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The 'Middle Earth Roleplaying Project' aims to recreate J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth in the Creation engine of 'Skyrim'. The player will be plunged into Middle Earth near the end of the Third Age, not long before the War of the Ring breaks out.

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A post explaining the current situation, covering bugs, legal issues and future prospects.

Posted by Epoch_MEB on Jul 11th, 2013

Hello MERP Fans:

Over the past year and a half, we have been through a lot. The port, bugs in Skyrim, and then the C&D (with over a year of campaigns, negotiations, and attrition). We have asked you to trust us with the small amount of information we have given you to work with. But now, the situation has changed and we feel it is time for more transparency concerning the state of things. So we will start with a review of the past year.

After we received the C&D in June of 2012, we had extensive discussions concerning our next course of action. We contacted WB and negotiated as far as we could. We started a petition and contacted people we thought might be able to help. We did, in fact, discuss subjects such as going underground or simply changing project names. But as we delved into the specifics, we didn't want to risk putting ourselves, each other, or our loved ones at risk of a huge ordeal. And the degree of transformation it would have taken to avoid infringement was far greater than most of us were willing to do. And of course we called on you for help. Many of you answered. And through all this, by some kind of miracle, the team held together for months. However, the petition and negotiations only got us as far as a list of unreasonable terms that would have stripped MERP of its high standard of quality. After negotiations, things began to go downhill as we searched for alternatives. The letter campaign came into being as the team began to slowly erode. Then, one more thing happened to accelerate the change taking place.

After almost a year of searching for a way to bring back MERP, the people over at Dark Creations discovered a new Skyrim large world bug, one embedded in the hard coded areas of the game that no one yet has been able to fix. This bug causes activators (doors and chests), magic, ranged combat, and many other aspects to no longer function beyond a set area of a map (the central area between 64 and -64 cells along both the x and y axis). Basically, worlds much larger than Skyrim's are impossible. MERP's map is nearly ten times the size of Skyrim and the -64/64 area isn't even wide enough for Rohan to fit. This bug, combined with the team's dispersion, difficulties with model import, the weight of the C&D, and the lack of success with the various campaigns has brought us to this point. Even if the C&D were lifted, MERP cannot continue. There would be hardly a shell left of it. Many key members have left over the year and much else has changed. The heightmap, one of the gems of our mod, couldn't be used without being mangled almost beyond recognition (for bug and copyright reasons). And so, with heavy hearts, we announce that we have come to the end of MERP's journey.

Over the past year, you have fought with us and been patient . You have trusted us when we were silent and listened when we spoke. Many of you have done what you could to help us. And for that we would like to thank you. You're a wonderful group of fans and have been very supportive. Many of us have labored on this project for years and we have not come to this choice lightly. We said we wanted to make a representation of Middle Earth Tolkien would be proud of and we meant it. And as that is no longer possible (for a variety of reasons), we have decided this is the best choice for us to make.

However, as one fan pointed out, the end of MERP is not the end. The end can bring a new beginning and a new project can be born out of this. Many of us have worked on MERP for many years (I myself for five, others for longer). There are those of us who didn't want for our work to be entirely in vain. And there are many of us who have found a love for creation and development. To that end, many have moved onto new projects. Some have asked not to be named, but two have allowed me to make mention: Noirdesir, one of our best landscapers, and Ztree, one of our best and most enthusiastic modelers, have moved on to Hoddminir, an epic mod project for Skyrim by Elinen that you should definitely take notice of.

But there are others of us who have stayed together to work on something new. We have formed a new team, called Epoch Games, and have begun development on a new project based around an original IP of our conception. This new project is called "Lays of Althas: Sundered Order", a single-player, open-world, fantasy RPG set in an original universe. This new project, which is being developed using the CryENGINE 3, shares with MERP its ambition and dedication to depth of lore, story, game mechanics, and immersion in a vast world.

And so with this, MERP has reached the end of its long voyage. We hope that other modders/developers, at a time when it is possible, will take up the torch and pursue the vision we strived for, that someday an open world RPG for Middle Earth can be realized. Until then, all we can offer is the small comfort of certain assets which have been released by their creators, such as the Gondorian Armor by BGS and the LOTR weapons created by tomato. Think of them as memorials to our efforts and to the talent of our members, past and present.

Finally, having said all of this, I encourage you to follow other LOTR projects and Skyrim projects such as Hoddminir and join us at Epoch Games as we begin a new journey with "Lays of Althas: Sundered Order."

