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News Archives - March 2006

Middle Earth Toons Contest!
Posted on 3/31/2006 at 10:13 PM by Kester
Announcing the start of the Middle Earth Toons Contest! Feeling creative but can't draw? Here's your chance to unleash your creativity with a toon contest for BFME2. Entries will be accepted from April 1st to the 14th. Full details are in this thread. Good luck!
Poll Round-up!
Posted on 3/28/2006 at 10:53 AM by Kester
The Forces of Light are leading the way as people's favorite factions to play. Even the 3rd place FOL faction still received more votes than the highest scoring Forces of Darkness faction.

The question: Which is your favorite faction to play?
The responses:
Elves [374 votes]
Men [230 votes]
Dwarves [148 votes]
Mordor [135 votes]
Goblins [114 votes]
Isengard [109 votes]

It will be interesting to see if Elves remain as popular following the 1.03 patch, in which we expect to see some balance issues taken care of.

For the new poll you can tell what you think about the new resource gathering system. Vote here!
Logo Contest Winner!
Posted on 3/26/2006 at 8:57 PM by Kester
In a run-off vote between logos designed by Lord Somebody, Aurendil, and Maximus Decimus, Maximus Decimus's came out the winner. His entry will appear in the General Discussions forum, which has now been renamed Argonath, in keeping with his entry. The winning entry:

Thanks to everyone who entered - there were a lot of fantastic logos which I'm hoping will return in contests for the other forums.
Forum Party Tomorrow!
Posted on 3/25/2006 at 9:43 PM by FD2
Our third weekly forum party is tomorrow, being held at 2:00 PM forum time tomorrow. For more information, you can view the forum party thread.
Saturday Game Map/Mod Report
Posted on 3/25/2006 at 2:08 PM by Cassius Allanus
Shortly after my last news post, Troll Buddy updated his Monster and Banner Regen Mod. Mountain Trolls, Drummer Trolls, Attack Trolls, Mumakils, Cave Trolls, Mountain Giants, Fire Drakes, Berserkers, and Ents now auto-heal. All hordes gain auto-heal ability with Banner Carriers / Level 2 Rank (like Elves).

jbv3737 has also released four new maps.
-Gladiator Underworld BFME2 adds new versions of existing heroes. New Aragorn, new Gandalf, and new Haldir. All armed with an arsenal of new ability powers, the three heroes of Middle Earth go far deep into the Misty Mountains to slay the Balrog and all evil minions that follow the powerful demon.
-Hero Gladiator which is used for custom heros, instead of lairs you use level upgrade objects. Fight other enemy custom heros, good for training your custom hero and building the best costum hero that you can!
-River Canyon very big, fun, open, tons of lairs to rank up heroes, goes by the idea of one way from base to base.1v1,2v2,3v3 or 4v4, each side must follow a river to the other side of the map, which is the enemies side.
-Grassland of Favnor, an ancient place where the City of Favnor stood in the mountains, this ancient city was destroyed many ages ago, now it is only recognized by ruins.
Power Unlimited 's Review of BFME2
Posted on 3/25/2006 at 10:46 AM by Bendak
Power Unlimited, the biggest game magazine of Holland, has reviewed The Battle for Middle Earth II, and has given it 90 points out of 100!
BFME II this time goes deep, by letting building your own base and creating your own unique heroes have a important role in the game. Next to that, the multiplayer game variants are greatly added to, and the 'War of the Ring' mode certainly deserves special attention.

The base gameplay is still the same; an RTS gamer won't have any trouble with the structure of this game. Build your base, train armies, get your recources, upgrade your base, balance your units, love the new graphics, get over yourself from staring at the graphics, and continue to game with a smile.

On all fronts is BFME II not only more, but also more fun and better. A game that surpasses it's original on all fronts.

Also good news for the BFME II side of the BFME II vs EAW discussion - EAW got 84 points compared to BFME II's 90 ;).
Modding and a Mini Guide
Posted on 3/24/2006 at 8:01 PM by Kester
The modding community is off to a great start in our World Builder & Game Mods forum. Recent projects are Nazzie's work on the heroes Celeborn, Galadriel and Sauron, and bellitordei's Bellitor Mod, which has quite a few new buildings and changes to units.

After checking out their progress in the forums, head over to the download section to see the mods that have already been created.

