Shall I Venture Forth into Moria?

The Lord of the Rings Online Legendary server has been a big success for me personally so far.

I went back, played through the Shadows of Angmar content, revisited old favorite places, and expanded my reach into things I  had not done in the past.  Op success.

Where legends are revisited

It wasn’t perfect.  I did most of the run solo.  Friends I had played with in the past were not interested in returning (having the lifetime subscription made returning easy for me, but I am not sure I would have gone if I had to pay) and I didn’t end up finding any sort of regular group.  I joined a Kinship, then never did anything with them.  I was moving too slow at first, so was behind the curve and not able to join in on instances with them.

And by the time I had caught up and was through with the epic quest line, I was feeling done with Shadows of Angmar.  Initial plans I had about alts and such faded after three months of focus on the game.  It was a “three monther” I guess.

But the Mines of Moria expansion is coming.  Standing Stone, in its usual indecisive, foot shuffling way, suggested in its recent producer’s letter that Moria will probably open up some time in March, that being the nearest of futures I suppose, all while avoiding making direct eye contact.

Given my general feeling of success when it came the run through Shadows of Angmar, I am seriously considering a return bout for the Mines of Moria.  But I am not sold on it yet, so I am going through the pros and cons of such a venture.

Pros

Refreshed – After a month away from LOTRO, I might be ready for a fresh expedition.

Moria itself – The place is huge and epic and really unlike any other MMORPG expansion that I can think of.  Has there ever been an expansion set almost completely underground?

New Discoveries – I’ve only been end-to-end through Moria and out into daylight on the other side once.  I am sure I missed something along the way.  I was getting antsy to get out towards the end there.

The Crowd – The one time I did make it through Moria I think Helms Deep was the current expansion, so I went through a very quiet version of the underground complex.  It might be nice to see it crowded with people.

Progress – It might be nice to move through the game with each unlock.  I own all the expansions, but really haven’t played much beyond Moria.

Lifetime – Hey, since I have a lifetime subscription, it won’t cost me anything extra.  I am already paid up.

Cons

Competition – March also sees the 20th anniversary of EverQuest hit, and when it comes to the nostalgia factor, EQ > LOTRO.  That does depend on what Daybreak has on tap, but there it is.

The Crowd – Honestly, there were a lot of people in Moria relative to how Tolkien described it.  The dwarves moved in pretty damn fast behind the fellowship, especially considering there was a war on.  What will it be like in that constrained space with tons of players milling about?

Moria itself – As majestic and wonderful and large and well appointed as Moria can be, it is still a goddam cave, and we don’t call somebody a “caveman” as a compliment.  In my one run through it I wanted to get to the end in part because I wanted to get outside under the sky again.  Ten levels in Moria made me miss the usual bear/boar/wolf tropes of Shadows of Angmar.

Eregion and Lothlorien – There is a bell curve of interest when it comes to the Mines of Moria expansion.  Eregion on the near side is nothing special, and Lothlorien on the far side is uninspired enough that I was tempted to go back into the cave after a bit of sunshine.

Legendary Weapons – Somebody will claim to like legendary weapons, but I am going with Stockholm syndrome when that comes up.  I hate legendary weapons and I wish Turbine had dropped the idea the moment we get out of the cave.  Having to constantly tend to the needy baby that is your legendary weapon is just unfun.  Identifying, advancing, reforging, adorning with gems and runes and whatever else, all of which requires you to go back to camp, is an endless chore.  And don’t get me started on all of the legendary weapons that drop that you cannot use, since they are class specific.  Just what I need, more inventory issues and something else I need to bring back to camp to deconstruct.

Progress to What? – The problem with getting past Lothlorien is that it just leads into Mirkwood, which lives up to its reputation from The Hobbit.  It is a dark and boring place… literally darker than Moria in my memory.

Conclusion

I am undecided.  My enthusiasm is at war with my pessimism.  I left Eregion alone once I had finished the epic quest tasks there and had done enough quests to unlock the first stable master.  And much of the zone is skippable if I recall right.  You just have to get on the right path to get into Moria and then into the hole.

I will likely start off down the Moria path.  Whether or not I end up persisting probably depends as much on other options as anything.  As I said, the EverQuest 20th anniversary has a possibility of providing a viable and even more nostalgic alternative.  Then there are some friends who are talking about giving Path of Exile a run when the next season of it commences.  And there is always WoW.  It is easy to slip into playing that.  I guess we will see by the end of the month where I fall on this.

7 thoughts on “Shall I Venture Forth into Moria?

  1. Krumm

    A perfect time to wait, like you said Everquest is having its 20th anniversary with new servers come march I believe, and one thing that you didn’t mention is that EQ2 has a number of new servers coming out in March as well…a pvp one and a new progression one as well.

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  2. Mazer

    “Someone will claim to like legendary weapons..” *waves hand excitedly* : P

    But seriously, they do at least have the filter system now so you could blacklist all the legendary item spam. I started tossing them anyway when I realized they deconstruct for a pittance with no leveling.

    Regarding Mirkwood, I’m curious to see how they’ll handle the zones since in the live game Enedwaith is a perfectly viable parallel zone (they’re both level 61-65) if you don’t mind skipping the back half of volume 2.

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  3. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Mazer – The problem is that you will find better legendary weapons for your class as you progress through Moria. They are very rare. You need to sort through dozens of drops for other classes, but eventually you’ll run across an upgrade.

    And, of course, there is a whole side discussion to be had about how a seemingly endless supply of legendary items dropping off the trivial minions of the dark side can be accounted for by the lore. It is one thing to have such a weapon to care for and revere, and another to be digging through a scrap heap of them and tossing aside the one you have been working on for another, slightly better one.

    I would have preferred if Elrond had gone into the back room and found me such a weapon, one weapon, that I would keep forever rather than comical system the game has now.

    I wasn’t all that keen on Blizz doing something similar with artifact weapons in Legion, but I think they at least got the tone right. There is one… per spec at least… you quested for it and you worked on unlocking its power, with cosmetic options so everybody wasn’t identical.

    The Blizz approach was probably too simple, but the Turbine approach was probably too complex. I recall a quote from that former Turbine guy who leaked a bunch of inside info to a forum a couple of years back saying how the devs couldn’t explain to the testing team how the whole system was supposed to work below a certain level of detail.

    Of course, the last time I ran through Moria was a while back. Turbine/SSG might have made things better. I mean, there is a non-zero chance of that, right?

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  4. Mazer

    Oh no don’t get me wrong, I do still like it overall but I agree with basically all of your points; I just (mostly) sidestep them. : P

    The volume 2 intro almost *does* run like you suggest with the whole “Oh no how will we fight the ancient evil, *gasp* we found a cache of ancient artifacts go get one and forge it into something powerful!” bit… and then yeah every third goblin apparently has one from the gift shop…

    I’ve always used crafted legendaries so the looted ones are just vendor trash and easier to ignore; I do keep a set of dropped ones leveling for deconstruction but I don’t think that’s necessary. I also like that you get to choose your weapon type (still cranky that WoW informed me I was getting an axe whether I liked it or not >_>).

    As for improvements, yeeaah… they have the ‘imbued’ legendary system now which does turn them into a single weapon you level forever but for some reason or another that doesn’t kick in until level 100 (so sayeth the wiki I’ve never gotten that high).

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