- Nuvendil, speaking representative for the MERP Team

Below is a list of all the various MERP Team Leaders, from beginning to end. Their ambition helped bring MERP through hard times and guided it to what it became.

The Founder, "The Grey Wizard"
"Large Jack"
"Jnor"
"Noirdesir"
"Captain"
"Maegfaer"
"JustB"
"Alasdairhurst"
"Valyndimir"

Post comment Comments  (50 - 100 of 100)
Irikedownroading
Irikedownroading Jul 12 2013, 8:26am says:

I am crying... literally crying :( **** you Warner Brothers! **** YOU!!! I will never EVER pay to go see a LOTR or Hobbit movie ever EVER AGAIN!!! I will not go to the theaters to see the new ones and will just download them from a torrent site JUST OUT OF SPITE OF WHAT YOU DID!!! I hope everyone does this as well. WB, you just lost a SHITLOAD OF MONEY!

+5 votes     reply to comment
Samurai_X
Samurai_X Jul 13 2013, 2:11pm replied:

Wow just wow, despite what happens you have no right to steal something by torrenting. Stop looking for reasons you thief.

-1 votes     reply to comment
Volumed
Volumed Jul 19 2013, 9:09am replied:

Yeah and you, keep supporting the real criminals of the system.
I'm proud to be a pirate, and I will never bow down!

+1 vote     reply to comment
Nuvendil
Nuvendil Jul 19 2013, 6:25pm replied:

You are part of the problem. People like WB who push for more heavy handedness in copyright enforcement have you to thank for givinf them the ammunition they need in the political circles. SOPA? That's on you. You pushed them, they pushed back. MERP team NEVER supported piracy. And Epoch Games will follow that pattern.

-2 votes     reply to comment
Volumed
Volumed Jul 20 2013, 8:51am replied:

Yeah, like it's not all about the money.
Do you think that EA closed less company's for there own commercial purposes.
Did you think less games where made for mass production where it's all about this days. I'm happy that piracy came around to stop the mafia from the music industry and that this old dinosaurs are dying out.

I support a lot of indie games and kick starters I have never give so much money to it then this year. Because they listen to there fans and still care about them.

Censoring of the internet did happen without piracy or with it that is how the system works we life in a system where free speech is a lie.

Proud to be a pirate.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Nuvendil
Nuvendil Jul 20 2013, 11:52am replied:

Yeah...no. Not going to bother continuing this argument. Piracy os theft. Period. SOPA was a really bad idea, but because of how it affected the innocent not the guilty.

-1 votes     reply to comment
Volumed
Volumed Jul 20 2013, 4:26pm replied:

Innocents there are no innocents only people that allow themselves to be walked over, and people who do not.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Nuvendil
Nuvendil Jul 20 2013, 11:28pm replied:

Oh just stop it. Listen to yourself talking like you are some heroic freedom fighter. This is the entertainment industry fo crying out loud; you aren't fighting to save starving infants in Africa or liberate slaves in the third world. If you're REALLY proud of what you are then just own up to it, don't try to burry it under overblown idealistic rot.

-1 votes     reply to comment
Volumed
Volumed Jul 21 2013, 9:28am replied:

I thought you did not want to continue the argument this only shows how childish you are. "heroic freedom fighter" these are your words, not mine. It's ironic that you start about that, I'm sure you're the kind of person that just gives a blind eye and just keeps eating at the mcdonalds and keep pumping petrol at a shell station, because that is how the industry of the system works.

I don't call you names for your opinion and your way of thinking also the with voting down and stuff I did not vote you down for your opinion, grow the fack up.

+2 votes     reply to comment
ElfFriend
ElfFriend Jul 23 2013, 12:17am replied:

