LotRO: Mines of Moria: WarCry's Official Review

Jim H. Moreno | 17 Nov 2008 15:20
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Durin's Threshold, the first base of operations inside the Mines, has quests which provide guidance and knowledge to last over the entire time here, and set the stage for other quests that can be found at other expedition camps. For one, since this is an expedition to reclaim what was dwarven property long ago, the quests take the form of running supplies to other chambers where the expedition has a foothold, combating the orc, goblins, and other nefarious denizens who now infest Moria, studying the local wildlife, exploring long-forgotten rooms and retrieving relics of ages past. One of my favorite quest lines is locating and investigating a series of mirrors that run throughout Moria in an effort to see if they can shine some much-needed light across the entire zone.

Noisy, smelly, and expensive, yet worth the price for not getting lost.
Noisy, smelly, and expensive, yet worth the price for not getting lost.

Of course, fulfilling quests is a way of getting players to roam, and herein is where I encountered my first trouble spot. To say Moria is a maze is akin to saying dwarves dig mithril - a gross understatement. Only slightly less bewildering than their ability to carve out such a wondrous habitat as Moria is how they were ever able to navigate it without so much as a signpost indicating location or direction. I know I spent the better part of my time in the beta completely lost, wandering into areas and encountering creatures way beyond my skill level. I mean, in all this time the dwarves have been digging, have they never encountered chalk? I do hope some kind of navigational aid is added to Moria in the very near future, but in the meantime, I guess it's all part of the adventure, right? There are also plenty of ram-looking mounts available at a local stable-master to transport you to another camp, provided you can find your way to the camp in the first place.

The Mines of Moria is the largest and most prominent addition with this expansion, with maybe the exception of Lothlorien (which I and many other beta testers mentioned wanting to see more of on many an occasion), but it is by far not the only addition. MoM introduces two new classes, legendary items, new traits, titles, deeds, crafts, and all the accouterments that go with each of those, yada yada yada. I'll save you the pain of rehashing every press release and developer diary about each new addition posted online since MoM was announced, and just mention a few things I evidenced personally.

My impression of the LotRO weapons and their crafting has always been higher than any other MMORPG I'm aware of, and that's been made all the more so with the new legendary item system. In short, it mithrils! Get it? Rocks < mithril... Anyway, I was given my first legendary weapon right before entering Moria, along with a quest which helped explain the new system of how to level it, and introduced me to a couple new NPCs, the Relic-master and the Forge-master.

Over the course of my beta time, I visited these two each time I would loot a legendary weapon from a creature kill to have it identified or to reforge one, and if I didn't want or need it, to have it deconstructed and using those resulting relic pieces to upgrade my chosen legendary weapon, or sold off for the coins. It may have just been the beta, but I had more than my share of legendary weapons drop from kills, which gave me the chance to really play around with the whole system. I'm not certain that the same drop rate will be employed once MoM goes live, so I would suggest reading up on it and paying close attention in game. It's definitely worth it!

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