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Autor Thema: Dúrin's Bane: A reimagining for the iconic spell  (Gelesen 517 mal)

Walküre

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Re: Dúrin's Bane: A reimagining for the iconic spell
« Antwort #15 am: 14. Feb 2020, 00:52 »
Before getting to the kernel of my feedback, I would firstly like to commend Julio's effort in bringing what looks like a grand-style proposal (my favourite kind of suggestions) into being. It's been a long time since we last had the chance to discuss major concepts on the forum, and interest in the Misty Mountains is gradually surging in the meantime; mine, too, and I have to say that Goblins do manage to intrigue me a great deal. Thus, I would call it a wonderful occasion for presenting ideas on the one remaining faction we're all waiting for so apprehensively.

Let me now cut through further ado and state things in plain fashion: the concept does not convince me, alas. It is not a matter of ingenious dynamics, imaginativeness, or features that I wish were more unique and therefore lived up to the standards of the modification. I take great exception to your design in very conceptual terms. In short, it is the lore and essence of it which I find myself questioning.

(My reasoning addresses, primarily, the very first post. I apologise, if I seem to have missed subsequent developments or changes involving the core of the thread.)



1. I can't really reconcile with the sheer prospect of seeing the Balrog be manipulated and then beguiled into doing a shaman's whatsoever biddings. If that were to be true, it would imply the existence of black magic that might even overwhelm a fallen angel's prowess, to the point of rendering the latter a mere puppet at the service of a cunning puppeteer. A 'dummy-Balrog' I would view as a gross misinterpretation/contradiction to be witnessed in the game, if not an evident rupture in the well-woven fabric of the lore. A clever plan, without the shadow of a doubt, though quite poor and faulted, as for what pertains to lore accuracy.

2. The shaman, per se, is the subject of my second great grievance: however delightful the conception of new heroes could ever feel, I neither see the scope, nor the need, for a sorcerer to carve out a role for himself in an already-busy scenario, which the bustling world of the Misty Mountains already is.

One of my main principles in dealing with magic, a terribly complicated theme in Tolkien's writings, is 'to give or endow with magic where it is due and possible'. This partly explains why I'm equally reluctant to accept the presence of Lore Masters in the modification, for example; and, being loth to have ulterior magical beings around, does not automatically mean that canons forbid us to toy with obscure passages or make use of our imagination to the fullest, of course, but I don't particularly relish the sight of magic being misused or misplaced. In our case, I deem it quite unbefitting to grant supernatural abilities to Orcs/Goblins, when, in my opinion, the real arcane/otherworldly character lies (should lie) very close to monstrous heroes who, by definition, defy the logic of the mundane and of the ordinary (here bespoken by regular soldiers, troops, commanders, and so forth). A calamitous winged dragon, a fiery demon, and nameless creatures inhabiting the caverns of the underworld, would perfectly fit in the whole 'magic archetype' I talked about, whereas I don't think it would be likewise for mere minions of evil, fouler forces.

Goblins themselves, furthermore, are rarely sung and given honours as an exceptionally gifted race. Most sources tend to portray the opposite, instead: dullness, weak temper, dread of the powerful, and scarce wit. Binding a Maia to one's will, as though being played as a fool, I wherefore believe would be too much of a stretch to work on.

3. I read in previous comments that another underlying goal would be to show in better manners how the infesting legions of Orcs may have interacted with Durin's Bane, inferring that a sort of hierarchy, be it covert or overt, may have existed between the two. Notwithstanding said premise, there appears to be very little of a hierarchical relationship existing within rational boundaries, in the way the current concept has been construed. It bears more resemblance to a subservient bond, at the Balrog's own expense; we could say that, for want of better words, it would be so asymmetrical an exchange, while the lore leans towards a totally different interpretation which sees the demonic entity absolutely dominant, boundless and loose from any rivalling authority across those halls.

Unlike films, the books suggest that Goblins are likely to have cooperated with Morgoth's servant in some ways, although this is never clarified by exhaustive words in any chapter that touches upon the matter. As far as I recall from my latest read, it is wildly improbable that the Balrog would seriously turn into a lethal menace for the other usurpers of the mines. Actually, if you ask me, the entire Moria arc unfolds quite differently from PJ's depiction: the very arrival of the Bane is less situational than that shown on the big screen, and he even participates in the assault that takes place in the Chamber of Records, against the Fellowship (though his true appearance is unveiled a bit later). Moreover, some lines do leave the dilemma open-ended for the reader to wonder: was the Balrog stirred by accident, or did the One Ring being in his immediate vicinity play some kind of role? In any case, deceiving the flaming beast to reap benefits and to ultimately get to control him, I consider as the wrong approach, personally speaking.

4. Unfortunately, the character whom everything gravitates around belongs to that peculiar category of iconic BFME relics that still linger in our game, for the joy of many in the community. So, we're not bound to have to face heroes of the likes of Galadriel, Smaug, or Sauron himself, who never had an established tradition in the series and are therefore extremely apt for change, iterations upon iterations. Conversely, there's a particular reason as to why Gandalf has undergone minimal variation (ability-wise), and the Balrog certainly embodies another fragment of past vestiges, dating back to the very beginning of all.

