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Factions Guide by LordSiege
Version: 1.1 | Updated: 12/24/05
*--------------------------------------------------* |The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle Earth| *--------------------------------------------------* Author: Rick Spenik contact @ R724reddog@aol.com Version 1.0 Copyright 2005 Rick Spenik This may be not be reproduced under any circumstances except for personal, private use. It may not be placed on any web site or otherwise distributed publicly without advance written permission. Use of this guide on any other web site or as a part of any public display is strictly prohibited, and a violation of copyright. Updates: Version 1.1 -Made Specific Strategies Version 1.0 -Made Table of Contents -Made Overview of Game -Made Overview of Factions -Made General Strategies Table of Contents: If looking for something specific, use the "find" function (cntl+f) and put number and/or letter corresponding to what you want to find. 1 - Overview of Game 2 - Overview of Factions 2a - Gondor 2b - Rohan 2c - Isengard 2d - Mordor 3 - General Strategies 4 - Specific Strategies I plan on making walkthroughs on major campaign missions in the future (Helm's Deep, Minas Tirith, Isengard...) If you have a question about the game or about a certain mission, e-mail me (my e-mail is at the top of the page). Please put the subject as "Question: BFME FAQ", or else I might accidentally skip it. I will try to answer all your questions. ______________________________________________________________________________ 1 - Overview of Game First, I must say that LOTR: Battle for Middle Earth is one of the best RTS games I have played. The graphics and sounds are absolutely stunning. The game itself looks like none other that I have played, and compared to the Ages of Empire series, it beats the graphics by a long shot. There are, however, several flaws in this game that I shall explain. The game has been made much more simpler than other RTS games in many different aspects. For one thing, you are limited in both the number of buildings that you can have and where you can build them. The castles are pre-built and they have anywhere from 7-9 "build sites" (depending on the chosen faction). The resource gathering is not nearly as specific as in Ages of Empire. These are the two main problems I see with the game, although others might disagree. All in all, the game is great and I highly recommend it. ______________________________________________________________________________ 2 - Overview of Factions In BFME, there are four playable factions to choose from. There are the Forces of Light (FOL) consisting of Gondor and Rohan, and there are the Forces of Darkness (FOD) consisting of Isengard and Mordor. Each faction has it's own advantages and disadvantages. In general, FOL is more defensive as they begin with walls, and FOD is more offensive as they do not have walls, but twice the command point limit as Gondor and Rohan. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 2a - Gondor Gondor's strength lies within its defense. They have stronger walls than Rohan. Battle Towers, Trebuchets, and Postern Gates can all be built on the walls. Furthermore, Gondor's castle can be upgraded with a Gondor Stoneworker, one of the buildings allowed only to Gondor which can strengthen the walls and gate, and can also make battle towers more damaging. Gondor collects their recources from Farms and Blacksmiths. Farms provide a lower cost of the Gondor cavalry, Knights. Blacksmiths allow upgrades to be purchased and reduces the cost of those upgrades. Only farms can be built on settlements, so I advise having a higher number of blacksmiths than farms in your castle. Gondor has several units that can be trained from unit production buildings (Barracks, Stables...). They have several strengths and weaknesses: Barracks: Soldiers - A simple battalion of soldiers. They have a secondary formation in which they form a box giving them greater armor but reducing their speed. They are cheap to build and can do well on the battlefield. They are good for attacking archers and are excellent against pikemen. However, cavalry and monsters can easily crush soldiers. Most useful as a counter to pikemen. Tower Guards - The elite infantry of Gondor. They have more health, armor, and damage than the Soldiers. In thier shield wall formation, they take extremely small amounts of damage, but move extremely slowly. They are four times the cost of soldiers, but they are worth it. They do well against all enemies except monsters (mumakil, ents, and trolls). Once they enter combat, it is wise to put them into shield wall, and then change them back once the battle is over. Archery Center: Archers - Basic battalion of archers. They have a fast rate of fire compared to other basic archer units and can hold their own in ranged combat. They