The Road to Edain 4.0: Lothlorien, Part 2
Today, we want to present to you the second part of our Lorien-Update, concerning mainly the major remake of Loriens support faction Mirkwood. We liked many visual elements of the Woodland Realm in Peter Jacksons Hobbit movies, therefore we tried to include as many elements as possible. Nonetheless, it was difficult to use all basic attributes of the Mirkwood Elves to create a fitting and unique concept. Not only the units and heroes needed a rework, but also the buildings, which was just a single supportive building in the current version.
In version 4.0 much will change, and we hope of course that you will like our ideas.
The basic concept of Lorien has needed much time, because we wanted to rework the whole faction, as we told you in an earlier update. A quite important aspect of the elves of the Third Age has been their solitude, egotism and low desire for expansion, leading to Lorien and Mirkwood losing most of their contact to the rest of Middle-earth. So we wanted our new concept to exactly reflect these characteristics, as well as including new elements to the mod. Furthermore it was important to us that Mirkwood should have an impact on the game, even though it's only a support faction for Lorien.
Therefore Mirkwood will have exclusice access to the Outposts of Lorien, as already suspected by some users. It will use a similar concept as the Dunedain from Imladris, but there will be some major differences, which will be explained in the following text.
The design for the Mirkwood buildings from The Desolation of Smaug has caused us some problems, due to the fact that Thranduil's realm was portrayed in a giant cavern. Since it is not possible to implement anything similar in the game, we tried to transfer the main architectural impressions of it into our structures. So, with a little imagination of the player, the halls from the movies can be seen ingame.
Like the Lorien castle, Mirkwoods Citadel will be a complex with connected expansion buildings around a central structure, which is based on the design of Thranduils throne room.
At the 4 corners of the Citadel, there are small build plots, similar to the original fortresses in Battle for Middle-Earth II. On each of the build plots the player will be able to build one of 3 different buildings, representing different scenes of The Desolation of Smaug in their design and function. There will be a waterfall as the Vault of the King, a Wine Cellar, and Troop-chambers protected by palace guards. Each of these buildings serve as a resource building, as well as unlock features in the Citadel.
These images might give you a first impression:
The Citadel enables the player to train units and heroes of Mirkwood, and offers different benefitial features depending which expansions you built. Mirkwood uses the same basic concept as Lorien's castle in that point: The Citadel is the most important element of the Outpost, and so it has all the basic functions.
Of course the limited recruiting options will be compensated by various upgrades and abilities, which can be purchased in the Vault of the King.
The expansions were designed in a way that no visual border between them and the Citadel exists. The Citadel is not he highest and biggest building, but the complex of Citadel and expansions will look like one building.
The Wine Cellar
Beside generating resources, the Wine Cellar also functions as a well, and reduces the Cost of Mirkwoods heroes.
The idea of the Wine Cellar has been based on the scene in The Desolation of Smaug where Bilbo tried to rescue the dwarves. We thought this could be a funny and interesting possibility to implement this scene. In particular we are quite proud of the two relaxing Elves on top of the Wine Cellar, who are enjoying an exquisite bottle of dorwinian wine.
The Vault of the King
The Vault generates resources, researches various upgrades and allows the training of Palace Guards in the Citadel, as well as reducing their cost.
The following upgrades can be researched in the vault:
- Wine from Dorwinion: Increases the production of Wine Cellars by 25%.
- Captain of the Watch: Each Vault of the King is guarded by two Palace Guards and a banner carrier . The banner carrier grants nearby allies +25% armor
- Protect the borders: Troop-chambers will be manned with two elite archers of the king that shoot at nearby enemies
- Mobilisation Order: The citadel gets the skill 'Mobilisation Order'
So the player has the option to compensate the defences and limited production of the Outpost with different upgrades. However this is more an active effect, which the player has to use in certain situations. If he activates the Mobilisation Order, then the units of Mirkwood will be trained much faster for a short time.
We felt this was a fitting ability for the impression of the Woodland Realm we got from the books and movies: It is only in the hour of greatest need when Thranduil will send his troops and end the isolation of his realm.
As written above, we will integrate the Palace Guards, which could be seen in the Hobbit movie. The Palace Guards will be elite pikesmen, which are quite effective against enemy cavalry.
In The Desolation of Smaug the colour of the Palace Guards is mostly beige, but we have decided to use more different colours, to avoid that the units look too monochrome from the distance. Here we think that the aesthetic of the game is more important than an uniform design.
