Critters casual – Help i’m 105 – A full guide for fresh and returned players


Quick note – Lotroplayers layout functions differently it seems. Tables need to be replaced with images at a later point.

Envision, you have watched the lotr movies or your friend has been talking about Gandalf again. You remember you once played a game that was build around that world. But for some reason you just stopped playing. Now that your interest has peaked again you did some googling and found the client again. The long and hazardous travels through the installation are done and the patching has been completed. You even remember your old account details and you find yourself in Middle earth again. But what is this lotro store, trait tree and why am I seeing all these people talking about in this thing called /world?

In short, you’ve returned to lotro, but you have no idea what you’re doing. Then this guide will hopefully help you find your way back. This article will mostly focus on players that have been around lotro before and as such know their way around the world a bit. For the true beginner, I recommend the Critters casual series. A few of the most asked questions have been answered in those articles. These questions have been the most asked by returning players in my kin, /world and other places I’ve spend some time in.

Faq aka quick answers

Where is my character aka Server merges – 2016 – all levels

I logged into my account, but I can’t find my server I used to play on is an often-found question on support forums and media such as reddit. The bad news first. Your old server might not be online anymore. But besides nostalgia that is probably a good thing. The servers were getting old and some were nearly empty. Turbine has gotten some new servers installed and kept the 5 most populated servers for EU and US. On the Eu side your choice are pretty much self-explanatory between the language and roleplay.

In the launcher, you got the transfer button where you select your old characters and transfer your preciouses to a new home. You still can’t transfer between US and EU servers.
All in all you will find a livelier home for your new adventures into middle earth with lots of old kins and new players to group up with. If you were in a kin before you will want to check out their old website to which server they transferred. If it still exists, you will be automatically enrolled in it. All friend list have been wiped since there was no way to track all movements of all accounts. But I’m sure you will find new friends and kins to join. If you’ve made it to Evernight. Check out wisdom of the valar (shameless kinplug).

What happened to my skill aka the trait trees? – Helms deep expansion – all levels

In the Helms deep expansion turbine revamped all of the classes. Overtime the number of skills grow too large and your skill bars were overflowing even as a hunter. Classes and builds got so generic you forgot what you were playing. Turbine choose to go with the streamlined choice of 3 different builds that each had their own unique feeling. Instead of having all your skills you earned skill points you could spend in a specific colour/trait line.

The easiest way to get your head around them is that Red line is pure damage. Blue is class specific specialty such healing or tanking where yellow used for a hybrid or special sort of dps build. What is the best changes mostly on what you want to achieve in lotro.

2/3’s of the available trait tree point you get from levelling. Another 20 or so you will earn from specific questlines from Rohan and Gondor. The other 15 you can earn from all kind of places. For a complete overview of the places you can get view this wiki post. But don’t worry too much about them. With 40-50 points you can fill an entire trait tree and you should be fine while you settle in

What are essences precious aka essence armour/best gear – update 15 – level 100+

But I got a level 50 armour with essences slots. Throw it away. Anywhere from level 50 to 95 you will find things with sockets and stuff called essences, but just ignore them till level 100. Your craft and quest gear will be sufficient. But after level 100, essence based gear is the best around.

Basically, essence is a build-your-own armour. Are you short some mitigations, equip some of those. You need a bit of morale. The same. But it can be daunting. You can get a ton of slots/sockets a lot faster than you will get the essences. Once you play for a few weeks you will find it intuitive and easy. But this is riddled with personal preferences and each instance or raid might require a bit of nuanced difference in set-up.

The armour and essences can be divided into level 100 (tier 7) and level 105 (tier 8). The higher the better, but the difference is around 10%. So you will survive (a lot cheaper) if you just go for level 100 gear. You will need that extra few % if you want to adventure in the newer and more difficult instances, but that is for a different time.

What are the different colour essences?

The essences are the same colours/rarities as your gear and weapons. Purple is your basic stuff and you will just sell them to a vendor once you get a better piece. The teal/blue ones are a bit better and are mostly the baseline compared to normal gear. The supreme/gold are the best of the best and worth keeping track of. Morale essences are always the most expensive and important, but your dps essences will change from pure mastery to the class specific might/agility/will when looking at tier 8.

Where do I get the essences?