have a secondary formation in which they do more damage, but also take more damage as well. They will get massacred in close combat, which is why it is important for there to be an infantry force always accompanying archers. They are good at taking out monsters and pikemen but beware of siege weapons like catapults and ballistas. They are very effective on the walls, as no melee unit can reach them. Rangers - Arguably the best archer unit in the game. Rangers have the ability to hide when standing in a forest or near trees, which is very useful for ambushes. I highly recommend upgrading your Rangers with fire arrows, as they will do much more damage to enemies and buildings, making them a good raiding unit. They have another formation similar to that of the Archers, in which they do more damage for less armor. They can also do some damage in melee combat, but will most likely lose. Use against all units in the game, especially monsters but be wary of cavalry and elite infantry units (Tower Guards, Soldiers of Rhun...). Stables: Knights - Most likely the best cavalry unit in the entire game, knights are heavily armored and have lots of health. They easily trample over infantry units, but keep them far away from pikes. Stay away from archer units as well until you upgrade your knights with Horse Shields. They are excellent at raiding settlements and destroying siege weapons. A must-have in any Gondor army. Workshop: Trebuchet - The siege weapon of Gondor. They are relatively cheap to build and can be upgraded with Fire Stones, which increase the damage that they do. This upgrade can also be used on trebuchets built on the wall. Useful on taking down walls and buildings, and Trebuchets do a pretty good job on archer units. If they get caught in melee combat, they'll get slaughtered, so protect them. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 2b - Rohan Rohan's strength relies in three things. One, the fact that they have seven recruitable heroes. Two, the fact that they can build Ents. Three, the fact that they can make Elves, Rohirrim Archers, and Peasents. Their weakness, however, is that Rohan has the worst economy in the game (no argument). Also, Rohan's upgrades can only be purchased from the Armory, which costs 1500. Rohan's only resource building is the Farm. The advantage to Rohan's farms is the fact that Peasents can be built from them. They can be very useful in the right hands. Also, Rohan can build Ents and Rohan has a power to summon them (huge advantage). Rohan relies mainly on its cavalry force and numerous heroes. The Rohan units are built from Farms, Archery Ranges, Stables and Entmoots. Farm: Peasents - Although you might not guess, Peasents are one of the most dominating forces early in a game. Why? Because they are made from Farms. I will explain in the Strategies section. Peasents themselves are not that great. They start out extremely weak. That is why if you plan on making Peasents, the first power to buy is Draft, which makes Peasents equal to Soldiers, basically. Ironically, they are the only infantry of Rohan. Archery Range: Yeoman Archers - The basic archer unit of Rohan. Not as good as the Gondor Archers in my opinion. Their second formation is absolutely useless, as they will be killed before you know it. The only reason these archers should be made is to gain access to the Elves and Fire Arrows. Grouping Yeoman Archers with Peasents is probably the best thing to do. Elves - The Elves are the best archer unit in the game. They perform exactly like the Gondor Rangers do, except the Elves have some advantages. They have the ability to be upgraded with heavy armor, unlike the Rangers. Also, they can be given Forged Blades and can actually become a very slow infantry unit. I do not recommend using the Elves for melee combat, unless you are being charged by enemy cavalry. For some reason, the Elves with swords equipped are a very good counter to cavalry. This makes them better than the Rangers. Stables: Rohirrim - The famous horsemen of Rohan. They can trample against infantry and destroy siege weapons with ease. However, they are weak against pikes and archers. If you think that the Rohirrim are better than the Gondor Knights, you're wrong. I don't know why either. The only advantage they have is that they are cheaper to build than Knights. The Rohirrim can become better than Gondor Knights if you recruit Theoden, the King of Rohan, and have him ride with your Rohirrim. Before a large battle, have Theoden use Glorious Charge (if he has it), and your Rohirrim will be the strongest force on the battlefield. Rohirrim Archers - The famous horsemen of Rohan, with bows and arrows. They are an excellent counter to Pikemen and even more deadly to enemy cavalry. If the enemy runs away while the Rohirrim Archers are attacking, then they will continue to fire while chasing the enemy. If the Rohirrim Archers are shooting at infantry or other melee units and the enemy starts to get close, run away and fire some more. Rohirrim Archers are weak in close combat. Also watch out for seige weapons. Entmoot: Ents - The mighty Ents of Fanghorn Forest. They are the siege weapons of Rohan. They can break down walls either in melee combat or by simply throwing rocks at them. Ents have the longest range of anything in the game. They can virtually not be killed hand-to-hand. Of course, there is a downside. They are made of wood. Wood catches fire. Fire comes from Fire Arrows. Avoid units with Fire Arrows no matter what it takes. Also stay away from Mumakil. