Middle Earth: Battle For Arda - Official Thread

  • @redrum Dwarves vs Gundabad: even though you built ravens, in the last turns I calculated that if you had moved the Dwarven army into position, buying 5 units (marauders/snaga) wouldn't have been enough. One turn I had to buy a nazgul. If you had build dwarven axemen, I would have had to move more units (possibly dragons) there. This drains the production of Angmar completely, so Arnor can probably overrun those juicy 2 prod territories, while the Freefolk army is free to do whatever.

    I'm not sure about this, but the cold fact is that Angmar is outproduced nearly 3:1, and the only reason they were still alive by turn 4 is the dragons.

  • So I haven’t yet opened this amazing map. But I had a number of games on the predecessor map. Oddly my observations were relatively similar - after all the development you seem to have retained broadly similar dynamics which is great.

    What I saw before was:

    • at first Angmar looks great and heavily pressured Arnor but then gets pushed back if several Good races work together
    • a key Good strategy is to defeat Angmar and then turn against the rest; I would plan my dwarf moves from the start, to get a large siege force through the mountains over many turns
    • Angmar dragons are strong (and expensive, in the original) but allow Angmar to play a guerilla warfare (for a while). However the couldn’t hurt big stacks and they couldn’t afford more than a few in the whole game originally
    • Rhun and DolG together are strong and progressively push back Dale/North/Wood; the dwarves have a tough choice between defending east and attacking west, or vice versa
    • Orcs/Goblins in the Mountains are aggressive and successful at first but Freefolk and High Elves eventually contain them; Eagles were OP and spammed
    • Lorien plays a guerilla defence; boring but shouldn’t be overwhelmed if their allies keep up the pressure on Orcs
    • Tharbad is strategically critical: a very interesting dynamic (my favourite in the original game) and it’s the pressure here that stops Saruman and Orcs overwhelming Rohan. Saruman probably falls eventually but so he should. That said, the lack of siege units on that front meant that Saruman would be bottled-up not defeated (make Ents stronger?)
    • there is a natural ‘clock’ to the game where the Harad/Mordor pressure ‘ticks’ in the south and Gondor can resist alone only so long; but isn’t this the entire theme of the books with the free peoples fighting collectively against Sauron at the end? The northwest-southeast dynamic doesn’t seem so wrong
    • I found the sea units limited and they produced uninteresting stacks, diverting Gondor but generating no interesting dynamics. I would solve this by giving Harad a few pirate ships and Gondor no navy. The pirate ships should not be easily destroyed but should also be unbuildable (it takes years to build a wooden warship). A lack of a Gondor navy may seem unrealistic but it would allow the Evil seaborne landing per the book and I don’t recall much naval action otherwise.
    • it might be interesting to replicate the Gondor ranger/guerilla action in the book on the east bank of the river somehow maybe using boats of a type that can retire and hide in Gondor cities rather than being open to sea battle?

  • Admin

    hey alekxr and redrum,

    i love the map. you can let most things like it is but help good around osgiliath or rohan a bit. i agree that angmar is with very good starting option and best is probably to help orcs fast to kill high elves settlement. But then carn dun need to be defended and will fall later as osgiliath will fall too. but probably too early to let good a chance to figth. when os-giliath falls, minas tirith will also a bit later. Changing power of units is not necessary in my opinion. its nice to have some siege against walls, its like real. fleet will be vulnerable, but ok, harad may be free for a while and some rounds. what nation will air attack harads ships early? and later harad will have some more ships, so np.

    I have some games now and i am still interested in a test game. Dont change the setting before we have some more test games. Only my 2 cent

    best, epinikion

  • Moderators

    @alkexr said in Middle Earth: Battle For Arda - Official Thread:

    Would be nice to tone some of the territory colors down a bit. This would make the map a bit easier on the eyes as well as make units pop out more.

    I like the vivid colors... but I see the popular demand.

    As I said, you can have both. Just use blends for the darker version (otherwise, a mapskin, but I'd say overkill just for this).

  • Moderators

    Is anyone playing this live on the servers? The only games I've seen have been play by forum stuff; (when I last was looking a couple weeks ago).

    aside from that, I largely agree with the observations others have been making. In particular about air units tending to be quite OP.

  • Moderators Admin

    @zlefin I haven't been on quite as much as usual... but I have not seen any live games.

  • Admin

    @zlefin yeah i am playing a BFA with Wassmuss as lobby game. I think its already the rematch. also there were 1-2 games of unknown players in the lobby so far. if you are interested to play slap me in the lobby.

  • After lengthy consideration, here is a draft of planned changes.