Tier 7 essence are for 95% drops from the epic battle/big battles. But that will require a long time to get. Thankfully with the addition of the Tier 8 the major tier 7 have been added to barters across Middle earth. You can get them for free doing the Minas tirith epic books or get them cheaply from the auction house, skirmish camp or other players.
The tier 8 are only available from crafting. But for more info about this look at ….

Where do I get the armour?

Disregarding what the best set is for a specific class due to the set bonuses. The quickest way to essence armour is getting the anorien crafted jewelry and armours. They are all level 100 and will only take tier 7 essences. They require 4 normal ingot/planks per craft and with a crit they rival some of the bartered and daily armours.

If you’re playing on a slower pace then the daily quest limit/reset isn’t an issue. The daily quest near the fountain in Dol amroth is a great place to get 4 slotted gear with 120 of your main class stat.

I came back to the game from …., what is the best thing i can do now?

Depending on your returning point you will have to travel across a few roads to get back on the top of it all. The real problem is that for once till (105 MT gear) your easily desired gear isn’t gated behind drops or quest rewards. You will get to the level cap before you reach the areas that have the nicer quest rewards.

While we don’t suggest skipping entire regions, but sometimes turbine points or not being Vip means you have to make choices. If gold is no objection you could get a functional character quite quickly with the following 4 steps. What and how much you have to do depends on where you left off or how you got to 105.

  • Get your essences
  • Get your gear (100 intermediate) at 105
  • Get your virtues and deeds
  • Get your imbued weapon (perfected)

For returning players the quickest path depends in what state you left your characters/ If you’re below level 95. Best to keep questing in the right expansion or quest pack areas.

Returned at level 100 or 95.
There are so many regions added after level 95+ or 100. Every region has their own benefits. But eventually you will want to get to 105 as quickly as possible to take advantage of the FI dailies. Most of the bonuses each area has come in during a later point, but the bonus of being 105 Is overall.

Gift of the valar 95
The same as the returned 95/100, but with the bonus of backtracking deeds and virtues. So you get more time to do your dailies for essences and gear at a slower pace.

Returned 105
You’re in luck, you’ve mostly got some virtues and a few gold to spend. All your gear will still come from drops. But you got the option to shortcut the long lost coins and focus on MT/osgi sets to get there quickest

Full guide to 105

You spend all that time installing lotro again. You’ve found your account and after some time you hit that big ding. You’re 105, but also a bit overwhelmed what to next. Gone are the days where an expansion resets all gear and you could just do the latest things and be up and running. Lotro is a mix of old and new. With lots of ways to improve and explore your character or the game.
What you can do will depend on how you got (back in) to the game. From completely new and fresh from the blessing of the valar or just a few months away and already 105. To each their own, but what most people would call a nicely played and equipped character is a character that has ¾ of their available stats. Truth is somewhere between a gear full with advanced …. And pelenor raid gear. But for most in game activities I feel ¾ are fine.

¾ of what?
With a character in lotr there are a lot of different ways to build your character.

  • Level (cat 1)
  • Skillpoints (cat 2)
  • Gear (armour) (cat 2)
  • Gear (jewellery (cat 2)
  • Legendary weapon (cat 2)
  • Essence upgrades (cat 3)
  • Virtues (cat 3)
  • Legendary weapon imbued (cat 3)
  • Relics (cat 3)

Of course, getting one perfected without paying attention to the otherswon’t work. You can divide the above points in 3 categories. You of course have to be level 105 (=/- a few), After that a good mixture of gear, skill points and legendary weapon will give you a well-rounded character with whom you can do most things in lotro with that require damage or heals. The latter points are of minor influence on your enjoyment of the game. But will allow you to tweak and upgrade your hobbit till the end of time (or the fourth age). But time spend on points 1 and 2 will give you the most bang for your buck.
For the guide itself I’ll focus on the 2nd points since I got most questions for these things. For certain parts ill refer to excellent guides that have already been written by the community. No need to reinvent the wheels.

Skill (points)

Gone are the days of messy 80 skill on your action bars. Years ago, lotro has gotten skill trees where you put points in to unlock skills and go deeper in a specific role (red/yellow/blue). The deeper you get in a skill tree the more specific and powerful your skill will be. By getting to 105 you will have 55-60 skill points out of 82 available. This is enough to make maximize on colour. The rest is gained by several different ways.

