Ask Pineleaf: Does defeat affect skirmish rewards?


Skirmish News

Belwynne asks:

Is there any difference in marks and medallions awarded if you die during a skirmish and if you don’t?

What other factors impact # of medallions/marks awarded?

Skirmish Awards

We will start with the broader question: what factors affect your mark/medallion awards in a skirmish?

Marks are awarded each time you complete a goal within a skirmish (e.g., control point, encounter, or keeping defenders alive). Generally, the later the goal is in the skirmish, the higher the award. This award is multiplied by various factors to determine your final award for completing that goal.

  1. The first factor is the level at which you are running the skirmish. This factor doubles approximately every 16 levels. Therefore, you will get many more marks for running a level-85 skirmish than you would for running a level-30 skirmish.
  2. The second is your relative level to the level of the skirmish. Therefore, a level-57 character will receive about 10% more marks for completing a level-60 skirmish than a level-60 character would in running the same skirmish at the same level. Due to the first factor, this would be about 20% more marks than if you had run the skirmish at level 57. This isn’t bad if you wanted to run one specific skirmish, assuming you can run that skirmish at the same tier as you would at your own level. Note that this also doesn’t take into account the possibility that it will take you longer to run the skirmish at three-levels higher. Generally, I only worry about increasing the level in a solo skirmish if it will place me in a higher skirmish award band (for more lucrative bounties and better relics). The award bands start at 20, 30, 50, 60, 66, and 76.
  3. Third, we have the group size. The larger the group size, the greater the adjustment for the rewards.
  4. Fourth, we have the tier at which you are running the skirmish. A Tier 2 run provides a better award bonus than a Tier 1 run. Since you can still use the Advanced tab when increasing the Tier, this is generally a better way to improve your marks reward than increasing the skirmish level. This also increases the frequency of relic drops (though it will not affect the quality as you can if you increase the level to a higher reward band).
  5. Fifth, we have the bonus for using the instance Finder Advanced tab. If you allow the Instance Finder to select any skirmish at random, then you receive a 50% bonus to your rewards. The percentage is prorated depending on the number of skirmishes you have available and the number you include in the selection pool.
  6. Finally, we get to the Shame of Defeat penalty, which is the adjustment that prompted Belwynne’s question.

Shame of Defeat

Whenever you are defeated in a skirmish, you receive a Shame of Defeat debuff. This debuff lasts for one hour, or until you successfully complete s skirmish. If you are defeated again while you have the Shame of Defeat debuff, then the one-hour timer is reset and you receive another tier of the effect. The first 11 tiers are listed in the table below.

Defeats Penalty Defeats Penalty
























Note that this does not apply to Survival: Barrow Downs. That skirmish has a different set of rules for mark awards and defeat that is outside the scope of this article.

What can you do about the Shame of Defeat penalty?

  1. Your first option involves the LOTRO store (which I presume is a surprise to no one). Under Goods & Services > Skirmish Items, you will find an item called “Remove Skirmish Defeat Penalty” (x1 for 20TP or x5 for 85TP). This will remove your current Shame of Defeat penalty. If you are getting repeatedly defeated in the boss fight for Icy Crevasse, then you can use one of these to remove the penalty after defeating the boss but before taking the flag.
  2. Your second option is to spend 8000 Destiny Points for the same effect, which I find to be a bit over-priced. This will only be available for VIP players.
  3. Under some situations, you can vary when you run encounters to mitigate this effect. For example, if an encounter is particularly tough, you can save it until after the boss fight so that you get full marks from the boss fight before risking defeat during the encounter. There are four problems with this: some skirmishes don’t allow you to run encounters after the boss fight (such as Ford of Bruinen), you only get credit for the deed if you complete the encounter before you end the skirmish (which is relevant only if you don’t have credit for that encounter yet), you won’t get much use of the flags dropped by the encounter boss (of course, many players don’t use these anyway), and you may be stuck with a Shame of Defeat penalty in your next skirmish if you plan on running another one within the next hour.
  4. Finally, you can decide to just live with the debuff. This is the option that I generally choose.

The main thing to remember is that if increasing the tier or level of the skirmish will cause you to be defeated more often, then the bonuses you receive for the run may be negated by the defeats. In addition, in many skirmishes (especially offensive skirmishes) each defeat can mean a long run back to where you were defeated. For some players, the loss of time may be as important as the loss of marks.

May your shield protect you and your spear never break,

Pineleaf Needles


  1. Andang /

    Thanks for this in-depth answer Pineleaf!

  2. Lilikate Buggins. /

    Great answer! Thanks for the information Pineleaf.

  3. Now that cap has moved, what are the award bands after 76, and do they tie to something in-game like relics?

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