Tag Archives: Misty Mountains

Down Down to Goblin Town

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.

We’ll just stick with Legendary I think

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.

The Misty Mountains Map, me in Gloin’s encampment

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.

Gloin’s outpost with a bigger tent

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.

Just another cave, don’t let your imagination show you something else

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.

Some very big caves

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.

Slave Pens area 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?

Okay Aeglas, let’s see what you’ve got

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.

My quest log entries for the Misty Mountains

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.

A bit of loot

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.

The Far Side of Rivendell

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.)

Your current server is always legendary

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.

Looking at Gloin’s camp in the 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.

All the shelter they have

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.

The Misty Mountains Map

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.

Dead dragon in the middle of the floor

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.

Have at you!

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.

All that was left after the fight

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.

Five books down, three to go

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.

Deed Travesty in the Misty Mountains

Deeds are integral to Lord of the Rings Online.  They are all over.

Each zone, for example, has its own set of deeds.  Some of these involve visiting specific locations.  Others involve slaying a certain number of specific creatures in the zone.

The deeds though generally revolve around things that are important in the zone, be it lore or foes of particular note or wildlife especially out of control.

There is a pattern that evolves, so that you begin to anticipate deeds when you enter a new zone.  Such was the case when I wandered into the Misty Mountains.

There was the usual deed for ruins, and one for places where giants dwell, and still another for particular passes in the mountains.

As I began running quests and slaying the local inhabitants, further deeds began showing up.  There was one for snow-beasts.  I guess they are somewhat unique to the zone.

There was another for worms, the pony-sized lizards that infest parts of Middle-earth.  These guys must have been special since they represented a cold blooded creature surviving in an arctic environment.

A deed for bears popped up.  You practically have to have a bear/boar/bird/wolf deed in any given zone.

Then there was one for wargs.  That is always a favorite.  I cannot think of a zone that hosts a population of wargs that does not have such a deed. (Though no doubt somebody will offer up an example.)

And then I slew a goblin and… nothing.  No little pop up telling me that I was starting on a new deed.

This, I thought, must surely be a mistake.

Maybe I had just killed the wrong type of goblin.  Maybe it was a bug.

Because there must be a deed for goblins in the Misty Mountains, right?  In The Hobbit, when Thorin’s Company is crossing the mountains, we hear wolves howl in the storm.  There are references to giants, though I always thought those were more metaphor than actual beings.  And nary a snow-beast is ever mentioned, when you get right down to it.

No the key group in the Misty Mountains is the goblins.  They have a whole town there.  It is in the game.  I’ve been there.

Welcome to Westfield Goblin-Town!

And in it are some pretty bad-ass goblins, as far as goblins go.

The Goblin-town Foyer

The place is crawling with goblins and they are all signature level mobs and closely packed so that pulling individuals is not possible in most cases.

And this is in addition to the goblins crawling all over the zone and making camps and stirring up trouble outside of Goblin-town.

The goblins situation is such that Elrond’s staff in Rivendell is concerned.  You can gain faction with the elves of Rivendell with drops from Goblin-town.

But they aren’t important enough to get a deed.

Then again, by the time I arrived in the Misty Mountains I already had a few goblin related titles from past deeds.  Goblin Hewer, Goblin Bane, and Cleaver of Goblins were already on my list.  Maybe they ran out of likely goblin related titles?

Whiteout in the Misty Mountains

Such is the fickle nature of our MMO obsession that a couple of us found ourselves in Middle-earth again this weekend playing Lord of the Rings Online.

LOTRO is always an easy transition for me as a lifetime subscriber and I am determined to get to Moria some day.

Moria calls to Gaff as well it seems, a fellow Tolkien fan.

I got out my hunter, who is level 44, while Gaff was working with his mid-30s champion.  History shows that it is highly likely he’ll get to 50 before me even at this level disparity.

So while he was getting back into the game, I headed out to the Misty Mountains with my hunter.  I had started him off in Forochel, but got a bit ahead of the quest chain in levels, so I was picking up quests a few levels above him.  That made me decide to head to the Misty Mountains, another snowy area where I had only just started on a few quests after the Trollshaws.

As you would expect, the Misty Mountains are covered in snow.  But unlike Forochel, which is also snowy, the weather can get extreme in the Misty Mountains.  I was in the midst of a fight when a sudden storm came up and everything… went white.

White after the fight

I do not think I have seen a general, outdoor weather effect with this much impact on what you could see since running around in the dark in the Karanas in EverQuest back before I discovered the magic of the gamma slider.

Looking into the white

I could still see things nearby, but the grand vista across the mountain pass was completely obscured.  I also had to take care not to stumble onto the aggro mobs in the area, as they were somewhat concealed by the blizzard.

Vision obscured

The effect was quite cleverly done in my opinion.  There is snow and a certain amount of fog, but that cut off vision from things in the medium to far distance.  To get it to feel right up close, Turbine applied a layer of white to all of the textures.  So if I zoomed up really close, my character looked like he had been lightly covered with that spray flocking that people use on windows during the Christmas season.

The end result was that even things close by blended into the snowy terrain and the whiteout conditions of the medium to far distance, making for a very effective blizzard simulation.  It was good enough that I stopped what I was doing to explore it.

The only problem I found with it was that it did not last very long.   Only a few minutes after it started I was back into the crystal clear, valley spanning views of the (not so) Misty Mountains.