could be elf-obsessed enough to throw in a few more (Grey Havens?). Likewise/conversely, there's just one Dwarf faction, but dwarves were never portrayed as diverse enough to justify multiple distinct factions. The two-in-one we already have might be exhausting the potential as-is. There's the wild men of Dunland, possibly too redundant with Isengard, or the corsairs of Umbar, possibly too redundant with Mordor/Harad. Maybe something more could be done with Cirith Ungol or Minas Morgul to create a sub-faction of Mordor, but then we're scraping the bottom of the barrel. Or perhaps we're in for some time travel shenanigans, with factions from entirely different ages? Only problem is, well, the name of the mod.

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phunkracy
phunkracy - - 264 comments

Besides Rhun, Dunland and Umbar, ther are also other possible minor evil factions of Third Age like Wainriders, Variags of Khand and Far Harad. Maybe Bree/Eriador and for good minor factions. And of course Second age factions like Numenor (Faithful and King's Men), Eregion, men of the mountains.

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Hexer607
Hexer607 - - 11 comments

Das hört sich super an und vorallem auf Arnor und Angmar freue ich mich schon;)

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Lord_Mordja
Lord_Mordja - - 460 comments

You spoil us, you do!

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Gimly-der-Zwerg
Gimly-der-Zwerg - - 113 comments

Love the new design for arnor/angmar except maybe the round shields on arnor look a little odd I think. Any chance we get the rotwk campaign with those reworked factions?

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Sr_Dark
Sr_Dark - - 429 comments

Seems like a submod kind of idea

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evlara
evlara - - 76 comments

Oh this is awesome!

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treefoz
treefoz - - 411 comments

Ack! This is awesome! I know I'm not alone in this, but I am really, really, really excited to get my hands on this. I've wanted to play Gondor vs Harad matchups for a long time, and now these adventure factions? This is absolutely amazing.

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Guest
Guest - - 698,702 comments

Never thought I'd see Dorwinion! It all looks beautiful and fun, incredible work!

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Chewmass
Chewmass - - 101 comments

EXCITEMENT

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Guest
Guest - - 698,702 comments

This is absolutely stunning, you did an amazing job, i can't believe you're making a mod better than any production from AAA studios.

I love your work Age of the Ring team, and i swear if someone would have to make a new Middle Earth game, you are the guys to do so.

keep up the great work !

Can' wait to play the 8.0 !

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sorrentinoandrea736
sorrentinoandrea736 - - 77 comments

But Realms in Exile mod What s happen will be update or not

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CaptainCorrigan
CaptainCorrigan - - 982 comments

We don't work on Realms in Exile.

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Drualden
Drualden - - 23 comments

Amazing work! Just saw your Lothlorien 2.0 video on youtube as well, superb.

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Guest
Guest - - 698,702 comments

Love it! You guys are amazing!

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Drogoth-fan
Drogoth-fan - - 344 comments

this is great can t wait too play aotr 8.0 :D

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cpt_Jack
cpt_Jack - - 66 comments

Of course thanks for the work done... but I'm wondering how this will be integrated into the War of the Ring mode? Will it be possible to hire new units on the global map?

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CaptainCorrigan
CaptainCorrigan - - 982 comments

These maps won't be in WotR

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Carmondai
Carmondai - - 552 comments

Holy Sh*t love it, the designs are awesome!

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theabraxusentity
theabraxusentity - - 341 comments

Wow! Very clever idea using subfactions in that way! And congratulations for all those work!

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Delyruin
Delyruin - - 1 comments

Man this is so damn cool I can't wait for 8.0!

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Guest
Guest - - 698,702 comments

BRAVO,BRAVO,BRAVO!!! EXCELLENT WORK!!!

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hooten
hooten - - 11 comments

Amazing job!

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Guest
Guest - - 698,702 comments

Those Byzantine and Mediterranean inspired buildings look lovely. Who is Arthedain's statue?

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CaptainCorrigan
CaptainCorrigan - - 982 comments

Araval!

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Sr_Dark
Sr_Dark - - 429 comments

Eregion as the Noldor with Celebrimbor as its leader with special abilities would be an awesome adventure map for sure!

(No Rings of Power skins tho please).

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unmasked132
unmasked132 - - 1 comments

are you planning on bringing mumak pen on mordor in 8.0?

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Bomburr
Bomburr - - 32 comments

No, Mumak is a core feature for upcoming Haradwaith faction

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MelkorMorgothBauglir
MelkorMorgothBauglir - - 261 comments

I know the answer to this will be no... but I have to ask anyway : P I remember that, in a Submod for Edain 3.8 called "Hero Submod", playing with Arnor, there was a building called "Fornost Library" from which you could do a couple of "research" with Gandalf the Grey being next to that building, and at the end, you could bring Saruman the White to the battle along with Gandalf, of course Saruman not being "corrupted" yet, but the white wizard chief of the Istari, I thought it may be a cool add on to the Arthedain Adventure Faction to be able to have Saruman the White in some way, with a combination of army support, leadership and magic powers, it makes sense with the lore to, because in the second age, Saruman was still chief of the Istari order, and would be able to fight along the white council against The Witch King of Angmar, im sure many of us would like to see him in the light side, though it being only in special maps : )

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