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2c - Isengard Isengard has no walls. Not a good thing. Isengard also has only 2 heroes, one that costs 5000 resources. What is Isengard good at, you might ask? Offense. Isengard has the best siege weapons in the entire game. They also have a fast economy. Isengard has three resource collecting buildings, the Slaughterhouse, the Lumbermill and the Furnace. The Slaughterhouse lowers the cost of Wargs and the Furnace lowers the cost of upgrades and siege weapons. Furnaces will be much more important than Slaugherhouses in your castle. Lumbermills can only be built on settlements and reduce the cost of buildings. Isengard has three unit production buildings. They are the Uruk Pit, the Warg Pit, and the Siegeworks. Uruk Pit: Uruk Hai - The basic infantry of Isengard. Instead of coming in battalions of five, like the Gondor Soldiers, they come in hordes of ten. Uruk Hai have a unique advantage that makes them the best infantry in the game. They can run faster than any other infantry unit. That means that they can raid enemy settlements and retreat before the enemy gets there. Individually, they are weaker than the Gondor Soldiers, but as a horde, they are efficient. They also have a second formation exactly like that of the Gondor Soldiers. Uruk Crossbows - The archer unit of Isengard. They, like the Uruk Hai, are faster than the other basic archer units. That, however, does not mean they are better. They need to be closer to their target than Gondor Archers do, and Uruk Crossbows get slaughtered in close combat. One thing the Uruk Crossbows do have is a faster rate of fire, meaning they shoot their bolts quicker. They have the same strengths and weaknesses that other basic archer units have in this game, but infantry is not as big of a problem because the Uruk Crossbows are fast. Uruk Pikemen - The feared pikemen of Isengard. Most likely the best counter to cavalry in the game. They, like the other Uruks, have an increase in speed. Although they are good against cavalry units, the Uruk Pikemen are terrible against everything else. Keep these hordes towards the front or sides of your force in case of cavalry flanking. Uruk Berserker - My favorite unit in the game. The Berserker comes equipped with a Forged Blade. They are used primarily for sieges. They can go on the top of siege ladders and can light mines. Another great use for them is raiding enemy settlements. Get a group of five berserkers attacking an enemy building, and it will go down in seconds. They do a good job on all units in the game except for monsters. Warg Pit: Warg Riders - The cavalry of Isengard. Wargs are very good at raiding enemy settlements and are an excellent counter to enemy cavalry. Warg Riders have a unique ability called "Howl". It gives them +150% Damage. They also have a second formation that makes them do less damage but increases their armor. Very good to have Warg Riders stay in this formation all the time, except when attacking enemy buildings with no enemy troops around. Siegeworks: Battering Ram - The simple ram. What does it do? Well, it rams. Very quick and cheap to build. The Battering Ram is very resistant to pierce damage. They, along with all siege equipment, are very weak to melee damage. Sending a group of four or five at a time at an enemy's base is better than sending them one at a time. If you send a Battering Ram at a Gondor Castle Gate and the enemy has upgraded battle towers everywhere along his walls, your Battering Ram will die right before reaching the gate. As I said, very resistant to pierce damage. Ballistas - The best siege projectile. The Ballista is the most damaging siege weapon that fires from a distance. It also has the fastest reload time, matched by the Mordor Catapult. Ballistas will destroy archer units either on walls or on foot. Be careful though, as they can be destroyed easily by infantry or cavalry. A must have for any siege. Siege Ladder - Isengard's gateway to a victory. The Siege Ladder enables Uruk Hai, Uruk Crossbows and Uruk Berserkers to climb on top of the walls of Rohan or Gondor. A very good idea is to have an Uruk Berserker climb the ladder before it reaches the wall so when it does, the Berserker will hop off and kill all in its way. Another must-have for any successful siege. Explosive Mine - The ultimate siege weapon. The Explosive Mine will decimate any and all that are unlucky enough to be close to it when exploded. Explosive Mines can get to walls during a battle and will be put against the wall. Once there, it can never be moved again. After it is set, Fire Arrows or a Berserker with a lighted torch can blow it up. Keep it away from the rest of your army, though, because if the enemy shoots a Fire Arrow at it, it will blow up. A successful explosion will change the tide of battle and your enemy will most likely cry. