The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War guide - commanders and factions

Screenshot from The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War, showing the fellowship in battle

Screenshot from The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War, showing the fellowship in battle
April 17, 2023: A new update landed in The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War last month, with some behind-the-scenes balance tweaks.

Our The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War guide will help you find your footing in the latest mobile game set in Middle-Earth. Far from the franchise’s fantasy RPG roots, this territory-based strategy RPG will both challenge and excite new players, with plenty of mechanics and concepts to learn.

While your surroundings and commanders may be familiar to fans of the films and books, there’s a lot to get your head around in Rise to War. The real-time multiplayer strategy might be a new concept to more casual mobile players, so we’re here to put to bed any concerns around the game. Once you’re done here, you’ll be more than ready to take on Middle-Earth for yourself and build up one army to rule them all.

What is the Lord of the Rings: Rise to War and where to start?

The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War is the latest mobile game set in the rich world of J.R.R. Tolkien's books and Peter Jackson’s films. It exists slightly outside of the existing canon, with you playing as the commander of your own army from a range of factions including orcs, men, and elves. You choose which race you want to play as, then from there, you'll start building your own army. The goal of the game is actually the opposite of existing LotR lore: you’re heading to Mordor to steal the One Ring, rather than going there to destroy it.

Of course, this is a monumental task, and it’ll take you a long time to get anywhere near your goal. The game is a territory-based RPG, with the whole of Middle-Earth divided into segments, each marking a territory. One by one, you have to invade adjacent territories, taking down enemies and fending off your own invasions to be the first one to make it to the fiery mountain of Mordor. You aren’t alone though, as other online players are trying to do the exact same thing, with bases constantly dotted around the terrain. You’ll have to keep an eye on these rivals, too, to ensure they don’t put a stop to your plans.

When you first boot up the game and watch the opening cutscenes, you’re greeted with several choices that’ll impact your profile and experience within the game. Those are your ring and the faction you decide to align with.

Screenshot of Sauron in battle, from The Lord of the Rings: Rise of War
expand image

The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War ring design and powerups

First up, you get to select the design of your ring. This isn’t any old ring - it’s one of the 20 rings divided between Middle-Earth’s races. As such, nefarious forces are after it, which you’ll have to defeat. Your first choice surrounds the look of the ring. As far as we can tell, these are entirely cosmetic choices. You can decide its colour, the type of jewel adorning the ring, and whether any Elven inscriptions appear on the inside. These won’t impact gameplay - but of course, you’ll want your ring to be fitting of a military leader.

Yet more than just a flashy accessory, it’s through the ring that you boost in-game stats and skills. One of the first things you’ll complete is a tutorial explaining how the ring is linked to a skill tree. In here, you can choose the approach of your armies, focusing either on damage skills or speed. You are also able to reverse this decision, but it’ll cost in-game currency once you’ve levelled up. As such, it’s important to get your approach right the first time around so that you can upgrade the ring as much as possible.

Lastly, it’s through this ring that you’re granted new in-game abilities and powers. The first one you’ll unlock is the ability to invade and take over neutral and enemy settlements throughout the map. As you level up your ring through quest progress and successful battles, it’ll grant you even more new abilities to use in preparation for war.

The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War factions explained

The next big decision you’ll make is which faction to choose. There are currently six factions in the game - and the good news is that they’re all reasonably balanced in terms of power. However, they do grant different combat perks and specialities. It’ll come as no surprise to LotR fans, but the two Elven factions are proficient in archery, the orcs with heavy weaponry, and the men with light combat.

Once you’ve selected a faction, you have to start recruiting commanders. This is quite a simple task, involving you donating gifts to interested leaders to boost their Respect bar. Once that’s full, they’ll willingly march with your forces in battle. You start off with just one commander, who you unlock through generous donations of ale and lembas bread. Following that, you’ll have to repeat the process for new commanders, though some are unlocked naturally through quest progression.

The decision of which faction to join is a permanent one, so you’ll have to reset your progress if you change your mind later on. Make sure yours is the right decision!

Screenshot of the Boromir redemption menu in The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War
expand image

How do I unlock new commanders in the Lord of the Rings: Rise to War?

As mentioned, there’s plenty more commanders to unlock in the game - and if you want a truly formidable military, you’ll need a lot of them. The good news is that the unlock process is reasonably straightforward - and you can even get your hands on some very familiar faces.

  • Head to the Tavern in the bottom-right corner of the screen, then tap 'Recruit Commander'
  • On this menu, you’ll see all the commanders you can unlock through in-game progression
  • There’s beloved characters here, ranging from Boromir to Merry and Pippin
  • To boost their Respect meter, you need to donate gifts to them - usually lembas bread and ale. It’ll say how many of each item they’ll want to level your Respect
  • Repeat this process until the gold Respect meter is full. By this point, the commander will be ready to join your ranks!

The more premium commanders aren’t unlockable through this method, and they take a bit more luck. This is where The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War’s gacha elements come into play.

  • On the main hub, tap the 'Mathom' icon next to the Tavern
  • Tap 'Fellowship of the Ring,' which will take you to a menu with a chest
  • You’ll need to spend Mathom Medals to spin these chests, which cost gems and real money
  • At this point, it’s all down to the luck of the draw as to what you get!
  • The spins will give you special items linked to premium characters, such as Galadriel’s robes. Once you’ve got enough of each item, the premium commander will appear and join your ranks

How do I grow my army in the Lord of the Rings: Rise to War?

