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Rise of the Witch King

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Why Play 2.02?

A Brief Introduction to 2.02, by ConGrUenCy


With this article, I want to remove the misconception that 2.02 is hard to learn. 2.02 is based almost completely on common sense, unlike 2.01. In fact, I'll go so far as to say that 2.01 is much harder to understand and make sense of. Here are some examples to illustrate what I'm getting at:
  • You would think that Black Orcs and Black Numenoreans would be good, elite infantry because they cost so much and need a level two production building, but in reality, they are useless due to their very slow attack speed.
  • You would think that Noldor Warriors and Fire Drake Broods would be awesome because they come from a level three production building, are very expensive and are limited to three at a time, but once again, they are too weak for their requirements to purchase.
So what 2.02 does is that it makes the game intuitive and easy to learn, and it gives you far more options and allows you to be creative because all units are useful. This increases the strategic complexity of the game, since you now need to make many strategic decisions, such as whether going for Snow Trolls or Black Numenoreans, or a Fissure versus a Spider Pit. This would not have happened in 2.01, because Numenoreans are useless and the most commonly used unit that you get from a Fissure is the Half-Troll Marauder horde, so you would much rather just spam more goblins or get more heroes.

Speaking of heroes, 2.02 has made all heroes useful. It has nerfed the overpowered heroes and nerfed heroes in general. All heroes take slightly longer to produce and take much longer to revive. This was done to discourage hero spamming, which would be a problem with so many useful heroes. Also, now that all units are useful, we want to see more army wars than hero wars, since intelligent unit mixing is far more skillful than hero spamming, and hence we want to reward the more skilled player.

In 2.01, for most factions, power point paths were set in stone. It would be foolish to deviate from those few paths as the other paths were generally inferior. For example, Isengard always went for Crebain -> War Chant (optional) -> Industry -> Watcher -> Dragon Strike. Choosing any other path would be putting yourself at a disadvantage. Men always went for Rallying Call -> Tom Bombadil -> Summon Rohirrim -> Earthquake. The only other powers someone might get in the middle would be Heal and Rebuild.

So all in all, you can see very limited uses of some units and limited power point paths. This does not allow for much creativity and does not reward strategic thinking very well, which any decent RTS game should allow you to do. 2.02 gives you many options, rewards players who make good choices and allows players to effectively develop their own unique style of play. 2.01 has far fewer viable strategies, so everyone uses some similar strategies all the time so that there rarely is any innovation and development of unique playing styles.

Now I'll discuss the other major reason to play 2.02: balance. So many units are so blatantly overpowered in 2.01 that they needed special rules such as limiting Warg Sentries, banning Lindons, and so on. Dwarves were so overpowered that the only thing not overpowered about them is probably the Axe Throwers and siege weapons. In 2.01, Mordor were by far the most boring army to play in the game, since people kept spamming archers which were quite hard to counter. Then Mordor had the invincible Black Riders who can be almost impossible to kill. All these balance issues have been sorted out in 2.02, which is ideal for competitive play and for casual play too, since now you experience the full Lord of the Rings world by using all the units.

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