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Member Since 04 Feb 2017
Offline Last Active May 20 2020 07:46 PM

#1107855 Lothlórien Faction Plan

Posted by BorealisValkyrie on 16 April 2020 - 05:23 PM

Hello! First and foremost, it's great to come back here and marvel at what is in store for the future. I've recently joined the AOTR Discord community, and I couldn't be happier to wade my way through its lively, vibrant dynamics. The imminent release of a new faction and the plans for both Mirkwood and Lothlórien have certainly rekindled my interest into your project, and I would like to congratulate anyone in charge of its development for how far the very mod has gone, and for redefining the actual standards pertaining to BFME-modding. I dare say that the bar has been set so high, that AOTR might easily claim a title akin to that of new, standalone games (which it really is, in a sense), and this I will never stop praising. The manner in which details, even the most trivial minutiae, are curated is a wonder to the eye, and it definitely shows what kind of soul lies behind any concept or work of yours. The soul of a perfectionist, and I adore it.


Moving now from greeting and lauding, I seize this precious chance to talk a little bit about Lórien (revamped): let me just say that all the changes I got to read about are sound ones, indeed. The underlying idea of a secluded, defensive, and blessed shrine could not be more fitting; such a founding pillar will do nothing else but endow the faction with an even more unique trait, for the sake of distinction among other factions and accuracy towards the canons that pretty much every feature feeds off. Especially, the central role that's going to be assigned to the main tree-house sounds incredibly promising (alongside its graphical rendition, which I ardently look forward to), as it sort of rewrites the structure of the entire system to resemble what the spirit of the Golden Wood and its dwellers was during the late Third Age. Hats off, again. Yours is most likely to go down in history as the greatest portrayal of Lórien ever attempted in a modification.


Nonetheless, I feel like proposing a couple of concepts/minor improvements to bring to your attention.








1. The smallest thing I suggest be implemented is to change Galadriel's level-7 ability's name in Maiden of Valinor. Not only would it be less generic, but it would also tell more about her youth in the Blessed Realm, at the time of the Two Trees. From her very birth, she was hailed as the strongest Elf-maid of all; I reckon it would be nice, if the ability itself reminded the player of the fact that she's the last living "maiden" in Middle-earth who walked the shires of the Valar, some millennia ago. In this case, she is "The Maiden" of the situation, the sight of whom the enemy cannot resist.




2. The second suggestion concerns spells, as does the third. If there is one thing I'm not yet fully satisfied with, this is the whole spell-book and its holistic performance: while two of the current spells are still to be agreed upon and a new one strikes a favourable chord with me (Waters of Nimrodel), I believe that both the faction's weather spell (cloud-break) and its ultimate, defensive one (Nenya) lack some flavour in them, somehow, and I'm not completely sure about their overall conceptual well-roundedness.





Speaking about the cloud-break, it seems it's not really so dissimilar from what the vanilla used to offer. Maybe, in order to reference the quintessential Valië who presides over all kinds of luminaries, we could turn the present (diurnal) blessing in a nocturnal one, as heavens get darkened by no malicious shadow and the pure radiance of stars is put forth. Such a spin would even bore into the wondrous depiction we witness in the films, at the Fellowship's arrival in a starlit Caras Galadhon. Surely, it would provide an aura of sacredness that a simple sunrise would find it hard to rival with.


In brief words: Blessing of Varda.




3. Here comes the real quirky idea, now. What I take issue with, in regards to the Ring of Adamant (final spell), is that it comes off to me as not enough imaginative and 'clever', when compared to other factions' ultimate spells, which I find very much engaging and a veritable tribute to the lore (trademark). There's a degree of unused potential in the folds and rips of Lórien's elder times (and in the common conscience of its people) that we might make use of for the better; in my view, a desirable win-win scenario would be to have an effective feature that also draws from the deepest sources of a given tradition, be it good or evil. Having in mind Rivendell's summoning of the most enigmatic creature in the story, or Mirkwood's future spells (that luck-bearing ethereal stag has caught my utmost attention!), I have to say that Nenya pales a bit before either of the mentioned cases.


Don't get me wrong, I know what the Ring of Water means for the entirety of the faction, but I guess it's already well explored through the marvellous abilities of its bearer: Galadriel. I've been roaming around forums for quite some time, stressing the importance of Nenya being inextricably tied to the defence of the place where it is kept (ergo: buildings); it is thanks to its particular nature that wear and decay do not sully the Golden Wood and frustrate who lives there, while Elves are presented with the opportunity to give birth to durable art (without having to worry about the passing of time). AOTR has rightly chosen to concentrate upon this special property of the Three Rings (connected with another major theme of Elven-lore: preservation) and give Nenya the most ingenious power possible (with a passive leadership on nearby structures); furthermore, it's all bound to Galadriel's own design, and it makes everything a great deal more enjoyable to play with! However, at the end of the day, the relative final spell is nothing more than a terrain-based feature, though efficacious it might be (as Glade of Mellyrn used to work). It really lacks a distinctive character, in my personal opinion, and that's why I would rather keep Nenya exclusive to the Lady's skills.