Although some people pirate games because of DRM. I pirated Red Alert 3 when EA told me I could only install it like 2-3 times. I do reinstall my os sometimes and limited installs is stupid... Steam's DRM at least doesn't breath down your neck every 5 mins to see if you have a legit copy. Ironically, pirates remain completely unaffected by DRM they just break it and use it. The only things that break for pirates is online play although LAN work arounds usually aid them in that too. I bought The Witcher 2 because it was a DRM free game developed by an anti-DRM company. Also the reason why I learned about CD Projekt RED's work is thanks to piracy... I mean I pirate a game see if it's worth buying and if it is and the anti-consumerism isn't too extreme, (looking at you EA) I buy it! Mount and Blade, Skyrim, The Witcher 2, Sins of a Solar Empire Rebellion are all games that I bought after learning about them thanks to piracy. Pirates aren't wicked individuals that don't care about a company for no reason. I also ONLY pirated the first Mount and Blade and just for the mod The Last Days of The Third Age, I refused to play the game because I pirated it. I also try my best to avoid pirating Indie games and I think I haven't pirated even one yet. AAA games cost more to produce on the other hand so I also try to not be a douche about pirating those either. In sort if a dev wants to get rid of piracy they should do what CD Projekt RED did, trust the consumer. It's the trust that makes me feel that the company isn't just out for my money and actually wants to make something worth playing. Also not being anti-consumer is a great side affect of trusting the consumer:)

+1 vote     reply to comment
Radspakr
Radspakr Jul 12 2013, 8:33am says:

It was a good fight if doomed.
Good luck with future projects and thanks for helping to keep LOTR modding alive.
MERP may be gone but there are other LOTR mods out there especially in the RTS field.

+5 votes     reply to comment
Guest
Guest Jul 12 2013, 8:48am says:

What's going to happen with all the meshes, textures, cities, landscapes, quests, characters and stuff like that? Greetings ;)

+2 votes     reply to comment
lnsanity
lnsanity Jul 12 2013, 8:55am says:

*Twenty-one gun salute*
Thank you, MERP team. We wish you all the best.

+6 votes     reply to comment
MarcusCamillus
MarcusCamillus Jul 12 2013, 9:45am says:

I think we should all thank warner Bros. nicely on their facebook page.

+6 votes     reply to comment
ElfFriend
ElfFriend Jul 12 2013, 10:36am replied:

The one time I'm sad I don't have facebook...

+3 votes     reply to comment
Nuhallis
Nuhallis Jul 12 2013, 10:44am says:

*uber sad face* I just died inside.

+4 votes     reply to comment
Guest
Guest Jul 12 2013, 11:00am says:

So horrible news i only wish i could do something more to help you guys you are such an amazing team and modders i know that your next work will be great . You can't possibly upload the armors or weapons? Please they were awesome thanks guys for trying to make a great lotr game :D

+3 votes     reply to comment
stolenrock
stolenrock Jul 12 2013, 12:53pm says:

It saddens me to hear your grim news about Merp, Warners bros couldnt/ havent came close to your quality of work . I hope your new Project goes well and i cant wait to see your new game in the Cry engine 3 always wanted an RPG game in one those engines like cry engine or frostbite .

+3 votes     reply to comment
Tal-Elmar
Tal-Elmar Jul 12 2013, 1:11pm says:

somehow I saw this coming
sad, but...

+3 votes     reply to comment
Guest
Guest Jul 12 2013, 1:14pm says:

Others will work on a LotR-Mod, with MERP as Model
=> LotR Mod at Skyrim Nexus

+1 vote     reply to comment
DyslexicKrogan
DyslexicKrogan Jul 12 2013, 2:49pm says:

I remember just running around the empty version of Middle Earth that you guys released for Oblivion. At the time I was overcome with a giddiness attack and I'll always have that memory. As many others have said, you did it right, you guys stood fast when all was against you and at least you can say you didn't just give up at the first sign of trouble. Thanks for all the work and good luck with your future projects!

+3 votes     reply to comment
shockersousa
shockersousa Jul 12 2013, 3:20pm says:

Im angry at the C&D but more importantly im disappointed to hear about this bug. Its sad that it wasnt found earlier.

+2 votes     reply to comment
SCJ
SCJ Jul 12 2013, 5:20pm says:

Well guys it has been a hell of a ride, thank you for your comitment and I am amazed that so many fans stod by you until the bitter end. This would have been an amazing mod but I wish you all luck on futhure projects!

+3 votes     reply to comment
MathijsRevora
MathijsRevora Jul 12 2013, 5:58pm says:

MERP, I salute you.

+4 votes     reply to comment
GhostOne7
GhostOne7 Jul 12 2013, 9:16pm says:

well if the map wasnt enouth u could make expansions like dragonborn and add half rohan and then the other half instead of making all map in one still im sad of the news

+2 votes     reply to comment
ElfFriend
ElfFriend Jul 14 2013, 12:48am replied:

I think dragonborn fits in that limit. Hmmm this could be a reason why Bethesda stopped making more skyrim DLCs...

