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Reader Comments (41)

Posted: Apr 8th 2011 1:15PM Lenn said

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I took three characters through Moria and working on my fourth, and I still love it. With each new character I find things I hadn't seen before. "Oh, a hallway I have never seen. I wonder where it leads."

I find it's a more laid-back experience if your character is a little higher in level than is required for the zone. Getting in your first few 50+ levels in Eregion, or even Angmar/Forochel, really helps once you start facing the long dark of Moria, because -even though threat radius has been reduced considerably- mobs are still extremely tightly packed together.

And, indeed, doing some skirmishes every level certainly helps a lot.

Posted: Apr 8th 2011 1:19PM PrimeSynergy said

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I loved Moria when I first stepped foot in it. It was like nothing I've ever seen in an MMO. IMO it was amazing as both a place to explore and as an expansion.

I think all new players should go through most of it. Alot of those quests are a blast. Also, some of the scenery down there is breathtaking. I would literally stop and looking around for minutes sometimes when getting to a new area.

My only real issue with Moria is how annoying it is to get around in. The map for that area is fits well lore-wise I imagine, but in reality it's hard to navigate when actually playing the game. For example, what looks like a straight line to an area may not even exist. It may be blocked off with you forced to find another way around without knowing where you're going or how to get back. The quick travel is always nice, but you have to find each place before you can make use of it. You can get a mount, but you have to build up a ton of rep first.

All in all, it's not and will never be the 'Outland' (or more specifically the Hellfire Peninsula) of LotRO IMO, but I still don't feel like going through it multiple times. It's one of the main reasons why I have 1 toon and 1 toon only. I don't feel like going through that area all over again.

Posted: Apr 8th 2011 1:25PM aurickle said

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I personally still love Moria. Its look is so very different from anything else in the game, which makes it a massive change of pace during your adventuring. I enjoy going from the overland to this massive dungeon and then relish the feeling of freedom when I escape again to Lothlorien and beyond. Entering Moria always feels epic to me, as does leaving it again!

Sometimes I'll spend a good amount of time under the mountain. With other characters I've spent the minimum time possible.

Regarding the map, I think a part of the confusion is that they DIDN'T make use of the Z axis. Not really. For example, to get from Chamber of the Crossroads to Waterworks you essentially just keep traveling south. The lore tells you that Waterworks is directly beneath western Durin's Way (jumping down the well even drops you right there) but in truth it's not. Even better/worse (depending on your point of view) there are shortcuts. For example, you can go from the middle of the Silvertine Loads all the way over to Redhorn if you take the tunnel shortcut. It takes advantage of the fact that the shortcut is totally instanced, which means they can put the entrance/exit doors wherever they want.

In effect, Turbine used instancing and teleportation to shoe-horn the illusion of multiple levels into a map that is just as flat as the overland maps. This, I think, is why people can get badly confused. The only area that is really constructed on multiple overlapping levels is Foundation of Zone, which in turn makes that place even more of a nightmare. You are so used by that point to the illusion of multiple levels that it drives you nuts when you have to deal with the reality!

Posted: Apr 8th 2011 1:25PM Lenn said

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P.S. Unrelated to this particular entry, but is there a reason why the signature pics of all the columnists take up half my screen?

Posted: Apr 8th 2011 2:20PM BIGGIN said

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@Lenn
I have that same problem when perusing the site on my PS3, but its browser is almost as ancient as this column's topic.
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Posted: Apr 8th 2011 2:35PM Lenn said

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@BIGGIN I think it's an IE9 compatibility issue. I got it sorted out now. Thanks.
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Posted: Apr 8th 2011 1:32PM Tom in VA said

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This was an interesting read, Justin.

Moria pretty much ruined LotRO for me. I had loved the game up to Moria -- I played a Captain, Hunter, Minstrel, Champion, and Lore-Master all up to low 50s and into the initial zone(s) in Moria. But I absolutely hated Moria.

I understand Moria's place in the lore, yadda, yadda. I just didn't like the zones, the unremitting darkness, the quests. The areas and quests were aggravating, dark (what, we can't carry "torches"?), tedious, and maze-like so that virtually every quest was a puzzle to resolve to getting to the quest location. Finding anything (even with the quest markers) was a lesson in frustration.