The units of Mirkwood were changed in many ways during the factions development. In previous versions the units of the Woodland Realm were quite agile and acted hidden most of the time. But looking at certain elements of the movie we saw the Elves of Mirkwood in a different way. So we decided for 4.0 to keep the troops of Lothlorien light and agile, while giving Mirkwood more heavy and devensive troops. Nonetheless the Woodland Realm will fit into the playing style of Lorien.
The Troop-chamber enables the training of the standard units of Mirkwood in the Citadel. Besides the generating of resources, every troopchamber reduces the Cost of these units by 0%/20%/40%.
The following units will be enabled by the troopchamber:
- Mirkwood Swordsmen
- Mirkwood Archers
We followed the design of the elven troops in An Unexpected Journey for the Mirkwood Archers and Swordsmen, seen in the scene after Smaugs attack on Erebor. The Elkriders will have the design of the Mirkwood Guards which were let by Tauriel in the second movie. They will be Loriens only Cavalry unit available for the player, and will no longer be a Spell Summon like before. The Elkriders are agile archers, compensating the missing mobility of the other Mirkwood units.
On the following images, you can see the new design of the units of Mirkwood:
The Elkriders and Mirkwood Guards have two female and two male characters, which will be chosen randomly.
All in all Mirkwood will follow the unique concept of Lothlorien, so it will be more difficult to play as well. However we think this concept and the designs blend well together and represent all the elements from the different sources.
Due to the increased focus of Mirkwood on the outpost, this sub faction is now more elegant implemented and has a more fitting place in the faction.
Heroes of Lothlorien and Mirkwood
Next we wil give you an impression of the heroes of Lothlorien and Mirkwood, because they too were heavily remade for version 4.0. Until now the role of many of the heroes has not been defined properly and there were even some huge overlaps. In version 4.0 we want to correct this and have at least a more organized structure. Of course, we can't prevent that some heroes have more than one role, nonetheless it will be possible to use your heroes more specific.
In this update, we won't show you all reworks of the heroes of Lorien and Mirkwood, so that there is something left for you to find out ingame, but we will show you some of our new concepts.
The heroes will have the following key aspects:
- Rumil and Orophin: Scout Heroes
- Haldir: Unit Supporter in the battle, basic allrounder in melee and ranged
- Celeborn: Hero Killer
- Galadriel: Hero Supporter and Building Destroyer
- Tauriel: Agile Scout Hero with a melee focus
- Legolas: Mass Slayer with an Hero Killer aspect
- Thranduil: Tank and Mirkwood Supporter
Of course, it is not possible to completely define a role, but these are at least the basic for the concepts of the heroes.
Now let's focus on some hero concepts:
In the current version we were not satisfied concerning Galadriel. It was neither fun to play her, nor had she any interesting abilities. Therefore we made some changes and tried to adopt some aspects from the books, mainly those we did not integrate by now: Her role being a Building Destroyer, because who but not her destroyed Dol Guldur.
Additionally her basic concept being a melee fighter has always been quite difficult, because it was a contrast to all her supporting abilities. These support factors were still important for us, because there were many passages in the Lord of the Rings, where Galadriel helped the free people with her knowledge and wisdom.
In 4.0 Galadriel will have a ranged attack with a small area effect, allowing her to keep a distance to the fight. If she attacks a building, her attack will become a whirl, damaging it and reducing its armor for a short time.
Of course we reworked her abilities too:
- Level 1: Glance of the White Lady - The glance of the White Lady will cause fear at all enemy units in the target area.
- Level 3: Glance in the Mirror - A hero is granted a glance into the mirror. One of three effects will be activated for 90 seconds.
Wisdom (golden insignia): The hero has seen what the future holds for him and made plans to react to it. His skills recover 70% faster.
Strength(green insignia): The hero faces the perils of the future determinedly. He gets doubled armor and doubled attack.
Despair (red insignia): The hero despairs of the burden of his knowledge. He is 30% slower and has -50% armor and attack
This ability is the well known effect of the current Lorien fortress upgrade. In our opinion it is a far more fitting as an active ability, besides there will be no such fortress upgrades anymore in 4.0 so it would had the be removed otherwise.
- Level 5: Vision in the mirror - Glance into Galadriel's Mirror to see distant places. Clears the fog in designated area permanently.
