It's been a while since the forgotten race in the forest of Athel Loren got some attention.
What concerns me most, their ability to settle where ever they want from the first Warhammer game, became obsolete in the second... (even I started a big discussion when Warhammer 2 was announced, actually I think the climate feature is now a good thing for nearly all factions.) but this obviously, is not really helpful for the elfs of the forest. One might give them new features, and new abilities, to get on the same level as the other races.... One which bugs me the most is, that a quite detailed faction is limited to the forest in the old world, even though there are plenty of hints in lore, that the wood elves might appear in other parts of the world as well. The Oak has giant roots, reaching farregions of the known world, and since all of these regions are swarmed with hostile strangers, it should be in the interest of inhabitants of Athel Loren, to protect these by all means.
This post is containing many things, and might be more appropriate as a ragbag of ideas, how the woodelves might be improved, updated or even a new Warhammer 2 DLC might be introduced. I will explain how I imagine an improved Woodelf AI with new “AI-Traits”, introduce 2 new woodelf sub factions in lustria and the southlands, explain new settlement features and will explain a new World root feature, which even the odds with other factions.
Actually, I played every elf race in multiple games, and I think the wood elves might be quite strong in the mid game, but are heavily underpowered in the late game. In addition to that, the AI playing as Woodelves, seem not be very "clever" and is lacking of making a good use of the woodelf features. I can’t trade or trust on their reliance (well I know they might not be the most trustful people, but why should someone declare war on me if I am raiding bretonia with 6 armies?) wars against them aren’t very unique. The AI is not doing some ambush stuff, and the attack on a grove seem feels rather lame for an attack. Generally, it seems like the AI don’t follow any greater goal, but just trying to annoy you.
That’s why I would like to present here many suggestions.
I start with the lords, explain the world root system, talk about a new settlement system and improved AI features given all these new suggestions.
New Legendary Lords
Well, I think since Warhammer 2, the Athel Loren Forest, became very unpopular for the Mortal Empires. And still, there are enough reasons, that even the Woodelves, might have some reasons to leave their forest. Now since their cousins are in the game, they might consider to get out of their forest, and participate a little bit more in the battle about the throne of the elves (game of thrones *cough*). On the other hand, Lustria and the southlands offer a lot of forests, which were recently corrupted by the insidious ratmen or very recently appearing Vampire Pirates. Even if the wood elves, would like to keep their isolationous behavior, they need to clean the forests of these lands, otherwise the roots of the Oak of the ages, might be corrupted, and that disease might ultimately kill the tree. About the roots I would like to talk later so you might keep on reading.
What I want to introduce here are 2 new Legendary lords, and new mechanics to compete with the new factions.
The one is an exiled Elven Wardancer (I call her Artima) in the Jungle of Lustria, which sided with the Amazons. She is highly depending on Wardancers, and like ambushes. In addition to that, she is able to recruit Amazon units. In order to reestablish her lost honor, she faces the dangers of this strange jungle to defend the roots of the oak of the ages
The other legendary elven lord is Ariel, the Queen of the Forest of Loren. She decided to leave the forest and her Husband Orion to pilger the world in order to find herself. This journey of self-discovery shouldn’t be mistaken as weakness of her. She is one of the most powerful magicians in the Warhammer world, and there might be reasons why she was silent all the years. She brought herself to southern part of the desert of Nehek, and a leader of new established wood elf enclave there.
Artima - The exiled Wardancer (the Exiled of Athel Loren)
Artima (I derived it from the Greece god Artemis, actually unknown meaning) is leading a group of exiled Woodelves (most of them were Wardancers) into the far Continent of Lustria, because the Counsil of the Woodelves ordered her there as punishment. She needs to reestablish her reputation, and honor the oak of ages. She needs to clean the lands from the impurity which currently is luring. Unfortunately, this hostile land was crushing most of her army, she needed to flee deeper in the jungle, and luckily, were found by the Amazons. Anakonda, the leader of the warrior women, would have killed her; However, eventually Anakonda saw an opportunity. The elves, which were now under their costudy, shared similar goals. In fact, the Wardancers, shared so many properties, like they were of the same kind; wardancers also just women fighting for her lives, were skilled huntress and furious souls. Anakonda saw, that it might be the time, to clean the Jungle from its intruders. The both women sided together. While Anakonda was helping her elven sister to clean the roots of the Oak, Artima helped Anakonda to kill the intruders threating the home of the Warrior Women. Rumors were spread around their warrior sisters, that the two leaders seem to be more than just allies, or friends… Legendary Lord properties:
- Wardancer Commander Unit which is heavily focused on melee.
- Artima resides heavily on Wardancers, and offers many buffs for them
- she is an expert in establishing ambushes.