    Unit changes

    • Generally try to avoid over-nerfing units. There will be plenty of time for changes later.
    • AA buff: all units with AA gain +1 AA
    • Air units will have their movement reduced: 8 -> 5, 6 -> 4, 4 -> 3. This is a nerf enough, prices wil be unchanged until further testing.
    • Rivercraft buff: rafts defense 2 -> 3, cost 7 -> 4. Swan-boats defense 2 -> 3, cost 10 -> 5.
    • Ship buff: dromunds defense 4 -> 5, cost 14 -> 12. Black ship defense 3 -> 4, cost 16 -> 14. Both will have 2 HP.
    • ✓ Dragons will get 3 armor (x2), as originally intended. Cost 36 -> 42.
    • ✓ Dunlending wildman cost 4 -> 5, attack 2 -> 3 (slightly stronger, considerably more expensive: half-nerf)
    • ✓ Tower guard attack 5 -> 4
    • ✓ Goblin shooter defense 3 -> 2
    • ✓ Warg scout attack 4 -> 3
    • ✓ Raiders cost 5 -> 6
    • ✓ Easterling cavalry attack 4 -> 5, cost 7 -> 8 (half-nerf)
    • ✓ Chariot defense 5 -> 6, cost 7 -> 8 (half-nerf)
    • ✓ (EDIT) Dúnadan lancers: movement 4 -> 3
    • ✓ (EDIT) Variag raider: cost 7 -> 8
    • ✓ (EDIT) Scout: cost 5 -> 6
    • ✓ (EDIT) Éorling rider: movement 4 -> 3
    • ✓ (EDIT) Éothéod cavalry: movement 4 -> 3
    • ✓ (EDIT) Rohirric scout: cost 7 -> 8
    • ✓ (EDIT) Elven cavalry: cost 7 -> 8, defense 2 -> 3

    New unit

    • Barrow-wights: 7 cost, 3/5/2 infantry, 2 terror, ambusher. Not melee or ranged (they fought with magic of some sort). Countered neither by armor nor by shield, they will be an interesting defensive option for Angmar.

    Intended dynamic changes

    • Make naval invasion by Harad viable, instead of braindead oliphant-canopening
    • Strengthen Gondor considerably while weakening Mordor, push the front into Ithilien, at least initially
    • In exchange, make Evil more resilient in the long term where they are outnumbered, especially Angmar + Orcs
    • Try to avoid the "rush through Osgiliath" vs "rush for Carn Dum" scenario. Breakthrough should be the result of strategic decisions other than "move forward".
    • Decrease the amount of neutrals wherever reasonable, as there is little interesting in them, save for a few exceptions (Tharbad)
    • Saruman will not get Hornburg, hopefully this and other changes will allow both Saruman and Rohan to leave the boring doomstack stalemate for more interesting frontlines (vs Freefolk and Lorien / vs Rhun and Mordor)

    Unit placement / territory owner changes

    • Remove pointless neutrals. Territories which will have more than 2 defending neutrals: Eryn Vorn, Druwaith Laur, Druadan Forest, Old Forest (lore reasons) and Tharbad (strategic reasons)
    • Decrease amount of starting units everywhere, as it has been requested by several people on and off-forum. This means that we can throw many of our observations out the window, but hey, progress requires sacrifices. Currently there's around 7K TUV on board, of which around 5K is land (+air) combat units (rest is mostly walls). This will be reduced to 3.5K-4K.
    • Angmar will get the Barrow-downs, infested with barrow-wights (with the anticipation that Freefolk will take them out quickly, but at the cost of being able to send less help to Arnor initially)
    • Angmar will also get the Coldfells
    • Harad will get catapults to help a naval invasion
    • Saruman will get everything to the river Greyflood: Lond Daer, North + South Enedwaith, Greyflood East Bank, Isen North Bank
    • High Elves will get Swanfleet and Ost-in-Edhil (with the anticipation that Orcs/Saruman will take them out quickly)

    Territory production

    • Evil is favoured here slightly. production will grow in importance relative to starting armies, and Evil is significantly behind on production (especially after changes on the Southern Theater)
    • (Orcs) +1 production to Gladden Fields, Eregion, Dimrill Dale
    • (High Elves) Move production from Harlond (-1), Forlond (-1) and Mithlond (-2) to Trollshaws (+1), Rhudaur (+2), Coldfells (+1)
    • (Gondor) +1 production to Calembel, Linhir, Ethring, Pelargir, Anorien, Emyn Arnen, Field of Cormallen, Henneth Annun
    • (Mordor) -1 production to Morgai, Udun, Gorgoroth, Plateau of Gorgoroth
    • (Angmar) +1 production to Ettenmoors, Barrow Downs, +2 to Mount Gundabad, +4 to Carn Dum
    • (Saruman) +1 production to Lond Daer, Swanfleet, Methedras, Ered Nimrais, +2 to West March
    • (Dwarves) 3 -> 5 unit production to Dain's Halls to shorten Dwarven supply lines ( @Hepps )


