Dev Diary: Moria Revamp (Part One)

May 4, 2012


DurinsWay_Screenshots_11In what appears to be the first of two updates concerning Moria, Lauren “Budgeford” Salk has released a Developer Diary concerning the changes that will be coming to the area in Update 7.  As someone who has a number of alts that are ready to travel through this cavernous region I for one am thrilled that a revamp to the area is coming.  And while Budgeford assures us that the things that make Moria “…a beautiful, unique, amazing space” will not be changing, they did have a lot of player feedback that encouraged them to re-evaluate the area.

To boil it down, we learned through player feedback (and from our own in-game experiences) that leveling in Moria is just too challenging, despite the initial awe and the beauty of this space. This is something we’ve wanted to address for a long time on the Content team. Moria stands in the way of a new character reaching our end-game content, and we want the 1-75 experience to go smoothly for new people as the game gets bigger.

She also stresses that this will also be the “first half” of the overall changes coming to Moria.  This part includes only the following areas:

  • The Great Delving
  • The Silvertine Lodes
  • Durin’s Way & Zirakzigil
  • The Waterworks
  • Tasks (Now Moria has them!)
  • Big quest arcs (Namely, the Riddles and Mirrors lines.)

So what all changed?  Well, frankly it seems the team really went through and made some really good adjustments such as:

  • making sure each area offers enough quests
  • adjusting the quest flow
  • adding quests and quest hubs as necessary to assist with leveling
  • adjusting the lighting so players could see more easily (thank you, thank you)
  • making it easier to travel from hub to hub (apparently by adjusting the mobs along those paths and adding travel points)
  • improving quest rewards

I have to say I’m impressed with what all appears to have done and I think that I’m going to enjoy bringing my alts through the area.  What changes are you excited about?

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Co-founder of CSTM and an avid LOTRO fan.

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43 Responses to “Dev Diary: Moria Revamp (Part One)”

  1. Adam Says:

    *Oh, he also put the tame goat for sale in the Great Delving, no rep required.*

    Whilst not amazing, I suspect a lot of new and F2P players may love him for this, especially as with clearer paths you will be less likely to get knocked off!


  2. Avatar of Amberflower
    Amberflower Says:

    Yes! Clearer paths! YAAAY!

    Now maybe I’ll dread bringing my mini through a little less…


  3. Tony Says:

    Lots of nice things, overall. I like that the zone is challenging in some ways, but these refinements sound promising.

    Maybe it’s dumb, but I’m very excited about tasks getting a non-ring radar icon :)


  4. Minulinnwen Says:

    I have a level 54 captain stuck at the Waterworks right now. I hate that place because it’s tedious, especially the running back and forward questline to the Great Wheel to get gears and such.

    I already suspected they were tinkering with it, because for example finding the lost dwarf (who used to lie next to the tracks leading to Rotting Cellar holding a puzzle locket) suddenly disappeared and moved to the Redhorn Lodes, surrounded by orange mobs.

    I can’t wait to see the results of the zone revamp, because I always dread going there with the darkness and repeatedly dying of ‘misfortune’.


  5. susan Says:

    I thought Moria was incredible, the atmosphere made me cringe and hurry to safe zones which was a credit to the artists who created a dark, terrible and craggy zone… all what a dank mine overrun by minions of evil should be. The moments when your char stumbled upon ancient artifacts and saw what beauty had once been there are stunning. Seeing Waterworks for the first time was definitely an ‘oooh ahhhh!’ moment.

    I hope they dont ruin it by prettifying it too much…. it will just become another quest hub that people blow thru and forget. As it stands now Moria leaves you with a most satisfying feeling of accomplishment once you complete it.. mainly because it was so dark, mazelike and full of things that bite.

    Although it aint purty it was one of my favorite places in LoTR.


