Hi everybody !
So I've played the mod with the new update. The WR faction is really really great and I love all the effort put on the details or the designs for this "elven but not that much" faction. However, I also noticed some bugs, essentially minor ones easily fixable (kinda expected considered this is a something.0 version) and faced issues on my own personal way to play BFME. Let's go.
EDIT : I'll come back here again, probably. I'll keep editing as I find new bugs or new ideas. You may have to read again if you want to know about the last news or if you're interested in my little non-experienced guy suggestions.
- Misty Mountains : The faction is still problematic when trying to play on Fortress maps with build plots. On Fortress : Amon Sûl, as I said earlier for AOTR 5.1, resource buildings still have a circle and a percentage even if built on build plots. And we also start with builders. On Fortress : Minas Morgul, we don't have builders (and that's cool) but we still have the circles on tunnels or hoards.
- Erebor : Adâruf-sulûkh, aka Wyrm-slayers, can be upgraded with Thror's Banners and reach level 2 as intended but don't get any banner carrier (still the same amount of units in the batallion). The Zirinmazn demolisher has no keyboard shortcut and its explanation text is centered while others have cost and GP on the right or the left of the infobox. The mangonel is still derping out when dying (one of the two Dwarves flies a little bit). Peasant Erebor is broken on original BFME2 Erebor map when put in the mountain, their builders don't do anything.
- Isengard : I'm not even sure this is a bug but armories are giving a surplus bonus and furnaces a steel bonus. Maybe this was supposed to be the opposite ?
- Mordor : For some reason, the Mûmaks can't cross the bridge of Rivendell in the last mission of Evil Campaign. I encountered the same problem with my Mûmaks on Carn Dûm map in 5.1. Also, it seems that the Mûmak Den can be built on a build plot of Fortress : Minas Morgul before the spellbook power He Is Gathering All Evil To Him. Little weird thing : the power "Dark Sorcery" of the Mouth of Sauron can be used whether as an active buff or an active debuff, but this is actually the active buff effect infotext that got the "Does not stack with other Debuffs" explanation.
- Woodland Realm : When playing with this faction on Fortress maps with build plots, I noticed that the healing Vine Well doesn't have any text in the infobox (you know, the regular "MISSINGBLAHBLAH"). Also, on the original map Rivendell (not the Fortress : Last Lomely House), Gilded Guard isn't available.
- Rivendell : On Fortress Map : Amon Sûl, Revelers are unavailable. Maybe it's the same with other Fortress maps. Also, the upgrade of the Library giving Orchards a +30% doesn't work well : an Orchard as +20R only gets up to +23 with the upgrade instead of +26. Rivendell builders don't heal by themselves.
- Lothlorien : Peasant Lothlorien is broken on Blackroot Vale map, their builders don't do anything from the beginning to the very end.
- Rohan : Westfolders can't use their packed formation (pretty much the same as Anorien Swordsmen) while more than one batallion is selected. I mean that the appropriate option doesn't appear in the palantir interface if you control more than one Westfolders at a time.
- Gondor : I don't know why, but on Fortress : Pelargir, even with more than six farms, I only get 15% of reduction on the cost of my cavalry. Also, Gandalf can't use his blast while mounted on Shadowfax. If it's intentional, I don't understand how mounted magic blast could be problematic.
- General :
- I saw almost every game a red glow on archers (orcs, Gondor, Erebor...) and I don't know what that means, this wasn't there before.
- Keyboard shortcuts such as A and W aren't that helpful. The first one literaly escapes the interface and the second triggers the strategy mode.
- AI doesn't work on AOTR Fortress maps when put in the stronghold with build plots, and that's probably why these maps aren't on WOTR. But I guess the really good Besiege AI is supposed to work out as a replacement.
- The mission occurring in the Grey Havens in the Evil Campaign cannot be finished if we miss one of the elven ships : nothing happens after the abovementioned ship disappears at the border of the map.
- It seems that units meant to be recruited in the fortress or the citadel (Revelers, Gilded Guard) are not always available (tested on different maps, both AOTR and BFME2). But for example, we can afford Morgul Vanguard in Fortress : Minas Morgul with Mordor, so... this is probably only some features forgotten here and there that can easily be fixed.
- On Besiege maps, allies don't do anything, no matter their level of difficulty. It's probably because the Besiege AI is apart from the "players" placed on the map at the beginning, but... does that mean all the player plots on Besiege maps are supposed to be enemies, in addition to the fortress siege, or is it simply to siege online ? A little trick also at the end of the siege : you have to destroy the gate (well in fact you have to do it at least on Besiege : Isengard) to win even if all buildings are gone.
