LOTRO Legendarium: Ranking my favorite foes

    
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It goes without saying that after eight years of continual development and expansion, Lord of the Rings Online’s Middle-earth holds quite the assortment of mobs to fight. It straddles an interesting line between mundane, Earth-like critters and far-out fantastic creations. Sometimes it hews close to your standard fantasy MMO line-up (which is understandable, as much fantasy derived from Tolkien), while other times it goes in an odd direction that is uniquely LOTRO.

Today I’m going to list 10 of my favorite foes from the game and rank them from least to most threatening! The author is not responsible for any gaming-related PTSD that may incur from reading this list.

1. Biting Gnats

Most MMOs are content to start you out against small fry like pigs and rats, but LOTRO goes even smaller and weaker than that with swarms of teeny tiny insects that don’t really attack you; they merely lay down an annoying debuff. Strangely enough, having these around does add to the atmosphere of marshy regions for me. Plus, I love seeing my character smack down bugs with a giant axe.

2. Shrews

Probably the only mobs that I feel guilty killing, shrews are the cutest pests in the game. The spring festival is responsible for their uptick in popularity, and apart from that and — I think — one Hobbit quest, you never do have to attack them. They make great pets, though.

3. Crawling Hand

There’s a lot of undead and spectral enemies in the game, from your standard “how does that work?” walking skeleton to localized storms of frozen shards. However, the occasional crawling hand that populates barrows and other graveyard locations never fails to amuse me as an Evil Dead II fan.

4. Worms

Dragons in MMOs aren’t anything new, of course, but usually they begin and end at “giant endgame bosses.” LOTRO, on the other hand, has lizards that run the entire gamut of a dragon’s lifecycle, from fire-breathing salamanders to ugly waddling worms to fledgling drakes. It’s a detail that makes the world feel less like an arena for stereotypical monsters and more like a believable place.

5. Mammoths

I’m sure LOTRO has a fancy term for them, but hey, they’re wooly mammoths, and you can kill them. They’re not terribly common, as they exist only in Forochel and a couple other snowy places, but I am always delighted to see one. They’re powerful and fierce and cool all at once.

6. Falcon Clan

No huge spoilers here, but no group of mobs in the game has earned my hatred so much as these guys. I think that is testiment to the great writing and quest design that I dearly want to wipe all of them off of the land. They hurt me personally, and now I want to hurt them back.

7. Ancient Evil of Foundations of Stone

I’m fascinated with Foundations of Stone because there isn’t anywhere else in the game that’s quite like it. The mobs there are… terrifying, to be honest. They almost don’t fit in LOTRO, but instead should be in an alien horror movie or something. I feel bad that the devs came up with these great designs and then stuck them in a zone where few players see them these days.

8. Huorns

Huorns are the moving, oft-angry trees that live in and near some of the older forests in Middle-earth. I’m sometimes annoyed at having to fight them (since they are so big they can block the camera), but I also can’t stop smiling at my character going mano-a-mano with a huge hunk of animated wood. Honestly, one hit and I should be a thin paste, but artistic hero license and all that.

9. Hypno-Toad

ALL HAIL THE HYPNO-TOAD. MAY HE FOREVER RULE THE UNDERBELLY OF THE WORLD. BOW TO HIS BLOATED MAGNIFICENCE AND SERVE HIS EVERY NEED.

10. Saruman

If just for the single awesome line: “Isengard bids five.”

Honorable Mention: Nazgûl

LOTRO gets huge props for taking one of the most iconic fantasy minions and doing them right. Just about every place a Nazgûl pops up, big trouble is soon to follow. I love their design, but I can’t in good conscience include them in the ranking because the game almost never lets you fight one. If I have to cower in fear one more time, I swear…

So what are your favorite foes 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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alexjwillis
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alexjwillis

oneeyered cromahr alexjwillis Karl_Hungus Farming Giants in Evendim for the giant-killing title was one of the most laborious title-grinds I’ve ever done! But I made a mint doing it — they dropped great loot too. :D

SkoomaAddict
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SkoomaAddict

Sara Oakheart.  I want her dead.

Zipzopzippitybop
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Zipzopzippitybop

Some of the mob models are top notch. Pity they can’t redo the character models. The only race I can stand to play are the dwarves.

oneeyered
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oneeyered

cromahr alexjwillis Karl_Hungus Yep still in both places. I was farming both for ore this week and saw them in both spots. Brings back memories of when they were not grey to me. Remember the Giants in Evendim as well? I took one down for the sake of revenge. Those guys used to beat the stuffing out of me.

Bango
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Bango

Wot no Boggarts?

Get Him!!!!

zoward
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zoward

I have fondness for anything I can loot the hide from and turn into armor.

Firelilyx
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Firelilyx

Foundations of Stone.. brrr.. what a scary place!

Cial00
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Cial00

I’m partial to the raid models. I really like Draigoch and the Balrog from OD

ogged451
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ogged451

“but no group of mobs in the game has earned my hatred so much as these guys” .. wolves and wargs with perma snare/bleed from level 5-100 are so much more annoying,

Maggie_May
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Maggie_May

Yea I remember the nameless ones … like the creepy dude at the doors to Mordor …. and the crawling hands well they just ask to be stabbed to eternity. The only issue with Nasgul is that you always get the “””EYE””” so you need to remember to bring lots of Hope pots.

I have not yet reached the Saruman part so …. can’t comment.