Ever since seeing the Hobbit at the cinema, I’ve had an itch to return to Moria and carry on leveling through Volume II of LoTRO. So I logged back in and picked up Book 4 where I’d left off. I played through about six stages, many of them were talking to people or killing X creatures. (N.B spoilers for end of Book 4 later in this post!)
Riding down to relocate at the Waterworks I stopped at Dolven View and was distracted by the ‘new quest’ ring over a pair of NPCs’ heads. Between them they control access to a set of four repeatable level 60 instances. Each requires you to take a special gemstone as a requirement for entry. Part of the quest inside the instance is to use an anvil to process the gemstone. You then get a ‘title’ for your legendary weapon or a relic to deconstruct as a reward. The instances are for a group, but with soloification a while ago for Volume II you can solo them easily enough thanks to the inspiration buff. I chose Library of Steel and entered.
The graphics and premise for the instance were something new and interesting. In particular the Flame Spirits were extremely well animated, thankfully the fire isn’t as dangerous as it looks on screen! I finished the instance no trouble and got my new ‘uruk-slayer’ title for my legendary axe so I can lay down the hurt on orc-kind even more.
Moving on to Waterworks I did some exploring as part of the epic quest and was rewarded with some lovely vistas. The final chapter of Book 4 proved to be a pretty long instance, with a lot of large groups. I accidentally pulled two groups at one point and actually had to fight to survive! The inspiration bonus for solo play is pretty ridiculous, but then how else could Turbine balance dungeons for *any* class to solo? I’ve only experienced these on a heavy-armour wearing champion so it’d be interesting to try on my minstrel or rune-keeper to see if there’s a big difference in difficulty.
The finale was gratifying, if a strange fight. I presume, without knowing, that this story is like a prelude to a raid since you meet the dreaded Watcher in the Water. It’s a weird fight solo this fearsome creature seems very easy since you’re so overpowered. I’d actually like to run the instance in a proper group to see just how that fight plays out as it was intended…
After finishing the book I mapped back to 21st Hall to do some vendoring and noticed I had several Lootboxes in my inventory. I’ve never seen one before, strange really as I’m pretty sure they’ve been in the game for a long while now. Maybe they’re like buses? You get none at all or three at once.
Lootboxes need keys of course, and as a lifetime sub holder I am sat on a pile of Turbine Points I rarely spend so I bought a key to open one. I also then found I had a mob-dropped key in the vault from some point in the past. So I opened the two elf lootboxes I had, a third Khazâd lootbox will have to wait till I ding 60. The first box dropped some overpowered healing+power potions and a really nice teal necklace with much better stats than the purple I’d had on for several levels. Optimistically I opened the next one and only got a stack of five speed buff potions. Talk about difference in rewards! That’s when I came back to reality – yes, this is a horrible RNG system put in for the compulsive gamblers among LoTRO gamers. I suspect I’ll open a few more before I resign to never spend another TP on a key again! I’ve been very successful at not giving into the need for Black Lion keys in Guild Wars 2, the stack of unopened chests sit in my bank gathering dust.