The Eregion Chapters

I am really digging the Mines of Moria expansion for Lord of the Rings Online, and I have barely scratched the surface.  I started as a level 48 Captain, which got me a little worried.  Turbine seemed to sense the need for more intermediate content and created Eregion (level 48-53).  This got Ravric, Foe of Night up to level 51 with a crit-monster legendary halberd, Meticulous Owl.  The quest design in the first Mines of Moria region is absolutely fantastic, and it truly shows how masterful Turbine can be.

I love Lord of the Rings Online’s style.  It is all about the story.  A region is not just a place to kill ten rats.  It has a story.  The Enemy is at work everywhere, but not always in accord.  The Lonelands is cursed with the Red Maid, which is a truly epic almost heartbreaking story in its own right.  The North Downs has the story of the three races of Light trying to fend off orc tribe invasions from every angle, and it has the slight twist of the orc tribes not really working together.  Eregion also has it’s own story of Saruman’s search for ring lore to re-create the penultimate artifacts worn by so few in Arda.

The problem before was that getting a lot of the story required players to go through a tedious quest progression.  The basic formula for early Shadows of Angmar content went something like this: 1) complete solo first quest learning about “symptoms” and thinning said “symptoms,” 2) complete additional solo quest doing something to laterally solve the problem, and 3) obtain full fellowship for final quest to stop source of problem.

The problem is the final step.  The mini-story cannot conclude without a quest requiring a full fellowship, and it is very unlikely a player will find a full fellowship of players ready to do that quest.  Too many times I see a wall of text go up in the Looking For Fellowship (LFF) channel that lists five or six “final” fellowship quests.  It’s akin to anti-funneling.  With a limited quest log, people will abandon remaining fellowship quests when they move on to another region, and other people simply have not completed all the preliminary solo quests required to know what quest the LFF’r is talking about.

Eregion is different.  The basic formula that was overused in early Shadows of Angmar is nearly gone.  In northern Eregion there is one “final” fellowship quest, not five or six.  So players holding on to Leader of the Foul Wood will eventually group up if they watch the LFF channel.  The southern fellowship quests are three-man instances that are repeatable and rewarding to those that wish to repeat them without having quests for the instances.  On top of that there are four (to borrow from Warhammer Online) Chapters to Eregion in the form of quest hubs.  When players are questing from a certain Chapter they will mechanically be questing across a specific sub-region of Eregion and story-wise be learning about a specific corruption of the White Hand.  This is excellent funneling in my opinion.  Players can quickly buddy up in the Chapters for questing and create larger fellowships for that really well known content on the fly.

This gets me really excited to enter Moria, but I am taking my sweet time in Eregion because it is a blast.  I get on Turbine’s case a lot for holding to old ways a bit too much, but the way they are going right now with quest design seems to be the exact right one for Lord of the Rings Online.  Now, if only they would consider Hirelings for that game.

Trying for the subjective.

8 thoughts on “The Eregion Chapters”

  1. By all means, don’t skip Eregion. Most of my kinmates rushed into the Mines then realized some of the benefits Eregion offered — especially the swift travel points and regretted leveling so fast within the Mines themselves.

    Eregion seemed to me a culmination of everything in the Volume I game. Even the soundtrack is a rotation of the more memorable tracks in other zones. Sort of a final farewell to the Volume I way of things, then entering Walls of Moria and the Mines we move to the Volume II game, which is a little tweaked and more streamlined perhaps.

  2. Not much to say other than “Yes” — LotRO seems to be one of the most underrated MMO’s out there. It’s up there with Eve for polish and good design for what it does well. I’m also looking forward to getting into Moria. Cheers.

  3. If you’re liking Eregion, you’re going to love Moria – especially the first few Chapters of Vol 2’s story. You can get about mid-way through Chapt 3 before you need to group up, and most of the other quests are soloable if you’re careful. Getting around is also surprisingly easy, especially for the first few quest hubs, including the ‘capital’ of Moria (the 21st Hall).

  4. My hunter is 38 now, still plugging away and eagerly looking forward. Lots of good things coming down the road. I’m intentionally taking my time with this game. I have no fear of it going away, and each patch only makes it better and better.

  5. I am also really loving LOTRO MOM! I agree that the questing has really been refined in the new content. As for henchmen, my prediction is that they will smooth out the AI and code in DDO and roll out henchmen in the next paid expansion for LOTRO…

  6. To me, the only expansion that has outshone Moria is Kunark for old EQ1. The amount of work that people put into Kunark made it the quality it was, and there was never an expansion as polished as that again, but Moria sure has come close to me.

    I can only /salute the devs for the fantastic job. My kin, mostly composed of casual, mature players (agewise at least), is enjoying the fact we no longer are constantly chasing, and the few powergamers we have are enjoying themselves like children in an unsupervised candy store.

  7. Yay for captains! Mine’s 59 now, I guess you could say I’m loving Moria and Eregion (is it a spoiler to note that there are no quests to kill boars in a region covered in them – love Turbine). I love the pacing of LotRO and the fact it demands groups for some things, but in the expansion they’ve actually put in some 3-man instances alongside the larger ones.

    It’s severely under-rated

  8. Loving MoM myself and I am taking the scenic route – I did almost every quest in Eregion before moving on. Moria itself never ceases to amaze me. Sure it has dark dingy tunnels but it has lots of surprises too. I just stumbled across a beautiful garden tonight!

    MoM is certainly a lot more solo friendly than SoA was – most of the group quests seem to be confined to instances. Yet I have to say that I loved SoA’s quest chains with a fellowship quest at the end. For me Bree, The Lone Lands, The North Downs and the Trollshaws were some of the best parts of the game. I just worked away on the soloable early quests while keeping an eye on the LFF channel. I eventually pugged my way through nearly all the fellowship quests that way. I guess I was lucky enough to have joined with the bulge of new players but I do think it trained folks into grouping and added to the generally friendly atmosphere of the game. Sadly the original Angmar was a mess with fellowship quests blocking access to solo quests. It was almost impossible to get groups in West Angmar because everyone was stuck at a different point in the quests. At least that has been fixed now.

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