Without further ado, my concept would reference the lost lore of the ancient woodland kingdom of Doriath, whose vestiges still live on through the rule of Celeborn (who was a prince at the court of the Silver King) and the magic which Galadriel embalms her realm with, as she was taught by Melian herself and therefore had the privilege to benefit from the tutelage of a powerful Maia. The very story of Lothlórien is profoundly intertwined with that of Doriath, which we may consider as the Golden Wood's counterpart in the more eventful First Age: Melian had conjured a belt or girdle of quasi-impenetrable spells all around the boundaries of her domain, to halt the advance of the spreading shadows of the North (and even the fury and discord brought to Middle-earth by the exiled Noldor); in the meantime, her kinsfolk could dwell content in the serenity of those woods, until ruin and the inevitable plots of fate led to their sad end.


In one of her solitary journeys to bring relief to a wounded Middle-earth, she had stumbled into Elwë, and the two had lost themselves in each other's gaze, as though bound by bewilderment and immersed in an eternal dream. No one knows how long they remained motionless, but it is told that many lightless years had gone by under the stars, before the couple left that fey forest and assumed kingship over the stranded Teleri who had lingered on, thus delaying departure to Aman. A magnificent passage of ancient lore.







Reminiscence of MelyannaThe spell will summon in the targeted location a living image/holy phantom of Melian, surrounded by a flock of nightingales and a lush spring, while a magic barrier will be raised at the edges of this hallowed ground, encasing allied troops and heroes within its consecrating radius.
(The preserving effects of the current spell will be kept, with the addition of granting extra defence against enemy magic, if possible)
As you may see, it is more of a repurposing of the present rendition, but it adds more in terms of visual, lore, and general feeling. It has to do with one of the most relevant tales of the Elder Days, and with the ancestor-kingdom of Woodland Elves by definition. On another note, we may notice a common thread running across Elven-based factions: the recollection of the past in the form of spirits or live images of dead characters. This is at the heart of the Hall of Fire in Rivendell, and it's also present in Thranduil's mournful memories of his bloody battles (his future last ability). I suppose it would be a great pattern to delve into, considering that the Firstborns are the most prone to looking back to what it once was. The very realm of Lothlórien is often referred to by the lesser folk as a forest of walking ghosts; a place of 'dwimmer' and fairytale-like enchantment.
Disclaimer: Of course, I know very well that AOTR is a serious and consistent project, and nobody really wants Maiar or Valar to just pop up in the middle of a game that is primarily based on the second half of the Third Age. The trick, here, is that Melian's influence would be solely channelled via her vivid memory (embodied by her phantom), and, why not, nothing rules out Nenya from the equation, because the Lady of Light's protection depends largely on her Ring. If anything, the spell would be given a more imaginative essence, following the long course of the faction's arc (from its origins in Beleriand, to the present).
The concept itself would perhaps require the use of advanced special effects, and a new model (probably). Nonetheless, AOTR has proved a forge of wonders and I'm certain that, should the team agree on it, these ideas could not be in better hands.
Thank you in advance, and I wish everyone a pleasant read.

#1060409 Showcase & Sneak Peeks

Posted by BorealisValkyrie on 16 June 2017 - 10:32 AM

Perhaps a quite late reaction, but I find Círdan's model really fascinating. It is probably my favourite so far. I like every single bit of it, from the sword to the robes (whose motives remind me of something sea-related). Modding goals indeed! Wonderful art, as usual.

#1049731 Lothlórien Faction Plan

Posted by BorealisValkyrie on 04 February 2017 - 10:29 PM

Hello to everyone and greetings to the whole Revora Community! I'm completely new here and, as a first post, it will be absolutely great to give my feedback on the very recent update concerning Lothlórien. Particularly, I shall focus my attention on Galadriel, the leader and mightiest hero of the faction. Before I proceed with my own considerations, may I thank RoR for always being keen on listening to anything I suggested with the most open-minded attitude (thank you very much for having considered my proposals about her) and Fredius (he's probably known under other different names here) for having introduced me in the Age of the Ring universe equally.


