Here’s an esoteric tidbit for you today: Way back in 2010 when I took over the Lord of the Rings Online column at old Massively, I very much wanted to change the (then) column name of Road to Mordor to “Second Breakfast.” I was told that this was a little too obscure and that brand recognition had already set in, so that fell along the roadside.
It’s very easy to ignore eating and drinking in this game. After all, you don’t need to consume foodstuffs to survive and level. But you are hobbling yourself and divesting yourself of a wonderful advantage that could make your game time more enjoyable and productive. So let us look at the benefit and use of food and drink in LOTRO today.
LOTRO’s food pyramid
As I said before, food isn’t something you absolutely need to use all of the time, but if you’ve never developed the habit of using it, then you’ll probably be ignorant of how useful it is when you hit tougher content, such as troublesome landscape sections or group instances. Food bestows helpful buffs that give you the edge in these situations.
Your character has three food slots available at any given time on your buff bar for each of the three food categories: cooked food, trail food, and fortifying food. So you can’t have two cooked food buffs going at the same time, but you can have one of each. Make sense?
Cooked food is perhaps the most important of the three, as it gives you a running buff to your in- and out-of-combat morale and power regen in addition to helping cure a wound, poison, disease, or fear. This food type is great to help you bounce back quickly after a fight so that you can get right back into the mix — and the small bit of passive healing during combat is nice as well.
Trail food is all about delivering a flat buff to a primary stat. Since every class favors one particular stat, it behooves you to increase that stat as much as possible. While most trail food focuses on a single stat, there are some that deliver multiple stat boosts, such as Feasts of Anórien.
Then there’s fortifying food. This category of snacks helps you buff up your resistances. I have no empirical data on this, but I suspect that a lot of LOTRO players ignore their resistances and end up taking a lot more damage than they should otherwise. This a good way to toughen up while you’re out on the road.
So where do you get your food? There are plenty of vendors that sell basic tiers of food, but generally these have short durations and lesser benefits. I hate using food that has less than a 30 minute duration because I’ll always be forgetting to buff back up every 10 minutes or so.
Therefore, you can either turn to certain vendors (such as reputation or holiday vendors) that offer superior versions of food or to crafters. Farmers and cooks work together to make much better consumables for chow time, and often you can pick up huge stacks of their wares at the auction hall. Of course, you could just make them yourself!
Personally, I have a “buff bar” on my hotbars that I’ll click through in succession when I log in each night. There are the three food types, a hope booster, any scrolls that I’ve gotten through Hobbit presents, pet food, and a couple of other odds and ends. Fully buffed up, there is a noticeable difference in how effective my character is during a session.
Other food and drink
There are plenty of other things to eat and drink in LOTRO apart from the three main food types, of course. Carnival food offers very useful buffs, such as an XP booster for the oh-so-tasty Oliphaunt Ears. I definitely need to grab some of these new honey rolls from the recent Vales of Anduin update for their 5% damage increase.
Drinking is of lesser importance in the game, although there is plenty to be had. You can get liquored up well and good with the various alcoholic beverages, but apart from messing up your screen and taking part in a few quests, there isn’t a useful benefit from getting drunk. It’s kind of like smoking pipeweed: It’s there for roleplay and to help immerse you into the world.
Of much more use is coffee, which adds a run speed buff to your busy little character. You’re always heading places in the game, so there’s no reason NOT to have a run speed buff going, unless you’re an overpowered Hunter or something.
If you really want to master your appetite in Lord of the Rings Online, however, then you will want to stock up and chow down on some delicious Barrow-brie. You’ll thank me later. If you are still around to thank me, that is.