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Autor Thema: A Past and Future Secret  (Gelesen 2639 mal)

Gnomi

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A Past and Future Secret
« am: 29. Feb 2020, 10:21 »
Greetings, companions of Edain!

So far our articles have always offered you insights about what the future course of our project will be, and this we have often referred to as the "Road to Edain", which defines it quite well.

However, there are other things we would also like to talk about: things that happened in the past, things that still affect the current version, and things belonging to the future. First and foremost, we will present to you a little glimpse into our work.

We want to start today, and we are going to discuss a myriad of topics in the next weeks: detailed comparisons concerning economy, from 4.4.1 to 4.5, the origin of Horde Maps, hidden missions in Edain 4.5, and several other matters, including ourselves as a team.

We hope you will enjoy the read (or, at least, we hope to spark in you a little bit of interest, in case you went through serious topics) :)

Part 1:Development of 4.5
Part 2:Hidden missions
Part 3: Tournament: Group phase and prizes
Part 4: Tournament: A match to remember
Part 5: Hidden Mission: The Attack on the Golden Wood
Part 6: Hidden Mission: The Cleansing of Lothlórien
Part 7:Hidden missions: Rumours in Lindon and Securing the East Borders


Your Edain Team
« Letzte Änderung: 16. Dez 2020, 15:50 von Gnomi »

Gnomi

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Re: A past and future secret
« Antwort #1 am: 29. Feb 2020, 10:22 »
Development of 4.5


Greetings, companions of Edain!

Edain 4.5 is finally out, and the 4.5.1 fix has been released a few weeks later! We, as a team, are at least as happy as all of you are, all the fans who have been waiting for years, and we are equally very pleased that the update's reception was overall a positive one. Despite being perfectly aware of the fact that not everything is flawless and that we are yet to solve some problems, we are constantly working on it and are very much relieved to celebrate a new release after four years. It was a special release for all of us, really, given such a long break; for Elendil, in particular, it was his first release since joining the team.

In this post we would like to tell you more about the team and what we had to deal with in the latest years, and how we are to tackle issues for the time to come. It is going to be longer than we have originally planned, because there are so many things to touch upon and one cannot leave anything out.

There is a page about us on the Edain Wiki, but it is no longer up to date. It shows team members during a meeting we had, while we were developing Edain 4.2; that was almost five years ago! It has been a long time, indeed. If you consider that the team itself has been around for more than ten years, it will be much clearer how long Edain has existed as a team, and you will hopefully understand that it is normal for such a team to encounter smaller and bigger problems in their path.

The four-year span between 4.4.1 and 4.5 has been considerably daunting to bear, exceeding both our plans and expectations, and we apologise for that. We wish it had been completely different. Never in our thoughts had we imagined that we would work for so long without a new version being published in reasonable time. Nevertheless, we are glad to know that so many loyal fans have returned to playing the game and being active in our community, and that we achieved substantial results, download-wise: in just about a month, the combined number of downloads from both Modding Union and MODDB has reached 20,000. This is nothing short of fantastic! As a team, we are deeply grateful for it and we thank you all! xD





Lastly, we wish to conclude with the final topic of our post: the team.

We made mistakes in the past and rectified them (the right way, hopefully). As a team, we are definitely smaller than what it used to be, and are much more immersed in our lives than before, meaning that a few things now work differently, although we are all still motivated to go on and look forward to a future with Edain. After Ealendril and Lord of Mordor (our former leaders) ceased to be active, FG15 and Elendil had taken on the leadership of our team up to 4.5, but it was no mystery that this would be more of a temporary measure and that after the release the leadership topic would be dealt with once more, in order to find a long-term solution. First of all, we thank both of them for having guided us through the next phase.

