Ten Ton Hammer's Beginner's Guide for LotRO - Where Should I Be Questing At My Level?

Tips for New Players: Where Should I Be Questing At My Level?
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Middle-Earth is a big place, and it keeps getting bigger as new content packages are added to the Lord of the Rings Online. With the recent announcement that new updates would be decoupled from the epic quest line updates, new areas and quest packs can be added regularly. But as the world grows and new players join in, many for the first time and with little or no previous knowledge of the game or the setting, the progression from start to finish can be a bit confusing. The game does not advance in a straight line; moving from one area to the next adjacent region can see massive leaps in mob levels. So the question often arises: "Where should I be questing at my level?"


There are a number of ways to answer this question. It really depends on how the player is playing the game: is he chasing levels and trying to get to 65 as quickly as possible? Is he on F2P where he has to purchase each new area with Turbine Points? Is he taking things slowly and trying to absorb as much of the game as possible before moving on to someplace new and exciting? For the purposes of this article, I am going to assume that the player is looking for the best XP from quests for that level range, with an XP-heavy balance between time spent on quests and overall difficulty for speedy, efficient leveling. In this case, the player will want to do mostly white, yellow or orange quests, and move on when the quests are blue, teal or green. Epic book quests can be done as you go.


Again, it must be stressed: this is for fast leveling. A lot of people prefer to do all the quests and deeds in an area, regardless of level, before moving on to somewhere else. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that approach - players who do this usually have more money and Turbine Points than speedsters and questing will be easier. But since they are seldom the ones asking where they should be questing at a given level, this guide is not for them. Furthermore, this guide may not be practical for Free-to-Play players, as it will be necessary to purchase costly quest packs and the hard pace does not allow much time for earning the points to buy them. Leveling "point-farmer" alts will help accumulate points faster, but in lieu of that I have made some alternate suggestions where possible. Also note that fast leveling does not earn a character very much money. You should get enough to train all your skills and buy a horse, but don't plan on lavish spending.

To figure out where you should be at your level, find the appropriate range on the list below and follow the link to find more information.

Level Range:

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Tips for New Players: Where Should I Be Questing At My Level?
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1 - 12: Homeland: Bree-land, the Shire, Ered Luin

1-12: Homeland

Elves and Dwarves start out in Ered Luin, Hobbits start in the Shire, Men start out in Bree-land. As a general rule, the quests around Archet and Combe tend to focus heavily on combat in a fairly small, contained area, and quests in the Shire tend to be more running around and collecting things. Quests in the Dwarf and Elf homelands are action-focused but spread out, so there is a lot of running around between. Questing in the Shire is the easiest since there is not a lot of combat and little risk of getting murdered by bandits. The risk is higher in Combe, but the pace is faster. Ered Luin is a balance between the two.

12 - 15: Bree-land

12 - 15: Bree-land

Staddle and Bree-town are good for this level. Start in Staddle and then head west to Buckland and Adso's Camp. Head into the Old Forest if you simply must - there are a few quests in there, most of which involve running through a massive spider- and bear-infested maze. Some people really like the place, but it is not a place conducive to fast leveling as quest initiators and objectives are widely spread out and quest completion involves navigating the maze. Rather than slogging through the Old Forest, do the quick stuff killing bears and bandits and move on.

15 - 18: Northwest Bree and Barrow-Downs.

15-18: Barrow-downs

Kill some orcs and wights for great justice and fast levels. Start with the West Bree-fields area - the quests from the houses along the road heading north and the ones from Adso's Camp - and head to Barrow-downs when finished with those. Barrow-downs will be fairly tough at this level and is best experienced with a group.

18 - 20: Forsaken Inn, Lone-lands

18-20

If you do not have enough Turbine points to purchase the Lone-lands pack, knock out some deeds in the Shire and Ered Luin, because it is worth getting. These will go fairly quickly at this level, and will earn you some juicy virtues as well. Forsaken Inn quests can be done very quickly with a small group, and there are a lot of them. If you cannot afford the Lone-lands quest pack, you can get to level 20 by doing the advanced quests in Ered Luin, the Shire and Bree-land, but it will take longer. Make sure the quests are at least green - grey quests offer little or no XP. If you have to choose between Lone-lands and North Downs, get North Downs and head to Trestlebridge when it's no longer suicidal to do so.

20: Skirmishes

20

Starting at level 20, this will be your go-to level-grinder when the quest XP starts slowing down in a given area. Doing the daily challenges for each skirmish nets a massive chunk of XP at low and mid levels and earns good money. Level 20 also opens up the classic instance Great Barrows: Maze. This is a difficult instance at this level, particularly the fight against the middle sub-boss and his two crawler buddies, but with a good healer and tank it's doable.

