Tales of Middle Earth's history is not a short one. The quest to bring Middle Earth to AoK is nearly as old as the game itself. Countless LOTR enthusiasts have joined or created modding teams, or even worked alone, but all with the same goal of bringing J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved world to their most beloved RTS game.

Alas, making a total conversion is an incredible amount of work, and though the efforts were many the results were few. In 2005, Middle Earth Total Conversion (METC), a collaborative community effort, was finally released to the blacksmith sadly unfinished. While it held glimpses of the enjoyment a full conversion could bring, its unfinished and unpolished nature left fans and modders alike wishing for more.

Three years later, the equally ambitious Battles of Middle Earth total conversion (BoME) would suffer the same fate. Almost five years after the project began, it too was released unfinished. LOTR fans were again left disappointed, with little hope of a truly playable conversion ever being completed.

But then, to quote a certain grey wizard, "There never was much hope. Just a fool's hope." And in 2010, three fools began to work towards that same goal that METC and BoME had failed to reach. Pulkit attempted to rebuild and complete METC with METC 3.0, hoping to give fans what that mod had teased but never delivered; while Jorgito_Aquas (soon joined by Matt LiVecchi) announced Tales of Middle Earth, the spiritual successor to BoME. Later that summer, the two mods would merge, and the combined three man effort on Tales of Middle Earth was begun.

Still, beginning is not finishing, and the same difficulties that defeated METC and BoME soon reared their heads again. In 2011 Jorgito would disappear completely, taking a sizable portion of the mod with him. Real life and busy schedules struck at the remaining two members, and once again it seemed the task was just too great to see through.

Somehow though, graphic by graphic, edit by edit, the mod kept going. Every time it seemed to burn out, there was always just one more coal still glowing. Finally, over two years after the merger, the Tales of Middle Earth mod is now ready to be presented to the public for download.

And while this project is definitely the result of countless hours of our work, we would be remiss to take all the credit. The contributors to this mod are endless, and they come in a variety of forms. To that end we have listed some who we must thank, but we know that list will never be truly complete. There were those who offered critiques on graphics, sometimes frustrating us but never letting us settle; and those who play tested or gave game play suggestions; those who added a graphic or a few, or even those who dug up concept art for us. All those, and the myriad others who worked on BoME and METC, on whose shoulders we stood when we started. You helped make the impossible a little less so. We cannot thank you all individually, but know that we appreciate your efforts.

But most of all, we want to thank you, our fellow Lord of the Rings fans out there, who patiently watched with anticipation and hope. You always made sure we knew how much this mod was wanted, even when things looked darkest. This mod, more than anything, is our thanks to you.

After all, you waited long enough.

- Matt LiVecchi