In the future, the team will look like this:

* FG15 gives up his role as team leader
* Elendil remains deputy team leader
* Gnomi becomes team leader

Moreover, we are currently restructuring our internal forums a bit (the reason why we have not been accepting new testers for a while). As soon as we are done with it, we will be contacting you again ;)

Until then, we hope you will continue to enjoy Edain 4.5 and that everyone will have a lot of fun with the announced tournament. We are definitely looking forward to seeing it live-streamed xD

Your Edain Team
Side by side, unto death

Gnomi

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Re: A Past and Future Secret: Hidden missions
« Antwort #2 am: 14. Mär 2020, 10:52 »
Greetings, companions of Edain!

If you followed us on our journey, you know that we have declared our undying love for the Lord Of The Rings and Battle for Middle-Earth several times over by this point.
Especially the campaign in the first game was something we all enjoyed: You had the possibility to conquer or defend all of Middle-Earth and play through the entire War Of The Ring.
Later on, whenever fighting a skirmish, we could always remember certain maps: „Ah, that was the one where I defended as Rohan and there were those missions and units at those places.“
But obviously the most memorable maps were the scripted ones – missions like Moria, Caras Galadhon, Amon Hen, Fangorn, Ithilien, Harad, Shelob's Lair or all the fortresses like Minas Tirith. Maps that allowed you to witness parts of the story, not just play a skirmish, always had that special something. I think everyone who played Battle for Middleearth can remember those maps and can see a picture in their mind. xD
We modders are, first and foremost, also just fans. This is why we continue working on Edain after all these years.

This leads to the central topic of the article: The hidden missions existing in Edain. Some of you already know it, but I am sure that a lot of you don't: Edain offers many hidden, but completely playable missions similar to the BfME I campaign, even though you won't see them at first glance.
They were even shown in our teaser for Edain 4.5. I bet only very few of you actually noticed that.:P





How can you play those missions?
As always, we won't give you detailed instructions on how to discover these eastereggs, but there are (as is usual for Edain) some riddles. You can find some of them over at the Edain wiki and as a little feature, we will tell you how to play one of the missions, namely the one shown in the 4.5 trailer. You have to follow these steps:

  • Open the skirmish menu in the game
  • Select the map Central Ithilien
  • Choose the top left spot and select Mordor as your faction
  • Deactivate all AIs (computer enemies),you have to play alone
  • If you want to play on easy difficulty, disable ring heroes; to play on normal difficulty play with ring heroes enabled
  • Start the map
  • Have fun :)
Many other missions can be found... similarly.

What is the idea behind those missions?
The first idea actually came to my mind because of Battle for Middle-Earth I; as written above, we always loved the idea of using normal skirmish maps for a campaign to keep the memory of said campaign alive.

Unfortunately, not everything is perfect (otherwise we modders would have nothing to do). As an example, it was really sad that most maps in the original campaign were monotonous and offered little replay value – you started with your army, ran over everything and at the end killed a camp/castle. This basically was the same as a normal skirmish game, just with a starting army. That's fun for a few rounds, but at some point it gets repetitive and you just do the same thing over and over again, especially as the gameplay itself was also very similar to a normal skirmish.
That's something we want to do differently. We want to give you some variety with the maps and imbue each of them with a different flair. Every map should tell a small story in the bigger conflict.
As an example for Central Ithilien: The basic story in this mission is that there are Harardrim which are pushed back by Rangers. Gothmog was sent with some orcs to help them out before they get overrun and die.

Those mission maps are in a strong contrast to the horde maps; while horde maps are clearly meant to challenge you and give you a hard time and the player should have as much freedom as possible (like defending Minas Tirith with Mordor), the mission maps are more similar to Bfme I mission maps – so everyone should manage them (at least on easy), as the focus is not on the challenge itself, but on the story and gameplay.  We want to tell you some small stories from Middle-Earth, without having to wait for a full campaign. With this method we have the chance to tell stories of many brief conflicts, which perhaps would never be possible in a big campaign.

In addition to all the reasons above, there are some more personal reasons: It is an exciting way to rediscover maps. As it is not possible to change terrain, rivers or cliffs on the map without changing it also for the the normal skirmish games, you have very clear restrictions on what is possible.
Those restrictions limit you, but they also can give you ideas. Every map itself can already tell a story, you just have to listen to it long enough.
Creating a map in such a way is a fascinating progress – even if you as players don't notice it, it is really important that we have fun while working on Edain, as this helps us to continue modding. We are sure that there will be more missions in the future.

