The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria guide to survival and secrets

By Brittany Alva, Contributor

Hardcore Lord of the Rings fans might know that, after the events of the movies, the Dwarven Fellowship member Gimli returned to Moria. Now the infamous ruins star in their own game, The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria, dedicated to taking back the caverns from Orcs and other dark forces.

The survival crafting game takes place roughly 50 years after the events of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogy. While Middle-earth was spared from Sauron’s dominance, the dark places of the world still harbor plenty of evil. Moria is one such place, and players must reclaim the old Dwarven mines and return them to working order.

There’s a lot to unpack before delving into the mines, and knowing how the game works can save you a lot of time (and headaches). Here’s what you need to know before hopping into The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria.

Setting up your character (and world)

When you first launch the game, you’ll be asked to create a character. While there are plenty of options to choose from, what’s important to know is that you can customize everything about your character at any time. You don’t need anything special to do so, and the Dwarf you create can be taken into any world you want. You can even choose to officially retire your Dwarf if you think they’ve done their time.

Worlds are a bit more important—they're basically your save files. Each world is generated via AI, and your quests, bases, resources, and so forth will all be saved within a world. You can load into your world offline or online with friends, and you can switch between the two whenever you’d like.
Early Game Base In The Lord Of The Rings Return To Moria

Setting up your base

After learning the ropes in the tutorial, The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria sets you up with a small base you can use. The only things a base must include are a Hearth and a Bedroll, but a good base will also have a Forge, Meal Table, Chests, and a furnace to smelt ingots.

In the early game, this is all you’ll really need. You'll more than likely spend the first few hours on-the-move, progressing through the underside of the mountain and eventually reaching the Mines of Moria, where you’ll spend much more of your time. Building a whole base early on looks really cool, but unless you just love gathering resources and building for building's sake, it’s not the best use of your time at the start.

Oftentimes, you’ll find Hearths you can rebuild. These save you a lot of resources in the long run, and many of them are in dilapidated structures that you can build onto easily and make a cozy new base.

When creating a base, you’ll mostly use the Build menu instead of the various Crafting menus. You can access this with ‘B,’ and you’ll find everything from Scaffolding to a Hearth to a Bedroll here. Most of these items don’t require many resources, so you’re free to build without too much restriction, even early in the game.

Having a well-built base can help you withstand Sieges better. Sieges happen randomly—you’ll suddenly find Orcs and Goblins tearing down your base. You’ll have to fight them off before they do too much damage, especially to more valuable possessions like your Hearth or Bedroll, which can make respawning a disaster if you die during the Siege. Having walls around your base gives enemies something to attack first and gives you more time to slay them.
Resources In The Lord Of The Rings Return To Moria

Finding resources

There’s no shortage of resources in The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria. Some of these are easy to spot, such as the piles of wood scraps on the ground or the iron veins in the wall. Others aren’t so obvious. Nearly everything you come across in the game can be broken down into its base resources.

Trees can be chopped, old buildings torn down, and even Goblins drop random resources. As you get into areas that are more difficult, finding nearby resources can be important, and looking into these uncommon sources is helpful.

Some resources can primarily be found in specific places. Elvish wood, for instance, is available in the area with actual light where the Wizard marker talks about the power of Elves. Exploration is a key part of the whole game.

When you’re looking for ore to craft specific recipes, it’s not always clear what you need to be looking for—you’ll need to explore as much as you can and gather every new thing you see to help figure out what you need. For example, bronze ingots don’t actually come from bronze ore, they come from tin ore. While you may be looking for a bronze-colored ore vein, you actually need to mine the red ore veins.

Your map can be helpful with this as it shows all previous veins you’ve found as long as you mined them a little bit. While the ore doesn’t respawn, it does help narrow the search if you’re in a rush to get back to your base or trying to avoid enemies.


There are multiple different ways to craft recipes, and a lot of it depends on what you’re trying to make. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to tell both how to make everything and what you need to make it.

You can see all the recipes you know by looking at your Crafting screen with ‘C’ and clicking the Recipe List option in the bottom-left. This sorts all your recipes by which machine you need to make them—including special machines you can find around the map, such as Great Forges. You can also use this menu to see what you need for every recipe while you’re out and about, letting you quickly verify what resources you need.

This recipe screen has another great use—you can compare different weapons. When you’re crafting weapons, you want to make sure you’re getting the best ones possible. Weapons are important if you want to last long in the mines, and better weapons are major upgrades from lower-tier ones. Luckily, the Recipe List screen shows what tier every weapon is at so that you can make sure you’re crafting the best. The same goes for armor.

Some recipes require things other than resources. For example, to cook a steak on the Hearth, you need a Meal Table. This is something you can construct on the Build screen. As long as it’s in the same base (near the same Hearth), you’ll be able to craft recipes that require specific devices.
Ore Veins In The Lord Of The Rings Return To Moria


It’s nearly impossible, if not actually impossible, to get through The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria without engaging enemies in combat. There will come a time when you’ll need to loot the Orc’s bases, and you’ll need to have good weapons and armor to do so. You’ll need to get very familiar with the combat system, which mainly includes an attack, a charged attack, a block, and a dodge.

Even if you’re basically a master at the system, you’ll run into hordes of enemies that are difficult to face off against without better weapons and armor. There are two major ways you can upgrade your battle gadgets.

First is by crafting better weapons and armor. However, you’ll need the recipes to do this. The main way to get these recipes is by rebuilding broken statues that you come across. These often come in pairs, and they’ll reward you with parts of recipes. If you ever find yourself stuck in an area with no way out except for fighting impossibly difficult enemies, look around for these statues.

The next way is by upgrading weapons with runes, which you can do by using a Rune Table. These little bits of magic give your gear extra abilities. This can take the form of extra damage or even physical alterations, like attaching a glowing effect that only happens when enemies are nearby.
Great Forge In The Lord Of The Rings Return To Moria


Exploration is a key part of The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria. Much of the world is littered with relics of Khazad-dûm, the Dwarven city that now lies in ruins within Moria. Exploring these ruins gives you smaller quests that help you with the main quest, and you’ll also see notes from other notable Middle-earth characters.

Exploration also helps find resources. Right after setting up your first base, you’ll find a Muznakan, which is like a small shrine dedicated to a Dwarven family line. Some of the statues are missing, and if you find and replace them, the shrine will open up to reveal treasure.

These treasures are specifically placed in areas where you’ll need them to progress. You’ll have to search the surrounding area to find the dolls, but searching for them versus trying to find ore that’s rare in that area is much quicker. Muznakans are in several places throughout the game, and they’re very helpful. Similarly, any chests you find that give you a key to craft also contain items that are vital to your main quest.

You can also equip your pickaxe while exploring for hints at what to do. For example, when you’re restoring the Great Furnace of Narvi, you’ll need to fix various parts of it. You can tell what parts you need to fix by equipping your pickaxe and looking for the yellow highlighted areas.

Exploring can be daunting given that you have to worry about enemies and losing resources, but you eventually can access Waypoints. It does take a bit to unlock the resources required though, with many calling for Black Diamond to rebuild—a resource you get by looting Orc hideouts.
Lord Of The Rings Return To Moria Hall
Now you’re ready to hop into The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria. There’s plenty more to learn on your journey, but these basic pillars of the game will keep you from missing anything important and ensure you can continue your journey smoothly.

You can pick up The Lord of the Rings: Return to Moria on the Epic Games Store.