LOTRO: Quest Pack Recommendations

Quest Pack Sale

This week there is a 50% sale on LOTRO Quest Packs! (Note – the headline on the linked sale page says it’s only a 20% sale, but the body says 50%, and the prices in TP back up the 50%-off figure. The picture above is a screenshot of the actual store prices today.)

Back before I had all the packs I used to love sales like this, and look forward to them. But in the early days when I didn’t have a lot of TP to spare it was always a conundrum which packs to get next. How would I know which I’d enjoy without trying them? Of course I Googled around, and checked out what info I could find to help me.

Now that I’ve been around a bit more, and seen a lot of the content for myself, I thought I’d offer my own brief reviews and recommendations for the latest generation of LOTRO players.

List of Quests Packs

Here’s the list of Quest Packs from the ever helpful Lotro Wiki, along with their regular prices and the level range they’re for.

Quest Packs LOTRO Wiki

I needed the list to refresh my memory, and make sure I did them all in a sensible order!

Level 30-40

Your options are North Downs, Trollshaws and Evendim.

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Evendim is highly recommended. It has a huge amount of content, an interesting storyline, some fantastic scenery, and a bit of lighter fun stuff. There’s so much there that I ran three or four characters through the zone before I’d done everything there is to do. A few highlights worth mentioning:

  • The ruined city of Annuminas is crawling with invading forces from Angmar while being defended by the rangers. Lots of challenging fights to figure out how to win. At first there don’t seem to be a lot of quests there, but there’s one that gives you a ranger companion and then lots of quests open up from that.

  • There’s a hobbit at the glass-blowers’ camp who is an in-game tribute to Tolkien himself. I’ll leave you to find out more.

  • Nothcotton Farm makes a nice change from combat quests. You can gain a whole level just helping them get everything ready for the market day. Be warned, first time I tried to do it I got so frustrated at getting lost in the maze-like farm complex I gave up. Second time I made a map to figure out the layout, and had fun seeing how fast and efficiently I could tick things off. Now I always enjoy taking an alt there.

  • You get three scalable instances, and they’re good ones. I don’t see them being run too often mind you.

North Downs was revamped earlier this year, and I haven’t run it since then, so some of what I’m going to say may not apply any more. (Anyone who’s done it recently, please add your thoughts in the comments.)

Overall I found North Downs pretty disappointing. The area didn’t have too much of a distinct character, the stories didn’t add up to anything coherent, and the quest flow didn’t make a lot of sense. A few things that ND does have going for it…

  • You can go there in the low 20s, so if you’ve already done Lone Lands enough times and want a change, ND is the other option.
  • You get the Fornost instance cluster. There are four scalable instances, though you might have trouble finding a group to do them because I don’t see them being run very often. Personally I also like soloing instances, but you need to have high-level chars for that.

  • There are a lot of deeds to be had to help with getting your virtues, and being a relatively low-level zone, the slayer deeds are less painful to do here than in most places.

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Trollshaws was also revamped earlier in the year, so the same caveat applies – some things may have changed since I last ran it.

I’d say Trollshaws is more enjoyable than North Downs, but not as good overall as Evendim. Some of the upsides of the region:

  • You get to hang out in Rivendell. And while you’re there, you can play some games of riddles with Bilbo Baggins himself. If you love your Tolkien lore as much as me, that alone might be reason enough to get the Trollshaws!
  • There’s some good questing at the higher end of the zone around Tal Bruinen.

  • Music and scenery are very good in this zone.

On the downside, Trollshaws is a region that is very hard to get around. The map is almost useless, and I spend a lot of time getting lost and backtracking. And that’s even after having been through the zone several times on different characters. Even when you don’t get lost, you spend far too much time getting to quest objectives.

It also seems to be a very hard region in which to complete deeds or get reputation. Part of the reason for that is that you don’t get any instances with this quest pack, so none of the kills and rep that you might get from instance runs.

My Recommendation

Overall, if you’re only going to get one region in this level range, I’d say Evendim is the standout choice. Trollshaws comes next, and North Downs is for when you’re looking to complete your collection.

Level 40-50

This is the hardest level range to make your choices, not least because there are four regions to choose from:

  • Angmar covers the whole range from 40-50
  • Misty Mountains used to cover the whole range, but was revamped earlier this year and now seems to cover just 40-45.
  • Forochel covers 44-50
  • Eregion covers 45-50

Angmar has big pluses and big minuses.

The biggest minus is that since the place is basically Mordor-lite, hanging out there for any length of time is liable to get you down. It’s dark, desolate, devoid of greenery, and crawling with nasty creatures. And no sky should look like that.

On the plus side, there is a heck of a lot of content, and plenty for all tastes and playstyles. That includes so many good instances that I struggle to remember them all. Urugarth and Carn Dum in particular are some of the best instances of all time. Sadly they haven’t been made scalable yet, apparently because Turbine has yet to figure out how to do that while still keeping their original flavor which people like so much. But if you like doing instances then I’d say definitely get Angmar.