We wish you a lot of fun and success while searching, finding and playing the missions!

Your Edain Team
« Letzte Änderung: 14. Mär 2020, 11:06 von Gnomi »

Gnomi

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Re: A Past and Future Secret: Group Phase
« Antwort #3 am: 20. Mär 2020, 17:46 »
Tournament: Group phase and prizes

Greetings, companions of Edain!

The group stage of the tournament is over and only 32 players are left. We think that now is the perfect time to talk about our observations and make a few announcements.


If you want more information about the tournament, you can find information about the KO phase here and here all important links, like game plans, livestreams, list of players and so on.

Organisation und prizes

A big thanks to the organisation
First of all we want to say thank you to the organisers. We know how much work it is to keep a tournament running, especially if so many games are also streamed. There were always neutral hosts for players, the lists and overviews were updated at least once a day and the group phase did not end in an endless mess (which we have seen from other, smaller tournaments).
Therefore a big thank you and praise to all the people who were part of the organisation team:
  • Gendor
  • Caun
  • Krümelus
  • Tom
  • Blutrabe
As a reward for your work, we will grant you the rank of Edain Feedback, which  will give you access to our 4.6 beta version until Misty Mountains are released.

Betas for the best
Additionally, we decided to distribute some betas for the players, as we have already done in the past! Every player reaching the top 8 will also be granted the rank Edain Feedback - obviously players which have a higher role like Edain Team Member won't be downgraded, but remain with their role.

Stories from the group phase

It is always exciting to see new strategies and how the meta evolves throughout a tournament. This does not mean that all strategies form the tournament are automatically the best, but  it gives us an indicator over a large amount of players in different skill classes.
Generally, we can say that players were much more aggressive than in the last tournament. Creeps were killed way earlier and even fought over and settlements were conquered and destroyed a lot throughout most of the games.
You can also see clear differences between players, if we just look at closing out games. While the tournament favourites switch from fighting over the map to sieging smoothly without a lot of downtime, quite a lot of players struggle with it. One might say that they just play safe, but in several matches this allowed their opponent to catch up and the games eventually were really close, just because a player wanted to play it safe. It could have been a clearer win by just attacking the base earlier and more decisively. Especially in games where several heroes were bought (which were seen very rarely for all factions beside Angmar and Mordor), it got a lot closer as soon as the attacker made a small mistake (after waiting 5-10 minutes) and suddenly heroes worth 3000 or more were dead and both armies had a more or less equal size.

While a lot of strategies were powerful, most of them were foreseeable and were no surprise to most of us. Obviously we could talk now about strategies like Rohan's powerful horse archers or Mordor's orc spam, but it is way more fun to talk about meta breaking strategies. There were some small (cheesy) strategies, which surprised a lot of us and after people saw them, they were used through a lot of games. As it turned out, they were not just one-time strategies, but could also be repeated. So let's talk about them.


Imladris rush against Mordor
On smaller maps, Imladris is able to walk into the Mordor base straight away with one batallion of the swordsmen and instantly attack the barracks. The normal orcs have no chance to kill the Imladris fighters, as their damage is basically non existant and can be mitigated by the Heal, so the elves are also escape after killing the barracks, which is a huge setback for Mordor. Mordor has two counters against it:
1.) Build towers.  If Mordor builds at least one tower (not directly beside the mordor barracks, otherwise it gets destroyed first and is useless), it can survive such a rush.
2.)  Use Gorbag. Gorbag has enough damage to kill the Imladris swordsmen. Here we saw games, where Imladris attacked, then ran away and harassed Mordor. Mordor then wanted to stop the harassment with Gorbag, but by doing so he left his base open for another Imladris battaillon, which then destroyed the barracks (and all elves escaped).

