Middle Earth: Battle For Arda - Official Thread
Four alliance update: Played Arkenstone Pact vs Hard AI and Voice Oath vs Hard AI. Currently playing Second Darkness vs Hard AI. Overall, the game is balanced, challenging, and fun. Battle fronts are in continuous flux and shifting often. So far for us, it takes about 20 rounds for one alliance to gain the upper hand.
Where available, the players and AI produce many Rangers and can control large swaths of land with stacks of Rangers, moving as needed from one front to another without hindrance due to mountains — very strong advantage.
Proposed balance adjustments: 1) Nerf Eagle movement to 4 or increase cost. 2) Increase ranger cost by 1. The High Elves - Freefolk snowball is just too strong. 3) Consider decreasing uruk_warrior price by 1.
Or implement all 3.
Have been playing with all three settings: eagle range nerf, ranger +1 cost, and uruk_warrior -1 cost, and it feels much more balanced to us. It really doesn't change the feel much early on, as it doesn't change starting units or unit balance by much (eagles excepted). What these changes do, is make it harder to snowball and encourages more unit diversity.
Four alliance update: We've played all four alliances to winning result now. The games are very interesting and the whole map has undulating battlefronts. So far, Voice Oath seems strongest due to protected rear territories, and Second Darkness seems weakest due to fewer defensive options.
Here are a couple of suggestions to consider -- these go along with others that have been made to balance the overall game and strengthen Evil: For Angmar and Dul Guldor, there are few cheap defensive units available to enhance stacking to control key territories and pinch points. This limits strategic options, including attrition battles, strategic retreats, and capital hold-out strategies.
I suggest making the barrow wights cheaper and giving them a movement of 0 or 1. This would create a very unique unit, a very special feel when playing Angmar, and aligns with Middle Earth lore regarding Angmar being a haunted, ruinous realm. I also think it would be interesting to give Dul Guldor "Lesser Spider" instead of the Shelob-like (Mordor-like) Spider unit that it currently has. The lesser spiders could be cheap, defensive units that prefer wilderness or forest to keep with the lore of Middle Earth, specifically The Hobbit.
Strategy question (standard 2 alliances): does Saruman normally bag Tharbad early then redeploy against Rohan, holding Tharbad to the degree necessary to be a bottlestop against the Freefolk? Do the Freefolk simply mass against Tharbad or are other strategies common?
And do Gondor/Harad naturally have a naval arms race ticking-along in parallel to the Gondor/Mordor face-off?
@mattbarnes I haven't seen Saruman take Tharbad, usually they need everything they have vs Rohan. I'm curious how this strategy has worked out for you or your opponent.
I've seen Goblins take Tharbad early and then fortify it (freefolk don't have siege so they can hold ok) however this means less pressure on lorien and high elves. It put goblins into a long-term defensive position but that was ok.
I've seen freefolk mostly go all-in on south (crossing at Tharbad and flooding goblins/saruman), or north to help contain Angmar and then flood over to the other side of the misty mountains. Going south seemed to work better tbh, but if for some reason wood elves or the northmen are doing poorly sending some units across can help counter.
I've not seen a Gondor/Harad naval arms race though I'm sure it could happen. Harad doesn't really have the income for more than a turn or two of ship production anyways if they want to remain a land threat. It's more that Harad can go full land and work with Mordor for an osgiliath crossing or a fords crossing, while using what ships they have to distract gondor units. Or, spend a bit on ships for a turn or two, then gondor has to pick what they want to defend by sea, then harad can land elsewhere. Gondor's sea front is just too large for them to effectively defend by sea. But really the most effective non-lore strat for gondor has been just to send some of their starting units through dunharrow to help rohan.
The games are not yet complete but I've attached for info. We had played an older version of this map some time ago, so errors were made in early turns of these games as familiarity returned to us. Nevertheless, Saruman to Tharbad and Harad navy were features of both openings (I am Good in one and Evil in the other). MM2.tsvg MM1.tsvg