Sunday, 29 November 2015

Treasure of the Misty Mountains

Hunting treasure chests in Gondor was so popular, they have added treasures to zones in Eriador such as the Misty Mountains. Low level characters can find the caches, but they won't be able to get credit towards the deed until level 90.

You get quite a few rewards for finding them all ... 10 turbine points, 60 marks, 5 Gift-giver's Brands, a title ("Treasure Seeker of the Misty Mountains"), a virtue (Fortitude) and reputation with Thorin's Hall. The treasure chests contain level 100 equipment and Westemnet crafting materials.

There are 12 Caches hidden in the Misty Mountains. So as to not completely spoil the treasure hunt, I won't give exact locations, but here are some general clues ...

Bruinen Source West (near Snárskrith Dell)

Bruinen Source North

Pinnath Fenui

Bruinen Source West (accessed via High Crag)

Imlad Norn



Northern High Pass (near Hrimbarg)


Northern High Pass (near The Black Crack)

Bruinen Source West (near Frosthyle Pond)

Southern High Pass

Happy hunting!

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Travel Skills Summary Available

How often have you wondered, "I need to go to ...., what's the quickest way to get there?" Or how often have you seen in world chat, "I need a hunter to take me to ....", or "Can someone summon me to the Culverts (referring to the Osgiliath Culverts near Minas Tirith)?"

There are a lot of travel skills in LOTRO to help you move around the world faster. I've written a guide called Travelling Around Middle Earth about how to get the travel skills available to everyone and also the special wayfaring and mustering skills for hunters and wardens respectively.

I hope it will be helpful as a quick reference.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Crafted Shields Gallery Now Available

Shields stand out and the crafted ones in LOTRO are no exception. Metalsmiths can make some beautiful shields, as you can see in the Metalsmith: Crafted Shields gallery.

There is a great variety of motifs, shapes and colours that may be helpful for creating a nice outfit or role-playing. For example:





I also found a couple of shields that might be good matches for my guardian's current outfit (she's the hobbit modelling the shields). Which one would you recommend?


Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Level 30 Beorning Review - Red Line

I've been levelling my little Beorning lately and she has just reached level 30. She is mostly questing solo, with occasional skirmishes for variety, using the red ("The Claw") trait tree. These are some of my thoughts about the class so far.

My Beorning

First Impressions

The introduction in the Vales of Anduin was too short. The zone was practically deserted and I don't think it gave much background lore on what it means to be a Beorning.

So many times I wish I had a proper gap-closer to get into combat without face-pulling. I wish Rush was either targeted so you charge directly at a mob, or that Bee Swarm had no wrath requirement so it could be used to start combat (I know you can use Ferocious Roar to generate wrath even out of combat, but it has a long cooldown). Even having Vigilant Roar taunt mobs in man form would be useful. Using the bow auto-attack helps, but it's not really ideal - I'd prefer to have a specific skill rather than an auto-attack. I'd like to see them make entering combat a better experience.

AOE could be a little frustrating at times. In man form, we had Biting Edge as an AOE move (although it didn't do much damage and the cooldown seems too long), but mostly it was burn them down one by one. Having Hearten to heal and Cleanse to remove debuffs was a life-saver. In bear form, they died pretty quick with Thrash but it required having a lot of wrath built up to get all the mobs down before the wrath ran out. I also seemed to take a lot of damage in bear form and couldn't use Hearten so had to rely on potions. I got Relentless Maul at level 30, which is a bear form AOE, so it might get better.

I spend most of my time in man form because it takes a while to build enough wrath and usually by the time I have, the mob is almost dead so it's not worth changing to bear form. I mostly only change to bear if it's a longer fight against an elite, or I have lots of wrath and several mobs to kill close together. I believe it gets easier to build and maintain wrath later, so this is fine for now.

Bear Form
(demonstrating Relentless Maul)

I spent most of the first 30 levels dual-wielding clubs but recently changed to a two-handed axe. At first, combat felt so much slower with the two-handed axe, like I was waiting longer between abilities, but I was hitting much harder and when I get a crit mobs die fast. I've seen some discussion on the forums about dual-wielding being better for man form and two-hand weapons being better for bear form. I think I'll stick with two-handed weapons for now, but maybe compare weapons again at a higher level.

Gear hasn't been too much of an issue, with quest rewards (the boxes of might-based medium armour are great), crafted jewellery and occasional pieces from the skirmish vendors. I need better weapons though. I also need to work on increasing the right virtues to boost stats and hopefully make her a little less squishy.


Overall, I'm finding the class enjoyable enough that I want to stick with it. I think it will get better at higher levels as we get more abilities and traits.