    • Isilwren Says:

      I agree. My biggest complaint with Moria was the flow of the quests. I have two characters in Moria right now. Both of them have finished the quests in the beginner areas but are now scrambling to find content that is at their level now that they have passed beyond the Great Delving. Most of the quests I’ve been finding are orange or red. Presently, the quests don’t really lead you to the next area and finding your way from point A to point B is rather tricky if you don’t know where you are going.

      I loved the creepy, “let’s get the heck out of Dodge!” feeling of Moria. I’m hoping they dont’ tinker with that aspect too much. Moria SHOULDN’T be a place you’d want to linger.


  6. Avatar of Vræden
    Vræden Says:

    Can we just get swift travel to/from the Orc Watch?


    • Flosiin Says:

      No doubt! That and a swift travel to Anazârmekhem. Can we get the swift travel to Shadow refuge earlier? Think we have to complete so many quests in lower Moria- but from what I remember it seems like an excessive amount.


  7. Sierra Says:

    Now I can’t decide.. rush to get my alt through Moria as it stands now, or wait until the revamp so it doesn’t frustrate me no end? I’ve been dragging my heels at level 51, not sure when I wanted to grit my teeth and go. I definitely have a love-hate relationship with Moria.

    I’m sort of sad about the lighting change, though. Even though it was sometimes not practical, the colour and lighting was one of the things that made it feel so awe-inspiring. It is one of my favourite areas in LOTRO for visuals (the Upper regions, at least).


  8. Laenlis Says:

    I’m thrilled to hear about the changes. I think Moria is a place of dark grandeur, and faithful to the books, and craggy and awesome…and also a total jerk to level through, at current. I already love certain Moria zones, but it’d be great to love the whole thing, instead of sighing and wanting to do just a few more skirmishes before I have to dive across Durin’s Threshold.


  9. Avatar of Haduthir
    Haduthir Says:

    The only thing about Moria that needs to be improved, I must admit, is quest flow, and perhaps the addition of a quest hub or two. Other than that, I don’t believe anything *should* be changed. For God’s sake – Khadzad-dum is SUPPOSED to be a dark, dank place, in terms of the lighting, the place has been abandoned for God knows how many years, and is now occupied by creatures & ghoulies from our darkest nightmares. Don’t, as a previous poster stated, “prettify” Moria, Turbine.


  10. Durrendel Says:

    “…leveling in Moria is just too challenging…”
    Seriously? I cut myself through Moria like a knife through butter, progress 12 levels, and go straight to Mirkwood without a single death. Maybe it’s the champion’s luck, but in a few days, my minstrel can prove herself in the Black Pit- i think it’s gonna be much more challenging!


    • name Says:

      i have to agree. Dont get me wrong Moria was tough. but fun tough. its supposed to be hard, ITS MORIA!


    • Tony Says:

      I’m thinking they “mean challenging” in the sense of all the backtracking and running through overly-populated roadways, lack of quest hubs as the developer explains, etc… As opposed to strong enemies, large numbers in camps, etc. Perhaps playing with the former won’t really hurt the latter too much.


  11. Tamoro Says:

    Starting to take my 53 Guardian through, already taken a couple of characters through. Hoping they don’t make too many changes, always enjoyed the challenges Moria presented (for the most part).


  12. Morg Says:

    oh good and it only took 3 years?


  13. Diamint Says:

    Clearing pathways and immediate access to a goat are both great changes. I agree with the other posters about the look of the place though. I loved Moria despite the constant unavoidable fights to get anywhere specifically because of how it looks. It’s gorgeous (except Redhorn & the Flaming Deeps) in its own cavernous, secretive way.


  14. Goreamir Says:

    Mostly sounds great, though I’ve never seen a problem with the amount of available quests to level, I always found it to be quite the opposite. I guess it has to do with play style (?)


  15. Ian Says:

    I hope rearranging the quests, doesnt automatically translate into making it a doddle as well.