If you’re going to do the Epic you’re going to spend a lot of time in Angmar anyway, so that’s another reason to get the zone. While you’re there, you might as well quest, and rack up deeds. (And the Angmar part of the Epic is one of the best parts of all, so if you’ve not done it before, it’s highly recommended not to skip it.)

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Misty Mountains was also revamped this year. Again I’ve not re-run it since the changes, but this time I’m more worried that the changes will have taken away what I loved about the zone than I’m wondering how much they improved things. Anyone who knows more, please do comment.

Pluses of the zone, as it was:

  • Nice mountain environment, with snowstorms and such.
  • It’s hard to figure out how to get around through the mountain passes, but very satisfying once you do. Unlike Trollshaws, once you discover your way around it’s fairly easy to remember and find it again the next time.

  • Goblintown. Opinions were mixed on this place, some people loved it, some hated it. I was one of those that loved it. The people who hated it found it too hard and too confusing. For the confusing part, you definitely need a really good map. As for the hard part, I think it was made with duos and trios in mind, and it’s fun to do that way. Like a lot of small group content it is also very enjoyable to solo if you like a challenge, especially if you’re playing a class that can cope well with crowds. Sneaking around with a burg is a blast!

  • There’s some Tolkien lore, via meeting Gloin and from exploring Goblintown. Who wouldn’t want to find Gollum’s Cave? (Not that it was easy to find!)

  • As far as I can remember you only get one instance, the Goblintown Throne Room, but it’s a good one. A lot of it can be done in a trio or even solo, though it is officially a full fellowship instance.

I understand the Misty Mountains changes have made the zone a lot easier, reduced the level of the mobs in there, and added easier travel options. Some might like it that way, but I’m not sure on that. One day I’ll go back and see.

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Forochel is very pretty. The Northern Lights that are often playing there are wonderful, and sometimes it’s more tempting to just gawp at them than to do any questing.

Overall there are some nice storylines and some good questing in Forochel, but the main downside is that there’s just less content than elsewhere. Which includes a total lack of instances with this pack. It feels a bit unfinished, like a good TV show that was inexplicably canceled before it got to the finale.

Eregion is a sort of middling zone, with nothing either outstanding nor anything horrible about it. In theory it should be a lore-fest, but the opportunity has mostly been missed. I’d have loved to hear all about the Noldorin elves who once lived there, and made the three Elven rings.

The high points for me are:

  • There’s a quest to save Bill the pony from wargs.
  • You get two scalable small fellowship instances, known to all as “School” and “Library”. They’re good instances, are pretty quick to do, and give good rewards. That might be why they still seem to be popular to this day, and you probably won’t have a hard time getting a group for them.

My Recommendations

In summary, in this level range there are pros and cons to each of the options depending on what you most like to do, and what you most want to avoid. Personally I’d say get Angmar as the default choice. It’s by far the most bang for your TP buck, and has fab instances. If you can’t bear to hang out in all that gloom for so long, pair it with one of the others for a change of scene.

After that, Misty Mountains and Forochel both have a lot going for them. Unless you like to play instances often, in which case Eregion has the edge.

What about Level 50+?

I’m not going to give you my thoughts on the quest packs above level 50 in this post. I might well do that another time, but there are a couple of reasons to skip them for now:

1) This is already a rather long post… at the rate I write I may never get finished! Or everyone will have already spent their hard earned TP, and my recommendations for the sale will be moot!

2) Over level 50, there aren’t that many choices of what to get at any given level. Basically you will want to get Moria, Mirkwood, Isengard and Rohan, because that is the main path through the game. The other packs were originally added to keep people going in-between expansions, and for anyone that doesn’t have them yet, they are somewhat of a sideline. Enjoyable maybe, but not the priority if you don’t have TP to throw around.

Final Thoughts

By now I have all the quest packs, and I don’t regret getting any of them. Unless maybe I regret that I don’t have enough time to play through all the good stuff that I’ve got!

While I mentioned various irritations and frustrations with some of the zones, if you like LOTRO you’ll probably find lots to enjoy in each zone. But I do remember what it was like when I was first getting into the game, and especially at sale time, when I was tempted this way and that, but didn’t have a lot to spend. I hope my recs will help people that are where I was a couple of years ago.

As for the old LOTRO hands, I hope you found the post entertaining. If you feel like vehemently disagreeing, wantonly agreeing, or just want to add something, esp about the updated zones, please do!

I’d love to know what zones are your favorites and your pet hates too.

