While Lord of the Rings Online features a questing journey that can take you months if not years to go through the entirety of it, the temptation to roll up an alt strikes most of us long before then. It’s simply too alluring to take a break from the routine and try something different for the sake of variety. Another character might rejuvenate that interest that’s been flagging.
Play a class out of your comfort zone
“Trying a new class” is kind of obvious (and unnecessary) advice, but I want to press a little further in this direction because I’m willing to bet that many of you are like me. Within any MMO’s class roster, I usually develop a small inner circle of trusted classes that fit my playstyle while shunning the rest of them. There are the comfort classes… and the ones outside of that zone.
So that’s my first suggestion, which is to make a deliberate choice to venture outside of your comfort zone and force yourself to roll a class that you wouldn’t, under normal circumstances, play. The upshot of this is that whatever you roll will be pretty fresh to you and could surprise you in the long haul. Maybe take a stab at learning gambits with the Warden, punch everything to the level cap with a Brawler, or maul your opposition as a Beorning.
Shell out for a racial variant
Over the past few years, LOTRO’s been slowly adding racial variants to its roster: the High Elf, the Stout-Axe Dwarf, the River-hobbit, and the Númenórean Ranger. Wait, I wasn’t allowed to admit that I’ve seen that last one. Scratch that. In any case, these variants offer some additional class options, different looks, different animations, their own starting experience, and unique racials.
While you’ve got to purchase or unlock some of these, they’re usually worth it. Even a slight variation can be a breath of fresh air under the right circumstances, especially if you’ve already done everything else to date.
One recent addition to the live servers might turn the tables on your ordinary landscape adventures. Standing Stone Games added the ability to increase your difficulty level from mildly tricky to fiendishly hard. Effectively, this is done by nerfing your character and adding special enemy abilities that hit only you.
But it’s a good way for veterans to pit themselves against a greater challenge across the entirety of the game’s world. Not only can you make your own “hardcore” mode, but you get some extra rewards out of it, with bonuses to XP and virtue XP, titles, and cosmetics as you climb up in levels. I’m preparing to do a Fearless run this month, so why not join me?
As I said, we often get into a questing routine that may ignore some beneficial and optional goals in favor of blasting through content as quickly as possible. Instead, why not commit to a completionist run on a character? With this, you attempt to do every quest and every soloable deed along the way.
While this certainly slows you down, there are a lot of great benefits from it. You’ll be raking in the LOTRO Points, seeing parts of the game you don’t normally, maxing out all of your virtues, and getting that blissful satisfaction of hitting the meta deeds on zones. Want even more completion? Tack on reputation grinds on top of that!
LOTRO’s legendary worlds are an obvious attempt to rope in the alt crowd — and at least initially, they do seem to work very well in this regard. You get a completely fresh start and can level up with a community alongside of you while engaging in some interesting rulesets.
The caveat here is that as of summer 2023, there is only one legendary server — Treebeard — that’s online, and that one is pretty far along. It’s not impossible to join up, and its slower leveling pace is certainly another one of those variations we’re looking for in this article, but you’ll need to plug in with the community there and be OK with being behind for a while.
Alternatively, you can wait: SSG said that it is working on a new legendary server with some sort of ruleset we haven’t seen before, although we don’t know whether this is coming later this year or in 2024.
Living in the world
Obviously, it’s important to look at personally untouched features when you’re trying to spice up an alt run. And when it comes to LOTRO, many of us haven’t really dipped that far into the realm of roleplaying that we could. The social scene in this game is robust, especially on select servers, and there are always concerts, parties, and group events that have nothing to do with fighting and looting.
The idea here is to create an alt with the main goal of simply “living” in the world, with a focus on socialization, doing festivals, mostly hanging about towns, and managing housing — perhaps with some homey crafting on the side. You could even use the Stone of the Tortoise to arrest your development to level 15 or 20, choosing to stay at home while others go out on those silly adventures.