- Wardancers can be recruited right from the start
- Anakonda is an exclusive Hero for Artima(serpent magic, range attacks)
- Amazons can be recruited by this faction, which work similar to Deep Wood Scouts, without armor penetration, but poisonous arrows.
- - Every army of this faction has an ambush attack stance (likewise Alith Anar).
- Artima can't recruit any treekin Units, until the Oak roots (an equilvalent for the Oak of Ages, see later in World Root networks) reaches Level 3
- Artima can't recruit any male elven units, until the Oak root reaches Level 4. (this should simulate the gained acceptance of the wood elves as whole of the misandry Amazons.
The amazons are part of the Warhammer world, and exists in the table top game as a Dogs of War army. Their very small amount, make them quite impossible to be implemented as a faction as a whole. It might be feasible to put them into the game, but I thought it makes more sense, to put them together with a race which has a similar alignment and is also currently very rare. With this action CA would be able to sneak in another faction
Ariel - Wandering Queen of the Woods (Pilgers of the Oak)
Ariel, passed many years in the Oak of the ages, she felt still ashamed for the Season of Retribution, and saw the elves of the forest reestablish the balance, without her presence. Still she can't accept the attempt of Orion to fraternize with the mortal, he was a god after all. While she was still sending emissaries in her name back to the counsil of the woodelves, she needed still time to adapt to the attitude of its beloved husband. While she became less interested in her own folk every day, she began to study the Oak of the ages itself. Its secrets were filled with wisdom and knowledge, and power about life and death.
The Queen explored the oaks’ leaves, it’s branches, and began to knew more and more about the trunk and its bark. Her curiosity, wasn’t unseen. The wisest druids felt her presence within the tree. Rumors were spread about her recurrence, but every search for her of the common elves around or even in the oak of the ages were unavailing. Only the most enthusiastic and devoted followers of her were finally successful. The Queen told her to keep her reoccurrence as a secret, and in exchange she will show her all the secrets of the tree. It took a time, and she explored deeper down the tree followed by her loyal members.
But their curiosity, misguided the travelers. Their greed for knowledge, brought them deeper and deeper into the magic network of roots, until they finally lost their orientation. They decided to follow, one of the roots, to eventually find a way out. When the sun strived their faces again, they didn’t know if days, months or year past. The root’s end they left, was withered likewise the tree’s surrounding oasis they found themselves at. the sun was burning on their skin. They were stranded in the middle of no way. And the roots were just not strong enough to bring them back home.
The wood elves, were experts in the survival in harsh areas. It took some time until they realized they were in the heart of the southlands, in the southern Nehek.
This place was a dry oasis, lifeless and weak. The Queen realized for herself, that this must be a trail of the gods. They challenge her, in order to bring her back on the throne of Athel Loren. With the time passing in that oasis, she either accept her mortal nature, like her husband, and therefore take this new challenge as a journey to her discretion…. Or she will overcome her weakness and become a Force of Nature by herself as her godly presence is providing, and soon return as the Ruler of Athel Loren, destroying everything which resides in her way.
Legendary Lord properties
- Ariel is a strong mage character. She has the power of Isha, she can use her magic to heal her troops, or even terraform a battlefield, in which she grows tree’s. Her wings also directly allow her to fly without the use of a mount. How she develops depends highly on the choices of the player by dilemmas, talents, and quests. She could either become a force of destruction, taking the path of retribution, allowing to side with her dark elven cousins, and seek for revenge, or she follows the path of Rehabilitation, which allows her to aid her troops in fights, growing tree’s or heal wounded.
- The decisions have impacts of the character in battles, as well as of the strategic map. So, the path of destruction and control will lead to alignment with chaos, and the druchii, while the path of balance and resurrection will align her with the High elven cousins, especially Averlorn, and the forces of order. It is notable that this enclave of woodelves is less isloated, and becomes well known to their elven cousins as well.
- Either in chains, or as part of confederation, leading both, Orion and Ariel into the battle, will multiply the stats of them both, likewise the Carsteins. The player decides what kind of Ariel is finally returning to the Oak of the Ages.
- Ariel is a strong Mage character, which even allow terraform battlefields.
- Ariel rely heavily on Cavalierly and magical creatures.
- Her alignment, gives buffs for certain elven factions, while other harm the relation towards them.
- This allows her also to recruit foreign elven troops:
- Retribution: Dark elf units: e.g. Harpies, manticores, Shades, Hydras,
- Rehabilitation: High elf units: e.g. Sisters of Averlorn, Pheonix Guards, Pheonixes, Moon Dragons
- regions where “healed” much faster than from other LL of the wood elves.
