Born To Rhun: Third Age Total War 1.3

By Kieron Gillen on October 22nd, 2009 at 4:03 pm.

I really am tempted to do a big diary on this
I’ve been primarily playing mods this week. This is the one has been eating most of my time. I mean that quite literally. I’ve been playing this most of my time. It’s eaten mornings and afternoons and evenings I really can’t afford to spend beating the hell out of Rhun. See! Rhun! Who the hell is Rhun? It’s a Middle Earth Medieval II mod, and I’m happily fighting just some blokes with nary a whiff of Nazgul, Orcs or Hobbits.

Even my side isn’t exactly over-whelmed with Middle-Earth charisma. I’m playing Dale. That’s my gran’s surname. That’s the level of fantasy glamour we’re dealing with here. I’m primarily playing them because Dale is the single major enhancement of the patch, completely reworking what a side who were apparently pretty nob in previous versions. They look fancy now, at least, and the sight of the sky filling with fire arrows is as stirring as ever. Dale is primarily an archery faction. It’s the home of Bard from famous spectrum videogame the Hobbit, of SAY TO BARD “SHOOT THE DRAGON” fame. It’s the one actual bit of lore on Dale I actually know. In fact, with the amount of artifacts related to the Smaug-offing, you half suspect it’s the one bit of Lore that the development team knows to.

I jest. The team – as the size of the project would suggest – know their Tolkein. This is a 50-years-before-War-of-The-Ring set total conversion of Medieval II (Requiring the Kingdoms add-on pack) and allows you to take control of any of the 12 main players, from Gondor and Rohan to Mordor and The Orcs of the Misty Mountains. If you’re properly perverse, you even have two variety of elves to pick from. And Dwarves. You can’t play Beornings – the best of all the Middle-Earth-blokes and bear-changing honey-cake-eating hard-cases – but you can hire them as Mercenaries, which will have to do.

While it takes all the lore and runs with it, it doesn’t try and simulate the actual film. It’s more sensible than that. If it wanted to do a quest to get rid of the ring – and it doesn’t, though it does feature – it’d involve slowly creating an economic structure large enough to power a military juggernaut hefty enough to bash down the doors of Mordor and shove that ring down Sauron’s black throat. It’s basically Middle Earth… but in Total War. Since every time I’ve been alone with Creative Assembly since the late nineties I’ve found myself suggesting they should do a Middle Earth: Total War – hey, guys, the Silmarillion’s license has to be cheapish, yeah? Or the Adventures of Tom Bombadil? – this glorious chunk of intellectual-property-theft is more than welcome.

But with Dragon Age out so quickly, I doubt I'll be able to finish it.

And it really is well into dodgy IP-use territory. Based off both the films and the books, taking the design of the character is one thing – taking the themes of the film and using stills from it to illustrate all those splendid events quite another. Seeing past that – and hoping that the all-seeing-eyes-of-lawyers do too – it’s riffing off the source material in splendid ways. It claims to have better Campaign and Battle AI, which is always appreciated. Sauron takes the form of the evil side’s Pope, giving missions to the dark minions. Oh – and there’s more regional and culture basis on your recruitment, which alters the tactical set-up significantly.

The future path of development also looks promising. Eriador – north-west Middle Earth. You know – Bree and all that jazz – is next up for a reworking, and they seem to be planning to do something akin to the Reforms in Total War, where the ancient state of Arnor can re-emerge if you follow a certain form of development. This is both tactically interesting and glorious Middle-Earth fan-service porn. I don’t even want to explain it to you. I’ll feel ashamed.

But it’s nifty.

Maybe on Patch 1.4. Then I could do a hobbits-try-and-take-Mordor story.

There’s something about Total War which fits Middle Earth particularly well. Total War is an unusual strategy game, belonging to a different tradition to the game’s it’s normally compared to. It’s not that it’s asymmetrical – which it is, with the idea that all the nations aren’t equivalent being there since the earliest days of Shogun. It’s not how it switches between the tactical and the global scale map – though it obviously does that. It’s… well, I’m going to coin the phrase Narrative Strategy. Sure, it looks a lot like Civilization… but the AI isn’t actually playing the same game as you. In Civ, the AI abstractly win the game by the scientific victory or reaching Alpha Centauri or whatever. In Total War, the AI takes a position almost akin to the levels in a traditional single-player game. It can’t win the game – it can only make you lose. Much of Total War is inelegant in design, with certain elements to tweak there primarily to increase the sensation of ruling a kingdom and setting your troops off to war. Civ, in its heart, is a game. Total War, at its heart, has pretensions to being a simulation – or rather something that makes you feel you’re playing simulation.