Blood towers
A second strategy for all enemies except Mordor. The main idea is to buy lots of Lindon towers. Not just one or two, but a ton. Your goal is to build normal ressource buildings on your side of the map, but Lindon towers on all  settlements close to the enemy fortress. By doing so, the enemy always has to fight under a tower (and can't attack the other settlements with a single battaillon, as the towers win against most standard units). Especially in Imladris Mirrors or on maps like Forelands of Emyn Muil or Westfold this is a really strong strategy. Wherever you fight, the enemy has to fight under your towers and wherever he goes, he will be attacked by other towers. This strategy is not good against spam factions like Mordor however, as those factions can easily sacrifice some cheap units to kill the tower and a tower needs too much time to do meaningful damage against those units.

Elf meat is back on the menu boys!
Even though Imladris is beside Gondor the most picked faction, it seems that the elves have found their master in Angmar.
Imladris was always good in fighting small fights and retreating whenever a battaillon is close to death and heal it back up. By doing that, Imladris loses nearly no units and therefore gets stronger over the early game.
But Angmar seems to have everything needed to fight that strategy: Their units do overall really good damage, which makes it more difficult to find the right time to withdraw your units. Both wolves and Axethrowers serve this purpose well.
Drauglin is basically made to hunt down single units, which try to escape from the battle.
And finally the combination of Hwaldar with wolf riders deals tons of damage against Imladris troups and the riders also make retreat impossible for the elves. The blood towers also seem to be less effective against Angmar; even though they can theoretically easily kill the thrall masters, most fights are over before the towers can deal lethal damage.

Gondor's Mordor cosplay
The Mordor cosplay is a curious strategy of Gondor. Basically Gondor does the same as Mordor, just better.
Gondor starts normally with barracks and plays completely normal, which makes it basically impossible for the enemy to scout this strategy.
At some points Gondor can build an archery range and  recruit Denethor. With the Palantir ability, Denethor can quickly be leveled up.
With the emergency ability, Gondor's troups have a very short buildtime and the buildcosts are also halfed – hence you can spam normal fighters for 100 and archers for 150.  Players should easily be able to spam units with these low costs.
The only downsides are that they can't use their formations (which hurts a lot because Gondor's central spell has proven to be very powerful) and get upgrades, but the goal of the strategy is also to overrun the enemy before upgrades get important. Quite often, a second barracks is built on the outpost.
Especially Mordor does not have much fun against a good played Cosplay. Gondor is able to spam troops as fast as Mordor, but Gondor's troops are a lot stronger. And even trolls have no chance, as Gondor has a lot of archers and mostly also some pikes.
Archers (which are normally used against such a strategy) also have some problems against Denethor, as he can always summon his soldiers right inside them.

Later on, Gondor can go even more ham by also by buying the taxes upgrade in the marketplace. With this upgrade and 6 Town Houses, Gondor fighters cost just 60 and archers 90. But this is not used very often, as Gondor has to buy 23 normal fighter hordes or 15 archer hordes before the upgrade has payed for itself.
Quite often this is ignored and the money is used for other things instead. Overall the Cosplay is a potent strategy for the entire midgame.

We hope that all eliminated tournament participants had a lot of fun and we will see you again in the next tournament! We also wish all participants of the playoffs good luck and a lot of fun!

GL&HF


Your Edain-Team

Gnomi

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Tournament: A match to remember
« Antwort #4 am: 4. Apr 2020, 15:44 »
Greetings companions of Edain!

The tournament slowly tends towards the end and we had some stirring games in the last weeks. Especially one match was loved by all viewers: The first huge clash of two favourites of the KO phase, the game between Jojo and luke in the round of 16,
Luke has already shown that he is one of Edain's finest players, when he managed to be second in the group of death, while Jojo is number 1 in the Edain ranked. So both are exceptionally good players, but Jojo was still the favourite of most players.

