Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The end of Moria, for now...


After many months without sunlight and fresh air, my elf hunter finally emerged from the depths of Moria. Since I did write about my first impressions, I’d like to share my “middle” impressions, since I did not go too much into grouped content and dungeons to call it a full review.

Exploring remained as the top most fun activity within Moria. Yes, there is a map, but some places are so tight and complicated that the map is simply a joke. You actually have to memorize your way into certain areas, and clear your way in between such areas, not to mention that the cliffs and falls are not decoration, so you can die of “misadventure” quite often while running in the dark holding scissors. While exploring, you’ll be rewarded with exploration deeds and a few side quests that won’t really start anywhere but by interacting with an object in the scenario, or some quests where there are no pointers, just clues. There are at least two riddle quests you have to think for yourself, and while they are not too complicated, it is refreshing to think instead of following arrows for a change. Just once I had to actually google one of the exploration deeds, as I could not find a certain place to complete it. Even with directions it was quite a bit of exploring.

Killing your way to different places is also a good way to complete slayer deeds, collect extra reputation items and legendary weapon drops. I started Moria with the store “unhealthy” goat, which means it is not a very good mount to just run through the mob and reach the other side without getting dismounted. Since I’d only play the game when I had plenty of time and patience to actually shoot my way through, that wasn’t a problem, and actually a good way to gather reputation items.
The two reputations of Moria grow slowly through quests, the epic quest, and by exchanging rep items. The Miners will give you traveling advantages, and the Guards combat advantages, which translates into one giving you a return to Moria spell and mount, and the other a class skill, among other gear that you can purchase. By the time I left Moria, with a lot of group quest not completed yet, I am done with the Guard’s reptutation and half way through Ally with the Miners, so I don’t need much to reach maximum level with them. I never bought reputation items, so I believe that overall the speed was good, though it must suck if you’d like to get Moria’s goat to actually use it inside Moria, given you take a long time to gather enough reputation to buy it. What my husband, who is almost 50 and ready to get into Moria did, was to grind some Thorin’s Hall reputation and get their goat, which has decent health and doesn’t cost Turbine Points.
While you’ve already learned by now that you’ll always have orcs to kill anywhere in Middle-Earth, Moria takes it much more seriously. They are everywhere, in different colors and “classes”, with irritating self healing spells at certain points, and completing the deed to kill hundreds of them will simply happen without you even thinking about it. It is that many! I particularly prefer goblins, which are present too, since they make funny combat sounds. The quests are mostly interesting, showing stories you could only imagine after the little details about Moria present in the trilogy books. I haven’t read books other then the trilogy and “The Hobbit”, so I am not sure how much details the others give on Moria. The whole place is designed to make some sense into it being a giant mining city, with water systems, a complex mirror based light system and areas you can see that were made to live in, rather then to mine. I also love all the “useless” corridors and details, they are a reward for a person that likes to explore beyond the quest requests, and make the word feel much more unique. The epic quest takes you through all of Moria, and I can confirm that the tip to follow it in order to know which areas to quest first within Moria is a good one. Just like Volume I, Volume II is better done in parts and different days, taking breaks to complete the other quests in the area. The story is also good, and while you’ll travel a lot within Moria, it won’t be as far and weird like you had to do back in Volume I. Also, by doing the epic quests you’ll unlock 3 skirmishes, which is a very nice addition if you are not VIP. Two of the epic quests will also have puzzles, which were entertaining and again, a good break from mindless arrow following. 

What I left behind were group quests and many of the dungeons. While I completed some with my guild, I didn’t feel like looking for a random group, and saving the group quests to do once my husband reaches them also. We’ve been doing that with Angmar, and it is funny how even 10 levels above the mobs, we still have a difficult time on some quests. Overall Moria was a very fun adventure. It felt dangerous but not impossible, and the whole unique environment was like nothing I had ever seen in a game yet.

16 comments:

  1. Well, I may have to reconsider trying the free trial of LOTRO, since my earlier complaints about the restrictions were also present in the free WoW accounts, and I ended up playing that for a bit, too.

    But primarily, that first screenshot gives me some interest, because it looks colourful and "magical". What keeps me away from LOTRO is that, although I loved the movies, as a game I think it would be too "low-magic" a world for my taste. As far as I understand, only the maiar and the elves have any magic, and I doubt in LOTRO you can play as a maia. Of course, I haven't checked, but that's what my assumptions have been. I like a lot of magic and colour in my fantasy worlds, not the gritty, dirty brown worlds we see in some game worlds, which are places of *nightmare* rather than fantasy to me.

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  2. There's lots of color in LotRO. Although they do use the franchise's name, the development team did have a lot of freedom. Some people hate that, while I personaly don't care when something goes a little beyond the lore. To me, the company had the permission to make this new world based on LotRO, and its fun and beautiful enough.

    I uploaded some of my favorite screens here: https://picasaweb.google.com/113902027681691951948/TheLordOfTheRingsOnline

    As for magic, it is present on a more "conventional" way then in the books. There are NO wizard players, but you have spell casters. The more "mage" like to me is the Lore Master. You cast some spells like fire and wind, and the animations show you picking components from your pockets and such, and have an animal companion that helps in battle. The Rune Keeper also has flashy and fantastic spells, it is a caster with lots of instant spells, I could probably rudelly compare it to WoW's shaman, since it has elemental damage and healing powers.

    You can read better written descriptions, along with the spells, here:
    http://lotro-wiki.com/index.php/Class

    This link is good to explain about the account limitations:
    http://lotro.mmorsel.com/2010/09/best-lotro-account-type.html
    Basically, you can test all characters but Warden and Runekeeper until almost level 30 for free. That guide shows you things you unlock if you pay for only one month and cancel the sub, so please read it before you decide to purchase anything.

    That same website, http://lotro.mmorsel.com/ has good guides about the game that sometimes are not covered on the wiki, such as good matches for races and classes, if you are into that.

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