With Station Access canceled, and EQ1, Vanguard and SWG removed from our computers, we did decide to reactivate LotRO for the time being. They had advertised this deal where if you got their recent Moria expansion for $29.99, the monthly subscription would be $9.99. But it turned out that was an error that founding members were viewing this pricing. But after talking to a rep on the phone, they did honor the $9.99 deal. Anyone who was a founding member at the $9.99 rate will have to call Turbine to reactivate. There is some bug in the system when you try to reactivate your account online. But no big deal. After being on hold for a few minutes, they were pretty quick at resolving the issue.
I have heard a lot of good things regarding the Mines of Moria and would really like to experience it, but the expansion is for 50+ and our alts we left behind were 39. While we could grind them out some levels to catch up, neither one of us liked our classes nor the server we were on. The tank and healer combo served us well in other games, but not here. His guardian and my minstrel were very ineffective. We killed slowly, his taunts never worked well, and once I was getting hit, I couldn't channel off heals. So we died often.
But the expansion brought with it a new version of the tank and healer, the warden and runemaster. The wardens use this new gambit system where using combinations of attacks opens up new attacks. It's a bit more complicated than their previous classes and involves some memorization regarding knowing what combos activate what. The runekeeper can play the role of healer or damage dealer, or do both less effectively. The more you heal, the more powerful your heals become. The more you hurl damage spells, the more powerful they become. If you go back and forth between the two in a fight, neither are very powerful. There is an attunement bar that shows your current effectiveness for both abilities.
So we started fresh on the Landroval server. The community seems very nice and the general chat channel is usually pleasant, more so than EQ2 general chat. Low level areas are still very active and I see people everywhere. The early level money frustrations are still there. When you only have 25 silver, 5-15 silver horse travel, 6 silver repairs, and several silver to train is really steep. So we'll be hoofing it for awhile and just letting our armor decay. I'm trying to avoid the things that annoyed me previously. I'm not going to grind mobs for traits and no pie delivery quests while trying to avoid hungry hobbits.
I took a jog over to the various housing zones. I won't be able to afford even the small home for awhile, but the neighborhoods were very nice. There are four housing areas, each racially themed (dwarves, elves, hobbits and humans). You are not restricted to your own race's community, but can only have one home per account. Supposedly it's cheaper to repair in neighborhoods and you receive a direct gate there. It seemed similar in some ways to DAoC housing. Your items you place in the home are limited to certain hook spots, and you can place trees and such outside your home.
I don't know if we'll last long enough to hit 50 and see Moria, but at the moment it's a nice occasional diversion. Here are some shots from the housing instances: