The Ultimate LoTRO Newbie Guide - Part 7: Trade Skills and Auctions
by Cameron "Aelryn" Sorden
Table of Contents
Trade Skills: The Night Job for the Enterprising Adventurer
In Lord of the Rings Online, your character will have opportunities to do things other than chat an adventure. One of these other activities is known as "trade skilling," or sometimes as just "crafting." Trade skills are just what they sound like-- you learn a trade. You harvest materials from the wilderness or buy them from other players and you make items that your character can use or sell.
While this might seem like a great way to make extra money for your character, it's not, really. Trade skilling is actually quite costly and time consuming to pursue. You usually only start to make a fraction of your money back once you've mastered your craft. This being the case, you should only pursue trade skills if the idea of making items sounds fun to you. If so, then by all means, do it! This section of the Ultimate LoTRO Newbie Guide will explain what's involved with getting started as a crafter and how it all works.
The Mistress/Master of Apprentices: Your Crafting Instructor
You'll usually receive a quest shortly after finishing the tutorial portion of the game which sends you to seek out the Master or Mistress of Apprentices. This is the person who can explain each trade to you and give your starting tools. Don't be afraid of choosing the wrong trade here. You can always change your mind later and switch if you want to, although any progress made on advancing your skills will be lost if you no longer have that skill in your new profession.
The way that trade skills work in LoTRO is like this: There are a number of vocations for you to choose from, and each vocation has three primary skills. Some of these skills overlap between vocations, and some don't. For example, several vocations have "Weapon Smithing" as one of their skills. Some skills are crafting oriented, and some skills are gathering. Many vocations carry a gathering skill, a crafting skill, and a third skill, although there are exceptions. Confused yet? Sorry. Crafting is a little bit complicated. Don't despair, though! Lets break this down a bit.
Gathering skills allow you to harvest materials like ore or wood. The two main skills here are Prospector and Forester. Forester will also allow you to tan animal hides and make leather. The reason I highlight these two as the main gathering skills is because many of the other skills use items gained with them. If you don't want to craft and just want to make money gathering, I highly recommend taking the Explorer vocation. It gives you Prospector, Forester, and Tailoring. You can track ore nodes and fallen wood on your mini-map by using the special skills associated with each gathering skill (they're hot buttons in your skill window), and equip the appropriate tool to harvest them as you find them.
The other skills are all crafting skills of some type. Some require gathering, like Farming or Scholar, but they are fairly self-sufficient for those materials. The big thing to remember about crafting skills is that you will often be dependent on other skills for items, whether it's processed ore or a constructed item like a sword hilt. You will have to trade with other players to get these items. You could just shout that you're looking for a trade, but a better way and often more efficient is to learn how to use the Auction House.
Going once, going twice, SOLD to the man in the floppy hat!
The Auction House, sometimes called the "AH" for short, is the center of player commerce in the lands of Middle Earth. If you need to buy or sell something to another players, the AH is your best chance of finding what you're looking for or getting an interested buyer. The AH works sort of like the eBay of Middle Earth. You can list items for whatever price you think they're worth and put them up for a fixed amount of time, and if someone sees it and wants it, they'll buy it. Similarly, you can browse the listings by category or do a search if you already know what you want. It's important to remember that you're accessing the same auction house no matter where you are. So, whether you're at the AH in the Shire or at the AH in Bree, you'll be seeing the same auctions. This is for the sake of convenience. You'll want to right-click on an auctioneer to get started.
When you want to buy an item at the AH, you can either type the name directly into the search box or select a category on the right side and then press "search". You can browse through all of the available goods and sort them by the tabs on the upper right. If you want to find equipment that's appropriate for your level, you can also enter a level range into the maximum and minimum tabs. One note of caution, however: It's generally better to get new weapons and armor through questing than to buy them at the AH. If you upgrade your items at the AH each level, you'll quickly run out of money for other important things like training and paying repair costs.
Once you've found an item you want to buy, you have two options (usually). You can either place a bid on the item and watch it carefully until the time is up, or if the seller posted a buyout price you can buy it immediately. The choice is up to you, but be warned: there is no proxy bidding. Whatever bid you make will immediately be removed from your inventory and that's price you'll have to pay if you win. There is no way to recall or cancel a bid once you make it. Any auctions you win will immediately show up in your mailbox (there's usually one in the AH).
If you have an item you'd like to sell, it's a whole different ball game. You flip to the "Post" tab on the AH interface and there's a box here with a number of blank spaces. You can move items from your bags into this box and pick a length of time that you want to leave the auction up for. If your item is in high demand or is priced pretty low, you can usually get away with a shorter time setting. Otherwise, you'll want to choose a longer one so that more people will have a chance to see your auction. You have to pay a deposit no matter how long you post it for, and more expensive items have higher deposits, so don't just go posting everything you find. It's usually a good idea to do a search for any item you want to sell first and get an idea for it's market price. If your item isn't up when you look, search for an item similar to yours to get a baseline idea for pricing. If it's not worth it to you, just sell it to an NPC vendor.
That should give you a basic feel for the economy in LoTRO. If you have more questions or want more specific guides, you should go have a look at our crafting guides. There are lots of resources there that go into further detail. Next, lets learn about the exciting world of Player versus Player gameplay!
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