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The Hobbit: Armies of the Third Age Review

Sara Lau
Mar 28,2013  12:03 by
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The glamour of Lord of the Ring is truly ubiquitous. From novels, films to games, no matter what type of person you are, you may always have the chance to find yourself succumb to the powerful Gandalf, charismatic Legolas and other heroes or even fascinated with the Orcs. Now comes The Hobbit: Armies of the Third Age, a new strategy web game set in the fantasy world of Lord of the Ring and developed by Kabam in cooperation with Warner Bros. Prepared to be amazed!

loading for hobbit armies

Choose a role from Elves, Dwarves or Orcs to play and then embark on an extraordinary journey to fulfill your mission in the vast land of Middle-earth. The player must build cities, resources and defense to fortify his or her base; and train troops to defend against enemies as well as go out to battle against the Orcs to claim war trophies: wood, gold, fruits or tools and so on, which may differ by the quest type and will be helpful to amass his or her power in return. The layout of the buildings is crucial enough as to decide whether you can survive when under attack.

Fairly speaking, this game is rather beginner friendly. At the very beginning, an optional tutorial is offered to help them get familiar with the basic operations of the game, including how to build stuff, train and upgrade a troop, initiate an attack and do researches etc. The game interface is clearly segmented: on the top is a narrow bar displaying the player’s rewards, and on the top left is the player’s profile including portrait, alliance, rankings and inbox, as well as other sections at different locations.

gollum

When the game starts, the player follows the sequence of quests at the bottom right corner. The suggested actions walk you through each quest, which can be to destroy a goblin camp, a mountain, or a forest; to hire a general; or to train and upgrade troops etc. For example, if asked to attack a Lev. 2 Forest, you first locate the target on the Region map and click on the Attack button. Then you’ll be shown of heroes available to lead the army for battles on a bar at the bottom. Choose one and deploy the troops, on the left, or right, or at the bottom based on your observation of the enemies. Though they can fight automatically, you can also use the mouse to decide their attack directions. You don’t have to destroy all the camps, structures or whatsoever to claim victory but if so, there will be bonus rewards waiting for you to collect at the end.

Normally each battle lasts 3 minutes, but players can always close one in advance if victory is in sight or for the sake of preserving the troops since it takes plenty of time and resources to train and upgrade them. Though Mithrils are capable of canceling the tedious training and upgrading process, they can be easily wasted at the beginning when players are presented with the Gullum’s Riddle: give 5 Mithrils in exchange for some randomly assigned gifts, or you just to have to wait, from a few minutes to hours or even longer. As a matter of fact, it proves to be an unworthy tradeoff. So it’s advisable to close the Riddle directly rather than click on the Play button highlighted in front of you. It’s better to save them for better use or you have to pay when in desperate need of them.

ranking

A beautiful piece of soundtrack is throughout all the game playing, coupled with some clear and melodious chirps now and then. When you’re waiting for the time-consuming upgrade, and zoom in the view enough by scrolling up the mouse, you can see the tree branches sway gently in the wind, with birds flying at all directions. Such a peaceful scene is in stark contrast to the fierce battle fields accompanied by tense sound effect.

This game also features a social function with a chat box at the bottom left corner where players around the world can communicate and share thoughts and experience in real-time while playing. The chat box has three labels: Global, Fraction and Alliance, each implying different conversation audiences up to your choice. Sometimes it seems to serve as a Q&A panel and sometimes the topics just drift away from the game.

The Hobbit: Armies of the Third Age featuring the collection of resources has great potential to become one of the most classic strategy RPGs. It’s claimed to be a free-to-play game but it seems inevitable for some players to end up in pouring money in it due to some tricky traps and the lengthy level grinding processes.

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