I have managed to keep plodding forward in Lord of the Rings Online. My previous post put me on the verge of Moria. Well, I am through the doors and stuck into the expansion.
Our kinship seems to have faded however. The summer diversion into Middle-earth has fallen by the wayside for most of our EVE Online corp which, if nothing else, means that even at my modest pace of advancement, at level 56 I am close to being the highest level player. Of course, without everybody else, doing instances as a group hasn’t come to pass. And just to rain on my parade a little bit more, the founder of our kinship quit EVE and, in what I take to be a big “Up yours!” to his former corp mates, revoked officer status for everybody in the kinship. So the kinship is now both dead and without anybody who can make any changes.
Life in MMOs.
At least there wasn’t anything for him to steal.
So my progress forward has been pretty quiet as well as slow. But it has allowed me to explore Moria, which is turning out to be a much bigger place than I had imagined.
I do find that Moria’s separation from the initial world… which I know was required back in the day… is initially quite bothersome. You cannot travel straight to Moria, the last horse stop is at the portal into the zone outside Moria, so you have to hoof it across a modest zone every time you leave and then come back. This is aggravated by the fact that all of the services you go back to Bree or Rivendell for are available in Moria, just not until you reach the Twenty First Hall, which the map below shows, isn’t exactly close to where you start off.
So you can be a while getting there. And until you do all your crafting, banking, and training needs have to be served back on the surface.
Initially you start off in mostly cave-ish areas where the dwarves have carved out rooms and a few structures. But as you move deeper in, the size and scale of the works become truly massive.
Of course, massive comes with a price as well. I was in Durin’s Hall at one point, which is a well developed area at least five levels deep, and was standing on a walkway at the top on one side of the area and needed to be on a platform one level down and across the… room? I could see it from where I stood… but actually getting there involved a Super Mario Brothers routine of stairs and ramps. This was further hindered by the designer’s love of very steep stair cases. They are so steep that you often cannot verify that there are stairs there until you get to the very edge of a platform. And they are not always where you think they will be, something that has lead me to go over the edge on several occasions.
And I always seem to be a bit lost. Not a bad thing, as it speaks to the depth of the zones. But not only is it surprisingly easy to get turned around and headed in the wrong direction if you fail to consult the map every so often, but I also end up completely losing the thread of quest chains as I accidentally stumble on new locations.
And the names of places just don’t seem to be sticking with me. So I abandon some quests, pick up some new ones and carry on.
In part I think this is because the goat subway system that forms the mass transit backbone in Moria insists on naming the stations, such as they are, after the immediate geographic location. So, for example, the destination when I want to get to the Waterworks, a zone in which I did all the quests I could and finished most of the deeds, is reached by a goat stop at The Rotting Cellar. But it took me a while to associated that name with the Waterworks.
The Waterworks itself though is an amazing place. At least assuming you don’t mind being waist deep in water a good portion of the time. It is one of those locations that makes you feel really small. The quests in the zone were not anything exciting. They were mostly the standard fare, go kill some of these and come back, now go turn the knob over there and come back, now kill something else. And the water structures themselves often appeared to have all the purpose of the engine room in Galaxy Quest. But the design and feel of the zone, a huge open cavern with immense structure all bathed in an eerie crystal light, kept me going. It was one of those zone where I wanted to poke my nose into every location.
I suppose the fact that is was a much more open zone than what I have been through in Moria helped. I could see the distant corners I wanted to explore.
So I actually finished up the quest chain there… unlike any Moria area up to that point… after which the final task was to send me off to the Twenty First Hall and essential services. I had been there already. I dropped a Mithril coin to get there just to be able to use the bank. But now I was actually being sent there.
Gaff pointed out that I might want to pick up a new legendary weapon, as I was still using the one I picked up in Eregion. It was falling behind in damage rating, and I apparently picked up some of the barter currency as drops along the way. With auto loot on, I am often surprised what I find in my bag or wallet at the end of the night.
Fortunately, that investment in first weapon gets paid back somewhat when you deconstruct it. You can then apply that to your new weapon.
After doing some lift and carry and search quests (the dwarves seems to lose a lot of things in Moria) in and about the Twenty First Hall, I made my way to the Redhorn Lode area. That will be my next area of exploration. It isn’t as open as The Waterworks, though it certainly isn’t as cave-like as the opening zones either. And it is tinted in a reddish glow rather than blue.
While I start in on that, here are some tourist photos from my time in The Waterworks.