Battle of Middle-earth is, for the moment, a fairly active community that organizes events such like PVP battles, tournaments, monthly meetings, and so forth. To join the community you need to buy the first expansion pack, "Polgara's Fate" from the official website or other retailers within the last year or so, the second expansion pack, "War of the Ring", will be released later this year, or support the stop the war movement.
In Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor the game is truly open world and expands with from the existing story, but is very linear in nature. It is linear in nature because the game is structured to be a very intense third-person shooter where you go around and kill until you get all the Shadows of evil from Mordor. However, you are free to do whatever, and that's the game they want you to do.
We've seen times in which a series of its fans would step in to collaborate with the development team, specifically the players who spend a lot of time developing games. Those players tend to work on a game for years, and then the developers ask for some advice from the community. Those kinds of collaborations are admirable, and they can help some of the most famous series to move forward and both benefit from the advice and by being able to offer something that the developer team couldn't provide themselves.
So the game has a lot of content, and it's a lot of fun to play for people, but the games can be quite difficult and frustrating. Most of the stories from Lord of the Rings Conquest are fairly linear, there are a lot of battles and it can be quite hard to win, but that's a good thing. To me it feels fair and there are no real unfair tactics that cost you a soldier too many points. Since the game features three factions, this wouldn’t be much of a problem. The game has a simplistic but very effective UI and the game is quite easy to learn.