Sad that, in no way am I trying to shut the door to the slightest eventuality of his concept being overhauled and fairly adapted to 4.0 logics. What I care to point out is that, to me, there is limited room for bolder propositions, and this normally applies when including the aforementioned 'BFME gods' in the equation. As for the topic at issue, I fear the shown concept might interfere excessively and make the deadliest hero in the game less enjoyable to play with, if we take into consideration that the spell could work against who casts it in the first place (should Durin's Bane be out of control), denying, also, the player the possibility of a free, direct access to him (without having to depend on any medium).

5. Just to reconnect with my fourth consideration, there are even other community wishes not to be overlooked. Smaug had been the centre of a multitude of ideas in the last two years; Aulë's own tireless work has permitted the creation of a quite colossal concept, which aims to allow for a wiser use of the dragon, and for a system which would hopefully explore the coexistence between feral selfishness and the wicked cravings that inform the action of all Goblin-realms. Hoping to remember correctly, here one has the genuine feeling that loyalty (better, non-hostility) needs to be won via sacrifice and dear payment, because the general context is exactly one that makes it viable to experiment with neutrality, as a founding trope. Nameless Things, in addition, could, too, make for an amazing field in which to try implementing non-affiliated/faithless creatures, that would more or less function as hazards (the concept will undoubtedly have to be rethought thoroughly). Lastly, I beg to say, this is not at all about pitting proposals against each other, thus hampering or discouraging users from expressing themselves in all liberty; yet, I thought it was right to widen our gaze and look at parallel threads as well, since, at this stage, we should probably gather everything up and start envisaging an organic, coherent, and comprehensive scheme of how the faction is to result in.

Methinks, the Balrog does not need anything of the sort, apart from torching the battlefield bare of enemies, laying waste to the opponent's base, and obliterating whatever defence your opponent throws against him. That is, the epitome of a short-term ultimate spell.



I trust that each of my reflections will be taken as constructively as possible. I won't express myself in favour or against, yet. I still have to wrap my head around the matter :)

The_Necromancer0

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Re: Dúrin's Bane: A reimagining for the iconic spell
« Antwort #16 am: 14. Feb 2020, 02:03 »
It's been a while since I last laid eyes upon a Walkürian Essay . Glad to see you haven't lost your touch.  xD

I'm gonna try to summarize the points quickly to make sure I didn't misunderstand any of them.

1. That a goblin be able to dupe a Maia seems unrealistic

2. The Shaman has a hero doesn't really have a niche in the already hero heavy faction of the Misty Mountains

3. Orc possessing magic is not very Lore™ accurate

4. The Balrog is subject to the Nostalgia effect

5. Don't forget Aule's Smaug idea.

I will address the points from shortest to longest explanations.

5. I'm not sure this is relevant. As far as I can see both concepts address separate parts of the faction, and could theoretically both be implemented without conflict unless I've missed something. And even if they were to have overlap I don't think suggestions are limited to a first come first serve basis. Multiple suggestions of overlapping concepts exist and have existed in the past as such I'm not sure how this part can serve as a relevant argument against this proposal.

4. That part is probably true, I wouldn't it the least bit surprised if it was, but it is in the nature of forums to create suggestions nonetheless. In addition, the Balrog original form is not completely lost thanks to the Shaman's final ability "Deal with the Dark", allowing your next summon to be the iconic balrog all love and fear to see.

3. That bit I can agree on, I expressed the same concerns when talking about the concept with Julio but this is not a major obstacle as the abilities which use magic (currently only his level 7) can easily be shifted to use more traditional approaches such as the one I suggested in my first reply if need be. At this stage of a concept, many things are up to debate, only the core components of the concept are fixed, things like visual appearance, lore justification and numbers (damage, health, cooldown) are pretty much all up for debate. Of course, ideally as much of the original concept would be kept but minor modifications can be made to make it better fit with the rest of Tolkien's Legendarium.

2. This one can be a bit subjective as to what defines a hero-heavy faction. so far we have seen 6 heroes for the Misty Mountains: Bolg, Smaug, The Three Trolls, The Hunter, The Great Goblin and the Golbin Chieftain. Seven if take into consideration that the Misty Mountains will most likely need a scout. Looking at it this is a rather below-average number of heroes considering all the factions, the only other faction to have as little as 7 heroes is Isengard.

Now, of course, this isn't an argument on its own. Heroes shouldn't be added just for the sake of adding heroes, heroes need a role and they need a function. Which is why Julio added some additional functionalities to a few of the abilities and invited others to do the same if they believed that the hero needed more utility while the Balrog was on cooldown. At the moment, the primary role of the hero is to serve as a guide to the balrog while he is on the field, his secondary role as a unit interferer fits rather nicely as no other hero provides the same amount of coverage. But in the initial concept, the downtime of the Balrog is very much meant to be the weakness of the Shaman, a time where the enemy is free to hunt him before he can unleash some dark horror upon them again.