Civ maps aren’t places. Total War maps are. They are about the illusion of adventure, of going places, of being somewhere.

And, as such, Middle Earth is a hell of a place to be. It creates a sensation of exploring Tolkein’s realm and making it a real place in a way which I haven’t felt since the Mike Singleton demi-classic War In Middle Earth – which, for the record, is one of those games you should namecheck when Herzog Zwei is ever referenced as the first RTS. As much as I enjoyed Lord of the Rings online, it didn’t get the scale, the sense of falling inside a map I suspect most childhood Tolkein fans can empathise with. And while I’m something of an admirer of the two Lord of the Rings RTS games Electronic Arts released, if someone came to me asking what Tolkein strategy game I’d recommend… well, I’d say buy a Medieval II pack and download this. It’s a magnificent example of how wonderful modding can be.

Alternatively, trying to play as Nice-Guy Nazgul also has its appeal.

That’s the other reason why I feel it’s appropriate delving into mods this week. I was already in there when the – well, the most complimentary words which came to mind were “small-minded” and “treacherous”- Game Informer piece broke the Internet asunder. One of the many lines which stuck out was Adam Biessener’s apologia-esque unquestioning reprocessing of Infinity Ward’s line: “all they lose is the ability to customize the game on a deeper level with mods and such”.

All we lose? How can someone who has even slightly involved in gaming culture say that? You can only presume that his entire experience of the form has been filtered through a console’s control straightjacket. This is like someone from a totalitarian regime failing to understand why so many people in another country are so upset at losing their vote – after all, it’s easy to dismiss something you’ve never had. Well, it’s either that or blank, stupid servility. Either way, it makes me furious.

Because that’s what the whole Modern Warfare 2 situation is about; it’s about control. It’s about a developer wanting to own its own service – something you can only pull off when you have a game big enough to leverage it onto people’s hard-drive much like Rockstar’s attempt to launch the social club off the back of GTA4. Because if they really cares about the transparency of the core user experience, they’d have used one of the many already existent services and not have to hassle everyone else with theirs – let alone one which, with the clock ticking down to launch, doesn’t appear to have had a public stress-testing yet. Because if that falls over on launch, that piece seems even more openly duplicitous. Yes, all those apparently-casual gamers are going to be enormously happy if a fancy new system won’t let them play their fancy new game.

I digress.

I play Third Age, and find myself grateful they haven’t won that particular cultural war yet – in fact, as my lines of troops run down a slope, axes aloft and bloodied-faces, I find myself smirking as I’m reminded of watching a fragment of Braveheart last night. (“they’ll never take… OUR FREEDOM!” indeed). Mods are noble, free and brave things, and this is a noble, free and brave mod. I highly recommend it. You’ll need Medieval II: Kingdoms, plus the main patch, 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3. Which, despite sounding worryingly PC-gaming, is no more hardcore than “running the files”.

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97 Comments »

  1. jRides says:

    I am a huge fan of this mod, the fact that MTW usurped ETW’s spot on my hard drive, is solely down to this mod. Well worth a look.

  2. DMJ says:

    Curses, that’s my evenings lost then. As well as some hard drive space I had to work so hard to free up…

    To the download-o-tron!

  3. TotalBiscuit says:

    Running files is too hard.

  4. Heliocentric says:

    Running files is *hardcore*.

    Yay for mods, persistently relivent, often the best things available, commonly infringing on intellectual property, mods.

  5. Taillefer says:

    I think there’s quite some demand for a fantasy total war. I’ve been wanting something akin to Total War meets Warhammer since Shogun. I’d even settle for Total Warcraft if they did it well. Maybe.

    Many devs (individuals and even companies) started as modders and level designers. Stamping them out is just bizarre.

    Anyway, must get this.

