LotR Mods – Third Age Total War

May 7, 2012

General, Out-of-Game

Third Age – Total War is a mod for Medieval II Total War Kingdoms that is considered to be one of the best Lord of the Rings games and the best part is that it is completely free as long as you have the expansion for Medieval II.

Taking place in the Third Age of Middle Earth during the events of Lord of the Rings, the game aims to allow players to take control of any large faction at this time.

The full list includes:

  • Gondor
  • Rohan
  • High and Silvan Elves
  • Dwarves
  • Eriador
  • Dale
  • Isengard
  • Mordor
  • Rhun
  • Harad
  • Orcs of the Misty Mountains.

While you would imagine that this game would be way out of balance because of the vast hordes of orcs under Sauron’s control it is actually very balanced.  There are many more orcs in a unit than men but the orcs are much weaker than the men.  It is almost breathtaking the first time you are playing as Gondor and there are literally thousands of enemy orcs running down the plane to attack your elite Gondorian guard and you think that there is no way that you can survive yet your men are unfazed.   While they do loose a few men in the battle they stand strong and kill at least 10 orcs to one man’s death.

It is really cool when you have your men defending in the middle of a bridge in Spartan formation ready to defend themselves to the last man from the huge horde of orcs and they actually win because the orcs could not flank around them and attack their armor from the back.  This allows you to absolutely demolish the enemy orc army.

Of course it is also a lot of fun to control the enemy side and have literally around 5 thousand orcs under your command and then having AI controlled support armies allowing you to have up to 50 thousand orcs on a battlefield going up against a few thousand Gondorians.  You send in your hordes and they quickly surround the enemy and they go into a circle formation and you have to fight every last Gondorian guard till the last man dies.

Not only are there large scale battles but there are also heroes on the battlefield.  Nearly every major character that took an active combat role in Lord of the Rings is in this game.  While Gondorian guard can take down orcs 10-1 Aragorn’s party can take over 50-1 yet he is hardly a match for the Ring Wraiths and their fell beasts or if he finds the ring…Sauron himself.  Yet all of them are hardly a match for the Balrog…yeah there is a Balrog!  Oh and there are also Oliphants with groups of archers mounted on its back.

The good news for the world is that once a character dies it is dead forever.  While you will want to put your hero on the front line you will not want to leave them there too long or you might not have a hero anymore.  Being able to control Gandalf as he saves the men inside Helms Deep is honestly one of the best moments that you can ask for in any game.  I can’t wait to see how Turbine handles this battle but for now this mod has no competition in the Helms Deep/Minas Tirith department.

The landscapes in this game (much like LOTRO) are absolutely breathtaking.  They have taken influence from the books and movies to re-create the world of J. R. R. Tolkien in a believable way and yet still keep its fantasy flair.  When you see Minas Tirith under siege it looks just like the movies and you can’t help but have a smile on your face knowing that you are responsible for how the battle turns out with the choices you make.  Also they did an amazing job with the Moria landscape as they made it really feel like an underground civilization and you want to control it just to say that you took over Moria.

If you don’t want to take the time for a long campaign to retake all of Middle-earth then you might be interested in the quick battle system.  Let’s say you just want to scour the Shire.  Well you can do that and can even set up what units come to the battle on each side. So let’s say you want a Balrog to go up against thousands of hobbits…well you can do that!  You can also do infighting so maybe you want to see the Witch King fight against an army of heavily armored trolls…well you can do that.  Maybe you want to see hobbits fight the Gondorian Guard…well you can do that too.  My favorite though has to be Sauron flinging thousands of hobbits into the air.

There is also Multiplayer worked into the game so that you can fight the quick battles with friends.  You each get to pick you faction and troops and then can fight anywhere in LotR.  I have only done this a few times, yet when I do it is a lot of fun.  The best part is that the game is balanced enough so that you don’t have to worry about who “actually” won.

Third Age – Total War really should be a full $50 game and you can get it for free if you already have the Kingdoms expansion to Medieval II.  It is honestly my second favorite LotR game right after LOTRO.  There is not much in this world that is more fun than leading thousands of orcs in a siege against a city in Middle-earth.  Considering that the most you should pay is $10 at GameStop ($8.45 at Amazon at the time of this article) for the core game and then download a mod it is an amazingly good deal.

Note that all pictures were used from the ModDB post of Third Age – Total War

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Avatar of Andang

About Andang

A lifelong Tolkien fan, Andang loves just about anything related to Tolkien. Andang is also a lifelong hardcore gamer with a huge love for any genre of game, as long as it is good. Andang currently writes for A Casual Stroll to Mordor and Middle-Earth Network's Gaming Team. He is also a co-host on Random Fandom, a weekly news podcast here on Middle-Earth Network. You can also find Andang on his YouTube channel and his Facebook page and if all that is not enough he has a twitter as well.

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31 Responses to “LotR Mods – Third Age Total War”

  1. Zide Zwipe Says:

    My favorite thing to do in this mod is to reunite the Kingdom of Arnor. Basically with a lot of work you can turn Eriador, a rag tag group of humans and hobbits into the ancient kingdom.