Let's talk quickly about the rules of the KO phase:
It is played in the Bo3 format, so whoever wins two games, wins the match. The map for the first game is set and afterwards the looser of a game can choose the map for the next game (just maps from a given map pool are allowed).
Every faction chose 3 factions before the tournament started. Those are the only factions they are allowed to play – also in a Bo3 no faction is allowed to be player two times by a player. The factions are picked after the map is revealed to both players.

For all who want to see the game without getting spoilered:
This is the german steam and hier this is the english stream.

For all who want to see the semi final or the finale, here is a link to the schedule

From now on we have spoilers, as we walk about the match.
The first game was played on Brandywine and we saw Jojo's Rohan and Luke's Mordor. Both are factions which are considered really strong in the current version. But Jojo surprised everyone, when he bought a very early Gamling at minute two after getting enough money through the creeps. On the other side Luke also surprised everyone by getting early trolls. So already in the first game, both players showed new strategies and noone knew what to expect. After a good defense of luke's Mordor against an early base rush, he was ready to slow the game down, which is exactly the thing Mordor needs. Even though Jojo did manage to win fight after fight on the map, he was always too weak to attack the Mordor base itself. This was all because of the trolls. But after that Luke destroyed his troll cage, as he wanted different buildings in his camp and started to play more conservative with a huge orc spam, including Cirith Ungol orcs. Jojo on the other hand noticed his own win conditions: Use the riders and try to kill as many orcs as possible, without getting into a direct fight. Together with the summons fights were actually always close. It was an exciting match with fights all over the map, which showed us the strengths and weaknesses of both factions. But at one point Mordor reached its enormous endgame potential and it was clear that Jojo could not win this fight. In a last effort he used the last march of the ents and actually managed to destroy the whole Mordor base. But he also lost a lot of his army and Luke managed to rebuild the Mordor base and at one point Jojo forfeited, as there was nothing to be done.

The second game was played on Fords of Isen I. This time Luke played as Gondor and Jojo as Mordor. Again the game was played on a high level and we saw that a lot of thought went into that game.
Jojo started with a mordor barrack and two towers right beside it – in 4.4.1 everyone would flame you for that, but currently it is the best defense against an early Gondor rush and loosing the barrack early would mean a quick 2:0 for Luke.
Luke on the other hand started using buildings, which we hardly never saw in action: The beacons.
He used the power of the swordsmen from the fiefdoms, which have additional power against units without heavy armour, to a great effect. He supported his army with knights. Sadly he did not manage to get hold on map control, so Mordor had an easy time getting to the later stages of the game, but we also saw another surprise: Jojo recruited Mollok, even though most players consider him not worth the money – but Mollok died really fast, and Jojo never revived him again.
It ended after big fights , when a Mumak finally managed to break into Gondor's base.

The last game was played on Iron Hills and both players had to choose there final faction, which meant that Luke was playing Rohan and Jojo Gondor. Funfact: Did you know that there is a Monty Python easteregg on said map?
Jojo played very aggressive and tried to punish Luke's Rohan early, but Luke answered the aggression by building an exile camp and with his Rohirrim he managed to  punish Jojo's Gondor fighters. Jojo's answer were some own knights, but they were quickly diminished by the Druedain. This meant that Luke had some time until a well was build to replenish the bataillon.

In this time Luke managed to win most of the map and also upgrade his exile camp – which was the main point for the next big battle, which was also won by Luke. Even though Jojo tried to win back some space on the map, the game was over, when Rohirrim archers and some rams arrived and helped to destroy the Gondor base.


It was a really nice match to watch and we hope to se some more exciting games this weekend!

GL&HF

Gnomi

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Re: A Past and Future Secret
« Antwort #5 am: 5. Dez 2020, 18:36 »
Greetings, companions of Edain!

With Christmas right around the corner, we'd like to take the opportunity to talk about Eastereggs - hold up.
With Christmas right around the corner, we'd like to take the opportunity to talk about Elves! Earlier in the year, we already explained how to find Edain's hidden mission by showing the example of a Mordor mission.
Next up are several Elven missions that you can already play on the current patch. Let's start with a scenario that was added in 4.5.4:


Mission 1: The Attack on the Golden Wood


Celeborn awaits your help!

