I have made it to the Lone Lands already, twice over.
There was a bit of a push in our kinship to get to level 25 ASAP, with the intent of doing the Great Barrow in kinship groups… erm… fellowships. Kinship fellowships just sounds odd.
So I put in a bit of effort to get there, though not as much as I expected I would have to. The levels flew by. If I spent time running down quest lined in one zone it inevitably pushed me beyond the level requirements of the next. I hit 20, which is when the game prompts you to head out to the Lone Lands, having completely bypassed Adso’s camp and almost all of the north and south Bree fields as well as The Old Forest and the Barrow Downs, except for my visit with Tom Bombadil, which is part of the epic quest line.
Granted, it helps that by this point in my relationship with the game I know most of the quests. Not a lot of time is wasted figuring out where to go or what to do, though I do get ahead of myself once in a while.
And it also helps having the right rock in your pocket.
Of course, it is hard to tell exactly how much that pocket item hurried me along.
Traditionally, LOTRO has given the lion’s share of experience for quest completion, while monster kills have tended to be a pretty meager second source of experience. Likewise, they have added experience to harvesting and crafting, but the actual experience per action is pretty small. However, I did go explorer with my two highest level characters, so I did do a lot of harvesting and processing, so quantity probably made up for the small individual contribution of each action.
I suppose I will see once I catch up with the group and swap that rock out with something else.
Interestingly, the LOTRO store also sells a pocket item that turns off all exp. I am not sure I would spend Turbine Points on that yet.
Despite my start with a hunter, and then a short diversion with a lore master and then a champion, I think my group character this time around will be a captain. I have never played one in a group, though they seem ideal for such. A test with a skirmish showed the benefits. I was even able to keep Pengail alive during his goblin murder spree without much effort, thanks to the captain skills.
They actually seem to have tweaked Pengail a bit. I seem to recall him going half a mile out of his way to gank a goblin who he thought might have looked at him cross-eyed, but now he seems to be content just to murder those who get within aggro radius. Still, he is easily one of the more aggressive escort quest mobs in the history of the genre. He does hate goblins.
So, plumed hat at a jaunty angle and my armsman in tow, my captain is just about set for the Great Barrow.
Now to see if I can keep the alts under control. Those crafting materials pile up and it is always tempting to make an alt just to use them up.