Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria Review

If there’s one thing Lord of the Rings Online did (and continues to do) better than anyone else, it’s craft a narrative. The MMO launched with no shortage of lore thanks to the slightly insane but awesome Tolkien, and thankfully for fans it lived up to the expectations. With solo instances, chapters, and quests Turbine managed to allow players to live, breathe, and experience the Lord of the Rings story first hand.

But could it last? That was the question on everyone’s mind. Thankfully, the new expansion, Mines of Moria, proves that it can.

The expansion adds three new areas (Eregion, Lothlorien and Moria), but the bright spot is easily the city of Khazud-dum. The cavernous location is artistic in design, and realistic in approach making it one of the most enjoyable areas I’ve ever experienced in an MMO. While many MMOs and games turn caves into a large one story maze with clear-cut passages, Turbine instead focused on real life physics, making the cave vertical, horizontal, and every which way in between. The result is a breathtaking place to explore not only for the challenges it presents, but for the intrinsic beauty of its design.

Even though it’s beautiful to look at, Moria is no friendly place. Solo players will find it difficult, which is an odd change of pace for the largely solo-friendly LotRO. Every corner holds surprises; whether it’s falling off into a bottomless pit or being suddenly ambushed by a horde of enemies, players need to stay on their toes.

Like the original release, Mines of Moria focuses on the LotR story, but from a different perspective. Your foray into Moria occurs after the Fellowship has passed through, and largely deals with what happens AFTER Gandalf kills the Balrog. All of the major players decide to try and claim the caverns, so you and the other players (and NPCs) are thrust into the middle of that situation.

Obviously, with such a major expansion Turbine had to add new things. First off is dwarves, a class which people have been hankering for for quite some time. Along with the dwarves, Turbine adds their first lore-stretching class, Runekeepers. Unlike the Loremaster, Runekeepers are straight-up magic users. Similar to Archmages and Shamans in WAR, the Runekeeper uses a swing mechanic, where the more they use a type of spell the stronger another becomes. Unlike them, it’s fairly straightforward (use damage and damage increases) but is hard to switch in the midst of a large battle. This forces players to decide if they’ll be better off sticking to attacking or support, and they’ve got to stick with it.

The other new class, Wardens, are light armor tanks which utilize a combo system in order to achieve optimum damage. As you progress in levels, you’re able to change in mid-combo to adapt to situations. They aren’t quite as unique as Runekeepers, but they’re still fun to play.

Unfortunately, the expansion’s new areas caters exclusively to higher-leveled players. New players can jump in with the new classes, but for those who haven’t played Lord of the Rings Online before and want to explore Moria, you’ll have to put some time into the game. It’s worth it, though. Lord of the Rings was already the second best MMO on the market in terms of quality, and Mines of Moria has done nothing to hurt that claim.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: Brendon Lindsey View all posts by

Leave A Response

You must be logged in to post a comment.