Quote – There has been talk about making an ingame view for which specific skill points you miss. But now, you’ll have to backtrack a list of available deeds, quests and objectives to catch them all.

Depending on how you got to 105 you must backtrack through quest packs or class deeds. With using a Blessing being the longest travel. Returning players will have done a few deeds and must do the quest chains in Gondor and big battles (17 skill points from level 95 and onward


Obtaining the 15 skill points from class deeds can only be done on mobs that are not grey (level 100 and above) Continue your daily business and just trait the skill on an easy to reach skill bar. They will complete much quicker that way.

In and around moria there are 8 skill points to be gotten by reputation, epic book and buyable books. These should be your first points to get. Quick and relatively easy.

Isengard and eastern rohan are empty of skill point, but Western rohan has 5 quest chains and the big battles for 7 skill points. They take a while, but you will get deeds you will use towards your virtues. Time well spent.

Gondor has a total of 9 skill points available. First 4 are by quest chains in Central gondor. Quite enjoyable, but often skipped since people want to get to Minas tirith and the instances there. Get these later (or quest pack).

After central Gondor, the remaining skill points are locked behind an epic book, an entire zone of deeds or a chain of instances. Content you will run as 105 quite soon, but can work on it slowly.

Amount Source Link
50 Leveling
15 Class deeds
8 Moria (class specific)
2 Epic (big) battle
5 West rohan region quests
4 Central gondor regio quests
3 Epic book Minas tirith + Pelagrir
2 Old anorien deeds (all)

Gear (a tale of essences)

Some call it easy, some call it low maintenance development. But the gearing system in lotro has been made into Build your own armour. While there is certainly still gear and slots that are best filled with a complete item. Most items come with a few base stats and anywhere from 2 to 4 sockets where you can put gems/items in. In lotro these sockets and items are called Essence slots.
Normal gear has 3-5 lines with each line can contain a stat like agility, morale, mitigations. They removed a few lines and you can now put an essence in with 1 specific stat. The one you want or need. The different kinds of essences and armour you can get are described in the
The design your own armour is a system they will continue to use for a while and is nearly impossible to avoid if you want to get into running the harder content. All the landscape content is easily accessible with only minor interaction with essences. You will come across them, but no need to invest a lot of time into them.
Incase you’re planning to dive deeper into grouped content the detailed essence guide is build around the amount of time and gold you’re able to put into the game. If not read on in the landscape armour section

Landscape gear
Most things in your quest log or deed log can be easily done without the crème de la crème armour. If you’re just looking to enjoy the story, festivals and lore in lotro you won’t need those. Landscape armour is a name I like to use for gear you get from your normal activities that’s just equip and go.
One often forgotten source is just the rewards you get from doing quests. If you go from area to area those rewards will fulfil all your needs.  In case you choose to skip certain areas, you might run into issues on light armour classes in survival or find yourself taking ages to kill an orc as a heavy armour character. Below are a few quick fixes if you find yourself in that spot.

Quick and dirty armour
Mathom armour – Available from silver hobbit presents. The armour you get is always the level you are. Gotten some boxes at level 50 but don’t need them? Save them for later.
Hytbold armour – An often-forgotten area at 85. Once completed you can get them easily for all classes. It still carries some weight at level 100. A5 105 you will feel the stats slip away a bit.
Minas tirith epic quest line – A bit further ahead in Gondor. But the 2-slot armour with free essence is a good piece of landscape armour. Just a bit of an ikea set.
Scaled instance drops – A lot of instances have been made available to run from anywhere between 20-105. The armour scales with them as well. Not too hard to run and obtain.
Featured instance armour – Nice rewards, quick runs and often run. Will have 2 essence slots but you’ll get free ones along the way.

Quick and dirty jewellery
Epic battle jewellery – Nothing beats these in cold hard stats with a nice set bonus tagged on top.
Minas tirith or far anorien epic questline – Same as the armour, bit ikea but free and still quite good
Craftable 3-slot with barterable major essences – Auto bestowed recipes, cheap barter major essences. About as quick and dirty as they get.