Take control of the Woodelves and experience the orcs invade Lothlórien, shortly after Haldir and his two brothers discovered the armies of evil.
To start this mission you have to play as Lorien on the map 'Woods of Lorien'. Place yourself at the left location, without a second player (neither AI nor human).
If you're mostly looking to experience the story, deactivate Ringheroes and the mission will be very easy do complete. Activating Ringheroes on the other hand will make it a bit more challenging.


Your settings need to look like this.
Don't forget to adjust the difficulty by either deactivating Ringheroes (easy)
 or activating them (medium)

Have fun playing and enjoy the advent season!
Your Edainteam

Gnomi

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Re: A Past and Future Secret
« Antwort #6 am: 12. Dez 2020, 16:35 »

Greetings, companions of Edain!

Today we want to show you another hidden mission in Edain. The Elves of Lorien again need your help!
After explaining how to experience The Attack on the Golden Wood the last time, this next mission is about the second part of the battle:


Mission 2: The Cleansing of Lothlórien


An outpost is under attack!

Take control of the Woodelves and experience how the Orcs were expelled from Lórien and peace returned to the realm of Galadriel and Celeborn.
To play this mission, play as Lórien on the map 'Lórien'. Place yourself at the left starting position, again without a second player (neither AI nor human).
If you're mostly looking to experience the story, deactivate Ringheroes and the mission will be very easy do complete. Activating Ringheroes on the other hand will make it a bit more challenging.


Your settings need to look like this.
Don't forget to adjust the difficulty by either deactivating Ringheroes (easy)
 or activating them (medium)


Have fun playing!

Some of you also had some problems with the Mission last week, so I suggested to show you how I play the map. So for all who wanted some hints how to play the map: This is my complete walkthrough of the whole mission. xD

Your Edainteam

Gnomi

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Re: A Past and Future Secret
« Antwort #7 am: 16. Dez 2020, 15:47 »
Greetings, companions of Edain!

We hope you enjoyed the hidden missions so far, because today we have two more to show. Not only the Elves of Lorien had to take up arms, their brothers both in Mirkwood and west of the Misty Mountains have to defend their homes as well. These are the two missions:

Rumours in Lindon


Play the dunedain and elves united against the evil in this area

Take control of the experienced elves of Imladris and their Dúnedain allies. Rumours are spreading about creatures of darkness terrorizing the Gulf of Lune. It is up to you to make sure the shores remain free of evil.
Play this mission by playing as Imladris on the map "Gulf of Lune". Pick the left starting position and leave the other position empty (no AI or human player). As usual, deactivate Ringheroes for an easier mission and activate them for a bit of a challenge!


Securing the eastern borders


Thranduil's soldiers getting attacked

Take control of Thranduil and his Mirkwood soldiers. Your scouts detected enemy movements near your eastern borders. The Woodland Realm has to remain safe from the Men of Rhûn, so make sure you repel all enemy forces!
Play this mission by playing as Lorien on the map "East Bight". Pick the top left starting position and leave the other position empty (no AI or human player). As usual, deactivate Ringheroes for an easier mission and activate them for a bit of a challenge!


Your settings for "Gulf of Lune" need to look like this.
Don't forget to adjust the difficulty by either deactivating Ringheroes (easy)
or activating them (medium).

Your settings for "East Bight" need to look like this.
Don't forget to adjust the difficulty by either deactivating Ringheroes (easy)
or activating them (medium).

Have fun playing!

Your Edain Team
« Letzte Änderung: 16. Dez 2020, 15:50 von Gnomi »

Gnomi

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Re: A Past and Future Secret
« Antwort #8 am: 21. Dez 2020, 20:46 »
Greetings, companions of Edain!