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8 thoughts on “LOTRO: Quest Pack Recommendations

  1. North Downs has improved drastically since the revamp, and while it doesn’t rival Evendim for breathtaking landscape, the quest flow process has been reorganized so that there’s less running back and forth. It now feels like more of an adventure, to encourage wandering and exploration while still having a quest line that makes some sort of sense. Also, Book 3 of Volume 1 is set in the North Downs, so characters who are following the epic will wind up there before getting to the Trollshaws.

    Speaking of the Trollshaws, the revamp added some landscape quests and a couple of badly-needed swift travel points, but the zone is still lacking in content. I found it far less enjoyable than the North Downs, and not just because I seem to wind up in a river every time I have to run back and forth across Rivendell to check in with Elrond…

    • Good to know. Next time I take an alt through those levels I will have another look at North Downs.

      Book 3 of the Epic was a good one, but if I’m remembering correctly the level of the Epic was well out out of sync with the level of the quests in the areas you visited, so you couldn’t really do both at the same time. Plus the Epic seemed to visit a relatively small part of the zone. Are the levels more in sync now?

      Elrond really makes you appreciate MMOs where you can communicate with NPCs via a mobile. Especially those quests where you have to go back and forth to Aragorn. I’d like to tell ’em: “Just get together for lunch guys, if you have things you want to talk over.” 😀

      Ending up in the river is a new one though. And I thought I was bad at precise maneuvering! 🙂

      • The levels still aren’t quite in sync, but North Downs has been moved up a couple of levels so that it’s not as badly out-of-sync, either. The checking in with Elrond is taken to ridiculous levels later in Volume 1 where you have to go back to Rivendell from places like Esteldin, Tinnudir, Angmar, etc. “Really? I have to go talk to Elrond again? Can’t I just send him a pigeon or something?” 😀

      • At least those times you have stuff to do before you head back to Elrond yet again!

        But they make a very good case for making sure you have quick ways to get around. Swift travel! Milestones! Elf racial port! Or be a hunter! 🙂

  2. Pingback: LOTRO Players News Episode 66: Everyone is Gandalf | LOTRO Players

  3. Great, great article and guide. Thank you. I really agree with you on Evendim – it is a really good area to play.

  4. I never liked Evendim or Angmar, because I run solo, and I’m a completionist. You can’t finish Angmar or Evendim deeds solo. Angmar is the worst on that account. If you run solo, avoid Angmar –way too many fellowship quests. I’ve gone in with a level 70 hunter and a level 50 guardian, and we still get slammed. The slayer deeds cannot be completed solo in Evendim, as you have to finish the instances to get the slayer deed. Well, of course, you can’t solo the instances until you’re maybe level 80 where weapon damage suddenly ramps up (don’t even try at 70), so both Evendim and Angmar are dead ends if you’re trying to solo and complete all the deeds. Everywhere else, you can pretty much clear the zone (minus instances) without waiting til you’re level 100, although slayer deeds get harder the higher you go. I should say, however, that at some point around level 40-50, slayer deeds become rather unrealistic.

    I think the current state of the game lends itself more toward power-leveling to 100, then going back to coast through all the deeds, while leveling legendaries. Why spend four hours slaying giants to get the deed in Misty Mountains at level 40, when you could spend 40 minutes at level 100? I see a lot of lvl 100 characters running back to do slayer deeds and instances. Likewise, level 100 LI’s are the only ones you might actually keep.

    • That is a fair point for completionists. The things that make Evendim and Angmar good choices to my mind are the very things that would frustrate you if you care about completing all the content, getting all the titles available etc.

      Firstly there is a heck of a lot of content, which to me is a good thing. It does mean that your character will be overlevel before you’ve finished all the content. I don’t mind that as I don’t want to do everything on every character, I positively like that there is stuff left over to do on my alts that I didn’t see the first time.

      Also there is a certain amount of group quest content, esp in Angmar. You can get into a quest chain and discover that at the end of it there’s a small or large fellowship quest, which stops you from completing that chain, which can definitely be frustrating. On the other hand even though I do most of my questing solo, I do enjoy the variety. I can usually do small fellowship quests solo, they’re just more challenging. I positively enjoy that, and if all the quests were just straightforward solo grinds, I’d find that gets pretty boring. Also if there are people around to group with I like to do that. Hopefully with the server mergers now it can happen more often than has been the case in the last couple of years.

      For the same reason while I love doing instances with my friends, I also enjoy doing instances solo and overlevel. Even if I couldn’t get a group to do Urugarth on-level, I’d rather have a fantastic instance like that to pit myself against solo later on than go for another pack that didn’t have such good content to begin with.

      It does come down to your play personality, as I’m a long way from being a completionist, and I’m not much of a collector of anything, whether titles, steeds or whatever.

      I’d have thought though that if you’re a completionst, you’re plain out of luck, because you will want to do all the zones anyway, sooner or later!

      Btw worth mentioning for people trying to pick quest packs to suit their tastes that the North Downs has similar issues to Angmar, though I don’t know far that’s been changed with the revamp.

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