    It was never super difficult, the only area i didnt like was that area filed to the brim with morroval and tiny cliff tracks. Because it was time consuming to get anywhere fighting through and not easy to navigate. But the rest wasnt difficult, maybe a bit time consuming on some quests getting from a to b.

    But you expected a massive damp cold place to be like that, that was its charm.


  16. Alexandra and Bogdan Epureanu Says:

    All the changes sounds really cool, so I’ll probably skip Moria for the moment (although I’m getting close to 50) and wait for the revamped version to dare it. :)

    By the way any idea when will this happen (at least approximately)? And it will be free or it will be part of a paid expansion (like it was ROI)?

    Thank you in advance for your answers! :)


  17. Glinluin Says:

    I was very keen to get into Moria and enjoyed the beginning instance where the Dwarves were trying to get in. However as beautiful as Moria was it did start to drag and slow me down a bit, I appreciate it is the black abyss but I really dont want to spend hours squinting at the screen.

    Also some of the levels hardly got a look in as it seemed more productive to pick quest areas that didnt have you running here there and everywhere.

    I would love to revisit it with an alt sometime after the changes are made, whereas at the moment its putting me off leveling again.


  18. Mephet Says:

    Hooray for not forcing me to play in a dark room just so that I can see something! :D I know Moria is supposed to be dark, but when the options are stretching the lore or getting a headache every time I play, I’ll choose to stretch the lore just a bit.


  19. Haydnseek Says:

    I’ve never had a problem getting lost in Moria. It is actually not as big as I thought it would be when I first went there, and I found myself slightly disappointed to learn that all it really took was running around a zone couple times to learn the few twists and turns. Never understood why this was a complaint, other than directions are just harder for some people than others. But honestly, you’re not supposed to be able to find your way around Moria very easy. Otherwise it would not be…Moria. If anything I would like it to be more labyrinthine and much bigger, but I’m sure that’s a minority opinion.

    Also I’ve never had any problems with overall quest flow or leveling. I do Vol II on all my toons and that, coupled with the quest hubs, provides me with way more content than I need to reach Lorien. In fact I want to come back at some point later – at level cap likely – and do the myriad unfinished quests I have left throughout Moria, just to see what I missed.

    As stated previously by others, the only thing that Moria really needs is one or two more swift travels – Orc Watch and Rotting Cellar perhaps. But then again, Moria is supposed to be a place that is not easily traversed so I have mixed feelings about this – RL pragmatism or lore compliance. Also, if you do Vol II you will get various ‘hidden’ chambers unlocked in various places that act like quasi-swift travel hubs to various locations – Redhorn Loades, Waterworks, Zirakzigil – so that does provide a little relief.

    One other random observation is that while Zelem-melek seems to be the physically largest zone in Moria and most populated with mobs, it offers the least amount of questing content, which is all based out of 21st as far as I can tell. In fact, for being such a crucial hub in Moria, quest flow in 21st is oddly sparse and disjointed. It seems the majority of quests there are for various instances and only a handful send you solo into the vast expanses of Zelem melek and Nud melek. I would like much more solo questing content in those zones than I have found thus far. I also agree with those that have said that it is vexing to have to kill your way from place to place through all the narrow passages stiff with mobs. That could and should be changed if for nor other reason than lore compliance. As the Company traveled through Moria they encountered no resistance in the narrow passages they traversed, until the reached 21st of course.


  20. Buckyball Says:

    Finally! I have half a dozen alts at level 50 but I hate moria leveling so much that I never play them. This is exactly what I needed Turbine to do to get me to renew my sub. Well done Devs.


  21. Bryandt Says:

    I was considering making a blog post of my impressions of the Moria revamp, but decided that it would be spoilerific. That being said, everyone (even you old timers) should roll through the changes for yourself as they are fantastic. The quests flow from hub to hub. They fit. They make sense. All of the guesswork as to where to go next has been removed. Some old quests have been removed altogether. Some have been moved to different spots. Some have been changed significantly (the Cooling Chamber quest, for example, is much, much easier now). Some have been changed to quest drops, meaning quests you formerly picked up from NPCs now come from an item dropped from mobs. Quest givers tend to be right outside the area they want you to go to, making things sinpler. This is certainly not the Moria I’ve experienced a dozen times over.

