Moria as Waystation

We have a problem of expectations. Mines of Moria™ has been a poor endgame. It is an excellent mid-/late-game area. The problem is just this year of waiting for Moria to no longer be the endgame.

Shadows of Angmar™ had a great endgame at level 50, with three small Annuminas instances, one small Angmar instance, two very large Angmar instances, one twelve-person raid (the most popular endgame target), and one full raid. There were large targets to fight in open areas, and the battlefield instances were strong late additions. It took some time to accumulate all that, but you had most of the options for most of the lifecycle.

Mines of Moria™ has had a weak endgame. Six instances with (often annoying) hard mode available, mostly with “unintended behavior” such that folks got their radiance gear far more easily than one can now. A raid that was just one big fight for twelve people. Then a second raid was added: a smaller fight for twelve people. Now there is more activity beyond that, although I cannot comment on it because (1) I have mostly been on break and (2) it is radiance-gated, so it is unavailable for much of the playerbase.

As an endgame, not stellar. As a mid-game? Wow, that is a lot of options as you pass through. In retrospect, all that level 50 stuff was just something for us to do while the next tier of mid-game came along, as is this extra set of MoM dungeons. In retrospect, kind of a waste to have spent so much time developing content that was covering gaps in the development timeline, but you must do something to keep the subscription dollars rolling in.

: Zubon

11 thoughts on “Moria as Waystation”

  1. Personally, I came very close to handling this situation by staying unsubscribed for the entire Moria era so that it WOULDN’T still be the endgame, and I only changed my mind when the game ended up in the extreme discount bin, making it worth buying to play the pre-endgame content now, even if that deposits me in Rohan as Waystation.

    That said, is the comparison you’re making fair to Moria? The list you’ve rattled off was the final list after a year and a half of SOA. The Moria era looks like it will be shorter, and may or may not contain another high end group zone depending on how they do Don Guldar. I don’t remember the exact patch dates, so it’s possible that SOA’s endgame was in place by this point in the first year, but the leveling game continued to need work through about the end of year 1.

  2. Hi Zubon, good post. I remember though that it took quite a while for Turbine to pad out SoA’s endgame. I hope that MoM grows similarly, the recent LI daiy quests seem to be a step in that direction.

    I do think that radiance gating is a bad idea on the whole. I remember back to SoA where a level 50 could log on and have a wide choice of content to do. Most of it was group content but it was easy enough to get groups because everybody could do everything. Now the radiance progression trail has staggered out the player base so you can really only group with those who are at a similar point on the progression trail. Several members of my casual friendly kinship have noted that this radiance grind has forced casual endgamers to become more hard core (or just give up as I have).

  3. Most of SoA’s endgame content was in place 6 months after launch (Urugarth & Carn Dum – Launch, Barad Guluran & Helegrod – Book 9, Annuminas instances – Book 10, Rift – Book 11). Then almost a year of nothing substantial instance-wise until MoM launched, and this was presumably because everyone was all-hands-to-the-pumps on Moria.

    This raises the question of whether a Rohan expansion can launch in the next 6 months with any substantial amount of endgame content, since they’ve obviously been busy working on Dar Narbugud up until quite recently, not to mention the other new instances added in Book 8.

  4. /Agreed.

    I’ll double the sentiments of bang-on post:

    Moria was great to play through, but overall the Endgame state for LOTRO since the expansion hasn’t been compelling. Lothlorien is not a good setting for Endgame and now that they’ve shifted it back to Moria it’s become clear that it’s not suitable either.

    Overall, the abuse of setting is at the core of my disenchantment with LOTRO. I was really enjoying exploring Middle-Earth, but as I got further and further along I felt more and more like a tourist at a Middle-Earth themed amusement park.

    Turbine has done a better job than I thought possible in turning Tolkien’s work into an MMORPG, but I’m leaning back to my preference to just read the books again rather than try to live / play within them.

    I can play a game with no Endgame, but this one feels designed for an Endgame and then it’s just missing (with the expansion, I never experienced SoA Endgame). It’s left the game at a crossroads IMHO.

