The really good news is the Legendary Items are not exclusive to Moria, and can be found throughout the game. Nor are they exclusive to hardcore players: they can be found in most PvE areas, and of course you can always search for exactly the item you’re looking for at the Auction House. Once you finally get into Moria you’re in for a treat: Turbine has worked hard on the capabilities of their engine to render interior spaces and this work has visibly paid off. LotRO has always been a pretty game; the numerous exterior landscapes have always looked as Tolkien described, and the large interior halls, mines and long dark corridors of Moria follow that precedent. And there’s plenty to keep you occupied as you work your way through the myriad rooms and regions, with around 600 new quests and another 300 new deeds and accomplishments, plus some great new raid options.
The 12 player raid to battle the ‘Watcher in the Water’ is likely to become a favorite over the coming months, but it’s the single-player storyline quests in the dark places of Moria that will keep you gripped. Turbine have come up with inventive ways for you to experience key parts of The Lord of the Rings that you wouldn’t normally be involved with, such as a time travelling story arc where you experience the original uncovering of the Balrog through the eyes of one of Dwalin’s minions. There are so many wonderful moments to be experienced on your own personal journey through the game – and each respectful to the source material – it’s hard to even scratch the surface in our own hallowed pages.
While two new classes have been introduced with the Moria expansion, it’s too early to predict exactly how they fit with the rest in terms of similarities, or what they might bring to fellowship grouping or larger, longer raiding teams. The facts are these: the Warden, a medium tanking class with standard ranged attacks via javelins and stronger melee abilities when you’re fighting toe-to-toe, seems like a fun and balanced soloing class. This class has a new attack system called ‘Gambit’, which allows you to use a main hand weapon, shield, and taunt in set combinations to deliver either impressive damaging blows or defense and opportunities to heal.
The Rune-keeper will likely be a slow burner for leveling by those already experienced in managing group ‘aggro’ while soloing. He’s very lightly armored and armed with runic abilities to either attack or heal. As you deal damage or heal yourself and allies you’ll temporarily specialise in that path using an ‘attunement meter’. As you chain attacks or heals it allows you to access more powerful skills in that line. Heal, and you’ll get better heals. Fight, and you’ll get better at fighting. Certainly the Rune-keeper has the potential to be a powerful ally for those into raiding, as the extremes along either path will be quite telling in a monster mash-up. The Warden seems like a good compromise between the ‘Guardian’ and the ‘Hunter’, but time will tell which ends up being a popular choice.
When you’re not vanquishing evil in the deep places of the world, you can choose to spend some time making the most of the new enhancements to the crafting system. We’ve always found this to be a worthwhile and satisfying pastime right from day one; those of you new to Middle-Earth will soon be making useful items, and all basic ingredients are now available from any crafting vendor, which helps the process run smoothly.