Unlike the previous games of the series, Stronghold Legends introduces the unique (and in my opinion very exciting) ability to play as a faction. For those of you who are unaware of what a faction is, I asked our very own resident Historian Crusader1307 to provide a description. This is what he told me:
So now that you know what a faction actually is, it's important to know how many there are in the game, as well as the different attributes, strengths, weaknesses etc of each one. In Stronghold Legends, there are three faction types. These are:
Each faction is identified within the game by the corresponding icon. You can play as a faction in a Custom Skirmish game, multiplayer game, or even in a user-created map. Indeed, even the official game campaigns have changed. In Stronghold Legends, there are now three official campaigns of the game, and in each one you play as a separate, individual faction as shown below.
You also play as a faction in The Legends Trails as well, although because these are essentially Skirmish missions you play as a different faction in every mission. The simple fact is, that there's no part of the game that is now untouched by factions. Note however that factions are different to player alliances, as two players can both be playing as the same faction, but in completely different teams, i.e. fighting against one another. Each faction has a set of standard, traditional units available to them, along with faction-specific units which only players of that faction can recruit during the game. The standard troops available to every faction are as follows:
These units are all recruited from the Barracks, and you must have an Armoury placed to store the corresponding weapons for these units. Nothing changes in recruiting these units from how it was done in the ealier games of the series - Archers still require a Bow, Crossbowmen still require a Crossbow and Leather Armour, while Knights still require Plate Armour and a Sword.
Tip: If you are playing as the Evil faction, you will also have Vampiric Creepers at your disposal. These units can convert certain enemy standard units into your own troops, even bypassing all maximum troop limits within the game. The standard units who can be converted are Men-At-Arms and Archers, and without adequate protection from other nearby units who are immune to these attacks, large swathes of your units can quickly be lost to the enemy.
Like previous installments of the series, you still have Siege units at your disposal, although some of these units are only available to certain factions. These are as follows:
|Siege Unit||Available Factions|
|Fire Ballista||Ice, Evil|
|Battering Ram||All factions|
|Siege Tower||All factions|
As well as Siege Units, the game also provides the ability to recuit Special Units. These units are unique to each faction, and cannot be recruited or converted to another player or faction. However, they can be placed into the hands of another faction at the start of a game by using the map editor to create a custom map. Although this does not work on Custom Skirmish maps, only Custom War ones.
|Faction||Special Units||Recruited From|
|Arthur||Merlin, Sir Bedivere, Sir Galahad, Sir Gareth, Sir Percival, Sir Gawain, Sir Lancelot, Green Dragon||The Round Table|
|Ice||Dwarf, Ice Queen, Shield Maiden, Polar Bear, Frost Giant, White Wolf, White Witch, Ice Dragon||Ice Tower|
|Evil||Saxon Warrior, Demon, Hell Hound, Vampiric Creeper, Werewolf, Black Dragon, Giant Demonic Bat, Sorceror||Sorceror's Tower|
There is also one additional difference to the units in Stronghold Legends while playing as different factions. This is with your own Lord. In Stronghold 2, your Lord would always be exactly the same indidivual, Matthew Steel. In Stronghold Legends, your Lord changes depending on which faction you are using. For Arthur, your Lord is King Arthur. When playing as Ice, your Lord is Dietrich, and you use Vlad while playing as the Evil faction. There are certain conditions which circumvent these rules, for example when you're playing certain missions on the official game campaigns, but for the most part, this happens every time you play the game.
Playing as a different faction will also provide you with different available buildings you can place as well. Your building textures change depending on which faction you are, but the buildings perform the same functions regardless of which faction you are playing as. Arthur buildings look similar to how buildings have traditionally looked in previous Stronghold games, Ice buildings often contain snow, ice or other such 'cold' indicators while Evil buildings have a distinct dark and firery tinge to them. You can see a list below of the available buildings and what faction you need to play as in order to use them.
|Single Thickness Wall||All factions|
|Double Thickness Wall||All factions|
|Triple Thickness Wall||All factions|
|Engineer's Guild||All factions|
|Basic Tower||All factions|
|Lookout Tower||All factions|
|Engine Tower||All factions|
|Siege Camp||All factions|
|Tower and Wall Brazier||All factions|
|Pitch Ditch||All factions|
|Dragon Harpoon||All factions|
|Wall Mounted Rolling Logs||Arthur|
|Tower Mounted Mangonel||Arthur|
|Statue (x2)||All factions|
|Carter Post||All factions|
|Apple Farm||All factions|
|Dairy Farm||All factions|
|Chicken Farm||Arthur, Evil|
|Castle Kitchen (Pantry)||All factions|
|Pig Farm||All factions|
|Vegetable Garden||Arthur, Ice|
|Eel Pond||All factions|
|Hops Farm||All factions|
|Wood Camp||All factions|
|Stone Quarry||All factions|
|Ox Tether||All factions|
|Pitch Rig||All factions|
|Poleturner's Workshop||All factions|
|Fletcher's Workshop||All factions|
|Blacksmith's Workshop||All factions|
|Tanner's Workshop||All factions|
|Armourer's Workshop||All factions|
|Chandler's Workshop||Arthur, Ice|
Finally, the only other major change based on your faction is the texture of your lands, including village estates you capture, and the interface colours of the game. If you're playing as Arthur, then your lands will appear green and natural, Ice lands will appear frozen and Evil lands will appear dark. If you capture an enemy/neutral estate, or an enemy captures one of yours, then the textures and buildings placed within the estate will automatically adjust to mimick whichever faction the estate owner is playing as. By default, all uncaptured estates at the beginning of the game will be shown resembling the Arthur faction, but this is in no way linked to any specific player in the game who may or may not be playing as this faction. As you can also see by looking carefully at the below image, the lighting and shading effects also change with some units between the estates when they are owned by players in different factions.
Hopefully, this article has helped you to better understand the available factions in Stronghold Legends, and the different features available within them all.