  6. DarkNoghri says:

    Running files isn’t too hard. What’s annoying is figuring out what version of the game you have, so that you know what files to get. Also, Medieval 2’s installer is the stupid one that doesn’t let you install on anything aside from C drive. But I digress.

    I’ve been meaning to get this. I installed Medieval 2 weeks ago, and have yet to actually play it, as I was in the middle of R:TW at the time. So I need to play Medieval 2, and then install this mod and play it. That could take some time.

    Having read most of the lore, that’s pretty much all there is about Dale, by the way. Maybe a passing mention here or there, but the biggy is that that’s where Smaug was killed.

    • Dominic White says:

      “Also, Medieval 2’s installer is the stupid one that doesn’t let you install on anything aside from C drive. But I digress.”

      I just reinstalled it just for this mod, and installed it fine to D:. Not sure what problems you were having.

    • Arathain says:

      Mine’s on E:\.

    • mejobloggs says:

      There is an issue with the GOLD edition that installs M2TW + expansions all at once, and only on C:

      The workaround is to browse your dvd, find the installer for just M2TW which lets you install it to other drives not just C:

      Then I think you have to find the installer for each of the expansions and run them separately, and they will install to the drive you selected in the original install

      I can confirm this works as I did it myself

    • DarkNoghri says:

      It was the gold installer. It only allowed installs on C: drive (I don’t think I could move it at all, actually).

      The separate installers for the game and each campaign thing allowed me to move to D:.

  7. Andrew Dunn says:

    I keep meaning to try this mod. The problem is that my Medieval 2 discs are some 300 miles away.

    Good piece.

  8. Mad Doc MacRae says:

    Gross, it requires Kingdoms? :(((

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Mad Doc: Yeah. I actually bought it, as it was only a fiver on Steam.

      KG

    • scoopsy says:

      So this mod plays nicely with the Steam version then? Yikes, may have to purchase the game and try this out.

      Oh, and the CivIV AI is only playing to win at the higher difficulty levels from what I hear. At most of the difficulties us mere mortals play at, they may declare war every now and then but to say they have any coherent strategy or pursue “victory” is a stretch.

    • Bhazor says:

      Kingdoms is the best game in the series.

    • Jimbo says:

      I agree, Kingdoms was an excellent expansion pack. I think TW really benefits from the shorter, more focused campaign structure (Empire needs a Caribbean campaign).

      Also, the British campaign in Kingdoms reminded me of Lords of the Realm, which somebody needs to remake. I miss designing my own castles :(

  9. BigJonno says:

    I’ve not bought a Total War game since Shogun (the setting was a large part of the appeal for me,) but I would happily rush out and buy Medieval 2 just for this. It sounds fantastic.

  10. Buckermann says:

    I played the 1.0 version of this mod, and honestly was a little bit underwhelmed. It felt rather unfinished and almost like vanilla M:TW, just with fancy names for the units.
    Also (IMHO) the map was just too large. I tried a dwarven faction, and it took me ~8 turns to move one army to the nearest Orc stronghold.
    But still, it made me shiver with anticipation of the thinks to come with the next versions. Which I’m downloading right now.

  11. DMcCool says:

    I love Creative Assembly, but it hurts me so much what they’ve done with Empire. Every Total War game so far has been two, or even three different games to me, mods reinjecting the life and wonder once I’ve finished the original campaign, fixing the things I didn’t like and expanding the game in whole new, wonderful directions. I’m generally not an angry internet man, the lack of mod support in Empire more makes me a very, very sad internet man.

  12. PsyW says:

    For those of us who haven’t got around to picking up anything newer than Rome Total War yet, there’s also Fourth Age: Total War. It’s best version requires Barbarian Invasion, but there’s also a plain vanilla RTW release. It’s set well after the events of Lord of the Rings.

    http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showthread.php?t=175545

    I’ve been playing it a bit, recently. Rohan’s cavalry are absurdly, awesomely powerful but their economy is hopelessly shoddy. As shoddy as the “mods are unimportant” argument.

  13. Isometric says:

    This Mod sounds fantasticly well done, hopefully i can find the time to try it out.
    I certainly miss the medievalery of total war now we’re in Napoleon territory.
    Bit busy playing L.U.R.K at the minute.