    • Remove PUs from the reliefs and add PU placements ( @Hepps I will add the placements if you give me the relief without PUs and the PU images.)
    • ✓ Tweak Dol Guldur and Gondor colors
    • ✓ Ask @Cernel about this thing with map blends
    • ✓ Remove placement hack and add dont_show_units
    • Flip Eorling riders (to make them easier to tell from King's Company)

    Bug fixes

    • ✓ Carn Dum, Mount Gundabad and Wellinghall don't have settlement territory effect
    • ✓ Balcoth tribesmen don't have full tooltips
    • ✓ (EDIT) snaga skirmishers are incorrectly described as ambusher
    • (EDIT) The names of "Rhudaur", "West Rhudaur", "Helm's Deep", "Treebeard's Hill", "Lands of the Balchoth" are misspelled ("Rhunaur", "West Rhundaur", "Helms Deep", "Treebeards Hill", "Lands of the Balcoth"), the former two only on the relief ( @Hepps yet again - only if that's not too much trouble)
    • (EDIT) Ethir Anduin doesn't have marsh on the relief

    New feature (?)

    • Quasi-impassable rivers felt nice 4-ish years ago, because they made exploiting the AI much less effortful. Now they feel like they constrain frontlines too much. Rafts and boats were made significantly cheaper now, we'll have to see how this works out. But I feel that river-crossing land canals will be necessary, which can only be crossed if you control both ends (i.e. if you have secured a bridgehead).

  • Admin

    @alkexr Changes look good. I think the only major thing that you still might want to consider addressing further are 4 move land units (I like the air movement changes). Looks like you nerfed a few of them by increasing cost (scout, raider, easterling cav, chariot) but I still feel 4 moves is a lot and maybe should go further on either changing most to 3 moves or making more expensive.

  • Moderators

    looks good; that air nerf should be enough for now at least, and we can see how it goes from there.
    One thing I still need clarification on: what combat type are Snaga supposed to be? Ambusher or something else?

  • @zlefin Snaga skirmisher is ambusher atm.

  • Admin

    hey, I won`t purchase any air with this changes.

  • Admin

    @alkexr said in Middle Earth: Battle For Arda - Official Thread:

    I feel that river-crossing land canals will be necessary, which can only be crossed if you control both ends (i.e. if you have secured a bridgehead).

    I am curious.. Is there a way that a mapmaker can limit the number of units that may cross from one territory to another? Like if there was a natural narrowing in terrain or if the army had to pass via a small bridge or improvised rafts.

    Btw. It looks like @alkexr is doing great work and progress. It's nice that players give feedback as written reports 👍 With lots of detail.

  • Moderators


    are you sure snaga are properly coded as ambusher? iirc when I was testing in game; based on the numbers they got in provinces they were actually some other type (forget the name of it atm, ?creature? I think, the one with -2/-2 in cities). I'm quite sure I saw large stacks of snaga having 0 defense in cities even when there were like 20 of them, they had 0 pips of defense.
    I'm not in a position to double check it myself right now.

  • @zlefin Nice catch! They are coded to have wilderness preference.

  • @redrum said in Middle Earth: Battle For Arda - Official Thread:

    I think the only major thing that you still might want to consider addressing further are 4 move land units

    I've been thinking about this. A major issue is that we didn't actually see most of those units in play.
    But we can nerf them, it will likely be a move towards balance, not away from it.

    • Dúnadan lancers: movement 4 -> 3
    • Variag raider: cost 7 -> 8
    • Scout: cost 5 -> 6
    • Éorling rider: movement 4 -> 3
    • Éothéod cavalry: movement 4 -> 3
    • Rohirric scout: cost 7 -> 8
    • Elven cavalry: cost 7 -> 8, defense 2 -> 3
    • Warg rider: stays as is (I didn't want to buff them yet, but they didn't feel very strong. Their wilderness preference is inconvenient for Angmar. Orcs were busy building warg scouts.)

    Note that for now I don't plan to buff units. Also the immediate goal is not fine-tuning units; the dynamics of the game is still going to change a lot in this version, maybe even the next.

  • Admin

    @alkexr Cool. I think those changes look like a step in the right direction and yeah until things settle a bit more, we can't really fine tune.

  • @alkexr
    Im really liking the idea on the Neutrals.
    Good change for the Flyers as this keeps most of them out of my lists below.

    Consider the following;
    Warships like the Dromund moving 3 as it is rower and sail powered.
    Cavalry transport cost 1 -> 2
    Creature transport cost 1 -> 3+, some like the Oliphant could be 99, so it cannot be transported by sea.
    This requires that transport carrying capacity increases.

    For what it is worth as we calculate PUs differently, I have the following PU suggestions;
    (These do take into consideration your proposed changes.)
    However with the proposed changes in the size of starting armies, Leadership has lost some of its value.

