With a desire to take a small break from the general oppressiveness of Mordor and feeling in the spirit of the Halloween season, I took a jaunt back to the Shire to revisit one of my favorite haunts in Middle-earth: Bilbo’s Haunted Burrow.
It’s been literally years since I’ve been back here. The year it came out, I was all over the Haunted Burrow for the better part of a month and most likely completely burned myself out on doing all of the quests and whatnot. So this time around I was more interested in being a tourist than a dedicated adventurer. Fortunately, the Haunted Burrow caters to both.
I still maintain that the Haunted Burrow is one of the best MMO haunted houses ever designed. It’s rather compact and oddly themed (being in a Hobbit hole, which are usually known for being quite cozy), but the intimacy of the rooms, the vagueness of the maps, and the disorientating navigation all work to make this place feel much bigger than it is.
It’s not a quiet place, I’ll admit that right off the bat. There are screams and jump scares and noises galore no matter where you go. No music; the soundtrack is all special effects and ambiance, which works well to create a haunted house-like feel. There are secrets everywhere, including hidden doors, secret chests, and misleading doorways. A smattering of scared hobbits are wandering about, and some of the tricks that Bilbo left behind can stun, startle, or mess with you.
I just enjoy looking around. It’s all slightly tacky and not-so-serious, which is exactly how I like my Halloween decor. This place does make me wonder how messed up Bilbo was to create such a place with the sole intent of sparking an adventurous spirit in his fellow hobbits. I think he should’ve been a lot more concerned with liability rather than inspiring his friends, because this place is a death trap waiting to happen.
Here’s a detail I never noticed before: A mounted warg head where the candle produces smoke out of the nostrils. Two minutes later, this whole place is aflame (I bet), but it’s worth it for that special effect.
There are many quests to run in the burrow and I vaguely recall getting quite good at them so that I could rack up a lot of tokens. The lazy man’s way is to only pop in and grab the four free chests (the three hourly ones in the “safe” room and the daily chest in the basement).
It would be cool if the devs would somehow expand this place or add new content to it, but I’m content to see it come back every year and offer a scary yet controlled space for us weak-spirited trekkers to explore.