Tag Archives: Redhorn Lode

On The Far Side of Moria

The odd thing about Moria is that, as a region, it gets much better as you move along.

That seems like a way to drive people off… though if you seek to reward persistence, I suppose it has some merit.

The initial quests are dull, presented in the usual quest-hub style, and involve a lot of running back and forth.  You end up getting sent back out of Moria at first and then, once inside, areas are dark and narrow and not very interesting.  I can see why I gave up the last time around within the threshold of the area.  It is something of a let down after all the build up in Hollin.

Moria Zones

Moria Zones

This time I persisted.  First the environments got better.  I found the Waterworks to be quite the place to just run around and sight see.  The quests were about the same and involved running back and forth pretty much constantly.  I wore out the paths around the Rotting Cellar.

From there I made my way to the Redhorn Lodes, where the quests moved from the strict hub dynamic to what I would call a much more organic approach.

Plus it is really red-ish

Plus it is really red-ish

You end up picking up quests along the way… though it took me a bit to notice the “you have a new quest” indicator on the right side of the window, as I associate that with the seasonal/holiday events… and some you can turn in on the fly, some send you back to a hub, while others move you forward to a new location.  And, like the Waterworks, the environments were still a draw in and of themselves.

Giant dwarves everywhere

Giant stone dwarves everywhere

I then made my way into the Flaming Deeps which continued the more organic approach and sent me through more epic environments.  At the end of that I was level 59 and moving into Nud-melek.  There were a few of the “back and forth” quests at the top, but then it evolved into a “take your quest giver with you” set of objectives that brought me to the bridge of Kazad-dum, which was broken.

Like the SF-Oakland Bay Bridge

Like the SF-Oakland Bay Bridge

That was actually a pretty neat moment, and in my head I was all, “Wow, this is where Gandalf fought the balrog that was Durin’s Bane!”

And then the more logical part of my brain pipped in with, “You know, that didn’t really happen.  It was a made up story you dolt.”  Why can’t I let me enjoy my moment?  But I was immersed for a moment there.

Anyway, I stood there looking across the abyss, wondering how Turbine was going to get me across that gap.  There is a whole new zone to explore… an outdoors zone… on the other side.

If you stare across the abyss, does it get annoyed?

If you stare across the abyss, does it get annoyed?

I wondered if the orcs had built some sort of rickety contraption to get over the great gap that separates the first and second halls of Moria.

And would I trust this over such an abyss?

And would I trust this over such an abyss?

Or had the dwarves now swarming Moria built up some sort of crossing already?

And, as a secondary thought, where did all those dwarves come from?  The soon-to-be-broken fellowship of the ring passed through here… what… fifteen minutes before I got here?  Back in Hollin I was picking up their fresh trash, putting out their campfires, and generally acting as cover and janitorial service.  Makes you wonder what kind of ranger Aragorn really is.

But now there are hundreds of dwarves swarming the place.  They have set up encampments all over and created a regular goat subway system, with standard cross-town goats as well as a spoke-and-hub insta-goat transit service.  They have a settlement in the twenty-first hall with a bank, a crafting hall, an auction house, and regular postal service.  And I am pretty sure they were building a strip mall there with a Starbucks, a Noah’s Bagels, and a Chipotle.

Did I bump my head somewhere between Hollin and Moria and fall asleep for a year… or five… or twenty?  Is the war over?

And speaking of the war, what are all these dwarves doing in Moria screwing around with public transit projects?  Don’t they know Sauron needs to be defeated?

Yeah, sometimes it is a burden to have to live inside my head.

But after all of that, how I ended up getting to the other side of the chasm did not seem like a big deal.  We just walked around.

Chasm - Deep, wide, but not so long

Chasm – Deep, wide, but not so long

Yes, Moria’s main line of defense, the chasm with the single bridge that no army could cross if even a dozen dwarves opposed them, has a big old gap about two football fields up the way.  And it isn’t like this was something new, a landslide caused by a balrog hitting the bottom or anything.  If you look at the map, they built a road that followed that path.  There is a whole Durin’s Way bypass/business loop that lets you avoid the rush hour traffic over the bridge.

So Svanr, my personal dwarf quest giver, and I did some quests, then went ’round the bypass, then did a few more quests that involved killing some orcs and destroying a few mining carts..  I hit level 60 while that was under way.

Officially Level 60

Officially Level 60

I now only have five levels of experience boost left in my pocket.

Derudhs Stone

Actually, that is an old screen shot.  I think the stats now show the maximum level as 64, so once you hit 65, you have to find something else to put in your pocket.  Turbine will sell me an upgraded, good to level 74 version for just 495 Turbine Points if I so desire.

Anyway, from there, Svanr and I headed to the first hall, where he then brought me on a little quest for my first peek outside of Moria.

We see the Dim

We see the Dimrill Dale at last

The goal was to point me at the first quest hub on the path to Lothlorien.  Though it was an odd quest, as it happened in a special instanced version of the zone where the quest hub wasn’t active yet.  I just had to go there, click on somebody, come back to Svanr, then it was back into Moria again to finally finish up, get a new title, a new goal, and to ride back out on my own.

To the exit!

To the exit!

