The introduction of Legendary items as part of the Mines of Moria expansion to Lord of the Rings Online added a new dimension to the customizability of characters and to the end game - even when your character's level was maxed out, there were still weapons to level up, and First and Second Age items to replace those. A well thought out, leveled-up set of Legendaries quickly became one of the best ways to power up your characters. It's not a perfect system, but for the most part it's a fun and flexible way to tweak your stats and capabilities.
The trade-off is, of course, the shortcoming that's common to all MMOs: The Grind. Spend days, weeks, or months setting up your Legendary items just the way you want them, and then a new expansion bumps up the level cap or introduces new items from an earlier age that can be built to much better stats than your current ones. Add to that the desire in many cases to have multiple sets of Legendaries - multi-role classes like Runekeepers and Captains often switch equipment situationally, for instance, and tanks often benefit from having a solo DPS oriented weapon for when they're not in groups. Then there's also the need constantly level "trash" items to deconstruct for shards and relics.
In short, the Legendary grind can be a recipe for boredom or burnout and many lost hours for the truly obsessed. Fortunately there are a lot of ways to earn a lot of item experience in a short time, especially at high character levels, and even for those without time or inclination to group up for instance runs. I've developed a number of "item XP runs" I go through when I'm in "grind mode" and I thought I would share them.
- Quests should, if possible, be grouped in the same region to minimize travel time between locations.
- All quests mentioned are designed for soloing; a future article will cover group-based XP runs.
- I've tried to cover a wide geographical area of Middle-Earth, in the knowledge that not everyone has purchased every zone or expansion, especially free players.
- There should be enough variety to limit repetition and "grindyness".
With those in mind, I present my solo item XP grinding strategies. Note that the Item XP totals below do not include points earned for monster kills along the way, which of course will vary by level and by how aggressive your approach is.
Though the sheer item XP numbers for this one are the lowest of the bunch, it's my current favorite because at level 75 I can get the whole thing done in 15 minutes!
Start in Thangulhad by grabbing the six repeatable quests there. Run the Death From Below instance first, making sure you've got the Orc-Medallion quest - you'll probably get all your medallions from goblins you fight while helping the dwarves. Death From Below can be a little rough if you're in the low 60s level-wise or aren't familiar with it, but once you've had a bit of practice (or leveled up) it's easy. Next, ride in a big loop in the wilds outside of town, making sure to hit all the scouting points and grab all the flags. In the area where the flags are, go into one of the orc-forts and click the flashing wooden item to plant a banner. If you're of high enough level, you can go get a drink while waiting the two minutes it takes for the timer to run out - nothing will attack you! Keep an eye out for the injured elf in the same area and escort him past the pair of wolves hunting him.
|Requires:||Mirkwood, completion of quests that open up the repeatables in Thangulhad|
|Side Benefits:||Malledhrim reputation & barter items, loot.
This one starts at Telain Galadhrim, the bank and auction house flet in Caras Galadhon. Do the supply delivery quest that takes you down to the city gates and pick up Lothlorien Preparations I and II there. Leave town, cross the bridge, pick up the flashing supply crate, and start the long walk to Talan Fanuidhol. Once there, climb the ladder to get all the quests offered up top, then do a big loop through the nearby orc-infested area to complete them. Once you've turned them in, hop on your horse and ride to Echad Andestel. At the stable there, if it's night and you're so inclined, a swift-travel ride to the Vinyards to scold some drunken elves will net you an extra few thousand item XP. Otherwise, swift travel back to Caras Galadhon to turn in the last Preparations quest.
There are a number of other easy repeatables in the area, but they involve a lot of running around so I usually don't bother with them.
|Requires:||Lothlorien, completed prerequisite quests.
|Xp Earned:|| 54921
|Side Benefits:|| Lothlorien reputation and barter items, loot.
