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"

Post comment Comments  (0 - 50 of 100)
sanderth Jul 11 2013 says:

Thanks entertainment industry for ruining another piece of art. THANKS!

+127 votes     reply to comment
BFG9001 Jul 12 2013 replied:

Well, look at the bright side. The C&D spared them from pouring an enormous amount of utterly pointless effort in the mod due to the engine bug.

The vegetation and weapon/armor assets could prove useful to the modding community though.

+23 votes     reply to comment
TotoAnhilation Jul 13 2013 replied:

no it gave them way less time to deal with the bugs

+4 votes     reply to comment
ThaLord Dec 9 2013 replied:

Hard coded is hard coded.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Guest Jul 14 2013 replied:

Bethesda ought to fix that...

+2 votes     reply to comment
names_are_useless Jul 16 2013 replied:

Considering that Bethsoft is basically done with Skyrim (and that this bug is only effecting large landmass mods), I really don't see them doing anything to fix this. It'll be completely up to the Skyrim fanbase imo (the problem is most likely Havok I hear, which the modding fanbase has no access to).

+3 votes     reply to comment
Derw23 Jul 11 2013 says:

It disheartens me a lot to see such a great mod fall, I'm glad you found yourself to a new IP though and hope that will go far! Will be checking it out.

Thanks for this journey with Merp, It was amazing work from you guys =)

+57 votes     reply to comment
spetsnaz_stalker Jul 11 2013 says:

Fu**ing corporates! may they all die with their money hunger, incopentent fu**s, they cant do a proper LOTR game, and they ruin the work of talented and motivated guys like you.I am very sory, because you must live in this kind of society....ruled only by money and money and money.F**k WB!Sory for so many insults, but people(demons) like them simply horifies me.

+54 votes     reply to comment
Volumed Jul 11 2013 says:

To give this desperate moment a little relief. We still got Enderal to hope for not really a relief for the real Lord of the rings fans but still.

+18 votes     reply to comment
Erayser Jul 11 2013 says:

Warner Bros is doing the same thing as Universal NBC done before with our mod Battlestar Galactica Fleet Commander (Same things for a lot of other BSG Mods)... It was too dangerous for their projects so they decided to put C&D over there...
It's strange because few corporates are like this because, have a look on MGM, i don't want to promote their products but whatever the projects they have, they don't put C&D on mods...

You guys, including the community, are awesome. In the past year with your updates you give us hope to continue LOTR's history... Even if i'm not a big customer of Warner Bros, i'm not going to buy their products. In my mind, i'm buying Tolkien's movies, not Warner Bros's movies.

I wish you all the best for your life and your projects.
Love from France.

+21 votes     reply to comment
alesi08(swe) Jul 11 2013 says:

Wonder why they allow Third age: Total war but not this. :(

+9 votes     reply to comment
Erayser Jul 11 2013 replied:

Because they haven't Real Time Strategy projects i guess. But they may have a RPG project. Not sure but... However, the mod MERP has a lot of potential. Even the pictures posted on Moddb were better than everything done by Warner Bros with their games based on the LOTR universe !

So they were like: "This project is too dangerous and too popular for our future commercial game projects"

+23 votes     reply to comment
SovereignReaper Jul 11 2013 replied:

If third age was ever shut down my warner bros there would be hell to pay.

+10 votes     reply to comment
Rissien Jul 12 2013 replied:

One would think thatd give them reason to try and hire you guys instead or better yet step up their game instead of cowaring behind a C&D. Battlefeild 2 came from the team that made Desert COnflict mod for 1942.

+8 votes     reply to comment
tired268 Dec 26 2013 replied:

They don t have plans for a strategy game but they do have plans for a RPG-Sandbox game called Shadow of Mordor...

+1 vote     reply to comment
Baryonyx Jul 11 2013 says:

Thanks for everything.
You fought with honour against the Shadow of Morgoth in all its forms.

Long live Epoch Games!

+24 votes     reply to comment
mattsupramaniam Jul 11 2013 says:

I can't post a link but there is a change.org petition.

+5 votes     reply to comment
MattmanDude Jul 11 2013 says:

Well... ****.

Thank you guys for trying so hard for so long. It's horrible seeing this mod's end but like you said, good things may yet come of it.

Good luck in your future endeavors MERP team. :)

+10 votes     reply to comment
█Black/Brunez█ Jul 11 2013 says:

Even with the bad new, thank you for everything.

Maybe this journey didn´t end on the way you wanted... but your fight is something which not only me, but many people, will not forget so easily.

+8 votes     reply to comment
Mothos Jul 11 2013 says:

Absolutely heartbreaking. Sad to see go, but glad to see you all moving on. Will keep an eye out for you!

+8 votes     reply to comment
Nuvendil Jul 11 2013 says:

There is a link now to our group page, which should be authorized soon. Links for the other projects mentioned will follow.

+7 votes     reply to comment
ElfFriend Jul 11 2013 says:

Nooooooooooooooo.com I am so sad right now:( but I wonder if i could at least aid in the production of lays of althas. I want to gain experience in game development and I was working on a candle prop for merp before WB found it. still happy that it was in production at one point and once WB losses the license maybe we can get back to MERP some day using an different engine without game breaking bugs.

+5 votes     reply to comment
Epoch_MEB Author
Epoch_MEB Jul 12 2013 replied:

We will be sorting out applications soon, just keep an eye on the Epoch Games page and we will let everyone know.

+2 votes   reply to comment
Shirby Jul 11 2013 says:

Thank you for all your hard work and effort in this project, may the future be succesfull for all of you!