At the time, the only time players could only use the "torch" feature in Moria was during the Middle-Earth night (ca. 1/4th of the game's day/night cycle), which in Moria made NO SENSE at all (maybe they've fixed this??). The quest markers on your map weren't particularly helpful either, since you could be right on top of your quest location but a level too high or a level too low to get to it.

In any case, I simply could not get any of my characters through Moria. Nothing about it was fun. Even if I had managed to get someone through Moria, there was no way I'd get my alts through as well.

LotRO, in its Moria expansion, morphs from a reasonably entertaining MMO into a long, dark, tedious, wake-me-when-it's-over chore. Sadly, because of the way the story goes, there are no alternatives to Moria. And there's no getting to the regions beyond in any other way.

I keep hoping Turbine will offer a travel workaround (at least for alts) -- over the Misty Mountains or via some passage south. It won't happen, I know. But until it does, I will not be going back to this game.

Posted: Apr 8th 2011 1:36PM Starry said

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Moria is a love it or hate it type zone. I loathed it to the point of where I noticed I was avoiding the game enough to cancel the LotRO.altogether. The idea of leveling through skirmishes to avoid Moria didn't sit well with me either. I regret not experiencing the other zones past Moria, but I refuse to be 'miserable' while playing a game.

Posted: Apr 8th 2011 1:38PM Jesse A said

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Even though many hate it, I love Moria's zones. I think the stark contrast to the open world of LOTRO is a nice part of the character journey. Now that we're on the other side, it's really not that many levels (10 or less).

But overall, Moria broke my favorite MMO ever. It introduced stupid systems and ridiculous grind like never before. I pretty much stopped playing LOTRO a year ago. I hop in from time to time, but here we are, 2.5 years after MoM, still dealing with the poor design decisions put into the game.

Posted: Apr 8th 2011 1:49PM cowboyhugbees said

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Since I started playing, I've been excited to get to Moria. I'm still looking forward to getting lost down there

Posted: Apr 8th 2011 1:49PM oxlar said

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Moria ruined the game and set it on a path that turned the game into bland drivel. The best part of LOTRO is pre moria.

Posted: Apr 8th 2011 1:50PM (Unverified) said

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I really dislike Moria. So far, I've got 4 different characters to level 50 but as soon as I get to Moria, my enthusiasm wanes and I just roll another alt and explore the low level zones again. For me, Moria is a confusing mess. I hated the fact that I couldn't use my mount in it - in a game with so many quests that basically involve you running from A to B and back again this was a pain - or how similar most of the zones felt. Okay, I know that the zones are different in appearance, but they didn't *seem* different to me. If anything, it didn't seem like I was venturing through multiple zones, just one big zone. One big, boring, dull as dishwater zone.

Skirmishes seem to be the way to go here. Log on every day, do a couple of them, and you can skip Moria altogether.

Posted: Apr 8th 2011 2:16PM aurickle said

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@(Unverified)
You can get to level 52 (maybe even 53) pretty easily without ever setting foot in Moria. Just focus on Angmar, Misty Mountains and Eregion. Add in some skirmishes every day and you should easily hit 53 with that content.

You reasonably can leave Moria at 57. So that boils down to four or five levels that must be spent in Moria. If you tackle the second half of Volume I at this point (level 53), not only will the quests be a lot easier to complete but you'll also get to level 55 pretty easily. Especially if you also keep doing skirmishes each day! So you can actually reasonably hit 55 before you've even set foot in Moria, leaving only two levels for inside.

These two levels can go very, very fast. The early Volume II quests will be far enough below you in level that you can breeze through them. The general quests in western Moria (Durin's Way, Dolven View, Deep Descent and Waterworks) will all have mobs lower level than you which die very fast and those quests alone (without even taking Volume II into account) will blast you to level 57 in no time.

Once you hit 57, make the trek to the First Hall and out of Moria. Getting into Lothlorien should get you to 58 and away you'll go!

So in short, you should only have to spend 2 very fast levels in Moria if you really hate the place.
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Posted: Apr 8th 2011 1:50PM ScottishViking said

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"I'd recommend milking Forochel, Angmar and Eregion for all of the experience you can, which might get you up into the mid-50s, and then skirmishing like crazy. Once you hit 58 or so, you can do a speed run through Moria (or have a friend summon you to the end) and head right into the splendor and agony of the Elvish kingdoms."

