Lord of the Rings Online is a free to play MMO, but free doesn’t mean “complete.” To make it to the top and see the whole game you have 2 primary options, the traditional subscription model or purchasing content piece by piece from the in game store. But there is a third option, although it has many limitations and will require Bruce Wayne like willpower and patience; you can earn store credit in the game.
If you earn enough credit you can purchase account upgrades, quest and expansion packs, character slots, equipment, and more. There is no limit to how much credit you can earn on your account, but there are a limited amount of tasks that earn you this credit. Those tasks have to be repeated in a substantial grind. What follows is one method and attempt at finding a efficient pattern to running through credit granting content. It is advised that you become somewhat familiar with the game before continuing to the guide portion below.
First and foremost you should know that the fastest way to earn credit is via a 1 use-per-server quest which grants 10 turbine points (TP). The quest is designed to give you TP to use to unlock the second portion of the quest, to familiarize yourself with the LOTRO store, Don’t do this! Instead accept the 10TP reward for the first part of the quest and ignore the rest. The quest is offered in the introduction instance of the game and can only be accepted once per server. As a final encouragement to play around and explore in the game I will abstain from describing the quests exact location other than to say that the fastest acquisition of the quest is in the dwarf/elf starting zone. I recommend you grab this quest on every server before you begin grinding at all, but you may wish to start a new character and complete this guide on each server.
First off is race and class selection. To put it simple: Man Champion. That’s really all you need to know, but I will continue anyway. Damage is the absolute most important focus when going for speed. Not only do you complete tasks faster but you take less damage, letting you continue quicker. Because this guide includes consumable use, defense is minimally important, finishing the fight is all that matters. The champion is a excellent grinder, he wears solid armor and deals out strong damage individually and more importantly the champions is the strongest Area of Effect damager. In fact the Champion is only 1 of 2 options that include a notable AoE attack, and the other (Guardian) is a distant second. The champion can engage large groups and bring them all down quickly, as well as engage and quickly dispatch individuals. Enough said, right?… Wrong; the absolute most important aspect of this process isn’t speed, but follow through. Who cares if the champion is faster if you can’t stand playing it (or playing it again.) 2nd place is the Hunter, strong single target damage means you can engage just as many mobs as the champion and makes a great change of pace (be warned, the “you can’t attack while moving” messages may drive you nuts.) The 3rd place goes the Lore Master with his solid damage, amazing CC, and pets (which are great for engaging multiple targets). 4th place stands the Captain, a capable choice but far from efficient. Grinding with the captain is more about soaking damage and non-stop chain pulling. Avoid everything else unless you intend to play with that character normally*
*Warden and Rune Keeper are not included in this statement, but left out since they cost TP.
As for race: Dwarf and Man make the best choices since they have the shortest introductions and solid stats/passives as champions (this doesn’t matter much though), the Dwarf intro may be slightly shorter but the final instance is much longer. Mix and match to your preference and boredom. The guide works with any race, but you’ll have to find your way to the areas to begin with. (you can get clever and change the order of things to waste no time if you go dwarf instead of man)
The tutorial and introduction stages of the game have no opportunities to gain TP so they are skipped in this guide but unfortunately must be completed each time you play through. The difference between completing the entire introduction and rushing through the main quests is debatable in time saved. If you finish it all you’ll be a higher level and able to grind faster, especially if you have any items sent over from an anchor (more on that in a moment). Generally I prefer to rush through the introduction.
One notable speed increase is to not loot. Unless you are waiting for a re-spawn, you need to loot quest items, or it is noted in the guide, DON’T LOOT. It’s also advisable to keep food on hand to speed up recovery time after large or long fights, you’ll get a few food items within the course of the guide.
One final note before the actual guide: server choice and anchors. Choosing a server is an interesting prospect, low population is good for grinding but can also be bad if new players are being directed there. It’s extremely effective to have an established (just finishing this guide is enough) character to “anchor” the server, acting as a go between and crafter for your grinders. Generally it’s a good idea to have a few servers for grinding in case one area is overpopulated (I have 3.) Don’t underestimate the usefulness of having a grinder with your main character though, you will get a few very useful items that you can stock up on for your main… it’s too good of a surprise to spoil though. The role of your anchor will be described when we reach about 1/3 of the way through the guide, as that is where it comes into play.
So here you stand in Archet; whats next? Your quest for 90TP!
Be sure to read quest text if this is your first time through, nothing worse than heading out and realizing you didn’t advance “A Threat From Spiders.” Generally speaking; if you are near a quest that can be turned in or advanced, do it.
