Throg moved into Moria on Friday after completing almost every quest in Eregion. I am happy to say that after a weekend of adventuring in the Great Delving I am still enjoying exploring the crumbling ruins of Durin's kingdom. Despite being entirely subterranean it is not claustrophobic. The caverns are huge but they are also dark and ominous. Indeed the most common cause of death for new entrants like me is plunging into chasms through one of the many cracks in the paths.
Just as in Eregion it is mostly solo stuff but it somehow seems more appropriate to wander the gloomy tunnels on your own. The darkness and the broken nature of the terrain means that Moria is an explorer's paradise full of nooks and crannies to be ferreted out.
Highlights of the weekend included:
Heading off on foot through the dangerous Zelem-Melek area in order to get to the 21st hall, the main settlement of Moria and the location of Bank and Auction house.
Stumbling across the starter quest for Volume 2 book 1 on my way back from the 21st Hall via a safer route.
Doing my first ever infused gem quest, a solo instance called "The Training Halls" which gives legendary item experience and is repeatable every time you hand in one of the appropriate infused gems that drop randomly from mobs. At level 54 the instance was spot on for me with a bunch of normal level mobs and only one signature. The key to the instance was pulling everything in the correct order giving it a puzzle like quality which I quite enjoyed.
Ongoing highlights include the advances made to my character through levelling up. Rather than getting any major new skills the Champion gets upgrades to several existing skills which greatly increase their utility. The replacement for the little used savage strikes skill now removes buffs from opponents as well as having a cool new fiery emote. Almost every mob in Moria has some buff or other so this makes the skill very useful. The previously underpowered Cleave aoe skill has been replaced by Rend. Rend does a big chunk of damage over time to a group of mobs. Allowing for the dot it is an extremely high damage skill and is very cheap in terms of fervour and energy. On the fervour front the opening up of another class trait slot has allowed me to slot a fourth trait from the berserker line increasing Throg's fervour mode generation from 1 pip every five seconds to 1 pip every 4 seconds giving lots more fervour to use the higher damage aoe skills. Taken together these changes have greatly increased a Champions aoe damage output and I find myself happily wading into groups of three and four mobs to finish them off in record time.
Needless to say I got carrie away with Throg' snew found uberness and an attempt to solo a level 53 elite Uruk from the Goblin camp beside Dolven View did not end well. Champions have never been particularly good at soloing elites and it seems that this aspect of our character at least has not changed.