+2 votes     reply to comment
Nuvendil
Nuvendil Jul 14 2013, 1:11am replied:

Meh, their stopping was business motivated. Skyrim is built on an aging engine on an aging set of platforms. After the Wii U released and the Xbox One and PS4 were announced, Bethesda needed to move on or risk getting behind the ball on the technology front.

+2 votes     reply to comment
epic40k
epic40k Jul 12 2013, 10:04pm says:

I'll never buy another WB film

+4 votes     reply to comment
Sabrith
Sabrith Jul 12 2013, 11:52pm says:

Warner Bros. desecrate Tolkien and his works. They are a blight upon this otherwise beautiful world. They will get what they deserve.

+3 votes     reply to comment
neigenoire
neigenoire Jul 13 2013, 2:18am says:

Farewell! :(

+3 votes     reply to comment
Preplin
Preplin Jul 13 2013, 3:22am says:

You are all truly talented group of individuals to make as many leaps on this mod that you did. Even in "defeat" with this C&D order and the unfortunate engine bug, you should all be incredibly happy with the result so far. I sincerely wish you all luck with your lives and careers and I hope the lessons and work you all put into this mod will serve some purpose in each of your futures.

With love and respect, myself and the rest of the MERP community

+3 votes     reply to comment
MichieldeRuyter
MichieldeRuyter Jul 13 2013, 12:02pm says:

Would it be possible to release all of the weapons and armors at least?

+2 votes     reply to comment
ElfFriend
ElfFriend Jul 14 2013, 12:47am replied:

most of the weapons and armors are already on the skyrim nexus. Skyrim.nexusmods.com here's one by one of the team members:)

+2 votes     reply to comment
Nuvendil
Nuvendil Jul 14 2013, 1:13am replied:

And if you search for Gondorian Armor on the bethsoft forums you will find that BGS is preparing a mod to release all his Gondorian weapons and armor.

+3 votes     reply to comment
Dosenmais
Dosenmais Jul 14 2013, 6:45pm says:

Come on people. you know this would never work out. It didn't for oblivion, it wouldn't for skyrim. The goals were sticked to high.

-2 votes     reply to comment
ArabiSahrami
ArabiSahrami Jul 16 2013, 4:07am says:

Never Forget 2013
we will remember warner bro.

+2 votes     reply to comment
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Dunlak
Dunlak Jul 19 2013, 5:11am says:

**** you WB, **** you up the arse.

+1 vote     reply to comment
mindero
mindero Jul 21 2013, 4:20am says:

Very sorry to hear. You did a marwellous job so far.
I wish that your future projects will have better ending. And keep up the good work!

And I will never ever buy a WB film/game again. Theye are (at least games) a piece of junk anyway.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Dønny
Dønny Jul 31 2013, 11:19am says:

****

+2 votes     reply to comment
capperz412
capperz412 Aug 12 2013, 2:41pm says:

This saddens me beyond words. You have no idea how much I respect you guys for persevering and trying to create the best Tolkien game possible. You did your best. I will be following Epoch Games and Lays of Althas: Sundered Order very closely, and I'll spread the word and support the **** out of everything you create.

Respect.

+1 vote     reply to comment
names_are_useless
names_are_useless Aug 13 2013, 12:58am replied:

Thanks man, really appreciate hearing that :)

Considering its an original IP, we will be needing as much fan and community support as possible. We can no longer ride on the back of Tolkien's great works, but in the process we will be creating something new for fans of fantasy, RPGs, and more. We are hoping people will enjoy what we're creating.

+2 votes     reply to comment
the-catshannon
the-catshannon Aug 13 2013, 8:20pm says:

Why not add travel to locations like in many mods and Bethesda DLCs

+1 vote     reply to comment
Darth_Cameroth
Darth_Cameroth Aug 15 2013, 6:59am says:

was this bug in oblivion?

+1 vote     reply to comment
Dessel11
Dessel11 Aug 29 2013, 11:16am says:

Couldn't MERP be rebuilt in the CryEngine?

And hasn't it been established that Warner Bros haven't actually got a solid claim as you aren't re-distributing the mod for profit. How come the MERP has decided to give up on MERP as an idea?

+1 vote     reply to comment
Nuvendil
Nuvendil Sep 5 2013, 7:36pm replied:

Well the issue is that using CE3 would make it an independently developed game. Mods get more slack because they are limited to the game they are made for. However, indie games are not. So MERP as an indie game would get in more trouble faster than MERP as a mod.

+2 votes     reply to comment
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