Creating new concepts for Edain means paying attention to lots of different things. Gameplay, enjoyment and balance always play an important role, not to mention J.R.R. Tolkien's books.
Quite often, a lot of the thoughts that go into creating something new are lost on many players - so today we wanted to take one of our new maps to go deep and give you an example of how we interpret Tolkien's works.


The Orocarni are rarely mentioned directly in the Lord of the Rings, but there are many nuggets of knowledge about them spread throughout the books.

Orocarni is one of the new 8-player maps we added this year. Looking at it, several big differences to other maps are immediately recognisable. But how did we end up with the final design?

One of the largest mountain ranges in Middle-Earth, the Orocarni are often connected to the land of Rhûn, which is also located in the east. However, our image of Rhûn is usually dominated by the area around the Sea of Rhûn. But there are still vast regions past that, and the distance from the Sea of Rhûn to the Orocarni is about as large as its distance to the Misty Mountains, which again is about as large as the distance from there to the Ered Luin (west of the Shire). Landscapes can change significantly over such wide spaces, as you all know.


Both the size of the Orocarni and its remote location are clearly visible

This means that not all characteristics of Rhûn's design need to be applied to the Orocarni. We need to put a little more thought into the looks of these mountains.

So what do we actually know about the Orocarni?

They were first mentioned in the First Age - the Elves first awoke at the eastern shores of of the inland sea of Helcar, at the feet of the Orocarni. Large forests were dominating the landscape. But after the sea dried up, we can't be sure how many trees survived into the Third Age.
It was also speculated that some of the Dwarven Clans found their home in these mountains.


Perhaps Dwarves lived in the Orocarni

Unfortunately, Tolkien didn't give us more specifics - or did he?
If we look below the surface, Tolkien did give us a lot of information that inspired things like the red sandstone, a key feature of our map.
Tolkien was a philologist, an expert on language and its meaning. This is apparent in his works, especially when it comes to the names of certain regions. Want some examples?
In Europe, the color red is often used to describe rivers from a region that is rich in ore, which colors the water with a bit of red. An example for this would be the Red Main in Germany. In Middle-Earth, we can find the Carnen - Sindarin for Redwater.
Another obvious location are the White Mountains; it is quite likely that marble could be found and mined here and was used to build Minas Tirith, the white city.
There are many more examples of this to be found in Tolkien's work, but the point is this: Names are important. And the Orocarni, when translated into Westron, are the Red Mountains. This made it clear that the color is important, not just a minor detail, when creating our map.

At this point, we could have stopped at the connection of color of red and Iron, but that would have pretty much left us with a bigger copy of the Iron Hills further east. Copying an already known location is boring, and it doesn't give players the feeling that this is actually a unique place in Middle-Earth, with its own distinct characteristics. So we chose to focus on sandstone, which fits Rhûn.
And just like Tolkien was inspired by regions and landscapes from the real world (the valley of Imladris was heavily inspired by Lauterbrunnen in Switzerland, for example), we used an example from the real world for this map as well. To be more specific, the Elbe Sandstone Mountains.


Steep sandstone cliffs and high plateaus are normal here

Another detail to be found on this map are the Elven ruins, hinting of the long history of the region. Maybe these are ancient reminders of the First Age, conserved by Elven magic through millenia? Maybe some Elves returned to be close to the birthplace of their ancestors? Many reasons are possible, but some questions can't be answered for certain.


Where are these Elven ruins from?

Last, but not least, we also implemented the possibility of dwarven inhabitants - for this reason, we chose Dwarven soldiers for our trailer.


As you can see, we used Tolkien's work as orientation for our own, even beyond his direct storytelling. He wove so many details into his world that we can only marvel at it, and it's especially helpful for the most important basics that are immediately recognisable.
The smaller extras are then up to our own interpretation. Based on the rich history of Middle-Earth, they breathe life into each map. Some of these details may go unnoticed by most, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't stay as close to the lore as possible. Of course, there are many other things to take into account when making a map, but that would be far too much for this article.

We hope you liked this insight into our development process and our interpretation of Tolkien. Maybe you even learned a thing or two.
Stay safe and happy holidays!