So after 3 successive rounds of leveling to cap and then grinding endlessly against a few instances to flesh out characters I've had it. I'm done. I love the game and the way it plays but the later content has not been as satisfying or challenging as the level 50 to 60 endgame was. The Race to Foundry and then Sambrog has played out for me.
Here's what I propose as an alternative: I'm thinking that the level 60 endgame, which included all the Moria instances, Dar Nargubud, The Rift, Helegrod, etc, was more challenging and interesting for 6 to 12 man groups to run. All of that content is tuned to support 1 hour runs and 3 hour raids if run at appropriate levels. In addition to the long content you have Filikul and Watcher as short sharply defined runs that produce rewards. All of these areas are still very challenging even for well geared 60's. They all require good play to complete successfully.
This Kinship would be for mature players with a role playing accent. We'd be looking for people who were interested in a good social experience and challenging content to play against.
The advantages of playing in a locked Kinship are many. You can outfit your character with the best and brightest stuff and then easily move on to creating another locked character as an alt. That character can also get outfitted with the best stuff without turning LOTRO into a full-time job.
Moria, Lothlorien, Eregion, Mirkwood and Enedwaith are still available as farming and XP zones for leveling your epic weapons. Older zones, like Angmar and Forchel have not yet grayed out and still offer good RP opportunities if not much leveling.
The Kinship would lock at character choice of level 59 or 60 using the Stone of the Tortoise to disable character leveling. Tradeskills and epic weapons level normally under the Tortoise the only thing that gets turned off is XP that goes towards leveling.
Locking at 60 would make your character as powerful as it can get under the system. Level 60 1st Age epic weapons and the third Legendary skill trait would be the primary rewards for doing this since level 60 armor is often no better than the quested armor received in the Moria quest lines.
Locking at 59 would give you access to tasks in order to more easily level your 59 epic weapons. Once you go to 60 there are no tasks available to the character until 61. Many resources say that there are tasks available at the 21st Hall board until level 61. This is not true, at 60 the board is out of level and the next task board is in Galtrev and accessible to 61 as the minimum level.
What would the Kinship do at 59 or 60?
Play the game.
Not grind endlessly against a limited set of targets for one currency that gets the best gear in the game only to see that gear all obsoleted as soon as the level cap or next instance cluster comes out.
Every epic weapon that your character gets under the locked level concept is a weapon they will use as long as they play the game. Getting multiple 1st Age weapons built with different stats and legacies will be an achievable goal because all of the extra play required to get that weapon will remain valuable.
For people who want organized PvP the access to Freep side would be closed off. To compensate the Kinship will have a Creep Tribe that PvP's on a regular basis.
What would the Kinship schedule look like?
Monday - Raids
Tuesday - Instances and PvP
Wednesday - Raids
Thursday - Instances and PvP
Friday - Instances and PvP
Saturday - Instances and PvP
Sunday - Raids
We'd schedule raids to not conflict with the most common raids nights for endgame raiding kins. This would be to allow endgame raiders to play alts in our Kin. Endgame raiders tend to get the most burned out on the grind at the cap each iteration. Having a low-key Kin with challenging content and no pressure to gear up would likely draw a sizeable contingent to the Kin to raid in each dead interval before the next expansion.
We'd do role play events as circumstance permitted. I can see open country horse races, sparring tournaments and tall-tale telling as obvious choices and other interesting contests as we developed our world.
If you're interested in playing the game against endgame content that was designed when endgame was still a priority sign on below and I will start setting things up.
Hope everybody who reads this got something out of it even if you're not interested.