    “This is like someone from a totalitarian regime failing to understand why so many people in another country are so upset at losing their vote – after all, it’s easy to dismiss something you’ve never had. Well, it’s either that or blank, stupid servility.”

    Well said Kieron.

  14. Heliocentric says:

    Empire doesn’t lack mod support, instead it does contains mod sabotage.

    Casual dismissal of modding is one thing, what happened with empire and will with mw2 is quite another.

  15. Weylund says:

    Sick. Now I have to buy M2.

    Anyone wanting another very fun ME mod can grab an old copy of Mount & Blade and play the Tolkien mod from Taleworlds.com. I forget the name. Google has answers.

    • Wooly says:

      It’s reactions like this that prove why mods are GOOD and should be supported developers. I originally bought Half-Life 2 not because I thought it was something I’d like (I actually thought it looked kinda mediocre), but instead got it in the orange box because there were tons of mods for it that I wanted to try. Turns out the mods were great, and HL2 was one of my favorite games of all time.

  16. Heliocentric says:

    I’d actually buy a complete total war collection on impulse just to avoid installing the many patches and expansions to rome and mw2, not steam though. Total war is a series that would get me through a lack of internet access.

  17. Bobsy says:

    Tom Bombadil Teaches Typing!

    It’s the perfect scheme! Mr Kieron Gillen, with my brains and your rom-bom-a-pom-rom-rillo WE CAN MAKE THIS HAPPEN!

  18. Clovis says:

    It’s basically Medieval II… but in Total War

    Wa? (sorry ahead of time in case I’m just dense)

    I don’t know about this whole thing. One does not simply mod into Mordor.

  19. Yargh says:

    great typo towards the end there, I’m now stuck with an image of a horde of soldiers rushing into battle, waving playing cards at their enemies….

    Slightly more related to the article: I’ve loved all the Total War games so far, but I’ve not managed to properly play any of the mods, not really sure why to be honest.

  20. Alexander Norris says:

    I found Medieval II a little while back, but I’ve yet to find Kingdoms for less than anarmandaleg€ so this is still annoyingly out of my reach. Third Age: Total War and Stainless Steel are why I got MII in the first place, though (only to find out after the fact that I should’ve done my homework and they require Kingdoms which is still selling for 20€ here, which is twice what I paid for MII).

  21. belo says:

    damn… now i want to reinstall Medieval 2 for this mod…

    but i don’t have Kingdoms unfortunately, and Steam hasn’t had it on sale for awhile

  22. Heliosicle says:

    Its a shame, the only games in the future I can see that will have mod capabilities will be Valve’s games (they embrace them) and Eastern European etc games, where mod’s also play a big part.

    Console’s have RUINED everything! >:( (well some stuff)

    • Psychopomp says:

      But they gave us Okami!

      Well, not *us* specifically, but they do have redeeming games!

    • Okami says:

      aawww.. You’re a sweet one, Psychopomp. *blush*

    • Mister Yuck says:

      As a life long console gamer… yeah, I’m really sorry.

      If it makes you feel any better, consoles are phasing out what I used to love them for: split-screen multiplayer and easy, plug and play accessability. These are dark times :-(

  23. lePooch says:

    Damn you Kieron, I just uninstalled TA:TW and Medieval 2 and Rome:TW to make space in the hopes of actually playing a NEW game – y’know. like the ones you guys always harp on about. Now I’m tempted to reinstall AGAIN. To say that this game has figuratively eaten months of my life would not be misleading.

    Can we have a moratorium on these kinds of articles? I swear, every time you mention the Total War series, or even something tangentially related, I get the itch to play another thousand or so turns.

    Hello Borderlands! Whats that? Sorry, cant get to you today, I’m reinstalling Medieval 2 for the umpteenth time.

    Cos Kieron said so.

  24. James Murff says:

    That Game Informer piece comes across as console propoganda, and appears to have been written by somebody who just does not understand why PC gamers buy games on the PC. It’s also funny that they compare the outcry to L4D2, since L4D2 was more about them releasing a game so soon after the first, and MW2 is about them leaving out essential features for the PC experience.

  25. klumhru says:

    Coool

    I only recently reinstalled M2:TW after a discussion here, to try Europa Barbarorum again, but now I see I have something else to tack onto it.

