Do you play ‘challenge characters’ in LOTRO?


In order to ensure a lachallenge_characterrge player base, the difficulty of MMOs is often turned down to facilitate the play style of so-called ‘casual gamers’. In doing this however, long standing members of the community can find themselves losing interest in the game, complaining that gameplay is ‘on rails’ and unengaging.

Increasingly, LOTRO players are rolling up ‘challenge characters’, with their own self imposed rules, to bring new joy to what they consider to be an otherwise stale gaming experience.

Examples of rules players self impose on their challenge characters include

  • all quests must be done on level;
  • levelling via Epic Quests only;
  • no running, walking only;
  • characters must make camp or find a settlement during the in-game night cycle;
  • only gaining experience through crafting; and
  • not killing NPCs, only doing peaceful quests.

For me, the real challenge of LOTRO is finding enough time to log in more than a few times a week!

Do you play a ‘challenge character’ in LOTRO? And if so, what rules do you set for yourself?


  1. Karvett /

    I’ve been trying to years to play content only on level. Starting to get there. 🙂 I also have the time challenge. I do have a Warden that I’m going to do 100% on level as much as possible and 100% of the content. Going to take a long time on him.

  2. Flosiin /

    On my captain: solo Fikil, all 3 signature mobs from Monster or madness quest, Library at Tham Mirdain. Warg Pens T2.
    My hunter, soloed the 3 signature at the top of the stairs in the 3-man School instance! Never would’ve thought that could be done. Took me 7-9 tries. I have it on Youtube video

  3. I think that self imposing restrictions helped me to enjoy Lotro even more! =) I personally try not to die in any way. That can be motivation, or demotivating depending of what happens…

    Alas, my fearless dwarf had not met his fate in the Trollshalls!

  4. Goblinbane /

    I met once an idea to use only gear which will drop from mobs and bosses killed in the landscape. Thats IMO worth trying and will make such toon probably this year 🙂 Will add some funny randomness.

  5. Own challenge rules? LOL! I don’t need those; I started in LOTRO two years ago and I’m only lvl51. Okay, I’m a casual gamer, but fortunately LOTRO is basically not too easy (in contrast to WoW etc.).

  6. Merryrose /

    I saw Dept of Strategery’s tweet today. #lotro Up for a challenge? Try to complete the game in the same real-time time-frame as in the books. (Not anywhere close for me.)
    For me, my main is gaining all Eriador reputation to be followed with Rhovanion & Gondorian rep. Have an alt who is a festival-holic working on completing all festival deeds. Currently eating her way through many biscuits to get all 50 fortunes.

  7. Kaleigh Starshine /

    **A minor spoiler warning for anyone wanting to read the tale I am weaving here entitled The Spirit Gauntlet**, the first entry of which can be found here: 🙂

    At a certain point in the tale, the main character falls under a ‘permanent death’ condition. What this means is that if she ever is forced to ‘retreat’,(what most of us would term as ‘death’) she instead truly dies and is forever lost (deleted).

    When no fate is unimaginable, it definitely makes for an interesting tale, I would say 🙂

  8. Rula /

    How about leveling as a group, dungeons on the level w/o grinding for all the best gear. IMHO it’s the way MMOs we’re intended to be and pretty damn obvious. It’s challenging and fun if you have the stomach for it.

  9. Lilikate Buggins /

    I have my pacifist character on Brandy, she is doing well but as you can imagine not many quests can be completed without having to hit something. But we have fun exploring the world with this viewpoint and she is super smug. As well as very skilled at running away.

  10. I really like some of these ideas – especially the more RP-related ones like having to stay inside settlements during game nights, not taking any swift-travel, and completing the game in the book’s time-frame – but I’ve not found that I need to make the game any more challenging for myself yet – my own ineptitude achieves that for me quite well :p

  11. Sigela /

    We tried to form a group pre skill-trees that was going to do all instances and skirmishes on level to the level that they opened. We formed the group to have a good cross section of classes in order to have a functional fellowship. Then it all fell apart. *weeping*

    The first big problem we had was with tanking because this was also back when you didn’t get auto-aggro for being in a blue tree. My warden got kicked from the group because she couldn’t build and hold aggro at lvl 30 as fast as people wanted to start fighting so I was forced to replace her with a hastily built guardian.

    We eventually disbanded the whole shebang and people quit coming because they didn’t want to stay synched with each other.

  12. Zyngor /

    I have a dwarf champ, Crabori, who is a rather bit of a grouch. As such, he refuses to help the Free Peoples with their specific quests. Ultimately, it is enemy XP that he must rely on for his experience gains. There is very minor gains in Forestry and Prospecting, but I’m only doing enough to basically get through the tiers (figured I may as well do that since I’m out in landscape most of the time anyways). He can manage to deal with auctioneers to pick up/sell supplemental loot (only using gold he has gained himself), or pick up something from the skirmish camp with his own earned marks earned via deeding (can’t do skirmishes or instances because that starts a quest on the tracker). So yeh, no quests of any kind (other than the required bit here and there), just kills. He is level 29 at the moment, and I can tell that one will take quite awhile.

    I had also come up with one awhile back that I never really got around to playing at all – a melee-only hunter. No bow permitted. I *think* many of the trap skills still require a bow slotted, so I’m not quite sure which tree I would go should I ever got back to this. The backstory involved a hobbit lass who basically got post-traumatic amnesia after being attacked by a bear, and lost the ability and skill to use a bow.

  13. I never saw a strong need for challenge characters both IC or OOC. I rotate in and out of LOTRO for the last 4 years playing as Herb Mangal (Herbigharo). Each time I return to the game, yet another drastic drop in players is realized. This leaves a smaller audience for my character. Currently, there is very little if any audience remaining. It is safe to say, I will make lvl 100, go back to FFXIV then come back for Minas Tirith / Mordor. After that, log in for last time before LOTRO is decommissioned by Turbine.

    The best example of a challenge character was a dude who leveled a druid on WoW doing nothing buy herbalism gathering while not completing a single quest in-game.

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