While the holidays and other distractions broke up my daily play streak on the Lord of the Rings Online legendary server, it didn’t break my stride completely. I did manage to find the time and inclination to get back into Middle-earth at various points.
I left off last time in the Misty Mountains, the snowy highlands north of Rivendell. I was complaining a bit about the needed to ride all the way back to check in with Elrond every fourth or fifth quest, and I will continue to do so here. It seems that moving forward from Gloin’s camp near the entrance of the zone merely extends the chain of check-ins you need to get when anything of even mild importance comes up. You end up checking in with Gloin first, who then refers you once more to Elrond, who nods his head and stamps you quest log then sends you back to Gloin who sends you back to where you started.
After running back and forth across the zone a few times, in between expeditions to each corner of the zone, often in a bit of a haze, I got another “Go speak with Gloin” quest, so rode back to his encampment. Only, once there, he didn’t want to speak to me. I had to go back and read the quest text, which I had skipped having seen the oft visited destination, to find that Gloin defies space and time by existing in two locations at once in the Misty Mountains. There is a dearth of Inns and such in the zone, so they couldn’t hide him behind locked doors.
His second manifestation in the zone is at a little camp up at the north west end of the North High Pass area, past the goblin camps out in the snow.
There he had a new destination for me, Goblin Town.
Goblin Town is just yards from his little encampment, which made me wonder a bit why Gloin didn’t just wander over and do some of those tasks he set me himself. I found the documents he was looking for on the first Goblin inside the door. But that isn’t the way of the quest giver. So it was I who would be penetrating into Goblin Town.
Goblin Town is both true to what was described in The Hobbit and not. It is a winding maze of underground passages in which one can easily become lost, filled with goblins and ramshackle structures. On the other hand, it is surprisingly well lit and spacious. I realize that these were supposed to be natural caves that the goblins took over, but the whole thing is very uniform in appearance.
I’ve been to Goblin Town before, but it has been a long time. I noted in passing back in 2011 that the place was all signature mobs that came in groups so it was a very tough place to go solo at level. Also, there is no deed in the Misty Mountains for slaying goblins, which is really strange given the presence of Goblin Town. Whatever.
Since that mention the dev team seemed to have something of a change of heart about Goblin Town. The goblins strewn about the place, and their warg companions, are all normal mobs now. Named mobs, which you need for quests now and then, are still signature mobs, as are some special guests, like trolls. But, otherwise, the whole thing has been dialed back a bit so you can go at it solo without being defeated every third pull.
I decided that I should run as much of the Goblin Town quest chain as I could manage. This would be new territory for me and, since I rather suspect this might be my final run at the game, this was an opportunity that I should not let pass.
Some of the initial quests were pretty easy. Kill some goblins, get a drop, scout a place, go back to Gloin and report. I managed all of that pretty well just wandering the caves on my own. However, things soon develop into things like, find a specific place, talk to a specific captive, slay a named creature, and such. I was soon wandering about the place lost. In addition to being well lit and spacious, Goblin Town has about as much asset variation as the background of a running scene in a 60s Hannah-Barbara cartoon. Every cave looks the same. Sometimes the goblin mob names change, but not that often. All the stairs and platforms and bridges use the same models.
And, to add on to all of that, the whole place is multi-level, so even as I went around trying to fill in the in-game map, I was getting lost and didn’t seem to have much chance of finding specific locations.
Fortunately, we live in the age of informational miracles and there is always somebody on the internet who has done the work for you for such things. So over on the LOTRO Wiki there is a map of Goblin Town that has the various sections of it marked with items and individuals of interest. I bookmarked that map and saved off a copy just in case.
The map isn’t perfect. As I mentioned, Goblin Town is multi-level in layout and the map is strictly 2D, so it really doesn’t give you a sense of how a given area might be laid out. You see multiple exits from the big rectangular areas, but some are up steps of down below the room. One of the area you end up going to multiple times is the slave pens, which looks like an open cavern on the map.
What isn’t well illustrated is that it is multiple levels deep and the various loops represent ramps up and down the site. The map, which was assembled from the various in-game maps, has hints. You can see bridges and open areas. But you really don’t know what you’re facing until you get there.
The full map also gives you a sense of the size of Goblin Town. It isn’t exactly Goblin Moria, but there is a lot more there than I expected. I mean, Thorin and Gadalf got through the place with just a dozen dwarves and a hobbit for support in not much time at all.
The slave pens are something of a quest hub within Goblin Town, along with Gloin’s camp just outside. As such you end up running back and forth to both locations after finding things or slaying individuals or groups. And, of course, at one point you end up having to go all the way back to Elrond just one more time to get his deep insight on some bit of trivia. I started spending some mithril coins to avoid long travel times after a bit. You got me SSG. You found the threshold of my impatience, the point and which I’ll spend a mithril coin just to avoid yet another round trip out of Goblin Town and back in.
Eventually I started wrapping up the various quest chains, with the slave pens ending on the expected yet dreaded escort quest. I had to get Aeglas out of Goblin Town it seemed and I didn’t know how this was going to play out. Was this going to be the slow torture of Sara Oakheart? The aggressive zealousness of Pengail? Or some new twist on the quirks of escort NPCs?
As it turned out, Aeglas mostly has his act together. There are a few stops along the way, but he isn’t obsessed with his father’s sword or some trinket that sits in a box situated behind half the goblins in the zone. Getting him free about finished off what I could accomplish in the Misty Mountains.
There were some quests left, but they were all group quests.
And while I have been pretty good about being able to find ad hoc partners to get through some areas, there didn’t seem to be anybody to hand ready to go after these. The one non-group quest is just an introduction to Forochel. Another one, in case I ignored the one I got when I was Evendim… which I did ignor.
Goblin Town also was enough to get me to kindred level with Rivendell, as many faction boosting banners and trinkets drop there.
What also drops a lot in Goblin Town is lock boxes.
I think I picked up a total of three lock boxes… or lootboxes if you prefer the in-game name… between setting out on the server and arriving in Goblin Town. Once in Goblin Town I picked up at least two dozen more. I ended up deleting them for the most part. The keys to open them do not drop with similar abandon and the price of keys in the cash shop is more than I care to spend. You could run through your LOTRO Points pretty quickly buying keys for every box you found.
So that left me just shy of level 46 and ready to move on. While I have a couple of invites to Forochel now, I think the next stop will be Angmar, as that is where the epic quest line wants to send me.