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2d - Mordor My favorite faction. Mordor has strength in numbers. Their greatest advantage is the fact that orcs are free. That's right. They cost no resources whatsoever. Mordor also has the fastest economy of all four factions. Not to mention, Mordor has access to the monsters (Trolls, Mumakil...) In any Mordor battle, one of the first things to build is an Orc Pit. When it is finished, make all the orcs you can get. That way, you have an advantage and can probably attack the enemy with about four orc hordes. If they all die, then send another four hordes. If they die, send more. In the meantime, save up for trolls or Nazgul. With the great economy that Mordor has, the price of the units isn't too bad. Orc Pit: Orc Warriors - Orcs. What can I say? They're FREE!!! Of course, just because they're free doesn't mean they're good. Individually, they are the weakest infantry unit in the game. But as a group, they are one of the best. The only upgrade that they can get is the Banner Carrier. It's not worth getting though, since orcs get killed rather fast. A must for any Mordor player. Orc Archers - The archers of Mordor. Orc Archers aren't very skilled, but a large group with Fire Arrows can hold their own. As soon as you get your resources going steady, stop making Orc Warriors and make a few Orc Archers. Doing this will make your Orc Pit level up much faster. At least when it's at level two, you can start making Orc Warriors again. Not too bad, but don't rely on them for everything. Equip them with Fire Arrows and mount them to the back of a Mumakil and you get the coolest siege weapon ever. Haradrim Palace: Haradrim Lancers - The Evil Men of the South. Haradrim Lancers throw spears from a distance at their target. If their target comes up close, then the Haradrim Lancers stab them with their spears. They are very effective against infantry and cavalry. Keep them away from all archer units. Haradrim Lancers will die extremely fast from archers. Mount them to the backs of Mumakil to have them shoot arrows at your enemies. Soldiers of Rhun - The elite infantry of Mordor. The greatest advantage to the Soldiers of Rhun is that they take very little damage from archers. They are also an anti-cavalry unit and can hold their own against other infantry. Very good overall unit. Troll Cage: Mountain Troll - The strong Troll. It can break down gates and other structures (except walls) and can kill all infantry with one hit. Trolls are great for destroying siege equipment and for countering cavalry. The death of all Trolls come from archers. If you are planning for a Troll to kill mostly units, then have it pick up a tree. If you are planning for a Troll to destroy siege equipment and structures, don't have it pick up anything (picking up a rock is ok). Drummer Troll - What's better than a Troll? A Troll with drums. Drummer Trolls are used for providing leadership to other units like Orcs and Trolls. It can also fight against infantry, but they should only fight if needed. Keep them away from archers. Mumakil Pen: Mumakil - The mighty Mumakil. They can charge through the enemy and can kill enemy heroes easily. Mumakil are the counter to all infantry and cavalry. They are great for destroying enemy walls and towers. Have Orc Archers or Haradrim Lancers mount Mumakil, and it's a walking siege machine. The Mumakil itself attacks the wall while the Orc Archers or Lancers kill enemy units. Keep Mumakil away from archers, especially archers with Fire Arrows. If the Mumakil dies, move your units away. _______________________________________________________________________________ 3 - General Strategies There are countless ways to beat missions and skirmishes. I will list the general tactics used by many RTS players. If you have your own strategy, e-mail it to me and I will include it and give you credit. Rushing: One of the most simple tactics, and yet, one of the most effective tactics is Rushing. Rushing is taking all the force you have and attacking your enemy at the start of the game. While you attack your enemy, you build up another force and send it at your enemy. Continue the process until you win. Best used with Mordor or Rohan. Turtling: A tactic used mostly by beginners or people who