A New Player’s Guide to LOTRO (Part Three)
Part Three: Introduction Quest Area
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” -Bilbo Baggins
Whether you’ve been rescued by the mysterious ranger called Strider, battled goblins alongside Gimli, or heard the wisdom of Elrond Half-Elven, your days of gentle instruction have come to an end. Your character has finished the Introductory Instance and now finds themselves standing in the Refuge of Edhelion near Thorin’s Hall (if they are an Elf or Dwarf) or in the Village of Archet near Bree (if they are Man or Hobbit). Like the Introductory Instance, you will find iconic characters from Middle-earth nearby to help guide you. But this time, they are busy with their own affairs and you must do more than simply following them and blindly swing a weapon. Now you shall be entrusted to protect and defend the Free People while your mentors and guides handle their own affairs.
LOTRO does an amazing job of starting with small quests, yet making it feel as though you’re contributing to a larger tapestry of stories. The Introduction Quest area is limited in size, but the storyline is not so contained. Dwarves and Elves will find themselves helping Dwalin defend Thorin’s Hall from the vile Dourhand dwarves. Men and Hobbits will be entrusted with the protection of the Village of Archet from the Blackwold bandits as well as helping to heal the wounded ranger Amdir, who has fallen under sway of a Nazgul’s black breath.
This area is a lot like the Introductory Instance, but a bit broader in scope and options. Now, you’re not just following behind someone, attacking things they point you towards. The tutorial system built into LOTRO will guide you, as long as you make use of it. Whenever you do something new in the game such as receive a new quest or add an item to your inventory, the tutorial system will pop-up an instruct you in exactly what this new feature is and how to use it within the context of the game. During the Introduction Questing, this tutorial system seems to appear a lot – and it is, but don’t feel too overwhelmed. If you’re ever feeling a confused about something, take a look at the official LOTRO Website New Players Section, where they’ve got a wonderful, detailed explanation of what each class in the game is designed to accomplish.
Now, there are a few things that make the Introduction Quest area different from the Introductory Instance area. First an foremost: It is really hard to be defeated in the Introductory Instance. (It’s possible though, and I’d rather not tell that embarrassing story). This is not the case in the Introductory Quest Area. You have a lot of freedom and latitude to explore, but there are dangers. Monsters wander the wilds, and if you linger too close they will attack you. Now, if you are Defeated, you will reappear in a small clearing of stones, with a “Dread” penalty over your (green) Morale bar. This shows your character’s disheartening at their own defeat. After a few minutes this Dread will wear off. While in the Introduction Quests area, don’t feel too bad if you get defeated a few times. It happens. The game doesn’t really punish you and the programmers recognize that as a player you’re still learning.
Secondly, you will now be able to keep a log of several quests you’ve presently accepted from various NPCs through out the game. This means that unlike the Introductory Instance, where you simply had a kind of “A-to-B-to-C” formula, you may now accept multiple quests and complete them at your leisure. But the vast expanses of Middle-earth are not yours to explore yet. Speak to your NPCs, listen to what they have to say and you will be given a series of about ten or so quests that are linked by storyline. If you’re having trouble understanding what the requirements are to completing a quest, don’t be afraid to use your Quest Log. Simply tap the “L” key, and it will bring up a list of the quests you’ve presently accepted and give you details, background and objects for these quests. Linked are often called Quest Chains. As you complete these individual quests in the chain and slay monsters along the way, you’ll gain levels. Again, the in-game tutorial is fantastic at guiding you through the process of leveling, purchasing new skills and using them.
After you’ve completed the chain of Introductory Quests, you will be given one last Instance. If you are Dwarf or Elf, it will be attempting to defeat the Dourhands who have taken Thorin’s Hall. If you’re a Man or Hobbit, you will be defending the village of Archet. From my experience, this is the first time that LOTRO truly challenges a player. You need to think fast (but not too fast, don’t worry) and react as the story unfolds around you. This final instance is also the opening hints of the great darkness your character will face against the Shadows of Angmar!
That’s it for “A New Player’s Guide to LOTRO.” Now that you’re out of the Introduction areas, you aren’t new anymore! But there is more LOTRO fun and tips to come. In the future I’ll be discussing the Crafting system, Skirmishes, Legendary Items and so many other things!
Keep your feet, my good hobbits!