  • Interesting class with ability to change forms
  • Good self-healing in man form
  • ST damage is good
  • Takes a lot of damage, particularly in bear form
  • AOE damage is not great
  • Initiating combat can be frustrating, especially with no wrath

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Cheers! Brewing Strong Drinks

There are a number of "strong drinks" in LOTRO that serve to make players tipsy and maybe make the screen go blurry. There are also vendors who sell a variety of beer and ale in taverns across Middle Earth, but sometimes it's more fun to try your hand at home-brew.

To make your own beverages in-game you need both a farmer and a cook.
The farmer grows the hops, the barley and perhaps some fruit for flavour while the cook turns the barley into mash, adds some yeast (ale yeast for ale, lager yeast for beer) and special ingredients then brews the mixture to perfection.

Bottoms up!

Below are some of the drinks you could home-brew in LOTRO.

Normally, drinking one of these will give you a status effect for 5 minutes (such as "You feel light-headed") and your character may have occasional bubbles floating around them. Having more than one drink will reset the timer.


DrinkFarmer RecipesCook RecipesComment
Apprentice Ale
  • 2 Bunches of North Down Hops
  • 2 Bundles of Spring Barley
  • Prepared North Down Hops
  • Bucket of Spring Barley Mash
  • Apprentice Ale
"A weak ale with a light, bitter taste."
Effect: Light-headed.
Blueberry Ale
  • 2 Bunches of Golding Hops
  • 2 Bundles of Spring Barley
  • 1 Bunch of Blueberries
  • Prepared Golding Hops
  • Bucket of Spring Barley Mash
  • Blueberry Ale
"The blueberry flavor is subtle, not too sweet, and surprisingly delicious."
Effect: Light-headed.
Shire Spice Ale
  • 2 Bunches of Pride of Chetwood Hops
  • 2 Bundles of Spring Barley
  • Prepared Pride of Chetwood Hops
  • Bucket of Spring Barley Mash
  • Shire Spice Ale
"A few spices create a great aroma and add to the flavor of this Shire favorite."
Effect: Quite merry.
Winterberry Ale
  • 2 Bunches of Green Hill Hops
  • 2 Bundles of Winter Barley
  • 1 Bunch of Raspberries
  • Prepared Green Hill Hops
  • Bucket of Winter Barley Mash
  • Winterberry Ale
"A welcomed warmth on a cold winter's night."
Effect: Quite merry.
Blackberry Ale
  • 2 Bunches of Umbel Hops
  • 2 Bundles of Winter Barley
  • 1 Bunch of Blackberries
  • Prepared Umbel Hops
  • Bucket of Winter Barley Mash
  • Blackberry Ale
"A full-bodied fruity ale, made from only the finest blackberries."
Effect: You've muddled your wits!

Slightly drunk


DrinkFarmer RecipesCook RecipesComment
Bold Stout Beer
  • 2 Bunches of North Down Hops
  • 2 Bundles of Spring Barley
  • Prepared North Down Hops
  • Bucket of Spring Barley Mash
  • Bold Stout Beer
"A humble brew with a bold taste."
Effect: Light-headed.
Blue Bock Beer
  • 2 Bunches of Golding Hops
  • 2 Bundles of Spring Barley
  • 1 Bunch of Blueberries
  • Prepared Golding Hops
  • Bucket of Spring Barley Mash
  • Blue Bock Beer
"A strong lager with a very berry flavor."
Effect: Light-headed.
Honeybrew Beer
  • 2 Bunches of Pride of Chetwood Hops
  • 2 Bundles of Spring Barley
  • Prepared Pride of Chetwood Hops
  • Bucket of Spring Barley Mash
  • Honeybrew Beer
"A hint of floral aroma gives this beer a sweet, light flavoring. Just beware of nearby bears!"
Effect: Quite merry.
Strawberry Stout Beer
  • 2 Bunches of Green Hill Hops
  • 2 Bundles of Winter Barley
  • 1 Bunch of Strawberries
  • Prepared Green Hill Hops
  • Bucket of Winter Barley Mash
  • Strawberry Stout Beer
"Light berry flavoring combined with a hint of wheat make for a sweet brew."
Effect: Quite merry.
Ultimate Honeybrew Beer
  • 2 Bunches of Umbel Hops
  • 2 Bundles of Winter Barley
  • Prepared Umbel Hops
  • Bucket of Winter Barley Mash
  • Ultimate Honeybrew Beer
"A beer for all true lovers of honey."
Effect: You've muddled your wits!

