Sunday, February 20, 2011

Battle for Middle Earth - Faction - Gondor

Battle for Middle Earth - Faction - Gondor
This is a hint/walkthrough post for Battle for Middle Earth. You can find an index of all our Battle for Middle Earth posts here.

Probably the most versatile of all the factions. The only drawback is the time required to get various unit upgrades (level 2 Blacksmith, and you can't rush-upgrade a Blacksmith). In the Good Campaign, this becomes a non-issue by around mid-campaign if you can retain your units because once fully upgraded, you don't have to do anything with them.

Tower Guard
In a mixed Tower Guard-Archer battalion, you have to keep an eye on them because they are remarkably passive. If a mixed unit is attacked from behind, they may (probably won't) move from formation to attack the enemy.

Comparable to the Rohirrim Warriors, but with Theoden's Glorious Charge, even at high veterancy they can be killed very quickly by pikemen. Higher-level knights can probably get away with charging level 1 pikemen, but not too many of them. Mordor in particular has strong Men of Rhûn units, and in the late game the Mordor camps start with veteran Men of Rhûn.

The Archer appears to be rendered obsolete by the Ranger at a level 2 Archery Range until you consider that they can get Heavy Armor, which gives improved protection at range, in melee, and against the fire from fire arrows (which will be very common by mid-campaign and almost always appear by late campaign -- and both Isengard and Mordor have 10-man hordes per battalion, which means a lot of fire damage unless you are protected).
Also, if you like to put archers with Tower Guards for trample protection and improved survivability in melee, the Ranger loses their stealth anyway. Finally, The initial improvement in Health and Damage that a Ranger gets becomes less significant at higher levels because units get a flat increases to Health and Damage, rather than a percentile increase.

The Ranger appears to be a better version of the Archer, and at level 1 they do have better Damage, better Health, and slightly longer visual range. They are also stealthed in forests and the campaign uses this frequently.
In practice, however, the Stealth advantage is useless because you cannot command a unit to not attack except by giving them a move command. You can't really set up the ambushes that you see in scripted events when you play the Evil Campaign. And your archers typically have a longer visual range anyway.
One of the few ways you can use Stealth to your advantage is in advancing on siege weapons, which have the longest attack ranges in the game and attacks that are generally deadly against regular troops at almost any level. Even then, you need to either destroy them with your first volley, or move as soon as they fire so that your unit isn't around at the target location to be hit.

In the Good Campaign, unless you have somehow ended on the defensive, you will probably never have to use this. You could use it to counterattack enemy artillery, but it is probably better to charge their artillery with Knights than sit around to receive artillery fire. If you try to do both, your own units will probably get blown up by your trebuchet fire -- a problem with any artillery use in Battle for Middle Earth.
Trebuchets cannot blow each other up.

Playing Gondor
If you need to recycle units in the Good Campaign and don't have a handy way to do it (e.g., a troll lair to send in hapless units), build a trebuchet tower. The trebuchets there do not count toward your Command Point limit, and you can blow up your units with them by taking control of the trebuchet and directing it to Barrage an area.

Fighting Gondor AI
Gondor uses stone defenses, and have a unique advantage in that their wall structures (trebuchet towers and defense towers) require siege engines to take down. Other factions have wooden buildings and are vulnerable to at least fire arrows. That said, the trebuchet tower can be neutralized by destroying the trebuchet, which can be done quickly with fire arrows.

The AI seems to prefer infantry and trebuchets, probably because they either quickly exhaust their resources producing the expensive Gondor Knights cavalry unit, or they never built them and instead concentrated on quantity and getting Tower Guards. This means that you can typically start trampling them all shortly after the initial wave. You can see this in the late game of the Evil Campaign if you use Isengard forces and move east into Gondor lands during Chapter 17.
Even Tower Guards in turtle formation can be trampled, although you will probably need veteran units to do this safely.

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