Update 9 - Revisiting the Mines of Moria, Part II
Developer Diary: Revisiting the Mines of Moria, Part II
By: Lauren “Budgeford” Salk
The Second Half of Moria: Overview
In case you were wondering when you could bring your character from Durin’s Threshold to the Dimrill Dale without much of a hiccup, the wait is finally over! We have just wrapped up our revamp of the second half of Moria, from Zelem-melek through Nud-melek.
We were pleased with the generally positive feedback about the first half of the revamp, so as soon as we finished up the Riders of Rohan, we were eager to get back in to finish the job. Each zone now has many more quests, a simple questing path, fewer monsters, and hopefully no more frustration with excessive back-and-forth questing.
This second pass was our chance to finish the good work we started in the first Moria Revamp. We noticed that the remaining zones had a distinct lack of quests, and a disorganized flow for what little was there.
What Changes, What Didn't:
For part II of Moria’s content revamp, three designers attacked the remaining zones and gave Khazad-dûm its final much-needed polish pass.
This section of the revamp includes the following:
- Zelem-melek (level 55)
- The Redhorn Lodes (level 56)
- The Flaming Deeps (level 57)
- Nud-melek (level 58)
- The Dimrill Dale (monster camp pass only – camps are now less dense)
- The Foundations of Stone (difficulty pass only – this zone is now considered “optional” and is not part of the critical path, but it should be easier to manage for the brave souls who want to venture in here)
The revamp DOES NOT touch the following:
- The Epic
- Moria Instances
Make sure each division offers enough quests to get close to a full level.
- This meant adding around 70 quests to Moria!
Remove content that isn’t up to par while preserving the positives of Moria.
- A number of quests were removed or replaced because we felt that they were not up to our current design standards. Decisions to remove content were always considered carefully; we respect that content might be missed by some if it is cut.
Improve quest flow.
- We have a policy now of minimal back-and-forth from quest-givers to monster camps.
Bring remote quest bestowal to Moria.
- We really liked how remote bestowal was working out in Rohan, so we made use of it in Moria as well, especially in Zelem-melek – a very exploration-focused zone.
Make better use of existing areas.
- One of the biggest problems we found was that the later zones of Moria had a lot of space, points of interests, and monsters that weren’t part of any significant content. We’ve added a lot of quests to help fill out the space.
Thin monster density.
- Some of the later areas in Moria were TOUGH. Monsters have been thinned out significantly in most of Moria.
Ensure easy access to major quest hubs from important landmarks throughout the zone.
- Goats that offer one-click travel from questing areas to major hubs and back (for those in need of repairs or reforge) are readily available in the more maze-like areas of Moria. These unlock as your quests lead you to these areas.
Improve the sense of story in the later zones.
- Each designer sought to bring their own creative spin to unify each zone’s content.
Touch up the world where needed.
- Don’t get us wrong – Moria is beautiful! Some spots just needed a little polish.
(The Chittering Hole)
The design was simple, but we’re confident that we’ve improved the Moria experience significantly. This work was something we’ve been eager to do for a while now, so it was a pleasure to get back into Moria. We hope you enjoy the changes and new content!