    Mob density has been reduced in major traffic areas. That’s not to say that you’ll never have to fight mobs on the way to the next quest hub. It’s simply that there’s fewer of them. Off the major routes, though, they tend to be just as dense as before.

    Turbine finally got the lighting right in Moria. Even during the game’s night cycle, I could still see my surroundings. While I never felt the need to turn on my personal light, I never felt like the areas I was in was too bright, either. It still feels rather ominous. It seems that the way they got around this is that there’s an increase of glowing crystals on the landscape, giving off light. Works for me.

    Last thing I’d like to note is that the Moria Mirror quests have went through a drastic change. First off, their locations have changed. Two more have been added to the mix and I have no clue where they are at. The quest are no longer repeatable. Meaning you find a mirror, click on it to pick up the quest, turn in to the local hub’s NPC and you’re done. That character will never do that quest again. I’ve mixed feelings on this. I kinda liked being able to repeat those quests for the extra potions they would give. On the other hand, I didn’t go out of my way to do those, either.


  22. Andy Says:

    I think a lot of peoples dislike of moria comes from the fact that even though you’re moving from one area to the next you’re still essentially stuck in a cave for quite a long time.

    I’m hoping the lighting change can be controlled by the player as I quite like the way you cant always see things clearly, as it should be if you’re in the bowels of the earth. Going caving with only a headtorch for light is really good and again moria has that kind of feel to it so removing that could lose some of the atmosphere. Like seeing a rose garden and tearoom in the middle of angmar.

    With the mirror quest if its a case of find mirror to click then I hope that they add in a deed similar to the pierunner/postrunner ones from the shire that will act as a checklist for ones you’ve yet to find, even if they dont tell you the exact location. Mirrors and statues were ones I know I’ve missed bits from but for the life of me dont know where I’ve done and what I’ve still to find.

    I spent a long time travelling through moria first time around on my hunter and found it pretty good, blitzed it on my warden and then for my mini actually took time to do more questing than I had before. Once I read the revamp was coming my captain has been put on pause so I can work through the new stuff slightly fresher.

    While I didnt completely quest moria to destruction on my mini I did exit around lvl62 rather than the 56 of my warden. But that was partly down to hitting an xp drought in dunland on my hunter and wanting to actually quest all the way to 75. Plan worked and I hit 75 just before the marsh area of dunland with minimal skirmishing.


    • Bryandt Says:

      There is a new deed for the mirrors. But some of the mirrors have been moved from their previous locations. There’s also two new mirrors, but I can’t seem to find them anywhere.

      No such deed for the statue pieces, but I think that’s a really good idea.


  23. susan Says:

    Someone on bullroarer posted that the lighting change has ruined the ambiance. I have yet to log on and see for myself but if so that will upset me. Wish they would have made it a slider function to appease the both sides of the fence.

    I personally think a brightly lit Moria is beyond immersion breaking. Its already too bright in the game, no matter how much I tinker with settings in game and on pc most nights are so bright I can see for miles like broad daylight. Whats the point to that……….


  24. Hawkwind Says:

    “(…) leveling in Moria is just too challenging, despite the initial awe and the beauty of this space”..

    Seriously ? Turbine is making things too easy, just see the levelling in Isengard, where you can defeat any mob in afk & auto attack… Another gameplay levelling by the base… Yuck …


  25. Faustino Says:

    Well, i love how Challanging Moria is… and i will be sure into getting my Burg from 57 to 60 now…

    Have been enjoying lvl 50 to 57 for the past week now in Moria :)

    I will try a new Alt after both parts of the revamp are done, to see how they revamped it… I just hope they wont remove to much mobs from the path’s… cause hey it is Bloody Moria after all… its no walk in the park…


    • Merialac Says:

      If I had enough time to play to get from 50 to 57 in a week I might’ve enjoyed Moria, too, but with only an hour or two to play each day (if at all) the place is really frustrating.