Take Quest: Disease Among the Boars from Constable Thistlewool
Take Quest: Burying the Dead from Jon Brackenbrook
Take Quest: A Threat From Spiders from Atli Spiderbane
Head out the main gate of Archet and kill boars and bury the 2 bodies on the way to do A Threat from Spiders. It is highly recommended to loot boars for hide and save them for the “Optional but recommended” section later. When you reach the farm, do the Spider quest and kill as many spiders as you see (If you pass a spider, kill it. Literally kill every spider, this is where you’re TP comes from.) Enter the cellar and grind your way through the spiders to the other end, which is just north of Archet. Head out from the cave and bury the last body near the hunter’s lodge and head back to Archet, grinding spiders along the way to turn in your quests. You should be around 30/30 spiders killed on the spider slayer deed. These deeds are where your TP comes from. If you’re not there yet, don’t worry you’ll have plenty of time to grind more.
After turning in the quests in Archet:
Take Quest: Finding a Reason from Atli Spiderbane
Take Quest: Builder Earur from Builder Earur
Grind back to the spider cave and examine the body outside. Now grind your way through it picking up the journal pages. One of the branches leads to a basement, you’ll know the one by all the little 1 hit point spider hatch-lings. Stop in here to kill Ionaith, this large spider is the objective of the final quest from Atli but can be done in advance of him mentioning it (she drops a quest starting item if you have made progress on “Finding a Reason”)
Pop out of the cave and head to the road to grab the box for “Builder Earur” and grind your way back through the cave to Archet and turn in the quests. Builder Earur will reward you with 5 rations, use these to keep your killing speed up.
Take Quest: A Message for Taylor Green from Builder Earur
If you haven’t already finished both stages of spider slayer (30/30 and 60/60) grind through the north path, cave, and farm until you do. Part 1 of spider slayer grants 5 TP and part 2 gives 10.
Leaving from Archet, Open up your level 5 gift and activate that horse.
It’s time to go to Combe. But first:
Take Quest: Crafting: Strong of Arm and Sharp of Mind from Edward Carver just outside the gate from Archet (this is part of the optional branch, but is free XP whether you follow it or not)
-Activate the Milestone in the center of town, this will let you teleport back with your “Map Home.”
-Turn in the crafting quest, but ignore every other Combe quest for now!
(OPTIONAL BUT HIGHLY RECCOMENDED)
You now have the option of grabbing a crafting vocation from the building behind where you just turned in the quest. Simply put, take Explorer. Go back outside.
Take Quest: Crafting: Geoffrey Fuller hates Splinters.
Use the hides you saved from the boars in Archet to make padded gloves and turn the quest in (take the wood and treat it if you like.) If this is your first character on this server go back to the Crafting hall and switch your vocation to Armsmen to use the bronze ingots you just got to make yourself a weapon (I use the swords). It’s very unlikely you will find a higher DPS weapon than this throughout the guide. More importantly you can now create these weapons to be ready for your next grinder to use from the start, drastically reducing the time spent grinding. You can make these high damage weapons out of either rowan wood (clubs and hammers) or bronze ingots. Wood is easier to find, the ingots make better weapons (daggers and swords)
If you have already followed this guide through, keep Explorer and mail the materials to your Armsmen anchor (enough to make your next grinder a sword). Now as you progress you can gather wood and metal (remember to treat the wood) and send it to your anchor for your next grinder, you can even make yourself some armor as an explorer and start out fully equipped. Using this method to “twink” out your grinders has a substantial increase in efficiency.
(END OF OPTIONAL SECTION)
You can either activate the writ of passage you got from your leveling gift and ride straight to Thorin’s gate, or ride into Bree and take the west fast travel point (riding to Bree also takes you by a vault on the off chance you need to bank).
Either way it’s off to Thorin’s Gate.
In Frern’s Court:
Take Quest: A New Shine from Hali Shimmershield
Take Quest: Sprung a Leak from Tindr
Take Quest: Gisli’s Favourite from Ormr
Now head north up the stairs to Thorin’s hall. On the way up:
Take Quest: The Lost Tool from Flosi
Inside Thorin’s Hall, to the right of the statue:
Take Quest: The First Gear from Bavor
Now go do part 1 of A New Shine and head back out into the world. A ways to your right as you exit Thorin’s Hall (in the north west corner of the map) is a winding hill that leads to Mirkstone caves. Head there, you’ll know you’re in the right spot if you see goblins. Now grind on goblins. This is a quick grind as you are higher than them, but the goal is to grind the 30/30 and 60/60 deeds for another 15 TP. You will encounter more goblins later, but it is much faster grinding here since they are lower level. When you reach the top of the hill step inside Mirkstone Caves and gather Gypsum and Small stones for “Sprung a Leak.” Ignore the cave crawlers in here even though you have a quest for them, you’ll kill more later and do 2 quests at once. Finish grinding goblins.
