Map Review of moria

Map review of Moria

by dunkelschwamm | January 23, 2022 | 5733 characters

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Moria is one of many Nipper map projects which recreates a piece of pop culture. This time, it's the Mines of Moria scene from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring. This begins in the ambush scene where the orcs and the cave troll attack, and ends after the fellowship flee the Balrog.

Nipper has been an expert mapper for Counter-Strike for years, playfully recreating and parodying things through brushwork and simple textures in the top tiers. For that, it shouldn't be much of a surprise to learn that the map looks pretty good. It looks like the scene from the movie, with some fun small details included. The map doesn't flaunt its good looks often, aside from a cutscene wherein the stairs are crushed by falling boulders. There is one room with several columns which are intricately brushed, but because their textures are kinda flat none of that detail comes across when you look at them.

Nipper's approach to recreating the orc army using Half-Life enemies reminds me of old-school Doom and Wolf3d mods which simply reskinned existing enemies regardless of how closely their behavior matches the subject matter. To that end, Orcs are melee vortigaunts. Pit drones, shock troopers, and alien grunts are all variants of orcs, with shock troopers being labeled as "archers" in particular. Obviously it's a stretch to say that electrical charge-launching aliens are archers, but it somehow just works in the attitude Nipper's maps always elicit.

That said, over the years Sven Co-op has updated to add many features. One of these, a feature most detrimental to older maps, adds monsters devouring players to replenish their health. Bafflingly, this system works in such a way that a monster need only begin their eating animation to complete the devouring cycle, instantly replenishing their health to the top. That means that the alien controller boss, or the gonome boss, once knocked down from 1000 hp to 100 or something can get particularly lucky in killing the players in a row so it can quickly jump all the way back up to 1000. This is particularly bad with the gonome cave troll boss you need to fight with only melee weapons. That said, that boss in particular can be cheesed by staying away from him and throwing infinitely respawning crowbars at him. There's a similar danger of this from an alien grunt boss soon after, but by that point you have a ranged weapon and plenty of opportunities to cheesee.

This map's attitude for distributing enemies also leaves much to be desired: Moira treats enemy placement less like a naturalistic placement of strategic forces, but rather like a faucet to turn on and off. Once you enter a room and trigger a movie scene to play out in cutscene or text, the faucet turns on and then enemies begin spawning in. Once you've killed just a whole bunch of enemies a boss appears and eats you several times before you learn how to cheese them. The enemies just respawn in one after the other, and it's never very clear if there will be an end or if anything triggers them to end their respawn cycle. On one hand, this encourages players to rush the map, but on the other hand it's annoying and undercuts the impact of victories in combat. It's even worse in the stairs room where respawning shock troopers rain attacks down on you, and you're unsure how much it'll help to shoot your scant few crossbow bolts to stop them.
I also think that fighting respawning enemies, even if they have an invisible counter until the player has killed enough, feels like meandering and if you feel like you're meandering as a player then you feel confused and you start thinking you're playing the map wrong. Bad design.

The final boss is a gargantua which seems to lack its flame attack or armor. Running up into its face and spamming melee attacks seemed very effective, and the gargantua spent most of the fight confused as to whether or not it could fight back. Once it died a path opened that was full of respawning enemies. Thematic to the movie, one of us stayed behind so the other could run. Shortly after the map ended.

Nipper is one of my favorite Goldsrc and Source mappers, and I'm always thankful that such a powerful voice in mapping has made so many maps for us to peruse. However, Moira is one of my least favorite maps out of Nipper. It solidly lacks satisfying gameplay flow outside of the inherent satisfaction of successfully using one of the pre-existing ingame weapons. Also, though, a Nipper map which lacks in his typical quality is still better than a lot of maps. It's an interesting map that pulls off its goal with lackluster combat. I think it's still worthwhile, but I think his other maps might be more worthwhile.

If you're looking for a map to play with a friend, you might as well give this one a shot. If you're a LOTR fan, it is clear and obvious that you should play this. If you have a server with fun quick maps, this'll fit in just about anywhere.


  • Great recreations of scenes from the movie
  • Fun enemy replacements
  • Fun weapon replacements
  • Fun cutscenes
  • There are checkpoints


  • Enemy encounters are all just "Enemies are spawning out of midair in front of you over and over again"
  • Needs more crossbow bolts
  • Respawning shock troopers is bad
  • The Sven Co-op update that added monsters devouring players for health makes the bosses much more frustrating
  • Some bits meander
  • A lot of the respawning enemies feels a bit unnecessary.
Score: 6.9 / 10
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