|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 games relatively low population, finding one or two more people to aid you in your quests isnt terribly painful, although that isnt to say its easy. Having friends you can count on to play with you is the surest bet in this case.
The enemy placement and A.I. in the Mines of Moria isnt 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 doesnt 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 games 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 didnt seem strong enough when compared to the musical score or ambient effects that should have played as a backdrop. This isnt to say that the sound effects are terrible. No, what they are, is average; they dont 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 doesnt need to be because it still holds its own when compared to other popular MMOs on the market.
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.
CCC Freelance Writer