Virtues are the oldest build your own character that lotro has to offer. You can still slot 5 out of 26 virtues, but you can change them on the fly these days. Gone are the days of the bard. They go up to 19 and each will give you a mix of stats. Some that can’t be gotten elsewhere.
Use virtues to supplement stats you’re missing. Want extra agility and morale? Use determination. Want some extra defence and morale? Zeal is the one for you. The completionist will have them all well above capped. But each extra level of 1 virtue is hidden behind a deed. Ranging from discover 5 places in the shire to make sure there are no troll offspring for 10 years North Ithilien.
A very class specific journey is ahead of you here, but in the end it’s worth it to fill the holes you can’t fill (as efficiently) elsewhere.

Quick and dirty virtues
Levelling or killing mobs – Stats, stats and stats. Go for virtues that give you your main stat (agility, might, will) or vitality/morale
Minimal amount of work for end game – Aim for resistances and mitigations. These stats are hard to get on normal gear. And In such the bonuses you get from virtues with these are your best bet.
Mix – Morale and stats or morale and resistances. Zeal, justice and valour are virtues you can easily get quickly and give stats that universally useful for nearly all places.

Virtues are one of the lowest rewards and take the longest to perfect. Don’t get one to 19 while your others are 5. Your virtues of choice will differ on what you want. First focus on the higher categories, but try to keep them in mind. Your friend wants to run some moria instances for medallions or xp. Suggest that one instance that gives you +2 zeal or that +1 honour instead of that empty instance. It will add up over time. First draft – For better or worse. Essences are your bread and butter in 105 land.  This guide hopes to shed a light on the different type of essences that are available in the game and the armour that you can put them in. Where you step in with your character will depend on the amount of time and gold you can/want to spend.


It will start with a short description and an example. After that it will focus on the essences you will most likely use. Essences will get better in 2 directions. The quality (purple, teal, gold) and the minimum level of the essence (tier). Below is an overview for the essence of agility. From tier 1 to 7 it’s mostly more agility per essence. After that it becomes more complicated with several upgrades that have been added on top of the normal essences. The higher quality will have a secondary stat added to them like morale, vitality or physical mastery (PM). In the last column, you will see the most common names people refer to those essences.
Tier Level Minor Major Greater Supreme Common name
1 50 23 25 28 Moria
2 60 27 30 35
3 70 34 37 43
4 80 47 80 92
5 90 94 108
6 95 108 112 128 129 Helms deep
+16 Vitality
7 100 116 119 136 139 Dol amroth
+17 Vitality
8 105 134 140 149 Pelenor
130 morale 374 PM or 278 morale
8,2 157 Flower or Ithilien
197 PM
8,4 165 Teal Wild
206 PM
8,5 165 FA/gold wild
413 PM

Dol amroth essences (Tier 7)
Major essences can be bartered at the skirmish camp for 500 marks or from Minas tirith
Greater and above drop from the Epic battles.
Crafts are available from Dol amroth and pelagrir coins. Majors will turn into greater. If the recipe crits you will get a supreme.

Pelenor essences (Tier 8)
Major essences can be bartered from Far anorien reputation vendor in the Rohirim camp. Or drops from the Featured instance boxes or mobs
Greater and supreme can be gotten by upgrading major essences. For a more in-depth guide check out

Flower or Ithilien essences (Tier 8.2) Patch 19
Only greater essences available from North ithilien essence boxes. Gotten from quest rewards, Featured instance and since update 19.2 you can turn 3 items in for 1 box.

Upgrade essences Tier 8.4/8.5 Patch 19.2
In update 19.2 a new system has been introduced to upgrade the Tier 8.2 essences. The upgrades are mostly very minor though. But it’s the best available now. For an in-depth guide on how to upgrade them

Essence armour

The continues travel towards a better character used to be instantaneous with every armour drop you got. Now you can build your own armour with the essences described earlier.  Below level 100 the classic stat armour you will get from quests will be superior to essence armour. So, this guide will focus on the level 100 and 105 options. It will be split up into 5 parts due to the cost of removing the essences from the armour to reuse them (essence removal scrolls needed). Budget/throw-away, starter armours (instance ready), Intermediate (Tier 1 instance), Expert (Tier 2) and Perfect (Raid). With the place where you’ll be able to get the armour and suggestions on use and essences. Once you get on the level of expert the final set you’ll want is largely dependent on your class and build. You might even want to get a lower level armour set for specific builds like hunter blueline or captain oath breaker reset set.