Starting to feel inspired to give modding a try yourself? Then check out Blood Phoenix's Mini Guide: The .BIG Files. .BIG files are where the game data is stored, and this guide will show you how to find the files and extract them. Happy Modding!
Patch 1.02 Released
Posted on 3/24/2006 at 2:31 PM by Kester
If you've started up BFME2 today, you'll have noticed that the new patch has been released. It will automatically ask you whether you want to update.

Issues addressed:
1. Fixed a bug where the game would erroneously report Tournament match results.
2. Two unconfirmed desync fixes. We know there’s at least one more out there and are still investigating.
3. Game will sometimes crash while lobby screen is open. Pressing sort columns repeatedly can cause it to happen more often.
4. Rank will correctly appear next to player names in online lobbies. Game no longer spams Gamespy server with unnecessary persistent storage requests.
Logo Contest Run-off Vote!
Posted on 3/24/2006 at 12:40 PM by Kester
The scores for the top three logo entries were very close, even using weighted scoring to take into account the level of preferences, so we have decided to hold a run-off vote. This time vote for just one entry. Voting takes place here!
New Toon Gallery
Posted on 3/24/2006 at 12:13 PM by Kester
BFME2 toons are showing up in the forums, so to showcase them we have opened a new album in our Gallery. Check them out here! If you've captioned some funny moments in the game, send them to me, and I'll add them to the album!
BFME Tournaments Announces 2v2 Tourney
Posted on 3/24/2006 at 12:05 PM by Kester
BFME Tournaments is hosting a 2v2 tournament beginning April 22nd. For details and to sign up, go here. Good luck to all participants!
The Thursday Thesis
Posted on 3/23/2006 at 11:39 AM by FD2
Since lots of other heavens have a news post summarizing the events of the week, we've decided to adopt it here at BFME2H, thus brings the The Thursday Thesis.

Firstly, the General Discussions Logo Contest voting has ended, and the votes are being counted.

The Modding FAQ was compiled by forumer Blood Phoenix, and in the same area the Player Created Maps section opened in the downloads.

This weeks poll asked what is your favorite faction to play as, and the Elves took a strong lead, possibly because they are considered over-powered, with Goblins being on the less popular end.

The ladder got off to a strong start, with Bendak being the current leader. Our weekly Boromir Award of the week goes to Kester, who has played many games against the odds.

Last Day to Vote for a Logo
Posted on 3/22/2006 at 9:51 AM by Kester
The contest for a new General Discussions forum logo comes to an end today, so if you haven't already voted, be sure to do so in this thread. If you've entered a logo and it doesn't win this time, hang on to it as we'll have contests for the other forums later!
BFMET Strat Contest
Posted on 3/22/2006 at 9:49 AM by Kester
BFME Tournaments is hosting a strategy contest, running from March 20th to April 22nd. If you have a good strategy you'd like to enter, you can find the details here.
Modding FAQ Compiled
Posted on 3/21/2006 at 9:58 PM by FD2
Forumer Blood Phoenix has taken his time and compiled a thread that features a great list of modding resources and a short FAQ. The goal of the thread is to have forumers ask their modding questions there, and add them to the FAQ so it expands with the questions the forumers need.

With this thread, you can start beginner or advanced modding, and start making anything from new powers or make Treebeard pink!

BFME2H Staff Complete
Posted on 3/21/2006 at 9:50 PM by Kester
Our staff is now complete, with the recent addition of four new staff members: Pulkit and Aeneas2 to work on the Lord of the Rings Lore and Glossary sections; FD2 to lead the forum parties and plan events, and Bendak to work on strategy. Look for great things to come in the upcoming weeks!
Poll Round-up!
Posted on 3/20/2006 at 11:20 AM by Kester
Our previous poll was a fact-finding one in which we wanted to know what times are best for you for forum parties. Not surprisingly, Saturday was the clear winner, with Sunday following close behind. Thanks for voting - that will help us determine when to offer forum parties!

Now that the game has been out a couple of weeks and you've had a chance to play as the different factions, we'd like to know which one is your favorite. Vote here!
Forum Party Tomorrow!
Posted on 3/18/2006 at 5:24 PM by Kester
Just a reminder that the next forum party is tomorrow (Sunday) at 2:00 forum time! That's 11:00 a.m. PST and 7:00 p.m. GMT. Details are in the party thread. It's helpful if you post in the thread that you'll be coming, so we can look for you. ;-)
A Quick Update from APOC
Posted on 3/16/2006 at 11:40 PM by Kester
News from APOC regarding the server outages and upcoming patches:
I wanted to give everyone a quick update on a few important issues that our community is tracking.

