Eregion. Shit. I’m still only in Eregion.
-Opening lines, Moriapocalypse Now
Not the there is anything enormously wrong with Eregion. It is something of a middling zone. Nothing much stands out about it. The geography, the mobs, and many of the quests could have been copied and pasted from earlier zones.
It does, however, suffer from one big problem. It stands between you and Moria.
Eregion is like a middle episode in a television season that doesn’t move the overall story arc forward much. Sure, it lays down some ground work and probably provides some key details you’ll need to know for later, but it still feels like it is hanging about and going on longer than it should with its own little side tales. Moria is the big event of the season, but first you have to muck about in the back story.
While the EverQuest progression servers were bogged down by the usual rush to get in, the LOTRO Legendary servers of Anor and Ithil were not under any similar strain. Getting through to the first expansion had already weeded out the half hearted and the day trippers, leaving only the dedicate adventurers and the more hearty of the tourist class like myself. So I nailed my colors to the mast… in the form of choosing a title… which I could change at any time… so not really nailed… but then again pulling out nails isn’t a huge effort either… and headed to Eregion.
I had started in on Eregion a bit already while finishing up the volume I epic quest line. You need to get in the initial quest count deed to be able to use swift travel to get to any of the hubs in the zone. There are four such deeds, each unlocking swift travel for one of the quest hubs. I had done enough quests to unlock the first two, which was enough to keep from having to take the long ride from Rivendell each time I needed to get back to Bree or Thorin’s Hall. And you need to do that a few times.
Most of the quests tend towards the usual slaying of the local fauna. Wolves and lynxes and such. I think they straight up copied the lynx pelt quest from the Lone Lands. And then there are the locals, the Dunlendings. When I say that word aloud it sounds like the bank cutting off your credit line. “Done lending!” said the bank manager.
They inspires neither fear nor passion. And then there are the half orcs hanging about and the usual lying NPC escort quest.
Anyway, I ran the quest lines down to unlock the rest of the swift travel options and to get the invite to Echad Dunann, which is the stop just outside of Moria.
There you pick up the epic quest line again, which takes you into the Walls of Moria mini-zone.
There you piddle around with the dwarves, who are busy trying to get into Moria. As we will see later, they are out in force and ready to infest Durin’s domain with quest givers, vendors, bankers, stable masters, and various other amenities of civilization. But for the moment they are working on the door.
My job was to deliver lunches, collect wood, investigate various side quests, and warn the dwarves to stop throwing rocks in the mysterious black pool outside the door. This last bit always makes me laugh as the dwarves in question are hurling stone after stone into the water like they were trying to fill the whole thing in before dinner. At least they listed to reason, if too late.
Eventually they all settle down, the doorway is cleared, and the work party has to stop for a moment to say some words before, you know, actually opening up the damn door.
And that is when the lurker shows up to start picking out dinner from the dwarf buffet table. So it was time to run away, leaving the freshly cleared door behind.
All of which was the apparent necessary fore effort required to get you to Hundi, who has access to a cache of weapons of old, which are just the ticket for things like monsters lurking in deep pools outside of ancient dwarven ruins.
Of course, Hundi’s gift loses its special nature when you find legendary weapons dropping like leaves in the autumn. I actually already had three in my bag from just running around Eregion. As I said previously, I think WoW did the legendary thing better, making you do a little quest for a specific item then having you stick with it. And I also think Blizz was smart to make that a one expansion exercise rather than trying to drag it along forever after. But for a brief moment you can pretend that you’re getting something special Hundi. At least you don’t have to go back to Rivendell and have Elrond and Glorfindel examine your new toy to give it their blessing. The bureaucracy of the eldar is unending.
As a dwarf with a trait that boosts axe damage, I was kind of hoping to see an axe among the options. However, for a shield bearing guardian you have only a sword and a club as an option. As much as I like beating things with a club, I went with the sword.
So I had done it. I had gotten my legendary weapon!
Only, as one does not just walk into Mordor, one also does not simply equip a legendary weapon. First you have to go back to your home town and speak to somebody about the weapon. It must be identified. You then have to put some stickers on it or something. Then, once they say you’re ready, you can actually wield the weapon.
So, weapon in hand, I took the swift travel options back to Eregion… you have to pass through the Rivendell travel hub of course… it is like the Atlanta of Eriador… to carry on questing. I wanted to put some levels on the weapon and so started in on the regular alerts.
The alerts UI already loves to get on you about every little thing, so adding another did not thrill me. And it is really bad at first because your weapon gets the first few levels nearly every time you hit something, at which point you have to stop and see how many points you have to spend on things to make the weapon better. My usual first choice is raw DPS. By default the weapon was worse than what I already had equipped. Then I went after enhancements to bash related damage since about every other guardian skill involves you hitting somebody with your shield.
And then you get ten levels in and the alert says you have to reforge the weapon.
That means another ride back to your home town, some more instructions, and then back to Eregion again. At least you get to give your weapon a custom name when you reforge. I went with Cheese Slicer.
Back in the fields of Eregion I kept on going until I had the last swift travel deed unlock and had gotten a few more levels on the weapon. Next up is a return to the walls of Moria and a bout with the lurker before heading back to Durin’s Door.
That is when the Mines of Moria expansion actually starts in earnest.