1. This is sadly the biggest lore issue with this concept, because of their stature as Maiar balrog are perfectly intelligent creatures. But the way I see it in my head is that if I was to unleash a bunch of flies to bother you then it is likely you would swat all the flies you saw until calm returned. I believe the same can be applied to some extent for the Balrog: dwarves, elves, humans, orcs, goblins, nothing but mere flies in his eyes and if they bother him he shall swat them all away indiscriminately. Sadly I cannot offer a better explanation, as far as my knowledge of Balrog goes this is a valid counterpoint.

I hope to hear more from you on the matter.
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OakenShield224

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Re: Dúrin's Bane: A reimagining for the iconic spell
« Antwort #17 am: 14. Feb 2020, 02:16 »
Hello everyone. I worked with Julio on part of this concept and would like to clarify a few points with regards to the response made by Walkure.

Firstly, your main argument is that the Balrog is subservient to the Goblins which couldn’t be further from the truth. With this concept, the Balrog is a force of nature at its full power that can travel the battlefield by its own path. It could attack enemy forces but it could just as easily turn against your own forces. This fits well with what we know of Durin’s Bane. If it was in charge of the orcs of Moria, would Sauron not have know about it? Would it not have interfered in the War of Dwarves and Orcs? Remember that Sauron himself sent orcs to occupy the Misty Mountains. But even if the Balrog was in charge of the goblins, would it really be so far a stretch to see it treating them badly, considering how every other Dark Lord in Middle Earth treats their servants. Would the Balrog really be that much better or would it actually be worse (considering that it was a destructive fiery spirit that was fully subservient to a nihilistic overlord)? In the books, the presence of the Balrog silenced the goblins around him and the films went further by showing the goblins fleeing in fear at the sound of the Balrog. Using a loyalty based relationship for a faction of orcs that would just as happily turn on each other than on their enemies doesn’t seem to make as much sense to me.

Moving back onto the concept itself, the Goblins aren't “controlling” the Balrog. The Shaman is using simple theatricality and deception to manipulate the Balrog into turning on the Goblins’ enemies. This could just as easily backfire on the Goblins if they happen to get in the way, fully showing that the Balrog isn’t working with them. In reality, the vanilla power (while iconic) suggests far more that the Balrog is subservient to the Goblins (i.e. the player controlling the Goblins). And if there is an argument saying that the Balrog wouldn’t be able to be deceived in such a way…well Morgoth, Sauron and Saruman were outsmarted and outmaneuvered by others at times, and they were all capable of much higher levels of manipulation (see Aragorn using the Palantir to trick Sauron into attacking Minas Tirith before he is ready or forcing him to move his forces to the Black Gate and leave Mordor open). A Balrog is arguably a simpler target for such tactics.

With regards to the iconic skillset of the Balrog, this is fully available when the player makes a temporary alliance with the Balrog with the Shaman’s level 10. As for arcane references to the Goblins, it is in no way confirmed, but there are hints from the History of Middle Earth books that some orcs such as the Great Goblin may have been fallen Maiar sprits in orc form. This could be the case for the Shaman as well. Of course, this wouldn’t be necessary if the other powers were adjusted so that they wouldn’t require magical context. Some of the other powers were changed so that they use simple deception tactics instead of magic (for example, the level 7 power). There is no reason why this couldn’t also be used for the other powers.

Lastly, with regards to your comments about the other faction concepts, I believe it is best to take each concept by its own merits and to not judge one concept in comparison to another which isn’t for the same topic. In this way, it is probably a better idea to work on concepts for subjects that are almost certainly confirmed to be in the final faction (Smaug and Durin’s Bane for example) rather than those which are far vaguer and less confirmed.
I hope I have been able to help with some of your concerns Walk  :)

Walküre

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Re: Dúrin's Bane: A reimagining for the iconic spell
« Antwort #18 am: 14. Feb 2020, 16:35 »
It's been a while since I last laid eyes upon a Walkürian Essay . Glad to see you haven't lost your touch.  xD

 8-)



Necro:

Zitat
5. I'm not sure this is relevant. As far as I can see both concepts address separate parts of the faction, and could theoretically both be implemented without conflict unless I've missed something. And even if they were to have overlap I don't think suggestions are limited to a first come first serve basis. Multiple suggestions of overlapping concepts exist and have existed in the past as such I'm not sure how this part can serve as a relevant argument against this proposal.

You're right. My remarks on other proposals may have come off as a clumsy attempt to lump everything up a bit; I meant no such thing, of course. I do think it would be wise of us to keep our eyes wide open and focus on the bigger picture, though. I'm quite certain that the own success of the Misty Mountains faction will be, one way or the other, tied to our capacity of devising the most unique, yet consistent, general scheme; something saving both variety and solidity, because it's always been the team's main objective to capitalise on differentiation: three distinct Goblin kingdoms, sporting each its proper heroes and lore, three different styles shaping structures, weapons, and strategy, and a wide-ranging spell-book which ought to value any soul that this grand system is comprised of. Hence, this is the furthest we could get from pre-4.0 versions of the game, where the faction itself was more intended to personify the sheer chaos existing in its parts and muster all sorts of monsters in a single place.

