LOTRO: The abyss called collect, and I came running

We all remember this moment in the books, when Frodo said farewell to Bilbo at Rivendell in front of a completely random Hobbit in a mining helmet. I’m a living retcon for Lord of the Rings.

After over a month (!) of running in place and waiting for Moria to get here already, LOTRO finally unlocked the first expansion on the progression server and all of us were off once again. There was a lot of excitement for this unlock in my guild, as Moria holds a special place in many players’ hearts. Not mine, exactly; there are parts of Moria that I like, but I’m not a super-fan or anything. My enthusiasm mostly comes from a heap of unlocked content to keep me occupied than anything else.

On the night it unlocked, I started right from the beginning of Volume II. I guess I forgot just how much prelude stuff had to happen before you get into Moria proper, because it took me all of the evening just to get through it, including the side quests and leveling up my legendary weapon. I had to bite my tongue when I saw a couple new players to the game in our guild get all a-titter over getting their first legendary. It’s still a pit of a system that I’d abandon entirely if it wasn’t for the useful skill buffs that they supply.

From night two on, I said farewell to the sky for the next couple of months and dove right into Moria. I’m certainly glad we’re benefiting from a few thorough content and balancing passes for this place, as it’s a lot better in terms of flow and navigation. Really, my only remaining quibble are the still-horrible “hand-drawn” maps that often lack important details for getting around specific places.

Moria does have its charm as an expansive underground realm that’s part dungeon, part civilization, and part wilderness. There are some new mob types and other modified ones, and I’d have to say that the insect mobs are far more terrifying in the dark than they are outside in the daylight.

I’m being pretty careful in trying to complete all of the quests and scoot around to see the sights. Combat is no longer as fun on my Minstrel since the big nerf, but I’ve made my bed with this class on the legendary server and have to lay in it.

If my first couple of nights are any indications, I’ll probably be blasting through a zone every few nights at this pace and will hit 60 by mid-April at the latest. I suppose that’s fine; looking forward, I know that we have a regular LOTRO content update on the horizon, and when that hits it’d be nice to have a month or two break from the legendary server to catch up with my Lore-master. So I’m calling it about two months to get through all of Moria and Lothlorien, then maybe a few weeks past that mopping up deeds and maybe working on my skirmish soldier.

In the meanwhile, I’m trying to live in the moment as I explore. I’ve been taking a whole bunch of pictures like a goofy tourist, and I keep bumping into guildies all over the place. Even had a little campfire chat with one of them for a few minutes.

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