LOTRO Legendarium: Brainstorming new hobby ideas for LOTRO


April 24th, 2008. That was both the first and last time that Lord of the Rings Online added a hobby to the game — in this case, fishing. This serene activity quickly became a mainstay for procrastinating Hobbits, cooks, and festivals. And ever since the idea of hobbies came into the game, players have wondered when, what, and if the studio will add more of them.

New hobbies are sporadically mentioned by the dev team, usually in a “yeah we keep thinking about them but nothing has been announced” sort of fashion. The devs used to bandy about the idea of introducing golf (which does have a cheeky reference in Tolkien’s books), but nothing really came of that.

Maybe we’ll get a new hobby some day, maybe not. In the meanwhile, it’s an entertaining way to pass some time by brainstorming ideas that could fit into the world while being of interest to players. Here are some of my ideas, but I’d love to hear yours in the comments!


Nothing makes you feel more Gandalf-ish than pulling out a pipe and giving it a few puffs in game. However, while smoking emotes and different pipeweed effects have been in the game for a while, there’s certainly room for a more customizable system. I envision one that would let you “level up” your smoking ability so that you could create more elaborate smoke rings, different colored smoke, and maybe even different smoking devices.


Here I’m thinking about explorers being able to add more details and labels to their in-game maps — or maybe a challenge mode where the game map starts blank and you progress this skill by rolling back the fog of war and finding all of the notable locations in a zone.

Flower pressing

We’re certainly well acquainted with picking flowers for various quests and deeds in LOTRO — but what about a hobby that takes this even further? Let players fill out “sticker books” of pressed flowers, completing sets for special emotes, cosmetics, and housing decor.


A similar idea might be to incorporate some sort of painting system. At its most basic, this could be a simple crafting profession requiring pigments, canvas, and repetition to create wall paintings for homes. But what about special portraits that can be created only if you find certain locations in Middle-earth or during festival periods? That could be a fun collection that would take time and effort to fully complete.


Some sort of archaeology hobby could be another way to reuse the game maps and encourage exploration. Are there buried artifacts on each map that need an Indiana Pippin to uncover? Why not!

Tavern games

LOTRO has a great assortment of inns and taverns, but they don’t give you a lot of reasons to stick around in them. Adding minigames to them and attaching them to some sort of hobby progression could be a great reason to congregate in social spaces. Maybe you can  level up in a game only so much in each location, forcing you to roam the landscape looking for more.


We all love our pets, right? Right? Well, what if we could collect, breed, and raise them with a hobby system that certainly wouldn’t require gobs of dev resources! OK, maybe this is a “pie in the sky” concept, but c’mon — it would be pretty amazing.


We know that there are many languages of Middle-earth, so perhaps your character could learn them over time. The reward for this might be the ability to read and hear information and dialogue that you otherwise couldn’t during the course of your adventures.

A grab bag of ideas

Here are some other hobby ideas I’ve seen floated: Postal delivery, wood whittling, stone skipping, gardening, landscaping, book writing, sight seeing, stamp collecting, and charcoal impressions.

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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