Middle Earth: Battle For Arda - Official Thread



  • Objectives

    I'm going to start reworking the objectives soon. There are multiple open questions:

    • Some of the objectives are quite random and not too significant, like Dwarves getting +3 PUs for controlling several of their original territories. Are these even necessary? They are just additional rules that the player has to keep in mind, and it feels like the game would not change much without these.
    • Some objectives are one-time bonuses, like Saruman getting 12 PUs for taking Helm's Deep. Again, does this make the game more interesting?
    • Then there are ones that are quite random, but are also significant, like both Dol Guldur and the Woodland Realm getting +1PUs per controlled Mirkwood territory. This can result in a difference of 26 PUs per turn, which is quite significant.
    • Then there are the objectives balancing Rhun and Harad. I'm certain that these are necessary, and I'm also certain @Hepps will figure something out to mark them on the map on those 6 huge territories.
    • And finally, there is the objective that tries to counterbalance Tolkien's tendency to give accurate descriptions of "Good" realms and neglecting "Evil" realms. In other words, there are way less Evil cities, so Evil has way less production. It is so bad in fact that without objectives I could only balance it by giving some Evil cities stupid amounts (40-ish) of PUs.

    So my suggestion is:

    • Scrap the type 1, 2, 3 objectives entirely, and if it seems necessary, balance this by increasing the production of some settlements. Balancing Saruman feels crucial, but they already have as much production as possible, so they will get more initial armies instead. (Also feels fair that Evil gets the initiative.)
    • Keep the Rhun and Harad objectives, as per above.
    • Most importantly, instead of the objectives giving flat 16 PUs for Orcs, Mordor, Dol Guldur and Angmar, I will introduce a "Creeping Darkness" objective or something like that, which gives them PUs based on TUV destroyed. Something like 10 TUV -> +6 PUs, 20 TUV -> +5 PUs, 30 TUV -> +4 PUs, 40 TUV -> +3 PUs, any additional 10 TUV -> +3 PUs.

    Ideas?


  • Donators Moderators Admin

    Hi @alkexr , here is the last missing relief.

    0_1528718097600_11_18.png


  • Admin

    @alkexr My general advice on objectives is its much better to have fewer unique/meaningful ones than a laundry list of very simple hold these X territories. Generally, objectives can be difficult for players to remember if there are a lot and also can limit the number of options each player has as they pretty much have to go for certain things. For balance, either making some of the non-city evil territories worth more or just giving evil more starting units so they make an initial land grab can be an alternative to needing objectives.



  • @redrum Currently Evil starts with 191 production, compared to 304 for Good. You can't balance it with adjusting territory production while staying reasonable. Initial land grab could work, though I have doubts about the prospects of Good if Osgiliath is taken. Anyway, good idea, might be worth a try.


  • Admin

    @alkexr Well, you don't necessarily have to buff Mordor and could instead focus on some of the evil players in the central/north of the map like Orcs/Angmar/DolGuldur/Rhun. Most traditional A&A maps probably have a bigger percentage gap between starting income for Axis v Allies than 200 v 300.


  • Donators Moderators Admin

    Lots of options.

    I do agree with @redrum that very specific NO's tend to just dictate play in a very predictable way.

    I have not played this map enough to want to start throwing opinions out on changes... but one of the things I have noticed (while working on the map itself) is that it seems very bland as far as every territory is worth 1 PU unless it is a settlement. Don't know whether possibly dispersing some wealth around the map (outside of settlement territories) could liven things up and give more variety to strategic game play.

    Again, just an observation based on designing. The current design may be a focal part of how it is intended to play.



  • @hepps It is absolutely intentional. Whether it is good for gameplay remains to be seen. The original idea was (this was many years ago, mind you) that settlements are heavily fortified and hard to take, and taking one should be a major strategic decision / event. At the same time there are a lot of territories for maneuvering and trying to engage in advantageous battles.

    But back then I also thought that the more difference between units, the better, and the ensuing territory effect matrix horrors were clearly a flaw in the design, in hindsight.


    Here is the initial sub-branch for testing the landgrab solution: https://github.com/triplea-maps/large_middle_earth/tree/version-1.3-landgrab



  • I might have been a little too overzealous with placing armies there. Good Fast AI got hopelessly wrecked by Evil Fast AI by round 4.


  • Donators Moderators Admin

    On an unrelated matter... I tackled the Passes this morning as having them as a Mountain Terrain image (even though they are not a mountain terrain) was problematic to say the least.

    Here is a look at Rivendell and its approaches...

    Before...
    0_1528732650622_Rivendell Before.png

    and orgasmic... oops I mean after 🙂 ...
    0_1528732758449_Glimpse of Rivendell.png
    And yes the images for the Rivendell settlement and the Gladden Fields marshes have yet to be added.



  • @hepps Now, technically, since the territory effect rework hills and pass territory effects are identical. I have been thinking about merging them.