R.I.P.(atleast for some time) MERP

+6 votes     reply to comment
HounderKnight Jul 11 2013 says:

I watched as the original Oblivion page popped up on Moddb and began to evolve and eventually move towards the Skyrim port; all throughout being very excited to not only get a full, in-depth single-player RPG true to the lore and world, but one that was extremely high-quality and lovingly crafted.

It's disheartening to hear the news... A pox on both the engine and legal limitations.

Nevertheless, I'm glad the team is at least continuing on with new projects; I'm eager to see how they turn out :)

RIP MERP, and good luck to the team members in the future!

+4 votes     reply to comment
davo001 Jul 11 2013 says:

well there goes another promising mod, cast down unto ruin by ******* greedy companies that couldn't make a game to compete if their black hearted little lives depended on it

+5 votes     reply to comment
TheHungryHobbit Jul 11 2013 says:

MERP team and all of us who followed and supported we should be proud we did what we could. LONG LIVE EPOCH GAMES

+3 votes     reply to comment
OminousSpudd Jul 11 2013 says:

That, is probably the single most depressing news I'll hear all week, nay, month. You have my heart felt condolences and gratitude for sticking with a project that has fought back every step of the way. I completely understand the team finally throwing in the towel, you guys fought a good fight.

Tolkien will be turning in his grave, I hope WB realizes this.

For those in the future who wish to take up the theoretical torch of this project, I bid you good luck.

Oh, and WB. "YOU. SHALL NOT. PASS!!!"

+4 votes     reply to comment
Assasinkiller1 Jul 11 2013 says:

Really sad to see this happen to MERP but I hope your next big project will be massive and I will be following that project as I have MERP, RIP MERP I hope to see a game like you in the future

+3 votes     reply to comment
Wardarth Jul 11 2013 says:

Farewell, brave Modders. Your work is now finished. Here at last, on Moddb... comes the end of our Fellowship. I will not say do not weep, for not all tears are an evil.

+4 votes     reply to comment
Scypion Jul 11 2013 says:

you were fighitng till the end , maybe you have fallen to that greedy company, maybe this is end to MERP project but i have hope that disappointing course of action will change and there will be mod to skyrim (or some other great game ) that will recreate LotR universe but i don't think it will be so ambitious as your's was , but i wish you to open a game-producer company for sure your games would be great

May the force be with you :D

+3 votes     reply to comment
OwenYulefield Jul 11 2013 says:

Although there's many things I would like to say, I believe a scene between Sam and Frodo put it best.

"Frodo: I can't do this, Sam.

Sam: I know. It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.

Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?

Sam: That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... and it's worth fighting for."

Long live Epoch Games. I will follow it avidly and can't wait to see it.

+6 votes     reply to comment
MedicOnDuty Jul 11 2013 says:

Sorry that all this was apparently for nothing; best of luck with all your future endeavors with Epoch Games.

But about the large world bug, I wonder if this would affect any other projects out there. There's one I know of, Skywind (by the same guys that did Morroblivion), that seeks to recreate Morrowind in Skyrim, and the last time I checked Morrowind was MUCH bigger than Skyrim. Hope they find a workaround for it, otherwise it may well kill their project like it did in yours.

+4 votes     reply to comment
SovereignReaper Jul 11 2013 says: +6 votes     reply to comment
Angerfist219 Jul 11 2013 says:

Wish you lads the best of luck in your future! Work from this mod was some of the most impressive I'd ever seen, and sorry it had to all fall apart.

+3 votes     reply to comment
TheUltimateSheepz Jul 11 2013 says:

Damn it man, it takes a lot to make me cry.


+5 votes     reply to comment
zackgreco Jul 11 2013 says:


+4 votes     reply to comment
Commitsar Jul 11 2013 says:

Sad to see MERP go, but I will definitely be following Epoch Games

+3 votes     reply to comment
OseronPhaer Jul 12 2013 says:

It's a shame to hear this. A lot of potential and work wasted it seems. But it is what it is.

+3 votes     reply to comment
Dark_Ansem Jul 12 2013 says:

Stupid Bethesda and Stupid WB!

0 votes     reply to comment
AlexWasHere Jul 12 2013 replied:

Stupid Bethesda? They have provided us a wonderful game with so much modding abilities. You should really not blame anything on them.

+3 votes     reply to comment
ElfFriend Jul 12 2013 replied:

a very buggy game it appears:(

+3 votes     reply to comment
Nuvendil Jul 12 2013 replied:

Well, to be fair the critical bugs were found when the engine was pushed beyond its design parameters. That's what you get with proprietary engines :/

+4 votes     reply to comment
Quagrunner Jul 12 2013 says:

Your dedication to this gem of art is unbelievable ... they should make a movie out of it (anyone except Warner Brothers)! THREE CHEERS for a journey not wasted!

+5 votes     reply to comment
ande6190 Jul 12 2013 says:

Thank you for your dedication to this project. I hope that some day we will finally be able to fully experience Tolkien's world in another game or mod.

+3 votes     reply to comment
InsanityPays Jul 12 2013 says:

I'd say I feel sad, but I can't wait to see what happens.

+3 votes     reply to comment
shishman Jul 12 2013 says:

You know what? **** THEM!
I wish you luck in all your endeavours, and will certainly keep an eye open for your next project(s).

As for you bastards in WB - we will remember this.

+4 votes     reply to comment
Anglachel Jul 12 2013 says:

Sad to see my lack of faith (the last few months) in a good outcome for MERP was justified.
But, Cryengine you say? Own IP you say? That sounds very good to me, indeed. So I will hopefully meet everyone in the comment section for Lays of Althas (perhaps as a contributor of sorts) :)

+3 votes     reply to comment
ApornasPlanet Jul 12 2013 says:

sad to see corporate greed prevail

+3 votes     reply to comment
TheNodCommander Jul 12 2013 says:

Oh no :(

+4 votes     reply to comment
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