Said that, my mentioning Smaug served to draw a comparison between the two heroes, and praise what I find a more than fitting solution to portray the topic of allegiance by accurate means. That proposal, in fact, seems to delve beautifully in the lost tales of dragons, Dwarves, and Orcs, alongside presenting to us nothing so controversial to stomach. It is the exact harmony that I wish to see here, too.

Zitat
Heroes shouldn't be added just for the sake of adding heroes, heroes need a role and they need a function.

I confess that inserting wholly made-up content in such consolidated mechanics worries me far more than an aimless hero, canonical or not, might do. It is my personal view that fictional material needs, majorly, to fill in blank spaces and offer 'conceptual aid' when all other options fail. As written above, the Balrog is arguably one of the most known features ever. Nonetheless, I'm sure we'll succeed in our seeking :)



Oak:

Zitat
Using a loyalty based relationship for a faction of orcs that would just as happily turn on each other than on their enemies doesn’t seem to make as much sense to me.

No, obviously. Blind fealty would be as bad a choice as going fully berserk and turning the Bane into a mere mindless pawn. Furthermore, being so indiscriminate in one's killing, as Necro suggested, would better cater for Nameless Things, which, feeding off their prehistoric state, would be quite likely not to tell apart friends from foes; if we take issue with the definition of 'friends', given the inner perfidious nature of the Orc-race, we could more accurately regard Goblins as standing by the same side of our flaming demon: the Evil. So, we do have a thin layer of affiliation, in some ways, despite it being wavering at times. I guess there is enough chance to play with this whole 'shade of grey', for, as you reminded me of, it is not a black-and-white case that we're considering. At the present time, however, all still appears to me too imbalanced from the perspective of the Maia.

Zitat
Moving back onto the concept itself, the Goblins aren't “controlling” the Balrog. The Shaman is using simple theatricality and deception to manipulate the Balrog into turning on the Goblins’ enemies. This could just as easily backfire on the Goblins if they happen to get in the way, fully showing that the Balrog isn’t working with them. In reality, the vanilla power (while iconic) suggests far more that the Balrog is subservient to the Goblins (i.e. the player controlling the Goblins). And if there is an argument saying that the Balrog wouldn’t be able to be deceived in such a way…well Morgoth, Sauron and Saruman were outsmarted and outmaneuvered by others at times, and they were all capable of much higher levels of manipulation (see Aragorn using the Palantir to trick Sauron into attacking Minas Tirith before he is ready or forcing him to move his forces to the Black Gate and leave Mordor open). A Balrog is arguably a simpler target for such tactics.

I dare say that it doesn't import much, whether the shaman's manipulation is to be more of a masquerade/farce or the other way round, being my opposition to the entire masterminding motif quite stark. Let us name it which title we deem fine for the purpose, but the point stays, anyway. The Balrog is going to be tricked into obeying someone else's will, and this 'someone' pales woefully before the magnitude of an entity who is recounted to be older even than time and space, and who can easily decide to take sides during combat, albeit temporarily and not in charge of any host (which is, after all, the task of military leaders). Continuing with my reasoning, it is right to remember the very few times in which the weaker overpowered the stronger by wit or luck; it must also be noted that exceptional events, like those addressed, entail the necessary presence of the superhuman and the sublime. Namely, who, other than the mightiest Elf in the annals, could ever have bested Sauron and his snares, overcome the ferocity of a bloody werewolf, enchanted Morgoth into oblivion, and ultimately conquered the compassion of Mandos himself? This could go for Ar-Pharazôn routing Sauron's innumerable legions just by fear, the fateful duel atop Moria's summit, or even the very mission that Frodo undertook, where the forces of the Good came to be aided by a splendid conjunction of favourable happenings (the awakening of Ents, the Grey Army, the rightful Heir of Men reclaiming his throne,...). In Lúthien's case, she was the harbinger of a destiny going beyond the reach of the Valar themselves.

Now, you may realise that every protagonist being counted among the most memorable figures of Arda's history, embodies capabilities and a fate that a simple Goblin shaman could never stand a chance with. This is the argument at the root of my reply. And, I agree with Necro, when he cites this passage as the most arduous to accept; it is, in my very personal opinion, the weak belly of the holistic construction.



Set counter-arguments aside, I don't want pessimism to seep through my comments, only. I would be glad to hint at possible solutions to keep all our contributions together in the decent manner that the very thread requires.

My proposal:

Zitat
Briefly, I reckon the shaman may well remain and therefore fulfil his duty: not that of a sorcerer-like shaman, but one aligning to the characteristics of an evil grand-priest. The Grand-Priest of the Goblins. That is, an uncanny 'religious' leader, much versed in the occult (though unable to perform direct magic, as we intend it by Tolkien's standards), whose main occupation will be to awake Durin's Bane from his dormant state and win his 'benevolence' through the offering of victims, as the demon's rage is hard to placate and ever longs for preys to incinerate to nothingness.