    By the way, Carrock is a very iconic location that appears in the Hobbit (both the book and the movie). It's fine as it is, but if you feel like you ran out of awesome locations to draw, this might be an interesting one.
    0_1528734848655_1a5211d3-fb91-4a92-8ef6-8e49837d70d2-image.png


  • Donators Moderators Admin

    @alkexr I would be only too happy to include as many distinctive elements as is possible.

    Perhaps if you want to identify any of the key areas that should be addressed with distinctive designs... it would make it much easier on me. since I am probably much more of a layman where it comes to eccentricities of Tolkien's Middle Earth.



  • Hey Alkexr. sz8 and sz20 (maybe some others too) seem to be impassable, stopping the High Elf ship support the Gondor Navy. Is that deliberate?



  • I mentioned before and maybe you made a note already, but some races have Ranged units with no Melee to complement them. Also some races would benefit from a Raider who can blitz .



  • Blitz seems to operate oddly, eg one cannot sally out of a settlement and back into it. I can why you don't want to be able to blitz through a settlement and out the other side, but it should be possible for the blitz to start and end in the settlement (or mountain or marsh, etc) to allow some guerilla warfare.



  • Marsh seems to be too defendable. It has become a crucial location in my games. More so than settlements. This could be rebalanced.



  • In my PvP games, Evil seems to have the edge. I've introduced an extra 6PU income split across some Good races to try to balance it a bit.



  • I like the Evil objectives around 4PU for each of the big 4 settlements. This gives Good a big incentive to really focus on one target (eg Carn Durn) to hurt the Evil side more generally.



  • I like some of the one-off Objectives. Eg the Helm's Deep objective encourages Saruman to have a bit of an early offensive even if forced back later. The Rhosgobel objective encourages Dol Guldur to attack quicker. Mount Gundabad is a god incentive. The Incursions bonuses also encourage offensives but are very challenging. But I agree a load of other objectives are not meaningful. You can be more selective.



  • @mattbarnes said in Large Middle Earth - official thread:

    Hey Alkexr. sz8 and sz20 (maybe some others too) seem to be impassable, stopping the High Elf ship support the Gondor Navy. Is that deliberate?

    Swan boats can't enter seas, they can only travel on rivers. (I can only hope that works as intended.)

    I mentioned before and maybe you made a note already, but some races have Ranged units with no Melee to complement them. Also some races would benefit from a Raider who can blitz .

    I generally don't like the blitz ability - 1 peasant can prevent a zillion raiders from blitzing. I would keep that limited, especially considering the prevalence of canopeners with 17 players and units that move 2-4 spaces.

    As for melee units, Lorien got elven_wardens, while High Elves got noldorin_warriors (6/4 unseen forest dweller melee infantry for 6 PUs) in the upcoming version.

    Blitz seems to operate oddly, eg one cannot sally out of a settlement and back into it. I can why you don't want to be able to blitz through a settlement and out the other side, but it should be possible for the blitz to start and end in the settlement (or mountain or marsh, etc) to allow some guerilla warfare.

    That's how the engine handles blitz. There's nothing I can do about that.

    Marsh seems to be too defendable. It has become a crucial location in my games. More so than settlements. This could be rebalanced.

    Territory effects have been reworked, alongside with many other things. You can follow development of 1.3 version here. Also, you don't want a village on the plains be better defended than a marsh. Important settlements usually have fortifications and/or additional territory effects that make them hard to take.

    In my PvP games, Evil seems to have the edge. I've introduced an extra 6PU income split across some Good races to try to balance it a bit.

    Thanks for the feedback, but this will go out the window. Most objectives will be scrapped and generally balance is going to be screwed up totally. We will need a lot of balance testing after release.

    I like the Evil objectives around 4PU for each of the big 4 settlements. This gives Good a big incentive to really focus on one target (eg Carn Durn) to hurt the Evil side more generally.

    That's the one of the two objectives I might keep (the other being the Rhun and Harad support). Namely, one of the following will happen:

    • the 4x4PUs objective and the Rhun/Harad support stay
    • the "really Evil players" get extra PUs by killing units, Rhun/Harad support stays
    • Evil gets a large initial army to compensate for having less PUs

  • Admin

    @alkexr Given that each faction in LOTR is supposed to feel unique, doing a combination where each faction has some sort of unique ability/objective/etc would be cool (rather than lots of the bland objectives). So maybe one of them has the ability that they gain PUs by killing units, another has a large starting army, another has low production but has very cheap & cost-effective units, auto-generate fodder units, etc.

    Honestly, I'd worry less about balance initially and think about interesting/fun gameplay. Then once you have that flushed out just tweaking how strong different units are, objectives, territory values, etc shouldn't be too difficult.

    PS. A map that I think achieved this to some degree is Grand War: https://forums.triplea-game.org/topic/852/the-grand-war


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