Budget (100 armour)
When you freshly get to 100+ and you’re budget in gold or time is limited you will still have some very good options to get started. These options are free or quickly available.
Mathom armour or quest rewards from Central Gondor and further.  Basic stat armour is still a valid option for level 100+.
Minas tirith epic questline – 2-slot purple essence armour with free major vitality and main stat essence. Slightly better than quest rewards
Minas tirith crafted armour non-crit (purple) – 3-slot purple armour – Usually found on the auction house for less than a gold. Don’t put anything expensive in it.

Starter armour (100 crafted armour and Dol amroth
Minas tirith crafted armour crit (teal) – 3slot teal armour with stat and morale – 5-10 gold or easily craftable – Nice for T7 greater or supremes. Will get you ready for most instances, battles and deeds.
Dol amroth (barter locked by rep) – 4-slot teal armour with stat – Locked behind 2-3 dailies in dol amroth – Great for T7 greater and supremes. Lots of cheap flexibility available.

Featured instance armour – 2-slot teal armour with lots of mitigations and set bonus – Excellent 105 starter kit for to replace level 100 budget or starter gear. Will allow you to equip T8 essences.
Faramir – 5-slot teal armour – Morgul crests, only armour with no stats and 5 essences slots. Good choice for very specific classes and builds.

Expert (best non-raid armour, best set changes between classes)
Flower armour and jewellery teal – 4-slot teal 105  with slight stat and morale – Best no-instance run needed available – though still requires a good amount of time
Pelenor armour set – 4-slot teal 105 with set bonus – Tier 1  first boss farm 5 % drop chance – Easy to do, but has fallen out of favour for most people with Flower armour
Osgiligath armour set – 4-slot teal 105 with set bonus – Tier 1 full runs, low drop chance – Harder then pelenor, but still doable with intermediate and starter with good essences.

Expert (superior)
Tier 2 runs of pelenor, osgiligath will have a far larger drop chance for the expert sets, but will require a good mix of intermediate and expert with supreme essences to complete.

Throne of the dread terror tier 1 or tier 2 armour. But if you’ll get those i doubt you’ll need this guide.

Legendary weapons

If you’re not yet level 100. This term won’t seem familiar. But as soon as you get 100 you will be thrown into the deep end that is called Imbued weapons. Some might remember when the legendary item system was introduced in moria. The promise of an item that levelled with you at every expansion. Sadly, as soon as mirkwood was released that proved to be only partly true. Ever since then you’d eventually end up destroying that precious piece of work you so painstakingly created (like your armour).
That promise is what the Imbued legendary item is. No more destroying your legendary item with a new level cap. And it has hold true so far. You will still destroy your third age and don’t bother with a second age. But I’ve been running with the same first age ever since. Even when we got level 105 in Far Anorien.  But it’s a different system, but also the same as you used to. Same terms, different meaning. Is still the gold standard, but a lot of the guide you won’t need.

Main warning
Your imbued weapon is meant to be your final legendary item. But the finale of lotro is still far away. So, its build to be expandable. The total amount of work, xp and items you will need will seem unsurmountable when you start. It is, but it’s not meant to be done in 1 day. So, don’t try to force it.

Minor warning
If you make a mistake it’s not the end of the world. During questing you will get 6 legacy imbued replacement scrolls to correct mistakes of class changes. Without these it’s a costly business. Destroying an imbued item is nearly always a mistake.

Legendary weapon glossary
Term Old meaning New meaning
Item level The level of your item 65-75-95 The total xp of your weapon (Since level doesn’t matter, its always level 100)
Legacy tier Level of your legacy Often confused with item level since it’s the only level. Your current or unlocked level of a legacy
Age of your LI Third, second, first age Any imbued item is assumed to be First age (gold)
Upgrading your legacies Increase the tier of a legacy Increasing the maximum available level of a legacy. Will still need to get xp for it
Increased DPS Get a new LI Use an (anfalas) crystal of empowerment to increase the maxium level of your dps/healing legacy
Major/minor legacy or replace a legacy Level a LI to 31 with the legacy you want and deconstruct it Once imbued there are no major or minor legacies. Neither is it possible to replace a legacy like you did