21 - 25: Trestlebridge, North Downs and Central Lone-lands

21 - 25

If you have the points for the North Downs quest pack, get it. If you can't afford it right now, continue with Lone-lands and skirmishes. If you have to choose one or the other, get North Downs rather than Lone-lands. Trestlebridge has enough questing for a couple of levels, then you can work on the Eglain rep quests and the quests out of Ost Guruth. Agamaur quests are something of a time-sink - slogging through lots of elites equals slow XP progression. If you can not afford either North Downs or Lone-lands quest packs, you'll be stuck doing skirmishes and Great Barrows runs for a while. Doing Great Barrows daily runs is fairly efficient, and the level 25 Barrows armor sets are pretty good.

25 - 30: Esteldin, east North Downs

25-30

Also Othrikar, Meluinen and Fornost. This is a big area with lots to do. There are a few time-sink traps here that can be avoided - Dol Dinen and Fornost are full of tough elites and will slow down leveling progress. These areas must be done with a group at this level, so if you are looking to earn some solid group experience to better learn your class, go ahead and do these. Otherwise, the time spent doing these quests can be spent more efficiently elsewhere. If you don't have the North Downs quest pack, you can grind through these levels with skirmishes, Great Barrows runs and Agamaur quests, or by tearing through some of the blue, teal and green quests you may have skipped earlier.

30 - 35: Evendim

30-35

Tinnudir, Ost Forod and Eavespires are all good quest hubs for this level, and you will probably want to do the Annuminas instances later - if you have to choose between Lone-lands, North Downs or Evendim, get Evendim. Level progression will be seriously slowed without the Evendim quest pack, and the only other real options for this level range are Garth Agarwen instance runs and skirmishes, or the Trollshaws quest pack which will be very challenging until level 35-plus.

35 - 40: Trollshaws

35-40

This is kind of the leveling "hump" where progress is slower. It's not as bad now as it used to be before skirmishes, but players will still probably notice a bit of a slump. Start in southwest Trollshaws and work your way east to Thorenhad, Echad Candelleth and Rivendell, mixing in daily skirmishes to taste. If points are at a premium and you have to choose between Trollshaws and Angmar quest packs, get Angmar. You'll need it later.

38 side-trip: Aughaire, Southwest Angmar

38

There is a quest chain here for an excellent armor set: Fem gear. Complete this chain for all 6 pieces and a teal pocket item that will last you until almost level 50. And if you have to choose between Trollshaws and Angmar, get Angmar.

39 side-trip: Malenhad, south Angmar, and Misty Mountains

39

At this level, you can buy books from your class trainer. These books are missing pages, and when those pages are all collected you earn awesome legendary skills. Low-numbered pages are found in Angmar, high-numbered pages are found in Misty Mountains. Popular "farming" spots for pages include the goblins in western Malenhad and Corcurs on the Bitter Stair in north Misty Mountains, near the entrance to Helegrod.

40 - 45: Misty Mountains, Angmar, Forochel

40-45

Misty Mountains falls into the low end of this range. Questing in the more remote areas in Angmar or Forochel can get you to level 50, but by then you will want to be elsewhere. Of these three, Forochel is a bit faster, with large groups of quests clumped together in the various town hubs. Angmar is more spread out and has many more elites to slog through, and Misty Mountains is very spread out and feels draggy. Avoid Goblin-town if you can - it is a giant, complex maze stuffed full of elites with quick respawn rates, worth experiencing if you are a lore-junkie and want to see where Gollum lived, but there are really not enough quick quests here to make it a worthwhile spot for fast, efficient leveling.

45 side-trip: Echad Dunnan, Eregion

45

Go to the gate and begin the intro quest chain to enter Moria. The mobs will be very challenging at this level, but you can skip the non-essential quests if you want and focus solely on the epic quests to get your first legendary item. You can hold off on finishing this book for a little while, waiting to enter Moria until level 50. Build up your LI first! You can't ride the Moria goats until level 50, and navigating the mines without a goat can be a chore.

Note that with the November patch, Free-to-Play players will be able to get into Moria without having to buy anything. No purchases are required to play through the epic books.

45 - 50: Eregion

45 - 50

Start in Gwingris, work your way south and east to Echad Eregion and Echad Dunnan, then loop back west to Echad Mirobel. Eregion is a treat after slogging through the Trollshaws and the bleak expanses of Angmar and Forochel - the quests are straightforward and plentiful, and most can be done solo. The Eregion quest pack gives you access to the School and Library of Tham Mirdain, both 3-man instances starting at level 50. When you get to level 65, these instances are excellent ways to earn Superior Third Marks.