I was mildly disappointed to find that you cannot walk/ride through the gates of Moria.  There is a zone teleport in the first hall that drops you outside of Moria.  I get why they did it.  It is the gateway between expansions, so they need to keep people who do not own the expansion out.  Or they did at one time.  I think now you can travel through them all, you just don’t get the quests or some such.  Anyway, I have a new zone to explore.

To Lothlorien

To Lothlorien

I am standing on the edge of a new expansion.  Or close to the edge of one.  And who keeps putting down damp cups on all the maps?  Could Turbine not come up with a different “this map is either old and weathered or was once a Denny’s place mat” graphic?

Not here, but I can see if from here

Not here, but I can see if from here

It is possible I could make it into the Siege of Mirkwood this time around, finally finishing up the expansion I bought five years ago and starting the one I bought four years ago.

At this rate I might have to buy Riders of Rohan some day.

Drying Off After The Waterworks

I have managed to keep plodding forward in Lord of the Rings Online.  My previous post put me on the verge of Moria.  Well, I am through the doors and stuck into the expansion.

Our kinship seems to have faded however.  The summer diversion into Middle-earth has fallen by the wayside for most of our EVE Online corp which, if nothing else, means that even at my modest pace of advancement, at level 56 I am close to being the highest level player.  Of course, without everybody else, doing instances as a group hasn’t come to pass.  And just to rain on my parade a little bit more, the founder of our kinship quit EVE and, in what I take to be a big “Up yours!” to his former corp mates, revoked officer status for everybody in the kinship.  So the kinship is now both dead and without anybody who can make any changes.

Life in MMOs.

At least there wasn’t anything for him to steal.

So my progress forward has been pretty quiet as well as slow.  But it has allowed me to explore Moria, which is turning out to be a much bigger place than I had imagined.

I do find that Moria’s separation from the initial world… which I know was required back in the day… is initially quite bothersome.  You cannot travel straight to Moria, the last horse stop is at the portal into the zone outside Moria, so you have to hoof it across a modest zone every time you leave and then come back.  This is aggravated by the fact that all of the services you go back to Bree or Rivendell for are available in Moria, just not until you reach the Twenty First Hall, which the map below shows, isn’t exactly close to where you start off.

Moria Zones

Moria Zones

So you can be a while getting there.  And until you do all your crafting, banking, and training needs have to be served back on the surface.

Initially you start off in mostly cave-ish areas where the dwarves have carved out rooms and a few structures.  But as you move deeper in, the size and scale of the works become truly massive.

We like high ceilings

We like high ceilings

Of course, massive comes with a price as well.  I was in Durin’s Hall at one point, which is a well developed area at least five levels deep, and was standing on a walkway at the top on one side of the area and needed to be on a platform one level down and across the… room?  I could see it from where I stood… but actually getting there involved a Super Mario Brothers routine of stairs and ramps.  This was further hindered by the designer’s love of very steep stair cases.  They are so steep that you often cannot verify that there are stairs there until you get to the very edge of a platform.  And they are not always where you think they will be, something that has lead me to go over the edge on several occasions.

And I always seem to be a bit lost.  Not a bad thing, as it speaks to the depth of the zones.  But not only is it surprisingly easy to get turned around and headed in the wrong direction if you fail to consult the map every so often, but I also end up completely losing the thread of quest chains as I accidentally stumble on new locations.

And the names of places just don’t seem to be sticking with me.  So I abandon some quests, pick up some new ones and carry on.

In part I think this is because the goat subway system that forms the mass transit backbone in Moria insists on naming the stations, such as they are, after the immediate geographic location.  So, for example, the destination when I want to get to the Waterworks, a zone in which I did all the quests I could and finished most of the deeds, is reached by a goat stop at The Rotting Cellar.  But it took me a while to associated that name with the Waterworks.

The Waterworks itself though is an amazing place.  At least assuming you don’t mind being waist deep in water a good portion of the time.  It is one of those locations that makes you feel really small.  The quests in the zone were not anything exciting.  They were mostly the standard fare, go kill some of these and come back, now go turn the knob over there and come back, now kill something else.  And the water structures themselves often appeared to have all the purpose of the engine room in Galaxy Quest.  But the design and feel of the zone, a huge open cavern with immense structure all bathed in an eerie crystal light, kept me going.  It was one of those zone where I wanted to poke my nose into every location.

I suppose the fact that is was a much more open zone than what I have been through in Moria helped.  I could see the distant corners I wanted to explore.

So I actually finished up the quest chain there… unlike any Moria area up to that point… after which the final task was to send me off to the Twenty First Hall and essential services.  I had been there already.  I dropped a Mithril coin to get there just to be able to use the bank.  But now I was actually being sent there.

Gaff pointed out that I might want to pick up a new legendary weapon, as I was still using the one I picked up in Eregion.  It was falling behind in damage rating, and I apparently picked up some of the barter currency as drops along the way. With auto loot on, I am often surprised what I find in my bag or wallet at the end of the night.

Fortunately, that investment in first weapon gets paid back somewhat when you deconstruct it.  You can then apply that to your new weapon.

After doing some lift and carry and search quests (the dwarves seems to lose a lot of things in Moria) in and about the Twenty First Hall, I made my way to the Redhorn Lode area.  That will be my next area of exploration.  It isn’t as open as The Waterworks, though it certainly isn’t as cave-like as the opening zones either.  And it is tinted in a reddish glow rather than blue.

While I start in on that, here are some tourist photos from my time in The Waterworks.