Today I took a trip through my screenshot folder to jog my memories about places in this game that aren’t heavily visited but are pretty neat to see even so. There are several spots where nary a quest leads you there, but exist to reward the explorer and the dedicated lore-finder. Here are five of them!
1. Bag End
As far as I know, no quest or deed prompts you to head into Bilbo and Frodo’s old home. And because of that, I didn’t even think to check for years whether or not the front door was clickable. When I did, however, I found a lovingly detailed Hobbit hole that has been abandoned and sold off yet still retains some personality from its former owners.
I enjoyed walking through the quiet hallway and poking around in the different rooms, including the kitchen and the den. The lit fireplace throws great shadows on the wall, and I even imagined that one open book was perhaps a copy of Bilbo’s journeys.
Where to find it: Above Hobbiton on the Hill in the Shire
Gollum has only a token presence in LOTRO, but you can always visit his former residence under the Misty Mountains. His cave is very much off the beaten path, as you have to head up to Goblin Town, then go through many sections before you come upon an underground lake with a bone-strewn island in the middle. Even though it’s a little difficult to get to, I feel strongly that every player should make the pilgrimage at least once — if only to see Gollum’s amusing graffiti.
Where to find it: Go to Goblin Town in the north-east portion of the Misty Mountains and keep heading north once you go inside. Gollum’s Cave will be near the north-east section off of a side corridor.
A relic from the very early days of LOTRO, the twin tag arenas in northern Bree-land still function (as far as I know) as amusing minigames for groups. One arena is tag, while the other is freeze tag, but mostly they operate the same. I’ve had some fun times with my kinship blitzing around the structure and trying not to get caught.
Where to find them: Go to the festival grounds in Bree-land and then head south-east a bit. You won’t miss them; they look like two small, square castle ruins.
There are a few places that you can see the Endless Stair in Moria, but only one allows you to actually start walking up it. And that’s all of the way at the bottom in the Foundations of Stone. This is one of the creepiest places in the game, so it’s well worth a visit just for that, but if you come all of the way around the lake to the south-west, you’ll find a place to start your spiraling journey up.
Unfortunately, you can only go so far, as the stair has been damaged by the Balrog v. Gandalf fight, but I was pretty thrilled just to head up it. As a bonus, finding the stair helps toward the Foundation of Stone exploration deed.
Where to find it: 15.0S, 99.0W on the Foundation of Stone map.
The town of Tâl Methedras — where you’ll be doing a lot of quests for the Falcon Clan in Dunland — has a really funny snowman village that many people pass right by. It features igloos and lots of snowmen in funny poses and with varying items of clothing. (Well, I thought it was amusing, anyway.)
There’s actually a second easter egg to go with this! As you progress through the epic story, events will happen in this town that will trigger a change to the snowman village. Spoiler alert: The snowmen don’t make it out alive. Poor Olaf.
Where to find it: Go up to the town, hug the mountain wall to the east, and keep following that south. You’ll find the snowmen in an elevated clearing before too long.
What are your favorites?
That’s just a small sampling of some of the Middle-earth secrets that the other tour guides won’t tell you. Maybe we’ll revisit this in the future, but until then, what are some of your favorite nooks and crannies in LOTRO?