Missing Balrog: reward offered

October 12, 2009

I think there’s always come a time for me, in every game, where I look back on some aspect of the content and really miss doing it. Currently, I’m really missing the Rift in LotRO, while we’re raiding a similar multi-boss instance in Moria.

So why would I miss the Rift when I’m doing something kind of similar?

First of all, the Rift was our first 12-man content. 2 groups of adventurers off to the far reaches of Angmar to help the Eldgang (who are unbelievably dense, but have sexy voices and ‘victim’ written on their foreheads), and where the endboss is a Balrog! Before that we only had Helegrod as a raid, and that was long, and a bit of a slog, and for 24 people. Which, at the time, our kin couldn’t get without relying on alliances.

We did complete Helegrod. Once. And then haven’t been back. The quests there were far too arduous to complete as the raid stands currently. Everyone needed to collect too many items, and no-one got them finished. Turbine learned a lesson from Helegrod and created the Rift.

The Rift has a mix of baddies; orcs, drakes, trolls, uruk-hai, things on fire, fumaroles (little cute firey things), Eldgang that think you’re on the other side until they realise you’re fighting their enemies, world-eaters (don’t ask), and of course, the Balrog itself. The progression through was a slog at first and, as these things do, got easier and easier with repetition. We spent an age getting past Thrang (the boss before the Balrog), and then learning the Balrog fight. Each boss dropped one or two set items and there was also some random decent loot. Quests progressed through the instance, and some were repeatable. There was a whole reputation system in place with the Eldgang and some reasonably well-thought-out stopping points where you could spend reputation items. It had a storyline, in terms of Eldgang vs. the baddies (thus the reputation). And, of course, we had a mostly static group with some rotation of hunters and minstrels depending on who was available. My only level-cap alt was created purely to add another minstrel to the Rift mix and has been floundering at level 50 since, still in Rift gear.

The static group helps with the nostalgia. Now the kin has rotating champs, minstrels, loremasters, guardians, hunters, pretty much everything except captains and we have a third captain geared up now, so even we might start. It means, for Dar Nagubud (current 12-man raid) we pretty much have a different group each time, made up from a growing pool of people.

Sometimes I’m more hard-core than I remember, and I have to say my favoured way of cracking content is in a fixed group, but it’s working – it’s just a little slower and perhaps a little less chatty in TS. We have to concentrate a little more, and the raids are a bit more serious overall. I just type my chattiness away while we fight. If I can’t multi-task I’m doomed! I think, regardless of content and difficulty, it’s the lightheartedness I miss the most.

Anyway, we’re making reasonable progress in DN. We’re now on the penultimate boss (supposedly the hardest) and have got through the first two stages twice in a row, and without casualty the second time. It’s only a matter of time till he goes down. But I just don’t enjoy it as much as the Rift. I’m not as bothered about the Mistress of Pestilence as I was about the Balrog (and hey, I was one of the people who thought we shouldn’t be allowed to fight Balrogs, lore-wise. Don’t worry, they cover that by giving you a First Age Elf to fight alongside you!). In other words, the story isn’t as compelling to me. The ‘Alien’ parts of Moria don’t pull me in (and I mean ‘Alien’ the film here, we don’t actually have aliens in LotRO, unless you count runekeepers ;p). And it just doesn’t seem as fun to me for all these reasons.

And it’s not something I’ve felt in Moria per se. I loved the instances and their associated hard-modes. I even feel nostalgic for Fil Gashan which I used to avoid like the plague! It’s that moment before new content, where the old content seems boring, because you know you’re just treading water till the new stuff comes out (if you’re me, and not still levelling of course – I have a lot of time and a good set of friends, we level fast and know it, and enjoy it!).

But, it’s also that DN just isn’t the Rift. And I obviously loved the Rift enough to miss it. Might have to try and arrange a nostalgia run (I’m sure someone’s alts might want to do it!)!



  1. Gliowien/Anethwien or perhaps even Tierry would LOVE to go on a nostalgia Rift-run, as the rift still is one of my favorite raids. I was talking to Berathiela about it the other day too, so I am quite sure enough people would join.

    • Oh yes…I’d love a trip to the Rift. A lovely, sociable chatty raid because we all know it so well 🙂

      • hehe, sometimes I forget you guys read this. But that’s better than writing assuming specific people do, because it means I can write what I feel without too much care or attention.

        I’ll try and set up a return to the Rift raid sometime, though from this I have a feeling it may be a bit oversubscribed ;p Maaaaybe we can do a Rift race!

  2. I think Turbine may have climaxed too early with the inclusion of a Balrog in the Rift. Only Sauron himself can possibly feel as epic as that encounter did.

    • It’s kind of interesting that they didn’t hold the Balrog for Moria, knowing the expansion was being written at the time (it could have been a little hidey-hole for missing Balrogs).

      Also, Watcher would have been epic at the end of DN, not as a 1-boss lair raid when it feels lazy.

      Imagine we have a Shelob-a-like in our future also, but I agree – it’s super tough to match a Balrog in terms of epic!

      In fact, I imagine I’ll be sitting here thinking about that all day. Everything I’d want to kill is already dead in the lore (ie. I’d have LOVED to kill Wormtongue ;p).

  3. The third captain will not enter rotation, unless you had another captain in mind… He will jump in if either you or Beoras is unavailable and other captains be they’re alts or mains are not going to jump on the band-wagon before him… and yes the third captain talks about himself in third person… don’t ask him why… 😉

    • oh and Tirnel would very much like to go back to Rift too… he misses it probably even more than you do… might have something to do with him not raiding currently…

    • 3rd person scares me! But seriously, there’s no prob from me if you do enter the rotation, so give it some thought.

      • I did give quite a bit of thought…
        We have in best case scenario 6 weeks before SoM, and I may get to go what 4 times (6 weeks x 2 raids / 3 captains)? Not really worth it and with current raiding rules I’m highly unlikely to see any loot or raid with people I would like to raid…

  4. Interesting thoughts on the Rift – I know many share your feelings on it. I’m wondering if has anything to do with the Rift being the first real puzzle raid/group content that people struggled with to figure out. The biggest challenge (outside of Thorog) with Helegrod was finding people 🙂
    I haven’t been in DN enough to draw a comparison so I am mainly going off the groups I talk with in game.

  5. Seriously, you need to stop writing all these great posts about LOTRO! It’s making me want to come back to the game so bad, but I’ve already got two other subs! 😉

    • LotRO is going to be around for a good long time!

  6. Wotcha everyone,

    It’s a sign of how much I enjoyed the Rift from a playing and technical standpoint that my whenever I get into a conversation about MMO raiding with my mates, I drop in the line;
    “I kill balrogs, me”.
    It’s a fantastic place, really well realised, with a great set of fights, and enemies to defeat. If ever there was a model for raid instances, this is it.
    Great post, reminding me of that.

    Sign me up, Arbitrary! 😉


    • I remember at work explaining the Rift to people and after that them asking each friday/saturday ‘Are you killing the Balrog this weekend?’ !

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