      You’re going out, doing a quest or two, then run back to the safe questhub because there’s not enough time to do quest three. Next day you log back in at the questhub, have to figure out which areas you’ve been to and which you need to go back to, fight your way through loads of goblins that you had already killed last night to get back to your place of questing, do the quest, go back, are sent back again through the hordes of mobs, find you don’t have enough time again to do all the quest in your log for that area, run back to the quest hub again, start up again next night … you get the picture.

      I really hope that the revamp will make things easier for those like me who don’t have long stretches of time to play at once. A flow of quests like the Evendim revamp that makes it easier for you to remember where you were and figure out how to move forward even if you don’t live in middle earth half the day would be great.

      My lvl 51 guardian will have to wait at Durin’s Threshold a while longer so he can fully enjoy the revamped areas and quests :) . Funnily, he’s the very same character that was just about to start questing in Evendim when the Evendim revamp hit.


  26. ThEmAsK Says:

    Stop revamping old stuff give us some instances and raids lol …


  27. Tony Says:

    I guess Moria is a key example of how you can’t please everyone. I always was more or less fine with it — I understood the complaints, but I enjoyed the area anyway.

    But there’s always been this huge underlying complaint that you hear about Moria wherever you go… and seemingly a LOT of people wanted to skip it outright because of it. I’ve never narrowed it down to one thing — mob density? quest difficulty? lighting? layout? It seems to differ for everyone.

    But clearly it was vocal enough that Turbine felt a need to do something about it. And if that means more people in there really getting to experience this area (even if it’s brighter or ‘easier’) then I’m for that.


  28. Zhivik Says:

    I also didn’t find Moria that much challenging to be unbearable. I think I understand why so many people hate it, as there are indeed areas where the quest flow is not very good, out of these Zelem-Melek particularly comes to mind. However, I’ve never found it prohibitively challenging, and I had absolutely no problem to pass through it on my minstrel (I am there right now with a hunter).

    Anyways, I’d welcome more quests if only for the sake of gaining reputation faster. Also, I think I like the rep revamp, designating separate areas for each faction. This will also solve an uintended (in my view) issue with gaining rep in Moria, as before the option to use immediately rep items, these were common for both factions, and you could choose which one to give them to. Now, they are different, so you have to level both factions more or less in parallel, which is visibly slower than before.

    Anyways, I guess that with the new level cap coming with Riders of Rohan, making levelling in faster will encourage people who may feel intimidated, having to level a new toon all the way to 75 just to start new content. Like it or not, Turbine has to think about new players as well, not only abou those at level cap.


  29. Rohiriel Says:

    I’m so excited about the tasks! My main just hit 54 and and has one chapter left in Volume I, but I think she would have been about 25 tasks short of getting Hot Shot (since I think none of the tasks are obtainable at 54, and even with the tasks I have in my quest log, I’d be 25 short). I was kind of bummed about having to wait until Isengard to finish that deed, but now I won’t have to!

    I can just play with an alt until U7 drops. I’ll put off Vol II for my main and finishing Hot Shot until then. Whoohoo!


  30. Jonathan B Says:

    As a side note, for those having trouble seeing in the meantime, I’ve been told adjusting the “Ambient Lighting” setting in the options section will make it easier on the eyes. I’ve not been in Moria myself, but do use the setting in some of the barrows to good affect.


  31. Andersonh1 Says:

    The timing on this update is great for me. I’ve got two mains at 75, but four alts either beginning Moria or in the latter stages of Eregion. I’m all about some new Moria content for all of them to run.



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