First, I am hopeful we have put any problems with server outages behind us at this point. Our Network Operations team swapped out some hardware on the server side on Saturday, March 11 to improve multiplayer stability and we've seen good results since then.

Second, Patch 1.02 is anticipated to be released next week (fingers crossed). This patch will fix the problem with how games were reporting ladder results and stats incorrectly and because we want the official results to be based off of correct data reporting, we will be resetting the ladders once 1.02 goes live. In addition to the ladder/stat fix, Patch 1.02 fixes a crash that some people are seeing in the multiplayer game lobbies and game setup screens and addresses two "out of synch" errors.

Third, we have a significant number of people working on Patch 1.03 right now; this patch will have tons of new content including five new multiplayer maps, balance changes, elimination of exploits, a few improvements to the game, and bug fixes. Once we get Patch 1.03 into QA, we'll give you a complete list of the improvements and fixes. We will get this patch out as soon as we can and will update you as we get closer to release.

Where I apologize again to those of you who were affected by any of these issues the good news is that we have already addressed most of them and hope to get those fixes out to you as soon as we can. I'll keep everyone posted.

Thanks for reading,

Forum Party - Sunday March 19th!
Posted on 3/16/2006 at 12:51 PM by Kester
Join us for the second forum party this coming Sunday, March 19th! It will be at 2:00 p.m. forum time. Full details are in this thread. Hope to see you there!
Bring out your maps!
Posted on 3/16/2006 at 1:40 AM by Kester
Added to the Replay and Game Modifications sections of our download area is a new category for Player Created Maps. If you've had time to figure out the World Builder, and have created your own map for BFME2, you can now upload it to the site!
New Gallery Screenshots
Posted on 3/14/2006 at 1:40 PM by Kester
The Players' Screenshots gallery album has been getting a lot of new pictures in recent days, including this new one by Bendak which shows a giant meteor from Mordor striking the gates of Minas Tirith:

If you have screenshots you'd like to submit for the gallery, send them my way. :)
Staff Positions Filled
Posted on 3/13/2006 at 9:21 PM by Kester
The recently posted staff positions have been filled. I received more applications than I had openings for, which is great because it shows a lot of enthusiasm, but also meant I couldn't hire everyone. Thank you to everyone who applied. The new staff will be announced in the coming days. :)
Announcing a Logo Contest!
Posted on 3/13/2006 at 12:43 AM by Kester
Seeing as each forum can have its own specialized logo instead of this one:

...we've decided to take full advantage of this and let you unleash your creativity. Here is your opportunity to design a logo for the General Discussions forum, and also pick a fitting name to accompany it.

The winning logo/forum name combination will be used on the forum indefinitely.

Full details are in this thread.

Deadline for entries is midnight, forum time, Sunday March 19th.

Good luck! :)
Poll Round-up!
Posted on 3/13/2006 at 12:28 AM by Kester
Single player wins the day, with our last poll at least. ;-)

We asked:
Now that you have the game, what are you doing first?
Good campaign (408)
Evil campaign (170)
Skirmish (459)
Straight to multiplayer! (142)
votes: 1179

Looks like people are getting in some practice before tackling live adversaries online. Good idea to get in shape before our next forum party!

And speaking of forum parties, we'd like to know when you'd like to have them, so please vote here.
Hero Guide and Game Mod
Posted on 3/12/2006 at 12:25 PM by Cassius Allanus
In my last news post I missed Troll Buddy's Monster Regen mod (sorry about that), which allows many more of the monsters to auto-heal, and Bendak writes a guide on How to create a useful hero. ufogeek also releases his WOTR Hero Mod, which changes the functionality of Create A Hero.

