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Leveling Plan for 1-21

Leveling Plan for 1-21

LOTRO Thorin's Hall Entry
If you've ever read a leveling guide for another MMO, you'll know that they are typically focused on reaching max level as quickly as possible.

While it's certainly possible to level that way in LOTRO, it's not the most efficient. The alternate advancement you find in the end game of other MMOs is woven right into level progression in LOTRO. If you skip it you'll find yourself trekking back through lower level zones to pick up Tubine Points (TP), abilities and traits that you could have earned (and enjoyed the benefits of) while leveling.

How to Use This Guide

We've organized this guide into chapters by level ranges. They are no clear cut places where the one level range leaves off and the next begins, so expect a little overlap between chapters.

Within each chapter are 4 sections:
  • Content shows your primary options to gain experience points (XP) for the level range.
  • Improving Your Character lists opportunities available to you within the level range to work on alternative advancement.
  • The Epic Story lets you know which books fall within the level range and where they start.
  • Optional Content lists more content you could skip without hurting your character's development. But just because we call something "optional" doesn't mean it's not fun! Indeed, many will argue their favorite parts of the game lie in this list.

Content for Levels 1-21

Introduction and Starter Areas

If this is your first character, do the Tutorial - otherwise you can skip it. The Introduction is worth doing for the armor and weapons it gives you for starting out in Middle-earth. Do all the quests to get a feel for your class and the game.

Upon completion of the Introduction, you'll find yourself in the starter area for your race. You don't need to stay there - inexpensive horse routes exist between the starting areas, so hook up with a friend if you want. You may also want to get your first mount right away.

When you finishing in the starting area around level 14 or so, head to Bree-town and do the A Tour of Bree quest. Completing it unlocks the Chief Watcher Grimbriar quests outside the West Bree gate, which in turn will open up quests in the Vale of Andrath, Adso's Camp and the Greenway Fort. You should have no trouble finding quests to take you to 21+ in Bree-land.

Content for Levels 6-21

ContentQuests, deeds and TPClassic and Skirmish Join
Ered Luin
80+ quests (levels 5-15)
24 deeds
130 TP from zone deeds
55 TP from Sarnur deeds
Public Dungeon:
[46] Sarnur
The Shire
100+ quests (levels 5-13)
20 deeds
150 TP from zone deeds
200+ quests (levels 5-24, 30)
32 deeds
200 TP from zone deeds
55 TP from Haudh Iarchith deeds
Classic Join:
[20-65] Great Barrow - The Maze (6-man)
[22-65] Great Barrow - Thadur (6-man)
[24-65] Great Barrow - Sambrog (6-man)

Public Dungeon:
[20] Haudh Iarchith
Siege of Gondamon
  Skirmish Join:
[20-65] Siege of Gondamon
Trouble in Tuckborough
  Skirmish Join:
[20-65] Trouble in Tuckborough

Improving Your Character

You'll start unlocking deeds for traits as soon as you complete the Introduction. These are well worth doing, and not only for the stats and abilities they can add to your character. Deeds are also the primary source of TP earned in-game. Visit a Bard to "slot" the best ones you have - you can change at any time. Unlike other games, the cost from retraiting does not increase each time you do it.

You'll also unlock trait slots as you level. Free and Premium players are limited to 1 or 2 slots per trait type and will need to purchase unlocks for more. In general, these purchases can be spread out. Just read your traits carefully and slot the ones that give you the greatest benefit against your current content.

Trait TypeFree SlotsVIP/Purchase Slots
Virtue Level 7, 9 Level 11, 17, 23
Race Level 11, 17 Level 25, 31, 37
Class Level 15, 21 Level 27, 33, 39, 53, 57
Legendary Level 41 Level 45, 60

Here's a summary of the Traits you can work on these levels:

Virtue Traits [6] When you finish the Introduction, your first deeds for virtues open up as you quest and defeat foes.
Class Traits [7] Your first deeds for class traits open up as you use your skills. Work these skills into your combat rotation so they start to level. Additional class deeds open up at 10 and 20.
Race Traits
Dwarf | Elf
Hobbit | Man
[13] Your first deeds for race traits open up at level 13. Each race has hated foes to defeat!
Class Quests [15] Be sure to do your Class Quest at level 15 for your first class trait and a piece of good gear.

The Epic Story

What really sets LOTRO apart from other MMOs is the integration of JRR Tolkien's Middle-earth into the very fabric of quests and zone progression. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Epic Story. While you could skip Volume 1, we highly recommend you don't. You could "turbo" level past it, but you'd totally miss out on one of the reasons this game is so enjoyable.

[7-12] Volume I, Prologue Each of the starter areas has its own version.
[15-21] Volume I, Book 1: Stirrings in the Darkness Starts with Barliman Butterbur in the Prancing Pony.

Optional Content

After completing the Intro, you receive a gift box that contains samples of things you can buy in the Store, plus another gift box inside, like a Russian nesting doll. These unlock at specific levels: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 15, 20, 30, 40 and 50.

Gift Boxes [5] In your level 5 Gift Box is a Wrapped Horse Whistle. Once opened, the whistle lets you summon a temporary horse (as needed) over the next 24 real-life hours.
[6] You get a Writ of Special Passage in your level 6 Gift Box, which allows you to swift travel along routes you already know. Save this for when you need to get somewhere far away fast.
[20] In your level 20 Gift Box, you get 2 scrolls that start quests to the next set of zones.
Mounts [6] You can ride a horse after completing the Intro. See Getting Your First Mount for details.
[20] VIPs can quest for the Basic Riding Skill at level 20.
Crafting [6] After completing the Intro, you can learn a crafting vocation.
Player Housing [15] You can buy a house at level 15. Even if you can't afford a house yet, the housing quests give good XP and let you check out the housing area.
Surname [15] You can set a last name at level 15. Visit the Notary in one of the starters areas.
Skirmishes [20] Skirmishes open up at level 20. Skirmishes offer some nice gear rewards, and enough XP to provide a nice change of pace from questing. See this guide to get started.
Instances [20] Great Barrow - The Maze, the first group instance, opens up at 20. Instances have quests, reputation bonuses and good loot but require a group of 3 or 6 players.
Reputation [20] The reputation quests for Haudh Iarchith, the Men of Bree public dungeon, open up at 20. It's possible to get to Kindred and earn the Return To Bree skill by your mid-20s now. This provides yet another way for Free and Premium players to get around as swift travel is limited to subscribers.


Leveling Plan

Leveling Plan for 1-21
Leveling Plan for 22-31
Leveling Plan for 32-40
Leveling Plan for 41-50
Leveling Plan for 51-60
Leveling Plan for 61-65

Related Articles

Content by Level Chart
Top Tips for Fast Leveling
Getting Your First Mount
Get Started with Skirmishes
Leveling Guide to Ered Luin
Leveling Guide to The Shire
Leveling Guide to Bree-land