MORIA - UPPER LEVELS
Moria - also known as Khazad-dûm and the Dwarrowdelf - is a region that is as rich in history as it is massive in scope. Founded by Durin "the Deathless" (one of the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves) during the First Age, it has endured for thousands of years, sometimes rising to prominence as the greatest of the Dwarven mansions in Middle-Earth and sometimes waning to neglect and misuse... but ever enduring. It is a testament to Dwarven craftsmanship, and to their strength of character and will. Khazad-dûm is a massive complex of rough tunnels, well-worked mines, grand and winding hallways and staircases, majestic chambers both natural and Dwarf-made, seemingly-bottomless chasms and seemingly-ceilingless great-halls. Durin's folk have labored long to hew this kingdom from the heartstone of the mountain, and now seek to reclaim it from the forces of the shadow and the ancient evils that have wrested it from their hands.
Geographically, Moria lies under the Misty Mountains between Eregion and Lothlorien. In terms of size, it is gigantic - at a dead run, it takes around a quarter of an hour to run from Durin's Threshold in the west to the exit at the First Hall in the east, following the shortest, most direct route. That's straight-up running along a direct path, no stops. To put that into perspective, that's about how long it takes to run from the West Gate of Bree to the Rushock Gate in Needlhole, sticking to the roads. It is big enough to cover the 50 - 60 level range, and contains nine area maps, dozens of instances, six sets of deeds, three raids, two reputation factions and hundreds of quests. In fact, Moria is big enough that this guide will be split into three sections: Upper Moria, Central Halls and Lower Depths.
Before you head into Moria, there are a few things you need to know:
- Moria is lit mostly by ancient, giant mirrors, dimly-glowing crystals and the occasional burning wall sconce, but it is generally always dark and gloomy. You may want to set your gamma correction slightly higher here, as some regions are very poorly-lit and visibility is hindered. You can also hit ALT + F10 to activate a personal light source to illuminate the area immediately around you.
- Horses are not agile enough to handle the perilous slopes and treacherous, rock-strewn paths of the mines, and cannot be summoned within Moria. Goats, on the other hand, are natural climbers, and the Dwarves have managed to tame Redhorn goats to serve as mounts. If you want to ride around Moria rather than walk, you will need a goat mount - the rep goat from Thorin's Hall works fine, or the Dusky Nimblefoot Goat from the Mirkwood pre-order, and there are two available from the Iron Garrison Miners when you gain enough reputation with that faction. The Dusky Nimblefoot Goat from the LotRO store works as well and is identical to the Mirkwood pre-order bonus, but at +62% run speed and only 60 morale, it is hardly worth the 995-point price tag.
- The names in Moria vary between Khuzdul (Dwarfish), Westron
(English) and Black Speech words. Many of them are
difficult to pronounce and are often misspelled or simply
abbreviated by people looking for fellowships. Also, because it
is complicated to type "û" in the chat, you will not often see
such accents in anything other than official text - indeed, for
most of this guide, it will be written as "Khazad-dum" rather
than the proper"Khazad-dûm."
- Moria is the source of most of Middle-Earth's ultra-rare metal, mithril. Mithril is what the Dwarves were digging for when they accidentally unleashed the balrog that shattered their great kingdom. Flakes of mithril are often carried by the elite creatures that patrol the halls, and can occasionally be found in ore nodes.
- Beware of long falls. There are many cracks, pits, cliff-edges, wells and other such hazards all throughout Moria. If you find enough of the right long falls, you can earn a hard-won deed or two, but mostly you just end up dead at the bottom of a chasm.