If any of you do decide to come and check LOTRO out we are playing on the [EN] Gilrain server.
I created a Hobbit Burglar called Fleur and she is now level 11. She made it to 10 without dying, earning the title “The Undefeated” and then promptly died! I hope that I can keep one of my characters alive right the way through to earn the top level title in that set!
Anyway, Fleur has restored the Shire postal service and is the bane of wolves. She has also started a sideline in wolf-hide leather armour, although the crafting market in LOTRO is dead.
Crafting & Gathering
Each can character can pick a single crafting vocation. This grants them one or two gathering skills and one or two crafting skills – three skills total. Generally one of the gathering skills will support one of the crafting skills (e.g. Prospecting and Metalsmith) and the third skill will be unsupported (so you are reliant on someone else’s components or you can harvest resources that you don’t need).
There are three gathering skills (Prospecting for Ore, Forester for Wood and Farming for Food) of which the first two work in the standard fashion for an MMO, and the latter is pretty unique. Each gives you the ability to track the relevant “node”, with farmers getting the ability to track wild plants. To harvest a node you need the relevant skill and tool, however anyone can harvest wild plants and that doesn’t require a tool (but only farmers can track the nodes).
Farmers can plant seeds in fields and harvest the crop (takes about 10 seconds to grow). The harvest will produce two qualities of food items, one of which the farmer can recycle into seeds and the other which they can combine into a bushel of
Once you get to certain level of crafting skill you unlock the next tier of recipes (some are given free and some need to be bought). You now have two XP bars for crafting – one for each tier. If you continue making the Tier 1 onions then you progress towards Tier 1 mastery, and an improved chance of getting a critical success (for farming this means a bumper harvest). If you make Tier 2 cabbages then you progress towards unlocking Tier 3 etc. Each Tier unlocked gives you a new title, e.g. Apprentice Farmer for unlocking Tier 2.
You only gain Crafting XP by processing your harvested items; you don’t get XP from actually harvesting. Harvesting never fails (unless interrupted) and the yield will vary depending on luck (I don’t seem to be getting a higher yield at higher skill levels).
Some crafting needs mob dropped items rather than harvested items, of which the most obvious is Tailoring. This requires heavily on Hides, which anyone can loot from nearly every ”Beast” they kill (about 50% drop rate). Hides are then processed by Foresters for use in Light and Medium armours. Hides are also used by other crafters, such as for the construction of weapon hilts, shield covers and metal armour padding and currently it seems to vary randomly between the professions as to whether the recipe needs “boiled” (processed) leather or hides. At Tier 1 you need 20 Light Hides to make one piece of Medium Armour (20 Light Hides processed to 10 Light Boiled Leather; 2 Light Boiled Leather to make 1 Light Leather Pad; 2 LBL to make 1 Light Leather Strap; and finally 2 LBL + 2 LLP + 2 LLS to make a piece of armour. The Forrester gets 10 x 6 XP and the Tailor gets 5 x 8 XP). At level 11 I can farm Level 6 wolves for hides, and it takes me 10-15 minutes to get 20 light hides for one piece of armour. So to deliberately farm enough hides for a full set of Tier 1 medium armour would take Fleur about 60-90 minutes and would grant about 3,000 adventure XP, 360 Tier 1 Foresting XP and 240 Tier 1 Tailoring XP. That would unlock Tier 2 on both Foresting and Tailoring, and give a small step towards mastery. It would also yield about 10-20 silver worth of vendor trash loot and cause about 10 silver worth of equipment damage! (However I already have 3 quest loot items that are better than the armour I can make at Tier 1, so the exercise wouldn’t happen).
There is no player market for the goods you can craft though. Not at the low levels anyway. Quest rewards so far have pretty much covered off most of the equipment upgrades I need, and they are either clearly better or only slightly worse than the items I can craft – especially where weapons are concerned. There is one exception. I made Serena’s archer a bow. That bow is away ahead of anything we have found either in a shop or as quest loot. I made a second and tried to sell it on the Auction House and it failed to sell though… Most people make their own. Also money is very tight! At level 10 I got four new skills with a total cost to buy of nearly 40 silver. I had 20 silver in my pockets! Fortunately I had masses of untreated rowan (Tier 1 wood) which sells to vendor for 40 copper (1 silver = 100 copper) per branch, and I could afford my upgrades at the expense of my crafting.