    Nice piece indeed.

  26. Andrew Dunn says:

    Only a fiver? Dammit. I got Medieval 2 free on Steam due to a refund to do with Empire DLC, so I may just get Kingdoms on there too to save hassle and let me play this.

  27. Wooly says:

    “Because that’s what the whole Modern Warfare 2 situation is about; it’s about control. It’s about a developer wanting to own its own service – something you can only pull off when you have a game big enough to leverage it onto people’s hard-drive much like Rockstar’s attempt to launch the social club off the back of GTA4.”

    So they’re kinda behaving like an evil version of Valve? Perhaps this was what Pitchfor(k)d was talking about a couple weeks ago when he said that Valve + Steam worried him.

  28. Fede says:

    The thing you mention, Total War being something different than Civilization, made me think again about Europa Universalis.

    Like Civ and unlike TW games, EU games have only the strategical map, but, like TW games, EU games focus on making you feel like you’re actually ruling your nation, and do it going further than TW. After playing EU, TW seems a bit gamey, like Civ after plaing TW. And if you look at EU’s mods like Magna Mundi (for EU3), you have the chance to go another step further into the kingdom simulation direction.
    It could be interesting to look at the “tension” between Civ-likes, TW-likes and EU-likes, and the differences in their approaches.

    I’m also wondering if at least one of you played something in the EU series. I cannot find much on RPS about it, apart you mentioning it during Sins of a Solar Empire’s verdict.

  29. Railick says:

    Wanted to try this mod but I don't have Empires (and I'm not getting it)
    As far as EU and Hearts of Iron series of games I've never been able to play them, they're just too complicated (Which is a good thing there is nothing wrong with the games themselves IMO) If you ever wanted a game that plots you into a the position of supreme ruler of a country that's it. I think it is probably hard to play Hearts of Iron without experience then it would be to actually command a country in WW2 for real without experience (Lets say you get plopped back in time in one of the leader's places.) at least then you'd have advisors ect to give you advice about everything and tell you when you're not doing something right. Though they may start to think something is up when Hitler suddenly can't speak German and thinks that whole Arian race thing is a bit crap now.

    Shadowcat “It hammers at my retinas like an evil woodpecker of pure energy”

    • Fede says:

      EU:Rome is the simplest of them, and a good place to start, even if it’s stll somewhat buggy, and inferior to EU3. I would recommend EU3 over it anytime.
      EU3 isn’t much harder after you understand how Rome works, but HOI is another thing altogether, and, to be honest, I don’t like it, because it feels like you need to micromanage too much, while EU seems better balanced (still needs some microing, but mostly to hunt rebels).

    • Vinraith says:

      Honestly, I’d say start with EU2. I know it’s nominally outdated, but there are several things it does better than EU3 (EU3 is a great game after modding, but fairly bland in its vanilla implementation) and, somewhat more on topic, it’s less complex. EU2′s the game I learned on, and coming from a background of playing Civ I was able to get a handle on it after a couple of games. Once you’ve gotten over that “Paradox threshhold” grasping the mechanics added to each of their other games isn’t so hard. EU2 is in many ways a distilled Paradox game, with the bare minimum of bells and whistles. It’s also dirt cheap at this point, for an added bonus.

    • Oak says:

      EU3 Complete (soon to be incomplete) is actually a few cents cheaper at Gamersgate right now. I’d recommend that instead but, full disclosure, I haven’t played EU2. In fact, I’m wondering whether I should just wait until For the Glory comes out to try it.

    • Andrew Dunn says:

      EU3 Complete has quite a lot of personality and character, I think. Not as much as EU2 but it’s a better game, I reckon – more accessible, more user-friendly (absolutely everything is tool-tipped and colour-coded) but the complexity remains.

      I’d definitely champion HoI2 over HoI3, though. So I’m sympathetic to the ‘EU2 is better’ people, though I disagree.

    • Vinraith says:

      Well, I was making the argument that EU2 is SIMPLER, more than anything else.

      As far as “better” I’d say EU3 is mechanically superior but EU2 is considerably more satisfyingly historical. Fortunately there are plenty of mods that give EU3 a better sense of history, so one can have the best of both worlds fairly easily. Still, from a “learning Paradox games” perspective I think EU2 is probably the less-intimidating starting point (as far as the number of different mechanics, you’re right about EU3′s excellent tooltips).

