Actually, I think that most post-Mordor zones in Lord of the Rings Online suffer from not being appreciated as much as they deserve. This could be because everyone playing the game simply hasn’t gotten to those areas yet, but egads, these are some of the most visually striking locales in the game. I’m seriously impressed at the quality that the small team is able to pump out.
But out of all of these areas, Dale-lands seems to never get mentioned at all — and that’s a shame, because it’s one of my absolute favorites. It’s a diverse zone with a rather pretty marsh at the southern end, a pristine lake, some boreal forest biome going on there, two beautiful towns, and the looming presence of the Lonely Mountain towering above it.
Emerging from Mordor and Northern Mirkwood, the gorgeous brilliance of this region is such a tonal relief. It feels like a civilized land that’s not been touched by war, and Hobbit fans will get to visit a lot of areas key to that book.
I’m sure that running waterfall is not helping the bladder of this guy waiting for the outhouse.
Perhaps the reason that Dale-lands doesn’t get much chatter is because it seems very light on content. The epic book breezed me right through here without much sight-seeing at all, and I’ve never been able to find too many quests. Many of the quests are parts of chains that if you skipped them early on, you won’t see them pop up at all.
Another thing I really enjoy about the region is its architecture. Compare this to Bree and Bree ends up looking like a shoddy shanty town. Dale and Lake-town are absolutely incredible settlements that have a distinct visual style that feels different from Gondor, Rohan, and Eriador — and I really like it. I’d actually love a player house in this style!