Another aspect of Galadriel, which has not been used by now. On the first thought this might not be special, but our idea was that the more the game progresses, the more areas on the map will be revealed by Galadriel, until the player can eventually see the whole map. This is a mighty ability, which truly represents Galadriels powers as seen in the source material. It also gives Lorien access to a good scouting ability, since it will be quite important for every faction to scout settlements or reveal enemy spies.
Level 7: Gifts of Lorien - Galadriel hands gifts from Lothlorien to a hero.
Thranduil: Gets +15% armor and commands two rows of Palace Guards with his 'Shield-Wall'-Skill.
Legolas: Gets Galadriel's bow which enhances his 'Hawk Strike' and 'Arrow Wind' effectively.
Tauriel: Is permanently capable of wielding her daggers and being protected by guards.
Haldir: Gets a white arrow instead of his golden arrow which will stun all units in wide radius.
Celeborn: Gets a royal armor that improves his defense and attack by +10%.
Rumil & Orophin: Get mighty elven armor that highly enhance their defense but lowers their speed.
Frodo: Gets Earendil's Light which is a light to him in darkest hours.
Sam: Gets the seeds of the golden wood.
The current Gifts of Lorien ability from the spellook, which is now accessible through the Lady of Light. The effects have been updated, but the basic system has not changed.
- Level 10: Nenya's Protection - The magic of the Elven Ring Nenya infuses the units of Lorien with temporal invincibility. All units in a wide radius are affected.
One of the mightiest abilities in the whole game, which is integrated much better now. Used wisely this ability may cause the defeat of a complete enemy army.
The Lord of the Galadhrim is one of those heroes, for whom it is difficult to find a concept. In the end we tried to create a concept in cooperation with the community. We tried to use as many elements of these concepts as possible, and are quite confident with the result. Here, we want to thank everyone who took part in this!
Celeborn will be a hero killer, as written previous. This means his defence will be weaker and he won't be able to survive against enemy troops, but he will be more agile and can deal much damage in a short time. Because of this it will be very important to always keep the position of enemy heroes in mind. Celeborn can be a nightmare for other heroes if his own position is right, that is also why he will be quite difficult to play.
His abilities will be the following:
Level 1: Lord of the Firstborn - Celeborn tries to protect the Firstborn from his enemies.
With every enemy hero within a middle vicinity of Celeborn, Celeborn gets +10% attack (up to 11x cumulative). Becomes 'Lord of the Golden Wood' when using 'Might of the Silver One'.
A passive ability, which offers a big advantage, but only if the enemy uses heroes. So, his enemy might counter Celeborn by sending his hero to another part of the map.
- Level 2: Protecting Wind - Celeborn is surrounded by a protecting gust which intercepts hostile arrows, provides him resistance against knock-back and grants him +25% speed. Becomes 'Torrential Wind' when using 'Might of the Silver One'.
This ability is useful for escaping as well as getting in the middle of your enemies as a stormy wind. Celeborn needs an option to get near enemy heroes and this is exactly the purpose of this ability.
- Level 5: Silver Blade - Celeborn bathes his blade in a silvery light. For 30 seconds he deals Area-of-Effect-Damage, that only hits enemy heroes. Becomes 'Shining Blade' when using 'Might of the Silver One'.
Using this ability, the positions of Celeborn and the enemy hero a very important. The attack itself does not change, but if an enemy hero is near to an attacked unit, he will suffer damage, too. Due to the fact that heroes in version 4.0 will be much weaker alone, so that they will appear usually in combination with troops, this ability offers the possibility to attack an enemy hero without targeting him.
- Level 7: Squall - Celeborn manipulates the winds and drags enemy heroes that are within the range of the skill 'Lord of the Golden Wood' to his position. Becomes 'Heavy Gales' when using 'Might of the Silver One'
When using the ability, Celeborn throws all enemy heroes, being in the radius of his passive ability towards his position. Even without dealing damage the ability is very powerful, because in combination with Silver Blade it may be a deadly encounter for the enemy hero. Celeborn can also quickly separate the enemy heroes from their protecting troops with this ability.
- Level 10: Might of the Silver One - Celeborn gleams and is able to see the future, allowing him to prepare for future events. For 60 seconds all of his skills have stronger effects. Should only be used when all skills are available.
When activating Might of the Silver One, Celeborns ability will change to the following:
Level 1: Lord of the Golden Wood- Celeborn tries to protect his home from hostile invaders. With every enemy hero within a middle vicinity of Celeborn, Celeborn gets +10% attack (up to 11x cumulative).