Quick and dirty
Use a third age legendary item of level 100. While you play without imbuing.
Get a Blemished symbol of the elder king by
Complete the epic book quests in Central Gondor
Get a random drop from an epic battle
Buy one from a player or auction hall.
Get two emerald shards + the symbol to a friendly crafter. Give them 5 high grade planks/ingots. And a few gold for the effort.
Now you got a First age legendary item. Don’t imbue just yet. The effort you put in before imbuing will pay off largely after you imbue.
Things to think about before imbuingWhat do I want to do? Tank, heal, aoe dps, single target dps. The more specific a weapon will be, the more bonusses you will get of it.
Get the legacies on your items you expect to need. See the minor warning about changing your legacies.
Double check your legacies.

Things to do before imbuing
Use a scroll of delving to increase it from level 60 to 70. And fill the item with xp.
Optional – make sure the passive stats are worthwhile. 2-handers have a few passive stats like agility, in combat regeneration etc. Some are useful, some don’t. But don’t take it to the extreme if you’re not a perfectionist or raider. RNG Is king here.

Things that don’t hurt
It might be a while before you get it all settled. Use scrolls of empowerment or crystals before imbuing. Won’t give you a b onus or will vanish after imbuing
Use an (anfalas) crystal of remembrance to give you a 7th legacy. Can use it afterwards, but before imbuing it will help if you struggle with major and minor legacies. Most LI will end up with 1 or 2 main stats anyways. It’s an expensive item

Time to imbue
Years and months have passed. And it’s time to imbue. It’s now time for what seems to be the biggest grind lotro has ever known. It is and isn’t. Remember, your item will last you till lotro ends (or something unlikely happens). Get to any forge master and click imbue. Click again that you’re certain. You’re now the proud owner of a freshly imbued item. You will now need a lot of xp, but around level 120 you will equal your trashy third age level 70. And at level 200-250 you will equal your imba level 95 first age. And it will go even further too 450+. Level 300 is free without any upgrades. After that you will need to unlock them with ingame items.

What will I need
Item For what How many for a max item?
Crystals of empowerment Unlock extra dps/rating levels 19
Scrolls of empowerment Unlock extra other legacies 170 ish
Legacy scroll replacement Replace a legacy 1-2
Xp runes Fill the available legacies A lot
Weapon title Replace weapon damage type 1

These are the total items you will need for a perfect legendary item that will stand the test of time. But already before half way you will get a better item that you would have gotten before. All these items have multiple sources to acquire, but that is a different guide.


Relics might be oldest and strangest parts of a “finished” character. They havnt had an meaningfull update helms deep. The total bonus of all relics is still something to look at. You can get 3 relics + 1 crafted on each legendary item. For a total of 8 small bonusses. Which can equal up to 2-3 essence slots including some no where else to be gotten stats like – attackspeed or 15% devastating magnitude. The best relics are buried deep in understanding of the game mechanics. So sticking with normal stats like mitigations and morale is as good as you’d want to get if you’re just returning.
Even after researching this topic more then the bonuses are worth it I’m still not sure on some parts. But I’ll answer some of the more straightforward questions
What are the best relics?
The higher the tier of the relic the more stats. So tier 9 or 10 (the real answer is some special relics with special stats)
How do I get those high relics?
For every combine/upgrade you will need 5 of the previous tier. So 1 tier 10 = millions of tier 1. Don’t barter those. You will get all kinds of tier relics and setting from instances and other chests. But the upgrading will get real expansive after tier 6. Talking about 10’s to 100’s of gold for a single T10.
There is only one good way to get those T9 and T10 relics you want without the gods of RNG. A full guide will come on a later moment.

Short version
Desconstruct all relic, settings and insignias
Combine/upgrade all tier 1 to 5. Gold prize is acceptable with just a few silver.
Refine T6, T7 and T8. These will give you shards (relic only currencry)
In the melding tab you can then meld shards into specific relics for your legendary item
Refine vs a sore arm
1 higher tier will give you 2 times the shards at the cost of 5 lower tiers and a bit of gold. Some say You should stop at T4 with combining, but I’ll continue up to T6 or 7 depending on how long I neglected my shards. Combine is 1 click, refine is click, move your mouse and click and move back. A complete pain to me for the bit of gold and extra shards. You wont need millionsin the future with the imbued items and relic removal scrolls these days

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