Moria Hard Mode Review

I have been starting the end game for Lord of the Rings Online Mines of Moria expansion.  There are six dungeons in Moria.  I have not been in every dungeon, but each dungeon seems to be a full dungeon having hours of content.  The ones I have experienced so far each have had an excellent story vignette, and they are beautifully crafted.

However, I don’t know if I will ever get to play the full experience of each dungeon.. or just one.  Each dungeon has a hard mode.  The best way to describe it is hard mode requires a trick, which usually requires two things.  The first thing is players must usually ignore a lot of the dungeon’s content in order to accomplish hardmode.  The second thing is players must employ some sort tactic that is not usually required.

When hard mode is beat players get a one-in-six chance to get the absolute best armor in the game –  radiance armor.  This armor is required to fight the (current) ultimate boss of Moria: the Watcher in the Water.  The loot gained from doing the dungeon as normal pales by comparison, as does any crafted items.  So, Turbine created an atmosphere where players only want to do hard mode.  Yesterday, I saw a group on a global chat trying to form for well over an hour to go through to play one of the dungeons normally.

I like the challenges that hard mode presents, when they are not bugged to hell (which many are).  I do not like that Turbine funneled players to this extreme degree.  I hope that upcoming Book 7 update looks at hard mode with a hard eye. 

–Ravious
hip about time

14 thoughts on “Moria Hard Mode Review”

  1. I would be posting up some forum links (they are down right now), but Turbine definitely knows that a lot of forum community hates hard mode radiance armor enough to write pages long petitions to change it.

    With how long Book 7 is taking, I have hope.

  2. Well some bugs cause HM to be easier (like the timer not working in Grand Stairs), and some bugs are player caused because narrow challenges force players to get creative, and there are some dungeons where HM is just plain old bugged (beatable, but bugged). My kinship seems to avoid the latter, so I haven’t experienced those yet.

  3. I agree with the heart of the post, since Turbine’s implementation of breaking down the megaraid into casual friendly but thorougly challenging chunks (a noble intent that’s actually counter to the reaction a lot of folks have had) has gone wackily awry. Why they didn’t just gate the boss fight via a deed rather than armor I have no clue. And why they thought skipping content was a better “hard mode” than, um, /harder/ content remains a mystery. But, I think you’re a little skewed towards unhealthy panic on a couple points.

    Everything I’ve heard is that the radiance armor is NOT the overall best armor in the game (much less “by far”), it just happens to be the only armor with radiance which is required to fight the watcher. If you’re not going to fight the watcher you have no need for radiance armor. (radiance is a nice stat to have but the stats on certain other non-radiance pieces is sometimes better).

    And “end game” is still a misnomer for LotRO. Currently the most challenging content is these 6 instances + the watcher fight but there are also still plenty of 3-man and other solo dungeons for a max level char, not to mention more quests than you can shake a dead gobbo at. All of which feed our beloved pet Legendary Items.

    No doubt they buggered up implementing Hard Mode and radiance, and the wait for book 7 is a strain, but the sky ain’t falling because LotRO still isn’t doing anything like the WoW raid treadmill. The game does not and never will “start at 60” or whereever the level cap may be.

  4. Check out the lorebook (you can compare armors there). Radiance armor has over double (in number and magnitude) the stat buffs to teal crafted or the best purple set.

  5. Well I’ll be durned. :\ Yeah that is a definite badwrong design track then.

    /fingerscrossedbook7saveusall

  6. The Lorebook is STILL showing bugged stats for items. They’re all actually a little bit higher in-game.

    The Radiance set gear is better than anything else for every class, except a few pieces for a few classes. The catch is that 2 of the set pieces only drop from the Watcher. You get non-set Radiance pieces from 2 of the 6 hard-mode instances, and they are not always better than the non-radiance gear. Either way, the set is better, but not drastically. Unfortunately, Turbine is determined to make Radiance a part of future content. The Watcher drops non-set radiance pieces (chest and gloves) but the stats are a bit worse than the radiance set pieces. I expect we’ll see more options to get radiance gear in the future so that everyone isn’t forced to complete all the hard modes.

    As far as hard vs easy mode, I think a lot of players don’t realize how much experience can be gained by completing the easy mode quests. You should be able to get at least your last 2 levels purely from doing the instance quests and deeds. Most players don’t want to even set foot in the instances until they are 60 so that it’s easier for them to complete.

    Another carrot for doing easy mode is the deeds. They’ll help you max out your Virtues and every 20 deeds you complete gives you an additional slot in your quest log.

    So it is harder to get groups for easy modes, but the players are as much to blame for it as Turbine is… (and I love to blame them for things!)

  7. High end crafting is currently pretty borked. I have a maxed out tailor, and all I can make that doesn’t pale before purples that are cheap as dirt on the AH are cloaks and a helmet (it’s a bit odd that the helmet is so good). Yesterday I bought four pieces of purple gear for less than a gold (in total!) that make anything I can craft for those slots look dumb.

    The same purple gear is also slightly better than the PvP gear, gear that takes months on the ‘moors to earn. And that doesn’t even get in to the radiance gear.

    the really sad part is that as soon as someone lists my shoulders on the AH, I’ll have no further reason to set foot in any of the “regular mode” six mans, save just to see them.

    There are a ton of things to love in MoM. The current endgame where dead common purple gear is better than anything you can get crafting or in PvP, and Radiance gear makes every other armor set in the game look gimpy is not one of them.

  8. Turbine has also stated categorically that we will not ever be able to craft gear that has radiance. I seriously hope they back off of that, or at least put pieces in where you are forced to choose between radiance and other desireable stats.

  9. My first visit to one of those dungeons turned out to be hard mode. I won the roll on my gloves. I was not displeased.

    I am not sure if last night’s attempt was hard mode. I don’t think so. Our group failed on the boss anyway, so I did not see.

    More attempts to come!

  10. dungeons on normal mode have about 15 quests each that can be completed in a run or two, along with the various deeds. They are also not that hard (hence they are not hard-mode…). With this in mind, the best way to run those instances, and perhaps the most challenging/fun/entertaining is with a few level 59’s who are making their final push to 60. They will love the bajillion xp points from deeds and quests and the social aspect of a group.

  11. Having played lotro since open beta, I really liked the early 3 mans-Library,School and the 6 mans. I found the hard mode 6 mans to be extremely challenging and rewarding (if not exploited). And yes there are ways to make them easier and faster by skipping bosses, hips pulls, and/or standing right on the door as it closes aka Dark Delving. But there is one instance that cannot be exploited (at least to my knowledge): The Watcher. My Kinship downs it every week now, but it is still challenging. You cannot do it with anyone defeated. All 12 must be up and doing their part. Looking forward to the next instances!

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