- Fighting together with an either enslaved or befriended Orion will multiply both values.
- she is able to settle everywhere (see settlement for more explanation)
- she has higher penalties units if the root nodes were corrupted (see below)
- she gets advantages of the one side but loses the ones of others (likewise Norsca). She will also suffer from penalties of the opposing Trait. E.g. The path of Rehabilitation decreases her overall damage, but improves her healing abilities.
- She has very hard start position, surrounded by Tomb kings and Skaven
I hope you enjoyed so far, the Legendary lords. You might think like me, that they might be a good fit for especially the new world locations. However, I had more in mind and want to bring these ideas in. First of all, I want to suggest, to take away the whole amber system, and maybe the world root travel stance of the armies, and replace it by a system which is the curse and the blessing of the wood elves all at the same time.
World Root “portals”
you might also look for the "portal post" https://forums.totalwar.com/discussion/236013/portals/p1?new=1
I made a bigger article about this, because I think, this might not be an exclusive feature for the wood elves themselves. What it basically does, is the use of Portal like structures, which teleports the Army from one position to the other. This allows something like a fast travel. to other locations of the world. In the lore they are not really portals, but some kind of magical pathways, which can be traveled.
In the Total war game, it means, that there are certain root nodes were spread around the world. The higher the level of the Oak the more nodes were activated. The wood elves need to assure, that the regions in which the root node is set (and neighboring ones), is cleaned from any corruption (either skaven or chaos or vampirism). If the root is corrupted, it gains less growth, or even negative growth, if it is corrupted too heavily. If the growth of the oak becomes negative, the wood elves suffer and the public order decreases, as well as some units receive higher upkeep costs (e.g. Durthu elfs, Orion trees, Artima every elven unit), and a PERCENTAGE loss of all incomes).
The nodes were only visible for beast men units or other wood elf’s. So that the player should care about these enemies the most. As long as an army is set into the root node, it is invisible, if an army returns to the node it is visible for 1 turn. If the enemy is attacking the wood elf army in that round, and wins the battle, the root is killed for 20 turns, while its corruption still impacting the oak tree. Every non – wood elf player: don’t worry, they are never be placed in such way, that they could raid a settlement in a single turn and return to their root.
This in the end sums it up
: the good thing is, the wood elf armies can travel very fast and directly around the world, and leave these places quite fast as well. But they need to assure that the roots do not get corrupted. Which make them constantly look for their roots. Harm of the roots is caused by the following events:
- Corruption (Chaos,Skaven Vampirsm)
- Pillaging army, burning down villages (doubled penalty for Beastmen and chaos)
- Exploiting resources (only if a certain “tech” was not developed, followed from that tech it can even improve the productivity in the end, so siding up with woodelves in the later game might make some sense!)
- Marching armies (very low, can also be avoided by tech)
Beastmen, are the only faction which can travel roots as well. But unlike the wood elves, they can only travel from one node to the next, and have to finish first the nodes garrison. Beastmen become very feared enemies of the woodelves, and since the oak is growing, the chance of beastmen encounter rises tremendously.
This ensures that the Wood elf faction leaves sometimes their home to fix the world, while staying most time at their home. It also forces to manage the players resources. He possible can’t conquer just every settlement. Certain regions need just to be kept “clean” while strategic important ones might be fortified. The bigger the oak, the more complicated gets the branching. This allows for more tactical maneuvers, but add more space to be kept clean.
New buildings and settlements
Wood elves, are not interested in creating large empires. And their system of creating new groves all around the world, doesn’t look like an empire either. What makes sense to some extent, is that they are raiding around sack, villages, go on and leave. Also, I think it might be comprehensive, that they might safe their roots with some kind of outposts, therefore the faction gets more defense options for the root node regions, and less world empire features.
One of the biggest changes might be that the wood elves can’t simple settle everywhere anymore (beside Ariel, she can settle everywhere since she is more or less on a crusade to “heal” the world, she might be considered the most, as an “Woodelf empire faction”). They do not suffer from penalties, but they need a root node at that province to be allowed to settle there. This would resemble more the isolation character, and make them more a guerilla raiding faction, rather than a world dominating kingdom. However, there are very many nodes, and if the province contains such a root, the whole province can be conquered (if that is wanted). A good thing is, they can do more with their settlements, and are even allowed to upgrade them to level 3. Their world root node regions can become very fortified, and hard to conquer, making everyone think twice, to take away wood elf settlements.
Here are new possible buildings:
- Camp facilities: here tents, nets and other camp equipment is produced, and maintained. This allows horde like features for a single wood elf commander. They can recruit new units directly where ever they are, and reduce the upkeep for certain. While some features of this camp even allow the army to hide, as long as they are in a recruiting stance. If this building is lost, the army loses it’s recruiting abilities and all advantages, as long as there aren’t enough camp facilities build.
