The Lord of the Rings: War of the Ring is a 2003
real-time strategy game (RTS) developed by Liquid Entertainment, the
makers of the previous Battle Realms and its expansion, Winter of the
Wolf, and published by Sierra Entertainment. Set in J. R. R.
Tolkien’s fictional Middle-earth, it expands upon the events of
the War of the Ring as told in his fantasy novel, The Lord of the Rings.
the later RTS The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth by
Electronic Arts, War of the Ring is unrelated to the films by Peter
Jackson. The game is officially licensed by Tolkien Enterprises, as are
other book-based (as opposed to film-based) Tolkien games such as The
Fellowship of the Ring and The Hobbit
game plays much like Warcraft III with added features, some previously
used in Battle Realms. A similar layout and control system is used, and
the player gets to control hero units with special abilities. Most
regular units also have abilities of their own. The game also follows
certain RTS conventions such as having rally points and controlling
unit creation and purchase of upgrades at designated buildings.
features from Battle Realms that were carried over include toggleable
walking and running for units and the ability to set buildings on fire.
The game also emulates Battle Realms’ yin and yang system, where
combat experience (or special actions) would provide a special resource
that could be used to buy upgrades or units. This resource is called
Yin or Yang in the previous game, depending on the faction being used,
and is called Fate here. The player can use Fate Points (gained in
combat) to summon heroes, purchase their special abilities, and
activate special faction-specific Fate Powers that will aid him or her
in gameplay (such as summoning an Ent or a Balrog). Also, some
influence from Warcraft III can be seen. The Minions of Sauron must
corrupt land with "war posts" before they can build
upon it - similar to the Warcraft III Undead faction's
"blight". When playing as the Free Peoples, one gets
to control Huorns, similar to Warcraft Night Elf "Ancient
The game features Places of Power,
monuments that award bonuses to all units (like increased armor or
attack) if controlled by the player. The player takes control of one by
either finding on the map (by having a unit go near it) or wresting it
from the foe (killing guards, if any, or else taking it when left
The game utilizes a more advanced graphics engine
than does Battle Realms, with variable weather and lighting effects.
The engine is able to generate eye candy such as blowing grass and
units sporting bloodstained weapons after they have killed enemy units.
The game records the number of enemy units killed by each of the player's units as part of the interface when each is selected.
game features a Good and an Evil campaign, in which one fights the War
of the Ring from opposing sides. The game does not actually dwell on
prominent battles such as the Battle of the Pelennor Fields (except for
the Battle of the Hornburg, featured in the Good campaign) but rather
presents scenarios based upon Tolkien’s writings (with varying
degrees of license taken). For example, the Good campaign starts with
Gimli and the Dwarves fighting the Orcs in the Iron Hills, and one Evil
mission has Grishnákh destroying the Beacons of Gondor. A
relatively more faithful scenario is the defense of Osgiliath with
Boromir and Faramir.
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