Wow. For real? Justin, normally I'm on the same page as you, but I could not disagree more with you on this one. "Milking" Forochel? Good grief, man, are you serious? You want to talk about a horrible, slow grind, go to Forochel. It's pretty, but there's not much to do there, and little benefit for doing it. Each place is soooo far apart, that if you don't have fast travel, it's utter agony. Makes Moria look like the Speed-E Subway by comparison. The only really fun parts about Angmar are its old "endzone" areas (like the Rift, Urugarth, and Carn Dum), and they don't offer a challenge anymore to current level caps. Eregion is a nice zone, but if anything, far more than Moria, it is a "passing through" area. NOTHING of any consequence, whether in the LOTRO storyline or in game, happens here, except just tracking the party to the gates of Moria.

Not only do I still love Moria, my third time through, but I'm finding more to love about it each time. It is beautifully crafted, rich with history, and really is where the LOTRO story gets truly "epic" for the first time.

Posted: Apr 9th 2011 1:08AM scrubmonkey said

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@ScottishViking

No, aurickle is right. My quest path from 49ish is this:

Fem quests in Angmar, map to Riv

Gloin's Camp quests in Misty Mountains, map back to riv.

Do most of the early quests in the first town in Forochel do the close/easy quests in the second town, skip the rest after getting the relevant mount paths in Suri-Kyla and Zigilgund.

Do book quest at 45 in eregion for my LIs (getting all the mount paths).

Do the book quest in Angmar, to get access to the east side, do the easy/close quests in Gabilshathur (doing, like, 1 quest in the camp on the way), skip the rest after getting the GF mount path.

Do the rest of Misty Mountains, except for some of the harder stuff in goblin town.

Work my way through Eregion, skipping most of Minorbel and Echad Dunann entirely

...and even with those cuts, I STILL hit Moria a couple bars into 54.

I'm sure that with the quests that I missed, I could easily be 55-56 before going into Moria, and hit up the early Lothlorien quests by 56-57 (with a buddy), and be singing to trees 13-15 quests later...

Obviously, I don't agree with the article's stance that "Moria can't be skipped" here...

That being said, I skipped almost all of Forochel, Angmar, and half of Eregion on my last alt, so that I could make SURE to hit Moria by 50. I LOVED Moria. I was hooked the first time I saw The Stone Council...

I like the idea of making a better map for the area though.... the current one makes little sense. That, and it would be nice to be able to purchase at least a slow mount at Durin's Threshold and for them to unlink the swift travel from the deeds in the area now that it is no longer endgame...
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Posted: Apr 9th 2011 11:46AM ScottishViking said

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@scrubmonkey

Err...I didn't disagree with aurickle. Are you responding to me or someone else?
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Posted: Apr 9th 2011 5:44PM scrubmonkey said

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@ScottishViking

Oh, you were disagreeing with the author. My mistake. My main point is still the same though: Even without skirmishes, Moria is easy enough to skip if someone *absolutely* felt they had to... even though personally, I see Moria as a high point in the game.

I guess we both disagree with the author then :)
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Posted: Apr 9th 2011 11:23PM ScottishViking said

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@scrubmonkey

For the life of me, I can't understand why someone would want to skip Moria and not Forochel. Eregion may be pretty on the eyes, but *nothing* goes on there. Moria's story is just epic, and it looks and FEELS epic. I can understand that, if you don't like dungeons, you'll hate Moria. But Moria is the UBER-dungeon, the master-dungeon, the one that started all dungeons. And I think Turbine did a fantastic job of bringing it to life.
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Posted: Apr 8th 2011 2:02PM KDolo said

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Moria needs handrails.

Posted: Apr 8th 2011 2:10PM Dunraven said

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Moria is the best example of horrible game design I can think of, I cannot believe the same people who created Shadows of Angmar created Moria, and Turbine made an even greater mistake but turning it into an Amusement park Tourist attraction than the Deathtrap that only The fellowship could survive (and then at a terrible cost) What boggles me is that instead of a total revamp or (more logically) quietly scrapping Moria they think that solofication will make all the bad game design magically go away.

Moria continues to be the Albatross around the neck of LOTRO I hope that Turbine figures out what to do with it one day.

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