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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Under the stairs Bonus Points: 3.14159

    Challenging Lotro: A Hobby

    Monday, January 25, 2021
    4:53 PM

    Hobbies are a popular form of relaxation and recreation.

    Some folks like to solve crossword puzzles.
    Some folks collect coins.
    Jigsaw puzzles
    Making moccasins.
    Becoming president.
    And on and on.

    I have made a hobby of solving the riddle of recreating those early-game sensations.
    Those feelings we all got when we first discovered the world we play in.

    I know that you know what I mean.

    I have enjoyed Lotro from day 1.
    It is a manifestation…a tangible one…of Tolkien's Universe.
    Not just middle-earth, but much of the rest of Arda also.
    Those who have read the Silmarillion understand that his universe is much wider than middle-earth.

    When we first play this game, we don't know schit from shinola.
    Everything is new and mysterious. We want to learn how everything works. How to swing a dagger. How to make a scroll. How to find Bree. What Bag End looks like…inside.

    We discover, learn, advance skills, get defeated, achieve success…
    All while following a fascinating Epic Story that traces Tolkien's characters as they advance toward Mordor and the ultimate show-down.

    After we have played for a few years, due to our developed skills and also due to tweaks made by the developers, the game gets easier and easier to the point where eventually the early stages of the game turn into something akin to a game of tag.

    When we start a new character we run through the map (somewhat memorized by now) and complete quests and achieve success after success while just sort of touching our foes to see them crumble at our touches. It is much easier.

    But as much fun?

    Not for me. I would really enjoy getting back some of that early-game feel.

    I have experimented with various ways to adjust a new character's gear and abilities and I have made adjustments to the User Interface (UI) to try to counteract that accumulated knowledge and skill set, and the developer's tweaks. I am not alone in this endeavor. Many others have been trying the same kind of adjustments and much of what I have been doing is taken from other's experiments.

    I have requested (just as others have) that the developers create a special server with increased challenge.
    It has become obvious that this server is not coming any time soon. So, I have come up with a way to create the challenge for myself. The developers in their wisdom have provided us with tools to self-adjust.

    What I am going to spell out with this document is one of the "setups" that has really worked for me while playing the Burglar Class.

    I am sure that the adjustments spelled out here will not work for all of the other classes. Maybe none of them.
    But it has worked for me while playing a Burglar. Worked quite well.

    With these adjustments in place I need to be careful. I need to plan my moves. I need to sometimes run away to be able to come back with a different approach. Those are the things that are missing for experienced players (all these years after the game was first introduced) when you start up a new character and just play the way that you have always played. There is no care needed. No plan required. No need to run away to escape "retreat".

    So this will be a sort of guide. A guide to creating a new Burglar character and have some of the challenge we had in the beginning. Of course, we can never really go back. It can never truly be the same experience. We would have to suffer some kind of induced amnesia for that to happen.

    But I have found a way to at least bring some of the challenge back.
    With some tweaks to this setup, other classes besides Burglar may be able to achieve this also.

    A: Basic character creation and advancement:

    1. No Armor. None. The right side of your character sheet will have no gear there at all. No Headgear, no cloak, no chest-piece, no leggings, etc. Cosmetic gear is unlimited, but your character will have no protecting or attribute-buffing gear at all. So, as soon as you start the Introduction, remove any items slotted.

    2. No Jewellery. None. The left side of your character sheet will have nothing in it at all. No earrings, no necklace, no rings, no Pocket-items, etc. Again, as soon as you start the Intro, remove anything slotted there.

    3. Yes to all of the Items at the bottom of your character sheet. All weapon and tool slots can be utilized.

    B: Special rules: (only the first 2 really affect how characters advance. All of the others listed are Optional and are really only included to enhance immersion).

    1. Limited questing: No Landscape quests. No Skirmishes. Any quest that you pickup by clicking on a quest ring is forbidden except as noted below:
    2. Acceptable quests: All Epic, Class, Race, etc. Anything other than Landscape quests or Skirmishes is OK.
    3. No Map: disable the "M" key in the UI setup. (optional) (Caution here: this may also disable the "M" key on your other characters on the same account on any particular server)
    4. No Quest rings: disable the quest rings in the UI setup. (optional) (Caution #2: see the caution above)
    5. No crafted weapons (Epic quest or mob drops only). (optional)
    6. I also turn off the Floaty Names and turn off the Floating Icons but that's just kind of a personal quirk.

    That's it. End of rules. (There is no one to enforce these rules, so cheat as needed....grin)
    I am sure you have many questions about these and I will attempt to explain below.

    Q: Why no armor or jewellery?
    A: One of the reasons the game seems to be so easy for experienced players is that the mobs don't really have a chance. Players almost always get the first shot in, and the mobs are usually dead in a couple of whacks and the player suffers almost no damage. It was not always this way. Over the years the balance between lower level mobs and players has tilted far to the player side.

    Q: Why no crafted weapons?
    A: It's just a way to tone down our DPS (damage per second) a bit. I think you will find "dropped" or "reward" weapons almost as good as what you can make at the lower levels.

    Q: Why limit the type of quests? Why no landscape quests?
    A: Another reason that the balance has shifted so far to the player's side is that we advance so fast that by the time we get to what used to be a challenging quest, we have leveled up by saving chickens, delivering mail, whacking 10 rats, etc. You will find you have created a quite viable character if you spend that time as noted below in the next Q:/A:.

