Rivendell is practically a physical barrier for me in Lord of the Rings Online. I counted up 27 characters that I have rolled up and played in the game over the years, and among those that made it out of the starter zones, most ended up somewhere between the Lone Lands and Rivendell. Only four have ventured much beyond that point. (And only one has been past Moria, but that is another story.)
I could actually draw the line a bit earlier, as there is a clump of characters that didn’t make it out of Esteldin, but by the time you’ve been there you have likely been into Rivendell. A few quests send you that was fairly early in your 30s, which always made the fact that the Rivendell stable master doesn’t “stick” for you until level 40 more than a tad annoying. I guess they have to find some reason for people to buy mithril coins.
Once through the Trollshaws and into Rivendell the elves seem in quite a rush to get you moving onward and into the Misty Mountains to meet up with Gloin. And that means snow.
I know dwarves are hardy folk and all, but that bit of stone they’re hanging about doesn’t have so much as a square meter of roof over it or three walls together to put one over. It is open to wind and weather and they’re all just standing about day and night, the moisture of the breath fogging up before them. (Which, I must admit, is a nice touch.) Shelter amounts to a little tent.
And then there is snow. I am not all that fond of snow zones. Fields of white broken up with rocks are not all that attractive. And they seem to have done away with the weather that used to come up in the zone. Or maybe it is the wrong season for the blizzards and white outs I have experienced before.
The Misty Mountains are not that far from Rivendell. Unfortunately, this seems to have been the green light to have you run back and forth between Gloin’s camp and the last homely house over and over. The Misty Mountains seems to be of the old school of LOTRO, where you spent a lot of time just running between NPCs with messages. This was addressed somewhat in the lower level zones. Bree and the Lone Lands are pretty good on that front now. But Book 5 might as well be titled The Last Refuge: Get Used to Running Back to it Every Other Quest.
At least the ride between Gloin’s camp and Rivendell has a swift travel options. But you then have to tramp back and forth from the stable master to whoever you need to speak with to get your update (on the map below the stable master is below the “R” in Rivendell while whoever you need to speak to is usually above the last “L” so you’re running pretty much the breadth of the place), then get back into the Misty Mountains to go wherever it is Gloin thinks you need to go. And the Misty Mountains isn’t a small zone.
Fortunately most of the running about in the snow is confined to the run between Gloin’s camp and Helegrod. You can harvest and stack up bears and snow beasts for deeds as you pass back and forth… and you will pass back and forth. There is a series of chapters in book 5 that sends you up to a doorway set in the mountain to slay a guardian to get a drop. Then it is back down to Gloin’s camp, then back to Rivendell, then back to Gloin’s camp, then back up to the doors so you can go in. That reeks of “slow the players down” rather than any depth of story telling. I wish I had thought to use a deed accelerator boost before I started, I could have made some serious inroads.
Through the doors is a fellowship quest and one I don’t think I’ve ever done before. The whole “give you a group-sized buff if your solo” thing came about since I last passed through I think. Or maybe I just got sick of running back and forth previously. Anyway, this time around I was going in, and on arriving I found a dragon. A dead dragon. Ewww.
In something out of season seven of Game of Thrones, the Nazgul are trying to take a dead dragon and turn it into an undead minion and you have to get in there and stop it from happening. This has what I can only describe as some comedic turns, but ends up with you fighting one of the nine all by yourself, which is kind of a tall order.
Apparently standing by the obelisk protects you, because otherwise I just had mortal weapons and the Glass of Aglaral to keep me going.
I particularly like the pair of minions hanging out in the distance in that screen shot discussing whatever and ignoring the fight going on. I know that is a staple of the genre, but it seems especially poignant in this scene since the Nazgul summoned a bunch of minions to help out. But those two, they were on their break.
Anyway, I prevailed. You don’t get to actually slay the Nazgul… the story won’t allow it, can’t allow it… but you send it running off leaving a pile of cloth behind.
After that… well, of course, you have to run around again. But once you’ve turned that in, and the reward was a nice piece of armor, you’re done with the epic quest line for the Misty Mountains.
However, at that point I hadn’t gotten all that far into the zone. There were still many deeds to be found and at least two quest hubs to be dealt with. I haven’t even been close to Goblin-town yet. So there is still more to do out in the snow. I’m only level 42 as of this writing, so it probably won’t be until I hit level 45 before I turn my eye towards Angmar.