As long as 'Might of the Silver One' is active Celeborn gets +25% attack speed.
- Level 2: Torrential Wind - Celeborn is surrounded by a torrential wind that intercepts hostile arrows, provides him resistance against knock-back, bestows +25% speed upon him and flings away enemy units.
The effect range of the wind is quite small, of course, but it allows Celeborn to flee more effectively from enemies. But to stop or even slay enemy armies the effect range is not enough.
- Level 5: Shining Blade - Celeborn bathes his blade in a silvery light. For 30 seconds he deals Area-of-Effect-Damage, that only hits enemy heroes and additionally deals +25% damage to them.
- Level 7: Heavy Gale - Celeborn manipulates the winds and drags enemy heroes that are within the range of the skill 'Lord of the Golden Wood' to his position and damages them.
All in all, Celeborn will need much more micro-management and will be harder to play, but we are absolutely confident that if the player provides the needed skill, it will be highly rewarding.
The king of Mirkwood has got one of the biggest changes in version 4.0. In fact, he is the single hero getting a new concept with every Edain version. The reason for this is that there is not much we know about him from the Hobbit. Nonetheless, we managed to create an amazing concept for Thranduil, representing his role in the faction. When creating it, we tried to include some elements of Peter Jacksons Hobbit, in particular his defensive attitude towards the rest of Middle-Earth. On the first look, it might appear strange to give Thranduil the role of a tank, because Thranduil is not known to wear a heavy armor or an huge shield for now. But we tried to look at the facts from another point of view, and included some elven magic in a subtle way, magic which the king of the Woodland Realm likely could do. Of course it will still be in accordance to the overall subtle magic of Middle-earth. Also, we integrated a great community-concept, the Feasts of Mirkwood.
But we did not only renew his abilities, we also improved Thranduil's design a bit:
As shown in the renders, Thranduil will be a melee fighter on foot, fighting with sword and staff, so he'll be using Gandalfs animations. In fact this is a style that we already used in version 3.0 but discarded later. So we used this opportunity to go "back to the roots" with Thranduil and once again design him for melee combat while on foot.
Thranduil's abilities will be the following:
- Level 1: Elvenking of Mirkwood - King Thranduil tries to protect the elves of his homeland. In times of distress he chooses to send his troops to war. Allies in his vicinity get +25% armor. If this skill is activated, the units get additional +25% attack for 30 seconds.
This passive ability can be activated with a special cooldown, increasing the effect. We think that this ability represents Thranduil's character quite good.
- Level 3: Arcane Shield - Thranduil surrounds himself with a magic shield, that protects him from damage \n The shield lasts for 10 attacks until it's destroyed and will be rebuilt after 60 seconds.
This is a very unique ability, which we did not include in the mod up to now. Indeed it does not increase Thranduil's offensive power, but it allows him to withstand enemy troops longer.
- Level 5: Mount/Dismount
Thranduil uses his bow on his Elk, but does not deal much damage. The main idea was to include this element from The Hobbit.
- Level 7: Shield Wall - Thranduil rises a wall of Palace Guards around him that prevents him from taking damage and locks in foes on the inside.
When using this ability, Thranduil is shielded by a ring of Palace Guards, which keep their position and attack nearby enemies, so that they won't break through the ring. Also enemies get locked up inside the ring, and have to face Thranduil alone. In particular the ability is quite usefull if Thranduil is chased by enemy cavalry.
- Level 10: Feasts of Mirkwood - The Elves of Mirkwood raise a feast. This feast generates resources, raises the commandpoints by 30 and heals allies in a wide area. If enemies get near the feast, the elves will vanish immediately. The feast may only be summoned once at the same time.
This is one of our favorite new abilities because it represents an important element of the book and fits perfectly into the role of a tank. Thranduil builds a refuge, allowing him to recover and to prepare himself for the next battles.
Sadly, Peter Jackson has not adopted this element, in our opinion this was one of the most important elements of Mirkwood in the book, which should not be missing.
Finally, we want to show you the graphical rework of Tauriel, who will also have an usefull role in the faction.
At the end, we have a short Video showing the Mirkwood Outpost and Thranduil's abilities. Please notice, that we only put the outpost on a castle spot due to presentation issues:
We hope that you liked this extensive update, and we are looking forward for your feedback!