    Might I also suggest a mod for a mod, FROME. Forgotten Realms of Middle Earth. It introduces the factions Dunland, Dwarves of the Ered Luin, and it splits Sylvan Elves into the Galladhrim and the Mirkwood elves. http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showthread.php?t=323812


    • Avatar of Andang
      Andang Says:

      That looks really good. I can’t wait for them to release this for 3.0 of Third Age so you can have all the epic cities with the new factions.


  2. Godwineson Says:

    wow! Must get!


  3. Avatar of Mark
    Mark Says:

    I’m on board with what Godwinson said. Must get!


  4. Tony Says:

    Wow, I suck at RTS games, but the work put into this looks really, really impressive.


  5. Jan Says:

    Oh yeah … hehe … I only can highly recommend this mod. I know it very well because I was in the team of that mod from version 1.0 to 2.0. I created the twelve original Intro videos of the factions and the trailer was also created by me back in the days when the mod was first released.

    Maybe you guys wanna check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHWzW88DLxo

    The mod is awesome. I already play it since 2008 next tot LOTRO. The official “Webiste” btw is the forum over here: http://www.twcenter.net/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=654


    • Avatar of Andang
      Andang Says:

      I love the videos and the trailer that you created. They really capture the spirit of the game and are well done.

      I almost put that trailer in the article but decided on some that include more from the current version of the game (hence the 3.0 trailer).

      I like twcenter yet it is nowhere near as user friendly as ModDB and I wanted to make it as easy as possible to get into the readers hands.

      Thanks again for the awesome videos you made


  6. Avatar of Goldenstar
    Goldenstar Says:

    I already have Medieval II but not this expansion. It’s something I simply must pick up and try!


  7. Thaillin Says:

    Thanks for the heads-up on this mod. I am a big fan of the Total War series including M2TW but have never used a mod for it – can’t wait to try this one out.


  8. Alexandra & Bogdan Epureanu Says:

    Already have Medieval War II so we will just download the mod; if it is half as good as you say, then we will be stucked in front of our computers for a while. *ordering some pizza*. :)


  9. Rinvan Says:

    The mod looks pretty good, I used to play another LOTR mod for Rome:Total War. I never played a ton of Medieval II but do have it along with the expansion.


    • Avatar of Andang
      Andang Says:

      I like the Rome: Total War base game a lot better than Medieval II yet in my opinion Third Age – Total War is a much better mod


  10. Avatar of Josh Radke
    Josh Radke Says:

    The Total War series in general is simply “Must get!” I must have burned well over 400-500 hours playing Medieval: Total War alone–very addictive game.

    But this mod makes that point pretty understated, lol! My problem is that Medieval II is not compatible with Windows 7, and yet the “Kingdoms” expansion is…so I’d like to know if that actually works out :-)


    • Avatar of Andang
      Andang Says:

      Yeah I have sinked thousands of hours into the Total War series and my favorite non-mod has to be Rome: Total War followed very closely by the Fall of the Samuri expansion to Shogun II.

      And I have no idea how Windows 7 works (or doesn’t) with this mod.


  11. Avatar of Tyler Michael Jonsson
    Tyler Michael Jonsson Says:

    Granted, these types of games are generally ones that I stay away from. Not because I don’t see the potential fun-factor, but rather because I am simply TERRIBLE at them.

    But this particular mod may entice me to try this one out :)


  12. Cerridan of Firefoot Says:

    There’s also a mod for Rome Total War (Requires Barbarian Invasion) called the Fourth Age Total War (FATW) Here’s a link if you want to check it out: http://www.twcenter.net/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=89


    • Avatar of Andang
      Andang Says:

      Yeah I have played that one for a little bit but I like Third Age better. Thanks for the link for anyone that might have Rome and doesn’t want to spend $10 for Medieval II Kingdoms.


  13. Avatar of Ian
    Ian Says:

    I have version 2.0 of this mod. Is this the new 3.0? Locations like Helm’s Deep have VASTLY improved! :)


  14. Godwineson Says:

    Windows 7 compatibility would be key. Does anyone know? I see that several others have the same question.

    This looks like what LOTRO lacks, and I can imagine how they could be intertwined.


    • Beryline Says:

      I know that some people have to run MTW in Windows 2000 compatibility mode if they’re on a Windows 7 platform (right click the game launch icon, select Properties, Compatibility, and then check the box for running in W2K compatibility. I assume this would work with the mod too?


  15. Jan Says:

    For the Windows 7 compatibility you guys asked about: This Mod is for Medieval II Total War Kingdoms. The Mod won’t run on MIITW only … you need the Kingdoms expansion to play it. And the Kingdoms expansion runs in all Windows versions (2000, XP, Vista & 7).

    (BTW you also can play this game (and this includes the mod in this case) on Linux and Mac as well. There are several nice workarounds for that.)

    If you guys have some more questions feel free to ask me: jan.kaselitz@googlemail.com


  16. susan Says:

    Sat and watched a few of the utube vids of players posting battles from this… was just like watching a movie.. loved it. May have to get this :D thanks for sharing


  17. Avatar of Schutze
    Schutze Says:

    Great write up. Sometimes good things don’t have to cost a lot.
    This could be a lotro rp tool as well maybe?


  18. Lorgelas Says:

    Looks really cool. I’ll have to reinstall again and get this mod.


  19. Shoshana Earls Says:

    Nice setup, and he knows enough to buy IPS monitors instead of crap TN panel monitors.



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