A couple of friends are just about to enter the Lothlórien area in Lord of the Rings online so I thought I’d whack this quick guide together so they know what to expect.
The area beyond the Mines of Moria, in the Lord of the Rings online game, is Lothlórien. Much like the Elves in the books and the films, the Elves of Lothlórien in the game are distrustful of outsiders and more than any other location in the game, this area absolutely requires you to do reputation work.
There are some mild spoilers in this article, including the map below, so if you want to explore and learn all of this for yourself, stop reading now. You’ll have to forgive me if I use the word faction rather than reputation, I’m still too used to EverQuest terminology despite having not played for quite some time.
You can click this map for the full size image. Essentially the Lothlórien map is split into three regions. The outer area you first enter when you leave Moria (the portion to the west, uncoloured). The Lothlórien wood coloured blue on this map, and Caras Galadhon itself coloured red. Your reputation with the Galadhrim starts at Neutral (although it won’t show on your reputation list until you earn at least a little bit of reputation). In order to get into the blue area, you need to be Acquaintance, and in order to get into the red area you need to be Friend.
If you try and pass from the uncoloured area into the blue area before you achieve acquaintance you will be shot on sight by the Elven archers. You don’t get much warning. Be careful. Some of the quests take you very close to that blue border.
There’s a common theme throughout the reputation earning process for Galadhrim. There are some quests you can do once which give reputation, and some quests you can repeat more frequently (hourly or daily). In the outer section there are a linked series of quests which build up to a set of repeatable quests. For example, you first collect some arrows for an elf, and then later you collect some weapons and burn some barriers. While initially these are different quests, eventually they lead to a repeatable quest which is made up of all of those actions.
Get used to doing these quests every day, because it’s not possible to achieve all the reputation you need without repeating them as often as possible.
In the outer area there are three areas to obtain quests, marked on the following map (the third location is not 100% accurate, it’s from memory) at 1, 2 and 3. Number 3 is not obvious while you’re out questing, but it’s worth finding it and getting the quests as soon as you can. I won’t reveal all the secrets of Lothlórien but let’s just say you need to think on more than one level about where quests may be located. The Galadhrim reputation quests start properly in camp #2, but there are loads of quests in camp #1 for Moria Miners and Guards reputation, plus a ship-load of Legendary Item experience, and they get you used to the layout of the area. Plus, since many of the creature kill deeds (like orcs) provide Galadhrim reputation it’s worth giving yourself a reason to kill several hundred at a time.
Get used to running between those three camps, getting all the reputation quests and completing them whenever you can. There is more to do than just reputation activity here, the quests are regular quests as well and some of them are very tough solo, so it’s a fun area to play in generally, but you may as well make the most of it reputation-wise otherwise you’ll be stuck here longer than necessary. Also, don’t forget these quests later when you’re building further reputation, just because you have gained access to Caras Galadhon doesn’t mean they don’t need you to run a few arrows now and then.
Once you’ve reached Acquaintance you’ll have access to the next area, which is significantly larger and has far more quests. There are quests spread out all over the wood and a few different camps with mounts. I’m not going to go into a huge amount of detail here, the quests themselves will move you around the area in typical LOTRO fashion, just keep your eye open for quest rings which aren’t always right in front of you. This area again has one shot quests and repeatable quests to allow you to build reputation quickly. It’s also an excellent source of crafting resources because there are large expanses of wood full of creatures which don’t want to eat you on sight. There are a lot of good quests here, and some quite novel ones which are well worth taking the time to complete.
Once you have reached the heady heights of Friend to the Galadhrim you may enter Caras Galadhon and even meet the Lord and Lady. Caras Galadhon is built on several levels and you’ll have a lot of ‘fun’ learning your way around.
Once you’ve obtained access to all the locations your work is not yet complete. You will have noticed while you were questing that you earned Silver Branches and Gold Leaves. You can trade these for items, recipes, mounts and various other items at reputation vendors all over Lothlórien (as a point of note you can also earn Gold Leaves by completing the repeatable craft instances inside Moria). Many of the items you’ll want to trade for can only be used if you are Ally or Kindred to the Galadhrim, which means there’s a very good reason to keep working your reputation well beyond initially gaining access. Additionally, some of the best crafted items in the game (armour, jewellery and weapons) are all limited to those people which good Galadhrim reputation both as users of those items and as crafters of them.
More than any other location in the game, reputation in Lothlórien is critical.
The one thing we don’t know yet, is how if at all the next expansion will affect the reputation process in Lothlórien. Mirkwood is accessed beyond Lothlórien, and it may be that Turbine open up access somewhat to avoid having to earn the reputation just to travel into Mirkwood. Personally I hope they don’t, because it maintains the mystique of the Elves of Lothlórien, but you never know.