Minas Morgul will take you on an expedition deep into the Morgul Vale in search of answers to a mystery that spans three thousand years. The words of the shade of Isildur will unearth secrets and visions of the Second Age that have remained untold until now, revealing playable landscape and new adventures from a crucial time in Middle-earth’s history.
-SSG description of the Minas Morgul expansion
I must admit I wasn’t sure where Standing Stone Games would go after the Mordor expansion was announced back in 2017. That is pretty much the big finish for the story and much of what happens afterwards, in the book at least, is just cleaning up and accounting.
But where there is a will… and a loophole… and a need to keep things going… there is always a way. And so after the Mordor expansion the game will… stay in Mordor I guess, since that is pretty much where Minas Morgul is right? I mean, it is on the boarder, was part of Gondor, but fell under the control of Sauron and was inhabited by the Nazgul.
I do wonder if the fact that the URL for the expansion page resolves to “Minas Ithil” rather than “Minas Morgul” is a spoiler or not.
When you buy the expansion you unlock the following content:
- Level cap raised from 120 to 130
- Over 250 New Quests
- 7 New Instances
- Updated Crafting Guilds
- Black Book of Mordor Storyline – clean up post-Sauron
- New Shelob Raid and more!
- Stout-axe dwarf race
- Additional character slot
- 100% XP Boost Scrolls (1hr) x5
- Reputation Supply Boost x5
That is what you get with the Standard Edition of the expansion, available for $40.
There are, of course, upscale options.
The Collector’s Edition, which runs $80, adds in the following in addition:
- A Character Level Boost to 120
- Cosmetics of the Great Alliance – Exclusive armour and cloak
- Shepherd dog pet
- Mount of the Great Alliance
- Two Exclusive Titles – “Hero, Past and Present” and “Heroine, Past and Present”
- 10 Scrolls of Empowerment
And the Ultimate Fan Bundle, which checks in at $130, add the following on top of the Collector’s Edition:
- Cosmetics of the Dead City – Exclusive armor and cloak
- Harnessed shepherd dog pet
- Mount of the Dead City
- Cosmetic Weapon Aura – Aura of the Dead City
- Additional Exclusive Title – “Ablâkhul”
- Equippable XP Accelerator for all characters
- Exclusive Housing Teleport for all characters
- Three Relics for all characters
- 5000 Virtue XP
- 10 additional Scrolls of Empowerment
I am glad to see that Standing Stone Games is expanding the world of Middle-earth and that they have the wherewithal and rights to continue to do so. The new race, the Stout-axe dwarves, strikes me as a bit of padding. Did the game need more dwarves? I guess we could have asked the same thing when the added in the High Elves as well. But otherwise it seems like a solid chunk of content for the money… at least at the Standard Edition level.
There is a trailer for the expansion.
The trailer gives such a brief glimpse of thing of things that I would call it more of a teaser. The graphics they show look good, at least in the scope of LOTRO graphical fidelity, and the peek at what I assume is Shelob in her lair at the end was neat. But nobody is going to drop something like Black Desert Online for this due to graphics quality. Turbine’s awkward look is still present. It isn’t a problem for Middle-earth enthusiasts like myself, but it does make the game feel a bit dated.
As noted in the headline, the target date for the expansion is just about a month out, October 29, 2019. [Edit: Well, they missed that date, but November for sure!]
I couldn’t tell you if Minas Morgul is in my future. I have a lifetime subscription to LOTRO, own all the expansions up through Mordor, and was playing earlier this year. On the other hand, nothing past Mines of Moria has thrilled me, coming back to a game so many expansions deep is always such a chore, the awkward legendary weapon system is repellent to me, and in the autumnal nostalgia season this easily ranks well behind WoW Classic and potentially EverQuest II. But it will be there if I want to give it a try.