This is to say that the Balrog will become the de facto god whom Moria's Orcs worship in terror, down the gloom and darkness of the abyss. A mysterious cult, that has them be in wait for such fiery divinity to rise again, or, should we mean to add an alternative spin, that terrifies them all, and it's not uncommon for primitive religions (beliefs) to revolve around the concept of fearing the idol or deity whom its very acolytes revere and pray. Additionally, the lore of evil cults goes back a long time and furnishes us with concrete elements to refer to: the cults dedicated to Morgoth in Númenor, with sacrifice and cruel rites as its key-pillar, or the religion-like, fearful veneration that Evil Men show towards Sauron, who, by consequence, acts both as sovereign and god. In line with such precedents, the Bane might be our fell god presiding over the underworld of Moria, while I would leave it for the player to ask themselves whether the Balrog, from his side, is unconscious or not of his godly status among Goblins, or whether he, too, acts as a deity would in relation to his zealots. Nevertheless, these are questions that might increase the sense of intrigue and serve for the perfect obscure background to operate in.

The task of our grand-priest would thus consist of stirring the beast, drawing his attention, and offering sacrifices, in order to let the player assume total control of the Maia (his benevolence). The current concept already deals with the idea of appeasement and providing offers, but we have to make sure that everything inferring manipulation or deception will be jettisoned for good, together with black magic (in its more traditional connotation). Then, I add, the Bane is not going to deal damage to your forces in any case; were the player to fail to win his support, he will roam the battlefield as their non-playable ally for a while.

OakenShield224

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Re: Dúrin's Bane: A reimagining for the iconic spell
« Antwort #19 am: 14. Feb 2020, 19:06 »
Zitat
I dare say that it doesn't import much, whether the shaman's manipulation is to be more of a masquerade/farce or the other way round, being my opposition to the entire masterminding motif quite stark. Let us name it which title we deem fine for the purpose, but the point stays, anyway. The Balrog is going to be tricked into obeying someone else's will, and this 'someone' pales woefully before the magnitude of an entity who is recounted to be older even than time and space, and who can easily decide to take sides during combat, albeit temporarily and not in charge of any host (which is, after all, the task of military leaders).
I still believe you're missing the point a little bit. The Balrog "obeying someone else's will" is, in reality, the equivalent of the Shaman making the enemy seem like a much more appealing target. If there are goblins in that area, then the Balrog will not discriminate and will destroy them just as willingly as anyone else.

Zitat
Continuing with my reasoning, it is right to remember the very few times in which the weaker overpowered the stronger by wit or luck; it must also be noted that exceptional events, like those addressed, entail the necessary presence of the superhuman and the sublime. Namely, who, other than the mightiest Elf in the annals, could ever have bested Sauron and his snares, overcome the ferocity of a bloody werewolf, enchanted Morgoth into oblivion, and ultimately conquered the compassion of Mandos himself? This could go for Ar-Pharazôn routing Sauron's innumerable legions just by fear, the fateful duel atop Moria's summit, or even the very mission that Frodo undertook, where the forces of the Good came to be aided by a splendid conjunction of favourable happenings (the awakening of Ents, the Grey Army, the rightful Heir of Men reclaiming his throne,...). In Lúthien's case, she was the harbinger of a destiny going beyond the reach of the Valar themselves.
Doesn't bringing every achievement down to divine intervention or miracles belittle them a bit? In any sense, the full victories can still be brought down to the Dark Lord's being tricked by others. Saruman was tricked by the Hobbits who brought the ents to his door. It was something as simple as Gimli's complaints that helped bring Saruman to anger and break his spell on the Rohirrim. Sauron attacked Minas Tirith/The Black Gate because Aragorn showed himself in the Palantir. The whole War of the Ring was Gandalf and Aragorn using misdirection against Sauron to draw his attention elsewhere while Frodo reached Mount Doom. The Witch King was defeated because he underestimated those beneath him (i.e. Merry and Eowyn). The conclusion here is that being powerful doesn't mean you're omniscient. They can still be outsmarted and outmaneuvered by others. And for something that, from the information we have, was a lot simpler than Sauron or the dragons, it would be simpler to misdirect it.

As for your own proposal, honestly, I have to completely disagree with it for multiple reasons:
 - Firstly, as both myself and Necro have said, the concept of using magic can be removed for more material methods of manipulation (in fact the concept as a whole is progressing towards that aspect more and more).
 - The concept of the Balrog being a non-playable ally kills the entire point of the concept, which is that there is a risk/reward element. The Balrog can be a powerful weapon for the player but it can just as easily be a threat if they make a mistake.
 - The system you're proposing with the sacrifices was already used previously for 3.8.1 Smaug, while the current concept is entirely unique. Moreover, the previous Smaug concept was removed by the Edain Team as it "made him too complicated and expensive to recruit in most skirmishes" so I imagine that it would be the case for this as well. Same as with Karsh's sacrificial system in 3.8.1.

Also, I feel that redoing the entire concept to fit your perspective of the scenario may not be the best way of viewing it? Especially considering that it's already gone through quite a lot of support and changes (that still work with the core of the concept) for the short time that it has been on the forums.