      And yes, EU3 Complete is available on GamersGate for an earth-shatteringly low $10, anyone interested in grand strategy games that doesn’t own it would be well advised to pick it up at that price. Plus, GG is much better at keeping up with Paradox patches than Steam (for obvious reasons ) so it’s really the superior service to own it on as well.

    • Andrew Dunn says:

      Yeah, I get the historical thing. It’s a large part of why I like Hearts of Iron 2 more than Hearts of Iron 3, which just gets silly with its AI Italian invasions of Finland and Mexico annexing Germany and suchlike.

      For some reason it sticks in my craw far less when it’s weirdness over a longer time period – seeing the Ottomans get a foothold in Sweden in 1600 doesn’t annoy me as much. I just laugh it off.

    • Vinraith says:

      I’m a lot more accepting over long periods too, but EU3 finally destroyed my patience when there was basically no protestant reformation. Fortunately that’s what Magna Mundi is for. :)

    • Railick says:

      Isn’t the entire idea of playing a historical game so that you can change history? I don’t see why some major changes in history would bother anyone unless they were just trying to recreate history year by year :P That would be hard I supose but a challenge and I could certainly see why someone would be upset when suddenly German agrees to an alliance with Brazial which invades the US and defeats it or something crazy like this. (I tried play US in HoI3 and did my best to ally with the Germans but could never get it to work out. Then again I could never get ANYTHING to work out so . . )

      You know a game I REALLY loved , Machiavelli: The Prince when it came out it was fantastic. The ability to travel round the world and become extremely powerful was a lot of fun for me. Maybe I just enjoy games where you play a smaller more direct role in history. I supose that is why I can tolorate TW Games because you get to command your troops in battle directly if you so please. I don’t like sending them off to die and then not being able to command them directly when combat starts.

      I’m a very cautious commaner when it comes to real time and turn based strat games. I take my time, wittle the enemies numbers down as much as I can with ranged weapons, artillery whatever the game offers me then when they are weak I attack with over whelming numbers and crush them taking as few losses as I can. With games like EU and such I can’t do that, I have no control.

    • Vinraith says:

      “Isn’t the entire idea of playing a historical game so that you can change history?”

      Up to a point, yes, but it’s no fun changing history if there’s no history to change. If there isn’t some semblance of sensible historical cause and effect going on, it’s not so much alternate history as random stupid occurrence. *I* didn’t stop the protestant reformation, nor did anyone else, it just didn’t fire and spread properly. With no religious wars and conflicts, Europe is a painfully dull place in the era in question.

    • Andrew Dunn says:

      I’ve never seen that happen but I know it definitely could, due to the way that it’s all set up. I must say that the Reformation is the very best thing about EU3 – I love all the religious wars and rebellions and civil strife and so on. It makes for a very exciting period of the game.

    • Railick says:

      Good point , I guess over long peroids of time things could get so far off the tracks that there i no history to simulate eh :P Also it is kind of Odd when you conquer the entire world in M TW 2 with the French

    • Vinraith says:

      Interesting, I assumed it was a common thing. It happened that way in my first game (as France, no less, what fun is it to play France without religious wars?) and ever since I’ve been running one mod or another.

    • Railick says:

      Dang you guys! After reading the wikipedia page for EU3 I think I’m going to have to get it now :P That co-op multiplayer mode where several people control a single country sounds pretty cool too.

      So with this it is possible to start with a nation as earily as 1453 and play it all the way through until the French revolution and beyond? It seems like a lot of stuff could go wrong.

  30. Shadrach says:

    Third Age TW plus Deus Lo Vult makes M2TW a perfect game. So many hours spent playing Gondor trying to ward off the endless hordes from Mordor and Harad.

    Haven’t play vanilla game in ages, not really sure if it even works. But the mods work fine :)

    • Schmitzkater says:

      Wait, what? I used to love DLV and tried Third Age once.. but combining them? Does that actually work without too many bugs?
      That would so make me go reinstall M2TW!

  31. Mister Yuck says:

    As a life long console gamer… yeah, I’m really sorry.

