Game play has been polished, Campaign mode is an interesting concept. Second and third cities make managing kingdom more enjoyable
Restrictiveness of the campaign mode can make it feel more tedious than enjoyable at times. Wait times can be very long
Rating ( 8.5 )
- Total score
Since my initial review of the Hobbit Kingdoms of Middle-Earth there have been many upgrades to it, some fundamental and some cosmetic, and now there’s a Hobbit KOM Campaign mode. And add to that the benefits of a second city and now a third city, and the game has opened up in ways where it’s necessary to update the initial review. The biggest addition being promoted now is the campaign mode, which is available to all players above level 5. The synopsis states that you can lead your armies as Gandalf (at least in terms of story) against the goblin hordes on your way to facing off against the Great Goblin and the Pale Orc. It won’t be easy as you’ll have to fight bosses along the way and rebuild your armies. But you’ll also be able to claim precious metals and gems, which can be used to craft powerful artifacts to strengthen your cities and your armies. You’ll encounter great heroes, such as Legolas, during your journey and they’ll aid you when they can. Will you lead your armies to glory and improve the standing of your kingdom, or will you succumb to the might of the goblin forces and fall before the Great Goblin?
When Campaign mode was first announced as part of an update I was very excited. With the updates and special events, there were more activities to partake in while waiting for the next research, building or fresh supply of troops. To access the campaign you select the Quests tab at the bottom of the screen and then select Campaign. You’ll notice that right under the Campaign tab after you select it is a number and this number represents your stamina, which is 15 at its max. Each battle you fight costs 1 stamina point and it takes an hour for 1 stamina point to be replenished (unless you purchase refills). After you select the current quest, a map with 5 tabs opens up but you have to unlock the locations in the first tab by successfully completing each location, and you open up the remaining 4 tabs by collecting enough key fragments to unlock the next tab.
When you select the location you want to attack there’s a quick dialogue exchange that consists of Gandalf commenting on the current status, an enemy’s taunting response and then a response by another hero. This occurs for every new location you attack. The next screen shows the might of your opponent and the potential rewards such as resources, royal chests, or precious metals. The might is important because you have to select from the troops you already have to attack the location and move on to the next location. The might of the enemies starts off very low but increase the further along you get in the campaign. The last location on each tab is a boss battle and not only is the might much higher but the rewards are higher too, and this is where you acquire gems for artifacts. When you defeat a boss you receive a key fragment and this is where there’s a catch. The first map only requires one key fragment to advance. However the next 4 maps require 5, 8 and 12 key fragments, respectively. So yes, that means you’ll have to keep fighting the boss until you acquire enough key fragments and you only receive a key fragment when it appears next to a boss location. So you can fight a boss 3 or 4 times before a key fragment actually appears. And although the might for the bosses aren’t incredibly high, it can be draining to your own might to keep fighting the same battle over and over since you lose troops each time. So is the reward worth it? Well it depends on your level, your troop might and how you enjoy playing. Your level is important because it determines what your cities can produce and how fast you can produce. And if you have a second city (or third) this can help you greatly.
Your troop might will definitely suffer in campaign mode so I recommend training troops on tier 1 since they’re the fastest to train and they don’t require as many resources as tier 2 or 3. And so the losses you suffer will be only to tier 1 troops and your wait time, even when you have stamina, is drastically reduced. And finally, depending on how you enjoy playing you might want to consider the frequency in which you participate in campaign mode. You do acquire precious metals and gems to construct artifacts but each artifact requires a certain number of precious metals and gems. You can view this in your Sage’s Tower, which has been conveniently added as a quick button on the screen. Each map has different precious metals and gems so the resources you acquire on the first map can’t be combined with the resources on the second map. So there are Precious Metals I through X, Gems I through X and they can only be combined to form Artifacts I through X, for example. And of course these resources don’t drop every battle, although some times I received 3 Precious Metals in one battle. After you acquire enough metals and gems to construct an artifact you can then boost either your armies’ Life and Attack ratings through the City Guardian statue in your inner walls, however that requires more than one artifact. And the payoff for applying Artifact I to either Attack or Life is 1% increase. That’s not a typo. So yes, you can lose half your might for a permanent 1% increase for Artifact I. This increases for the other Artifacts but so do the requirements and that can feel frustrating, so it’s important to question your need for that type of increase. And the royal chests can consist of 1 minute speed-up hourglasses so there’s not much to gain from that when a research topic takes 7 days. I recommend taking your time with the Campaign once you get to later maps so you’re not losing might at an incredible rate in hopes of getting precious metals, gems or key fragments to drop. If you have over a million might, those increases can be worth it in the long run.
You can launch a campaign mission from any of your cities and the army available is only what you have stationed in that city. I posted a second city guide where I explained using the second city as a place to store all your troops and it worked out very well. In addition to transporting resources, I was able to attack goblin camps and acquire resources well above my city’s capacity. And since it only takes 30 seconds to attack a goblin camp, and you can watch your army move on the map now, that can be the better option than transporting. And with the reduced troop upkeep after every battle, you can effectively control when your city will be in the black and become a productive city. And there’s another benefit to attacking goblin camps instead of just transporting troops and that’s acquiring third city relics. You can increase the second and third city relic drops, which are required to build a second and third city, by upgrade your Sage’s Tower. So the Sage’s Tower is crucial for campaigns and for acquiring additional cities. And don’t worry about locating plains on the map because once you have all the requirements for a new city, more plains will appear for you to establish your new city. I mentioned in my earlier review that as you progress, the wait times when researching a new topic or upgrading a building increase to the point where you can wait days for it to be finished. Although that hasn’t changed, since you have multiple cities you can research multiple topics, train multiple troops and upgrade multiple buildings at the same time. When you finish researching a topic all your cities have that upgrade so you can use your second and third city to research some of the lower topics you skipped until they’re capable of researching the higher level topics. This makes managing cities alot more fun because the game play is actually alot of fun, it’s just the prohibitive wait times, that takes away from it. Unless, of course, you buy mithril. So I’m definitely enjoying this game more overall than I did before and I’ve been playing for months.
The Hobbit Kingdoms of Middle Earth Campaign mode is an update that has a lot of potential but is hindered by its restrictiveness, which is undoubtedly to promote more microtransactions. The addition of Precious Metals, Gems and artifacts make for interesting game play but the loss of might and stamina in comparison to the gain in bonuses limits how often you can acquire these items. However, the overall improvements over these months have made this game a much more rewarding experience. Icons have been added for vital screens for easier access, second and third cities make managing resources and armies more enjoyable, and of course there’s still the community and if you belong to an alliance, you can post requests or send messages to everyone by accessing the Alliance tab at bottom of the screen. If you enjoy strategy games and you still haven’t given the Hobbit Kingdoms of Middle-Earth a try I strongly recommend that you do. If you haven’t played in months I suggest giving it a try again with the improvements.
(The rating reflects the overall score for the game, which has increased and doesn’t represent just the campaign mode)