Quite drunk

Saturday, 14 November 2015

The Ballad of Bingo Boffin - Part 1

The Ballad of Bingo Boffin saga was launched in July 2015 as an episodic quest chain with some similarities to the Epic Story, following and assisting a character through multiple zones. It follows the adventures of Bingo Boffin, an ordinary hobbit from Michel Delving.

Quest rewards Bingo Badges which can be used to purchase items including pets and housing decorations from Bert Bartleby (who can be found near stable masters in major towns in each zone Bingo travels through). The quests often reward titles as well.

Introducing Bingo Boffin

Chapter 1: The Call to Adventure (level 8)

Bingo has been feeling lonely and wants to invite his neighbours for a dinner party, but he needs your help with preparations as he can't decide what to cook. However, finding a map tucked into a cookbook borrowed from the library inspires him to go on an adventure instead.

Chapter 2: Training for the Journey (level 9)

Bingo is excited to start his journey but wants to be prepared so he asks you to see if Gaffer Gamgee, a friend of Bilbo Baggins, has any advice about adventuring. Gaffer Gamgee's advice: don't go - have some apples from his orchard instead. Unfortunately, Bingo doesn't like apples so asks you to donate them to the Bird and Baby Inn. One of the gossips learns that Bingo is planning to leave the Shire so he hastens his training. Off to the Stocktower to improve his physical strength! Unfortunately, climbing the tower is tiring work but lifting a mug of ale is much better.

Chapter 3: Sink or Swim (level 10)

There is one more skill Bingo thinks he needs to master before he embarks on his journey - he wants to learn to swim. He has an audience by the Brandywine River as he runs around to warm up before plunging into the cold river. The he can't decide which is the best spot, and then thinks perhaps a demonstration would help. Finally, he splashes in the shallows and is mighty pleased with his swimming prowess!

Chapter 4: Disapproving Boggs (level 11)

Bingo suggests returning to his home so he can pack his belongings. He realises he has borrowed some things from his neighbours and asks you to return them for him. His neighbour Myrtle Boggs has started a petition to stop Bingo from going on his adventure, but the mayor doesn't support it. You tell Bingo about it and he thinks it shows how much Myrtle Boggs cares, so he asks you to give her a bunch of flowers on his behalf.

Chapter 5: Leaving is not Easy (level 12)

Bingo is ready to leave and hopes you will accompany him on his journey. His first destination is Waymeet. He realises he has left his walking stick behind and asks you to fetch it for him while he continues on to Bywater.

Waymeet - already starting to miss home

At Bywater he hides from some nosy hobbits and then suggests sneaking out to the Frogmoors to escape them. However, he's afraid of frogs and asks you to kill a few to make him feel safer. Then he remembers he left an important satchel at home and asks you to retrieve it while he heads to Budgeford. At Budgeford he admits it wasn't as easy leaving home as he thought, but he's looking forward to crossing the Brandywine Bridge and visiting his relatives in Newbury.

Chapter 6: A Brood of Boffins (level 16)

Prisca Boffin is pleased to see Bingo but all her children are out and about in Buckland. She asks you to find them and tell them to come home. Bingo had forgotten how many there were and privately asks you to remind him about Prisca if he ever considers having children of his own.

Chapter 7: Marigold (level 18)

Bingo remembers there is one Boffin missing from the reunion - a girl called Marigold. Apparently she has been going off into the Old Forest with a wooden sword pretending to be a hero and bringing back mushrooms and stories about dangerous bats and wolves. Bingo and you find her near the Withywindle River. She's so pleased to learn that Bingo is an adventurer too and tells you that she's been invited to the home of a "strange creature with yellow boots" - Tom Bombadil.

Chapter 8: Defying Description (level 19)

Bingo thinks it has been quite the adventure journeying to Tom Bombadil's house, but now he doesn't know how to describe Tom Bombadil in his journal. he asks you to talk to Tom and find out more about him. Tom tells you to stand in a waterfall and dance for Old Man Willow. Tom is still a mystery to Bingo so he asks you to share his manuscript with Tom. Tom says he'll look at it and suggests you go meet Goldberry. Goldberry tells you how Tom cares for all the inhabitants of the Old Forest and tries to make them happy. This description helps Bingo with his writer's block.

Bingo and Marigold Boffin - visiting Tom Bombadil's house

Chapter 9: Synonyms for Spooky (level 22)

Bingo thinks it is time to take Marigold home and retrieve his manuscript from Tom Bombadil. However, Tom has got distracted and put the manuscript down somewhere outside his house. You find some of the pages on the path leading to the Barrow-downs and return them to Bingo. Marigold insists on helping Bingo hunt down the rest of the pages in the Barrow-downs. With the pages found, Marigold returns home and Bingo vows not to let anyone read his journal until it is finished. Prisca is keen to see Bingo leave - she doesn't want her family going on any more adventures.