Now that you have your 30TP it’s time to move on, head to the south east area of the map (follow the quest marker) to Rockbelly Pit. In here gather sand, kill and loot crawlers for the quests, and be sure to get both the lost pickaxe and first gear from the bottom of the cave. Now it’s time to turn in those quests, but before you go sprinting off be sure to swing into the area Silver Deep mine at the bottom of the hill and across the frozen lake. This will make you 3/5 on the exploration deed “Places of the Dwarves” and the last 2 places are our next stops for an easy 5 TP.
Turn in and advance all the quests in Frern’s Court.
Take Quest: A Patch in Time from Tindr.
Head north to Thorin’s Hall and turn in your remaining quests while doing “A Patch in Time.” Return to Frern’s Court and turn it in.
Take Quest: The Flow to Noglond from Tindr.
Head to the stable and fast travel to Noglond.
Turn in “Gisli’s favourite”, the “Flow to Noglond”, and advance “A New Shine.”
Take Quest: Cutting Cords from Grimkell Stonebearer
Ignore the other quests. Seriously, they take too long and get you nothing in the terms of this guide.
Go do cutting cords (all you do is talk to the NPC up the road) and turn it in.
Take Quest: Hunting Goblins from Grimkell Stonebearer
Kill a goblin to the south and get the Goblin Fetish and turn it in. You should (need) to be level 10 by this point, if not you missed something. (or the game has been updated beyond the scope of this guide)
Fast Travel to Gondamon.
5/5 on Places of the Dwarves. Easiest 5 TP since the tutorial quest.
Stop by the bard and activate your traits, be sure to go to your trainer. (If you’re trainer is not here [Guardians] go back to Thorin’s Hall and skill up, level 10 stuff is juicy. While you’re there turn in “A New Shine” and you won’t need to come back later, no time lost)
Take Quest: Protecting the Hunt from Orlygr
If you’re out of food buy some more. Head north to do the quest and grind on Dourhand Dwarves. This is the hardest grind in the guide so use the consumables you got from your leveling gift, especially morale regen buffs. If the area is not crowded this is a good place to use one of the 2 “Deed Accelerators” you got from the same gifts, just make sure you can make use of it and only use 1. After you’ve ground out all 90 dwarves you’ll walk away with another 15 TP. Head back to Gondamon and turn in “Protecting the Hunt”. Now fast travel back to Thorin’s Gate and finish off “A New Shine.” This will finish off the Ally of Ered Luin deed for another 10 TP.
Use your Map Home to teleport back to Combe (or Archet if you forgot to set the Milestone.)
The home stretch!
Take Quest: Reconnecting Ties from Maida Woodwright
Take Quest: Mouring the Dead from Gail Catchpole
Take Quest: Friendships Renewed from Burl Beeman
Take Quest: Blackwold Valuables from Constable Sageford
Take Quest: Unpaid Dents from Constable Sageford
Take Quest: Beneath the Hanging Tree from Ted Pickthorn
Head out of town and talk to Constable Wren to advance quests, hop over the hill and do “Beneath the hanging Tree” Head to the lumber yard to turn in “A Message to Taylor Green” (follow the map if you need too)
Take Quest: Old Bauman’s Farm from old Bauman
Take Quest: Posco’s Uncle from Posco Burrows
Head into Chetwood north (be sure to advance Posco’s Uncle) and do all the quests in the area while grinding on Blackwolds. Use your second Deed Accelerator if it’s not crowded. There may be a line for some of the quests mobs (especially Reconnecting Ties) so don’t waste time standing around if your accelerator is on. You can also skip a few quests if you can’t get the mob and do a different one in Bree or Combe (the wolf quest from Taylor green is quick and easy substitute for Reconnecting Ties)
Grind all 90 Blackwolds needed for the slayer deeds for another 15 TP.
Head back to the lumber yard then Combe, turning in quests.
Take Quest: Rurik Fennel, Locksmith from Constable Sageford.
Run up the road and talk to Rurik Fennel. Keep going and turn in “Friendship’s Renewed” then head back into Combe and turn in “Rurik Fennel, Locksmith” to finish off the “Bree-Land Adventurer” deed for your final 10 TP.
Loot yourself, send whatever you can to your anchor (or park near a mailbox/forge/vault if this is your anchor.) You cannot mail gold as a free player (you can as premium which requires at least a 1 time purchase) so buy up some tin or bronze in the auction hall and send that to your anchor, remember to save gold for postage.
Rinse and Repeat.
Whether you use this to fill in the gaps in what you pay for or if you are undertaking the challenge to grind it all out for free, Good luck and enjoy Middle-Earth.