Moria Crafting Instances
There are three pairs of short instances in Moria that, besides having daily repeatable quests, contain massive amounts of crafting supplies. Hadudbab in Durin's way has Scholar materials, Mezer-Berej in Zelem-Melek has wood, and ores for prospectors are at Gharaf-Fahem in the Redhorn Lodes. It's possible to run all 18 quests (three quests per instance times six instances) in an hour to an hour and a half, yielding just under 95,000 item XP. But where the real XP gain comes in here is when you cash in the 18 Iron Garrison Resource Tokens you've earned from the questgivers for a Cryptic Heritage Rune of Legend worth 127,300 points.
I usually don't run these all at one time. Instead, I go only to the ones that have resource nodes that my character can use, and I do it at most every three days. The quests are repeatable daily, but the crafting resources only reset after 72 hours. I hold on to the tokens until I've got 18 of them and then cash in for the rune.
|Side Benefits:||Moria reputation & barter items, loot, crafting supplies
The Enedwaith repeatables are spread out around the region so this set of quests is not as efficient for IXP as some, but I still run through them once in a while for variety and for the barter tokens earned that can be traded in for junk Legendaries, damage type scrolls, and XP runes. Note that I'm not referring here to the Thror's Coomb quests which, while soloable or mostly so for some, are really group content and will be covered in a follow-up.
My Enedwaith run starts at Echad Dagoras; three repeatables there send me to the bandit camps to the north-west and the Black Dens east of there. Rather than running back to turn those in, I head south out of the Dens to Gavar Cadlus for more quests. I take care of those quests as I head south toward Uch Cadlus, where I do Protecting the Herd (hint: take a swipe at the attacking animals, but let the cows tank them!) I turn in the quest at Uch, then begin a series of back-and-forth rides to turn in quests: Uch to Saeradan's camp, then from there back to Gavar Cadlus, then Uch Cadlus again, and finally back to Saeradan. Once all but the initial Echad Dagoras quests are turned in, I head south to Lhanuch and get the three repeatables from inside the tent there. I head out toward Cantrev Matho, taking out wargs, bandits, and half-orc bosses until the quest trio is complete. Then I ride back to Lhanuch, turn in the quests, and swift travel back to Echad Dagoras to finish up.
|Requires:||Enedwaith, prerequisite quests.
|Side Benefits:||Enedwaith & Grey Company reputation and barter items, loot.|
Enter Isengard through the broken sewer pipe in Nan Curunir and you'll find a Rohirrim soldier there giving out four daily quests. This is yet another instance where you can essentially make a big loop around the area to complete the quests; the only exception is that the Apprentices of Saruman don't spawn as often as they probably should, so you might need to ride around looking for them. Goblin engineers can be found in large numbers by jumping into either of the vertical sewer pipe openings near the bridge across the big pit on the north side.
Remember to save the task items you pick up from enemies killed here and take them to Forthborond when you're done; they can be traded for XP, item XP, and reputation there. This area is also a good place to pick up new high-level Legendaries as monster drops.
|Requires:||Isengard, completion of quests that open up repeatables inside the walls of Isengard itself.
|Xp Earned:||22408 + 4682 per Task turned in
|Side Benefits:||Reputation with Theodred's riders, loot, task items, character XP if not at 75.
Honorable Mention: Esteldin Bounties
There are five repeatable quests available from Esteldin which give item XP and IXP runes as rewards. They don't fit well with the ones listed above because they require a lot of multi-zone travel, they're on a three-day timer, and they don't have much in the way of side benefits like loot or reputation. They're also intended as group quests, but three of the five are very easy to solo (and the other two can be soloed if you're leveled and equipped for it). However, I'm including them here because they might be the best option for free players who haven't spent points on any of the higher level zones yet.
On the rare occasion when I do these quests I usually only do 4 of them, skipping the big one - the dragon in a remote area of the Misty Mountains that takes a while to get to and even longer to fight if you're not in a group. But by killing the wisp in the North Downs, hunting the worm in Forochel, beating up the wolf in the swamp in the Shire, and letting the troll in the Trollshaws know I'm not putting up with his Dhit any longer, I can earn 68158 item XP. Should I decide to take out the drake, there would be an additional 23,400 IXP rune and a few thousand more from turning in that quest.