It’s been a while since I’ve spent some time in Moria; I mean really spent some time in there. However, recently with the Fellowship walk and my wife putting a hold on her Minstrel until it had completed, I decided that I would pull out my Champion and run through a bit of Moria and really put the Rise of Isengard changes to test (at least as far as the Fury and Ardour lines go). And I have to say I was a bit surprised at what I discovered on my journey.
First off, let me say that in my alt experiment one thing that I should have done, as suggested by a fan, was to stagger out the levels of the characters so that they were all at different level ranges. However, I tend to be a fairly linear thinker so I decided to take them all through the same zones at the same time. And for a while it worked well. In fact, I really loved the Lone-lands so much that I enjoyed my time going through that area on all my characters one after the other. But I didn’t really think about my time going through the areas that I didn’t like so much the first time through, especially Moria. That’s not to say that Moria is a bad place to go through; in fact it’s one of the more epic areas in the game and everyone should experience it at least once. Still, I think most people would admit that it has some shortcomings like being hard to navigate at times; in later levels it really sends you running all over the place; and after too much time underground the dark atmosphere can get to you. And once I started hitting level 50 on my characters the thought of running 8 characters through Moria back-to-back (my Guardian has already gone through a while ago) worried me . I mean seriously, how did I not think about this at the start?
But, like most people starting (at least what feels like) a large task I decided that for now if I took one character through Moria and then intermingled it with Goldenstar in Isengard, and keeping my Warden in-line with the Monday Night “Dum” group that I could use that to break up my alts going through that area. So, with a bit of excitement, I grabbed my axes and plunged forward into the dark and climbed that vast stairway into Khazad-dûm. And you know what? It wasn’t the nightmare I thought it would be. In fact, until I got to the point where I was having to spend 15 minutes running to and fro due to the epic quest line, I was having a lot of fun. I was actually very surprised to find myself in and out of Moria in about a week (keep in mind this is with Derudh’s Stone equipped) . And in that time I was able to level to 58, go through enough of the Epic Storyline to allow passage into Lothlórien, and earn Kindred with the Iron Garrison Guards. I also enjoyed going through the several Instance Plays covering Moria’s past as well. But I can’t even pretend that I did everything that there is to do in Moria. Off-hand I can think of several quest hubs that I didn’t touch, nor did I do any of the dungeons (although I ran through several of the crafting instances, a couple of the Dolven-view instances, and of course the 2.5.5 skirmishes) and many of my deeds remain incomplete.
At this moment I can see myself going two ways. One is hitting 60/65 with my Champion and then going into Moria with my Captain, or possibly moving on to Isengard with my Champion. Admittedly with all the enthusiasm that Ketani has over the Captain, I seem to be compelled to pick that character up and have him plunge into the darkness as well. But, I am also itching to see Mirkwood once again as well. For now I think I will stick with my Champion and get him to 65. Why? Because he’s just too dang fun right now to put down.