  5. Felt a little encouraged after reading the Amlug blog a few days ago, not where I’d like it to be, but hopefully next patch will make things better than they are now. Actually been playing again, part out of sheer boredom and part because CO didn’t seem worth a sub.

    If I weren’t a lifetimer, I probably wouldn’t be in LOTRO now though. Community on Windfola has been going downhill for some time, and has only gotten worse as gearsnobdom has taken over. Maybe things will improve, but I’m still waiting for another game to come along. Still miss SoA, where a schmuck like me could craft, pvp, grind, or raid for fairly equivalent gear, without being in some bigshot guild. Variety is the spice of endgame life; Turb needs to reclaim that old vibe.

    ps- I have to admit that I’m enjoying watching the Shevinsmith-type rad-lovers cry on the forums these days, after months of them trashing the average, non-uberleetkiddie player.

  6. They really screwed up with the latest patch, and I don’t think people will realize and start complaining for another week or so.

    The latest patch added two things: very good crafted jewellery and very easy quests for huge amounts of IXP.

    For the jewellery, yes crafting needed attention. But it should have been addressed much sooner. Until this most recent patch, the best jewellery in the game dropped in the instances and raids. The crafted jewellery was not at all comparable. They should have buffed the existing crafted jewellery or nerfed the instance drops, or BOTH, back in Book 7 or sooner. This new jewellery is equivalent or better to the best drops in the game, and much MUCH easier to acquire. The change really removes a lot of incentive for players to go through any of the instances or raids anymore for something that is 1% better.

    If you’re not familiar with the LOTRO end-game, essentially once you hit the level cap the main avenue of progression becomes leveling your Legendary (Lottery) Items. You get Item XP for killing mobs and completing quests, just like your character gets regular XP. The LIs take the same amounts IXP for levels that characters take for levels, and they max out at level 50. You can only have a maximum of 6 LIs at anytime.

    LIs have become the end-game grind because there are only so many daily repeatable quests that give you Item XP. The amount you can level an LI every day was limited, unless you could stand to endlessly grind through mobs forever.

    Book 8 made a fairly big improvement by providing a 6-man instance that could be repeated indefinitely, and yield at least 100k IXP per group member, and often more, in only 45 minutes. The instance also had some very nice rare drops. Since Book 8 was released this new instance was a very popular attraction.

    In comes Book 8 Patch 1. In addition to the new crafted jewellery, they also introduced five bounty quests. Three of them can be completed solo, and the other two can be done easily with two or three players. Altogether they yield more than 500k IXP, take no more than an hour if you have a Hunter in group, and can be repeated every day.

    Since Book 8 Patch 1 I have not seen a single person even mention going to the old popular instance for grinding IXP. In fact, it seems like no one wants to do anything but craft jewellery and run the bounty quests on all of their characters.

    After a week of this, everyone is going to have their Legendary Items maxed out, and their characters completely geared out. Then what?

    Turbine very effectively killed the end-game with Book 8 Patch 1.

  7. @Bootz Axe: I noticed that (not that I have been playing much at all lately), but I wonder if LI’s are going to live and die with MoM.

  8. The near-future of the game is very much up in the air. On the one hand we have dev blogs and posts hinting at great things to come. On the other hand we have a previous announcement that there would be an expansion this year, and time is running out.

    I’ve heard some rumors of upcoming slight positive changes to the LI system, so I don’t think they’re going anywhere soon.

  9. I’ve never leveled a character to the LotRO endgame (my highest is level 40), but this seems like a problem endemic to WoW-alike MMOs. Having an endgame that differs greatly from the leveling game is vestige of EQ’s raid mentality. To constantly invalidate that content every time the level cap changes is insanity.

    At least leveling content doesn’t expire with a new expansion. Those of us playing behind the curve will just look at the swirly portals with curiousity and then keep running to the next quest hub.

  10. As a shameless LOTRO fanboy I wholeheartedly say, “sooth” to:

    “We have a problem of expectations. Mines of Moria™ has been a poor endgame. It is an excellent mid-/late-game area. The problem is just this year of waiting for Moria to no longer be the endgame.”

    But I think with the latest announced plans to (mostly) fix the radiance gating issue, the ship is righted and we’re back on the course of constant improvement that was seen all throughout SoA.

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