A Brief Tour of Mordor: Udûn
The Entrance to MordorThe Land of Mordor is accessible via a large gap between two great mountain ranges; Ered Lithui (Sindarin: Ash Mountains) to the North and East and Ephel Dúath (Sindarin: Outer Fence) to the West and South. This gap is known as Cirith Gorgor (Sindarin: Haunted Pass). Sauron, with the power of the One Ring, constructed the Morannon (Sindarin: Black Gate) across Cirith Gorgor to bar entrance into Mordor.
After Sauron's defeat at the hands of the Last Alliance of Men and Elves, Gondor built two great towers overlooking Cirith Gorgor to keep watch over Sauron and his lands. Over time, however, Gondor's power began to wane and Sauron's began to grow. He would eventually claim these towers as his own and brand them the Towers of the Teeth; Narchost (Sindarin: Fire Tooth) and Carchost (Sindarin: Fang Tower). Thus, the Black Gate and the Towers of the Teeth would serve as an impenetrable defense for Mordor up until it's destruction at the completion of the Quest of the Ring.
After crossing Cirith Gorgor, you will finally look upon the valley of Udûn (Sindarin: Hell). Udûn was, by far, the most densely populated region in all of Mordor. It served as the parade grounds and forges for Sauron's Armies during both the War of the Last Alliance and the War of the Ring. When the Elves and Men of Gondor marched on the Black Gate, Sauron's forces met them upon what would come to be known as Dagorlad (Sindarin: Battle Plains). From Udûn, orcs, trolls, and evil men gathered from all reaches of Mordor and established great forges to wrought their weapons of war.
Landmarks of UdûnUdûn has 5 major landmarks; Mornaur, Durthang, Rhûd Vorn, the Forges of Anglach, and the Isenmouthe.
MornaurMornaur was the lesser of the two great Forges of Udûn. Under the shadow of Durthang, the forgeworkers of Mornaur continue to craft weapons of war after Sauron's demise...
DurthangSimilarly to the Towers of the Teeth, Gondor built a great fortress within Udûn after the War of the Last Alliance and like the Towers of the Teeth, it too fell under Sauron's grasp. Twisted and corrupted, the fortress quickly became overrun by Orcs, Trolls, and Haradrim. If you are strong enough to fight your way through Durthang, you will find yourself on the Northern borders of Lhingris (Sindarin: Barren Land).
Rhûd VornRhûd Vorn is an encampment on the shadow of the Forges of Anglach where the Haradrim resided during the War of the Ring. Today, the camp sits abandoned.
AnglachThe Forges of Anglach were the greatest Forges in Udûn. With pits of Lava so hot, they almost rivaled Mount Doom.
IsenmoutheThe Isenmouthe, or Carach Angren (Sindarin: Iron Jaws) is the southern equivalent to the Morannon that separates the valley of Udûn and the Plateau of Gorgoroth (Sindarin: Haunted Lands).
The Aesthetics of UdûnGreat care has been taken by Standing Stone Games to bring life to an otherwise lifeless area. Across various places in Udûn, there are statues of Balrogs overlooking the landscape.
While this may, at first, seem like an innocuous design choice. It actually is a very detailed one. Udûn shares it's name with Utumno, Melkor's first fortress North of the Iron Mountains where he bred Balrogs. Clearly, Sauron did more than just pay tribute via name.
Durthang, as stated previously, was built by Men of Gondor. You could easily determine this by architecture alone as this fortress is made of White Stone. yet various parts of it are reinforced by the black steel of Mordor.
Udûn was always described as being full of forges and warc bands. LoTRO's rendition is true to form. The entire valley is covered in forges, clouds of smoke arising from furnaces, and camps of orcs, men, and trolls.
All in all, Udûn is a fantastic zone and a great starter area for the Mordor Expansion. 10/10. Would play again.