Given my above-mentioned words, I really like the overall result of her set of abilities. I find it well-made, enough unique and fine-tuned with the general tone of the Mod, which, as I grasped, intends not to depart too much from BFME2 in regards of gameplay and strategy; that is, there is still a bit of the atmosphere of the vanilla game. I'm thus going to make a list, so that my considerations will be much more ordered than they would otherwise do in a long wall of text. If you didn't come up yet with suitable icon pictures for each ability, I would like to forward here the ones I deem very fitting for Galadriel and these abilities; I will explain the reasons behind each choice of mine.


1. Foresight: There's nothing much to add about it. It's a very natural of a feature of hers. A kind of homage to her renowned exceptional capability of perceiving the thoughts of other people and seeing beyond their intentions (be they Hobbits or Sauron himself). In the latter case, Galadriel referred in the books to her frequent telepathic clashes with Sauron across the vastness of Middle-earth; confrontations from which she always came out victorious. The picture I chose is taken from a scene of the Fellowship of the Ring, when she inspects the minds of the members of the Fellowship.




2. Lady of Lothlórien: Feeding from my past proposal, I would suggest this ability make Galadriel able to temporarily summon a sacred terrain (as the iconic Elven Wood of BFME1), comprising some golden trees and a kind of holy aura around the area of the very terrain. Within it, troops' armour will be enhanced and they will be continuously healed (until the effect wears off). In a conceptual perspective, such feature would be more unique than a common leadership and will bear a very significant meaning. As the one who made her realm a blissful sanctuary, immune to the decay of time, and planted the legendary Mallorn-trees, Galadriel shall thus be able to recreate that pure environment for a brief amount of time on the battlefield. The chosen image is an excerpt from the scene in which the Fellowship reaches Caras Galadhon in the first film; instead of what happens normally, I decided not to focus on the main gigantic tree, but rather on the background (that shows the vast enchanted woods of that realm in all their beauty).




3. Bearer of Nenya: As with Foresight, little could I question in regards of this ability. It's really wonderful how Nenya is finally tied with the physical protection of the faction (structures), as the very Ring of Power (in conjuction with the inner magic of the Lady of Light) prevented Lothlórien from falling and caused the enemies to be repulsed during the three heavy assaults on the Golden Wood, at the time in which the War of the Ring was taking its gravest toll. Tolkien himself stated that no one but Sauron (wielding the One Ring) could have violated those lands and ultimately vanquished Galadriel. Nenya has also the power to slow the passing of time and render things unaltered throughout the centuries. Therefore, all these aspects do represent paramount themes that ought to be taken into account. Including them in the game was simply a very just and lore-accurate of a decision. I think the very graphical display of this ability should be well visible on all buildings affected (a temporary and intense brightness?). The picture I opted for shows the moment when she unveils Nenya to Frodo, in the Extended Edition of the first chapter.




4. Light of Valinor: As a more-than-8000-year-old Noldorin princess from Aman, this is probably the feature that explores in the deepest manner her ancient characterisation and holy nature as a mighty Elf of Valinor, whose hair managed to capture a gleam of the lost light of the Two Trees of Valinor (a legendary legacy which even surpasses the very idea of a legend itself). In the game, it's certainly useful and much characteristic that her magic may serve as a shield from perilous situations. The image below kind of connects with the Undying Lands, for it's the scene when she tells that the Three Rings have ceased to have any effect on Middle-earth, ready to depart forever from the mortal shores.




5. Queen of the Storms: Really, I guess it's definitely logical to end up with such ultimate ability. I like how you kept things quite simple, without the implementation of other intricate alternatives; the presence of the Queen of the Storms gives indeed that BFME2-like touch of the vanilla game, where she also appeared for the first time in this fashion. In Arda, the power to alter the weather according to one's own nature/magic is always regarded as the highest display of might in a hypothetical magical hierarchy (for instance, the perennial weather-perturbation over Mordor, the clouds of ashes that Sauron moves in the War of the Ring and the enchanted climate over Rivendell or the Golden Wood). I hope the Queen of the Storms shall be capable of conjuring proper storms (lightning and thunders). Furthermore, with the arts you dispose of, should this form get its own new model, I'm sure you will do an excellent work; concerning the model, I assume you are going to follow in the footsteps of her dark appearance in LOTR, which symbolises the dreadful essence of the Queen of the Storms much better than Drowned Galadriel from BOTFA would do (although I'm fond of this concept too). As for the icon picture, here it is her terrible look in all its sublime majesty.




These were my opinions on the matter. I hope you will appreciate them and deem my small proposals worthy of being considered. I will try to be enough active in this forum, alongside my moderating duties within the Edain Community. Thank you for the attention  ^_^