With progression servers on the way for… sometime… this month, many players (myself included) are planning out their brand-new adventures through Middle-earth. There’s certainly a lot of things to consider, and since we have this time of preparation and planning, I figure we might as well take advantage of it so that we can hit the ground running when it goes live.
1. Pick a class and race
At least in my mind, if I’m going to roll up on this server, I’m not going to pick a class on a whim. I want a character that has the potential to go the distance, and that means it has to be a class that hasn’t been played to death by me in the past 11 years and yet still has something fun and new to offer.
Even though I’ve been deeply invested in LOTRO over the past decade or so, I found the choice of a progression server character to be more difficult and exciting than I expected. I mulled over many possibilities and even turned to community class videos and posts to help me make an informed decision (I’m going with Hobbit Minstrel, by the way). Here’s one video that I found quite useful:
2. Figure out your virtues
Once you get a character figured out and know what you’re going to play, then there’s no reason not to be super organized and figure out the virtues (bonus stats) that you’ll be pursuing. For this, I’ll usually comb through forum and Reddit class virtue posts looking for the most common and useful five virtues for a given class.
Virtues aren’t a make-or-break issue, but every bit helps in making your character operate, fight, and survive as well as they should. If nothing else, it’s always a good idea to snarf up physical (Innocence, Zeal, Discipline) and tactical mitigation (Innocence, Fidelity, Honor). Mitigation is harder to come by than other stats, so it’s a solid approach to coat yourself with an additional layer of protection.
Next step here is to go to the LOTRO Wiki virtues page, call up each of those five, and then sort them out by zone so that you have a master list from which to work. Maybe that’s being a little too prepared, but I find it very helpful to know that in this particular zone, say, I’ll be going for as many quests and wolf kills as possible.
3. Find a kinship
Perhaps your kin is planning on creating a chapter on the legendary server, but if not, you might find yourself scrambling on Day One to find a like-minded group of people. Unless, of course, you get your act together and start looking right now. Since SSG doesn’t, at the time of this writing, have a forum for the new server up, I found that the best avenues for kinship shopping was with Discord.
Both the regular and legendary server Discord channels have people talking about the server and forming kins, so that might be a good first step for you. As a bonus, you can start talking and planning with other people right now!
4. Map out your run
If all things stay as SSG has stated, we’ll have about four months to make our way through Shadows of Angmar and to level 50. That’s not that much time to consume a dozen zones and associated content.
Because we do have choices as to where to level, mapping out a run could be helpful if you want to use your time and effort as wisely as possible. For example, I know my Hobbit will start in the tutorial, wrap up the whole of The Shire, and then double back to Ered Luin (for deeds) and early Bree-land (also for deeds) before finishing the higher-level Bree-land content and then North Downs. But maybe you want to do Lone-lands instead, or you have to decide when you want to tackle Evendim (if at all). None of this is necessary, but it could help to have a plan.
5. Set starting week goals
I’m not the go-go-go mentality, but I do acknowledge that there are important goals that I should reach within the first day and then the first week. These include:
- Securing the character name that I want
- Getting my riding skill
- Joining up with my kinship
- Buying a starter home
- Begin squirreling away and making money
- Building up a new cosmetic wardrobe
I won’t be in any particular rush to do these things, but I expect that by the end of this initial week, my character will be more settled in and starting to fire on all cylinders.
6. Decide what to buy from the LOTRO store
This is a slightly touchy subject due to everyone’s feelings about the cash shop, but even with a sub-only server, it’s hard to avoid it. I’m not going to go on a spending spree, but there are a few purchases that I’m expecting to make to make life and gaming easier for my character.
The two most essential buys, for me, are the riding skill (because ain’t nobody has time to wait until you’re high enough level to do the stable quests) and the milestone cooldown reducer that takes the recharge from 30 minutes down to just five. Between those two, I’ll have transportation in hand for my adventures.
Other attractive store purchase options include a second or third milestone, more wardrobe space, and more vault space. Of course, if you don’t have some zones or expansions opened up yet, those might come at a higher priority.
And don’t forget: A new server means a fresh new field for deed grinding — and LOTRO point acquisition. By being diligent with deeds, you could end up saving up enough for that big purchase that would otherwise put you out 10 or 15 bucks.