- Missing capturable and creeps informations on the description of the BFME2 Dol Guldur map.
- AI is still broken on diverse BFME2 "fortress" maps when put within the walls, as I said for 5.1 : it mostly builds resource buildings and sometimes heroes and units from the citadel (like Morgul Orcs) when it's not completely inactive. They don't build barracks, meaning they only attack with fortress units, and not always. Examples : Lothlorien on Blackroot Vale, Erebor on vanilla Erebor when put under the mountain, Mordor and Dol Guldur on vanilla Dol Guldur, etc. It's probably way more difficult in a "fortress" BFME2 map to make factions work as intended, because there is no flat floor space available to build the common fortress surrounded by buildings, but the original game managed to give AIs a building grid or something to force it to adopt the geography of the map and build barracks on specific spots.
- For some reason, on some Fortress maps, some resource buildings directly jumb from lvl 1 to lvl 3. For example, blacksmiths on Fortress : Dol Amroth map. Also, Soldier Mordor surprisingly never attacks you when within the walls of Dol Amroth, it only woke up when I opened the door by myself at the 30th min, and sent me all Mordor heroes that he was actually recruiting while watching the walls and doing nothing.
- Enemy units often try to capture or recapture buildings on the map (and that's understandable), but I'm often facing a weird bug where units that are not even fully recruited and out of their barracks are already capturing a building, while not even being close to it. Sometimes also these aforementioned enemy units are "sliding" through the map in a totally scattered formation while attacking my units, and I can't replicate because the game assumes that the enemy is not out of the barracks and so is unvulnerable, while they are dealing damage to my forces whatever. This is probably a vanilla bug, but I let it here nonetheless.
- The "summon reinforcements" power of the custom heroes still summons permanent units that use slots of command points and don't die even if their timer (that is visible in the paalntir when I select them) is over.
- I don't really know what the problem really is for this one, so I may speak for nothing while saying something stupid, please don't be mad. I've encountered almost since the first time I played the mod the problem of units getting stuck. They sometimes, mostly when other units are around them or upon them (and not so many units, that is the surprising part), can't move anymore even if they're ordered to do so. Also, units can chase enemy batallions that are moving while hitting them (notably the cavalry that is supposed to be faster), but I already saw those abovementioned chasing units just "follow in fits and starts" the enemies even though they are faster than them, so the enemy is almost undamaged when he arrives at the point he was aiming to.
Let's get to the suggestion part, that is completely subjective. Take what you want.
2) Suggestions (not that much, almost only reactions)
- Woodland Realm : As said elsewhere on the site, ballistas can hit something that we can't see (same for Isengard for a while though). I'm not against a reduction of the range of these siege equipments to fit their vision, but maybe this is a strategy to have to launch other units right in the enemy base in order to be able to hit buildings with ballistas. I don't know. Great damage by the way, WR ballistas are quite strong.
- Isengard : Nothing really changed since 5.1, and the faction is still pretty cool. I could use some range defenses on walls, but I know I'm way too happy playing defensive games even with factions that aren't supposed to do so. Maybe you can come up with something as creative as Avari Pikemen for Isengard inn units though, because Goblins Screechers are reeeeeally weak and not entertaining compared to units recruitable in inns by other factions. And not really consistent with Isengard lore, moreover.
- Gondor : Same as above, without the need for defenses that are already available. Cool faction, cool gameplay. Weird voice for the Lamedon Clansmen though. Is this the 5.1 one just weirdly modified so it sounds more... idk, Lamedon ? Also, just some stupid peanuts I'm pointing at here : on the Fortress : Dol Amroth map, you can recruit Dol Amroth archers in the inn (and that's cool), but their icon is the same as Dol Amroth Men-at-Arms. Maybe changing it to another will permit us to make a difference between these two units faster when selecting the inn.
- Misty Mountains : Nice update on the Gundabad Riders. Didn't try out the Wyrm but maybe the recruitable Giant is a little bit too much, meaning that he doesn't cross the door of the Troll Lair without clipping.
- Dol Guldur : Thank you so much for giving the Castellans the ability to move faster than a dead mussel. I like the idea of an expensive Spire of Sorcery, but this makes the Dol Guldur start really slow. I almost got wrecked by a bunch of early game Lothlorien archers, again in Peasant difficulty (with clearly not a Peasant level base : lvl 3 barracks everywhere, Ents, towers, fully upgraded fortress, seriously wtf ?)
- Mordor : Excellent faction, as always. But I don't understand why you changed the Kataphrakts voice. The old one was less exaggerated, deeper, and fitted more to the heavy cavalry of the East. On my opinion.
