Welcome to Middle Earth. It is the Third Age, and the rivalry between elves and dwarves continues to simmer, threatening to boil over into all out war. In the shadows, goblins have begun to make trouble. It is now time for you to build a fellowship to protect Middle Earth.
The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle Earth is a free-to-play massively multiplayer online strategy game. The game has adopted the so-called “freemium” model. That is, the basic game is free to play, but in-game currency can be purchased using real world money that will allow the player to purchase additional items that can be used to improve his or her experience in the game. These purchases, however, are optional and are not necessary to enjoy the game.
As with many other strategy games, much of the game play in the Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle Earth revolves around building structures, researching new items and improvements and upgrading existing buildings. Creating buildings and improving them cost one of the game’s various resources, and as you upgrade or build various buildings, you unlock different advantages. In addition, buildings produce more resources that can be used to build and upgrade more buildings. There are four basic resources:
Each race has an Academy which they build early on in the game. This Academy is used to research various technologies. These technologies make your existing structures or troops more efficient or otherwise gives them bonuses that affect game play.
There is a sort of fifth resource that is used during the game, and that is time. Making a building, upgrading something that already exists or researching a new technology doesn’t happen automatically and takes a few seconds of time. The better the upgrade, building or research, the more time it takes. This time can range from a few seconds to several days of real time. While something is being built, upgraded or researched, you cannot build another building, upgrade a different building or perform a second bit of research while in the same city. This means that you must wait until the current process is finished before you can do it again. There are items which you can use to speed up the building, upgrading or research process, however they are also a limited resource.
While you can go about your own business and play the game how you want, the game will also provide you with various Quests you can perform. Some of these Quests are simple, such as Name Your Own City, while others are designed to push the plot of the game forward a bit.
As you complete Quests you earn experience points as well as reward items or resources. When you reach certain milestones in experience, you are awarded a new level. When you level up, you are able to meet prerequisites for certain items, buildings, technologies or troops.
It won’t be long before you encounter unfriendly adversaries who will seek to do you harm and halt your progress. When this happens, the strength of your army is compared to the strength of the army you are fighting. The stronger army wins most of the time. There are, however, certain strategies that can be utilized to help stack the deck in your army’s favor.
Scout your enemies to get an idea of the capabilities of the enemy’s forces.
There is strength in sheer numbers. By attacking an enemy using overwhelming force, you can minimize your own losses.
Watch Towers are great defensive structures that will give you information about attacking forces. They are one of the best sorts of troop to use while fighting, so you should attempt to level them up quickly.
In addition, new players are given Beginner’s Protection. This lasts for 7 days or until the player’s Keep reaches level 5. While under this protection, you cannot be attacked nor scouted by other players. You can, however, forgo this protection by attacking other players. This gives beginners a chance to build up their Keep, upgrade their buildings, train their army and possibly even join an alliance.
You aren’t the only player out there building his or her kingdom. This is, after all, massively multiplayer strategy game. You will have to contend with other players who roam the world, and might even have to do so in real time.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that all interactions with fellow players will result in the drawing of steel and the shedding of blood. You can also form alliances with your fellow players. Of course, alliances can be broken.
Items can change various aspects of the game, giving you additions that are helpful in a variety of ways. For example, certain items can make building or upgrading a building take less or no time. Items are expendable and must be replaced in order to be used again if you run out.
One item of important note is the Gollum’s Token. You receive one Gollum’s Token per day, and each use allows you to pick one of nine chests in the Gollum’s Riddle minigame. Each chest contains a different item, and it is possible to win any of the items that can be bought with mithril as well. If you save up 6 Gollum’s Tokens, you can select a Premium Chance, which gives out better prizes.
Whether you choose to be a Dwarf or an Elf, chances are you will have a fun time in the Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle Earth. Just watch out for those hobbitses, I hear they are quite tricksy, my precious.
(Android – For most Android based phones and tablets.
See download page for specific requirements.)
(iOS – For most iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch devices.
See download page for specific requirements.)