LOTRO Legendarium: Five off-the-beaten path locales you must visit

    
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Lord of the Rings Online is a big, big game that has grown over the years to encompass a wide swath of Middle-earth. One of the first things any fan of the franchise does when getting into the game is see whether the devs have put in the places and details straight from the books or the movies. More often than not, they have.

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!

bag1

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

2. Gollum’s Cave

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.

3. Tag arenas

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.

4. A trip up the Endless Stair

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.

5. Secret snowman village

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?

Every two weeks, the LOTRO Legendarium goes on an adventure (horrid things, those) through the wondrous, terrifying, inspiring, and, well, legendary online world of Middle-earth. Justin has been playing LOTRO since its launch in 2007! If you have a topic for the column, send it to him at justin@massivelyop.com.
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danohalloran
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danohalloran

Ugh, this makes me want to return to the game. /shakes fist at Justin!!

Morreion
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Morreion

Man, I miss LOTRO at times.  Haven’t been back since it went F2P.

Belamanth
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Belamanth

Every player who played the Moria epic quests has been up that stair, because there is on quest that requires you to go up there, right to the end.

For more off-the-track locations I suggest the sand castle of Evendim, or the toy mammoth. Do you know where my hobbit is here? https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/106323419361240677008/albums/6125066072132782913

AivarsLiepa
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AivarsLiepa

There’s another Snowman the Eredluin, also off the beaten path.
I remember first time i found it in 2010th, and then several people gathere there. Dont remember names, but one of us said “If the bears can make this, then we need to start worry.” :D

blackcatcrosses
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blackcatcrosses

Cambruin Karl_Hungus softwarekiller Which, IMO, is pretty much all you need to have a pretty good RPG experience.

melissamcdon
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melissamcdon

Zipzopzippitybop then people would call it too easy and moan about that.

melissamcdon
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melissamcdon

Oh wow I never visited Gollum’s cave… that’s worth it
My only gripe with LOTRO is that my server is dying and the avatars are not up to 2015 standards.

Rustybladez
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Rustybladez

I hopped on for the first time in a while – looks a lot prettier than I remember..

Slaphammer
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Slaphammer

TronSheridan The Old Forest was memorable because it was so deadly compared to what you’d done up to that point.  It lost all its flavor when they nerfed it.  I’ve seen this happen in several games–in City of Heroes, The Hollows was crazy difficult and that’s what made it a memorable challenge, but then they nerfed it and made it unremarkable.  These games really need to bring back some of the difficulty, and that doesn’t mean add group-only raid content.

Cambruin
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Cambruin

Karl_Hungus softwarekiller  Correction; the best thing about the game is the environment, the music and THE COMMUNITY :) That is if by some small miracle you manage to steer clear of the forums.