Chapter 10: The Two Taverns (level 24) 

Bingo is ready for a rest and thinks Bree would be a good place to go. He meets a hobbit that recommends the Prancing Pony as a good place to stay. Bingo meets some other hobbits there and has a merry time eating, drinking, singing and dancing. All good things must come to an end and Bingo stumbles off to a haystack in the local stables to recover. When you find him, he tells you has had enough merriment and wants to find another tavern - he's heard of the Forsaken Inn in the Lone-lands and thinks that might be better.

Having a good time in the Prancing Pony at Bree

Arriving at the Forsaken Inn, Bingo claims it is certainly different from the Prancing Pony - oppressive and unwelcoming. At least it won't distract him from his journey.

Not staying long at the Forsaken Inn of the Lone-lands

And so the journey of Bingo Boffin continues ... (more to come in Part 2)

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Comparing Level 100 Armour Sets

Following on from looking at what level 100 armour sets are available in Level 100 Gear Updated for U17, the next obvious question is which one is best?

There has been some debate about this on the forums and some of the feedback there related to how many essence sockets were available and what quality of essences you used.

I mostly play a level 100 Lore-master so I will be using light armour sets as an example, looking at the potential stats for each set and with different essence qualities.

The main stats I will be prioritising are Will, Vitality, Tactical Mastery and Critical Rating. Fate is nice-to-have but I assume I'll either pick up some passively or will get it from elsewhere (e.g. accessories/virtues).

Skirmish Camps

I thought the Skirmish Camps had a full armour set, but it is only helmet, shoulders and gloves in the non-essence gear and head and gloves with 3 essence slots each. Here are the base stats they could provide:

StatNon-EssenceEssence (Empty Slots)
Tactical Mastery7680
Critical Rating23040

I would pretty much only use these if I was desperate for gear and couldn't find anything on the AH or any crafters who could make something.

In such circumstances, I would only use the essence armour if I had some appropriate essences in the Vault but I wouldn't waste good quality essences on armour which I would hope to soon replace with something better.

Dol Amroth - class-specific armour set

These armour sets have fixed stats. The Armour of the Night Watcher for lore-masters provides:

Tactical Mastery1382
Critical Rating2918
Critical Defence1544
Max Power377

Dol Amroth - Nadhin armour set

The armour available from the vendors have 4 essence slots per piece of armour - 24 in total for the set. Assuming I used Will, Vitality, Tactical Mastery and Crit Rating essences in each piece of armour, the potential stats are shown below:

Tactical Mastery6318645073747374
Critical Rating6318645073747374
Max Power000564
Critical Defense0002316

Based on this, if I was going to use this armour, I might only use 2 or 3 Critical Rating essences and replace the others with more Vitality to improve survival. I could also swap a couple of Tactical Mastery essences for other stats such as Fate or Finesse.

Using Supreme essences provide extra stats (e.g. Supreme Tactical Mastery also gives a little Max Power) which is a definite bonus compared to using the lower quality essences.

Scalable Instances - "Greater Resolute" sets

These items drop by chance so obtaining a full set may be difficult, however, you could also mix and match sets based on what's available or which pieces have better stats for you.

These might be useful gap-fillers until something better is available.

World Drop - light armour set with bonuses

These armour sets have fixed stats. These items drop by chance so obtaining a full set may be difficult. The stats below include the set bonuses.

StatWestern ShoreGuardian of the Watchwood
Tactical Mastery76807680
Critical Rating30723072

Both of these sets are low in will and vitality. The tactical mastery and fate are high, critical rating is ok and the finesse in the Western Shore set is pretty good if you need it. Personally I think the low will and vitality but high fate and secondary stats makes these armour sets more suitable for "glass cannon" builds rather than general purpose builds. I think even for "glass cannons" they would want more of the primary damage stat (in this case, will).

Maybe a few pieces of these sets may be helpful for filling in gaps until something better is available.

Osgiliath Instances

There are class-specific (even spec-specific) armour sets with fixed stats and set bonuses, and essence armour set available for barter with 5 essence slots per piece.

Class-specific sets for Lore-masters

StatOsgiliath Armour of the Animal-friendArmour of Osgiliath's FuryOsgiliath Armour of the Ancient Master
Tactical Mastery402016081608
Critical Rating160840201608
Critical Defense004040

Very nice having the slightly different flavours of stat distributions. These are clearly more suited for instances compared to the Dol Amroth class sets - these have more will and finesse and less vitality (can focus more on damage when you have a healer looking after your health), whereas the Dol Amroth sets have more balanced stats.