Of course, a big priority in The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War is building as formidable a military force as possible. After all, the aim of the game is to reach Mordor to take the most valued item in Middle-Earth, and as such, you’ll face plenty of resistance along the way.

One of the best ways to expand your army is by invading more territories or protecting existing forts from bandits. One of the game’s earliest quests tasks you with defending a group of civilians from an attack, and as a reward, they donate plenty of their troops to your barracks. Completing defensive tasks like this will help earn you more soldiers - and on occasion, you’ll even unlock the main commander of that territory through these quests.

Elsewhere, you’ll have to devote plenty of time and resources to your barracks to grow your army. In the barracks, you'll need to choose the Conscript option, then drag the bars to decide how many of each troop you want to recruit. It’s a timely process that requires plenty of resources, but it’s the most effective way to increase your numbers.

Crafting in the Lord of the Rings: Rise to War explained

There’s no use having a large army without the structures to house them, so it’s important to have plenty of resources to help construct and upgrade these crucial buildings. As you rise up the ranks and unlock new troops and abilities, you’ll need the resources to house these bonuses. It all boils down to the Main Hall, which is your settlement’s base hub. Similar to a Town Hall in Clash of Clans, the more you upgrade your Main Hall, the higher level soldiers you can unlock.

As such, you’ll need to save up resources like wood, stone, and metal to upgrade your Main Hall and sub-structures like barracks, storage, and apothecary.

The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War servers

When you first load up The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War, you’ll automatically be assigned to a server in which you’ll encounter other players’ fortresses. You aren’t able to select your server prior to starting the game, but you can find out which server you’re in by viewing your profile on the settings menu - though there’s no way to swap servers at the moment. It seems that functionality is on the way. However, it’s not advisable, as the developer confirms that progress won’t carry over across servers. If you want to swap servers to join up with friends, beware of the progress you’ll end up losing.

How do I get free boosts and items in the Lord of the Rings: Rise to War?

If you want to get your hands on some free items, then you’re in luck. You can get a free chest every 24 hours, which could contain any number of randomised items that’ll help unlock some of the game’s more prestige characters.

  • Head to the Mathom menu on the front page
  • Select 'Rare Treasures'
  • From here, the free chest option will appear - but remember, you only get one every 24 hours.

The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War: fellowships explained

Fittingly, the fellowship system in the game is the equivalent to clans or factions. They allow you to team up with like-minded players or friends to fight alongside one another - a feature due in future updates - and take adjacent land without battle. As such, they can help save you a lot of time when trying to invade plenty of land, by reducing the amount of battle your armies have to fight. There’s a dedicated Fellowships menu that’s worth exploring to help coordinate battles, declare war on specific targets, and team up in the murky world of Middle-Earth.

How do I keep up with the Lord of the Rings: Rise to War?

As it's such a new release, now is the best time to dive into The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War. From hereon in, there's only going to be more commanders, quests, and updates - so it's best to stay on top of everything if you can.

As such, we've compiled some of the definitive sources on the game for you to keep an eye on. First and foremost is the game's official Discord server. In here you can chat with likeminded players, form your own fellowships, and hear straight from the developers about new updates. We also recommend the Facebook page, which runs fan competitions on top of helpful posts explaining the differences of specific troops and commanders.

Of course, you should keep an eye on this page too, as we'll be updating it as and when new developments arrive in The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War.

What's new in the Lord of the Rings: Rise to War?

A new update for The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War landed on July 19, 2022. Here's what it changed, as per the game's Discord:

  • New Festival Event - The Midsummer Potluck
    • You can cook cuisine for guests in the Tavern. Friends from afar can send you Midsummer Blessings.
    • Gandalf's Fireworks Store is back.
  • Added the District Development feature to S2.
    • You can develop occupied Resource Tiles that are connected to your Settlement, Forts or other Districts into Districts.
    • Districts gain increased resource production.
  • Rebuilding Glory: The United Faction feature will be unlocked when Server Progress reaches 7.
    • S2 and Campaigns: Commanders’ initial level has been adjusted to Lv.5.
    • Optimised the Fellowship operation buttons.
    • Optimised the Commander Gifting interface.
    • Optimised the Gold display while upgrading Elite Unit Skills.
    • Optimised the map structure occupation email.
  • Husbandry: Resource gathering + → March Haste: March Speed +
  • Improved Husbandry: Resource gathering + → Improved March Haste: March Speed +
  • Sure-footed: [Militia and Hobbit Slinger] Resource gathering + → [Militia and Hobbit Slinger] Attack +6 (When fully refined)
  • Tactics Evolved: Adjusted Elite Units’ Skills.
    • [Dispersion]: Damage -25% → 15%

There you have it - our The Lord of the Rings: Rise of War guide. We hope it'll help make the earlier stages that little bit less daunting. Happy ringbearing!

Once you've brushed up on the basics, check out some other mobile games. We've got a Genshin Impact tier list and AFK Arena tier list for two huge gacha games, as well as a YuGiOh Master Duel deck list.

This Article's Topics

Explore new topics and discover content that's right for you!

The Lord of the Rings: Rise to WarOnly Mobile GamingOMG Guides