Fredius

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Re: Dúrin's Bane: A reimagining for the iconic spell
« Antwort #20 am: 15. Feb 2020, 16:00 »
Well well well, thought I would sneak a peak at MU and it seems I found an interesting egg here xD. I would like to express my thoughts on the matter of this concept, though I will keep it brief (EDIT: not so brief as I hoped apparently), so as to not clutter the discussion with even more "points of views".

Firstly, I absolutely love the general outline of this concept, so for starters you can already put me in the in favour group. Regarding the points of what the Shaman's role would be when the Balrog isn't there, or what the powers of the controllable Balrog would be; I am all fine with them so you won't hear me say much about it. I would, however, like to adress the issue of the theme and lore of the concept, and hopefully put both sides' minds at rest.

Thematically, I have to a certain extent agree with Walk that this does not seem like how a Balrog should "fight" the battles for the Goblins. The powers that the Shaman possesses give the impression that he lures (or deceives, however you want to call it) the Balrog into attacking the enemy. However, the way that it is set up contradicts your effort to keep the Balrog a neutral force who doesn't pick a side in the war :P. If the Shaman drops Dwarven prisoners on a certain spot, or dresses Goblins up in Dwarven rags, doesn't that give away that the Balrog sees these Dwarves more of an enemy than it does with the Goblins? I'm not saying this is wrong, and I will get to that later in my post. I understand that he would also kill Orcs in his vicinity, but look at it this way; if you put those Dwarven prisoners at the other side of the map, and the Balrog happened to be closer to your own base, then surely a creature that regards both as an enemy would rather attack the enemy that is closer, right? I know that he can only be summoned near the Shaman, but like I said this is just pure talk on the theme of the concept itself.

Furthermore; Oak gave some examples of how other evil powerful beings (i.e. Sauron and Saruman) were tricked to the extent that they lost the war. However, this is not the same kind of deception as to what is presented in the concept. What we saw in the movies or read in the books were strategic and subtle misdirections that the forces of Good used to change the tide of the war. In this concept, the Balrog is just being baited like a trained dog to attack something, only that this dog can also attack the trainer if he comes too close :P.

To get to my point here, I wouldn't want to change the abilities and powers altogether that you guys came up with, but instead of deception and bait as the main theme of this concept, I would like to propose to change the theme into a "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" type of play. Eventhough the Balrog would kill anything that comes too close to him, I can safely say that he definetly would prioritize killing a Dwarf over an Orc. Why? Because Orcs are Evil, just like him. They are creations of his master, and acted as his allies during the wars of the First Age. So, that the Balrog in this concept prioritizes Dwarven prisoners or illusions over the Goblins themselves, is something I agree with. But instead of having him being "deceived" or "lured" by those prisoners, let it just come from his own will. Basically:

Shaman: Can you 360 no-scope those Dwarves over there plox?
Balrog: Fine, but if you or your kind trespass my safe-space, I will make sure to show you why the chicken did not cross the road.
Shaman: *Dabs while crying.*

There is one thing that I would like to give some more depth in, and that is his level 10 power. The power talks about giving the Balrog an offering so that you can temporarily control him. How about having that offering be a Balrog totem that can be seen in the Third Age PS2 game?


You can also have some Goblin sacrifices bound around it, they can use the same animation as the cocooned soldiers that you have to rescue in the BFME1 Shelob's Lair mission. The sacfice that Walk mentioned can be implemented this way then xD.
« Letzte Änderung: 15. Feb 2020, 16:04 von Fredius »

Julio229

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Re: Dúrin's Bane: A reimagining for the iconic spell
« Antwort #21 am: 15. Feb 2020, 16:28 »

Well, first of all, thanks for your input, Walk! Glad to see you offer your thoughts about the suggestion  :) about the points you bring up themselves, I think Oak and Necro have pretty much summed up my feelings on the matter, so I'm not sure I can add anything else  :P anyway, I appreciate you dropping by!


Hi, Fredius, and thanks for the support and your input, first of all  :)

You definitely raise some really good points and a nice compromise that helps reconcile Walk's posture and the concept's posture about what the Balrog ability theme should be. I think that "enemy of my enemy is my friend" approach is quite interesting, and might work for the better in the suggestion, rather than the Goblins trying to avoid the Balrog while somewhat making it work against their enemies. So I definitely think that is a good solution, and we'll try to remake the power strings and descriptions in accordance with that!

About the level 10, I think that is a good idea, and I'll always be happy with a nod to The Third Age :P the way the ability works originally would be to just buy the temporary upgrade for a single use, on which case the description could be changed to mention the Balrog totem, but maybe it could actually spawn the Balrog totem on the field (like you propose) and make the upgrade be buyable through the totem instead. I think that's a nice compromise indeed, and the goblins part is a good way to include Walk's proposal for sacrifice to be a part of the concept.


