Welcome to the first Chronicles of Middle Earth (COME) dev blog, which will give fans insight on just about everything related to the Warfare aspect of COME, hence the blog's nickname "Essence of War".
Persistent World mods normally consist of several pastimes, primarily involving crafting, role-playing, and confrontations between factions. The conflicts between the factions of COME can be labeled as the most prominent of these pastimes, as many clans no doubt will partake in it, and therefore garnered the peak of our attention. Right off the bat I can tell you the petty disputes between clans being the main cause of Wars will be forgone, and a proper casus belli must be utilized to orchestrate confrontations.
The ones who will decide this is a combination of the players within a faction and the faction's handpicked leaders, particularly the political leader. If the clamor for the war is deemed adequate, the political leader will create a poll within the faction's steam group for people to vote if the war and casus belli are within just reasoning. If the poll favors the war by the end, the political leader presents the results to a developer and events regarding the war will be declared and organized (similar to shield-battles & line-battles).
A Mighty Host from Dol Guldur marching towards Erebor
In addition to the organized shield-battles between the two warring factions, military expeditions into enemy territory is allowed. These expeditions could include skirmishes between scouting parties, clans within the faction organizing punitive raids, and counter attacks if these were to happen in your territory. The scouting parties are mainly forces sent by either a clan or the Military leader of a faction to explore enemy territory and estimate the strength of the defenses of their outlying villages / camps (and only that, they cannot attack people unless in defense). Once the scouting parties fulfill their duty and brief their superiors on the enemy's forces, it is up to their respective officer what to do with the information.
If the scouting party's advice is followed by the imitative to launch a punitive expedition, the only areas they can target are the villages / minor settlements and outlying areas of major settlements (you cannot siege walled settlements). It should also be noted that punitive raids are prohibited from happening until an adequate amount of people are on the server for both factions, as we don't want 30 players blitzing 3 players. It should also be noted that one of the duties of a Military Leader is to organize times when clans within their faction could gather together for defensive or offensive maneuvers.
The Battle of the Five Armies
The organized shield-battles will be the bare bones of the conflict between the warring factions, and perhaps the most exciting part. They will take place in a predetermined area within one of the regions of the warring factions, and the first to win 3 of these battles is declared the victor of the conflict (alternatively a faction could sue for peace after suffering 1 or 2 defeats). In regards to the actual shield-battle, it will be quite similar to what you would expect but with a few things thrown in. Clans will be their own military unit, with their clan leader as their leading officer (as per usual). To help create cohesion between the clans, they will be given orders by the Military and Political leaders before and amidst battle. These could vary from positioning orders, offensive measures or, if things are dire, a retreat order.
Once one of the faction is defeated, the victorious participants are rewarded with some gold to replicate the effect of "spoils of war" since they won't be able to cash in on the gear of their fallen enemies. If they have gained victory not once, but thrice, than they have the opportunity to either take control of a minor settlement or siege the enemy's capital and sack it (however, you cannot claim ownership of it and if they sued for peace, than the siege on their capital is not granted). Regardless of who wins the siege, the war ends and both factions are neutral and cannot engage in another war until sufficient time has passed.
Battle between mixed forces of the Followers of the West & Followers of Melkor
One thing to note about how the wars will be played out is that since there is a fine line between Good (Followers of the West) and Evil (Followers of Melkor) in Lord of the Rings, and because of this ensuing conflicts will primarily be between them. There are exceptions to this however. The Followers of Melkor were known to have infighting and as such the rules regarding wars between them is less strict. This is a different matter for the Followers of the West, who tend to regard each other rather well. We will only allow rare instances of disputes between the good factions, under lore-friendly reasons of course. This will be an easier task for the factions of Men since they are more susceptible to the corruption of Sauron than the other races.
This also brings the civil war aspect into light. If there is a considerable dispute within a mannish or orcish faction, a civil war can occur if approved by the developers. The measures for this war is somewhat similar to the standard war but it splits the faction's holdings between the two opposing fronts. Clans can choose whom they support in this war or even stay neutral. Regardless of the outcome, this war does not have the ability to dethrone the current ruler or the other 2 faction leaders.
Boromir, eldest son of Denethor II, cheering after reclaiming West Osgiliath
That concludes our first dev blog entry! Thank you for taking the time to read it. If you have any suggestions regarding these features or wish to know about something that wasn't fully elaborated on in this article, please ask away in the comment section and we will answer when we can.