have a lot of time to spend. Turtling is when you keep your entire force in your base and make lots of towers. This tactic is best used with Gondor because you can then get defensive upgrades. Turtling takes a lot of time, however, and usually doesn't work. Not exactly my favorite tactic. Hero Rushing: Basically filling your base with resource buildings and waiting for heroes. I personally think that this is the worst strategy of all. This is used mostly with Rohan because of the number of heroes. This can also be used with Gondor to get Gandalf fast. This is dangerous to use because you have no defenses. By the time you get one hero, your enemy can have a decent-sized army and siege weapons. Upgrading: Similar to Turtling, except that you focus on upgrading one type of unit instead of your defenses. When you get a fully upgraded army, you attack in one giant wave. Whenever this tactic is used, cavalry are usually being upgraded. Used mostly by everyone except Mordor, as they have no real upgrades. Raiding: My favorite strategy. A combination of Rushing and Upgrading. Send out your starting units to attack the enemy settlements and do what you can to get cavalry ASAP. Once you get cavalry, keep raiding enemy settlements. Doing this delays the enemy. While you raid, build up your force or build siege weapons and destroy the enemy. -If you are using this tactic as Isengard, it is a better idea to simply raid using Uruk Hai and build siege weapons or upgrades. -If you are using this tactic as Mordor, raid enemy settlements using orcs. Since Mordor has no upgrades of their own (except Fire Arrows if you want Orc Archers), make Trolls and Siege or Mumakil. Expanding: A lighter version of Turtling, but with some more offense. The point is to take over all expansion points (camps), and fill them with keeps or other defensive buildings. This doesn't make much of a difference against the computer, but can frustrate other players in multiplayer and make them quit. _______________________________________________________________________________ 4 - Specific Strategies Elves: One of the most used and hardest to beat strategies in the game is upgrading an army of Elves. This is very hard to beat because Elves can easily fight infantry and archers. Cavalry do not stand a chance because the Elves can equip their swords, making them similar to Uruk Pikemen, but not as efficient. This, like all strategies, can be beat because they have a weakness. In the case of the Elves, that weakness is the fact that they are probably the slowest unit in the game to create and upgrade. Also, Rohan has the worst economy in the game. From the list of strategies above, the best one to use is Rushing. If you can demolish your opponent's gate before they can get an Armory, then you are most likely going to win. If you are Gondor, then this will be one of the hardest battles for you. The first thing that you should do if you can, is build a workshop and do your best to knock down your enemy's gate with Trebuchets. In the meantime, attack your enemy's settlements with your starting Soldiers and Pippen to slow them down. When you break the gate, make sure that you have soldiers ready to storm in and destroy the Archery Range. Then the battle is yours. If you don't manage to break down the gate, then build an Archery Range of your own and create Rangers with Fire Arrows. Luckily, Rangers take only fifteen command points, unlike the Elves who take twenty. Also, Gondor can summon Rohirrim. Summon the Rohirrim right in the middle of the Elves so that they have their swords equipped, and then attack them with both the Rangers and the Rohirrim. If you are Isengard, then you are lucky. Uruk Hai have a bonus of +300% damage vs. Elves. Start off by building two furnaces and get a lumbermill with your starting horde. Then raid the enemy settlements with that horde and War Chant. While you are raiding make some more Furnaces and an Uruk Pit. After making some more Uruk Hai, make a Siegeworks and create two or three Battering Rams. With those Rams, break down the gate, and you will do good. If you don't break the gate early, then just make Uruk Hai and Ballistas. When the Elves attack your Uruk Hai, attack the Elves with your Ballistas. Also try using Saruman's Wormtongue ability on as many Elves as you can get. It's funny to watch your enemy's forces attacking each other. If you are Mordor, then you have a pretty good chance. Start by making an Orc Pit, a Slaughterhouse, and Gollum. Go straight to attacking your enemy's settlements with Orc Warriors and get your own settlements with Gollum. Make some more Slaugherhouses and then make a Troll Cage. Make trolls when you can and send them to attack the enemy's gate. If you don't break the gate, then make a Haradrim Palace and spawn Soldiers of Rhun because they are like an anti-archer unit. Attack Elves with Soldiers of Rhun and Trolls.