You can read about the UI changes for Moria here: Moria D1 – UI Changes.

As a hunter, anytime a new area is opened I check around for the fast travel intro quest.  I was in Forochel so I got the quest to travel to Eregion from an elf wandering the frozen city of Sûri-kylä.  Next, I went to Bree to the Prancing Pony to turn in my preorder tokens for items.  The preorder items were ok.  Mostly just cosmetic but in-line with most of the previous bonus items.  Finally, I travelled to Rivendell before getting on my horse for the short ride through the Trollshaws to Eregion.

Riding into Eregion initially, you come over a ridge into Glad Ereg and the elven camp of Gwingris.  Glad Ereg looks much like any other hilly woodland in Middle-Earth.  I wasn’t sure how packed the new area would be, especially given the fact that Moria itself must be unlocked, although I was hoping that it would be heavily populated (meaning that the expansion was selling well).  Eregion was heavily populated, but not so much that I couldn’t complete quests. From Gwingris in Glad Ereg I explored south into High Hollin and Low Hollin, finding the camps of Echad Eregion, Mirobel, and Echad Dûnann.  Echad Dûnann became my new base camp, as that’s where the fast travel quest giver is located as well as the entrance to Moria and the dwarf who gives the Volume 2, Book 1 quest to open the gates.

While Eregion is a beautiful zone, it wasn’t until I entered the Gates of Moria area to start on the Expedtion and Book 1 quests that I had a Weathertop moment.  Basically that describes anytime that I see a landmark in the game that I loved from the books.  Early on in the game, I enjoyed visiting Hobbiton and similar places, but it wasn’t until I entered the Lone Lands and first saw Weathertop in the distance that I really had an emotional involvment in the game.  I had a similar moment the first time I rode around a mountaint corner and saw the valley of Rivendell layed out in front of me.  With Moria, it was climing the stairs to be confronted with the Black Lake.  Even before seeing Durin’s Door, just seeing the lake and the darkened atmosphere was a great moment for me.  Turbine has completely nailed the feeling of these iconic areas, and it made me even more excited to open Durin’s Door and see the interior of Moria.

After working my way through most of the Expedition quests and the first three chapters of Volume 2, Book 1, I decided to try out one of the new classes.  I created a Warden and played through the introduction and the first two quests in Archet (created a Man of Rohan).  It’s wasn’t long enough to know whether or not I’m going to enjoy the class, but it is enough to know that I might.

My next play session, I plan to get through a few more chapters of Book1 and then try out the Rune-Keeper.

After the first few hours, I’m extremely happy with the Mines of Moria expansion, and judging by the chat conversation on Landroval last night, it will only get better.

Moria D1 – Play Experience
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