- Erebor : Well, it's sad I have a lot of things to say because it's the most updated faction after the new WR. I don't really understand why is the Erebor special unit barrack so expensive. And the last heroic unit is not that convincing for me, I would have thought about something less like the four Dwarves of ROTWK and more like a sword/spear mithril-armoured tanky creepy long-bearded unit from Moria. You know, instead of a bunch of warriors in golden plates. But this is completely my way of seeing things and thank you for updating Erebor, this is amazing. About the absence of cavalry, it makes the Erebor faction really hard to play for people like me, rushing the Arkenstone was in fact the only way to defend myself against factions such as Lothlorien or Rohan that quickly make archers and destroy slow-moving dwarven infantry. Now they move a little bit faster but this isn't the same. But I understand, this is a special faction and a special strategy. Thanks again for the subfaction thing, I missed Gloin and Gimli, and to distinguish Dale soldiers from Laketown units is as cool as it sounds.
- General :
- I love the idea of giving lore-based names to units in sindarin, quenya or khûzdul, but could you consider inverting the order of the names ? Put the common language in white so we can easily talk about it and recognize it, and put the elven or dwarven name in yellow in the infobox with the other lore info. However, I don't know if Tolkien wrote enough to, but it would be interesting to give heroic units in Mordor or Misty Mountains a black speech name ?
- Also, about the new version of BFME2 campaigns, this is amazing. A little idea that I came up with in the last mission for Good though : just a little bit more orc pikemen would avoid the player to rush Ents (and obliterate the whole fortress) by giving some resistance to this specific strategy, which was impossible to use in the original game because of the fire catapults.
- The most recent maps have all kind of "hazards" and new creeps that make the beginning of the game more interesting while blocking some areas that are too difficult to seize because of how dangerous they are. You have to work a little bit on the creeps that aren't linked to a lair though, because mammoths and wild mûmakil (and also some snow trolls that, for some reason, spend most of their time running randomly accross some maps) chase units on unlimited distance. This is way too easy to use this to your advantage and way too incapacitating for the player that is the victim of this strategy (two big mûmaks in your base after two minutes... meh). This "endangerization" of maps is somehow interesting but it needs a rework to avoid non-laired creeps being ballistic missiles.
- I know defensive stationary units around the buildings are really fun and really beautiful. They add some yet unseen spirit of protection and population. But they are also severely interfering with the gameplay sometimes, when they are too far away from their initial building : my units get stuck around them and try to kill them first, before the nearest buildings. It is truly difficult to maneuver in the center of an enemy base because of these units, if we add the previous movement bug to this situation. I would suggest keeping them closer to the buildings instead of letting them go for a walk and chase enemy units, just like the current pikemen guards on Gondor and Rohan towers, and if not stuck, at least less spread out.
The most important for the end : the new AI. It is unnecessarily buffed, in a so unbalanced way that it becomes really annoying. Mordor and Misty Mountains, are unspeakably aggressive even in Peasant difficulty. WR and Rohan, in comparison, do absolutely nothing when set as Peasant. For example, Peasant Rohan, as my ally, builds multiple towers and not a single farm, and he's not training units, so he's almost instantaneously out of resources and dead on arrival. Within the first ten minutes, Peasant Mordor has an immensely well protected base camp with dozens of towers everywhere and fortress upgrades, because of the x2 resource multiplier and the 2 times shorter resource building radius that he's taking advantage of, and I didn't mention the overwhelming army that, if manageable, is stupidly massive for Peasant.
I think this situation, even with Peasant difficulty, is just favoring the AI way too much. Notice that I don't mention the online thing or the professionnal players, I just want to chill while playing the game alone for now. The AI is extremely well improved compared to the previous versions and the vanilla game (flanking strategies, multiple batallions for separate assaults, clever harassment, more than one fortress on some maps, etc.), but it is now obvious that these changes, even with a really good intention, are implemented in a not-that-balanced way that favors aggressive factions and ends up with Peasant Mordor being a Hard Mordor and Peasant WR being almost totally inactive.
Maybe, but that's only a maybe because I don't really understand how difficult it is to make the AI of BFME work as intended, maybe you can create something that will let the player choose his AI, for his allies and his enemies. Like in Age of Mythology. Examples : aggressive early game rush, upgraded units late game conquest, walls and towers defensive strategy, multiple base and fortresses builder, for example. I'm pretty sure this is way too complicated for me and I think this could also be way too difficult to implement for you, but... you know. Just to equilibrate things a little bit.
Thank you for reading, I hope you're not angry after me because I didn't say the right thing or for some other reason I'm not aware of. I love BFME and AOTR, and I can't thank you enough for your work, that is original and way superior in concept and realisation terms to a lot more BFME mods or even mods at all. Good luck for the next update !