50 - 53: Moria, upper levels

50-53

Once you've completed the intro quest chain, start questing in Durin's Threshold, Dolven-View, Chamber of Crossroads and Deep Descent. There are a lot of quest hubs between Durin's Threshold and the Twenty-First Hall, and tons of deeds - more than enough to blast you through 3 or 4 levels. If you start feeling claustrophobic, take a break from the mines and work on epic books up to book 15, which will earn you a ton of cash and some decent gear. You can also start running the Rift of Nurz Ghashu and Helegrod raids, the Annuminas instances and the Library and School of Tham Mirdain 3-man instances.

54 - 58: Moria, mid and lower levels

54-58

Red Horn Lodes and Orc-watch, Waterworks and Rotting Cellar, Anamarzekhem, Foundations of Stone, Twenty-First Hall and Jazargund are all good areas for this level. Most of Moria can be soloed, but there is usually enough people around that you can find a group when you need one. You can also work on the Volume II epic books and do skirmishes.

58 - 60: Lothlorien, Moria instances

58-60

Moria radiance armor is currently among the best non-raid gear in the game. Stats-wise, it is generally better than the teal Helegrod and Annuminas armor sets, though the armor rating and radiance is lower. While Helegrod and Annuminas sets will provide (much) higher bonuses in very limited areas, the Moria armor set provides higher all-around bonuses, and the difference between the sets can be easily made up with jewelry, LI legacy scrolls and virtues. If your goal is to eventually get a full set of raid armor, the Moria radiance set should still be your first stop. Besides hammering out the radiance gear instances, you will want to get at least Acquaintance standing with the Galladhrim so that you can cross into southeastern Lothlorien and take the boat to Mirkwood at level 60.

60 - 65: Mirkwood

60-65

These are the current endgame areas. Mirkwood is a more-or-less straight shot west to east and will take you from 60-65 in a few days. Enedwaith is not really necessary for leveling, strictly speaking, but if you want to do numerous level 65+ quests, that's the place to go. It would be quite difficult at level 60, but good XP can be earned in Enedwaith by heading there around level 63-64. But be warned: the normal mobs in Enedwaith are tougher than the normal mobs in Mirkwood and range from level 65 - 67. This is also a good time to finish Volume II epic books and get caught up on Volume III.

65: Endgame Content

65

The world of Middle-Earth is now your oyster. For a lot of people, this is where the game really begins, and you have a lot of options:

  • Raids - Run Helegrod raids and/or Annuminas instances until you get enough radiance gear to run the Vile Maw (60 radiance minimum), Dar Narbugud (90 radiance minimum) and Barad Guldur (120 radiance minimum).
  • Gear grinding in the high-level classic instances - some good jewelry items drop in the Mirkwood 3-man and Moria 3- and 6-man instances.
  • Deed-grinding for remaining virtues and class traits will earn a bit of money and boost your character's overall effectiveness.
  • Explore Enedwaith and build rep with the Grey Company and the Eglain factions
  • Play a more social game by helping lower-level kinsmen and friends with difficult quests, or stand around in Bree playing the A-Team theme song on your lute.

Minimum Recommended Quest Packs for F2P

F2P minimums

If you want to level quickly on F2P, it may require making some sacrifices in regards to which quest packs you purchase. Some areas are more or less safe to skip, but some are pretty much mandatory. At the bare minimum, you will want these quest packs:

  1. North Downs (level range 20-30)
  2. Evendim (level range 31-37)
  3. Angmar (level range 38-45)
  4. Eregion (level range 45 - 51)
  5. Mines of Moria expansion (level range 51-60)
  6. Siege of Mirkwood expansion (level range 60-65)

Level progression will be slowed somewhat with only the bare minimum of quest packs; early quests in each area will be over-level and the last few in the area (you will need to be thorough and do everything availble in each region) will be well under-level. Keep an eye out for sales on quest packs and get them at a discount when you can - there is currently a sale on the Lone-lands quest pack, marked down to 50 points, and while this is not on the "bare minimums" list, it's totally worth getting.

Also note: currently, you can purchase the Mines of Moria package for around $10, which gives you a 30-day subscription as part of the deal. This is a pretty sound investment if you plan to play the game for a while, as it opens up all the Eriador maps, inventory bags, virtue slots and a few other things that are unavailable to F2P without numerous microtransactions.

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