I had a busy real life schedule last week so Throg has only been able to sample the Mines of Moria content in small doses. Nevertheless what I have seen has been good so far. After following a few quest chains in the eregion region Throg has made his way down to the ominous black pool at the entrance ot the mines proper. The pool is fetid and ominous so Throg decided to dive in and see if he could wake whatever creature lived in its murky depths. The Watcher was clearly not tempted by one slightly dented dwarf and Throg made it to the othe rside without so much as a nibble. Perhaps we will meet the infamous creature later.
I believe I need to complete the first chapter of volume 2 to actually get into the mines but I held off completing that while I dealt with a bunch half orcs who were harassing the dwarven expedition into the mines. These "expeditonary" quests are interesting in that they are only available before the expedition departs - i.e. before you complete book 1. They are entirely optional and are easy enough to solo at level 50 as long as you avoid getting swamped by adds in the caves where the half orcs live. The rewards are nothing too special but I took an ear ring because it had stats better suited to a Champion (might, agility and melee critical) than the one I was currently wearing. The fact that you could only do these quests before entering Moria is a nice touch - It gives them a greater sense of urgency and makes the world seem a bit more dynamic.
Its strange to see Lotro crowded again with groups camping poular quest objectives. Some folk get annoyed at the overcrowding but I like the buzz it brings to the game. If I get a quest to "kill 10 orcs" I generally try to pug up with other players on the same objective so we can share in each others kills. I have a sneaky suspicion that many of the people returning to the game are a bit rusty because I have noticed a drop in the standard of pug group play a feature than has normally been unusually good in Lotro. Nevertheless people remain polite and friendly and that for me is the most important thing.
Throg is about half way to level 51 and I felt a minor moment of panic as I noticed that some of my kin had already reached level 53 and were forming groups for instances I had never even heard of. Oh no , Throg was being left behind. Thankfully I managed to calm down and sanity prevailed. Lotro is a game best enjoyed at your own pace. Some level quickly some slowly but we will all meet up again soon enough at the level cap. In the meantime we can chat and have a laugh and help each other out as best we can.
I also started an Elf Rune Master to try out that new class but the less said about that the better. I read over the skill descriptions and figured I had a fair understanding of how the class worked so in order to test myself I ran at the first yellow mob I found (yellow = slightly higher level). I reckoned the combination of damage output with healing ability would be an instant win but it proved not to be the case. I was defeated easily by a boar in my very first battle!