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Re: Dúrin's Bane: A reimagining for the iconic spell
« Antwort #22 am: 15. Feb 2020, 20:58 »
Oak:

Zitat
I still believe you're missing the point a little bit. The Balrog "obeying someone else's will" is, in reality, the equivalent of the Shaman making the enemy seem like a much more appealing target. If there are goblins in that area, then the Balrog will not discriminate and will destroy them just as willingly as anyone else.

I go by what is written in the presentation, and manipulation or deception does seem to be prevalent as a core-theme. However varying the degree, the intrinsic substance at the concept's base does not change. Deceiving someone into non-deliberate actions is nothing short of another form of control, subtler and often independent from the victim's realisation of his/her very condition (which makes it extremely wicked). All bonds subsisting by 'virtue' of wile/treachery are inevitably destined to be asymmetrical; it's quite consequential. Deriving from it, it also means that one of the two parties involved in the exchange will in the end thrive to the detriment of the other. That's where lore inaccuracy lies, in my opinion. There would be no fair trade-off, anyway, but it shouldn't be so disproportionately advantageous towards the shaman (on a figurative note, at least). We should shift from the whole notion of deception.

Zitat
Doesn't bringing every achievement down to divine intervention or miracles belittle them a bit? In any sense, the full victories can still be brought down to the Dark Lord's being tricked by others. Saruman was tricked by the Hobbits who brought the ents to his door. It was something as simple as Gimli's complaints that helped bring Saruman to anger and break his spell on the Rohirrim. Sauron attacked Minas Tirith/The Black Gate because Aragorn showed himself in the Palantir. The whole War of the Ring was Gandalf and Aragorn using misdirection against Sauron to draw his attention elsewhere while Frodo reached Mount Doom. The Witch King was defeated because he underestimated those beneath him (i.e. Merry and Eowyn). The conclusion here is that being powerful doesn't mean you're omniscient. They can still be outsmarted and outmaneuvered by others. And for something that, from the information we have, was a lot simpler than Sauron or the dragons, it would be simpler to misdirect it.

Some do not like the overflowing religious inexorability that pervades olden tales, yes. It is why, I suppose, the Silmarillion had been given a lukewarm welcome at the time. I think it all boils down to readers' likings, even though it's not for them to decide what these stories are actually about. The First Age is the quintessential age of the epic, the myth, and the divine. It was made to be so for a reason: the further you progress in time, the more magic and enchantment make space for the disenchanted mundane (while Men become the predominant race in Middle-earth). It glorifies things, I believe; it ennobles them, instead of belittling them. Ancient deeds are what most sacred there might be for the majority of peoples/civilisations.

The War of the Ring is but a piece of that favourable concatenation of events which I spoke of above. Not only was every hero aided by exceptional characters (the true catalyst for change), but everything belonged to a definite arc that was not at all casual. The last pages of the Silmarillion go on to sort of prophesy that victory would be the making of little ones, against all odds. Hobbits themselves are recurrently said to possess capacities that surpass what meets the eye. I don't want to spark another major debate, but predestination is hidden somewhere in the late Third Age as well. Gandalf himself consoles Frodo by saying that he was meant to have the Ring, and that happened in force of some design. The Silmarillion highlights that aspect quite extensively. Just think about Éowyn and her foretold duel (by the words of Glorfindel), also; there are plenty of examples to contemplate, if we are to enter the realm of prediction.

Therefore, you may comprehend that, when we run out of ancient heroes from a lost past, lesser (good) characters nonetheless present a certain story propping them up, whereas a Goblin would be the least imaginable candidate for a role lying out of the ordinary, intertwining with that of a Maia. An entirely fictional character, by the way. Let's put it this way: everyone can be manipulated, but not everyone can manipulate (a Maia) :)

Zitat
Also, I feel that redoing the entire concept to fit your perspective of the scenario may not be the best way of viewing it? Especially considering that it's already gone through quite a lot of support and changes (that still work with the core of the concept) for the short time that it has been on the forums.

I'm simply elaborating on my ideas on how and why this proposal could be restructured differently. Needless to say, my word does not and will never prevail over yours or anybody else's. Feel free to do what you deem best with my thoughts. I hope, at the end of the day, that we shall find a way through our divergences. Reaching compromises is equally integral to joining forum discussions.

It's true, some have already expressed themselves positively, but I would warn against making an argument out of it. The fact that this thread was opened only recently is to me a more than reasonable motive to press on and seize the chance to debate it further; if I had come later to the party, I guess it would have been immensely harder for us all to have fruitful talks.

Nevertheless, I'm always leaving the door ajar for alternatives of various kinds. I just indicated what could represent a nice, conceptual start from which we can move on and perfect Julio's suggestions. Sacrifice, as a main theme, can be scrapped and concentrate more upon the religious side of our shaman/grand-priest. Namely, what if he were to unlock different types of rituals as he levels up? Once he gets to level 10, his prayer will finally gain the Balrog's favour and bring the deity to your side (the threat of incurring his wrath may stay, if you aim to come up with risk/reward mechanics). Whatever our eventual decision be, I'm going to think about other variations in the meantime.