    Q: How am I supposed to level if all I do is the Epic line of quests? Eventually the Epics will only be available at levels that are beyond what we can achieve just doing the Epics.
    A: Yes, we do need to get XP somehow. That's where Slayer Deeds, Discovery Deeds, Exploration Deeds, Class Quests, etc. come into play. You will find yourself quite busy completing those things and advancing your character plenty doing them. Tasks for Rep. Crafting for XP and consumables (food, scrolls, potions, etc., just no gear for yourself) and gold. You will find ways to make gold at the Auction House. And, you can sell gear at the Auction House, just don't equip it.
    Slayer deeds pile up the XP, especially if you use the quite available XP accelerators.
    Missions (a good source for on-level task items and some Slayer Deed mobs I think).
    Yes. I use accelerators for slayer/class deeds and rep. (killing 300 of anything is beyond the pale).

    Q: Why no quest rings?
    A: They are a distraction. They are everywhere and they tempt you to click, click, click.

    Q: Why no Skirmishes?
    A: Skirmishes are just too easy. Yes, Missions are also easy, but they are NEW and SHINY.

    Q: With all of these adjustments aren't you taking the "fun" out of the game?
    A: Well, that's one way to look at it. But, if the game has become boring and completely predictable, is it fun?

    Q: Why did you post this? It's just a bunch of horse-shxt.
    A: Hey, nobody forced you to read it did they? If they did, send me their contact info. Maybe I will make them a couple of Warding Scrolls.

    Q: Hey, I tried this setup and when I got to the first Epic Instance I got slaughtered. Is this scheme even possible or viable?
    A: Yes, you will find what used to be easy, to be not-so-easy anymore. I needed to hold off on the Epic instances until I advanced enough that they were On-Level. The regular Epic quests were challenging, but the Instances are really challenging. Be patient.

    Q: Do you really play the game this way?
    A: Yes. I have one character that follows this set-up. I have several other characters. Some are experiments and some are set-up with no special changes. I have been playing that one-special-wimped-out character and I have found playing him somewhat addictive. I never know what the limits will be. Can I do this at 2 levels above my own? Can I complete this instance while it's still two levels above my own, or will I have to level-up to complete it? It has sort of given me back that early-game feel.

    Edit: If you give it a try, let me know...post here about what happened.

    Edit: Update...I considered a change and have decided against it.
    A recent update restricted "REP" items so that you must complete a landscape quest in order to cash them in.
    I considered making an exception to the NO LANDSCAPE rule. But I decided I am going to push ahead with what I have set up.
    There are really only 3 aspects that are creating a significant challenge and No Landscape is a crucial piece of that.
    So, no, I will just have to suffer with no high rep with many factions. (this was hard...I really like my "Return-To" skills).
    In the long-run, it's better anyway...the whole idea is to make it harder to achieve advancement, and if the developers put in an additional challenge...so much the better.

    ...how this got started...
    Last edited by Boraxxe; Feb 16 2021 at 10:58 PM. Reason: Added gear graphic

    Like I told you...What I said...Steal your face right off your head.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Lots of different places
    This is a really interesting guide, Boraxxe, thank you for putting it together. I have previously tried the gearless adventuring before, up to about level 27, and it is a really fun way to play the game. I didn't go so far as to avoid side quests though, that would be an interesting one. Disabling the map is fun, I did a few videos running through the world without using the map. When questing, this will certainly be interesting as you will have to have a good memory for where things are in the world without maps or quest rings.

    One tip for anyone trying this: don't use yellow guardian spec, because they still haven't fixed the low-level flash of light issue, and you will find yourself one-shotting groups of six or seven mobs at once, even without gear. It's quite fun up to a point, but defeats the object of the game being difficult.

    You could add an extra element to this: use a character that has never been VIP. That way you have no swift travel, no extra bag space, no gold cap and no trait slot unlocks. If you are a lifetime VIP then you would have to make a new account to do this on. If you made a new account, you would also have the bonus of not being able to access the side quests outside of the first four areas. You'd have to make a judgement call about whether you let yourself buy the riding skill or just make do with the starter steed. Not being able to ride would mean everything takes longer to do, but would also mean you can't just leg it past mobs as easily.

    A question - do you allow yourself to do the Bingo Boffin quest line? Just wondering because you didn't mention that and it is like an alternative epic narrative.
    Last edited by TheArtilleryman; Feb 08 2021 at 05:42 AM.

    I’m an alien, an illegal alien: I’m a Gondorian Captain in Rohan...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Under the stairs Bonus Points: 3.14159
    Quote Originally Posted by TheArtilleryman View Post
    A question - do you allow yourself to do the Bingo Boffin quest line? Just wondering because you didn't mention that and it is like an alternative epic narrative.
    Yeah. The Bingo quest-line is fun. It starts out really simple and I took it as far as I could. Eventually I was doing "Purple" quests. However, I didn't get many of those done before the doom of "retreat" struck.
    They are a good way to get some XP. Getting XP strictly from mobs and the Epic-line is a slow-go, so that helps fill that gap. As I progressed, I also found it more difficult to level-up to qualify for the next group of Epics, so I began doing Missions. This was in the mid 30's. The quantity of experience points needed gets pretty large and both the Bingo and Mission quests help get over the hump.

    An interesting effect my wife and I noticed: We created a pair of Burglars using this same strategy, except we wore gear, used crafted weapons and we did Skirmishes.
    Instead of a challenging experience, we ended up with the strongest, most OP characters we ever had created. One-shotting everything in site. There was nothing we could not finish regardless of level. We did-6-man Skirmishes, on-level and finished with nary a scratch. And it was in record time also.

    The lack of gear and skipping the Landscape quests (as well as dropped-only weapons) are key to creating a challenge.

    Like I told you...What I said...Steal your face right off your head.



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