    If it makes you feel any better, consoles are phasing out what I used to love them for: split-screen multiplayer and easy, plug and play accessability. These are dark times :-(

  32. Vinraith says:

    “Narrative strategy” is a good term for it, and it rather neatly describes most Paradox strategy titles as well. There’s a reason I abandoned Civ completely for 5 years after I discovered EU2, though I’ve subsequently found places for both types of strategy game on my hard drive.

  33. Railick says:

    For me with the EU3 I felt like I had no control over my own land. I choose England and it is pretty much already done being upgraded (It seems) I just don't know what to do next. I know if I declare war at the wrong time I'm going to be destroyed.
    For Hearts of Iron when I started of playing as England the first thing I did was release all the countries under their control to create their own nations, moved all my troops back to the UK and turtled :P (it is kind of cool that it allows you to do that)
    I actually Own EU and EU 2 but dunno where the CD's are. I don't know where the Cds for ANYTHING are. My kids use them as coasters and frisbys and mirrors ect.

    Shadowcat “It hammers at my retinas like an evil woodpecker of pure energy”

    • Vinraith says:

      People always tell you that playing a major is “easy” in these games, and in the sense that it’s relatively simple not to die that’s true, but it’s also fairly overwhelming. There are actually a lot of additional things you can do to “upgrade” but a large economy, large military, and large amount of land is intimidating for a new player. Whenever I’m learning a new Pdox game I usually choose something smaller, a medium power in a relatively safe place. I started out with Austria in EU2 (which starts fairly small and gets quite large, of course), and later taught myself Crusader Kings playing Bohemia.

    • Vinraith says:

      I should add, almost every Pdox game out there has a well supported wiki, and they usually include start up tips and first game walkthroughs.

    • Fede says:

      I don’t know about EU2′s wiki, but EU3 has a not-so complete one (tends to focus mostly on governments and country strategy, leaving lots of the basic stuff behind) and EU:R hasn’t any yet, so most questions which aren’t covered bt the FAQs but are the same for all Paradox games (like peaces, guarantees, warnings) tend to be asked at least once a week .

    • Vinraith says:

      @Fede

      I confess I haven’t looked at one since Victoria, since at this point the underlying basic mechanics are second nature to me. it’s very unfortunate to hear that the newer games aren’t getting the kind of newbie-friendly treatment by the community that the earlier games had.

    • Fede says:

      It’s actually still newbie-friendly, as people on the forum haven’t yet got tired of answering the same questions over and over :D

    • Vinraith says:

      OK, newbie friendly but considerably less organized then. :)

  34. Scundoo says:

    Nice.

    Too bad Empire won’t have the benefit of such coverage, seeing as CA went the way of the “Game Dictator: All your fun belong to us” and sabotaged all sort of modding.

    • Scundoo says:

      Now if only RPS would ignore CA when they release their rip-off unit expansions…
      Is that hoping for too much? I’ll even turn off Ad-Block for this site, if you promise to do so.

  35. Baris says:

    So wait, are there no huge LotR creatures at all? The mod looks awesome and everything, but I was mainly excited for the prospect of having trolls and nazgul (that was the wryms names, right?) destroying thousands of tiny defenceless soldiers.

    • Sparvy says:

      Nazgûl are not the flying things, they are the riders. Not sure if the flying things actually have name tbh, might have been referred to as wing beasts or something, my LotR is not what it used to be…. thankfully.

    • Baris says:

      While I appreciate you giving me some more LotR info, I still have no idea whether they’re in the game or not…

    • Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

      There are trolls, yes. They will mess you up, unless they’re your trolls. There are also Mumakil, who behave suspiciously like gigantic scaled-up versions of the elephants from vanilla M2TW. The same comments apply.

      I think there are trailers for this mod over on youtube that shows this stuff off.

    • Baris says:

      Ooh, brilliant! You just sold another copy of Medieval II, good sir.

  36. Vinraith says:

    I don’t really understand why MW2 gets a mention but Empire doesn’t seeing as Empire is clearly the most immediate possible example of a game that should allow this kind of thing yet goes out of its way to avoid doing so.