Enjoy :-)
Forum Party Wrap-up
Posted on 3/12/2006 at 1:07 AM by Kester
Our first forum party went off without a hitch, except for the second game in which we were all dumped back to the lobby when the custom heroes failed to load. Undeterred, we made a new game and removed the custom hero option. We played five games altogether, and varied the factions we played each time. The only serious lag I experienced was after one player created his fifth fortress. ;-) Forum parties will be a regular event, and the poll will change soon to one asking which time works best for you. Hope to see you all at the next one!
Game Modifications
Posted on 3/11/2006 at 7:12 PM by Cassius Allanus
Gholin released version 1.0 of his Elven Guard mod, which adds the Rohan Elven Warriors from BFME1 to the Elven Faction in BFME2, and Samurai007 makes some adjustments to building and unit armor so they're stronger.
New Mike Verdu Blog
Posted on 3/9/2006 at 10:29 PM by Kester
In his new blog entry, Executive Producer Mike Verdu discusses the highs and lows of launch week. The highs being the popularity of the game, and the lows being the server outages. He says two patches will soon be out - the first in a matter of days, and the second in 3-4 weeks. About the later patch he says:
[it] will include some balance changes, fixes for a few exploits, a change to the way game results and stats are reported for the ladders, some improvements to the game, and other goodies. What am I talking about when I say “balance changes”? Well, we want to make walls a bit more effective without slowing down the pace of the game (which is a consistent theme in feedback from our community), tone down the Elven Silverthorne Arrows upgrade a bit, and balance some of the hero powers.
Good news about the patches! To read his entire blog, check here.
Open Staff Positions
Posted on 3/9/2006 at 4:29 PM by Kester
Here is your opportunity to help out at BFME2 Heaven! We have a few staff openings that we'd like to fill.

Strategist: Write walkthroughs and help moderate the strategy forums
Player: Plan forum parties and tournaments, and assist with the ladder
Writer: Write content for the site; possibly some game information, but largely for the Lore section, including the Glossary

All staff will likely moderate, if not now, then at some future point. If you're interested in helping out, please send me a short email telling me what areas you're interested in and why. Thanks!
Forum Party March 11th!
Posted on 3/9/2006 at 12:52 AM by Kester
We're having our first forum party this coming Saturday, at noon forum time (EST)! This first time out the games will be just for practice, and a chance to play against your fellow HG'ers. Details are in the party thread - hope to see you on Saturday!
BFME2 Server Update
Posted on 3/8/2006 at 2:38 PM by Kester
Just in from APOC:
Apologies for the delay in response, we are fully aware that the online servers are timing out. We are working as fast as possible to get them back up and running. I will let you know as soon as they are live again. Again, we apologize for this inconvenience.
I'll post again as soon as I have word that they are back up.
If you read Portuguese...
Posted on 3/8/2006 at 2:31 AM by Kester
... then you can read another review, this time from PTGamers! PTGamers has given the game 17/20. I would quote from the review, but I'd probably take a few sentences out of context. ;-) This review is here.
GameSpot's Review of BFME2
Posted on 3/8/2006 at 2:26 AM by Kester
GameSpot has also reviewed the game, and they have given it 8.3 out of 10.
The Battle for Middle-earth II improves on 2004's game with a better strategic mode and a much broader scope that encompasses the whole of Middle-earth.

The Good: Fast-paced real-time strategy with authentic Tolkien flavor; war of the ring mode lets you really battle for middle-earth; excellent production values, beautiful graphics, great sound.

The Bad: Single-player campaigns are fairly generic; war of the ring mode suffers from many weird logical gaps.
For the entire review, check here.
GameSpy's Review
Posted on 3/8/2006 at 2:23 AM by Kester
GameSpy has released their review of Battle for Middle Earth II, and they give it a 3.5 out of 5. From the review:
Although the overall story doesn't deliver on its task of tying everything together, individual mission design can be quite good. There's an amazing scenario during the evil campaign where you must attack the Shire and destroy those damn hobbits. It's great fun burning everything to the ground, and things take a very unique turn when the forces of Isengard arrive and want to claim the Shire as their own.
The entire review can be found here.
Online Connections & Tournament Reset
Posted on 3/7/2006 at 11:25 PM by Kester
I spotted this message from APOC over at GameReplays:
Today we identified a problem that was preventing some people from connecting to the servers during periods when very large numbers of players were on-line. We have a server-side workaround in place that solves the connection issues, but as a result individual player stats were reset as of 10am today. It’s a good news/bad news situation: The good news is that you should have a much easier time connecting but the bad news is that your stats got reset. We apologize for the reset. Any games that you played between 10AM and now for the Tournament Ladder were recorded and counted for your rank and not lost.

We are also aware that some people are still having issues with the results of games being reported incorrectly (for the ladders). We are looking into that right now.

We are also working on a patch that will fix some scattered “out of synch” errors that a few players have been reporting and a rare crash that happens if you have the multiplayer game lobby screen open for hours at a time. If you do run into an “out of synch” error, please make sure you exit to the desktop and restart the game or you may hit the same “out of synch” error again.

