Countdown to Mordor - Day 5
The Mines of Moria
The day I learned that the first expansion for Lord of the Rings was going to release, I went nuts. Not only where we going to venture into the coolest place in Middle Earth; Moria but we were also getting a level-cap increase and two new classes! Rune-keeper and Warden.
I think what I remember most of all though, was the drama surrounding Rune-keeper. For the first time, ever, we had a serious debate occurring within the community regarding whether or not something could truly be lore-appropriate or not. There had been inklings of it when Forochel was released in Book 13 but there had been very little to argue against. Tolkien said very little about Forochel so a lot was left to interpretation.
But Rune-keeper was a different story.
Here we had, effectively, the first class to ever truly use "magic" and Tolkien purists were livid. Gandalf himself rarely utilized any sort of offensive or curative magic unless absolutely necessary, but we now had a class that shot lightning and fire.
Looking back, I think there was a lot of misunderstanding about the class. The magic did not come from the person, but instead the runes they kept in their hands. And rune-magic was quite established by Tolkien in his writings. The fact that only Elves and Dwarves could be one also cemented this fact as they were the oldest of races and had, for all intents and purposes, the ability to wield this power.
Regardless, the drama was real and I remember the constant conversations and debates that would pop up in world chat. But then something really amazing happened. The doors of Moria opened.
The scope, magnitude, and awesomeness (not a real word, I know) of Khazad-dum was unlike anything else I had ever experienced and most, if not everybody, felt the same. There was only oooone little problem. Pictured below is how we all percieved Moria in the first few days:
The picture isn't failing to load. It's an exaggeration of a very real problem. Moria was...too dark. People were falling off of cliffs left and right and had to crank their gamma up to navigate. SSG, then Turbine, eventually rectified this problem but for a while it really was a treacherous place to visit!
I remember this is when I started to really analyze quests and storytelling. Angmar and Forochel had not been the most thrilling experiences for me, but Book 14-15 had truly been a new age for SSG's story-telling and Moria continued this trend.
There were inklings and signs of the Fellowships passing hidden throughout Moria and after a very long time of "unique" storylines, we were finally edging towards the story of the One Ring, and I was excited.
Moria would set the expectations of what we wanted from SSG regarding expansions and was a time in the game's history that I will always value. The Watcher in the Water raid was unlike anything else in the game and was truly an epic fight that I will always remember.
I do recall after quite some time I started to become...numb to stone. And began wishing for green and life once more. It wouldn't be very long until SSG answered my wishes and gave us the Golden Wood; Lothlorien.
The trend of daily quests really started to gain traction in Vol.2 Book 7. My typical week in LoTRO consisted of doing dailys for the Galadhrim and raiding Watcher in the Water. As much fun as I had, I view this time as the beginning of a decline of my overall enjoyment of the game. This would be quickly rectified in the next expansion, however.
Our journey would take us away from the path of the Fellowship once more and lead us straight to darkness; Mirkwood.