The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria Review
The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria box art
System: PC Review Rating Legend
Dev: Turbine Inc. 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Turbine Inc. 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Nov.17, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 (Massive Multiplayer Online) 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Teen 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Mines of Moria is also a game that demands players work together, even if just in small groups of two to three. There are plenty of solo-friendly areas and quests thrown into the mix, but most of the enjoyment to be had in this expansion is done in small groups. And, despite the game’s relatively low population, finding one or two more people to aid you in your quests isn’t terribly painful, although that isn’t to say it’s easy. Having friends you can count on to play with you is the surest bet in this case.

The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria screenshot

The enemy placement and A.I. in the Mines of Moria isn’t a groundbreaking step for the genre by any means. But, Turbine has ensured that all the traditional A.I. mechanics are available and varied to make for a variety of encounters. This is especially needed considering how heavily the game depends on its PvE and narrative and how it doesn’t really bring much to the table for players seeking more PvP gameplay.

From a design standpoint, the music and sound effects do their jobs. With thundering soundtracks that generate subtle moods of exploration, mystery, and danger, players should feel immersed once inside the expansive caves and tunnels. The game’s sound effects, however, were not quite as fitting. Even with high sound-quality settings, the combat effects seemed too subtle and lacking. Weapons impacts just didn’t seem strong enough when compared to the musical score or ambient effects that should have played as a backdrop. This isn’t to say that the sound effects are terrible. No, what they are, is average; they don’t take away from the experience, but they could do a better job of improving it.

Mines of Moria, if anything, is a visual masterpiece of world design. Sure, the areas outside of Khazad-Dum are what veteran players have come to expect from Shadows of Angmar. The rolling hills, country sides, and vibrant settings of the original are held in deep contrast to the dark deep of Moria. Turbine definitely ensured that they got this part right, designing the new areas to be awe-inspiring. This is immediately noticeable upon entering Khazad-Dum for the first time, and is reinforced as players progress through it. The Mines of Moria expansion may not necessarily be a huge graphics overhaul to Shadows of Angmar, but it doesn’t need to be because it still holds its own when compared to other popular MMOs on the market.

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The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria is a fun and more-than-significant increase in content for its players. Turbine has definitely done a great job of capturing the epic nature of Khazad-Dum, especially when it came to its world design and visual style. Veteran players who have been waiting for more places to explore in Middle-Earth should not pass up the opportunities found in Mines of Moria. However, the expansion does little to entice newcomers to join the world, considering the only new content they could experience from the start are the two new character classes. Mines of Moria is a must-buy expansion for veteran players of the original, but it will not provide a lot of immediate satisfaction for people thinking about picking up both it and the original for the first time.

By Derek Hidey
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.0
Graphics
A beautiful game that proves that great visual and world design can overcome and completely overshadow anything less than next-gen engines.
3.5
Control
Standard MMO controls and UI customization are present and easy to manage.
3.5
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Great musical scores are only hindered by less-than-great sound effects.
4.0
Play Value
Tons of new and rich content is ready to be explored, if only for veteran players at first.
3.8
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Continue the Epic Story: Explore 3 new regions and 22 expansive areas of Moria. New graphics technology brings this underground realm to life like never before, with stunning vistas and towering columns of stone crafted by the Dwarves of Khazad-dum. Battle more than 800 new monsters, or take on the Watcher in the Water in an epic raid!
  • Wield Legendary Power: Design and create legendary items as renowned as Bilbo’s Sting! Your hero’s gear will evolve and grow in power along with you, leading to truly unique end-game items!
  • Two New Classes: Explore Middle-Earth and the new Mines of Moria content with two entirely new and unique classes: the Rune-keeper and the Warden!


  • Screenshots / Images
    The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria screenshot - click to enlarge The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria screenshot - click to enlarge The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria screenshot - click to enlarge The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria screenshot - click to enlarge The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria screenshot - click to enlarge The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria screenshot - click to enlarge The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria screenshot - click to enlarge The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria screenshot - click to enlarge The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria screenshot - click to enlarge The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria screenshot - click to enlarge The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria screenshot - click to enlarge The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria screenshot - click to enlarge

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