We realize that you want these issues resolved sooner rather than later and we are working very hard to get the patch into your hands as soon as possible. We’re hoping it will be a matter of a few days.

Thank you for your patience and we apologize to those of you that have had some issues over the last couple of days.

IGN's Review of BFME2
Posted on 3/6/2006 at 12:46 AM by Kester
IGN's review of Battle for Middle Earth II is in, and they've given it a 9.0 out of 10! Reviewer Dan Adams says:
Battle for Middle-earth II is proof that EA was serious about getting back into the good graces of serious RTS fans. There's a lot to experience with this entry into the series including three new factions, a redesigned base building mode, some awesome new powers, terrific improvements to the engine, a tighter campaign mode, and both skirmish and War of the Ring. This might actually be a detriment to some players who liked the simplicity of the first game, but I'm quite pleased. It's a pretty traditional RTS, but it's also a very good one.
The entire review can be found here.
Article on the Shire
Posted on 3/6/2006 at 12:34 AM by Kester
Our Middle Earth Lore articles section is off to a fine start with a new article by Aeneas2. He has written a very informative article on the Shire and its history. The article can be found here. Nice job, Aeneas2!
Review in the Forums by G_Spot_Lover
Posted on 3/3/2006 at 1:50 AM by Kester
G_Spot_Lover has written a review of BFME2 in the General Discussions forum. He discusses the good and not-so-good aspects of the game, giving ratings for Gameplay, Graphics, Sound, and Value, with an overall score of 8.5/10. It's very well done - be sure to give it a read here.
Get Ready for Battle, the Ladder's Open!
Posted on 3/2/2006 at 2:41 PM by Kester
Our new ladder is open and ready for business! This is your chance to play against your fellow HG'ers. If you've already registered with the forums, then you just need to activate your place in the ladder using your same forum login. After playing a game, just click on Report Game to submit results. The ladder can be found here.

Happy Gaming!
Downloads Section is Now Open
Posted on 3/2/2006 at 1:59 PM by Kester
Our downloads section has just opened, so you can begin submitting files! We're starting with categories for Replays, Game Modifications, Utilities and Miscellaneous. Other categories will soon follow. ;-)

Once you've submitted your game replay, you can post about it in the newly opened Replays forum!
Yahoo's Review of BFME2
Posted on 3/2/2006 at 1:20 PM by Kester
Mike Smith at Yahoo has written his review of Battle for Middle Earth II, and gives it 4 out of 5 stars, with the following breakdown:

* Graphics 5 stars
* Sound 4.5 stars
* Gameplay 4 stars
* Story 4 stars
* Interface 4.5 stars
* Multiplayer 4.5 stars

From the review:
Actually, it's probably the maps, both the large-scale strategic one and the individual battle maps, that'll please Lord of the Rings fans the most. Each territory -- Lorien, Rivendell, Minas Tirith, the Dead Marshes, and so on -- has its own custom-made map, and they look fantastic. When you attack Minas Tirith in War of the Ring mode, you'll actually be fighting for the city itself, just like in the book. Not only does this make for plenty of variety in battles, it helps cement the action in the large-scale War of the Ring context.
The entire review can be found here!
So how many times have you read ...
Posted on 3/2/2006 at 12:55 AM by Kester
... the Lord of the Rings books? That was the question in our third poll. Not surprisingly, most of you have read the trilogy at least once.
The exact breakdown is:
never (160)
once or twice (302)
more than a few times (113)
too many times to count (126)
votes: 701

We cut that poll a little short because we're very curious as to the answers to our next poll: Now that you have the game, what are you doing first? Be sure to vote here!
Inside the Battle: War of the Ring
Posted on 3/1/2006 at 11:27 PM by Kester
Today EA released a new 9 minute video on the War of the Ring mode.
...showcasing how to play it, the extensive details it features, and why it is a very cool feature.
The video is offered in several resolutions from here!
Clouds of Darkness amass...
Posted on 3/1/2006 at 1:11 PM by EJay
... over Middle Earth once more! Battle for Middle Earth II has arrived in stores, let the battles begin! It was only a matter of time before the first threads and posts would pop up, but here is the first one: I got the game!, so let us know there if you have the game. Hopefully everyone's as excited as we are! Stores in Holland have it already and Lady Arcola reports that Best Buy has it in stock as well. Happy gaming and be sure to check back regulary for news and updates!