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The Saga Continues...
Now, as one who has played a Hunter through to level 40 in Lord of the Rings Online, I have to admit, I am a little anxious about the new expansion pack - if not just to see how fast I can hit the leveling cap! But, for those who are fully in love with this MMORPG, and are just foaming at the mouth to get the first ever expansion pack for it, here is your Bright Hub preview to help you know what to expect, and what not to, in this upcoming sequel.
Anyone who has read even one of the Tolkien books in the Lord of the Rings saga knows that the game is sorely lacking in playing areas that are mentioned in this massive world in print. So, it was a great surprise to see that Turbine is trying to rectify that a bit by pulling in a monster chunk of the LOTR map when it created this new expansion pack for the MMORPG. Mines of Moria will be the first in a series of expansions, according to Turbine, so hopefully one day - us loyal fans of the ring, will gain access to some of the most wonderous parts of the game that we have longed to visit since we first read these all-enveloping books.
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So, what's new?
In Mines of Moria, gamers will be offered two completely new classes and a brand new "legendary" item system to go along with what is already in place. Not to mention a new underground area that is filled with Dwarves to fight.
When players first find themselves in the new expansion, they are at Eregion, at the entrance to the mines themselves. From the time that the expansion releases, any gamer who has the original LOTRO will be able to go through about 90% of Eregion, and only those that purchase the expansion will get to go through the remaining 10%. I am not quite sure how I feel about this yet, as if I can already go through that much of the new area... why buy the expansion? I'm sure I'll make a decision on this soon though, trust me.
Now, once you are in Eregion's entrance to the mines, you meet a new NPC named Rathwald, who will then let you into Moria. Of course, before you can go into the mines, you and your group of dwarves will meet a watcher. Of course, this will just about wipe your team out, but the meaning of this specific part of the game is to introduce you to the new legendary item system that Turbine has now put in place.
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The Legendary Item System
The new legendary item system is not like other MMORPG games though, it will actually allow you to customize up to six items and level them up with you, so that they will become more powerful as they go. The first weapon that you choose to customize will help you go back and kill the watcher that just wiped out your team, even if you can only kill him temporarily - as you fight him again twice after that!
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Into The Mines Of Moria
Obviously, mines are underground, and so is the vast majority of this expansion pack. But, Turbine has done what they can to ensure that the area is as expansive as possible. For example, the endless stair (you know, the massive pillar of stairs that Gandalf has to climb after he battles the balrog?), well, while it is not quite as long as it seems in the movie, it does take a player several long seconds to actually fall to the bottom of it.
And, for those that thought the Balrog would be something cool to fight in game, well, this will be your chance, as according to Turbine's gaming gurus, you will come across one pretty early in the expansion. It will also provide a great voice-over with a time traveling narrative that will allow you to play out King Durin's first battle with the Balrog.
Now, even though you encounter the Balrog pretty early on in the game, it is still the most formidable enemy mob in the whole game, and will pretty much be unbeatable. So, when you do encounter him, you better run your hobbit/elf/human/dwarf/gamer behind away asap!
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"You Shall Not Pass!"
Now, when it comes to the monster abilities of the Balrog, you have to also take into account some of the massive environments that are also in the new expansion. The dwarves are the ones that are responsible for carving out the statues and structures in the mines, as well as creating the water cooling chambers and gardens there as well.
Players who enter the mines will be able to see everything around them through the torches, volcanic factories, and the small bit of sunlight that filtered through the tops of the mines and is redirected around by mirrors to keep the underground gardens alive and well.
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Turbine has focused this new expansion more on solo play in the mines, and has added in hundreds of new quests. While there are still instances here to check out, they aren't as often as they are in the main part of the game, and you will be able to solo play the expansion areas more. But, there are new 12-player raids and 10 new, smaller instances that require 3-6 players. But, to save you from all the walking and running, there is also a new teleport system in the mines to help take you through the areas quickly, especially since you can't bring your horse in here. However, there will be new mounts that you can get and use here in the mines and they can be brought up to the outside world!
Personally, from all that I have seen and heard about the new expansion, Mines of Moria, I can't wait to try it out and see what all it really offers gamers who are loyal LOTR followers. The expansion is set to come out sometime in the fall of 2008, which will hopefully be soon!
Time to put on your orc-stomping boots, or remove all footwear if you’re bringing a Hobbit, because the grand-daddy of all dungeons is opening its doors.