- Gardens: give similar to other income buildings a certain amount of gold, and tier 3 even increases the income of Athel Loren settlements, on a certain percentage.
- Traps: The whole region is set with traps, it increases the chance of ambushes by 25% of the own armies, while the chance of enemy ambushes were decreased by 25%
- Outlook posts(tier3): neighboring regions, and the region itself, is completely visible for the player. No matter who is controlling it.
- Outpost(tier3): attacking this village will allow the defending army fight in a new Woodelf fortified defense. The defense map is full of woods, and there is even some wall like structures placed in the map where the defender can place his or her units. Unlike a normal wall, this wall does not surround completely the town. It is meant to be an ease for archers, to fight enemies, not completely surround a village. The forests also allow for certain tactical maneuvers. Extra units were defending now the root exits.
General improvements and Units
Played a bit as Dark and High elves, and the wood elves can barely compete with them in my opinion, beside their excellent archers, I think they should get some more artillery, which offers some new tactical options. Magical Bolt throwers (without the option for spread fire) able to kill bigger enemies, like giants, or hydras, or what so ever was added to the game in Warhammer 2…
About the AI
Wood elf AI is strange as the secrets of the forest… well not actually, but the Woodelves are quite dull. They never leave their forest, or are expanding like crazy rabbits in the late game, which might be wanted, but is it really that suiting, when at the same time the chaos is invading the world? It simply doesn’t make sense. Their lacking communication, diplomatic options to act with them and very unreliable alliances, and simple dull choices (“yeah that 12 stacks of Druchii army raiding Bretonia (which we hate, but well) are totally the enemy which we were looking for!” *Declares war on me*) made them to one of the factions, which needed to die out first in every of my campaign play throughs.
Facing them in battles however, prove them to be less a threat. They seem to be heavily underpowered in defensive battles, and their lacking aggression before the battle makes them vulnerable targets.
They just seem to be the hilly Billy cousins of the long-eared foes. They are simply too passive for a game in which war is residing at every corner. What I demand is a more understandable goal for such faction. Also, If the Woodelves could be sneakier, attacking my armies from behind, do more ambushes and so on, they would become a very aggressive guerilla faction. Looking at their traits however, showed me that the AI did nothing wrong because it is programmed to stay in the forest, which makes kind of sense, even lore wise. But this is not suitable for the game.
I introduced in the very beginning, and in the later post the World root nodes. If the Woodelf AI would gain the “protector of the Oak”-trait which forces the AI to defend the world root nodes, things would change dramatically. The armies from the woodelves will appear at certain unknown fixed locations, attacking every harm for their oak. we would have a lot more encounter, and more understanding why they are that **** off. If e.g. Harkon is spreading some corruption at the Vampire coast, and unfortunately a root node is placed there, the root gets harmed, the wood elves jump out of the node, and attack the undead pirates. This would add new levels of surprise, new diplomatic involvements, new alliances, and new fraternization against enemies. New AI of the new and existing Lords:
- Durthu is attacking every faction which is harming a root node (doesn’t matter where in the world, he finds you). He doesn’t even care about any diplomatic consequences. He tries to settle in the foreign areas, just to know if a new corruption army is present. Beside that, he is rather passive, but has a good relation to Averlorn.
- Orion is similar to Durthu but might be a bit sneakier in his approach, he is less likely to attack non-Corruption forces, and also cares about diplomatic consequences of the situation. A little harm of the roots, might not be that bad, if it serves the greater purpose. He becomes less passive, and more active within the forces of Order (Empire, Bretonia, High Elves, Dwarfs). He might even help you if you defend yourself against corruption forces (they harm the oak!). But for everything else, he just doesn’t care, like he is at the moment.
- Ariel is a lot more involved in diplomacy than every other wood elven faction. She tries to build relations, alliances, and grows from her spot an empire. With the also expansive skaven and Tomb kings, wars are unavoidable. With her Elven cousins she tries to get involved, either through war or alliances. Therefore, Ariel is acting a lot more like the classical factions.
- Artima on the other hand, is caring more or less about the roots. Her new home in Lustria, driving her to clean any kind of corruption there. It seems just impossible to be befriended with her, if that faction is spreading any kind of corruption. Beside that, she can be a good trading partner for Lizardmen. She mostly builds in the settlement and is using the world root nodes to pillage enemies within lustria. She has no ambitions to leave Lustria or expand elsewhere.
What do you think? have you other, even better ideas to make the abonend elven folk cool again? Are there other lorewise good fitting mechanics which would suit for them?