    Top 3 differences are;
    winged_nazgul 30 -> 47, difference of 17
    nazgul 18 -> 27, difference of 9
    wizard 20 -> 29, difference of 9

    Increase PU of;
    olog_hai 20 ->24
    swan_knight 12 ->19
    wainrider_chieftain 14 ->18
    kings_company 11 ->18

    Decrease PU of;
    fire_of_orthanc 14 ->12
    This is hard to value as it is a suicide unit, but I think it is currently overvalued. I think it closer to 8 PU, but that is too much of a change for now.

    The PU suggestions are just that, suggestions.

    Once again, thanks to all involved, for all the hard work!

  • Moderators

    @alkexr said in Middle Earth: Battle For Arda - Official Thread:


    • Remove PUs from the reliefs and add PU placements ( @Hepps I will add the placements if you give me the relief without PUs and the PU images.)

    Yes, be sure to do that. While I understand putting the territory effect display in relief, as that is the only way to have them fancy, having the PUs is relief is potentially an even bigger issue, both for developing and modding the map. If you want to save time, just make a decoration covering the whole map, having the PUs images, that is much easier to manage (very minor basic graphic skills required and no surging needed) and will display also with map details off (as PUs info should).

    • Tweak Dol Guldur and Gondor colors

    I don't see any need to change Gondor. Dol Guldur, just have it exactly in the middle of the colours of Mordor and Saruman (currently, it seems a bit too closer to Mordor). I have to say that, for a map featuring 16 different players and neutrals, and also colour based units, colours have been close to excellently selected. It is a huge challenge to be distinctive with 17 different players plus the sea, and there are maps around that have distinctiveness issues with half or less that number (pretty much, if you go to 20+ players, then you cannot anymore distinguish with colours, as there is no way you can have all distinctive with each other, thus you would need to have flags everywhere and units with flags or anyways not colour based, talking also to those suggesting to add more players to the map).

    • Ask @Cernel about this thing with map blends

    I see that you are already using blends to overlay, meaning mostly mixing the base with the relief (albeit that applies more to the normal setting, as overlay has also other effects, that make the relief somewhat more defined or grittier looking and sharpen the transparency differences) that, as the base behind the territories being white, it basically manily means you are whitening the map a bit.

    You prefer having that?

    Anyways, if you are fine with losing that available effect, in favour of a darkening one, you can substitute the relevant lines with this:


    This will allow mostly to darken the board a bit, by ticking "View/Show Map Blends", for people that prefer so, and also being able to keep switching during the course of the game, while keeping the default at its own bright colourful glory.

    • Remove placement hack and add dont_show_units

    Low priority, now that the stable is out, but a nice clean up to be made, since I feel responsible for being always the one suggesting the dirty hacks.😉

    • Flip Eorling riders (to make them easier to tell from King's Company)

    Nah, let them cavalry all face the same direction. Add a pennant to the lance of the King's Company, if that makes sense. Also, should the King's Company have the biggest horses? Also I believe everything being different should have a different image, the colours just telling a different ownership story; meaning I suggest making some changes to either "raider" or "variag_raider" (also, if feasible, changing "raider" to a name not being a subset of "variag_raider", so that you can talk about those without the risk of confusion).

    Bug fixes

    • Carn Dum, Mount Gundabad and Wellinghall don't have settlement territory effect

    Now here I could use that feature request by @zlefin.
    Also add that Ethir Anduin doesn't have the marsh graphic in relief.
    It's important you get everything right here, since the territory effects are on the relief; so basically you can only change them by remaking the relief. Hopefully the players of this map will report anything the like they might spot.

    • (EDIT) The names of "Rhudaur", "West Rhudaur", "Helm's Deep", "Treebeard's Hill" are misspelled ("Rhunaur", "West Rhundaur", "Helms Deep", "Treebeards Hill"), the former two only on the relief ( @Hepps yet again - only if that's not too much trouble)

    Oh no! The names are on the relief too. I understand that doing it the proper way is a lot of work on top of already a lot of work, but, in this case, I suggest making a decoration image covering the whole board, where to have the names (much better and practical, at no additional workload). If going this way, I suggest such decoration having whatever the like (PUs etc.), meaning not using this method more than once, as having multiple decorations covering the whole board would slow down loading times.

  • Moderators

    @cernel Also, I recall that veqryn told me (not in forum tho) to avoid having apostrophes in the names, or anything referenced to the user really, as, in his opinion, it might have given problems to some. He didn't explain better, so just saying in case this is of any relevance, and I'm curious to know more on the matter, in case anybody knows. Feel free to ignore, as veqryn didn't explain me specifically what might have been these problems, and I definitely would go with "Helm's Deep" as well, if no major problems in most cases.

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