Osgiliath essence armour (Armour of Faramir's Faithful)

With no base stats except armour, I would be looking at using 2 will, 1 vitality, 1 tactical mastery and 1 critical rating essences for starters (shown below). Some of the critical rating and tactical mastery essences could be swapped for other stats - some more vitality, fate and finesse for example.

Tactical Mastery6318645073747374
Critical Rating6318645073747374
Max Power000564
Critical Defense0002316

This is almost identical to the Dol Amroth Nadhin armour, just more armour and more will when using greater or supreme essences.

Crafted Anórien armour

By default, the crafted armour is of incomparable quality and has 3 essence slots per item. Critical results are epic quality but only the amount of armour and base morale increase from what is shown below.

Since these already have a chunk of morale on them, I would skip the vitality essence and just use will, tactical mastery and critical rating, maybe swapping a few for other stats.

Version #1
Tactical Mastery6318645073747374
Critical Rating6318645073747374
Max Power000564
Critical Defense0002316

Yuck. That's not much will! I think I'd have to sacrifice some tactical mastery and critical rating and use 2 will essences per item, and 1 tactical mastery for half the set and 1 critical rating for the other half.

Version #2
Tactical Mastery3159322536873687
Critical Rating3159322536873687
Max Power000282
Critical Defense0001158

That looks a little better, in terms of will, but the loss of tactical mastery and critical rating means that this is probably not as good as the Nadhin armour. Let's check.

Comparison of crafted armour (version #2 essences) and Nadhin armour using Greater essences. Note that 1 Will = 8 Tactical Mastery and 1 Vitality = 3 Morale.

Tactical Mastery3687 + (1632*8) = 167437374 + (1530*8) = 19614
Critical Rating36877374
Morale6246816*3 = 2448

The Nadhin set is better than the crafted Anórien set for armour, tactical mastery and critical rating but won't increase morale by as much.

Minas Tirith Fellowship armour

This is similar to the crafted armour in that it has 3 essence slots and morale, but it also comes with baseline primary stats (will for light armour). It should therefore be better.

Assuming that 1 will, 1 tactical mastery and 1 critical rating essence is used in each piece (not using vitality because the armour already has baseline morale):

Tactical Mastery6318645073747374
Critical Rating6318645073747374
Max Power000564
Critical Defense0002316

This might actually be quite similar to the Nadhin armour in stats. Again, comparing using Greater essences:

StatMinas TirithNadhin
Tactical Mastery7374 + (1584*8) = 200467374 + (1530*8) = 19614
Critical Rating73747374
Morale4944816*3 = 2448

Hooray! We have a new champion!

One last comparison - class-specific armour versus Minas Tirith armour:

StatDol Amroth class setOsgiliath's Fury setMinas Tirith
Tactical Mastery1382 + (1434*8) = 128541608 + (2160*8) = 188887374 + (1584*8) = 20046
Critical Rating291840207374
Morale1230*3 = 3690578 + (540*3) = 21984944

The Osgiliath class sets are better than the Dol Amroth set, but the essence armour is better still.


With the introduction of essence armour and empty essence slots, it can be more difficult to compare armour when you can't see all the stats. There are so many different ways people could fill those essence slots - some people might stack one stat, while others try to balance their gear. I have described what I would do. Your mileage may vary.

In conclusion, I would have to pick the Minas Tirith fellowship armour, obtained with tokens earned by completing daily quests around Pelennor Fields, as the best armour currently available.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Crafted Bows and Crossbows Gallery Available

Woodworkers can make some lovely bows and crossbows and you can now view them in the Woodworker: Crafted Bows and Crossbows gallery.

There was quite a variety of bow styles - some were smooth, some were spiky, some had jewels, some had vines, some had glowing lights, some had a combination of these. The crossbows were simpler and much more solid-looking, but there were a few stand-outs. The cross-bows were more likely to have glowing lights, mostly red or blue, playing along the limbs.

Glowing blue lights move from tips to center

There was also quite a lot of collision with weapons poking through arms or back, which is a shame but every graphics engine has its limitations. Nevertheless, if I was choosing a weapon for its cosmetic appearance, that would be something to take into consideration.

My favourite bows:

Carved Yew Bow - pretty jewels

Black Ash Bow - nice vines

Wildermore Bow - colourful pattern

My favourite crossbows:

Yew Crossbow - beautifully carved

Smooth Black Ash Crossbow - uniquely leafy

Silver Ilex Crossbow - just wow!