I’m not going to spoil anything for those that haven’t done the new Book 9 of Volume 2 – but if you’re in your 60s, I highly recommend it. By far, this has been my favorite book in all of LOTRO, and there’s enough content in it to span at least 2 books (18 chapters in all) compared to some of the others. The general premise of the book is that you make your way across Mirkwood trying to learn about the threat to Lorien and figure out a way to combat it. You make new friends and fight alongside familiar allies, and I think this helps make this book feel more epic. With all the various dwarves, elves, and others involved you really get the feeling that this task is something worthy of someone who’s defeated the watcher, a balrog, etc.
I ended up running through the book solo, but it didn’t feel like the other solo books since they leveraged the skirmish system. Other solo books all felt quite small in the general impact you had in the over-all story, but with the skirmishes they can provide settings that wouldn’t normally work and battles that you wouldn’t expect to survive alone. There weren’t lots of back and forth conversation quests or other busy work that seems petty at times, everything built up and carried through to the completion of our mission. I also read EVERY quest in the book, and actually I’ve read most of the quest text while out in Mirkwood – I actually care about what’s going on. Maybe I’ve just been grinding too long through Lorien and Moria, but the stories in Mirkwood really have captured my interest. Even though I’ve hit 65, I will travel to all the hubs and make sure to do all the quests.
I can only hope they continue this kind of storytelling as we move forward as for the first time in while I can honestly say that I look forward to running my alts through this book!
I’m just now working through the Epilogue to Book 9 which includes some classic moments that did make me laugh:
- Hundi the dwarf asking where your first legendary item is
- Melmar and Thalfi joking about walking to the bottom of the well and not falling (I’m not that patient)
- Tulk wondering what ever happened to those talon’s we collected for him way back when
- And Rink not knowing how to count or proving that all dwarves exaggerate
And finally, a shot of me showing off to all the dwarves we’ve fought with throughout Moria and Mirkwood.
Edit – as a follow up to a tweet from BlueKae, if you do care about the story I would suggest doing the rest of Volume 2 before book 9.