  37. Railick says:

    @Sparvy – Actually the Nazgul are both. They ride horses and Wyvrens depending on what point you are along in the book. The start off riding horses to maintain a low profile but towards the end they have the wyverns and fly around killing as many people as they can (Because they can) As far as I can tell neither are in the game (Maybe they're leaders though?)

    AS far as Lord of the Realm, there is actaully IS a remake of Lord of the Realms
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lords_of_the_Realm_III

    @Vinraith – Yes I get very over taken by all the options very quickly. I really do need to give it a chance but the combat also turns me off a bit (Same as it does in Iron Hearts 3 which I own but don't play)

    • Sparvy says:

      You misunderstand what I said, I said the Nazgûl are the guys riding the wing beasts, not that they are only riding horses.

    • Adam Whitehead says:

      Yes, the Nazgul are in the game as general units with really tough bodyguards (Black Numenorean Cavalry). They are incredibly tough and can rout your units with ease. You really need a hardcore general or absolutely vast and overwhelming numbers to bring them down.

  38. bill says:

    I don’t have MTW2… but i almost want to download this mod and store it somewhere, incase it gets lawyered before i get a chance to buy MTW2.

  39. The Fanciest of Pants says:

    Goddamn it Kieron, I have assessments due you bastard!

    And now I’m dreaming of a Silmarillion era game again. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

  40. Dreamhacker says:

    This mod is, hands down, the BEST mod for M2TW! :D

  41. Nezz says:

    I tried that 4th Age mod for R:TW 1.5, the last TW I bothered with. Nice textures and all that, but I’ve found it makes very little difference to me whether the archers are called Elves and the cavalry is called Rohirrim.

  42. tigershuffle says:

    found Kingdoms a little cheaper through some of Play.com’s re-sellers/retailers.
    £5.99 for new seems okay
    http://www.play.com/Games/PC/4-/8697398/Medieval-II-Total-War-Kingdoms/Product.html?ptsl=1&ob=Price&fb=0

    will probably try this instead of getting Warpath for ETW

    oh and just for good measure…….ARMA 2 is half price on Steam this weekend ;)

  43. cncplyr says:

    I give my approval to this mod! It is indeed awesome!

  44. tigershuffle says:

    scratch what i said earlier……….just found and ordered from Currys online for £1.97 including delivery :D

  45. Andrew Dunn says:

    At the risk of sounding like a CA apologist, it’s probably because they’re not locking out mods entirely like Infinity Ward is doing. There are lots of mods of various types for Empire; just none of the big total conversions, due to the encryption and so on.

    I do think they should make all this available for modders but it’s several orders of magnitude less heinous than the Modern Warfare 2 situation.

    • Andrew Dunn says:

      Dammit, this was meant to be a reply to Vinraith up there talking about Empire being a better comparison point than MW2.

    • Vinraith says:

      Fair enough, it’s just that with Empire it’s happening to a game I actually care about. :)

    • Railick says:

      I don’t much care about Empires, I don’t care for the time peroid :P It isn’t that I don’t like guns ect I just would rather it be in a time peroid where guns are more advanced ( but still not too advanced) Like the American Civil War or something of that nature.

    • Andrew Dunn says:

      Haha. Funny you should say that, because Empire’s representation of musketry is far closer to American Civil War levels in terms of devastation and accuracy and so on. Out of necessity, so that battles don’t last 6 hours, of course.

  46. Railick says:

    If I could I'd post an OH REALLY? Owl but I can't :P

  47. Jarmo says:

    It’s Tolkien, not Tolkein, Kieron.

  48. Xeaon says:

    Was a fun, well made mod. It’s a shame though that in sieges like in all total war games the only real enemy is the useless pathing and AI which kills more of my army then orcs ever will :(

  49. edwardoka says:

    Watchoo Tolkien about Willis?
    Mad props to KG for mentioning the awesome War in Middle Earth, a game which still demands a remake, even if it was a cheating bastard of a game and the only way to complete it is to savescum on an emulator. (I’m talking about the 8-bit tile-based version with isometric battles, not the 16-bit one with pretty side-on graphics and abstracted battles)

  50. fuggles says:

    Well as Medieval is only £2.49 on Steam and the add-on but £5, I’ve bought them both solely to play this mod. Fingers crossed it’s as good as it looks.