PC Review: Lord of the Rings Online – Mines of Moria

Should you venture into the Mines of Moria?

The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria will expand the online world of Middle-earth to let players explore the ancient underground cities of the dwarves, battle epic characters in the depths, face off with the Watcher, be a part of the fateful release of Durin’s Bane and more! The Lord of the Rings Online expects to open Volume II of its epic story in the fall of 2008 with an increased level cap, two new classes and the introduction of a unique item advancement system.
The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria for PC Features:

Speak Friend, and Enter – Moria, called Khazad-dûm by the dwarves, was their capital and the grandest of cities. This enormous underground cavern in north-western Middle-earth, comprises an immense network of tunnels, chambers, mines and huge halls that run beneath and ultimately through the Misty Mountains. For the first time, players of The Lord of the Rings Online will enter this ancient city which has served as the foundation for the modern-day dungeon-crawling adventures to battle the hordes of goblins and the Nameless of the Deep and journey through hundreds of new quests within six new kinds of stunning environments.

The Epic Continues! — The Mines of Moria represents the beginning of Volume II of The Lord of the Rings Online. Players can experience six new books as part of this update and participate in the release of Durin’s Bane, battle the Watcher, aid Galadriel and more!

Increased Level Cap — Players will be able advance their characters up to level 60, gaining access to new traits, virtues, skills and class quests. The crafting system will also expand, giving players the ability to craft even more powerful items.

Discover Two New Classes — The Rune-keeper and the Warden, the first new classes to be introduced since the launch of the game, allow players to build exciting and powerful new characters in The Lord of the Rings Online in diverse new ways.

Forge Legendary Items – The Mines of Moria will introduce Turbine’s new item advancement system to The Lord of the Rings Online. Players will be able to forge weapons and class-related equipment and evolve them to build a legacy the likes of Bilbo’s Sting and Gandalf’s Glamdring. These legendary weapons will level-up along with the player, allowing customization by advancing the item’s virtues, adding runic legacies, modifying its titles and forming fables.
When LOTRO first came out it was instantly compared to World of Warcraft, the best populated MMO on the market. While it did borrow a lot of things from WoW, it did introduce a few unique things and if anything, WoW took many things from Lord of the Rings in the first place. Finally, the game gets an expansion in the form of Mines of Moria which is full of new quests to keep you entertained…but is it enough?

The number of quests in this expansion is epic in size. The quests themselves don’t differ too much from the standard MMO ones you would expect such as go to a location and kill a number of enemies or collect a number of items and return them to someone. It’s hardly original but it’s always worked very well with the genre and does just fine in Mines of Moria. The new locations in the game are simply stunning, well detailed and varied. Combat remains the same although there are new weapons and new classes to try, as well as a raised level cap for those who want to go all the way.
The size of Middle-Earth is beyond anything else I’ve seen in a videogame, it’s just massive…maybe a bit too massive for its own good at times, but gives it even more potential for future content. The rest of Middle-Earth still remains hidden, so I imagine they’ll release future expansions over the next few years that will take you all the way to Mordor and Mount Doom for an epic finale against Sauron’s army.

Visuals are impressive for a PC MMO and makes WoW look incredibly dated at the moment. It also offers DX10 support for Vista users, but sadly no achievements which I think should be put into almost every PC game now to attract the achievement-whore crowd, which is pretty big considering some of the scores out there. The soundtrack is just as good as before, truly memorable which is essential to anything concerning LOTR.

The Verdict

LOTRO: Mines of Moria is a huge expansion that offers more than any other expansion that I know of. It’s simply epic in scale and a blast to play, WoW be damned…LOTRO is here to stay.