A short one this time:
I complained about how dungeons got boring. Now that I returned to LotRO (at least for the time being), I found a great antithesis to the bad design patterns I saw in WoW dungeons. Let me introduce: Goblin-town.
The dungeon is split into 10 small zones, with different design patterns. While the (incomplete) map to the right gives an idea of the expansiveness of the dungeon, it fails (like all LotRO maps) to convey its massive vertical size. The main area, divided into three subzones, is basically a long, dark, flight of halls, but crisscrossed by two additional upper levels of paths meandering along the cave walls and outcrops, with bridges and stairs connecting them. Most of the peripheral subzones make even more use of vertical design; some are deep enough to fall to your death if you’re taking a wrong step on a bridge (and you can fall VERY deep in LotRO before you die, I’d say at least 5 to 6 floors). Sadly, I tried and tired, but I couldn’t manage to get good screenshots to show off the vast, but still claustrophobic feel of this place.
The subzones, and the different halls of the main areas, are interconnected by tunnels that branch off, meet again, have numerous dead ends, and you wonder how the goblins ever made it out of this maze successfully. I got lost several times. At level, it was a classic dungeon crawl. I could spend hours inside there, and actually did, simply exploring and killing Goblins. It took me three evenings to reach the lowest areas.
In one word, Goblin-town is amazing.
Oh, and there’s cave paintings:
And somewhere deep down inside, of course, there’s Gollum’s cave. In fact, Bilbo asks you to find it and map out how to get there.
After much back and forth, I found it in the end. And of course, I had to pose for eternity:
I decided to recall out of the cave. I think getting out without a map would’ve cost me another hour or two. If I ever get another character into the right level range, I sure know where to go.