Lest I lose myself in the usual boring essay, I now summarise in plain fashion what of my concept I believe answers our needs more efficiently:

• On top of all, we would extricate ourselves from that lore controversy that I kept talking about so far. Plus, the shaman would be appointed to a proper, more defined role, where direct magic or supernatural skills play no part.
• Evil cults being celebrated in the deep of the mine's abyss, sounds definitely more intriguing, arcane, and, last but not least, plausible. As said, it references very interesting sections of the canons: sacrificial rites in Númenor, within the broader belief in the Evil, and the dual status of the Dark Lord, as both king and god, among the brutish Men at his command.
• By nature, Goblins are absolutely more prone to fearful reverence or even subjugation in regards to a superior, divine entity. They thus suffer such relationship, rather than profiting from it as the dominant party. No trick or trap, here.
• We are finally provided with a clear hierarchy linking the two sides to each other. The dreadful god at the top, and his frightened serfs at the bottom. The shaman, prostrate and in self-abasement, embodies the exact bridge between the godly and the terrene.

I feel the current concept does not manage to explain the real source of the shaman's powers, the bond between the Balrog and Goblins is quite blurred, therefore unclear, and I still worry about lore disruptions getting in our way.



Julio:

Zitat
Well, first of all, thanks for your input, Walk! Glad to see you offer your thoughts about the suggestion  :) about the points you bring up themselves, I think Oak and Necro have pretty much summed up my feelings on the matter, so I'm not sure I can add anything else  :P anyway, I appreciate you dropping by!

And I thank you for kindling my interest in forum debates once more. It was a pleasure to stop by and make my voice be heard. If anything, adding as many contributions as we can to the topic will do nothing else than good; I’m certain of it. As I replied to Oak, the concept itself sounds extremely well-thought, game-wise, and it surely succeeds in trying to bring something really unique to life. My concerns addressed the lore behind it, and I strove to head to another direction. I would like to say, though, that I don’t expect every single one of my considerations to be taken into account. If you consider your final plans worthy of being implemented as it stands, go for it; I can only imagine the vast amount of effort that’s been poured into your proposal. In the end, the last word on the matter is to be the team’s and nobody else’s :)

Julio229

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Re: Dúrin's Bane: A reimagining for the iconic spell
« Antwort #23 am: 15. Feb 2020, 21:15 »

On the topic of the deception theme, I believe Fredius' idea to tweak the concept and make it into a more "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" relationship instead of "manipulation", so to speak, is a very nice compromise between your thoughts on the matter and what Oak, Necro and me think. Feel free to check that out, I found it to be a very good idea keeping in line with that  :)


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Re: Dúrin's Bane: A reimagining for the iconic spell
« Antwort #24 am: 15. Feb 2020, 21:31 »
Yes, that could be a promising beginning. I think I’ll now wait a bit for further developments and let you mould a clearer design. If I’m allowed a sole, innocent wish, it would be great to explore the shaman’s side-status as a grand-priest overseeing bloody rituals beneath the earth, in the very recess of the world. On the other hand, at variance with Smaug, Durin’s Bane will surge to become the de facto god of the Misty Mountains. It would be wonderful to dig into the tradition of evil cults in Arda, and the demon’s angelic nature does support such an interpretation. All three souls of the faction will be fairly distinguished from each other: Goblins/Orcs, the Dragon, and the devilish Deity :)

Fredius

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Re: Dúrin's Bane: A reimagining for the iconic spell
« Antwort #25 am: 15. Feb 2020, 23:09 »
I'm glad you guys like it :). Lore is of course very important in making certain systems in the game, but at the end of the day it is just a game, so you have to keep the gameplay and balance in mind as well. In any case let's hope the team will do something with it :).

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Re: Dúrin's Bane: A reimagining for the iconic spell
« Antwort #26 am: 16. Feb 2020, 18:35 »
Sorry to be the party pooper here, but a Balrog that isn't under direct player control will not get implemented in Edain. While the lore reasons you bring up are valid, they don't exclusively apply to the Balrog - you could argue the same way for other heroes like Shelob, Smaug or even Radagast. In fact, having the Balrog as a summon with a short duration already encapsulates this: He only fights alongside orcs and other creatures in dire circumstances for a brief moment before disappearing again. But more importantly, we want the Balrog to be under the player's control because he is not only one of the most iconic, but also probably the most satisfying fighter to command in all of BfME. And we don't want to take that away.


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Re: Dúrin's Bane: A reimagining for the iconic spell
« Antwort #27 am: 16. Feb 2020, 20:30 »


Well, that's a shame.

But alright, that's your right. We're a bit crestfallen to have been lead on this far though, a short line about details like these would be nice in the future.

On request of Julio I'm locking the thread.
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Re: Dúrin's Bane: A reimagining for the iconic spell
« Antwort #28 am: 16. Feb 2020, 20:56 »
We did have a won't-be-implemented list before 4.0 (including things like Huorns or Goblin Shamans), but we removed it, due to concept discussion usually offering a lot of valueable information, even if the concept itself hardly will be implemented.

Also, we have to make our minds up, too.

In this case, we decided to interfer, because we felt there was too much work invested.